3rd Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
|3rd Panzer Division|
|Active||15 October 1935 – 8 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
|During Operation Citadel||75px|
The German 3rd Panzer Division (3. Panzer-Division) was established in 1935 under the command of Generalleutnant Ernst Feßmann. It later participated in the 1939 invasion of Poland under the command of Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg (where it was the most numerically powerful Panzer Division in the campaign, with 391 tanks), the 1940 invasion of France, and the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. One light company from the 5th Panzer Regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division participated in the Invasion of Norway. On the Eastern Front it participated in the 1942 drive on the Caucasus. It participated in the Battle of Kursk as part of the 48th Panzer Corps, fighting alongside the 11th Panzer division, the 167th Infantry division and the elite Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland. During the battle, the 3rd Panzer was used to achieve the initial breakthrough and inflicted heavy damage to the Soviet forces. It was then used to protect the flanks of the 48th Panzer Corps. After the Soviet counter-attack at Kursk, in which the 3rd Panzer division tried unsuccessfully to defend Kharkov, it retreated as the Germans were driven back westward. In early 1945 it was transferred from Poland to Hungary, and in the spring it was transferred to Austria, where it surrendered to the US at the end of the war.
Its insignia was the Berlin Bear.
- Generalmajor Ernst Fessmann (Creation – 1 September 1939)
- Generalleutnant Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg (1 September 1939 – 7 October 1939)
- Generalleutnant Horst Stumpff (7 October 1939 – September 1940)
- Generalleutnant Friedrich Kühn (September 1940 – 4 October 1940)
- Generalleutnant Horst Stumpff (4 October 1940 – 13 November 1940)
- Generalleutnant Walter Model (13 November 1940 – 1 October 1941)
- Generalleutnant Hermann Breith (1 October 1941 – 1 October 1942)
- Generalleutnant Franz Westhoven (1 October 1942 – 25 October 1943)
- Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein (25 October 1943 – 5 January 1944)
- Oberst Rudolf Lang (5 January 1944 – 25 May 1944)
- Generalleutnant Wilhelm Philipps (25 May 1944 – 1 January 1945)
- Generalmajor Wilhelm Söth (1 January 1945 – 19 April 1945)
- Oberst Volkmar Schöne (19 April 1945 – 8 May 1945)
- David M. Glantz."The Battle of Kursk"