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Berlin

Panzergrenadierdivision Kurmark

The unit that was to become Panzergrenadierdivision Kurmark was formed on 30 January 1945 as Kampfgruppe (Brigade) Langkeit from Panzergrenadier-Ersatz-Brigade Großdeutschland ‘Gneisenau’ at Frankfurt an der Oder. It was immediately sent eastwards into combat.

Following this initial fighting, it was restructured and reinforced as a Panzergrenadierdivision in the area of Cottbus in early February 1945. On 1 February 1945 it was given the title ‘Kurmark’, after the Kurmark region of Brandenburg. From 7 February 1945 the division held defensive positions extending around 18km from Frankfurt an der Oder north to Reitwein Bridgehead (south of Küstrin). It was further reinforced in these positions by several Fahnenjunker-Grenadier Regiments (Officer Cadet Grenadier Regiments) to cover the frontline. Also attached for a short time in the first half of February - when Kurmark was taking over the frontline - was III. Abteilung/SS-Artillerie-Lehr-Regiment (SS Artillery Demonstration Regiment). 

Oder Front

The first of its troops were already deployed from 4 February facing the Soviet Reitwein bridgehead south of Neu Manschnow. The command post was set up in Libbenichen on the Frankfurter Strasse south of Seelow. 

On 2 March the command was moved from Libbenichen to the estate of Plötzenhof. The main task of the division was to push the Soviets out of their foothold over the Oder in the area of Reitwein and the associated bridgehead between their and Neu Manschnow. Numerous counter-attacks launched from the heights of Podelzig, Mallnow, Wuhden and Klessin towards the Oder were unable to dislodge the Soviets from their toehold.

Oder Front

An additional threat was posed from the middle February with the establishment of another Soviet bridgehead at Lebus. This was immediately south of the Neu Manschnow-Reitwein bridgehead and significantly threatened the flanks of the operational area and the fortress of Frankfurt an der Oder. The bridgehead increased pressure on the division’s frontage not only at Reitwein and the hard fought areas of Wuhden and Klessin, but further south from Lebus as well. Only with the insertion of 712. Infanteriedivision in the southern sector around Lebus was the overstretched frontage of the division reduced.

However, several Soviet attacks had succeeded in expanding the Reitwein bridgehead. On 2 March the Soviets took Hathenow and Rathstock, about 1km west of Reitwein, despite vigorous defence by Kurmark Panzergrenadiers. As the bridgehead continued to expand, Hitler declared the villages of Wuhden (12 March) and Klessin (23 March) fortresses to be held to the bitter end. 

With all indications that the Soviets were about to launch another big offensive the divisions was withdrawn to reserve to prepare. It was positioned in the area of Lietzen to Schönfließ. However, it was soon back in frontline on 16 April 1945.

With the launch of the Soviet Berlin Offensive on 16 April, Panzergrenadierdivision ‘Kurmark’ taken from reserve and moved into defensive positions along the high-ground running through Mallnow, Carzig, Schönfließ, and Dolgelin. Mounting Soviet pressure forced the division to withdraw on 19 April, with the retreat taking place across the front. A rearguard covered the retreat from good defensive positions at Hohenjesar and Schönfließ.

After retreating southwest it ended up trapped in the Halbe Pocket with the majority of the Ninth Army.  

Soviet Berlin Offensive
Halbe Pocket Breakout

Halbe Breakout

Panzergrenadierdivision ‘Kurmark’, along with 502. Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung, led the break out of the Halbe Pocket on 28 April 1945. The northern group consisted of the remnants of the Panzer-Regiment Brandenburg (II. Abteilung, Panzer-Regiment Kurmark) and remnants of SS-Panzeraufklärungs-Abteilung 10, with supporting artillery and mortars. The southern group was led by 502. Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung, an armoured panzergrenadier company, as well as the rest of Panzergrenadier-Regiment Kurmark, and a supporting rocket launcher battery. 

These were followed by the divisional headquarters of ‘Kurmark’, the headquarters of the Ninth Army, XI. SS Panzerkorps, V. SS Gebirgskorps, and V. Korps. The rearguard was formed from Corps units of the XI. SS Panzerkorps and remnants of SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 32. 

Approximately 35,000 to 45,000 people managed to escape during the breakout, including a large number of civilian women and children. They arrived at Beelitz south of Potsdam in the area of German Twelfth Army (under General der Panzertruppen Walther Wenck).

What was left of the division surrendered to US forces near Jerichow on 5 May 1945.

Panthers

Commander:

Generalmajor Willy Langkeit

Order of Battle

Panzer-Regiment Kurmark

  • I. Abteilung (1. - 4. Kompanien, with 1. Kompanie of Panzer-Jagd-Abt. 1551) (Never fully equipped)
  • II. Abteilung was the attached I. Panther Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment Brandenburg (formerly I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 26) (5. - 8. Kompanien)

Panzergrenadier-Regiment Kurmark 

  • I. Bataillon (formerly Alarmverband Schmelter, I. Bataillon/Kampfgruppe Langkeit) (1. - 3., 4.[MG], 5.[Granatwerfer] Kompanien)
  • II. Bataillon (6. - 8., 9.[MG], 10.[Granatwerfer] Kompanien)
  • 11.[Infantry Gun] Kompanie, 12.[Pioneer] Kompanie

Panzer-Füsilier-Regiment Kurmark (formed from Fahnenjunker-Grenadier Regiment 1235 [Fahnenjunker-Schule I Dresden] in April 1945)

Panzer-Artillerie Regiment Kurmark

  • I. Abteilung (1. - 3. Batterie)
  • II. Abteilung (4. - 6. StuG Batterie)

Panzerjäger-Abteilung 151 (1 Company)

Panzer-Aufklärungs-Schwadron Kurmark (gemischt, or mixed)

Pionier-Bataillon Kurmark

  • 1. Panzerpionierkompanie
  • 2. Pionerkompanie

Nachrichten-Kompanie (Signals)

Heeres-Flak-Batterie

Attachments:

Fahnenjunker-Grenadier-Regiment 1234, 1235, 1239, 1241, & 1242.

Panzergrenadierdivision Kurmark
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Last Updated On Wednesday, September 9, 2015 by Wayne at Battlefront