|German 6th Panzer Division|
6th Panzer Division insignia (1941—1945)
|Engagements||World War II|
The German 1st Light Brigade was a mechanized unit established in October 1937 in imitation of the French Division Légère Mécanique, intended to take on the roles of army-level reconnaissance and security that had traditionally been the responsibility of cavalry. It included mechanized recon units, motorized infantry, and a battalion of tanks. In 1938 it was enlarged to become the 1st Light Division (sometimes described as Light Mechanized or Light Panzer to distinguish it from the later Light infantry divisions). In 1939 the division fought in the Invasion of Poland. Due to shortcomings that the campaign revealed in the organization of the Light divisions, it was reorganized as the 6th Panzer Division afterward in October 1939.
As the 6th Panzer Division, it participated in the 1940 Battle of France and then transferred east for the rest of the year. In June 1941 it joined Operation Barbarossa, fighting at first under Army Group North for Leningrad but soon transferring to Army Group Center, where it fought in the Battle of Moscow and the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient. By May 1942, it had suffered such losses that it was withdrawn to France for rehabilitation. It returned to the Russian Front at the end of the year and participated in the failed attempt to relieve the Sixth Army at Battle of Stalingrad. Thereafter it fought in the battles of Kharkov and Kursk and the defensive battles back across the Ukraine and White Russia afterward. In early 1945 it was used in the attempts to relieve Budapest and then driven back into Austria, where it surrendered to the Soviets at the end of the war.
- Generalleutnant Erich Hoepner (10 November 1938 - 23 November 1938)
- Generalmajor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Loeper (24 November 1938 - 12 October 1939)
- General der Panzertruppen Werner Kempf (18 October 1939 - 6 January 1941)
- Generalleutnant Franz Landgraf (6 January 1941 - June 1941)
- General der Panzertruppen Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma (June 1941 - 15 September 1941)
- Generalleutnant Franz Landgraf (15 September 1941 - 1 April 1942)
- Generaloberst Erhard Raus (1 April 1942 - 7 February 1943)
- Generalleutnant Walther von Hünersdorff (7 February 1943 - 16 July 1943)
- Generalmajor Wilhelm Crisolli (16 July 1943 - 21 August 1943)
- Generalleutnant Rudolf Freiherr von Waldenfels (21 August 1943 - 8 February 1944)
- Generalleutnant Werner Marcks (8 February 1944 - 21 February 1944)
- Generalleutnant Rudolf Freiherr von Waldenfels (21 February - 13 March 1944)
- Generalleutnant Walter Denkert i.V. (13 March 1944 - 28 March 1944)
- Generalleutnant Rudolf Freiherr von Waldenfels (28 March 1944 - 23 November 1944)
- Oberst Friedrich-Wilhelm Jürgens (23 November 1944 - 20 January 1945)
- Generalleutnant Rudolf Freiherr von Waldenfels (20 January 1945 - 8 May 1945)
- Erich Hoepner
- Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
- Erhard Raus
- Panzertruppe, Panzer, Panzer division
- Division (military), Military unit
- Heer, Wehrmacht, List of German divisions in World War II
Note: The Web references may require you to follow links to cover the unit's entire history.
- Wendel, Marcus (2004). "1. Leichte-Division". Retrieved April 11, 2005.
- "1. leichte Division". German language article at www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de. Retrieved April 11, 2005.