Panzerdivision Müncheberg

Berlin

Panzerdivision Müncheberg

Formation 

Panzerdivision Müncheberg was formed on 5 March 1945 under the commander of Generalmajor der Reserve Werner Mummert, up to that point commander of Panzer-Brigade 103. His new division’s command staff was formed from that of his old Brigade. Additional units were to be raised to fill out the Divisional Staff with a security company, mapping and military police detachments. A FlaK Platoon with six 2cm FlaK (Self-propelled) was added on 11 March.

The initial orders on 5 and 6 March stated that Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’ was to be created from Panzer-Abteilung ‘Kummersdorf’ and I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29 (from 12. Panzerdivision). The new Abteilung was to consist of a Command and Staff Company, 1. Panzerkompanie (with Tigers), 2. Panzerkompanie (Panther), 3.(mixed) Panzerkompanie (Panzer IV) and a motorised supply company.

 Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 1 and Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 2 were formed on the same day. Both regiments were to be made up of a Command Staff and two battalions. Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 1 and was to draw in Panzer-Brigade 103 and replacement troops from Wachtregiment Grossdeutschland and SS. Panzergrenadier-Ersatz-und- Ausbildungs-Bataillon 1 (of 1. SS-Panzerdivision ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’). 

Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 2 was to draw its troops from a mix of sources, with 25% from Fahnenjunker-Schule der Panzertruppen (armoured troops officer cadet school), 20% from Vollssturm, and the rest from various replacement troops. Trucks were in short supply and Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 2 was only partially equipped with motorvehicles.

Panzerartillerie-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ was also created on 5 March. It was composed of a Command Staff, I. (Artillerie) Abteilung and II. (Flak) Abteilung. These troops were to come from Volks-Artillerie-Korps 411, Volks-Artillerie-Korps 412 and Heeres-FlaK-Abteilung 301. It's I. Abteilung was formed with three (1., 2., 3.) batteries equipped with six 10.5cm le FH18 each. The II. Abteilung was formed by renaming Heeres-FlaK-Abteilung 301 and consisted of two (1., 2.) heavy FlaK batteries equipped with six 8.8cm FlaK and two leFlaK each, plus a 3.(medium) FlaK battery with nine 3.7cm FlaK43. 

The division’s Panzerjäger-Kompanie was formed from 1. Kompanie/Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 682 (mot.). It was equipped with twelve 8.8cm PaK43 anti-tank guns.   

On 8 March I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29 arrived with two Panther companies and a maintenance company. This Abteilung was only tactically subordinated to the division and was never officially an organic part of Panzerdivision Müncheberg, though by default it became the second Abteilung of the division’s panzer regiment.  

However, the same day saw the withdrawal of Panzer-Abteilung ‘Kummersdorf’ for reorganisation. Panzer-Abteilung ‘Kummersdorf’ was renamed on 11 March to Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’.

8 March also saw orders issued for the transfer of an Aufklärungskompanie (VW) (motorised) from Panzeraufklärungs-Abteilung ‘Sternberg’ (from 10. Panzerdivision) to Panzerdivision Müncheberg to form Panzeraufklärungs-Kompanie ‘Müncheberg’. When the company arrives on 10 March at the division’s assembly area Generalmajor Mummert was not satisfied with the soft-skin Volkswagen jeeps and requests some armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The division was sent four Sd Kfz 234/1 and four Sd Kfz 234/4 8-wheeled armoured cars soon after. With the arrival of the armoured cars the company was renamed Panzerspähkompanie ‘Müncheberg’ on 11 March. 

Sd Kfz 234/4 (PaK 40)

Pionierkompanie ‘Müncheberg’ was formed with personnel from Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz (troop training area Döberitz). 

Panzerdivision Müncheberg reports a total strength of 6836 men on 12 March 1945, which is close to the divisions authorized strength. On this same day the Tiger I heavy tanks from the Schwere Panzerkompanie of Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’ arrive back in the division area and are put under command of I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29. Later the other panzers of Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’ were also transferred to the command I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29 to create an additional mixed company.

On 16 March an order was issued to rearm of one Panzerkompanie of I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29 and one Panzergrenadierkompanie (with half-tracks) with night-vision devices. The panzergrenadierkompanie was to be then incorporated as an organic part of I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29. The equipping and reorganisation the Panzerkompanie was temporarily withdrawn to the Wünsdorf training ground. 

On 15 March the division reports the following tanks and assault guns on strength: 4 Panzer IV, 4 Panzer IV/70, 11 Panther, 6 Tiger I E, 4 Königstiger, 1 Jagdtiger, and 4 StuG. 

Oder Front east of Berlin

First Actions

During the night of 19 to 20 March some tanks of Panzerdivision Müncheberg begin deploying around Golzow, on the vital road from Gorgast that connects with Kustrin, along with a battalion from the 1. SS-Panzerdivision ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’, which had been sent to reinforce the division. The garrison of this pocket between Neu Bleyen and Kuhbucken-Vorstadt also included II. Bataillon/Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 1 and I. Bataillon and II. Bataillon/Panzergrenadier-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ 2.

On 22 March the division saw its first action as under command of the 9. Armee (Ninth Army) in Heeresgruppe (Army Group) Weichsel, fighting against the Soviet forces attacking across the Oder River near Küstrin. The town of Küstrin lies roughly 70 km to the east of Berlin. Soviet forces had reached the outskirts of Küstrin on 31 January and had immediately began efforts to secure a bridgehead across the Oder. Bridgeheads were established to the north and south of Küstrin, but the Soviets could not consolidate these until Küstrin was captured. The Soviets, unwilling to attack the well defended fortress head on, began attempts to encircle Küstrin. Despite these attacks, a narrow strip of land between the Ninth Army and the Küstrin defences, dubbed the Küstrin Corridor, was kept open by the Germans. 

Muncheberg Panthers

As Panzerdivision Müncheberg arrived at the corridor, a major Soviet attack was underway to cut it. The Soviet plan consisted of an inner and outer encirclement. The inner encirclement succeeded quickly, and the corridor was cut. Over the next three days, Müncheberg, together with 25. Panzergrenadierdivision, destroyed over 200 Soviet tanks. Despite this, the outer Soviet encirclement was completed by 25 March, trapping several German units inside.

Meanwhile, the German operation to relieve Küstrin had been underway, and continued in earnest to break the encirclement from 25 March. The Soviets resisted fiercely and the attack had ground to a halt by 27 March.

A second German attack was launched immediately on 27 March. Panzerdivision Müncheberg had following strength at the time of the attack: 

  • Combat Ready: 4 StuG III, 5 Panther, 2 Tiger
  • Under short-term repair: 1 Panzer IV, 6 Panther, 7 Tiger
  • Under long-term repair: 4 Panzer IV, 1 Panzer IV/70 
  • Replacements Shipped but not yet arrived: 10 Panther, 1 Tiger I

Panzerdivision Müncheberg was subordinated to XXXIX (39th) Panzerkorps for the attack. The attack also included 20. Panzergrenadierdivision, 25. Panzergrenadierdivision, ‘Führer Grenadier’ Panzergrenadierdivision, Kampfgruppe 1001 Nachts (Nights), and Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 502. The Soviet artillery shelling was so heavy that reports from 20. Panzergrenadierdivision describe large groups of men breaking down and ‘fleeing in panic towards the rear.’ Despite inflicting heavy casualties on the Soviets, ‘Müncheburg’ was unable to break the encirclement. 

A Soviet counterattack hit 20. Panzergrenadierdivision, disrupting the attack and bringing it to a halt. Soviet artillery continued to cause heavy casualties as the German units withdrew. Despite their reduced armour strength the Müncheberg units got the closest to Küstrin of all the German attackers before the advance stopped. After the failure of the Küstrin relief operations Panzerdivision Müncheberg was withdrawn for rest and replacement in the town of their name. 

Refitting

Given the shortage of armoured troops in the Berlin area every effort was made to reinforce Panzerdivision Müncheberg in preparation of the expected Soviet thrust towards Berlin.

Muncheberg Tiger

On 30 March the ten new Panther tanks arrive. On 31 March orders are issued for the tactical subordination of the remaining elements of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 682 (mot.) to the division. They were shipped from their Bergen training ground. They join the company that had already been made part of the division, bring the division’s anti-tank assets up to three 8.8cm PaK43 anti-tank gun companies. 

On 3 April Panzer-Regiment zbV ‘Coburg’ Staff was attached to the division after arriving from Kramptniz. 

On 5 April ten Panthers equipped with FG1250 ‘Sperber’ infer-red equipment were issued to 1. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29. This specially equipped company was command by Oberleutant Rasim. In support of them was an Infer-red equipped Panzergrenadierkompanie with Infer-red equipped Sd Kfz 251/1 and Sd Kfz 251/20 UHU Infer-Red searchlights under the command of Hauptman Steuer. 

The order was issued on 12 April to form an ad-hoc Panzer-Regiment from the armoured element of the division. Panzer-Regiment zbV ‘Coburg’ Staff formed the regiments command, with the following division of armoured troops:

  • I. Panzer-Abteilung: (Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’), Command, Panzerkompanie (Tiger), Panzerkompanie (Panther), Panzerkompanie (Panzer IV).
  • II. Panzer-Abteilung: (I. Abteilung/Panzer-regiment 29), Command, Panzerkompanie (IR Panther), Panzerkompanie (Panther), Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (IR), Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie. 

The reported armoured strength of the division between 13 and 16 April was 1 Panzer III, 3 Panzer IV, 1 Panzer IV/70, 31 Panther, 13 Tiger (mix is unknown), 1 Jagdpanzer IV, 1 Hetzer, 3 Flakpanzer.

This same day an order was issued for the absorption of the personnel of 3. Kompanie/Panzer-Regiment 26 by the division. This company was a part of 26. Panzerdivision had been sent to Germany from Italy in March 1945 to be trained with night-vision devices. This never eventuated so the company was sent to Panzerdivision Müncheberg. 
Soviet Berlin Offensive

Soviet Berlin Offensive

The Soviet launched their Berlin Offensive on 16 April aiming to take the German capital and bring the war to an end. From this moment Panzerdivision Müncheberg involved in near-continuous action east of Berlin. The initially hold off attacks towards Seelow, between 14 and 17 April the division loses 14 Panther and 5 Tiger tanks in savage fighting.

The division fought a stubborn rearguard action at the town of Müncheberg, inflicting heavy losses on the advancing Soviets. However, the Soviet advance continued unabated and the division was forces to conduct a fighting withdrawal back into Berlin itself. 

Berlin

They slowly retreat towards Berlin, eventually taking up positons in the northeastern sector of Berlin, north of the Spree River, by 24 April. 

They deploy with 11. SS-Panzergrenadierdivision Nordland on their right and 9. Fallschirmjägerdivision on their left. By this time the division has about a dozen tanks and 30 half-tracks left. 

On 26 April Nordland and Müncheberg were ordered to launch a counterattack to push back the Soviet penetrations around Tempelhof Airfield and Neukolln. During the morning Müncheberg attacked southward from the northwest end of the Tempelhof Airfield with its last ten tanks. The attack was halted by intense Soviet fire. 

Berlin

While the majority of Panzerdivision Müncheberg was encircled in Berlin, a proportion of II. Panzer-Abteilung of Panzer-Regiment ‘Müncheberg’ (the former I. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 29), had managed to escape and on 27 April was reported in the area of Neurippin. These remaining elements were split between 7. Panzerdivision, 25. Panzergrenadierdivision, and 24. Panzerdivision.

Hitler committed suicide on 30 April. The same day Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’, 18. Panzergrenadierdivision, and a few Tiger II heavy tanks from Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 503 were engaged in heavy fighting near the Westkreuz and Halensee train stations and on Kurfurstendamm Street. 

Muncheberg Tiger abandoned in the streets of Berlin

By 1 May Müncheburg had been pushed back to the Tiergaden, near the Zoo FlaK Tower. 

When the German command in Berlin signalled for surrender on 2 May, Panzer-Abteilung ‘Müncheberg’ had just one last operating tank, a Tiger I. It was abandoned on the Unter den Linden Straße, just a hundred yards from the Brandenburg Gate. 

Break Out Attempt

Mummert, the division’s commander, was determined prevent as many of his troop as possible falling into Soviet hands. He lead a breakout with the survivors of his division westward through the suburb of Spandau. Mummert ignored Weidling's (the Berlin military commander) calls for a cessation of hostilities and the breakout attempt got underway on 2 May. However, as some point during the breakout Mummert went missing during heavy fighting. He surfaced years later in a Soviet Gulag. Müncheberg Division was joined by the remnants of 18. Panzergrenadierdivision. 

By 3 May the two divisions had reached Fey Bridge on the Havel River, leading into Spandau in northwest Berlin, after having fought several pitch battles. The bridge was under heavy Soviet artillery fire, but a few brave souls crossed only to find that they were surrounded by the Soviets. , On 5 May, Panzerdivision Müncheberg, last organized formation in Berlin, disintegrated. Several small groups of men did manage to reach the Americans on the Elbe, but the majority of the survivors of Panzerdivision Müncheberg and 18. Panzergrenadierdivision fell into Soviet captivity.

Divisional Commander

Generalmajor der Reserve Werner Mummert 

Order of Battle

March 1945 – Küstrin counterattack

Panzer-Regiment Müncheberg (Oberstleutnant Kuno von Meyer)

Panzer-Abteilung Kummersdorf (Hauptmann Horst Zobel)

I./Panzer-Regiment 29 (Major Marquad)

Panzergrenadier-Regiment Müncheberg 1 (Oberst Goder)

Panzergrenadier-Regiment Müncheberg 2 (Oberstleutnant Werner Rodust)

Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment Müncheberg (Oberstleutnant Martin Buhr)

Panzerspäh-Kompanie Müncheberg

Panzerpionier Kompanie (motorised) Müncheberg

April 1945 – Battle of Berlin

Panzer-Regiment Müncheberg

 

  • I./Panzer-Regiment Müncheberg
  • II./Panzer-Regiment Müncheberg

 

Panzergrenadier-Regiment Müncheberg 1

Panzergrenadier-Regiment Müncheberg 2

Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment Müncheberg

Panzerspäh-Kompanie Müncheberg

schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung (motorised) 682

Heeres Flak Artillerie Abteilung (motorised) 301

Panzerpionier Kompanie (motorised) Müncheberg

Panzerdivision Müncheberg
Berlin Digital Briefings 

New digital-exclusive briefings for Berlin are now available in Forces Of War, the Flames Of War online company builder, and the Flames Of War Digital iPad app:

Forces Of War Flames Of War Digital


Last Updated On Monday, June 27, 2016 by Wayne at Battlefront