1939: The Polish Campaign
After they had been alarmed in their peacetime garrisons on August 20, 1939, the divisional units assembled near Poysdorf (Lower Austria) from where the division moved to the Frankstadt – Friedeck – Mistek area in former “Austrian Silesia” of the old Habsburg Monarchy. Just before the outbreak of hostilities the division was redeployed to Moravia via Jablunka Pass. On September 1, 1939 the divisional artillery opened up at 04.45 hrs exactly: war as on! Polish border defenses were quickly overcome but near Jordanov the division met fierce resistance: Polish Officer Cadets from Crakow were fighting to the death against the German invaders.
Location of 2. Panzer Division on 8/31/39:
The operational tasks of the 2. Panzer Division in the Polish campaign were twofold:
To Perform as an armored spearhead in the gigantic pincer movement which was to trap and annihilate the Polish armies in modern “Blitzkrieg” manner. In this role the division performed excellently, making contact with the northern pincer arm south of Brest Litovsk and thus firmly sealing off the huge pocket in which the enemy was facing complete annihilation.
To build up a strong barrier position northwest of Lemberg to prevent the Polish forces from escaping to Rumania which was still neutral in 1939. The division accomplished this in close cooperation with her sister division (4th Light, renamed 9th Panzer Division in 1940).
In the course of her offensive operations the 2. Panzer Division had crossed the San River which was earmarked as the future German –Soviet demarcation line according to the secret pre-war “Hitler-Stalin pact”. Thus the division had to stop any further eastward movements now and retreated back over the San after Russian advance units had made their appearance and all necessary contacts were established. After the Polish campaign had come to its end the division moved back to her home garrisons where the units were jubilantly welcomed by the civil population.
Location of 2. Panzer Division on 9/26/39:
2. Panzer Divisional Map Showing Route Through Poland: