25th Panzer Division (Germany)
The 25th Panzer Division
Panzer Division
A panzer division was an armored division in the army and air force branches of the Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II....

 was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 formation during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was one of the many understrength panzer divisions the Germans formed during the last years of the war.


  • 1942-1943 Training and garrison activities in Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

  • 1943 Further training in France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    , battle of Zhitomir
  • 1944 Western Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

     (destroyed), Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

     and France (refitted), Poland
  • 1945 Silesia
    Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

    , Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

Establishment of the Division

The 25th Panzer Division was formed in Norway on 25 February 1942 from elements of the Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 garrison. In November 1942 the division was reinforced and in July 1943 it was finally outlined as a Panzer Division. It was transferred to France by order of the Inspector-General of Armoured Troops, Heinz Guderian
Heinz Guderian
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was a German general during World War II. He was a pioneer in the development of armored warfare, and was the leading proponent of tanks and mechanization in the Wehrmacht . Germany's panzer forces were raised and organized under his direction as Chief of Mobile Forces...

, as a reinforcement unit for the expected Allied invasion of France. Paradoxically, it never served on the Western Front
Western Front (World War II)
The Western Front of the European Theatre of World War II encompassed, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and West Germany. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale ground combat operations...



The quality of the equipment was mixed since the division was issued with outdated French tanks, such as the Renault R35, Hotchkiss H39 and Char B1
Char B1
The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before World War II.The Char B1 was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char...

 and modern German Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

 tanks (one company) and Panzer IV
Panzer IV
The Panzerkampfwagen IV , commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz...

s (the 'H' variant), (one company). The artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 regiment had modern artillery pieces, but was the size of a battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

. The reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 battalion had no armoured cars, it was made up entirely of motorcycles.


The division was transferred to the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, despite Guderian's opposition. It was attached to the 4th Panzer Army (Army Group North Ukraine
Army Group North Ukraine
The Army Group North Ukraine was a major ground force formation of the German armed forces.It was created on the 1 April 1944 by renaming Army Group South on trial basis, in the course of the separation of troops under command of General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein and General Field Marshal...

) and saw heavy fighting at Zhitomir in December 1943. The 25th Panzer Division was crushed near Kamianets-Podilskyi
Kamyanets-Podilsky or Kamienets-Podolsky is a city located on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernivtsi...

 on the River Dniestr in the following retreat (spring 1944).

Refitting and further fighting on the Eastern Front

In the summer of 1944 the remnants were joined by garrison units from Denmark and the division was refitted in Denmark and France. By now, the hard-pressed Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 was only able to raise a skeleton panzer division. The understrength formation was sent again to battle the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 at the Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 crossings. Parts of the division were also involved in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

. It suffered heavy casualties during the retreat to the Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

 River in January 1945.

Last months of the war

During the winter of 1945 the division's size dwindled to that of a regiment. In late April and May 1945, it was engaged in the defense of the Ostmark
Ostmark (Austria)
Ostmark was the name used by Nazi propaganda to replace that of the formerly independent Austria after the Anschluss annexation of that country by Nazi Germany in 1938....

 (the third Reich's name for Austria), where it was virtually destroyed.

Commanding officers

  • Generalleutnant Johann Haarde, 25 February 1942
  • Generalleutnant Adolf von Schell, 1 January 1943
  • General der Panzertruppen Georg Jauer
    Georg Jauer
    Georg Jauer was a Panzer General in the German army during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...

    , 15 November 1943
  • Generalleutnant Hans Tröger
    Hans Tröger
    Hans Tröger was a highly decorated Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded several panzer divisions. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful...

    , 20 November 1943 – 10 May 1944
  • Generalmajor Oswin Grolig, 1 June 1944
  • Generalmajor Oskar Audörsch, 18 August 1944 – May 1945

Order of battle, December 1943, Ukraine

  • Panzer-Regiment 9

  • Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 146

  • Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 147

  • Kradschützen-Battalion 87

  • Feldersatz-Battalion 87

  • Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 91 ( undersized )

  • Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 279

  • Panzerjäger-Abteilung 87

  • Panzer-Pionier-Battalion 87

  • Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 87

  • Panzer-Versorgungstruppen

See also

  • List of German divisions in World War II
  • Wehrmacht
    The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

  • Panzer Division
    Panzer Division
    A panzer division was an armored division in the army and air force branches of the Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II....

  • Division (military)
    Division (military)
    A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

  • Battle of Kiev (1943)
    Battle of Kiev (1943)
    The 1943 Battle of Kiev describes three strategic operations by the Soviet Red Army, and one operational counterattack by the Wehrmacht which took place in the wake of the failed German offensive at Kursk during World War II...

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