Wysłany: Sro Lis 22, 2006 1:01 pm Temat postu: Historia 130. Panzer-Lehr-Division wg Wikipedi (cytat ang.)
Wiem, że poszedłem po linii najmniejszego oporu, ale chdziło mi tylko o zasygnalizowanie tematu w tym dziale - jak spiszemy własne, lepiej przygotowane opracowanie to wywalimy ten wątek.
The Panzerlehrdivision (also called Panzer-Lehr-Division), commonly known as Panzer Lehr, was a German armored division during World War II, one of the most élite units in the entire German army. It was formed in 1943 from various units of élite training and demonstration troops (Lehr = "demonstration") stationed in Germany, to provide additional armored strength for resisting the anticipated Allied invasion of western Europe. Due to its élite status it was lavishly equipped in comparison to the ordinary Panzer divisions, though on several occasions it fought almost to destruction.
Panzer Lehr is occasionally referred to as the 130. Panzerlehrdivision or 130 Panzer-Lehr-Division, since a number of its constituent units were numbered 130, and in most other Panzer divisions those units were numbered to match the division's number.
1) 1943 Formed in Germany
2) 1944 Fought almost to complete destruction at Caen and the Falaise pocket, rebuilt, then fought almost to complete destruction again in the Ardennes.
3) 1945 Surrendered to the Americans in the Ruhr pocket
Lineage and Formation
Panzer Lehr began forming at Potsdam in November of 1943 and moved to the Nancy-Verdun area in January of 1944 to complete the process. It was formed from several élite training and demonstration units. Most of the division’s original cadre was drawn from Panzertruppenschule I and Panzertruppenschule II, the Panzerwaffe’s major training units. These training and demonstration units were some of the most experienced and highly trained troops in the Panzerwaffe, with almost all having seen some combat and many having received decorations for bravery. As a result of this, Panzer Lehr was considered an élite unit from the time of its formation.
In early 1944 Panzer Lehr was transferred to Hungary for further training, and absorbed the 901st Infantry Lehr Regiment while there. It then returned to France to await the allied invasion as a part of the German Seventh Army’s armored reserve.
Panzer Lehr was probably the best equipped formation in the Panzerwaffe. Its panzer regiment was filled with the latest Panther and Panzer IV models available. Moreover, all four of the infantry battalions were fully mechanised (as opposed to a single one of the four in ordinary panzer divisions), as were the division's artillery and reconnaissance formations – the armored reconnaissance battalion having a company of the new Sd.Kfz 234/2 Puma armored cars. The division's panzer regiment also had the 316. Funklenk-Panzerkompanie (316th Remote Control Panzer company) attached while in Normandy; this company was equipped with 8 Tigers, 5 of them the new Tiger II ausf B’s.1 The division's panzer regiment had a total complement of 237 tanks.
The Caen Battles
Panzergrenadiers of the 902nd Panzergrenadier Lehr Regiment outside Caen, June 1944.
When the Western Allies launched Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944, Panzer Lehr, as a part of the strategic armored reserve, was held back from the fighting during the crucial first days. It was soon released, reached the front, and was committed to battle against the British and Canadians on June 8. It was placed in the front line adjacent to the 12th SS Hitlerjugend Division, where it defended Caen and fought several British offensives to a standstill. The division was involved in the heavy fighting for Hill 112 near Caen.
On June 13 an attack by the British 7th Armoured Division found a gap in the Panzer Lehr’s defences and cut quickly through the lines, and the British vanguard, the 4th County of London Yeomanry, threatening to outflank Panzer Lehr. The actions of famous tank ace Michael Wittmann (of the 1st SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division) near the town of Villers-Bocage resulted in the destruction of this unit and restored the integrity of the front line. For Wittmann’s actions in saving the Panzer Lehr from destruction, divisional commander Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein recommended Wittmann for the Swords to the Knight’s Cross and a promotion.
Like all German armored units engaged in Normandy, Panzer Lehr suffered very heavy losses from Allied air attacks. By the end of June the division's armored component was severely depleted. Despite this, it continued to hold against the British and Commonwealth forces, engaging in heavy fighting near the town of Tilly-sur-Seulles.
During the June fighting around Caen, the division had suffered around 2,500 casualties and lost 102 tanks.
The St. Lo Battles
Abandoned Tiger II of the 316.Funklenk-Panzerkompanie Kellerman boulevard at Chateaudun (Eure-et-Loir), 1944.
On July 2 Panzer Lehr was ordered to pull out of Tilly-sur-Seules and head west to provide support to the divisions resisting the American advance near St. Lô. The area around St. Lô is covered with a grid of ancient hedgerows known as bocage. The bocage made it extremely difficult for armor to maneuver and provided superb defensive positions to the infantry on either side of the battle. Upon reaching this location the division found itself up against the U.S. 83rd Infantry Division. After several holding battles, Panzer Lehr attacked towards Pont-Herbert, which it captured and held against several American counter-attacks.
On 11 July Panzer Lehr attacked towards the village of Le Desert, deep in the bocage. An allied air attack halted the assault, destroying 20 tanks, and the division’s remaining tanks withdrew over the Vire Canal to relative safety.
Over the next few weeks the division fought a defensive battle of attrition against the numerically superior allied forces. On July 19, St. Lô fell to the Americans. Six days later the Americans launched Operation Cobra, their breakout from the Normandy lodgement. The operation was preceded by a massive aerial bombardment by over 2,000 allied bombers. Panzer Lehr was directly in the path of attack, and the division suffered heavily during this bombardment.
The seriously depleted Panzer Lehr could not hope to halt the 140,000 man assault, so on August 5, after a fighting withdrawal, it was ordered back to Alençon for rest and refitting. A battle group dubbed Kampfgruppe von Hauser was formed from the remaining battle-ready men and tanks, and this unit remained in combat. Later, when Kampfgruppe Hauser pulled back towards Fontainbleu to rest and refit, division commander Bayerlein ordered the rest of the division to follow.
Within 7 months of its formation the division was reduced from one of the most powerful divisions fielded during the war to a shattered, combat-ineffective unit with only 20 remaining tanks. After spending a month refitting in the Saar, the division was moved to Paderborn.
Operation “Wacht Am Rhein”
In Early November Panzer Lehr was transferred to Hasso von Manteuffel's Fifth Panzer Army, part of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group G in preparation for the planned winter offensive, Operation Wacht am Rhein, commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge. On November 21 the fully rested and refitted Panzer Lehr was ordered out of its assembly area to counterattack the American forces driving towards the Saverne Gap. The counterattack stalled out, and Panzer Lehr was called back out of the line, much reduced in strength and with badly shaken morale.
The time spent refitting Panzer Lehr and several other units which had been committed prematurely meant that the operation had to be delayed. During the run up to the offensive Panzer Lehr was kept in reserve, along with the Führer Begleit Brigade. On December 15, the day before the offensive began, Panzer Lehr was still severely understrength, with only one of its two tank battalions ready for action. In compensation it was reinforced by two tank destroyer battalions and an assault gun brigade. The division's armored reconnaissance battalion was its only organic unit up to full strength.
Wacht am Rhein opened on December 16, 1944, and Panzer Lehr moved out from the start positions in the center of the German line. The 26th Volksgrenadier Division was to clear the way for the division, but they soon became bogged down and the Panzer Lehr found itself moving forward at a crawl. The situation worsened over the next two days, with the 901st Panzergrenadier Regiment being halted by the Americans along the road to Wiltz, and the 902nd encountering heavy resistance in the town of Hosingen.
On 18 December, the assault got back underway. The 26th Volksgrenadier Division had secured the bridge over the Clerf river, opening the way to the road and rail-hub of Bastogne. Panzer Lehr's armored reconnaissance battalion raced ahead, attacking towards Wiltz before rejoining the division on the route to Bastogne. The horse drawn 26th Volksgrenadier had gotten itself mixed up in Panzer Lehr's column, greatly slowing the advance.
On the 19th the division's panzer regiments ran into a roadblock near Neffe, held by troops of Combat Team Cherry of the U.S. 9th Armored Division. After initial success Panzer Lehr's follow up attack resulted in heavy casualties. Combat Team Cherry pulled out, and the way to Bastogne was open again. However, the majority of the division's armor had been sent North to Margaret to support 26th Volksgrenadier, so Panzer Lehr could not advance at the speed necessary to take the town before American reinforcements arrived to secure it. By the time the division reached the town, the US 101st Airborne Division had already secured it. Panzer Lehr was then divided, with half the division left to help 26th Volksgrenadier Division capture Bastogne, while the rest of the division, including most of its armor, were to continue on to the Meuse.
Over the next few days the Kampfgruppe helping 26th Volksgrenadier, made up of mostly the 901st Panzergrenadier Regiment, wore itself out in successive attacks on the town of Bastogne. As the remainder of the division sped east it enjoyed some minor successes, including the capture of a large American convoy, but it was brought to a halt by fierce resistance near St. Hubert, and was soon drawn into heavy fighting south of Bastogne. On the 21st, Manteuffel pulled Panzer Lehr out of the fight for Bastogne and grouped it with the 2nd Panzer Division and 116th Panzer Division Windhund for an assault on Dinant and the Meuse.
Assault on Dinant
After a day wasted reorganising the attack, Panzer Lehr finally got underway. It fought its way through St. Hubert, and the road to Dinant and the Meuse again seemed open. On the approach to Rochefort, the next town on the road to Dinant, Bayerlein, who was leading his division's vanguard in person, shouted to his men -
Also los, Augen zu, und hinein! ("OK, let's go! Shut your eyes and go in!")
The assaulting unit, the 902nd Panzergrenadier Regiment, was met by a wall of fire. Nor was the advance to become any easier thereafter. On December 23, the division fought all day to reduce the town of Rochefort, suffering heavy casualties. The Americans finally withdrew – their only casualties 25 men killed and 15 men wounded, after holding off an elite panzer division for a whole day.
Bayerlein later compared the defence of Rochefort to that of Bastogne. The road was again clear and Panzer Lehr resumed its advance to Dinant, but slammed into Combat Command A of the US 2nd Armored Division near Buissonville. On Christmas Day 1944, on the plain beside the river Meuse, Manteuffel's three panzer divisions, together with the 9th Panzer Division from XXXXVII Corps, engaged the US VII Corps. The cloud cover had disappeared and allied air power came into play, bringing the panzer divisions to a virtual standstill. Panzer Lehr attempted several attacks, but all were halted by the overwhelming Allied air support.
Things did not go well for Manteuffel. A Kampfgruppe from 2nd Panzer, which had advanced far ahead of the main force, was cut off and out of radio contact. His divisions were forced to move only at night to avoid annihilation from the circling fighter-bombers. The majority of 2nd Panzer's armor, under Major von Cochenhausen, had become surrounded near the town of Celles. On December 26 Panzer Lehr made two attempts to relieve them, but was turned back by the Allied fighter bombers. After another failed rescue effort by 9th Panzer, Panzer Lehr was ordered to fall back. Of the 2nd Panzer Kampfgruppe, only Cochenhausen and 600 or so of his men managed to escape on foot, abandoning almost all of the division's armor to the advancing Allies. The Meuse would not be reached; Wacht Am Rhein had failed.
Relief of Bastogne
The remnants of Manteuffel's strike force were pulled back for one final attempt to take Bastogne. As Panzer Lehr began to move into its new positions the US 11th Armored Division, the spearhead of George Patton's US Third Army, began its attack to relieve Bastogne – right through Panzer Lehr's designated positions. The few forward posts of the division were easily swept aside, and a corridor to the surrounded 101st Airborne was created. Panzer Lehr was then involved in the unsuccessful operations to close the corridor, and finally the exhausted division was pulled out of the battle. Panzer Lehr had once again been virtually annihilated.
The Netherlands - Remagen - Ruhr Pocket
After the failure of the Ardennes offensive, Panzer Lehr was refitted once again, though not to anywhere near the lavish standard of its earlier incarnations. Many of the veterans were dead, and the Panzer Lehr of early 1945 bore little resemblance to that of June 1944.
The division was moved north, into Holland, where it was engaged fighting Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group. Panzer Lehr saw very heavy fighting, and again sustained heavy losses. When the U.S. 9th Armored Division captured the Rhine bridge at Remagen, Panzer Lehr was sent to crush the bridgehead. The attack was unsuccessful, though the division fought well and inflicted many casualties. The Allies' overwhelming numbers and constant air cover had reduced Panzer Lehr to a weak shadow of a division. Engaged in a fighting retreat across northwestern Germany, the division was trapped in the Ruhr Pocket and the remnants of the once powerful division were taken prisoner by the Americans when the pocket surrendered in April.
Order of battle
Panzer-Lehr- Regiment 130
I. Abteilung, Pz.Rgt.6
II. Abteilung, Pz.-Lehr-Rgt.130
Panzergrenadier- Lehr-Regiment 901
I. Battalion, PzGr-Lehr-Rgt.901
II. Battalion, PzGr-Lehr-Rgt.901
Panzergrenadier- Lehr-Regiment 902
I. Battalion, PzGr-Lehr-Rgt.902
II. Battalion, PzGr-Lehr-Rgt.902
Note 1: The 316th Radio Control Panzer Company (316.Panzerkompanie (Funklenk)) was equipped with a mix of Tiger I and Tiger II heavy tanks, plus remote-controlled demolition vehicles which could be operated from the Tigers. There is some dispute as to how many (if any) were actually in service during the Normandy Campaign. (See "BIV Demolition Units" and "Tiger Battalions!" in the references.)
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