The 2nd Panzer Division was an armoured division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II. It took part in the Balkans campaign and then transferred to the Eastern Front in September 1941, the division fought with Army Group Centre in the battles of Moscow and Kursk. After heavy losses on the Eastern Front it was sent to France for rehabilitation and it fought in Normandy and was almost 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, the 2nd Panzer Division was formed on 15 October 1935 and was headquartered in Würzburg, Bavaria. It was one of three tank divisions created at the time, the two having been the 1st and 3rd Panzer Division. It formed part of the garrison in Vienna, Austrias 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 fighting in central Poland. In May 1940, the 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 Belgium and the Mosel River valley and it arrived in the town of Abbeville on the 20th. Later the division formed the armoured element which flanked the British Expeditionary Army, the 2nd Panzer Division then advanced along the River Aisne into the interior of France. At the end of the campaign in the last months of 1940, 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, 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, after the 6th Division had taken Verroia and formed a spearhead, on the other side of the River Haliacmon, the 2nd Panzer Division crossed the river, taking Katerini on 14 April. After the Battle of Thermopylae, the 2nd Panzer Division entered Athens together with the 6th Mountain Division, 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 of the 4th Panzer Army during the Battle of Moscow. The division retreated following a counterattack of the Red Army in the winter of 1941, 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 operations failure, the Red Army launched Operation Kutuzov in Army Groups Centers sector, 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 engaged British troops of the 50th Infantry Division and the 7th Armoured Division
The deployment and planned advances for the invasion of Poland with 2nd Panzer Division moving towards the northeast from Slovakia, to take Kraków and continue to Warsaw through the Vistula valley.
A New Zealand prisoner stands behind the command vehicle of Hermann Balck, commander of the 3rd Panzer Regiment of the 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941.
Image of troops from the United States Army during the Battle of the Bulge which shows the weather conditions in which the two armies fought, including the 2nd Panzer Division.