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XXXIX. Panzerkorps
Active June 1940 – March 1945
Country Germany
Branch Heer
Type Army Corps
Engagements 06/40 Invasion of France
06/41 Vilnius, Minsk, Smolensk
08/41 Ladoga
09/41 Cholm
08/42 - 01/43 Rzhev salient
08/43 - 10/43 Defence of Smolensk, Orsha
11/43 - 05/44 Mogilev
06/44 Defense against Operation Bagration
07/44 - 08/44 Defence against Schaulyai offensive
10/44 Courland pocket 11/45 - 01/45 Defence of East Prussia
01/45 Ardennes
02/45 Pomerania
03/45 Silesia, Küstrin
General Dietrich von Saucken

The XXXIX Panzer Corps (German language: XXXIX.Panzerkorps, also previously designated the XXXIX.Armeekorps (mot)) was a German panzer corps which saw action on the Western and Eastern Fronts during World War II.

Wartime service


The Corps (whose home station was Gotha in Wehrkreis IX ) was formed (as the XXXIX. Armeekorps) in 1940 for the German invasion of France, in which it was successively part of Gruppe Guderian, the Second and First Armies.


Organisation (June 1941): 20th, 96th, and 254th Infantry Divisions, 8th and 12th Panzer Divisions

In June 1941 the Corps was assigned to Army Group Centre for Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. It initially attacked towards Vilnius and was then involved in the first Battle of Minsk. By August, it was assigned to Army Group North for the attack on Leningrad.


Organisation (October 1942): 78th and 102nd Infantry Divisions; 1st Panzer Division, 5th Panzer Division

Late in the year the Corps was reorganised as the XXXIX. Panzerkorps. It was shifted to the Rzhev salient, under the Ninth Army of Army Group Centre, where it was involved in extremely heavy fighting.


Army Group Centre evacuated the Rzhev salient early in 1943. During the autumn, the Corps took part in the defence against Operation Suvorov, withdrawing to positions east of Mogilev.


Organisation (June 1944): 12th, 31st, 110th and 337th Infantry Divisions; Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle (reserve)

During June 1944 the XXXIX Panzer Corps took part in the defence against the Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration; covering the strategically important highway through Mogilev, it was one of the strongest corps in the Army Group at the time, with four high-quality divisions. Soviet breakthroughs to the north and south saw the Corps threatened with encirclement within a matter of days, while the 12th Infantry Division was trapped in Mogilev and lost. The corps commander, General Robert Martinek was killed on 28 June and his replacement Otto Schünemann, was killed the following day. The Corps disintegrated at the Berezina crossings as its columns attempted to cross the river under heavy air attack; nearly all its units were destroyed by the 2nd Belorussian Front in the subsequent encirclement east of Minsk. The commanders of the 110th, 12th, 31st and Feldherrnhalle Divisions, von Kurowski, Bamler, Ochsner, and von Steinkeller, were all captured.

Remnants of the Corps were amalgamated with an ad hoc battle group based on the 5th Panzer Division and commanded by Dietrich von Saucken. Renamed XXXIX. Panzerkorps, it defended Minsk and then conducted a fighting withdrawal against subsequent stages of the Soviet strategic offensive through Belarus, Poland and Lithuania, ending up in the Courland Pocket. During this period, the rebuilt Corps was reinforced with the 4th and 12th Panzer Divisions as well as the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland, taking part in Operation Doppelkopf.

Late in the year it was redeployed to East Prussia before being reorganised and withdrawn for use in Operation Wacht am Rhein, the German offensive through the Ardennes. It was assigned to Hasso von Manteuffel's Fifth Panzer Army.


After the defeat of the Ardennes offensive in the Battle of the Bulge, the Corps was redeployed against the Soviet offensives in Pomerania as part of the newly-organised Eleventh SS Panzer Army, Army Group Vistula. It was employed in Operation Solstice, the failed counter-offensive at Stargard against the spearheads of the 1st Belorussian Front.

On 27 March the Corps was thrown into a disastrous counter-attack to relieve the fortress of Küstrin, and was almost entirely destroyed.


Orders of Battle

27 March 1945 – Küstrin Counterattack

See also

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