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Author Topic: 4th panzerdivision  (Read 6286 times)
stoffel
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« on: 2 November 2008, 09:54:49 »
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4th Panzer Division

Formed november 1938 at Wurzburg,

Units:

Panzergrenadier regiment 12 and 33
Panzerregiment 35
Panzerartillery regiment 103
Panzeraufklarungabteilung 4

Theatres of Operations

Poland 1939
France 1940
Central Russia Caucassus 1942
Kursk 1943
Latvia 1944
Germany 1945
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« Reply #1 on: 6 November 2008, 07:11:07 »
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History of the 4th Panzer Division

The 4th Panzer Division was formed as 7th Panzer Brigade in Würzburg on November 10, 1935, as the first unit of the second series of German fast units. On October 10 of 1938 it was reinforced to a full division. During the Munich Crisis and the subsequent Anschluss of Czechoslovakia it was shielding the border with Poland in case of a pre-emptive strike by the Allies. In August of 1939 it was attached to the XVI Panzer Corps of the 10th Army under Gen. Walther von Reichenau.

At the beginning of the Invasion of Poland (1939), the division was one of the first to cross the border with Poland in the area of operations of the Army Group South. Equipped with 341 tanks, including 183 Panzer I, 130 Panzer II, 12 Panzer IV and 16 PzBef. the division lacked some infantry and anti-tank units. Immediately after entering the Polish territory, on September 1, the division was stopped by the Polish Volhynian Cavalry Brigade under Col. Julian Filipowicz and engaged in heavy fighting of the battle of Mokra. The German tanks proved to be inadequately armoured and the Poles inflicted heavy casualties on the German unit and repulsed most of its units, which lost roughly 160 armoured fighting vehicles in the battle (between 70 and 100 of them being tanks), mostly to Polish-made Bofors 37 mm anti-tank artillery and Kb ppanc wz.35 anti-tank rifles.

After the supporting German 1st Panzer Division broke through the Polish lines near K?obuck, the Poles withdrew and three days later the 4th Division continued its march towards Warsaw. It reached the capital of Poland on September 8 and tried to take the city by surprise. At 17.00 the forces of 4th Panzer Division attempted an assault on Warsaw's western borough of Ochota. The assault was repulsed and the German forces suffered heavy casualties. The following day the division was reinforced with artillery and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler motorised infantry unit, and started yet another assault towards Ochota and Wola. The well-placed Polish AT guns and the barricades erected on main streets managed to repulse this assault as well. On several occasions lack of armament on the Polish side was made up by ingenuity. One of the streets leading towards the city centre was covered with turpentine from a nearby factory. When the German tanks approached, the liquid was set in flames and the tanks were destroyed without a single shot fired. The German forces suffered heavy casualties and had to retreat. The 4th Panzer Division alone lost approximately 80 tanks out of approximately 220 machines still operational. After the failed assault the 4th division was withdrawn to the rear and took part in the battle of Bzura, where it supported the German counter-attack. After that it was withdrawn to Niederrhein on the Rhine for reinforcements.

During the Battle of France of 1940 the division was attached to Erich Hoepner's XVI Panzer Corps, part of von Kleist's Panzer Group in the German 6th Army under the command of Walther von Reichenau. After a blitzkrieg assault through Liege and Charleroi it reached the area of Bethune, where it fought against the British Expeditionary Corps in what became known as the battle of Dunkirk. However, due to Adolf Hitler's orders it did not manage to capture Dunkirk itself. In early June of 1940 the division was again moved to the first line and in several days it managed to cross a large part of France and by the time the cease fire was signed it reached Grenoble almost unopposed.

From July through November the division trained for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England.

In late November the 4th Division was again withdrawn to Würzburg, where it was reorganized and reinforced. The German 36th Panzer Regiment was detached and assigned to the newly-formed German 14th Panzer Division, while the 103rd Artillery Regiment was reinforced with a third battalion.

After that the division was moved to East Prussia and then to the area of Brze?? Litewski in occupied Poland, where it was assigned to the German XXIV Panzer Corps under Geyr von Schweppenburg. On June 22 of 1941 it took part in the opening stages of the Operation Barbarossa, that is the German attack on the Soviet Union. During the first day of the operation the division managed to strike a wedge into the Soviet positions and reach Kobry? some 65 kilometres behind the lines. Then the division spearheaded one of the pincers to surround and destroy a large Soviet force in the battle of Minsk, where the German army took approximately 300,000 Soviet prisoners of war. After the battle of Homel it reached Kiev, where it fought against yet another pocket of resistance.

In September the division was moved near Moscow and attached to the Army Group Centre preparing to take part in the battle of Moscow. After the assault started on September 30, 1941, the 4th Panzer Division reached Mtsensk and Tula as the southern pincer bound to surround the Soviet capital. However, the Germans had been almost paralysed when the autumn rains set in, turning the only road to Tula into a stretch of mud. Bogged down German tanks proved an easy target for Russian bombers. When the frost set in early November, the Germans could use the roads again, but faced the problem of not being equipped for winter warfare, as Hitler had anticipated a quick victory in the summer. Warm clothing and white camouflage suits were lacking, and more and more tanks and other vehicles were immobilised as temperatures dropped below freezing.

On December 5 the unit was withdrawn and ordered to defend a stretch of the front near Moscow against the Soviet winter counter-offensive. In heavy retreating fights the division lost almost all of its tanks and a month later it had only 25 machines still operational. It withdrew to the area of Orel, where the thaw halted the Soviet counter-offensive and the unit could be partially reinforced. Throughout the year of 1942 it fought in the year-long battle of Orel, a series of almost World War I-like skirmishes, assaults and counter-assaults. The first battalion of the 35th Regiment was disbanded and the remaining tanks were attached to the only remaining tank battalion. It took part in the failed battle of Kursk, after which it withdrew to the area along the Desna River. After a series of Soviet tactical pushes, the front line was finally established near Bobruysk, where the division spent the winter of 1943-1944.

In the spring of 1944 it was moved to the area of Kowel in occupied Poland, where it was to support the badly-beaten Army Group South during the expected spring offensive of the Soviets. However, Operation Bagration that started on June 22, 1944 was in fact aimed against the Army Group Centre and the division was forced to withdraw, along with the entire German army. Being attached to the German XXXIX Panzer Corps under Gen. Karl Decker, the 4th Division withdrew to the area of Warsaw, where the Soviets halted their offensive due to the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. In the battle of Wo?omin the 4th Division even managed to inflict some casualties on the Soviet III Armoured Corps.

After that the division was transported to northern Lithuania, where it was to support the badly-beaten Army Group North and was attached to the German 3rd Panzer Army. However, the Soviet advance cut the German army group in two and the division was mostly dispersed. Some of its sub-units were cut off from the rest of German-held territory together with the 16th and 18th Armies in Livonia, where they supported the defence until the very end of World War II. Other units were attached to smaller, often improvised units, and were destroyed by the Soviet offensive of April-May of 1945.


PRIMARY SOURCES:

"The Panzer Divisions" by Martin Windrow and Michael Roffe

"Panzer: A Revolution in Warfare, 1939-1945" by Roger Edwards

"Panzer Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1939-1942" Volume 1 by Thomas L. Jentz

Wikipedia
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« Reply #2 on: 6 November 2008, 07:12:51 »
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4th Panzer Division War Service


Date-Corps-Army-Army Group-Area

9.39    XVI    10. Armee    Süd    Poland

12.39 - 4.40    reserve    6. Armee    B    Niederrhein

5.40    XXVII    6. Armee    B    Maastricht, Lille

6.40    XVI    6. Armee    B    Peronne-Grenoble

7.40    XXVIII    2. Armee    C    France

8.40 - 10.40    XV    2. Armee    C    France

11.40    XXXIX    1. Armee    D    France

12.40    XXXXVII    11. Armee    C    Home

1.41    reserve    -    C    Home

2.41 - 4.41    XXXIX    7. Armee    D    France

5.41    reserve    -    B    East Prussia

6.41 - 12.41    XXIV    2. Panzergruppe    Mitte    Gomel, Kiev, Tula, Rjäsan

1.42    LIII    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel

2.42 - 4.42    XXIV    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel

5.42    XXXXVII    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel

6.42 - 1.43    XXXV    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel

2.43    reserve    2. Armee    B    Orel, Kursk

3.43    reserve    2. Armee    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

4.43    reserve    -    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

5.43    reserve    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

6.43    XXXXVII    2. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

7.43    reserve    -    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

8.43    reserve    9. Armee    Mitte    Orel, Kursk

9.43 - 12.43    LVI    2. Armee    Mitte    Desna, Gomel

1.44    LVI    2. Armee    Mitte    Pripjet

2.44    LVI    9. Armee    Mitte    Bobruisk

3.44    XXXXI    9. Armee    Mitte    Bobruisk

4.44    LVI    2. Armee    Mitte    Kowel

5.44 - 6.44    reserve    4. Pz. Armee    Nordukraine    Kowel

7.44    Harteneck    2. Armee    Mitte    Bug, Narev

8.44 - 9.44    XXXIX    3. Pz. Armee    Mitte    Lithuania, Courland

10.44    XXXIX    18. Armee    Nord    Courland

11.44 - 12.44    X    18. Armee    Nord    Courland

1.45    VI. SS    16. Armee    Nord    Courland

2.45    VII    2. Armee    Weichsel    West Prussia

3.45    XXXXVI    2. Armee    Weichsel    West Prussia

4.45    XXIII    Ostpreussen    -    West Prussia


PRIMARY SOURCES:

Feldgrau
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« Reply #3 on: 6 November 2008, 07:14:16 »
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Tactical Organization of the 4th Panzer Division at specific times.

1939
4.Schützen-Brigade
  Schützen-Regiment 12
    Schützen-Bataillon I
    Schützen-Bataillon II
5.Panzer-Brigade
  Panzer-Regiment 35
    Panzer-Abteilung I
    Panzer-Abteilung II
  Panzer-Regiment 36
    Panzer-Abteilung I
    Panzer-Abteilung II
Artillerie-Regiment 103
  Artillerie-Abteilung I
  Artillerie-Abteilung II
Aufklärungs-Abteilung 7
Panzerabwehr-Bataillon 49
Pionier-Bataillon 79
Nachrichten-Abteilung 79
79th Divisional Support Units

1943
Panzergrenadier-Regiment 12
  Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillon I
  Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillon II
Panzergrenadier-Regiment 33
  Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillon I
  Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillon II
Panzer-Regiment 35
  Panzer-Abteilung I
  Panzer-Abteilung II
103.Artillerie-Regiment
  Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung I
  Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung II
  Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung III
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 49
Feldersatz-Bataillon 103
Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 79
Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 79
Heeres-Flak-Abteilung 290
84.Versorgungstruppen
79th Divisional Support Units


PRIMARY SOURCES:

Feldgrau
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« Reply #4 on: 6 November 2008, 07:15:38 »
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Select Tank Strengths for 4th Panzer Division at different times.

4th Panzer Division 1 September 1939

Panzer Regiment 35
PzKw I - 99
PzKw II - 64
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 6
PzBef - 8

Panzer Regiment 36
PzKw I - 84
PzKw II - 66
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 6
PzBef - 8


4th Panzer Division 10 May 1940

Panzer Regiment 35
PzKw I - 69
PzKw II - 50
PzKw III (37mm) - 20
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 12
PzBef - 5

Panzer Regiment 36
PzKw I - 66
PzKw II - 55
PzKw III (37mm) - 20
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 12
PzBef - 5


4th Panzer Division 22 June 1941
Panzer Regiment 35
PzKw II - 44
PzKw III (37mm) - 31
PzKw III (50mm Short) - 74
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 20
PzBef - 8


4th Panzer Division 1 July 1942
Panzer Regiment 35
PzKw II - 13
PzKw III (50 mm Short) - 28
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 5
PzBef - 2


4th Panzer Division 1 July 1943
Panzer Regiment 35
PzKw III (75 mm Short) - 15
PzKw IV (75mm Short) - 1
PzKw IV (75mm Long) - 79
PzBef - 6


PRIMARY SOURCES:

"Panzer Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942" Volume 1 by Thomas L. Jentz

"Panzer Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945" Volume 2 by Thomas L. Jentz
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