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Kurt “Panzer” Meyer

Kurt “Panzer” Meyer

By Rich Hamilton

Sporting an Italian tailored camouflaged jacket, Kurt Meyer rode his motorbike through the Normandy campaign. As a mythical knight riding his charger into battle, Meyer was not one to lead his 25. SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment from the rear. His cavalier nature in combat became his hallmark that often led to bold if sometimes reckless actions.

Kurt Adolph Wilhelm Meyer joined the SS in October 1931 at the age of 21. He had been a policeman prior to joining the SS. He served with the Leibstandarte SS 'Adolph Hitler' Division beginning in 1934, and took part in the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia.

D-Day: Waffen-SS

The nickname Panzer Meyer was earned while at the police academy after he fell off a roof while playing a prank on a classmate. He broke 18 bones in the accident and his classmates began calling him Panzer because they said he was as tough as a tank.

In a role totally unsuited for him, Meyer began the war commanding a static anti-tank company during the invasion of Poland. He often raced well out ahead of his unit looking to get into the action.  

By 1940 and the invasion of France, Meyer transferred to the reconnaissance regiment where he excelled. He earned the nickname Schnell Meyer for racing out ahead of the advance on his motorbike.

He rode his motorbike as a scout all across Europe and into Russia. His dare devil nature always favoured using the motorbike for communicating with his troops.  

Right: Kurt “Panzer” Meyer on his motorcycle with passenger 12. SS-Panzerdivision commander SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Witt.

Kurt “Panzer” Meyer on his motorcycle with passenger Fritz Witt
Kurt “Panzer” Meyer

While in Russia, Meyer developed his tactic of storming the enemy hard and fast. He used the shock of a relentless, speeding attack to his advantage. A proven commander, he was time and again decorated for bravery.

In the summer of 1943 Meyer was transferred to the newly formed 12. SS-Panzerdivision “Hitlerjugend”. As commander of 25. SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment he trained his men for battle. His superb job of preparing his men for battle bore fruit in their first combat on 7 June 1944 against the 3rd Canadian Division. In that first engagement his men destroyed 10 Canadian tanks and retook the town of Buron while losing ten Mark IV tanks.  

On 14 June the 12. SS-Panzerdivision lost its commanding officer to naval gunfire. Meyer took command at just 33 years of age and led the division in the defence of Caen.

Here he held off several major offensives but by the 4 July the 12. SS-Panzerdivision was little more than a shell. Meyer still managed to lead the division through the unit’s escape out of the Falaise pocket with just 1500 men left.

Kurt “Panzer” Meyer

On 6 September 1944, Meyer was captured by partisans and turned over to the American Army. The daring run of Panzer Meyer had ended. 

Kurt Meyer in Flames Of War 

Kurt Meyer is relected in the D-Day: Waffen-SS Command Card 12th ‘Hitler Jugend’ SS Panzer Division Schnell. 

D-Day: Waffen-SS

Last Updated On Thursday, July 9, 2020 by Wayne at Battlefront