2nd Panzer Army

The 2nd Panzer Army (German: 2. Panzerarmee) was a German armoured formation during World War II, formed from the 2nd Panzer Group on October 5, 1941.

2nd Panzer Army
2. Panzerarmee
Active5 June 1940 – 8 May 1945
Country Nazi Germany
BranchArmy (Wehrmacht )
RoleArmoured warfare
Heinz Guderian


Panzer Group Guderian (German: Panzergruppe Guderian) was formed on 5 June 1940 and named after its commander, general Heinz Guderian. In early June 1940, after reaching the English Channel following the breakthrough in the Ardennes, the Panzergruppe Guderian was formed from the XIX Army Corps, and thrust deep into France, cutting off the Maginot Line. In November 1940, it was upgraded into Panzergruppe 2.

The 2nd Panzer Group (German: Panzergruppe 2) was formed in November 1940 from Panzer Group Guderian. In October 1941 it was renamed the 2nd Panzer Army. Panzer Group 2 played a significant role in the early stages of the German invasion of the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa in 1941 when it was a constituent part of Army Group Centre.

Operational historyEdit

2nd Panzer Group was part of the Army Group Centre during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Guderian's 2nd Panzer Army formed the Army Group's southern pincer while Hoth's 3rd Panzer Army formed the northern pincer destroying several Soviet armies during the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa. During the battles of Bialystok and Minsk substantial numbers of prisoners were captured and several weapons captured.

Suffering heavy losses in men and equipment, the German forces advanced deeper into the Soviet Union. The rasputitsa season (literally "roadlessness", due to heavy rains and sluggish muddy roads) began to slow down the formation's progress to a few kilometres a day. The rasputitsa was not an unusual phenomenon, but the Wehrmacht did not prepare for this contingency as the German high command had expected the German army to be in Moscow and beyond at this time, with the campaign over before the end of summer. After Minsk, the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Armies captured Smolensk in another successful pincer operation taking around 300,000 prisoners.

Hitler ordered Army Group Center to detach the 2nd Panzer Group, turning southward towards Kyiv to form the northern pincer at Kyiv. Guderian's 2nd Panzer Army and Kleist's 1st Panzer Army were locked in a pincer around Kyiv to trap 665,000 Soviet prisoners. After concluding the Kyiv encirclement, the German planned for the three Panzer armies to attack Moscow from different directions:

4th Panzer Army in the North around Leningrad would attack southward. Hoth's 3rd Panzer Army would attack eastward towards Moscow, while the 2nd Panzer Army would turn northwest and attack Moscow from the south. Guderian's forces tried to encircle the 50th Army, which was successfully defending Tula. After unsuccessful attempts to capture Tula, the high command ordered Gudarian to bypass Tula on November 18 and head towards the vital town of Kashira. The furthest attack was stopped near Kashira by the 1st Guards Cavalry Corps, 173rd Rifle Division, and other units that withstood the central attack of the Guderian army.

The Group's divisions had suffered heavy attrition since the beginning of the invasion and experienced shortages in fuel and ammunition due to the breakdown in logistics. By November, the situation of Guderian's Panzer Group was dire. Nonetheless, Guderian expected the Red Army's resistance to collapse and, driven by National Socialist military thinking, including the idea that the "will" was key to success, continued to direct his forces to attack.

By early December, the final advance on Moscow failed in the face of stiffening Soviet resistance and due to shortages in men and equipment. Until the Soviet counter-offensive, the Germans enjoyed complete domination of the skies and numerical advantage in material and men power during the Battle of Moscow. The massive and unexpected counter-attacks of 1st Guards Cavalry Corps, 50th Army, 10th Army, and parts of 49th Army drove the Germans the furthest from the capital, thus resulting in Hitler's dismissal of Heinz Guderian. After the battle he would never again reach the height and the popularity with Hitler or command any significant part of the German forces.

In August 1943, the 2nd Panzer Army was transferred to occupied Yugoslavia, where it was incorporated into Army Group F and engaged in anti-partisan operations against the Chetniks under Draža Mihailović and the communist Yugoslav Partisans under Josip Broz Tito. Despite engaging in several operations aimed to crush the partisan movement, particularly the communists, no clear victory was gained. Indeed, the partisan movement grew in size and equipment, particularly after the fall of Italian Fascism in the 1943 coup of 25 Luglio led to the mass defection and surrender of Italian units stationed in occupied Bosnia and Montenegro.

Throughout 1943-44, the 2nd Panzer Army was progressively stripped of its heavy armor destined for the war on the Eastern Front, and became a primarily motorized infantry force. It did gain specialized Alpine support from units like the Brandenburgers and 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen divisions. However, endemic guerilla warfare cost the 2nd Panzer Army heavily, and only months after the Raid on Drvar (Operation Rösselsprung) failed to assassinate the communist partisan leadership via airborne assault, the 2nd Panzer Army and all of Army Group F were pushed out of Belgrade in a joint operation by the Partisans and Red Army during the Belgrade Offensive. The 2nd Panzer Army finished the war in disarray in modern Austria.

War crimesEdit

As all German armies on the Eastern Front, Panzer Group 2 implemented the criminal Commissar Order during Operation Barbarossa.[1] In September 1942, the 2nd Panzer Army took part in war crimes while conducting anti-guerrilla operations in the Soviet Union. These operations killed at least a thousand people, razed entire villages, and deported over 18,500. During these operations, Jews and suspected partisans were murdered by being forced to drag ploughs through minefields.[2]

In August 1943, the army's headquarters was subordinated to Army Group F and transferred to the Balkans for anti-partisan operations. The army became primarily an infantry formation at this point and found itself committed to anti-partisan operations, and personnel were accused postwar of multiple atrocities against civilians and partisans.

After the Belgrade Offensive overtook army headquarters, surviving units of the 2nd Panzer Army were subsequently transferred to Hungary as part of Army Group South in January 1945, holding off the Soviet invasion of Austria. 2nd Panzer Army took part in the Battle of the Transdanubian Hills in March 1945 before surrendering at the end of the war to both Soviet and Anglo-American forces.


No. Portrait Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1Guderian, HeinzGeneraloberst
Heinz Guderian
5 June 194025 December 19411 year, 203 days
2Schmidt, RudolfGeneraloberst
Rudolf Schmidt
25 December 194110 April 19431 year, 106 days
3Clößner, HeinrichGeneral der Infanterie
Heinrich Clößner
11 April 19433 August 1943114 days
4Model, WalterGeneralfeldmarschall
Walter Model
6 August 194314 August 19438 days
5Rendulic, LotharGeneraloberst
Lothar Rendulic
14 August 194324 June 1944315 days
6Böhme, FranzGeneral der Infanterie
Franz Böhme
24 June 194417 July 194423 days
7Angelis, MaximilianGeneral der Artillerie
Maximilian de Angelis
18 July 19448 May 1945294 days

Order of battleEdit

Organization of Panzer Group Guderian on 28 May 1940

Group Corps Division
Panzer Group Guderian
General der Panzertruppe Heinz Guderian
XXXIX Army Corps (mot.)
Generalleutnant Rudolf Schmidt
1st Panzer Division
Generalleutnant Friedrich Kirchner
2nd Panzer Division
Generalleutnant Rudolf Veiel
29th Infantry Division (mot.)
Generalmajor Willibald Freiherr von Langermann und Erlencamp
XXXXI Army Corps (mot.)
Generalleutnant Georg-Hans Reinhardt
6th Panzer Division
Generalmajor Werner Kempf
8th Panzer Division
Generalleutnant Adolf-Friedrich Kuntzen
20th Infantry Division (mot.)
Generalleutnant Mauritz von Wiktorin

June 22, 1941Edit

Group Corps Division / Regiment
2nd Panzer Group
Heinz Guderian
XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Panzer Division
4th Panzer Division
10th Infantry Division
1st Cavalry Division
XLVI Panzer Corps 10th Panzer Division
SS Infantry Division Das Reich (mot.)
Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland
XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Panzer Division
18th Panzer Division
29th Infantry Division (mot.)
Anti-Aircraft Regiment Hermann Göring

July 27, 1941Edit

Group Corps Division / Regiment
2nd Panzer Group[3]

Heinz Guderian

VII Corps 7th Infantry Division
23rd Infantry Division
78th Infantry Division
197th Infantry Division
XX Corps 15th Infantry Division
268th Infantry Division
IX Corps 263rd Infantry Division
292nd Infantry Division
137th Infantry Division
XLVI Panzer Corps 10th Panzer Division
SS Infantry Division Das Reich (mot.)
Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland
XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Panzer Division
4th Panzer Division
10th Infantry Division (mot.)
XLVII Panzer Corps 18th Panzer Division
17th Panzer Division
29th Infantry Division (mot.)

September 30, 1941Edit

Organization of the 2nd Panzer Group at the start of Operation Typhoon 27 September 1941
Group Corps Division / Regiment
2nd Panzer Group
Heinz Guderian
XLVIII Panzer Corps 9th Panzer Division
16th Infantry Division (mot.)
25th Infantry Division (mot.)
XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Panzer Division
4th Panzer Division
10th Infantry Division (mot.)
XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Panzer Division
18th Panzer Division
20th Infantry Division (mot.)
XXXIV Corps 45th Infantry Division
134th Infantry Division
XXXV Corps 296th Infantry Division
95th Infantry Division
1st Cavalry Division

November 30, 1943Edit

Group Corps Division / Regiment
2nd Panzer Army
Lothar Rendulic
III SS Panzer Corps 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nordland
SS Panzer Grenadier Brigade Nederland
V SS Mountain Corps 7th SS Division Prinz Eugen
118th Jäger Division
181st Infantry Division
369th (Croatian) Infantry Division
1st Mountain Division
XV Mountain Corps 1st Cossack Division
114th Jäger Division
264th Infantry Division
371st Infantry Division
373rd (Croatian) Infantry Division
XXI Mountain Corps 100th Jäger Division
297th Infantry Division
LXIX Reserve Corps 173rd Reserve Division
187th Reserve Division
367th Infantry Division


  1. ^ Stahel 2015, p. 28.
  2. ^ "www.verbrechen-der-wehrmacht.de p. 22" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  3. ^ Glantz, David, Barbarossa Derailed: The battle for Smolensk, Volume 2, November 2010, page 54