12th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)

The 12th Panzer Division was an armoured division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II, established in 1940.

12th Panzer Division
12. Panzerdivision
— 12. PzDiv —
Active10 January 1941 – 8 May 1945
Country Germany
BranchGerman Heer
RoleArmoured warfare
Part ofBalkenkreuz.svg Wehrmacht
Garrison/HQWehrkreis II: Stettin
EngagementsWorld War II
12th Panzer Division logo.svg
summer 194312th Panzer Division logo 1.svg

In October 1940 the 2nd Motorised Infantry Division was reorganized as the 12th Panzer Division, and in June 1941 it joined Operation Barbarossa, fighting in the battles of Minsk and Smolensk. It fought the rest of the war on the Eastern Front and surrendered to the Red Army in the Courland Pocket in May 1945.


A Panzer IV of the division operating on the Eastern Front in 1944

The division was formed from the 2nd Infantry Division, itself formed in 1921. The division was motorised in 1936–37 and participated in the invasions of Poland and France. It was reorganised as a Panzer Division in October 1940.[1]

The 12th Panzer Division participated in Operation Barbarossa, taking part in the drive towards Leningrad. Suffering heavy casualties during the Soviet counter offensive in the winter of 1941–42, the division was withdrawn to Estonia for a refit.[1] It remained with Army Group North for the most part of the war except for a brief spell south while participating in the battle of Kursk in July 1943 and the following defensive operations and retreat after the German failure. The division returned to the northern sector in January 1944 but came too late to play any role in the unsuccessful German efforts to prevent the Siege of Leningrad from being broken by the Red Army. It was eventually entrapped in the Courland Pocket after the successful Soviet offensive in July 1944, Operation Bagration. It remained in Courland where it surrendered to Soviet forces in May 1945.[2]


Structure of the division through its history:[3]

  • Headquarters
  • 29th Panzer Regiment
  • 5th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 25th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 2nd Panzer Artillery Regiment
  • 22nd Motorcycle Battalion (later became 2nd Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion)
  • 508th Tank Destroyer Battalion
  • 303rd Army Anti-Aircraft Battalion (later added in 1942)
  • 2nd Divisional Supply Group

Commanding officersEdit

The commanders of the division:[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Mitcham, p. 109
  2. ^ Mitcham, p. 110
  3. ^ German Order of Battle, Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and Waffen SS Division in WWII. p. 19.
  4. ^ Mitcham, p. 110–111


Note: The Web references may require you to follow links to cover the unit's entire history.

  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2000). The Panzer Legions. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3353-3.
  • Stoves, Rolf (1986). Die Gepanzerten und Motorisierten Deutschen Grossverbände 1935 – 1945 [The armoured and motorised German divisions and brigades 1935–45]. Bad Nauheim: Podzun-Pallas Verlag. ISBN 3-7909-0279-9.
  • Guderian, Heinz (1957) [1952]. Panzer Leader (abridged) (First Ballantine Books ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25329-9.
  • Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand: Das Heer 1933-1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues. Vol.III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1969, p. 285.
  • Georg Tessin: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 - 1945. Vol. II: Die Landstreitkräfte 1 - 5. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • Georg Tessin: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 - 1945. Vol. III: Die Landstreitkräfte 6 - 14. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1967.