Panzergrenadier-Division Kurmark

Also known as Panzer Division Kurmark, the division formed on 30 January 1945 at Frankfurt an der Oder from Kampfgruppe Langkeit (a battlegroup thrown together at the start of the month) and the understrength Panzergrenadier Ersatz Brigade Grossdeutschland (a replacement and training unit). The division's order of battle (April 1945) consisted of:

The fusilier regiment was the former 1235th Fahnenjunker Grenadier Regiment, formed from the officer cadets of Fahnenjunker School I in Dresden. The panzer regiment's I Battalion, commanded by Major Helmut Hudel, was formerly I Battalion of the 26th Panzer Regiment, 26th Panzer Division. The II Battalion was formerly the 1551st Tank Destroyer Battalion, equipped with one company of PzKw IVs and three companies of Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer tank destroyers. In addition, a motorcycle company was added later. As a sign of how understrength the formation was:

The division had little time to train its individual components together as a division and the quality of the personnel varied considerably (some had been pulled from leave trains, while others, such as the fusilier regiment, were very good). However, the division did have a strong cadre of veteran officers and NCOs from the Grossdeutschland training establishment who quickly instilled spirit into their units and the formation's morale was surprisingly high. The division commander, Oberst (then Generalmajor) Willi Langkeit, a veteran of Stalingrad, acted with great energy and boldness while his division was outfitting, often seizing vehicles from factories and incorporating equipment, weapons, even entire units from training establishments, sometimes without authorisation.

Kurmark was hurriedly sent eastwards and joined 9th Army (Army Group Vistula) in time to take part in the Battle of Sternberg, where it broke through the encircling Soviet forces and rescued the garrison. The division was then encircled itself but managed to fight its way out but lost much of its equipment in the process. The division was then rebuilt during February and March. On 16 April 1945, the Soviets launched their last offensive aimed at taking Berlin. The attack consisted of over a million men backed by over 22,000 artillery pieces. The division was encircled, managed to break out, encircled again in the Halbe Pocket when the 9th Army itself was surrounded, finally breaking out again into the Colpin Woods southwest of Frankfurt an der Oder. Retreating before massive Soviet forces, the remnants of the division managed to escape west and join the 12th Army, surrendering to US forces near Jerichow in early May 1945.

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How to cite this article: Antill, P (4 October 2019), Panzergrenadier-Division Kurmark , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzergrenadier_division_kurmark.html

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