26. Panzer-Division

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Panther Ausf.D’s of the 26th Panzer Division advancing towards the front between Anzio-Nettu photo was taken February 16th 1944.

Italien, bei Nettuno, Panzerkolonne

Italian Campaign, March 1944: under a pouring rain a column of 7,5 cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1) and Panther tank of the 26th Panzer Division (Panther I./Pz-Reg 4) briefly parked on the borders of muddy lane of a rural area during the movement to Nettuno front.

Italien, Panzer IV

Composition: 1942 : Pz.Gr.Rgt. 9, Pz.Gr.Rgt. 67, Pz.Rgt. 26, Kradschtz.Btl. 26, Pz.Art.Rgt. 93, Pz.Jag.Abt. 51, H-Flakart. Abt. 304, Pz.Pi.Btl. 93, Pz.Nachr.Abt. 93, Kdr.Pz.Div. Nachsch. Tr. 93, Felders.Btl. 93 (Le Kradschtz.Btl. 26 becomes Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 26 the 1 April 1943. The 23 July 1943, the Pz.Jag.Abt. 93 left the division and was replaced by Pz.Jag.Abt. 5M Kradschtz.Btl. 26 became Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 26 on 1 April, 1943. On 23 July, 1943, Pz.Jag.Abt. 93 left the division and was replaced by Pz.Jag.Abt. 51.)

Commanders: Oberst (Gen.Maj. => Gen.Lt.) Smilo Frhr von Lüttwitz (14.7.1942-21.1.1944), Gen.Ma]. Hans Hecker (22.1.-19.2.1944, m.d.F.b.), Gen.Lt. Smilo Frhr von Lüttwitz (20.2.-10.4.1944), Gen.Maj. Dr.Jur. Dr. Rer.Pol. Hans Boelsen (11.4.-7.5.1944, in Vertretung), Gen.Lt. Smilo Frhr von Lüttwitz (8.5.-5.7.1944), Oberst Eduard Crasemann (6-18.7.1944, m.d.F.b.), Gen.Maj. Dr. Jur.Dr. Rer.Pol. Hans Boelsen (19.7.-26.8.1944, m.d.F.b.), Oberst (Gen.Maj.) Eduard Crasemann (27.8.1944-28.1.1945), Oberst Alfred Kuhnert (29.1.-19.3.1945), Gen.Maj. (Gen.Lt.) Viktor Linnarz (20.3.-5.1945).

History: 26. Pz.Div. was raised on 14 September 1942 from 23. Inf.Div. in the Courtrai-Béthune sector of France. In May 1943, it was stationed in the Amiens area until July, when it left for Italy to be allocated to 1. Fallsch.Korps (14. Armee, Army Group “C”). The division counterattacked at Anzio then took part in the fighting on the “Gustav Line”. It later withdrew to the “Gothic Line”. Around this time it took over Gr. Rgt. 1027. In November 1944, it distinguished itself during battles fought between the Apennines and the Adriatic. Early in 1945, it defended a sector along the Adriatic coast, in April, it fought to the south of the Po. It then received orders from Hitler to hold out on the Po with LXXVI. Pz K. to which it was assigned and was wiped out there. Only a few members of the division managed to escape across the Po, withdrawing towards Bozen (Bolzano). The division having lost all its vehicles and tanks by then, thus ceased to exist. Its men were placed in captivity at the Ghedi camp…

During what turned out to be a rather short existence, the division produced 11 Knights of the Iron Cross, 2 with Oak Leaves and one with Swords (Smilo von Lüttwitz, divisional commander, 4 July 1944, n° 76).

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