2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich

  • 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Regiment Deutschland (June 1944)
  • 4th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment Der Führer
  • 2nd SS Panzer Regiment

Division Leaders:

  • SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser (until October 1941)
  • SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Bittrich (until December 1941)
  • SS-Brigadeführer Matthias Kleinheisterkamp (until April 1942)
  • SS-Gruppenführer Georg Keppler (until February 1943)
  • SS-Brigadeführer Herbert-Ernst Vahl
  • SS-Standartenführer Kurt Brasack
  • SS-Brigadeführer Walter Krüger
  • SS-Brigadeführer Heinz Lammerding (December 1943 until July 1944; December 1944 until January 1945)
  • SS-Standartenführer Christian Tyschen
  • SS-Standartenführer Otto Baum
  • SS-Brigadeführer Werner Ostendorf
  • SS-Standartenführer Rudolf Lehmann
  • SS-Standartenführer Karl Kreutz

In October 1939 the SS-Verfügungstruppe division was formed, which eagerly participated in battles when the Poland's Campaign began on September 1, 1939. The SS-VT regiment Deutschland, the SS-artillery regiment and the reconnaissance battalion joined General-Major Kempf's 4th tank brigade, Germania was sent to operate under General List's 14th tank army. Der Führer regiment was not wholly trained yet and therefore it did not take part in battles. Although Germania spent most of the four-week campaign in the reserve, the regiment Deutschland eagerly participated in the Battle of Brest. The division also participated in the battles from May to June 1940 in Holland, Belgium, France and near the Spanish border. In May 1940, at the beginning of a blitzkrieg, the regiments Der Führer and LAH were distributed on the Dutch border and they moved, while suppressing all kinds of resistance, through Holland. From Holland they headed into fierce battles in France. Regiment Deutschland stood especially out in several battles that took place while they were crossing the canal. The allied forces were surrounded into a pocket around Dunkerque.

In December 1940 regiment Deutschland was removed from battles and the regiment gave its staff to the newly formed 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. To compensate for the Germania's absence, another skull regiment was added to the SS-VT.

In January 1941 the SS-VT was renamed to SS Division Das Reich. Until April 1941 the division was active in France and then participated in invading Yugoslavia. In May 1941 the division was on vacation and it was rearranged in Austria. From June to November the division invaded Russia (under the Army Group Mitte), where they participated in the battles of Smolensky, Priluk and Moscow. From December 1941 until March 1942 they had defence battles under Istra, Russa and Rzhev. The division suffered great losses and it was sent on a vacation and rearranging to Germany, where they stayed until July 1942. Until January 1943 the division was active in Norteastern France. By the end of January 1943 the division consisted of 17,100 young elite soldiers.

From February to March 1943 the division participated in rough battles in Ukraine, under Kharkov. Until July 1943 they also took part in the Arc of Kursk attacks near Belgrad and Prokhorovka. From August to December 1943 they had difficult defence battles in Miussi, west from Kharkov, under Dnepr, Kiev and Zitomir. In Febuary 1944 only Kampfgruppe Lammerding participated in the battles. The survivors of the division were sent to rest and train in France. From June to August 1944 they participated in rough battles in Coutances, St Lo Perey and the area of Mortain. By September 1944 they retreated through Rouen and St Vith until the German border. Until December 1944 they battled near Schnee Eifel and in January 1945 they had rough battles in the Ardennes. From there the division was taken to Hungary in Febuary 1945, where it fought in Stühlweissenburg. The division battled with the Red Army in 1945 in Austria, while they were protecting Vienna, and in Czech. In April 7, 1945 the division had 1,498 men and 11 tanks.

The division surrendered mostly to the US forces on May 8, 1945.

Insignia:

Cuffband "Das Reich" (September 1943); regiment's names Deutschland, Der Führer first with gothic letters, later with usual letters; Germania (until November 1940) in gothic letters, the same for Langemarck; runic symbols "SS" on the collar patches.

73 men from this division received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.