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The Panzer-Lehr-Division was formed 30 December 1943 at Potsdam from demonstration units of the various Panzer schools around a cadre of instructors from those schools and it was equipped with better equipment that most of the armored divisions.
It was transferred to France in February 1944 and then to Hungary in April where it absorbed Infanterie-Lehr-Regiment 901. In March 1944 it was planned to be the first unit to receive the Jagdtiger tank destroyer but due to delays it instead received Jagdpanzer IV.
It soon returned to France in preparation for the expected landings. On D-Day it was in the Paris area and immediately sent to Normandy, loosing over 200 vehicles to Allied air attacks during the move. It fought the Allied landings but were soon forced into retreat.

On 9 June 1944 four POWs from the division were found dead in Rots by soldiers from SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 26 of 12 SS Hitlerjugend, they had all been shot in the head. (1)
On 25 July over 4000 tons of bombs were dropped on the division positions in preparations for the US Operation Cobra, an estimated 70% of the personnel were killed, wounded or temporarily disabled by the bombings.
It was sent to the Saar for refitting and later fought in the Ardennes. It was caught in the Ruhr pocket and surrendered to the US Army in April 1945.

It was also known as 130. Panzer-Lehr-Division.

Commanders

Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein (10 Jan 1944 - 23 Aug 1944)
Oberst Rudolf Gerhardt (23 Aug 1944 - 08 Sep 1944) m.d.F.b.
Oberst Paul Freiherr von Hauser (08 Sep 1944 - ?? Sep 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein (?? Sep 1944 - 15 Jan 1945)
Oberst Horst Niemack (15 Jan 1945 - 31 Mar 1945) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Horst Niemack (01 Apr 1945 - 03 Apr 1945)
Oberst Paul Freiherr von Hauser (03 Apr 1945 - 15 Apr 1945) m.d.F.b.

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Kurt Kaufmann (15 Jan 1944-15 Jan 1945)
Major Rolf Koch-Erpach (15 Jan 1945-Apr 1945)

Area of operations

Germany (Nov 1943 - Feb 1944)
France (Feb 1944 - Apr 1944)
Hungary (Apr 1944 - May 1944)
France (May 1944 - Aug 1944)
Western Germany (Aug 1944 - Dec 1944)
Ardennes (Dec 1944 - Jan 1945)
Western Germany (Jan 1945 - Apr 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (3)
- Neubert, Willy, 15.02.1945 (5409), Leutnant, 7./Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt. 901
- Schneider, Fritz, 17.10.1944 (4227), Leutnant, Kampfgruppen-Kommandant 1./Pz.Lehr-Rgt.
- Werning, Josef, 17.10.1944 (4189), Leutnant, Ordonnanz-Offizier Pz.Lehr-Aufkl.Abt. 130
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (20)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Angermann, Dr. Horst, 19.12.1944, Oberstabsintendant, Stab/Pz.Lehr-Div.
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (18)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (9)
- Swords
-- Bayerlein, Fritz [81. Sw] 20.07.1944 Generalleutnant Kdr Pz.Lehr-Div
- Oakleaves
-- Hauser Freiherr von, Paul [635. EL] 28.10.1944 Oberstleutnant Kdr Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt 901
- Knight’s Cross
-- Brandt, Walter 18.07.1944 Major Kdr Pz.Pi.Btl 130
-- (Born-)Fallois von, Gerd 02.01.1945 Major Kdr Pz.Aufkl.Lehr-Abt 130
-- Hahlbeck, Heinrich 17.04.1945 p.m. Oberleutnant Kp.Chef im Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt 901
-- Keichel, Otto 18.01.1945 Oberfeldwebel Spähtruppführer i. d. 1./Pz.Aufkl.Lehr-Abt 130
-- Poschinger Ritter von, Joachim 25.01.1945 Major Führer Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt 902
-- Uthe, Konrad 12.08.1944 Major Kdr Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt 901
-- Wagner, Werner 14.04.1945 Oberleutnant Chef 3./Pz.Jäg.Lehr-Abt 130

Order of battle (1944)

Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130
- I. Panzer Abteilung
- - 4 x Kompanie (Panther)
- II. Panzer Abteilung
-- 4 x Kompanie (Panzer IV)
-- Panzer-Kompanie (Funklenk) 316 (Tiger)
Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901
- I. (Grenadier-) Bataillon
- II. (Panzergrenadier-) Bataillon
- III. (Panzerjäger-) Bataillon
Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902
- I. (Grenadier-) Bataillon
- II. (Panzergrenadier-) Bataillon
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130
- I. Abteilung
- II. Abteilung
Panzeraufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung 130
- 5 x Kompanie
Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 311
- 3 x Batterie
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 130
- 3 x Kompanie
Panzer-Lehr-Pionier-Bataillon 130
- 3 x Kompanie
Feldersatz-Bataillon 130
- 4 x Kompanie
Panzernachrichten-Lehr-Abteilung 130
- 2 x Kompanie
Panzer-Versorgungstruppen 130

Notable members

Horst Niemack (Post-war Brigadegeneral d.R. in the West German Bundeswehr, chairman of the German Olympic Committee, part of the German equestrian Olypmics team four times post-war)
Prince Wilhelm of Schönburg-Waldenburg (KIA as Major 11 June 1944)

Insignia

The letter “L” for Lehr was worn on the shoulder straps of all ranks of this unit: gold metal for officers, white metal for senior NCOs, and for ranks up to Unteroffizier the letter was embroidered directly onto the strap in appropriate Waffenfarbe.

Destroyed Panzer IV of Panzer-Lehr-Division in Villers-Bocage, France June 1944
panzer4-pzlehr-france1944
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Footnotes

1. "Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44" by Peter Lieb.

Sources used

Walter J Spielberger, Hilary L. Doyle & Thomas L. Jentz - Heavy Jagdpanzer: Development, Production, Operations
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson - German Army Elite Units, 1939-45

Reference material on this unit

Franz Kurowski - Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II

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