1944: From Invasion to the Bulge
Coming from Russia the much decimated 2. Panzer Division detrained in the Arras – Cambrai area. After a period of three months the division had been brought up to full strength again and moved to an assembly area near Amiens.
Location of 2. Panzer Division on 6/5/44:
Being alerted on June 6, 1944, the day of the Allied invasion, the division finally received her orders three days later: she was to participate in the heavy defensive battles against the invasion forces in Normandy. Due to heavy Allied air activities progress was very slow and the division suffered severe losses even before the front was reached. Being engaged now in heavy defensive action against hopeless odds the division firmly held her positions and even took parting the German counter offensive towards Avranches. The Allied counterstroke trapped the division in the “Falaise Pocket” where she lost about one half of her equipment and personnel.
Falaise Pocket being cut-off 8/18/44:
2. Panzer Divisional History Map from Normandy Until Withdrawl from Combat:
After breaking out of the pocket the badly mauled division fought her way back through France to the former German border fortifications of the “Westwall”.
2. Panzer Divisional History Map Showing Withdrawl From Combat:
Location of 2. Panzer Division on 11/9/44:
Given some time for rest and refitting the division resumed activity during the “Ardennenoffensive” (Battle of the Bulge), soldiers of this division being the first and only ones to regain and even set over the Meuse again near Dinant on December 24, 1944.
2. Panzer Divisional History Map Showing Battle of the Bulge Attack Route and Dates:
Location of 2. Panzer Division on 12/20/44:
When the Allied offensive was resumed in January 1945 the 2. Panzer Division had to give up her gains again and performed a fighting withdrawal which finally led her to Karlsbad in Czechoslovakia where it disbanded on May 5, 1945.
Without any doubt the 2. Panzer Division was one of the crack units of the German Wehrmacht. From her first actions in Poland to the “Battle of the Bulge” in late 1944 the division fought an unbroken series of gallant and daring actions against the enemy. Evenly suited to keen offensive panzer raids and to stubborn defensive action the 2. Panzer Division performed outstandingly in all campaigns (except Norway and Denmark) the Wehrmacht fought in Europe. Even after the bitter end in 1945 many survivors tried to keep contacts and still today meet on regular reunions. They did their duty as soldiers in the best sense of the word.