2nd Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
The 2nd Panzer Division was an armoured division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II. Created as one of the original three German tank divisions in 1935, it was stationed in Austria after the Anschluss and participated in the campaigns in Poland and France before it returned to Poland for occupation duties, it took part in the Balkans campaign and transferred to the Eastern Front in September 1941. The division fought with Army Group Centre in the battles of Kursk. After heavy losses on the Eastern Front it was sent to France for rehabilitation, it fought in Normandy and was completely destroyed in the Falaise Pocket. It was rebuilt once more and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and in the defence of the Rhine, surrendering to US forces at war's end; the 2nd Panzer Division was headquartered in Würzburg, Bavaria. It was one of three tank divisions created at the time, the other two having been the 1st and 3rd Panzer Division. Germany had renounced the Treaty of Versailles earlier in the year which had forbidden the country, among other things, from having tank forces, a treaty Germany had violated from the start by secretly developing tanks and operating a covert tank school in the Soviet Union.
Under the command of Heinz Guderian the division participated in the Anschluss of Austria in 1938, covering 680 kilometres in 48 hours but in the process losing 30 percent of its tanks to accidents and mechanical failures. It formed part of the garrison in Vienna, Austria's capital with most of its personnel now recruited from former Austria. In early September 1939, the 2nd Panzer Division took part in the invasion of Poland, crossing the Polish-Slowak border and advancing towards Kraków; the division suffered heavy losses while fighting in central Poland. In May 1940, the unit took part in the Battle of France as a part of the XIX Army Corps under the command of Guderian; the division was involved in fighting in the Mosel River valley. It arrived in the town of Abbeville on the 20th; the division advanced on Boulogne and was involved in a battle with the under-equipped French 48th Regiment on 22 May. Having overcome the defenders, the 2nd Panzers made a direct attack on the port itself, in complete chaos.
The division formed the armoured element which flanked the British Expeditionary Force and forced their evacuation from Dunkirk. The 2nd Panzer Division advanced along the River Aisne into the interior of France. At the end of the campaign in the last months of 1940, the Division lost its 4th Panzer Regiment, used as the basis for the soon-to-be-formed 13th Panzer Division; the division was reassigned to the XVIII Mountain Corps of the 12th Army on 6 April 1941 to play a role in Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece. The German army pushed through the south of Yugoslavia, reaching the Greek border, where they made contact with the 19th Greek Mechanised Division in the area of Lake Dojran. On 9 April the division took the city of Salonika and forced the surrender of the Greek Eastern Macedonia Army Section; the division, together with the 5th Mountain Division, the 6th Mountain Division and the 72nd Infantry Division, formed an attack group with the mission of advancing into the south of Greece.
After the 6th Division had taken Verroia and formed a river crossing beachhead on the other side of the River Haliacmon, the 2nd Panzer Division crossed, taking Katerini on 14 April. After the Battle of Thermopylae, the 2nd Panzer Division entered Athens together with the 6th Mountain Division. At the end of the campaign the 2nd Panzer Division returned to Vienna for refitting, with parts of the division transported by sea and suffering heavy losses when the transport ships Marburg and Kybfels hits mines and sank. In October 1941, the 2nd Panzer Division was sent to the Eastern Front, reinforcing Army Group Centre in their push towards Moscow, Operation Typhoon, it was attached to the XL Panzer Corps. On November 16, the units of the division attacked the soviet positions where "Panfilov's Twenty-Eight Guardsmen" were supposed to be; the division retreated following a counterattack of the Red Army in the winter of 1941, taking part in various battles as a component in the 9th German Army during the first months of 1942.
In 1943 the 2nd Panzer Division took part in Operation Citadel, as part of the XLVII Panzer Corps of the 9th German Army of Army Group Centre. Following the operation's failure, the Red Army launched Operation Kutuzov in Army Group's Center's sector; the division retreated, suffering heavy losses, having lost two of its three tank battalions earlier in 1942 when they were send to the southern sector of the front to assist with the German push towards the Volga and Caucasus. In late 1943 the 2nd Panzer Division was sent to France for refitting after the heavy losses it suffered on the Eastern Front; the division was equipped with Panther tanks. Following the invasion of Normandy, the division was moved to Normandy in June, it took part with its last 25 tanks in Operation Luttich, the failed German counterattack at Mortain. It was encircled in the Falaise pocket, but broke out with heavy losses in materiel and troops; the division was reorganised in Germany. Due to the shortage in materiel, the division's complement of tanks was reduced.
Some tank companies only had assault guns. The division was sent to the Western Front and attached to XLVII Panzer
Military district (Germany)
During World War II, Germany had a system of military districts to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible and to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the Field Army. The Field Army was separate from the Home Command; the responsibilities of training, conscription and equipment were entrusted to the Home Command. In peacetime, the Wehrkreis was the home to the army corps of the same number and all subordinate units of that formation; the corps commander commanded the Wehrkreis. Command of the Wehrkreis passed to the corps second-in-command at the outbreak of war. Before the start of the war, there were four Motorized Army Corps; these had no corresponding military districts, but were served by the districts in which Corps headquarters or subordinate formations had their Home Garrison Stations. These Corps were: XIV. Armeekorps XV. Armeekorps XVI. Armeekorps XIX. Armeekorps Each Wehrkreis controlled a Hauptquartier and Wehrersatzbezirk Hauptquartier – these Bezirk HQs corresponded to civil political districts falling within the area of the Wehrkreis –, which in turn controlled Bereich Hauptsitze, which controlled Unterregion Hauptsitze.
At the start of the war, there were fifteen Districts in Germany. During the war, four were added, some Districts had territory added to them from other countries conquered by Germany; the Wehrkreise of Germany: I – Königsberg Königsberg Tilsit, Treuburg, Braunsberg, Sudauen Allenstein Lötzen, Zichenau II – Stettin Köslin Stolp, Neustettin, Deutsch Krone, Woldenburg/Neumark Stettin Swinemünde. XX – Danzig XXI – Posen Two additional Wehrkreise were established after the conquest of Poland. Wehrkreis General-Government controlled the remainder of Poland. Wehrkreis Böhmen-Mähren controlled the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia: those parts of the Czech lands not part of the Sudetenland. Replacement Army Hogg, Ian V. German Order of Battle 1944: The Regiments and Units of the German Ground Forces London. Arms and Armour Press. Mitcham, Samuel W.. The Panzer Legions. United States: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3353-3
Battle of the Kerch Peninsula
The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, which commenced with the Soviet Kerch-Feodosia landing operation and ended with the German Operation Bustard Hunt, was a World War II battle between Erich von Manstein's German and Romanian 11th Army and the Soviet Crimean Front forces in the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea. It began on 26 December 1941 with an amphibious landing operation by two Soviet armies intended to break the Siege of Sevastopol. Axis forces first contained the Soviet beachhead throughout the winter and interdicted its naval supply lines through aerial bombing. From January through April, the Crimean Front launched repeated offensives against the 11th Army, all of which failed with heavy losses; the Red Army lost 352,000 men in the attacks. Superior German artillery firepower was responsible for the Soviet debacle. On 8 May 1942, the Axis struck with great force in a major counteroffensive codenamed Trappenjagd which concluded by around 19 May 1942 with the liquidation of the Soviet defending forces.
Manstein used a large concentration of airpower armed infantry divisions, concentrated artillery bombardments and amphibious assaults to break through the Soviet front in its southern portion in 210 minutes, swing north with the 22nd Panzer Division to encircle the Soviet 51st Army on 10 May and annihilate it on 11 May. The remnants of the 44th and 47th Armies were pursued to Kerch, where the last pockets of organized Soviet resistance were eradicated through German aerial and artillery firepower by 19 May; the decisive element in the German victory was the campaign of airstrikes against the Crimean Front by Wolfram von Richthofen's 800 aircraft-strong VIII. Fliegerkorps, which flew an average of 1,500 sorties per day in support of Trappenjagd and attacked Soviet field positions, armored units, troop columns, evacuation ships and supply lines. German bombers used up to 6,000 canisters of SD-2 anti-personnel cluster munitions to kill masses of fleeing Soviet infantrymen. Manstein's outnumbered 11th Army suffered 7,588 casualties, while the Crimean Front lost 176,566 men, 258 tanks, 1,133 artillery pieces and 315 aircraft in three armies comprising twenty-one divisions.
Total Soviet casualties during the five month-long battle amounted to 570,000 men, while Axis losses were 38,000. Trappenjagd was one of the battles preceding the German summer offensive, its successful conclusion allowed the Axis to concentrate their forces on Sevastopol, conquered within six weeks. The Kerch Peninsula was used a launching pad by German forces to cross the Kerch Strait on 2 September 1942 during Operation Blücher II, a part of the German drive to capture the Caucasus oilfields. On 8 December 1941, the Soviet supreme command, ordered General-Lieutenant Dmitry Timofeyevich Kozlov's Transcaucasian Front to begin planning for a major operation to cross the Kerch Strait and link up with the Soviet Separate Coastal Army holed up in Sevastopol, thereby liberating the Crimea from the Germans; the ambitious operation, the first major amphibious operation in Soviet history, was founded upon Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's belief in the German Wehrmacht's imminent collapse. The plan was drawn up by the Transcaucasian Front's chief of staff General-Major Fyodor Tolbukhin.
Tolbukhin's plan was too complicated for Soviet Navy's abilities. It was based on multiple small landings at separate locations at separate times instead of one large, simultaneous landing. Five transport groups from Rear-Admiral Sergey Gorshkov's Azov Flotilla would land 7,500 soldiers from the 224th Rifle Division and 302nd Mountain Rifle Division of the 51st Army on eight isolated beaches north and south of Kerch. After the Germans were distracted by this, the 44th Army would land at Feodosiya in the German rear. Naval gunfire support would be provided by the Black Sea Fleet; the Soviet Air Forces, would contribute air cover from the Taman Peninsula. The Soviets had the men and troop transports on hand but were compelled to use fishing trawlers for the actual landings due to the lack of landing craft, had little experience with large-scale joint operations and were impeded by the stormy winter weather. A German Messerschmitt Bf 110 reconnaissance aircraft noted the buildup of Soviet naval forces and reported it to Lieutenant General Hans Graf von Sponeck's XXXXII Army Corps headquarters.
Sponeck issued a general alert for enemy amphibious landings in the Kerch Peninsula. The mass of Sponeck's units had been transferred for the assault on Sevastopol and he had only the 46th Infantry Division under Lieutenant General Kurt Himer who had assumed his command on 17 December, two coastal artillery battalions equipped with obsolete World War I artillery pieces, a combat engineer regiment and a Luftwaffe anti-aircraft battalion; the 46th Infantry Division up to strength, was woefully overextended holding down the entire Kerch Peninsula against potential Soviet landings. Sponeck's only backup was the Romanian 8th Cavalry Brigade near Alushta. On the evening of 25 December 1941, the 224th Rifle Division and 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade were packed into small craft on the Taman Peninsula and began to pass the Kerch Strait. Group 2 disembarked at Cape Khroni to the northeast of Kerch, it consisted of the gunboat Don, the transports Krasny Flot and Pyenay, a tugboat, two motor barges that carried three T-26 light tanks and a few artillery pieces, 16 fishing trawlers.
Whaleboats were substituted for landing craft, resulting in tediously slow landings and the drowning of men and equipment. 697 men from the 2nd Battalion of the 160th Rifle Regiment landed at Cape
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
The Don is one of the major Eurasian rivers of Russia and the fifth-longest river in Europe. The Don basin is between the Dnieper basin to the west, the Volga basin to the east, the Oka basin to the north; the Don rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast of Tula, flows for a distance of about 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov. From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh southwest to its mouth; the main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets. According to the Kurgan hypothesis, the Volga-Don river region was the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans c. 4000BC. The Don river functioned as a fertile cradle of civilization where the Neolithic farmer culture of the Near East fused with the hunter-gatherer culture of Siberian groups, resulting in the nomadic pastoralism of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. In antiquity, the river was viewed as the border between Europe and Asia by some ancient Greek geographers. In the Book of Jubilees, it is mentioned as being part of the border, beginning with its easternmost point up to its mouth, between the allotments of sons of Noah, that of Japheth to the north and that of Shem to the south.
During the times of the old Scythians it was known in Greek as the Tanaïs and has been a major trading route since. Tanais appears in ancient Greek sources as both the name of the river and of a city on it, situated in the Maeotian marshes. Pliny gives the Scythian name of the Tanais as Silys. According to Plutarch, the Don River was home to the legendary Amazons of Greek mythology; the area around the estuary is speculated to be the source of the Black Death. While the lower Don was well known to ancient geographers, its middle and upper reaches were not mapped with any accuracy before the gradual conquest of the area by Muscovy in the 16th century; the Don Cossacks, who settled the fertile valley of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries, were named after the river. The fort of Donkov was founded by the princes of Ryazan in the late 14th century; the fort stood on the left bank of the Don, about 34 kilometers from the modern town of Dankov, until 1568, when it was destroyed by the Crimean Tatars, but soon restored at a better fortified location.
It is shown as Donko in Mercator's Atlas, Donkov was again relocated in 1618, appearing as Donkagorod in Joan Blaeu's map of 1645. Both Blaeu and Mercator follow the 16th-century cartographic tradition of letting the Don originate in a great lake, labelled Resanskoy ozera by Blaeu. Mercator still follows Giacomo Gastaldo in showing a waterway connecting this lake to Ryazan and the Oka River. Mercator shows Mtsensk as a great city on this waterway, suggesting a system of canals connecting the Don with the Zusha and Upa centered on a settlement Odoium, reported as Odoium lacum in the map made by Baron Augustin von Mayerberg, leader of an embassy to Muscovy in 1661. In modern literature, the Don region was featured in the work And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, a Nobel-prize winning writer from the stanitsa of Veshenskaya. At its easternmost point, the Don comes near the Volga, the Volga-Don Canal, connecting the two rivers, is a major waterway; the water level of the Don in this area is raised by the Tsimlyansk Dam, forming the Tsimlyansk Reservoir.
For the next 130 kilometres below the Tsimlyansk Dam, the sufficient water depth in the Don River is maintained by the sequence of three dam-and-ship-lock complexes: the Nikolayevsky Ship Lock, Konstantinovsk Ship Lock, the best known of the three, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock. The Kochetovsky Lock, built in 1914–1919 and doubled in 2004–2008, is 7.5 kilometres below the fall of the Seversky Donets into the Don, 131 kilometres upstream of Rostov-on-Don, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock is located. This facility, with its dam, maintains sufficient water level both in its section of the Don and in the lowermost stretch of the Seversky Donets; this is presently the last lock on the Don. In order to improve shipping conditions in the lower reaches of the Don, the waterway authorities support the proposals for the construction of one or two more low dams with locks, in Bagayevsky District and also in Aksaysky District. Main tributaries from source to mouth: Krasivaya Mecha Bystraya Sosna Veduga Voronezh Tikhaya Sosna Bityug Black Kalitva Khopyor – 1,010 kilometres Medveditsa Ilovlya Chir Seversky Donets – 1,053 kilometres Aidar – 264 kilometres Sal Manych Aksay Temernik Don goat And Quiet Flows The Don Rostov railway drawbridge Don at GEOnet Names Server
1st Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
The 1st Panzer-Division was an armoured division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II. The division was one of the original three tank divisions established by Germany in 1935, it took part in pre-war occupations of Austria and Czechoslovakia and the invasions of Poland in 1939 and Belgium and France in 1940. From 1941 to 1945, it fought on the Eastern Front, except for a period in 1943 when it was sent for refitting to France and Greece. At the end of the war, the division surrendered to US forces in Bavaria; the 1st Panzer Division was formed on 15 October 1935 from the 3rd Cavalry Division, was headquartered in Weimar. It was one of three tank divisions created at the time, the other two being the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Division. Earlier in the year, Germany had renounced the Treaty of Versailles, which had forbidden the country, among other things, from having tank forces, a treaty Germany had violated from the start by secretly developing tanks and operating a covert tank school in the Soviet Union.
The division consisted of two panzer regiments organized into a brigade, a motorized infantry brigade, a reconnaissance battalion, a divisional artillery regiment, supporting ancillary formations. The division was equipped with the sub-standard light Panzer I and Panzer II, with the more powerful Panzer III arriving in late 1936. While the Pz I saw service in large numbers in Poland in 1939, the division was still using its Panzer II's in 1941. In 1938, the division participated in the Anschluss of Austria and the occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 and the subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939. In September 1939, the 1st Panzer Division took part in the invasion of Poland, reaching the outskirts of Warsaw after eight days. After Warsaw the division was moved to support the 18th Infantry Division before returning to Germany in November 1939, after the Polish surrender. In May 1940, the 1st Panzer Division was part of the invasion of France and Belgium, it took part in the battles of Sedan and Dunkirk before swinging south to participate in the attack on the Weygand Line.
It occupied Belfort before the surrender of France. During the battle of France, the division suffered low casualties, having just under 500 men killed in action; the 1st Panzer Division remained in France until September 1940. It supplied a substantial number of units to the new 18th Panzer Divisions. From 22 June 1941, it took part of Operation Barbarossa, crossing the former German-Lithuanian frontier as part of the Army Group North and the 4th Panzer Group; the division was involved in heavy fighting and, by mid-August, had only 44, of the 155 tanks it had started out with less than two month earlier, left in serviceable condition. It continued to advance towards Leningrad until early October when it was transferred to the Army Group Centre to take part in the advance on Moscow; the division advanced within 32 kilometres on Moscow before being forced to retreat during the Soviet counterattack. The division was part of the defence of the Rzhev Salient during early 1942 being short on tanks and fighting predominantly as infantry until being resupplied during Spring.
The 1st Panzer Division was engaged in the defence of the supply lines of the 9th Army in the centre of the Eastern Front. It suffered heavy casualties during the defence against repeated Soviet attacks in the Winter of 1942–43 before being transferred back to France in January 1943 for refitting. After months in northern France, the division was sent to occupied Greece in June 1943 because of the perceived threat of an Allied landing there. Instead, the landing took place in Sicily and the division participated in the disarming of Italian forces in Greece when the former defected from the Axis in September 1943; the 1st Panzer Division was brought up to full strength again in October when it received a substantial number of Panther and Tiger I tanks and returned to the Eastern Front again shortly thereafter. The 1st Panzer Division was engaged in the southern sector of the Eastern Front to serve alternately within the 1st and 4th Panzer Army as an emergency force, it was thrown from crisis location to crisis location as the German front lines retreated, taking part in battles at Kiev and Cherkassy.
The latter battle saw the division attempting to break through to the cauldron but falling just short. By March 1944, the division had been reduced to just over 25 percent of its nominal strength. Retreating further westwards, the division was part of the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket and, from there, took part in the defence of eastern Poland and Hungary, it was engaged in defensive operations around Lake Balaton and took part in the unsuccessful attempt to break through to the Siege of Budapest and once more suffered heavy losses. The final month of the Second World War saw the division engaged in the defence of Styria. From there, it retreated westwards to surrender to US forces rather than Soviet ones crossing the demarcation line between the two, it surrendered on 8 May 1945 in southern Bavaria and most of its soldiers were released from captivity soon after. The commanders of the division: 10 January 1935 – 30 September 1937: General der Kavallerie Maximilian von Weichs 10 January 1937 – 2 November 1939: Generalleutnant Rudolf Schmidt 2 November 1939– 17 July 1941: Generalleutnant Friedrich Kirchner 17 July 1941 – 1 January 1944: Generalleutnant Walter Krüger 1 January 1944 – 19 February 1944: Generalmajor Richard Koll 19 February 1944 – 25 September 1944: Generalmajor Werner Marcks 25 September 1944 – 8 May 1945: Generalleutnant Eberhard Thunert The organisation of the di
Schwetzingen is a German town situated in the northwest of Baden-Württemberg, around 10 km southwest of Heidelberg and 15 km southeast of Mannheim. Schwetzingen is one of the five biggest cities of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis district and a medium-sized centre near the higher ranked city of Mannheim. Schwetzingen is located in the Rhine-Neckar-triangle in the plain of the Rhine river, lying west of the Odenwald and in the east of the Rhine. A small stream, the Leimbach, runs through the city before joining the Rhine; the following municipalities, listed clockwise beginning in the north, border on the city limits of Schwetzingen: Mannheim, Oftersheim, Ketsch and Brühl. The municipal area of Schwetzingen is consolidated with Oftersheim; the limits of Plankstadt are only separated by one street from the limits of Schwetzingen. Schwetzingen was mentioned as "Suezzingen" for the first time in 766, recorded in the late twelfth-century Codex Aureus of Lorsch, but there are traces of settlement from the Stone Age.
It consisted of two settlements, Ober- and Unterschwetzingen, that grew together in the course of the 17th and 18th century. The town belonged to the diocese of Worms, but passed to the Counts of the Palatinate in the 12th century; the moated castle of Schwetzingen is mentioned for the first time in 1350. It was destroyed in the following War of the Palatinate Succession. From 1720 it served temporarily as the residence of the Elector Karl III Philip after he moved away from Heidelberg. On it served as a summer residence of the Elector of the Palatinate and their court. Schwetzingen Castle began as a simple aristocratic fishing retreat and had an eventful architectural history, in several phases of construction during the reigns of the Elector Karl III Philip and Karl IV Theodor who, as their answer to Versailles, embellished the castle gardens with some of the finest and most elaborate formal water parterres in Germany gardens; as it evolved, the high central Baroque block of the Castle was extended to either side in matching curved ranges of glazed arcades that were punctuated by pavilions which followed the arc of the vast garden circle.
They enclose the circle bisected by a wide gravel axis flanked by parterres which centers on a spring-fed water-basin inspired by the bassin of Diana at Versailles, but here expressing the more appropriately water-centered Greek myth of the poet Arion and the dolphins. On the other side at the entrance, a mulberry-tree allée stretched from the centre of the Castle to the city of Heidelberg, 10 km away on the horizon a remarkable feat of autocratic landscaping; the curving outbuildings of Schwetzingen inspired the smaller Rococo perfections of Schloss Benrath, with its quarter arcs of matching corps de logis embracing a formal sheet of water, built for Carl Theodor near Düsseldorf, 1756–1770. In 1759 Schwetzingen received permission to host markets and was developed into a baroque city through the 18th century. In 1803 all the territories of the Palatine electorate east of the Rhine, including Schwetzingen were absorbed into the Grand Duchy of Baden and the castle became a residence of the Grand Dukes of Baden.
In 1833 Schwetzingen was elevated to city status by Grand Duke of Baden. The beginning of industrialization in Schwetzingen in the year 1850 made the city an important seat of cigar factories and canneries; the cultivation of asparagus gained importance and has remained one of Schwetzingen's claim to fame. For more information visit: www.schwetzingen.de These figures are estimates only, official census results or statistics of the resident's registration office. ¹ official census results The local council of Schwetzingen has 26 members since the last elections in June 2009. Elections in May 2014: 1833 – 1838: Daniel Helmreich 1838 – 1851: Carl Welde 1851 – 1855: Josef Vetter 1855 – 1865: Johann Wilhelm Ihm 1865 – 1883: Heinrich Wittmann 1883 – 1898: Karl Mechling 1898 – 1904: Heinrich Häfner 1904 – 1910: Jean Wipfinger 1910 – 1914: Wilfried Hartmann 1914 – 1923: Jakob Reinhard 1914 – 1918: Georg Pitsch 1923 – 1929: Johannes Götz 1929 – 1930: Leopold Stratthaus 1930 – 1933: Dr. Arthur Trautmann 1933 – 1945: Arthur Stober 1945: Ernst Karl 1945 – 1948: Dr. Valentin Gaa 1948 – 1954: Franz Dusberger 1954 – 1961: Hans Kahrmann 1961 – 1962: Adolf Schmitt 1962 – 1981: Kurt Waibel 1981 – 1982: Walter Bährle 1982 – 1998: Gerhard Stratthaus 1999 – 2007: Bernd Kappenstein 2007 – 2008: Bernd Junker since 2008: René Pöltl The coat of arms of Schwetzingen consists of a divided shield with a golden lion on the upper half on a black background and on the lower half there is a silver ring on blue background.
The city flag is blue. The lion symbolizes the Palatine Electorate, of which Schwetzingen was a member until 1803; the ring was a wheel originating from the seal of an inhabitant who had contacts to the castle of Schwetzingen. Schwetzingen is twinned with: Lunéville, since 1969 Pápa, since 1992 Spoleto, since 2005 Fredericksburg, United States of America: since 2012 Schwetzingen lies favourably between the two autobahns A 5 and A 6. Schwetzingen station was opened in 1870 on the Rhine Railway, connecting Karlsruhe. Between 1910 and 1938 there was a tramline connecting Schwetzingen and Ketsch, between 1927 and 1973 there was a tramline connecting Heidelberg with Schwetzingen. In Schwetzingen the daily newspaper is the "Schwet