pz-23-logo


The 23. Panzer-Division was formed in September 1941 in France from Panzer-Brigade 101 and replacement troops. It was transferred to the southern sector of the Eastern front in April 1942 and took part in the failed attempt to relieve the surrounded troops at Stalingrad. It withdrew through the Ukraine and Poland until October 1944 when it was sent to Hungary. It fought in Hungary and Slovakia before being destroyed by the Red Army in Austria.

Commanders

Generalmajor Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld (25 Sep 1941 - 16 Nov 1941)
Oberst Heinz-Joachim Werner-Ehrenfeucht (16 Nov 1941 - 22 Nov 1941) m.d.st.F.b.
Generalmajor Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld (22 Nov 1941 - 20 Jul 1942) (1)
Generalmajor Erwin Mack (20 Jul 1942 - 26 Aug 1942) (2)
Oberst Fritz von Buch (26 Aug 1942 - 27 Aug 1942 m.d.F.b.
Oberst Erich Brückner (27 Aug 1942 - ?? Aug 1942) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld (?? Aug 1942 - 27 Dec 1942) (3)
Oberst Josef Rossmann (27 Dec 1942 - 28 Dec 1942) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Nikolaus von Vormann (28 Dec 1942 - 31 Oct 1943)
Generalmajor Heinz-Joachim Werner-Ehrenfeucht (01 Nov 1943 - 18 Nov 1943) m.d.st.F.b.
Oberst Ewald Kräber (19 Nov 1943 - 31 Dec 1943) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Ewald Kräber (01 Jan 1944 - 08 Jun 1944)
Oberst Josef von Radowitz (09 Jun 1944 - 09 Jul 1944) m.d.st.F.b.
Oberst Josef von Radowitz (10 Jul 1944 - 31 Aug 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Josef von Radowitz (01 Sep 1944 - 08 May 1945)

Area of operations

France (Sep 1941 - Apr 1942)
Eastern front, southern sector (Apr 1942 - Aug 1944)
Poland (Aug 1944 - Oct 1944)
Hungary (Oct 1944 - Apr 1945)
Slovenia & Austria (Apr 1945 - May 1945)

Nicknames

Eiffelturm-Division (Eiffel Tower Division)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold (11)
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (15)
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (6)
- Dimars, [first name not listed], 31.05.1944 [Date of Action] (570), Gefreiter, 2./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
- Herbrich, [first name not listed], 30.05.1944 [Date of Action] (571), Gefreiter, 2./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
- Hirsch, A., 01.06.1944 [Date of Action] (568), Gefreiter, 2./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
- Hoffmann, [first name not listed], 31.05.1944 [Date of Action] (569), Obergefreiter, 2./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
- Müller, Rudolf, 31.05.1944 [Date of Action] (o.Nr.), Gefreiter, 1.(Pz.Sp.)/Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
- Reichert, Erwin, 31.05.1944 [Date of Action] (o.Nr.), 1.(Pz.Sp.)/Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 23
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (121)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (5)
- Haase, Friedrich, 30.11.1944, Stabsfeldwebel, Stab II./Pz.Rgt. 23
- Hawliczek, Erich, 28.03.1945, Oberwachtmeister, 1./Pz.Nachr.Abt. 128
- Knorr, Hans, 20.04.1945, Leutnant d.R., Kdo./23. Pz.Div.
- Reisinger, Karl, 19.12.1944, Oberfeldwebel, Pz.Jäg.Abt. 128
- Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Fürst zu, Gustav-Albrecht, 18.08.1944, Rittmeister d.R., Ic 23. Pz.Div.
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (27)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (31, including two unofficial/unconfirmed)
Holders of the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords (1)
- Schwarz, Friedrich 28.04.1945 Oberfeldwebel Vers.Kp II./Pz.Rgt 23
Unit-Level Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (1)
- 2./Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 23
-- Date/Place of Downing: 24.08.1944 bei Lisow
-- Award Date: 00.00.0000 (o.Nr.)

Order of battle (1943)

Staff
- Division Staff
- 128. Mapping Detachment (mot)
201. Panzer Regiment
- Staff
- Signals Platoon
- Regimental Band
- 2 x Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Company
-- 4 x Panzer Company
-- Panzer Maintenance Company
126. Panzergrenadier Regiment
- Staff
- Regimental Band
- Staff Company (mot)
-- Signals Platoon
-- Panzerjäger Platoon
-- Motorcycle Platoon
- Battalion (half-track)
-- 3 x Company (half-track)
-- Heavy Company (half-track)
--- Pioneer Platoon
--- 2 x Panzerjäger Platoon
--- Infantry Gun Platoon
- Battalion (mot)
-- 3 x Company (mot)
-- Heavy Company (mot)
--- Pioneer Platoon
--- 2 x Panzerjäger Platoon
--- Infantry Gun Platoon
- Infantry Gun Company (self-propelled)
- Flak Company (self propelled)
128. Panzergrenadier Regiment
- Staff
- Regimental Band
- Staff Company (mot)
-- Signals Platoon
-- Panzerjäger Platoon
-- Motorcycle Platoon
- 2 x Battalion (mot)
-- 3 x Company (mot)
-- Heavy Company (mot)
--- Pioneer Platoon
--- 2 x Panzerjäger Platoon
--- Infantry Gun Platoon
- Infantry Gun Company (self-propelled)
- Flak Company (self propelled)
128. Panzerjäger Battalion
- Panzerjäger Company (mot)
- Panzerjäger Company (self-propelled)
23. Reconnaissance Battalion
- Armored Car Company
- Reconaissance Company (half-track)
- 2 x Motorcycle Company
- Heavy Reconnaissance Company (mot)
-- Pioneer Platoon
-- Infantry Gun Section
-- 2 x Panzerjäger Platoon
- Light Reconnaissance Supply Column
128. Panzer Artillery Regiment
- Staff
- Staff Battery
- 3 x Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Battery
-- 3 x Battery (mot)
- 128. Observation Battery (mot)
278. Army Flak Battalion
- Staff
- Staff Battery (mot)
- 2 x Heavy Flak Battery (mot)
- Light Flak Battery (mot)
- Flak Battery (self-propelled)
- Light Flak Supply Column
51. Panzer Pioneer Battalion
- Staff
- Pioneer Company (half-track)
- 2 x Pioneer Company (mot)
- 151. Brüko K Bridging Column
- Light Pioneer Supply Column
128. Panzer Signals Battalion
- Panzer Telephone Company
- Panzer Radio Company
- Light Signals Supply Column
Supply & Support Units

Notable members

Prince Gustav-Albrecht of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (Rittmeister d.R., Ic)

Insignia

Personnel of this unit wore a semi-official badge on the field and service cap which took the form of the divisional emblem, the so-called “arrow cross” tilted at a 45 degree angle. It was also worn as a patch on the upper right sleeve.

Panther in Debrecen Hungary in October 1944
pzdiv-23-panther-debrecen
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Footnotes

1. GM Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld is relieved because his chief operations officer lost plans for their upcoming offensive when his plane crashed behind enemy lines. He was reinstated when he is found to be not at fault.
2. GM Erwin Mack is killed by Soviet mortar fire near Pyatigorsk U.S.S.R.
3. GL Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld is injured near Verchne-Kumskiy U.S.S.R.and evacuated.

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
Wolf Keilig - Die Generale des Heeres
Andris Kursietis - Die Wehrmacht at War 1939-1945
French Maclean - Quiet Flows the Rhine: German General Officer Casualties in World War II
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
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 - World War II German Battle Insignia

Reference material on this unit

Ernst Rebentisch - The Combat History of the 23rd Panzer Division in World War II
Ernst Rebentisch – To the Caucasus and the Austrian Alps: The History of the 23. Panzer-Division in World War II

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