August 4, 2014

12th Panzer-Division

12. Panzerdivision insignia
12th Panzer-Division came from 2nd Infanterie-Division (mot.). 29th Panzer-Regiment provided the necessary tank element. The Division took part in Barbarossa under the command of Hoth’s Panzergruppe 3. After the battle of Smolensk it was sent to Army Group North. The Division fought in the north until the summer of 1943.

In the Kursk battle 12th Panzer, along with 4th Panzer and 10th Panzergrenadier Divisions were in Army Group Center’s reserve. After Ninth Amy’s failure to breach the Soviet defenses in the Orel sector these divisions were released to Model, organized as Kampfgruppe Esebeck. In the meantime the Soviet counteroffensive had begun. After Kursk 12th Panzer took part in a series of defensive battles. In January 1944 the Division was returned to Army Group North and was trapped inside the Courland pocket. At the end of the war it surrendered to the Soviets.


12. Panzerdivision insignia
During the Cold War, in 1970, the Bundeswehr redesignated the 12th PanzerGrenadier-Division as the 12th Panzer-Division. The new 12th Panzer was part of West-German III Corps, a heavy formation of NATO’s CENTAG. In 1994 12th Panzer was dissolved, probably for the last time.


Bibliography
Carruthers, Bob, German Tanks at War, London: Cassell, 2000.
Jentz, Thomas L., Panzertruppen, Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1996.
Mitcham, Jr., Samuel W., The Panzer Legions, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2007.
Newton, Steven H. Hitler’s Commander. Cambridge, MA: DaCapo, 2006.


Photos attribution
1. Marco Kaiser, via Wikimedia Commons
2. Jwnabd Rest SVG: pixelFire, via Wikimedia Commons