1940: The French Campaign
After the campaign in Poland the 2. Panzer Division returned to her peacetime garrisons. While the bulk of the units stayed in Vienna a strengthened advance commando was sent to Koblenz to perform preparatory staff work for the planned offensive against France. In November 1939 the division was transferred to the Darmstadt area to stay there for the rest of the year. Early in 1940 most units moved to an assembly area in the Eifel which was already overcrowded with masses of “Westwall” garrison troops, infantry, and flak units. On May 9, 1940 at 13.30 hrs the alarm was given by the code word “Eisfrei” (Free from Ice) via landline – the Western campaign was to begin. Heavily laden with extra fuel canisters the vehicles contrived into the endless columns slowly moveing to the border area. The French and British had even 4,800 on strength but German tactics were to prove superior during the weeks to come now.
Location of 2. Panzer Division 5/10/40:
Pushing through Luxembourg the division reached Belgian territory on May 10, 1940. After crossing the French border the panzers met very stiff resistance in the Sedan area which was broken by massive use of heavy artillery and Stuka support. With the French being unable to release concerted counterattacks the German armoured onslaught continued and on May 20, 1940 Rifle Rgt. 2 was the first unit of the German Wehrmacht to reach the Channel Coast at Abbeville.
Location of 2. Panzer Division 5/20/40:
Now the division moved north forming part of the large encircling movement which was to trap Allied forces inDunkirk area. Boulogne was taken. Reims was to follow next after the direction of advance had been changed once again. With French resistance crumbling more and more the division managed to push through to the Swiss border at Pontarlier and was next deployed against the partly inviolate Maginot Line at Remiremont – Belfort.
Location of 2. Panzer Division 6/25/40:
On 25th June all fighting had come to an end in France. The news of the armistice reached the division in the area of Salins – lesbians, a beautiful spa in the French Jura “department”. As the 2. Panzer Division was not earmarked for occupation duties she received the order to return to her home garrison after a short period of rest and recreation.
2. Panzer Divisional Map Showing Route Through Low Countries and France:
1940 (April) KStN: