World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Panzerwaffe

Troops standard in corps color
A column of tanks and other armoured vehicles of the Panzerwaffe, near Stalingrad, 1942
Oberst of the armoured corps in special uniform.

Panzerwaffe, later also Panzertruppe (German for "Armoured Force", "Armoured Arm" or "Tank Force". Waffe: [combat] "arm") refers to a command within the Heer of the German Wehrmacht, responsible for the affairs of panzer (tank) and motorized forces shortly before and during the Second World War. It was originally known as Schnelltruppen ("Fast Troops"); a motorized command established in the Reichswehr following the First World War, redesignated as Panzerwaffe in 1936 by Generalleutnant Heinz Guderian.

The men of the Panzerwaffe, are referred to as Panzertruppen (Armoured Troops), were distinguishable by their close fitting black uniforms, known as Panzer wraps. The corps colour of the German Panzertruppe was rosa.

After 1943, the Panzerwaffe, like most other German branches of service, had relaxed the uniform rules and many Panzertruppen wore a variety of clothing, including camouflage and winter items.

Two training schools existed for panzer crews throughout the war, Panzertruppenschule I and II.

Motorized infantry were an early formation, and consisted of infantry transported by trucks. Early in the war, there were a number of light divisions, each a semi-motorized cavalry force created out of compromise with the Heer's cavalry command. These were judged inadequate following the Invasion of Poland and converted to fully motorized units.

The mainstay of the Panzerwaffe was the Panzer division. These consisted of a panzer brigade (two tank regiments) and two motorized or mechanized infantry regiments. All forces of a Panzer division were mobile. Support elements included self-propelled artillery, self-propelled anti-tank, and armored reconnaissance cars. After the campaigns in Poland and France, the Panzer divisions were reduced in size, with only one Panzerregiment per Division. This move was taken to allow the creation of several new divisions with the available tanks.

During World War II the German army also fielded a number of Panzergrenadier divisions consisting of motorized infantry (or armored infantry for some of the battalions, when sufficient half-tracked armored carriers were available), with self-propelled artillery and Jagdpanzer, and in some cases a significant panzer component.

A panzer corps consisted of two to three divisions and auxiliary attachments. Panzergruppen ("Panzer Groups") were commands larger than a corps, approximately the size of an army, and named after their commander (e.g. Panzergruppe Hoth). These were later recognized as Panzerarmeen ("Panzer Armies"), an army-level command of two to three corps. These higher-level organizations almost always mixed ordinary infantry units with the Panzerwaffe. (Folklore holds that in 1944 there was a Panzerarmee fighting in Italy which controlled only one Panzerkorps along with other assets, and that Panzerkorps controlled only one Panzer division, and that division only had four operable tanks, with the result that the entire Panzerarmee had the actual armored strength of a tank platoon.)

Significant numbers of panzer and motorized formations were of the Waffen-SS. These did not fall under the Panzerwaffe administratively, although operationally they were organized and fought as part of army formations and under army command.

See also

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.