During the early-morning hours of 25 February 1936, the troop elements of the 3. Panzer-Division, including Panzer-Regiment 5, were alerted. Ammunition was issued and loaded up. In anticipation of the intended German occupation of the Rhineland, which had been declared a demilitarized zone by the Treaty of Versailles, the division was sent to Camp Senne Training Area by rail.
The Armored Forces Command conducted exercises there with its armored and motorized forces, in the event it proved unnecessary to provide countermeasures to a military intervention on the part of the Western Powers. The forces were not
employed and returned to their garrisons later that month.
On 16 March, the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Oberstleutnant Breith, dedicated the "Fighting Vehicle Memorial" near the entrance to the GeneralLutz-Kaserne. The centerpiece of the memorial was a 20-ton experimental combat vehicle ("heavy tractor") from 1928, which was mounted on large boulders. According to Breith: "It is intended as a symbol of our unshakeable martial spirit and as an incentive to the work in forming the battalion."
The Fighting Vehicle Memorial in General-Lutz-Kaserne in front of the headquarters building of the 2nd Battalion across from the entrance to the post. The photograph was taken from a window in the billet of the 6th Company.
On 20 April, the first large-scale parade of the Armed Forces was held on the occasion of the birthday of the head of state. The regiment participated in the parade.
The 2nd Battalion sponsored a "Tank Sports Fest" at the Zossen Training Area on 28 June. Under wonderful summer skies, some 30,000 visitors from the immediate vicinity and also Berlin watched the events.' Some of the events: synchronized gymnastics with 200 men; acrobatics on moving motorcycles;
negotiation of large obstacles by tanks; chariot racing; remotely controlled motorcycles; and trapeze artists. Thanks to the photographs placed on display, one could trace the development of fighting vehicles from the scythe chariots of ancient times through the assault carts of the Middle Ages to the tanks of the Great War. The high point of the day was a combat exercise put on by the entire 2nd Battalion.
Of course, 1936 was also marked by several visits to training areas by the two battalions of the regiment. Company-, battalion- and regiment-level training was conducted at Doberitz from 28 May to 9 June and again from 20 August to 9 September. Gunnery training was conducted at Putlos from 29 July to 9 August.
Program for the "Tank Sport Fest" held at the Zossen Training Area on 28 June.
Panzer I's of the 2nd Battalion crash through obstacles.
On 26 September, the first recruits to the battalion were released from active duty by the regimental commander after a field service and farewell address.
In October, the regiment had to release soldiers for the activation of a new formation. The Signals
Platoon of the 1st Battalion and the 3rd and 6th Companies were sent to Zossen to form PanzerRegiment 8. In addition, a few officers were also reassigned.
The tanks were equipped with short-wave radios and intercom sets in 1936. It was only through voice radio that the leaders could affect the forces in the fight by means of their own voice and their personal temperament. Up to that point, signal flags had been used.
Panzer Is of the 2nd Battalion at a training area.
The 1st Battalion has formed up in the Cambrai-Kaserne to perform vehicle maintenance. The water tower between the CambraiKaserneand the Hindenburg-Kaserne can be seen in the background.
Training on the PanzerIa in the area of the maintenance bays of the regiment in Wunsdorf.
The soldiers of the regiment received multifaceted and thorough training in the garrisons at Wiinsdorf.
The Army High Command directed the formation of troop elements in September, which were to be sent to Spain to help the royalist forces of Franco in their fight against the Republican Spaniards who were supported by the Soviet Union. A first contingent, consisting of 32 Panzer Is, was already on its way to Spain in October.2 The vehicles and personnel came from Panzer-Regiment 4 and Panzer-Regiment 6. Soldiers from Panzer-Regiment 5 also volunteered. They were discharged from the
army so that they could fight for a foreign army in a different uniform. Contrary to the airmen of the Luftwaffe,' the soldiers of the Panzertruppe primarily provided support and training.
Starting on 30 October, the Panzer I's with Spanish crews were used less for pure armor missions; instead, they were more frequently used to reinforce the infantry. Operational experience with the machine-gun-equipped tanks confirmed the demands of the forces in the field for armored vehicles equipped with larger caliber main guns and heavier armor.
Panzerl'sin service during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
View from the headquarters building of the 2nd Battalion of the regiment of the memorial dedicated on 16 March in the General-Lutz-Kaserne. To the left are the billets of the 6th, 7th and 8th Companies.
The memorial consisted of a 20-ton "Experimental Combat Vehicle" (Grofftraktor) dating from 1928.
A pass-in-review is conducted in front of the commander and his staff after a swearing-in ceremony for recruits. To the right is the regimental band.
Spring 1936: The day room for the noncommissioned officers of the 7th Company is "broken in." To the right is the company commander, Oberleutnant von Heinemann (15 October 1935-15 October 1936). In the middle of the picture is the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Oberstleutnant Hermann Breith. Breith went on to receive the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross on 3 June 1940 as an Oberst and the commander of the 5. Panzer-Brigade. The Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross followed on 31 January 1942 as a Generalmajorand commander of the 3. Panzer-Division (69th recipient of the award). On 21 February 1944, he became the 48th member of the German Armed Forces to be honored with the Swords to the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross as a General der Panzertruppen and the commanding general of the III. Panzer-Korps. Next to Breith is the First Sergeant of the company, Oberfeldwebel Bother.
Another photograph from the same gathering.
Leutnant Braun's room. Braun was assigned to the 7th Company.
Hijinks in the barracks.
April 1936: Parade in honor of Hitler's birthday. Panzer Is of the 2nd Battalion of the regiment at the BrandenburgerTor (period postcard). The tanks are painted in the prewar three-tone camouflage pattern of green, brown and dark yellow. The battalion and regimental numerals can clearly be seen flanking the tactical symbol for armor, the rhomboid.
1936 was marked by a number of tactical exercises for the regiment, as well as gunnery training. This photograph shows a company's tanks being set up for inspection by the battalion commander.
PanzerI moving cross-country.
9 June 1936: Rations are issued for the 1st Battalion of the regiment on the move hack from the Doheritz Training Area.
5 July 1936: The regimental band and a choir from the 7th Company during a performance on the Berlin radio station.
Personal clothing and equipment inspection in the Cambrai-Kaserne.
End of 1936: APanzerl of the 2nd Battalion during an exercise. Note the use of signal flags.
Another view of the Panzer Ia seen above. The earliest model of the Panzer Iwas most easily identified by having only four roadwheels and three return rollers. The idler wheel served as a quasi fifth roadwheel. Later models of the vehicles had five roadwheels, four return rollers and an elevated idler arm.
Another training year started. New recruits arrived and were sworn in in a large ceremony for all of the garrisons based in Wiinsdorf.
A special event occurred on the evening of 19 April 1937. On the Wilheltnsplatz in Berlin, Hitler presented 90 standards or flags to new formations of the three major branches of the German Armed
Forces. The motorized formations received standards, and both battalions of the regiment were presented theirs from the hand of Hitler.'
The year 1937 was also marked by numerous rotations to training areas, such Grol3 Born in Pomerania (June), followed by gunnery training at Putlos on the Baltic.
1937: Swearing in recruits for the Wiinsdorf garrisons at the General-Lutz-Kaserne. The ceremony was concluded with a pass-inreview.
Troop standards for mounted, horse-drawn and motorized battalions of the armed forces. The basic color of the standard was the branch-of-service color. In this case, the rose pink of the Panzertruppe.
As in the previous year, the battalions of the regiment participated in the armed forces birthday parade for the Fiihrer. The newly awarded standards were carried in the vehicles past the Commander-in-Chief.
In June 1937, veterans of Germany's World War I tank arm met at Wunsdorf, founding a veteran's association.' The lineage and honors of the old tank arm, previously maintained by the regiment, were transferred to the Armor School. In addition, there were historical associations maintained with the "old army." The 1st Battalion maintained the traditions of the Guards Cuirassiers; the 2nd Battalion the 2nd Guards Ulan Regiment. The Revue-Marsch was selected as the regimental march.
From 21 August to 16 September, the regiment was at the Bergen Training Area to prepare for the
fall maneuvers that were to follow. Exercises were conducted within the framework of the 3. PanzerBrigade and the 3. Panzer-Division. The highlight of the training year was the participation in the Armed Forces Maneuvers from 19 to 29 September in Mecklenburg, which was also referred to as the "Mussolini Maneuvers" by the tankers in the regiment. On 26 September, an attack by the 1. PanzerBrigade and the 3. Panzer-Brigadeunder the command of Generalleutnant Guderian was demonstrated in the presence of both Hitler and Mussolini.
In the summer of 1937, the Panzer II began to be issued. It was intended to complement the Panzer I The two tanks met the military requirement of the time to initially provide the Panzer2ruppe with numerous light tanks.
"In the heat of battle": A Panzer lb (top) backed into a Panzer Ia during an exercise.
In October, the regiment provided its 5th and 6th Companies, as well as a number of officers, to help form Panzer-Regiment 15 in Sagan. In addition, the commander of the 1st Battalion, Oberstleutuant Streich, was also reassigned there. Half of the 8th Company was reassigned to the Gunnery School at Putlos.
On 13 October, Oberst i.G. Nehring, a close associate of Guderian, assumed command of the re
giment from Oberst Zuckertort. Nehring, who would go on to become a highly decorated and successful armor general, brought ideal prerequisites with him for the job. Together with Guderian, he had created the doctrinal principles for the employment of modern armored forces and, consequently, must be considered one of the founders of the armored force. As a regimental commander, he was about to transform theory into practice.
Nehring was a hard taskmaster and demanded much, but he also understood how to convey that what was demanded had a purpose and was necessary.' About the same time, there was also a
change in division command. The new commander effective 1 October was Generalleutnant Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg.
Assumption of command by Oberst i.G. Nehring on 13 October in Wunsdorf.
January 1937: Small-arms training at the garrison ranges.
Tank gunnery training for the 6th Company.
Hauptmann Theodor Schimmelmann Grafvon Lindenburg, company commander of the 6th from 15 October 1936 to 15 October 1937. He received the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross on 14 May 1941 as a Major and commander of the II/Panzer-Regiment 15. In addition, he was also awarded the German Cross in Gold (3 February 1943).
Another view of the tank gunnery training for the 6th Company.
A view from a neighboring tank.
A Panzer Ia of the 1st Battalion.
Maintenance is performed on the tanks in front of the tank bays at Cambrai-Kaserne.
From June to August, Leutnant Braun of the 6th Company conducted noncommissioned officer course for the 2nd Battalion. In this photograph, training is being conducted on the Bergmann MP 28/II submachine gun. In the background are the billets of the 5th Company.
Drill and ceremonies are practiced on the parade grounds at the General-Lutz-Kaserne. In the left background is the billets for the Headquarters Company. To the right is the 5th Company.
The soldier is explaining the misses.
Marksmanship training. The instructor is attempting to determine whether the recruit is taking up a good sight picture. The noncommissioned officer can be identified as a member of a 5th Regiment because of the chainstitched numeral on his should straps. In this case, it is for Panzer-Regiment 5.
Tanker recruits were not spared the bane of harassment, either. In this case, "hitting the deck and recovering" on the parade grounds.
Training on the Model 08 pistol, the famous Luger.
Returning from infantry training.
Recruits pose with their drill sergeants and an officer in front of the Fighting Vehicle Memorial and the headquarters building of the 2nd Battalion in the General-Lutz-Kaserne.
Tanks of the 1st Company at a training area. Note the wearing of neckties, even with the field uniform, a practice that often continued even under wartime conditions.
Starting in the summer, the regiment started to be issued the Panzer II. This is an Ausf. A. The Panzer II was armed with a 2.0-cm rapid firing cannon.
Training demonstration: The Panzer II crosses a water obstacle. The prewar three-color (green, brown and yellow) camouflage has been applied to this vehicle and portions of it can easily be seen on the turret.
The regiment was at the Bergen Training Area from 21 August to 16 September in preparation for the fall maneuvers. The command and control variant of the PanzerI can be seen on the left.
An early Panzerlin the background and an early PanzerJZin the foreground.
A Panzerbefehlswagen leads a column of tanks.
Above: APanzerIIof the 2nd Company, to which field camouflage-cut vegetation-has been applied. Below: A PanzerII in a concealed position.
The exercise is over. As was customary in the German Army, a few songs were sung.
The commander of the 1st Battalion, Oberstleutnant Johannes Streich, takes his luncheon meal.
The battalion commander and his company commanders. OberstleutnantJohannes Streich is to the viewer's left rear. He was the commander from 15 October 1936 to 15 October 1937, when he was transferred to Sagan to take command of the newly forming Panzer-Regiment 15 (initially 5. Panzer-Division; later 11. Panzer-Division). In February 1941, as a Generalmajor, he became the commander of the 5. leichte Division in Africa. Next to him is Hauptmann Gierga, the commander of the 1st Company; Major Seupel, the 3rd Company; and Hauptmann von Wilcke, the 2nd Company. As a Major, von Wilcke later became the commander of the 2nd Battalion on 10 November 1938. Sitting (from the viewer's left): Hauptmann Gerhard Wendenburg, the commander of the 4th. He later received the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross on 15 August 1940 as a Major and the commander of Panzer-Abteilung 67 in the 8. Panzer-Division. Finally: Leutnant Reidel, the battalion adjutant.
The vehicles assemble after the exercise to perform post-operations maintenance.
A Panzer I passes a regimental band.
Oberst Nehring (viewer's right), with his son Christopher, after the assumption of command on 13 October. He is conversing with the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Oberstleutnant Breith. (Photograph courtesy of Christopher Nehring)
On the return to the garrison in Wunsdorf. Here: PanzerschutzeJosef Wegener of the 2nd Company in the turret of a Panzer I. The camouflage scheme is easy to see in this photograph.
The next year, 1938, was an event-filled one for the regiment and saw the introduction of both the Panzer III and the Panzer IV'
Initially, the Panzer IV was only intended to be a support vehicle for the lights tank, the Panzer I's and II's, which made up most of the fleet. The short barrel-24 calibers-did not have enough
penetrative capability to directly engage enemy tanks. The robust and reliable design allowed for continual modification, eventually resulting in models with long-barreled 7.5-centimeter main guns-a gun with 48 calibers of length starting in 1942-that were used until the end of the war. The Panzer IV ultimately became the standard German main battle tank for all tank regiments.
February 1938, Wilnsdorf: General derPanzerlruppen Lutz takes his leave of the force he helped create.
March 1938: Officer corps of the 2nd Battalion of the regiment.
On 4 February 1938, the first commanding general of the Panzertruppe, Oswald Lutz, retired. He was replaced by Generalleutnant Guderian.
As in the previous two years, the regiment took part in the Fiihrer Parade in Berlin on 20 April.
Starting on 22 June, general inspections of the companies were held, attended, in part, by the new senior officer of the Panzertruppe, Generalleutnant Guderian.
A gunnery rotation at the Baumholder Training Area was followed by tactical exercises at the Bergen
Training Area in August. Training was conducted at the battalion and regimental level and emphasized combined-arms operations with infantry, antitank forces, combat engineers, artillery and the Luftwaffe. Nehring and his regiment were at the center of the exercises. At the time, the 1st Battalion was commanded by Major Schaefer, the 2nd by Majorvon Wilcke. Part of the rotation also included a gunnery competition from moving vehicles, which was won by Hauptmann Wendenburg's 5th Company.' The training rotations were closed out that year with a visit to the Konigsbriick Training Area.
Panzer Is and Panzer II's negotiate water obstacles. In the one image, the chassis of an early-model Panzer I can be seen forming the support for the expedient bridge.
During the night of 23-24 September, the regiment was alerted, along with the rest of the division, and loaded on trains at Wiinsdorf and Zossen for transport to Ratibor in Upper Silesia. The German Armed Forces occupied the Sudetenland
as part of the agreement reached in the Munich Accords among Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy.
From 8 to 10 October, the regiment marched across the German frontier into the Troppau area, enthusiastically greeted by the German-speaking local populace.
The lead elements of the regiment cross the border in the direction of Troppau.
The ethnic Germans of the Sudetenland had suffered greatly in the face of Czech oppression and longed for a unification with Germany. The banner says: The Sudetenland greets the German Armed Forces.
Entry of German forces into Waltersdorf on 9 October.
On 22 October, the regiment returned to Wunsdorf by road marching on the Breslau-Berlin Autobahn. A few days later, as in the previous years, personnel levies were placed on the regiment to help form other elements as part of the expansion of the army. The continued reassignments caused a great deal of unrest among the soldiers. The 3rd Company and numerous personnel from the 2nd Battalion were reassigned to Schweinfurt as cadre for Panzer-Regiment 36 of the newly forming 4. Panzer-Division. The former commander of the 2nd Battalion, Oberstleutnant Breith, was named as the commander of Panzer-Regiment 36 Efforts were
immediately undertaken in Wunsdorf to form a "new" 2nd Battalion.'
On 20 November, after being promoted to General derPanzertruppen, Guderian was designated as the "Head of Fast Forces." This consolidation of the so-called "fast forces"-armor, antitank, armored reconnaissance, motorized riles and cavalrycorresponded to a request that had been made by Hitler.'o
A pass-in-review is conducted after a swearing-in ceremony in the General-Lutz-Kaserne. To the right rear, a Panzerli'of the 4th Company can be seen.
6th Company Panzer-Regiment 5: Wtinsdorf Training Schedule for 25 November 1938
HauptmannRitter Edlervon Peter, the company commander of the 6th Company from 1938 to 1939. He received the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross on 15 July 1941 as a Major and the commander of the 1st Battalion of Panzer-Regiment 36 (14. Panzer-Division). He was killed in action in the East on 26 September 1941. The training schedules are from his company.
"Repair and Recovery Services""
The success of the armored division depends greatly not only on the quickness and reliability of its logistics but on the speedy execution of vehicular repair. Without seamlessly functioning vehicle maintenance services, losses of vehicles in war through enemy action, accidents, wear and tear and breakage endanger combat readiness after a few days of movement and combat.
Maintenance services have to be organized and equipped in such a fashion that disabled vehicles are once again available and operational after a short time to the forces in the field. Two prerequisites exist to obtain this goal: repair on the scene to avoid long evacuations and time and swapping components (exchange of parts and modules for others instead of repairing the individual parts).
Maintenance services are responsible for conducting repairs rapidly both day and night, on the spot, under difficult conditions (darkness; moving up repair means in difficult terrain) and under enemy countermeasures. The men of the
maintenance services have to place great emphasis on ensuring that disabled vehicles rapidly return to their formations. Their activities, which are so important for their formation, usually take place when the combat elements are resting. It is therefore very important that the proper personnel are selected.
Repair services are conducted by contact teams, maintenance sections and armor maintenance companies. Every tank company has a contact team, as do the battalion and regimental headquarters. It consists of specialists (noncommissioned officer in charge with tank mechanics, tank radio mechanics, engine mechanics) on a team vehicle, a truck for team equipment and motorcycles.
The contact teams need to assure that the repaired vehicles moving out for the attack are secure when moving across the relatively short distance needed to reach the attack zone. Bogging down in the attack deprives the armored fighting vehicle of its greatest protection, namely, its speed.
After the last wave and the motorized rifle formations have crossed the attack zone and direct enemy influence on the battlefield can no longer be expected, the contact teams search out disabled vehicles in the attack zones of their units. Quickly executable repairs are done on the spot in the field.
Repair and Recovery Services of a Tank Regiment
Legend: Hilfstrupps = Maintenance (Contact) Teams; J-Staffel = Instandsetzungs-Staffel = Maintenance Section; Gruppe Fiihrer = Group Leader; dazu: 1 1. Werkst.Kw.... = In addition: 1 light maintenance section of the maintenance company; Bergezug= Recovery Platoon; Eriduterungen= Legend; H1 to H8: Hilfstrupp I to Hilfstrupp 8; HAI or II = Contact team for the headquarters company of the respective battalion; our zeitweise unterstellt = only attached temporarily; marschiert im Trop = Marches with the trains; Rgts.Ing. = Regimentsingenieur = Regiment Engineer; Pz.Werkst.Kp. = Panzer-Werkstatt-Kompanie = Armor Maintenance Company; Werkst.Kp. (mot.) = Werhstatt-Kompanie (mot) = Motorized Maintenance Company; Kf= Kraftfahrpark= Depot.
Immobilized armored fighting vehicles are towed to a collection point that was designated in the attack order. The assistance teams render all of the disabled armored fighting vehicles on the battlefield mobile or at least towable. Vehicles that can be repaired are not allowed to fall into enemy hands under any circumstances!
When the combat elements move out for the attack, all of the work of the contact teams is stopped. The contact teams are consolidated in the maintenance section of the battalion under its leader (battalion engineer). They are employed by him in accordance with the battalion order for the attack.
Every armor regiment has an armor maintenance company. Each tank battalion has a maintenance section. The contacts teams, which are collocated with their units when road-marching, in rest positions or assembly areas, are consolidated under the command of the leader of the maintenance section during and after the battle.
The command group of the maintenance section consists of the battalion engineer (leader), motorcycle dispatch riders and trucks with repair means or replacement parts with a tank or engine mechanic. Located with the battalion maintenance section is usually a light workshop truck, which is the forward element of the armor maintenance company. The vehicle is outfitted with the tool, devices and replacement parts most needed to eliminate defects of medium magnitude that cannot be repaired by the contact teams. Vehicles that cannot complete the attack to the end, because of battle damage, for instance, move under their own power to the maintenance contact point. The crews of disabled vehicles that are immobilized establish contact with maintenance personnel there. Repairs that can be effected quickly-for example by using individual parts and groups taken off of vehicles more severely damaged-are repaired on the spot.
If a vehicle cannot be made towable, the leader of the maintenance section is notified so that he can arrange for its recovery. The armor maintenance company consists of two maintenance platoons and a recovery platoon.
The maintenance platoons effect repairs that cannot be done by the contact teams, the maintenance sections or the light workshop trucks. To that end, they have specialists (engine mechanics, tank mechanics, vehicle electricians, metalworkers, smiths, mechanics, welders, saddlers, lathe operators, carpenters etc.) and the necessary workshop and equipment vehicles necessaryfor more comprehensive and difficult work. In addition, they have trucks for replacement parts. Their equipment and machines correspond roughly to those of a workshop in a permanent structure.
The prime movers and trailers of a tank regiment are consolidated in the recovery platoon (3rd Platoon). When road-marching, it is responsible for the recovery of disabled vehicles that cannot be made mobile again on the spot. The recovery platoon follows the combat elements as far as the assembly area. Together with the maintenance sections, it advances along the designated maintenance contact route or in specially designated sectors. In addition, the armor maintenance company has a weapons repair facility and a repair facility for signals equipment.
The regimental engineer accomplishes the same functions for the area of the armor regiment as the battalion engineer does for his battalion. Within the command and control of the division, questions concerning vehicular repair, replacement parts supply and demand, employment and distribution of repair and recovery means, the use of permanent maintenance facilities, etc. is handled by the divisional engineer. Within the command and control of the corps, those questions are handled by the corps engineer.
Replacing track on a Panzer H.
Spring 1938: Hauptmann Gierga and his 1st Company march out to a swearing-in ceremony. All the way to the left is Leutnant Hans Sandrock, who received the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross on 18 October 1944.
The regimental band on the occasion of a ceremony in the General-Lutz-Kaserne.
The first Panzer TV's arrive for the regiment at the General-Lutz-Kaserne.
The platoon leader's vehicle of the 2nd Platoon of the 8th Company.
The crew of a Panzer TV. Commander, gunner, loader, driver and radio operator.
Looking down into the driver's hatch of a Panzer IV
Oberst Walther K. Nehring, the regimental commander. (Courtesy of Christian Nehring)
20 April 1938: Panzer-Regiment 5 lines up for the 49th birthday celebration of the head of state in Berlin. The Brandenburger Tor can be seen in the background.
During the night of 23-24 September, the regiment was alerted as part of the 3. Panzer-Division and initially dispatched to Ratibor in Upper Silesia. From there, it moved into the Sudetenland from 8 to 10 October, returning to ANiinsdorf on 22 October. Crossing the Czech border on the morning of 8 October.
An Sd.Kfz. 231 eight-wheeled armored car crosses the border on 8 October.
A Panzer II of the regimental headquarters tests the effectiveness of the Czech tank obstacles.
The regiment enters Troppau. Note that the Panzer I is on a trailer, probably disabled.
Czech soldiers provide the "German greeting." The men are probably ethnic Germans, who had been conscripted into the Czech Army.
Another view of the entry into Troppau.
Troppau has been elaborately decorated. The banner reads: "We thank our Fiihrer!'
Tanks of the 1st Company.
The 2nd Company in Neu-Titschein.
Organization of the Regiment
(as of 1 March 1939)
In Accordance with the Table of Organization and Equipment'
(Minus the Wheeled Elements and the Maintenance Company)
1. Author's Note: Jentz, Die deutsche Panzertruppe, Vol. 1, 56-62. Translator's Note: In German, the TO&E was known as a Ksiegsstkrkennachweisung and abbreviated as KStN
4. Until the End of August 1939
The command positions were occupied as follows on 1 March 1939:
Panzer Regiment 5
Commander: Oberst Nehring
Commander: Major Schaeffer
1st Company: Hauptmann Gierga
2nd Company: Hauptmaun Schmidt
3rd Company: Hauptmann Bassenge
4th Company: MajorWendenburg
Commander: Major von Wilcke
5th Company: Leutnant Ehrhardt
6th Company: Hauptmann RitterEdlervon Peter
7th Company: Oberleutnantvon Oertzen
8th Company: Hauptman Muller
The Tables of Organization and Equipment established the official organization, personnel authorizations, types and numbers of weapons and types and numbers of vehicles and other major items of equipment.
Unfortunately, there are no lists of actual "onhand" numbers of tanks for the regiment from 1935 to August 1939. As a result of the rapid expansion of the army and the personnel detachments associated with it, the companies of the regiment rarely had the same numbers or types of vehicles. It was rare for them to reach authorized levels. The TO&E listed here should therefore only be used as a guide.
Crew locations in a Panzer 11: I = Tank Commander; 2 = Gunner; 3 = Loader; 4 = Radio Operator/ Hull Machine-Gun Operator; 5 = Driver
The authorized strength of a tank battalion was as follows:
The entire regiment had the following number of authorized tanks:
15 March 1939: Difficult crossing of the Liickendorf Pass
Until the start of the war in September, no new armored formations were established in 1939. As a result of the hasty expansion of the military, it was intended to give the formations time to develop cohesiveness.
For the first two months of 1939, the daily regimen was routine. On 10 March, however, the 1st Battalion was alerted. The 2nd Battalion, which had just been re-established, was not yet combat ready as a result of the personnel it had to give up to form Panzer-Regiment 36 in Schweinfurt. The situation was similar in the division's other tank regiment, Panzer-Regiment 6, in Neuruppin. As a result, only the 1./Panzer-regiment 5 and the IL/Panzer-Regiment 6 were loaded on trains and sent to the Konigsbruck Training Area.
Both of the battalions were placed under the command of Oberstleutnant Rothenburg, forming the ad hoc Regiment Rothenburg. On 15 March, the regiment marched as part of the division into what remained of Czechoslovakia, Bohemia and Moravia. The winter weather was extreme and the crossing of the Luckendorf Pass in the Lausitz Range demanded the utmost of drivers.
The march objective was Prague. Rothenburg was able to report his regiment had reached the city on 16 March. On 17 March, a pass-in-review was conducted for the commander of the 3. PanzerDivision on the Wenzelplatz. Two days later, on 19 March, another parade was held for the Commanderin-Chief of Heeresgruppe 3, General von Blaskowitz.
Parade on the Wenzelplatz in Prague. FeldwebelJager carries the standard of the 1st Battalion.
For the reunification of the Sudetenland with Germany, Hitler had created a medal on 18 October commemorating the event ("Medal Commemorating 1 October 1938"). It was cast in bronze, with the front side having a symbolic portrayal of the acceptance of the Sudetenland into the Reich. The reverse bore the date of "1 October 1938" and the phrase "One People-One Reich-One Fuhrer" along the edge. The ribbon was in the Sudeten German colors of black-red-black.
Based on a directive issued on 1 May, the medal was also to be awarded for those who participated in the occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia. For those who already had the medal, a "Prague" clasp was also created, which was worn on the medal's ribbon. The clasp bore a relief of the Prague Castle.
The soldiers of Panzer-Regiment 5 who were eligible for one or both awards did not receive them until after the campaign in Poland had concluded, when the events in questions were nearly a year old and had almost been forgotten as a result of the war.
The Medal Commemorating 1 October 1938. Obverse on left, reverse on right. The final medals were awarded by 31 December 1940. By then, some 1,162,617 medals had been awarded, along with 134,563 clasps.
Award certificate for the commemoration medal. This one, complete with the "Prague" clasp, was awarded to Gefreiter Heinrich Bottcher of the 5th Company.
On 20 April, the regiment participated in the Fiihrer parade in Berlin. On 26 April, the 1st Battalion received a new commander, Major von Lewinski. The previous commander, Major Schaeffer, was transferred to the Panzer-Lelzr-Regiment.
From 7 to 18 May, there was gunnery training at the Camp Senne Training Area.
Noncommissioned officers and enlisted personnel were entitled to wear a marksmanship lanyard after fulfilling certain conditions during gunnery training.
The lanyard was awarded in 12 levels. For levels I through IV, the wreath surrounding the Panzer I
under the national insignia was composed of tank track. It was made out of aluminum, with the wreath being relatively small. For the remaining levels of the award, the wreath was composed of Oak Leaves. For levels V through VIII, the award was also cast in aluminum, but the wreath was wider. For the remaining levels, the award was cast in a gold color. The individual levels were represented by main-gun rounds that hung from the bottom of the cord. For instance, Level I had no rounds; Level II, one round; Level III, two rounds; and Level IV, three rounds. The remaining levels were represented analogously.
Levels Ito IV.
Levels V to XII.
Marksmanship Lanyard for Armored Personnel, Level XII.
2 June 1939: Parade for Hitler and Prince Regent Paul in Berlin. Panzer IV's of the regiment move past the reviewing stand.
In May, tactical training was conducted at the Doberitz TrainingArea. While there, the commander of the 2nd Battalion was also the acting regimental commander. The frequent absence of OberstNehring at the time was due to his planned transfer to the XIX. Armee-Korps (mot) as its Chief-of-Staff. 12 On 2
June, the regiment participated in a parade held for Hitler and the prince regent of Yugoslavia, Paul. The parade served as an impressive demonstration of German military might in a time of increasing international tensions.
The "Legion Condor" Tank Badge. It was awarded to tankers who had volunteered and participated in the Spanish Civil War.
On 6 June, there were ceremonies in Berlin celebrating the return of the German participants in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Tankers of the regiment, who had participated in those operations, were awarded the "Spanish Cross" and the Tank Badge of the Condor Legion. The former was worn on the right chest, and the latter on the left. All of the award documents for the "Spanish Cross" are dated 6 June.
The summer was marked by a rotation at the Bergen Training Area from 15 to 30 June. That was followed by an alert on 20 August and movement
to the GroB-Born Training Area in Pomerania. It was the staging area for the XIX. Armee-Korps (mot), to which the 3. Panzer-Division had been assigned. Reports concerning incidents along the eastern borders of the Reich caused a depressed mood among the troops in light of the increasing danger of war.
The dramatic increase in tension in the political situation soon brought the certainty that operations would be carried out against Poland. On 25 August, the regiment occupied an assembly area southeast of PreuBisch-Friedland and prepared to attack on 31 August.
August 1939: The 1st Battalion's assembly area. The men pass the time in an uncertain situation.
5. Overview of Chapter 2: Panzer-Regiment 5 from 1936 to August 1939
Beginning of 1939: The command and control PanzerI (kleinerPanzerbefehlswagen).
15 March 1939: Moving through the snowed-over Erz Mountains into the rest of Czechoslovakia in the Zittau area.
A Panzer II of the 1st Company in front of the main train station in Prague.
19 March 1939: Parade in Prague for GeneralBlaskowitz, the Commander-in-Chief of Heeresgruppe 3. A Panzer 11 of the 1st Battalion moves past the reviewing stand with the battalion standard.
The Wenzelplatz in Prague. Parade in front of Reich Protector Neurath, Generaloberst von Brauchitsch and Generalleutnant Geyr von Schweppenburg, the commander of the 3. Panzer-Division.
Panzer II's of the 1st Company in the streets of Prague. A happy young potential recruit takes temporary command.
The regimental band plays an impromptu concert in the staging area of the 4th Company of the regiment.
2 June 1939: Parade for Reich Chancellor Hitler and the prince regent of Yugoslavia, Paul. The color guard of one of the regiment's battalions moves past the reviewing stand. In the foreground, the regimental band has taken up position.