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Panzer Regiment 22Panzer Regiment 22

As the tank element of 21st Panzer Division (famous for its associations with Rommel and the desert war) PanzerRegiment 22 had been in Normandy longer than any other but it was poorly equipped for the challenge it had to face. The regiment consisted of two battalions (or Abteilung) each divided into four companies (Kompanie). The 1st Battalion was reasonably well off, each company comprising 17 Panzer IV, but the 2nd Battalion could only manage five or six Panzer IV per company; its remaining armour included 39 old French Somua tanks and various self-propelled anti-tank guns based on Hotchkiss and Lorraine chassis captured from the French.

Tank Museum photo No. 2411/F/5 Tank Museum photo No. 2411/F/5

Although the regiment was officially on stand-by over the night of 5th-6th June its units were spread out in the area around Caen and Falaise and, since radio silence had to be observed, all communication was by motorcycle despatch riders. The first reaction to the invasion was to head for the coast, where Panzergrenadier Regiment 902 was attempting to reach Lion-sur-Mer, but after a while the tanks, less one company, were recalled to defend Caen.

Tank Museum photo No. 2366/D/1 Tank Museum photo No. 2366/D/1

Subsequently sent forward again that evening the Panzers came up against elements of British 27th Armoured Brigade near Periers-sur-le-Dan, led by the Staffordshire Yeomanry. Digging many of their tanks in, in typical desert style, Panzer Regiment 22 managed to stem the British advance, but not without losing many of their tanks.

Tank Museum photo No. 2366/D/2 Tank Museum photo No. 2366/D/2


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