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The 116. Panzer-Division was formed from the remnants of 16. Panzergrenadier-Division and 179. Reserve-Panzer-Division in March 1944. It fought the Allied landings in Normandy and was caught in the Falaise pocket. After Normandy it was down to 600 men and 12 tanks but was sent to defend Aachen.

It was withdrawn to Düsseldorf for refitting and was back in the Aachen area in October but was unable to prevent Aachen falling to the Allies as the first German town on 21 October. After ordering the evacuation of the town to stop and withdrawing his troops Generalleutnant Gerhard Graf von Schwerin wrote a letter to the US forces about to occupy Aachen.

I stopped the absurd evacuation of this town; therefore, I am responsible for the fate of its inhabitants and I ask you, in the case of an occupation by your troops, to take care of the unfortunate population in a humane way. I am the last German Commanding Officer in the sector of Aachen. (2)


It fought in the Hürtgen Forest and on 8 November it defeated the US 28th Infantry Division and recaptured the town Schmidt.
The Windhund division then took part in the failed Wacht am Rhein operation in the Ardennes and later was stationed on the Dutch border and in March it withdrew over the Rhein. On 18 April it surrendered to the US 9th Army in the Ruhr pocket.

Known war crimes

Soldiers of Panzergrenadier-Regiment 156 shot a civilian in Rehren, Germany on 4 April 1945, for making derogatory remarks about the military and political situation in Germany. (1)

Commanders

Oberst Günther von Manteuffel (28 Mar 1944 - 30 Apr 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Gerhard Graf von Schwerin (01 May 1944 - 07 Aug 1944)
Oberst Walter Reinhard (07 Aug 1944 - 11 Aug 1944) m.d.st.F.b.
Oberst Gerhard Müller (11 Aug 1944 - 23 Aug 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Gerhard Graf von Schwerin (24 Aug 1944 - 14 Sep 1944)
Oberst Heinrich Voigtsberger (15 Sep 1944 - 19 Sep 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg (19 Sep 1944 - ? Apr 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Kurt Braun (28 Mar 1944-25 May 1944)
Major Heinz-Günther Guderian (25 May 1944-22 Aug 1944) (WIA)
Major Lothar Wolf (22 Aug 1944-15 Sep 1944)
Major Friedrich-Ferdinand Prinz zu Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (15 Sep 1944-12 Nov 1944)
Oberstleutnant Heinz-Günther Guderian (12 Nov 1944-Apr 1945)

Area of operations

France (Mar 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 Close Combat Clasp in Gold (2)
- Esch, Jakob, 12.12.1944, Obergefreiter, Kp.Melder i. d. 3./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 116
- Winter, Hans, 24.12.1944, Hauptmann, Btl.Kdr. I./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 156
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (1)
- Brühl Graf von, Friedrich, 25.11.1944 (4582), Hauptmann, Kdr. II./Pz.Rgt. 16
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (28)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver  (2)
- Hartung, Karl, 26.12.1944, Major, Stab/116. Pz.Div.
- Sollmann, Peter-Kurt, 29.04.1945, Hauptmann, Vers.Kp. I.(Panther)/Pz.Rgt. 16
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (7)
- Bayer, Johannes, 05.03.1945, Oberst, Pz.Rgt. 16
- Klein, August, 25.03.1945, Oberfeldwebel, 5./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 156
- Pichler, Josef, 25.03.1945, Fahnenjunker-Oberfeldwebel, 5./Pz.Rgt. 16
- Schmeermann, Heinrich, 27.11.1944, Hauptmann, III./Pz.Art.Rgt. 146
- Schneider, Paul, 00.00.1945, Hauptmann, I./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 156
- Stephan, Eberhard, 25.12.1944, Major, Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 116
- Tebbe, Gerhard, 00.00.1945, Major, I.(Panther)/Pz.Rgt. 16
Holders of the Knight's Cross (10)

Nicknames

Windhund-Division (Greyhound Division)

Order of battle

Panzer Regiment 16
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 60
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 156
Panzer Artillerie Regiment 146
Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 116
Heeres Flak Artillerie Abteilung 281
Panzerjäger Abteilung 228
Panzer Pionier Bataillon 675
Panzer Nachrichten Abteilung 228
Feldersatz-Bataillon 146
Panzer Versorgungstruppen 66

Insignia

A badge was instituted during summer of 1943 representing the tactical symbol of the division, the "windhund".
armytradbadges-116pzdiv
Photo © Jacques

Notable members

Heinz-Günther Guderian (son of Generaloberst Heinz Guderian)

Footnotes

1. "Justiz und NS-Verbrechen". by C.F. Rüter & D.W. de Mildt.
2. "The Siegfried Line campaign" by Charles B. MacDonald.

Sources used

Microfilm Publication A-3356, German Officer Personnel files, NARA
RKT & DKiGT karteikarten, BA/MA
Dermot Bradley, Karl-Friedrich Hildebrand, Markus Rövekamp - Die Generale des Heeres 1921-1945
François de Lannoy & Josef Charita - Panzertruppen: German armored troops 1935-1945
Jill Halcomb & Wilhelm P. B. R. Saris - Headgear of Hitler's Germany, Vol 1
Wolf Keilig - Die Generale des Heeres
Andris Kursietis - Die Wehrmacht at War 1939-1945
Kurt Mehner - Die Deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945: Führung und Truppe
Samuel W. Mitcham Jr - The Panzer Legions: A guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of WWII and Their Commanders
C.F. Rüter & D.W. de Mildt - Justiz und NS-Verbrechen
Peter Schmitz, Klaus-Jürgen Thies, Günter Wegmann & Christian Zweng - Die deutschen Divisionen 1939-1945 (4 Vol)
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Günther Wegmann - Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht, Teil VIII a: Panzertruppe, Band 1
Günter Wegmann & Christian Zweng - Formationsgeschichte u. Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Streitkräfte, 1815-1990, Teile IV, Abt. 1:  Die Dienststellen, Kommandobehörden u. Truppenteile des Heeres, Oct.35-May.45
Gordon Williamson - German Army Elite Units, 1939-45

Reference material on this unit

Frédéric Deprun - Panzer en Normandie: histoire équipages char 116. Panzerdivision 1944
Heinz Günther Guderian - From Normandy to the Ruhr: With the 116th Panzer Division in WWII
Didier Lodieu - Panther in Normandy: The 116 Panzer Division's Battalion Odyssey, July-August 1944
Fritz Memminger - Die Kriegsgeschichte der Windhund Division: 16. Infanterie Division (mot.), 16. Panzergrenadier Division, 116. Pz Division
Kurt Wendt - Warum: Bildband der 116. Panzer Division
Kurt Wendt - Wir Für Alle: Die Ritterkreuzträger der Division, Die Ritterkreuz-Träger der 16. ID ( mot ), 16. Pz.Gren.Div u. 116. Pz.Div

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