8. Panzer-Division

pz-8-logo

The 8. Panzer-Division was formed in October 1939 from the 3. Leichte-Division. It took part in the invasion of France and remained there on occupation duty until April 1941 (with the exception of January - February 1941) when it sent to the Balkans but it saw no action in that campaign.
It took part in the invasion of the USSR and fought at Leningrad, Cholm (March - November 1942), Smolensk (December 1942 - February 1943), Orel (April - August 1943) and later in the withdrawal from Kiev where it suffered heavy losses. During the retreat through the southern sector of the front it fought at Zhitomir, Tarnopol, Brody and Lemberg before fighting in the Carpathian mountains and later near Budapest. It retreated through Czechoslovakia and surrendered to the Red Army at Brno.

Commanders

Generalleutnant Adolf Kuntzen (16 Oct 1939 - 20 Feb 1941)
Generalmajor Erich Brandenberger (20 Feb 1941 - 16 Apr 1941) (1)
Generalmajor Walter Neumann-Silkow (21 Apr 1941 - 28 May 1941) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Erich Brandenberger (29 May 1941 - 08 Dec 1941)
Generalmajor Werner Hühner (08 Dec 1941 - 28 Jan 1942) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Erich Brandenberger (29 Jan 1942 - 06 Aug 1942) (2)
Generalmajor Josef Schroetter Dipl.Ing. (06 Aug 1942 - 13 Nov 1942)
Oberst von Wagner (14 Nov 1942 - 26 Nov 1942)
Generalleutnant Erich Brandenberger (27 Nov 1942 - 17 Jan 1943)
Generalmajor Sebastian Fichtner (17 Jan 1943 - 05 Mar 1943) m.d.F.b.
Generalleutnant Sebastian Fichtner (05 Mar 1943 - ?? Jun 1943)
Generalleutnant Friedrich von Scotti (?? Jun 1943 - ?? Jul 1943)
Generalleutnant Sebastian Fichtner (?? Jul 1943 - 03 Sep 1943)
Oberstleutnant Albrecht Kleinschmidt (03 Sep 1943 - 20 Sep 1943) m.d.st.F.b.
Oberst Gottfried Frölich (20 Sep 1943 - 05 Nov 1944) m.d.st.F.b.
Oberst Gottfried Frölich (05 Nov 1943 - 30 Nov 1943) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Gottfried Frölich (01 Dec 1943 - 1 Apr 1944)
Oberst Werner Friebe (01 Apr 1944 - 31 May 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Werner Friebe (01 Jun 1944 - 17 Jul 1944)
Oberst Gerhard Schmidhuber (17 Jul 1944 - 20 Jul 1944) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Gottfried Frölich (20 July 1944 - 22 Jan 1945)
Oberst Heinrich-Georg Hax (22 Jan 1945 - 01 April 1945) m.d.F.b.
Generalmajor Heinrich-Georg Hax (01 Apr 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Area of operations

Poland (Oct 1939 - May 1940)
France (May 1940 - Jan 1941)
Germany     (Jan 1941 - Feb 1941)
France (Feb 1941 - Apr 1941)
Yugoslavia (Apr 1941 - July 1941)
Eastern front, northern sector (July 1941 - Oct 1943)
Eastern front, southern sector (Oct 1943 - Sep 1944)
Carpathians & Hungary (Sep 1944 - Feb 1945)
Czechoslovakia (Feb 1945 - May 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold (10)
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (18)
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (105)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (2)
- Klahn, Walter, 10.10.1944, Hauptfeldwebel, 1./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 28
- Rückmann, Bruno, 21.02.1945, Oberschirrmeister (K), 4./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 28
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (28)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (31)

Order of battle (1943)

HQ
- Divisional Staff
- 59. Mapping Detachment (mot)
10. Panzer Regiment
- Regimental Staff
- Signals Platoon
- Regimental Band
- Battalion
8. Panzergrenadier Regiment
- Regimental Staff
- Regimental Band
- Regimental Staff Company (mot)
- 2 x Battalion (mot)
- Infantry Gun Company (mot)
28. Panzergrenadier Regiment
- Regimental Staff
- Regimental Band
- Regimental Staff Company (mot)
- 2 x Battalion (mot)
- Infantry Gun Company (mot)
43. Panzerjäger Battalion
- 2 x Panzerjäger Company (self-propelled)
8. Reconnaissance Battalion
- Armored Car Company
- Armored Car Company (half-track)
- Motorcycle Company
- Heavy Reconnaissance Company (half-track)
- Light Reconnaissance Supply Column (mot)
80. Panzer Artillery Regiment
- Regimental Staff
- 2 x Battalion
- Battalion (mot)
- Observation Battery (mot)
286. Army Flak Battalion
- Staff & Staff Battery
- 2 x Heavy Flak Battery (mot)
- Light Flak Battery (mot)
- Flak Battery (self-propelled)
- Light Flak Supply Column (mot)
59. Panzer Pioneer Battalion
- Staff
- Pioneer Company (half-track)
- Pioneer Company (mot)
- Brüko K Bridging Column
- Light Pioneer Supply Column
84. Panzer Signals Battalion
- Panzer Telephone Company
- Panzer Radio Company
- Light Signals Supply Column (mot)
59. Ost Company
Supply & Support Units

Order of battle (September 1944)

HQ
- Divisional Staff
- Divisional Band
- Mapping Detachment (mot)
- Escort Company (mot)
- Military Police Troop (mot)
10. Panzer Battalion
- Battalion Staff
- Battalion Staff Company
- Flak Platoon
- 4 x Company
- Panzer Maintenance Company
- Panzer Supply Company
Combined Panzergrenadier Regiment (later numbered 98)
- Regimental Staff (half-track)
- Regimental Staff Company (half-track)
- Battalion (half-track)
- Battalion (mot)
- Battalion (bicycle)
- Infantry Gun Company (self-propelled)
- Pioneer Company (mot)
43. Panzerjäger Battalion
- Battalion Staff
- Panzerjäger Staff Battery (mot)
- 2 x Sturmgeschütz Battery
- Panzerjäger Battery (mot)
- Panzerjäger Supply Company (mot)
Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion
- Battalion Staff
- Staff Company (mot)
- 4 x Reconnaissance Company (half-track)
80. Panzer Artillery Regiment
- Regimental Staff
- Regimental Staff Battery
- Battalion (self-propelled)
- 2 x Battalion (mot)
286. Army Flak Battalion
- Battalion Staff
- Battalion Staff Battery
- 3 x Flak Battery (mot)
- Flak Platoon (self-propelled)
- Sound Ranging Platoon (mot)
Feldersatz Battalion
84. Panzer Signals Battalion
- Panzer Telephone Company
- Panzer Radio Company
- Signals Supply Column (mot)
59. Panzer Pioneer Battalion
- Staff Company (half-track)
- 2 x Pioneer Company (mot)
- Pioneer Company (half-track)
- Bridging Section (mot)
Supply & Support Units

Notable members

Heinrich-Georg Hax (Silver medal winner in the rapid fire pistol event in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics)

sIG.33 150mm self propelled gun of 8. Panzer-Division
sig33-8panzer
(Courtesy of Magnus)

Panzer IV of 8. Panzer-Division crossing a river next to a destroyed bridge in June 1941
pzdiv-8-panzer4-river
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Generalmajor Erich Brandenberger and General der Infanterie Erich von Manstein in 1941
pzdiv-8-brandenberger-manstein
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Footnotes

1. Generalmajor Erich Brandenberger wounded.
2. Generalleutnant Erich Brandenberger also led “Gruppe Brandenberger“ concurrently from 26 July 1942 to 03 November 1942.

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
Samuel W. Mitcham - Rommel's Lieutenants: The Men Who Served the Desert Fox, France, 1940
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
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

Werner Haupt - Die 8.Panzer-Division im 2.Weltkrieg
Richard Kindel - Die 8. Panzer-Division der Deutschen Wehrmacht (2 vol)

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