The 2. Infanterie-Division and later in 1937, the 2. Motorisiert Infanterie Division was an Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht during World War II. It was originally formed in 1934. It consisted of Reichswehr units and put under several covernames in the interwar years. The covernames were dropped with the official announcement that Germany had created a new army known as the Wehrmacht. It was later reformed into the 12. Panzer Division in 1940.
The 2. Infanterie-Division as with all other infantry divisions had a number of commanders for different periods of time. The first divisional commander of the 2. Infanterie Division was Hubert Gerecke and he was commander as of October 1934. The next commander was Paul Bader who took command in 1937. He himself was followed by Josef Harpe in 1940. The new divisional commander of the recently reorganized 12. Panzer-Divisio was Walter Wessel in 1942, then Erpo Freiherr von Bodenhausen in 1943, Gerhard Müller in 1944, once again Erpo Freiherr von Bodenhausen in late 1944, and finally, the last commander of the 12th Panzer Division, Horst von Usedom.
The original 2. Infanterie Division was composed of the 2. Infanterie-Regiment, the 25. Infanterie-Regiment, and the 92. Infanterie-Regiment while the 12. Panzer-Division consisted of the 29. Panzer-Regiment, the 5. Panzergrenadier-Regiment, the 25. Panzergrenadier-Regiment, the 22. Motorcycle Battalion, and the 32. Motorisiert Pioneer Battalion.
The 2. Motorized Infanterie Division's first operation was in 1939, during the German invasion of Poland. The Division fought in the Polish Corridor and other sections of Eastern Poland and then after the invasion, was assigned to the Western Front. Specifically, the Saarland region. After the surrender of France, the division became an occupying force. In 1941 however, 2. Infanterie was moved to the Eastern Front to take part in Operation Barbarossa.
The division was broken up and reorganized into the 12. Panzer-Division in 1940, and took part in offensives against Minsk and Moscow in late 1941. During this time, the 12th Panzer Division was assigned to the 3. Panzer-Army, a large armor unit that was part of Army Group Center. It then fought on the Eastern Front for the rest of the war and surrendered in 1945 to Soviet forces in the Courland Pocket, in Latvia.
- ↑ http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/Infanteriedivisionen/2ID.htm
- ↑ http://www.feldgrau.com/InfDiv.php?ID=2
- ↑ Bishop, Chris. Order of Battle:German Panzers in WWII. Zenith Press (2008), Page 76