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Panzer Lehr Regiment

Panzer Lehr Regiment, the main armoured component of Panzer Lehr Division, had its origins as a demonstration regiment at the armoured training school near Berlin. In 1944 its two battalions were equipped respectively with Panther and Panzer IV tanks. In fact its Panther battalion, equipped with 86 of these impressive machines, had been borrowed from Panzer Regiment 6 because its own First Battalion was not ready.

Tank Museum photo No. 0011/D/4 Tank Museum photo No. 0011/D/4

Their involvement in the Normandy campaign is another version of the normal, hurried story. Early on 6 th of June the regiment was in the Le Mans area, actually loading its Panthers for a journey to Poland when orders came to stand by. By that evening they were under orders to make their way to Normandy .

They proceeded under constant air attack, losing tanks, transport and men along the way and went into line between Caen and Bayeux.

Tank Museum photo No. 4734/D/1 Tank Museum photo No. 4734/D/1

Although they mounted a number of successful counter attacks against Canadian and British forces the rate of attrition was continual. More tanks were lost following contact with US 9 th Infantry Division. Even so the greatest threat was always from the air. Cover and camouflage notwithstanding a spotter plane would appear, circling over the area and before long artillery, from land or sea, would start devastating the area. Either that the dreaded ‘Jabos', the fighter-bombers, would suddenly appear and wreak havoc.

Tank Museum photo No. 2389/A/4 Tank Museum photo No. 2389/A/4

By late July the regiment had been despatched further west where massive bomber raids destroyed tank after tank. When Panzer Lehr Division pulled back to Canisy at the end of that month the Panzer Regiment could only muster 14 working tanks.


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