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1st Panzer Division

1st Panzer Division

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Heinz Guderian first proposed the formation of panzer units larger than a regiment, but this was rejected by the inspector of motorized troops Otto von Stuelpnagel. After his replacement by Oswald Lutz, Guderian's mentor, the idea gained more support in the Wehrmacht, and after 1933 was also supported by Adolf Hitler. On 15 October 1935 the first three panzer divisions were formed. The 1st Panzer Division was formed in Weimar and commanded by Maximilian von Weichs, the 2nd was formed in Würzburg and commanded by Guderian and the 3rd was formed in Berlin and commanded by Ernst Feßmann.
Most other armies of the era organized their tanks into "tank brigades" requiring additional infantry and artillery support. Panzer divisions had their own organic infantry and artillery support. This led to a change in operational doctrine: instead of the tanks supporting operations by other arms, the tanks led operations, with other arms supporting them. Since the panzer divisions had the supporting arms included, they could operate independently from other units.
These first panzer divisions (1st through 5th) were composed of two tank regiments and one motorised infantry regiment of two battalions each, plus supporting troops. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the old divisions were partially reorganised (adding a third battalion to some infantry regiments or alternatively adding a second regiment of two battalions). Divisions newly organised around this time (6th through 10th) diverged in organisation, each on average with one tank regiment, one separate tank battalion, one or two infantry regiments (three to four battalions per division). By the start of Operation Barbarossa in 1941 the by then 21 panzer divisions had undergone further reorganisation to now consist of one tank regiment (of two or three battalions) and two motorised regiments (of two battalions each). Until the winter of 1941/42 supporting troops organic to these divisions consisted of a motorised artillery regiment (of one heavy and two light battalions), and one each reconnaissance, motorcycle, anti-tank, pioneer, field replacement, and communications battalions. The number of tanks in the 1941 style divisions was comparatively small, but all other units in these formations were fully motorised (trucks, half-tracks, specialized combat vehicles) to match the speed of the tanks.
Heinz Guderian first proposed the formation of panzer units larger than a regiment, but this was rejected by the inspector of motorized troops Otto von Stuelpnagel. After his replacement by Oswald Lutz, Guderian's mentor, the idea gained more support in the Wehrmacht, and after 1933 was also supported by Adolf Hitler. On 15 October 1935 the first three panzer divisions were formed. The 1st Panzer Division was formed in Weimar and commanded by Maximilian von Weichs, the 2nd was formed in Würzburg and commanded by Guderian and the 3rd was formed in Berlin and commanded by Ernst Feßmann.
Most other armies of the era organized their tanks into "tank brigades" requiring additional infantry and artillery support. Panzer divisions had their own organic infantry and artillery support. This led to a change in operational doctrine: instead of the tanks supporting operations by other arms, the tanks led operations, with other arms supporting them. Since the panzer divisions had the supporting arms included, they could operate independently from other units.
These first panzer divisions (1st through 5th) were composed of two tank regiments and one motorised infantry regiment of two battalions each, plus supporting troops. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the old divisions were partially reorganised (adding a third battalion to some infantry regiments or alternatively adding a second regiment of two battalions). Divisions newly organised around this time (6th through 10th) diverged in organisation, each on average with one tank regiment, one separate tank battalion, one or two infantry regiments (three to four battalions per division). By the start of Operation Barbarossa in 1941 the by then 21 panzer divisions had undergone further reorganisation to now consist of one tank regiment (of two or three battalions) and two motorised regiments (of two battalions each). Until the winter of 1941/42 supporting troops organic to these divisions consisted of a motorised artillery regiment (of one heavy and two light battalions), and one each reconnaissance, motorcycle, anti-tank, pioneer, field replacement, and communications battalions. The number of tanks in the 1941 style divisions was comparatively small, but all other units in these formations were fully motorised (trucks, half-tracks, specialized combat vehicles) to match the speed of the tanks.

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Published by: Gustavo Urueña Arellano on Mar 08, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial
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06/26/2014

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