The Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland was formed in May 1943 from Infanterie-Division Großdeutschland (mot). It surrendered to British forces at the end of the war.

Commanders

General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck (19 May 1943 - 30 June 1943)
General der Infanterie Walter Hörnlein (30 June 1943 - 1 Feb 1944)
General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel (1 Feb 1944 - 1 Sep 1944)
Generalmajor Karl Lorenz (1 Sep 1944 - 1 Feb 1945)
Generalmajor Hellmuth Mäder (1 Feb 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Area of operations

Eastern Front, southern sector (May 1943 - Feb 1944)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold (3)
- Böddeker, Karl, 01.12.1944, Oberfeldwebel d.R., Zugführer i. d. 11./Pz.Füs.Rgt. “GD”
- Hampel, Helmut, 01.12.1944, Leutnant, Zugführer i. d. Stabs.Kp./Pz.Füs.Rgt. “GD”
- Konopka, Gerhard, 25.06.1943, Oberleutnant d.R., Fhr. II./Gren.Rgt (mot.) "GD“
- [awarded in 1943, holding this rank and position ; it is the first award of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold ; no official files available ; confirmed by Wehrpass entry (1945)]
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (5)
- Bock, Hans, 17.11.1944 (4514), Hauptmann, III./Pz.Rgt. “GD”
- Dürig, Günter, 17.11.1944 (4512), Oberleutnant, Stabs.Schwdr./Pz.Aufkl.Abt. “GD”
- Haus, Rudolf, 05.09.1944 (3811), Hauptmann, Rgt.Adj. Pz.Gren.Rgt. “GD”
- Luithle, Emil, 07.10.1943 (2211), Feldwebel, Panzerfahrer i. d. 5./Pz.Rgt. “GD”
- Sartor, Adolf, 05.02.1945 (5194), Unteroffizier, Pz.Pi.Kp. (G) 812 / Pz.Gren.Div. “GD” [unit was to get Pz.Korps-Pi.Btl 500 on 20.12.1944]
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (145)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (7)
- Farrenberg, Walter, 22.07.1944, Oberfeldwebel, Rgt.Stabskp./Pz.Füs.Rgt. “GD”
- Gericke, Alfred, 09.09.1944, Major, Nachsch.Tr. “GD”
- Liers, Walter, 22.10.1944, Heeres-Hauptwerkmeister, I./Pz.Gren.Rgt. “GD”
- Maehl, Gerhard, 22.09.1944, Oberstabsintendant, Pz.Gren.Div. “GD”
- Priester, Ernst, 17.09.1944, Oberfeldwebel, 11./Pz.Rgt. “GD”
- Rooschüz, Dr. Hans, 22.07.1944, Stabsarzt, 1. San.Kp. “GD”
- Schwarz, Karl, 24.12.1943, Kriegswerkmeister, Stu.Gesch.Abt. “GD”
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (39)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (38, including one unofficial/unconfirmed) (31 RK + 6 EL + 1 Sw)
Holders of the Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 3rd Class (Orden “Michael der Tapfere” III. Klasse) (2)
- Manteuffel von, Hasso, Königlichen Dekrets Nr. 1072/30.05.1944, Generalleutnant, Kdr. Pz.Gren.Div. “GD”
- Langkeit, Willy, Königlichen Dekrets Nr. 1072/30.05.1944, Oberst, Kdr. Pz.Rgt. “GD”

Order of battle (September 1943)

Staff
- Mapping Detachment
- Truck Column
- Escort Company
-- Motorcycle Platoon
-- Infantry Gun Platoon
-- Heavy Anti-Tank Platoon
-- Flak Platoon (self-propelled)
-- Mixed Panzergrenadier Platoon
Großdeutschland Panzer Regiment
- 2 x Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Company
-- 4 x Panzer Company
- Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Company
-- 3 x Heavy Panzer Company
Großdeutschland Panzergrenadier Regiment
- Staff
- Staff Company
-- Signals Platoon
-- Pioneer Platoon
-- Motorcycle Platoon
- Battalion
-- Staff
-- 3 x Company
-- Heavy Company
--- Staff Platoon
--- Mortar Platoon
--- Light Infantry Gun Platoon
- 2 x Battalion
-- 3 x Company
-- Machine Gun Company
-- Heavy Company
--- Pioneer Platoon
--- Panzerjäger Platoon
--- Infantry Gun Section
- Battalion
-- Light Flak Company (self-propelled)
-- Infantry Gun Company (self-propelled)
-- Heavy Panzerjäger Company (self-propelled)
Großdeutschland Fusilier Regiment
- Staff
- Staff Company
-- Signals Platoon
-- Pioneer Platoon
-- Motorcycle Platoon
- Battalion
-- Staff
-- 3 x Company
-- Heavy Company
--- Staff Platoon
--- Mortar Platoon
--- Light Infantry Gun Platoon
- 2 x Battalion
-- 3 x Company
-- Machine Gun Company
-- Heavy Company
--- Pioneer Platoon
--- Panzerjäger Platoon
--- Infantry Gun Section
- Battalion
-- Light Flak Company (self-propelled)
-- Infantry Gun Company (self-propelled)
-- Heavy Panzerjäger Company (self-propelled)
Großdeutschland Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion
- Staff
- Flak Platoon (self-propelled)
- Armored Car Company
- Reconnaissance Company (half-track)
- 2 x Reconnaissance Company (mot)
- Heavy Company
-- Pioneer Platoon
-- Medium Panzerjäger Platoon
-- Panzerjäger Platoon
-- Infantry Gun Section
- Light Reconnaissance Column
Großdeutschland Panzerjäger Battalion
- Heavy Panzerjäger Company (self-propelled)
- 2 x Heavy Panzerjäger Company (mot)
Großdeutschland Sturmgeschütz Battalion
- Staff
- Staff Battery
- Staff Company
- 3 x Sturmgeschütz Battery
Großdeutschland Artillery Regiment
- Staff
- Staff Battery (mot)
- Observation Battery
- Light Flak Platoon (self-propelled)
- 3 x Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Battery (mot)
-- 3 x Battery (mot)
- Battalion
-- Staff
-- Staff Battery (self-propelled)
-- 3 x Battery (self-propelled)
Großdeutschland Flak Battalion
- Staff
- Staff Battery
- 3 x Heavy Battery
- 2 x Medium Battery (self-propelled)
- Light Battery
- Light Flak Column
Großdeutschland Feldersatz Battalion
- 5 x Company (mot)
Großdeutschland Pioneer Battalion (mot)
- Staff
- Pioneer Reconnaissance Platoon (mot)
- 4 x Company (mot)
- Brükp K Bridging Column
- Light Pioneer Column (mot)
Großdeutschland Panzer Signals Battalion
- Staff
- Telephone Company (mot)
- Radio Company (mot)
- Light Signals Column (mot)
Supply & Support Units

III./Pz.Rgt. "GD" / Tiger-Abt.
13 December 1944 redesignated Schwere Panzer-Abteilung "Großdeutschland"

Major Kurt Gomille (? June 1943 - 25 ? April 1944)
Oberstleutnant Georg Baumunk (25 ? April 1944 - 9 Aug 1944) (WIA)
Hauptmann Hans Bock (9 Aug [Fhr.] / 18 Aug 1944 [Kdr.] - 13 Dec 1944)
9. Kp
- Hauptmann Wallroth (15 Aug 1943 - ? Feb 1944) (KIA)
- Oberleutnant Stadler [Fhr.] (? Feb 1944 - ??)
10. Kp
- Hauptmann von Villebois (1 July 1943 - 15 Aug 1943) (WIA)
- Oberleutnant Arnold [Fhr.] (15 Aug 1943 - 9 Oct 1943)
- Oberleutnant Reinke (9 Oct 1943 - ??)
11. Kp
- Oberleutnant Bayer (1 July 1943 - 00.00.1944)
Werkstatt-Kp
- Oberleutnant Stinshoff (1 July 1943 - ??)

Notable members

Hermann Balck (Holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds)
Gerhard Konopka (the first soldier to receive the Close Combat Clasp in Gold)
Rudolf Larsen (usually credited with 60+ destroyed tanks but the exact number is unknown)
Hasso von Manteuffel (Holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, post-war a member of the Bundestag 1953-1957 for the liberal Freie Demokratische Partei, FDP)
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)
Otto Ernst Remer (as commander of Wachbattalion Großdeutschland he played an important part in preventing the men behind the July 20 1944 attempt on Hitlers life from taking control of key buildings in Berlin, post-war he founded the neo-nazi Sozialistische Reichspartei (SRP) which was banned in 1952)
Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz ("Der Panzergraf" ("The Armour Count"), Holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds)

Insignia

shoulder-heer-gd-white-embroidered
The “GD” monogram was authorized for wear on the shoulder boards of all ranks of this unit: gold metal for officers, white metal for senior NCOs, and for ranks up to Unteroffizier the monogram was embroidered directly onto the strap in appropriate Waffenfarbe.

cuff-heer-gd
The “Großdeutschland” cuff title was authorized for this unit.

Flag of the divisional commander
inf-div-gd-flag
(Courtesy of Wikimedia)

In fiction

The 2011 board game "Famous Divisions: Gross Deutschland Panzer" by Eric R. Harvey and John Schettler covers the actions of the division.

Flammpanzer III
pzgr-div-gd-flamm3
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Oberst Willi Langkeit with his crew in front of his Panther tank
pzgr-div-gd-panther-langkeit
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

GD troops near Memel 1944
pzgr-div-gd-memel
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Oberst Karl Lorenz and Oberleutnant Wentzke with their men in the Ukraine January 1944
pzgr-div-gd-ukraine
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

A GD Panzerschreck crew on the Eastern Front in 1944
pzgr-div-gd-pzfaust
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Sources used

Gregory Douglas - Special uniform & cuff titles from "Grossdeutschland" units (in The Military Advisor, Vol 6 No 2)
Samuel W. Mitcham Jr - The Panzer Legions: A guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of WWII and Their Commanders
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson - German Army Elite Units, 1939-45

Reference material on this unit

Hans-Joachim Jung - Panzerregiment Großdeutschland im Einsatz: Der Eliteverband der deutschen Panzerwaffe
Hans-Joachim Jung - Panzer Soldiers for God, Honor and Fatherland: The History of Panzerregiment Großdeutschland
James Lucas - Panzer Elite: The Story of Nazi Germany's Crack Grossdeutschland Corps
Thomas McGuirl - God, Honor, Fatherland: A Photo History of Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland on the Eastern Front 1942-1944
Alfred Novotny - The Good Soldier: From Austrian Social Democracy to Communist Captivity with a Soldier of Panzer-Grenadier Division "Grossdeutschland"
Johann Pütz, Helmuth Spaeter & Alfred Wiesemann - Die Chronik der Panzeraufklärungsabteilung Großdeutschland Band I & II
Tim Ripley - Grossdeutschland: Guderian's Eastern Front Elite
Guy Sajer - The Forgotten Soldier
Horst Scheibert - Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland
Jacek Solarz - Grossdeutschland (2 vol)
Helmuth Spaeter - The History of the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland Vol 1-3
Helmuth Spaeter - Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland: A Pictorial History

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