Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August; the decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion; the coast of Normandy of northwestern France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, the Canadians at Juno.
To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart's Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, Operation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation; this misled the Germans as to the location of the main Allied landings. Führer Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler's proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion; the Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket; the Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France on 15 August, the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August.
German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord. In June 1940, Germany's leader Adolf Hitler had triumphed in what he called "the most famous victory in history"—the fall of France. British craft evacuated to England over 338,000 Allied troops trapped along the northern coast of France in the Dunkirk evacuation. British planners reported to Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 4 October that with the help of other Commonwealth countries and the United States, it would not be possible to regain a foothold in continental Europe in the near future. After the Axis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin began pressing for a second front in Western Europe. Churchill declined because he felt that with American help the British did not have adequate forces for such a strike, he wished to avoid costly frontal assaults such as those that had occurred at the Somme and Passchendaele in World War I. Two tentative plans code-named Operation Roundup and Operation Sledgehammer were put forward for 1942–43, but neither was deemed by the British to be practical or to succeed.
Instead, the Allies expanded their activity in the Mediterranean, launching the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, invading Italy in September. These campaigns provided the troops with valuable experience in amphibious warfare. Attendees at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943 took the decision to launch a cross-Channel invasion within the next year. Churchill favoured making the main Allied thrust into Germany from the Mediterranean theatre, but his American allies, who were providing the bulk of the men and equipment, over-ruled him. British Lieutenant-General Frederick E. Morgan was appointed Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Commander, to begin detailed planning; the initial plans were constrained by the number of available landing-craft, most of which were committed in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific. In part because of lessons learned in the Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, the Allies decided not to directly assault a defended French seaport in their first landing.
The failure at Dieppe highlighted the need for adequate artillery and air support close air support, specialised ships able to travel close to shore. The short operating-range of British aircraft such as the Spitfire and Typhoon limited the number of potential landing-sites, as comprehensive air-support depended upon having planes overhead for as long as possible. Morgan considered four sites for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula and the Pas de Calais; as Brittany and Cotentin are peninsulas, the Germans could have cut off the Allied advance at a narrow isthmus, so these sites were rejected. Pas de Calais, the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, was the location of launch sites for V-1 and V-2 rockets still under development; the Germans regarded it as the most initial landing zone, accordingly made it the most fortified region. It offered the Allies few opportunities for expansion, however, as the area is bounded by numerous rivers and canals, whereas landings on a broad front in Normandy would permit simultaneous threats against the port of Cherbourg, coastal ports further west in Brittany, an overland attack towards Paris and into Germany.
Normandy was therefore chosen as the landing site. The most serious drawback of the Normandy coast—the lack of
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles over high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent. In the taxonomies of artillery pieces used by European armies in the 17th to 20th centuries, the howitzer stood between the "gun" and the "mortar". Howitzers, like other artillery equipment, are organized in groups called batteries; the English word "howitzer" comes from the Czech word "houfnice", from houf, "crowd", houf is in turn a borrowing from the Middle High German word Hūfe or Houfe, meaning "heap". Haufen, sometimes in the compound Gewalthaufen designated a pike square formation in German. In the Hussite Wars of the 1420s and 1430s, the Czechs used short barreled "houfnice" cannons to fire at short distances into crowds of infantry, or into charging heavy cavalry, to make horses shy away; the word was rendered into German as aufeniz in the earliest attested use in a document dating from 1440.
Since the First World War, the word "howitzer" has been used to describe artillery pieces that speaking, belong to the category of gun-howitzers – long barrels and high muzzle velocities combined with multiple propelling charges and high maximum elevations. This is true in the armed forces of the United States, where gun-howitzers have been described as "howitzers" for more than sixty years; because of this practice, the word "howitzer" is used in some armies as a generic term for any kind of artillery piece, designed to attack targets using indirect fire. Thus, artillery pieces that bear little resemblance to howitzers of earlier eras are now described as howitzers, although the British call them guns. Most other armies in the world reserve the word "howitzer" for guns with barrel lengths 15 to 25 times their caliber, with longer-barreled guns being termed "cannons"; the British had a further method of nomenclature. In the 18th century, they adopted projectile weight for guns replacing an older naming system that had developed in the late 15th century.
Mortars had been categorized by calibre in inches in the 17th century and this was inherited by howitzers. Current U. S. military doctrine defines howitzers as any cannon artillery capable of high-angle and low-angle fire. The modern howitzers were invented in Sweden towards the end of the 17th century; these were characterized by a shorter trail than other field guns, meaning less stability when firing, which reduced the amount of powder that could be used. Intended for use in siege warfare, they were useful for delivering cast-iron shells filled with gunpowder or incendiary materials into the interior of fortifications. In contrast to contemporary mortars, which were fired at a fixed angle and were dependent on adjustments to the size of propellant charges to vary range, howitzers could be fired at a wide variety of angles. Thus, while howitzer gunnery was more complicated than the technique of employing mortars, the howitzer was an inherently more flexible weapon that could fire its projectiles along a wide variety of trajectories.
In the middle of the 18th century, a number of European armies began to introduce howitzers that were mobile enough to accompany armies in the field. Though fired at the high angles of fire used by contemporary siege howitzers, these field howitzers were defined by this capability. Rather, as the field guns of the day were restricted to inert projectiles, the field howitzers of the 18th century were chiefly valued for their ability to fire explosive shells. Many, for the sake of simplicity and rapidity of fire, dispensed with adjustable propellant charges; the Abus gun was an early form of howitzer in the Ottoman Empire. In 1758 the Russian Empire introduced a specific type of howitzer, with a conical chamber, called a licorne, which remained in service for the next 100 years. In the mid-19th century, some armies attempted to simplify their artillery parks by introducing smoothbore artillery pieces that were designed to fire both explosive projectiles and cannonballs, thereby replacing both field howitzers and field guns.
The most famous of these "gun-howitzers" was the Napoleon 12-pounder, a weapon of French design that saw extensive service in the American Civil War. The longest-serving artillery piece of the 19th century was the mountain howitzer, which saw service from the war with Mexico to the Spanish–American War. In 1859, the armies of Europe began to rearm field batteries with rifled field guns; these new field pieces used cylindrical projectiles that, while smaller in caliber than the spherical shells of smoothbore field howitzers, could carry a comparable charge of gunpowder. Moreover, their greater range let them create many o
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
Tank desant is a military combined arms tactic, where infantry soldiers ride into an attack on tanks dismount to fight on foot in the final phase of the assault. Desant is a Russian general term for airborne or parachute drops and naval infantry amphibious landing operations; the tactic was used as an expedient by the Red Army during World War II. Tank desant troops were infantry trained in the tactic in order to offer small-arms support in suppression of enemy anti-tank weapons or enemy infantry using anti-tank grenades. After the war, T-55 and T-62 tanks were built with hand-holds for this purpose. In northern areas during winter, similar tactics were used by Soviet infantry riding the skids of aerosani or towed behind them on skis. Nowadays, this tactic is rare in well-equipped armed forces, with front-line troops riding in armoured personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles; the tank desant tactic, like more conventional airborne and amphibious operations, was used to achieve fundamental goals of maneuver warfare - "surprise, leverage and interchangeability."The use of tank desant was only prescribed within the first kilometer of the forward edge of the combat area for only the simplest of tactical mission objectives, since the circumstances would be difficult for the troops engaged.
Riding on tanks during actual combat is dangerous. Tank riders are vulnerable to machine gun and high explosive fire, the high silhouette of most tanks would draw enemy fire. Smoke and covering fire may be used to reduce the hazards. Tank riding is used when troops need to move faster than is possible on foot and there is a shortage of motor transport or armoured personnel carriers; the infantry and their heavy weapons were assigned to specific tanks well before the execution of the mission. This allowed the infantry to train with the tank crews. Support platforms for the heavy weapons were sometimes attached to the tanks to allow firing on the move. Ropes were attached to provide hand-holds for the infantry; the number of infantry assigned to a tank depended on the class of the tank. Today, tank desant is considered a wasteful and human-costly improvisation, which, in the opinion of some writers, was adopted by the Red Army because they failed to appreciate the problem of tank–infantry cooperation.
However, there is evidence. On 13 October, during the Aragon Front advance in the area of the Fuentes de Ebro, the 1st Independent Tank Regiment, using BT-5 tanks attached to the XV International Brigade, conducted a tank desant mission with the attached 24th Infantry Battalion of the Spanish army, but lack of coordination and communication between the Soviet crews, who had just completed a 630 kilometres march, the Spanish infantry resulted in sixteen tanks being either destroyed or disabled and 37 tank crewmen becoming casualties. Analysis of the Red Army's doctrine developed during the 1930s and documented in the 1936 Field Manual shows that the cavalry arm was expected to perform in the role of the supporting dismounted infantry and this was displayed during the operations on the Eastern Front through use of the cavalry mechanized groups; the idea of using infantry tank desant was, retained in the 1942 Field Instructions for the infantry. Universal mechanization has, in theory, rendered this tactic obsolete among the more advanced armed forces, with infantry riding special-purpose armoured personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles into battle.
The use of active protection systems and/or explosive reactive armour, which creates a danger zone around an armoured vehicle by detonating an explosive charge when the tank suffers a serious hit, along with gas turbine engines in some tank designs, with their hot exhaust, makes tank desant a dangerous and undesirable alternative. Other military forces, including the United States Army in the Vietnam War, the Soviet Army in the Soviet–Afghan War, the Russian Ground Forces in the First Chechen War, have chosen to ride atop their carriers while on patrol or routine movement, rather than inside them. In contrast to the offensive Soviet tank desant tactics of World War II, these were soldiers who wanted to be able to move from their vehicles in case of ambush. Fearing land mines and rocket-propelled grenades used by guerrillas, these soldiers refused to stay inside the personnel carriers—contravening normal standing orders for several reasons: The infantrymen on the outside represented more eyes and rifles at the ready to locate and fire upon a small force or single ambusher.
Explosive concussion inside the personnel compartment, caused by a rocket-propelled grenade or land mine hitting the armour, was said to be more dangerous than enemy fire on the personnel mounted outside. Many of these soldiers wore body armor. Spall liners have only become common. Wounded soldiers trapped inside were unlikely to be extracted safely until after the battle if the vehicle was on fire. Soviet soldiers adopted the tactic of
New Zealand Army
The New Zealand Army is the land component of the New Zealand Defence Force and comprises around 4,500 Regular Force personnel, 2,000 Territorial Force personnel and 500 civilians. The New Zealand Military Forces, the current name was adopted by the New Zealand Army Act 1950; the New Zealand Army traces its history from settler militia raised in 1845. New Zealand soldiers served with distinction in the major conflicts in the 20th century, including the Second Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, Borneo Confrontation and the Vietnam War. Since the 1970s, deployments have tended to be assistance to multilateral peacekeeping efforts. Considering the small size of the force, operational commitments have remained high since the start of the East Timor deployment in 1999. New Zealand personnel served in the First Gulf War and Afghanistan, as well as several UN and other peacekeeping missions including the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, the Sinai, South Sudan and Sudan.
War had been an integral part of the culture of the Māori people. The Musket Wars dominated the first years of European settlement; the first European settlers in the Bay of Islands formed a volunteer militia from which some New Zealand Army units trace their origins. British forces and Māori fought in various New Zealand Wars starting in the north of the country in 1845, culminating in major campaign in the Waikato in the mid-1860s, during which settler forces were used with great effect. Towards the end of the war, the numbers of British troops were reduced, leaving settler units to continue the campaign; the first permanent military force was the Colonial Defence Force, active from 1862. This was replaced in 1867 by the Armed Constabulary, which performed both military and policing roles. After being renamed the New Zealand Constabulary Force, it was divided into separate military and police forces in 1886; the military force was called the Permanent Militia and renamed the Permanent Force.
Major Alfred William Robin led the First Contingent sent from New Zealand to South Africa to participate in the Boer War in October 1899. The New Zealand Army sent ten contingents in total, of which the first six were raised and instructed by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Henry Banks, who led the 6th Contingent into battle; these were mounted riflemen, the first contingents had to pay to go, providing their own horses and weapons. The Defence Act 1909, which displaced the old volunteer system, remodelled the defences of the dominion on a territorial basis, embodying the principles of universal service between certain ages, it provided for a territorial force, or fighting strength equipped for modern requirements, of thirty thousand men. These troops, with the territorial reserve, formed the first line. Under the terms of the Act, every male, unless physically unfit, was required to take his share of the defence of the dominion; the Act provided for the gradual military training of every male from the age of 14 to 25, after which he was required to serve in the reserve up to the age of thirty.
From the age of 12 to 14, every boy at school performed a certain amount of military training, and, on leaving, was transferred to the senior cadets, with whom he remained, undergoing training, until 18 years of age, when he joined the territorials. After serving in the territorials until 25, in the reserve until 30, a discharge was granted; as a result of Lord Kitchener's visit to New Zealand in 1910, slight alterations were made—chiefly affecting the general and administrative staffs, which included the establishment of the New Zealand Staff Corps—and the scheme was set in motion in January, 1911. Major-General Sir Alexander Godley, of the Imperial General Staff, was engaged as commandant. In World War I New Zealand sent the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, of soldiers who fought with Australians as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, subsequently immortalised as "ANZACs"; the New Zealand Division was formed which fought on the Western Front and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade fought in Palestine.
After Major General Godley departed with the NZEF in October 1914, Major General Alfred William Robin commanded New Zealand Military Forces at home throughout the war, as commandant. The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–1918, excluding those in British and other dominion forces, was 100,000, from a population of just over a million. Forty-two percent of men of military age served in the NZEF. 16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war—a 58 percent casualty rate. A further thousand men died within five years of the war's end, as a result of injuries sustained, 507 died whilst training in New Zealand between 1914 and 1918. New Zealand had one of the highest casualty—and death—rates per capita of any country involved in the war. In World War II, the 2nd Division, fought in Greece, the Western Desert Campaign and the Italian Campaign. Among its units was the famed 28th Māori Battalion. Following Japan's entry into the war, 3rd Division, 2 NZEF IP saw action in the Pacific, seizing a number of islands from the Japanese.
New Zealanders contributed to various Allied special forces units, such as the original Long Range Desert Group in North Africa and Z Force in the Pacific. As part of the preparations for the possible outbreak of war in the Pacific, the defensive forces stationed
Self-propelled artillery is artillery equipped with its own propulsion system to move towards its target. Within the terminology are the self-propelled gun, self-propelled howitzer, self-propelled mortar, rocket artillery, they are high mobility vehicles based on continuous tracks carrying either a large field gun, mortar, or some form of rocket/missile launcher. They are used for long-range indirect bombardment support on the battlefield. In the past, self-propelled artillery has included direct-fire vehicles, such as assault guns and tank destroyers; these have been armoured vehicles, the former providing close fire-support for infantry and the latter acting as specialized anti-tank vehicles. Modern self-propelled artillery vehicles may superficially resemble tanks, but they are lightly armoured, too to survive in direct-fire combat. However, they protect their crews against shrapnel and small arms and are therefore included as armoured fighting vehicles. Many are equipped with machine guns for defense against enemy infantry.
The key advantage of self-propelled over towed artillery is that it can be brought into action much faster. Before the towed artillery can be used, it has to stop and set up the guns. To move position, the guns must be brought -- towed -- to the new location. By comparison, self-propelled artillery can stop at a chosen location and begin firing immediately quickly move on to a new position; this shoot-and-scoot ability is useful in a mobile conflict and on the advance. Conversely, towed artillery remains cheaper to build and maintain, it is lighter and can be taken to places that self-propelled guns cannot reach. Since the Vietnam War, heavy transport helicopters have been used for rapid artillery deployment. So, despite the advantages of the self-propelled artillery, towed guns remain in the arsenals of many modern armies. During the Thirty Years' War, early 17th century experiments were made with early types of horse artillery. Batteries towed light field guns where all of the crew rode horses into battle.
The gunners were trained to dismount, deploy the guns and provide instant fire support to cavalry, act as a flexible reserve. The Russian army organized small units of horse artillery that were distributed among their cavalry formations in the early 18th century. While not forming large batteries and employing only lighter 2- and 3-pound guns, they were still effective and inflicted serious losses to Prussian units in the Seven Years' War; this inspired Frederick the Great to organize the first regular horse artillery unit in 1759. Other nations realized the capability of the new arm and by the start of French Revolutionary Wars in 1790s Austria, Portugal, France, Great Britain and Sweden had all formed regular units of horse artillery; the arm was employed throughout the Napoleonic Wars and remained in use throughout the entire 19th century and into the first half of the 20th century, when advances in weapons technology made it obsolete. The British Gun Carrier Mark I was the first example of a self-propelled gun, fielded in 1917 during World War I.
It carried a heavy field gun. The gun could either be fired from the vehicle, or set up as normal. In effect, the carrier replaced the use of a separate horse team or internal combustion engine powered artillery tractor, allowed a new way for the gun to be used; the next major advance can be seen in the Birch gun developed by the British for their motorised warfare experimental brigade after the end of the War. This mounted a field gun, capable of both the usual artillery trajectories and high angle anti-aircraft fire, on a tank style chassis, it was designed and built as part of a general approach to warfare where all arms and artillery included, would be able to operate over the same terrain as tanks. The Red Army experimented with truck- and tank-mounted artillery, but produced none in quantity. At the outbreak of World War II all artillery was still being moved around by artillery tractors or horses. While the German Blitzkrieg doctrine called for combined-arms action, which required fire support for armoured units, during the invasion of Poland and France this was provided by the Luftwaffe using Stuka dive-bombers acting as artillery.
Conventional towed howitzers followed. As the war progressed, most nations developed self-propelled artillery; some early attempts were no more than a field gun or anti-tank gun mounted on a truck—a technique known in the British Army as carrying portee. These lacked protection for the crew; the next step was to mount the guns on a tracked chassis and provide an armoured superstructure to protect the gun and its crew. Many of the early designs were improvised and the lessons learned led to better designs in the war. For example, the first British design, "Bishop", carried the 25 pdr gun-howitzer, but in a mounting that limited the gun's performance, it was replaced by the more effective Sexton. The Germans were prolific with designs, they created many examples of armored self-propelled anti-tank guns using captured French equipment, their own obsolete light tank chassis, or ex-Czech chassis. These led to better-protected tank destroyers with enclosed casemates, complete with full roof armor, built on medium tank chassis such as the Jagdpanzer IV and Jagdpanther.
Some designs were based on existing chassis, leftov
Panzergrenadier, shortened as PzGren or PzG, is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry – that is, infantry transported in combat vehicles specialized for such tasks – as introduced during World War II. It is used in the armies of Austria and Switzerland. Additionally, in the German Army, Panzergrenadier is the lowest rank of enlisted men in the Panzergrenadiertruppe, comparable to NATO Other Rank-1 level; the term Panzergrenadier was not adopted until 1942. Infantry in panzer divisions from 1937 onwards were known as Schützen Regiments. Soldiers in special Motorized Infantry units wore the standard white piping of the Infantry. In 1942, when Infantry Regiments were renamed as Grenadier Regiments by Hitler as a historical homage to Frederick the Great's Army, the Schützen regiments began to be redesignated as Panzergrenadier regiments, as did Motorized Infantry units and soldiers, their Waffenfarbe was changed from either white or rose pink to a meadow-green shade worn by motorcycle troops.
Some units did not change over their designations and/or Waffenfarbe accoutrements until 1943, many veteran Schützen ignored regulations and kept their rose-pink until the end of the war. The term Panzergrenadier had been introduced in 1942, was applied to the infantry component of Panzer divisions as well as the new divisions known as Panzergrenadier Divisions. Most of the Heer's PzGren. Divisions evolved via upgrades from ordinary infantry divisions, first to Motorized Infantry divisions and to PzGren. Divisions, retaining their numerical designation within the series for infantry divisions throughout the process; this included the 3rd, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 25th, 29th divisions. Others, such as the Großdeutschland Division, were built up over the course of the war by augmenting the size of an elite regiment or battalion; the Waffen-SS created several PzGren. Divisions by the same methods, or by creating new divisions from scratch in the war. A number of PzGren. Divisions in both the Heer and Waffen-SS were upgraded to Panzer divisions.
The Panzergrenadier divisions were organized as combined arms formations with six battalions of truck-mounted infantry organized into either two or three regiments, a battalion of tanks, an ordinary division's complement of artillery, reconnaissance units, combat engineers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery, so forth. All these support elements would be mechanized in a PzGren. Division, though most of the artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft elements were equipped with weapons towed by trucks rather than the rare armored and self-propelled models. In practice the PzGren. Divisions were equipped with heavy assault guns rather than tanks, due to a chronic shortage of tanks throughout the German armed forces. A few elite units, on the other hand, might have the tanks plus a battalion of heavy assault guns for their anti-tank element, armored carriers for some of their infantry battalions as well. On paper a Panzergrenadier division had one tank battalion less than a Panzer division, but two more infantry battalions, thus was as strong as a Panzer division on the defensive.
Of 226 panzergrenadier battalions in the whole of the German Army and Waffen SS in September 1943, only 26 were equipped with armoured half tracks, or just over 11 percent. The rest were equipped with trucks. 3rd Panzergrenadier Division 10th Panzergrenadier Division 15th Panzergrenadier Division 16th Panzergrenadier Division 18th Panzergrenadier Division 20th Panzergrenadier Division 25th Panzergrenadier Division 29th Panzergrenadier Division 90th Panzergrenadier Division 233rd Panzergrenadier Division Panzergrenadier Division Brandenburg Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Division 2 Hermann Göring SS Panzergrenadier Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division 9th SS Panzergrenadier Division Hohenstaufen 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Horst Wessel 23rd SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nederland 28th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Wallonien 38th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nibelungen The use of armoured half-tracks was rare in the German Army, the elite Großdeutschland Division, with two panzergrenadier regiments, only mustered a few companies' worth of the vehicles Sd.
Kfz. 251 troop carriers. The vast majority of Schützen/Panzergrenadier soldiers were mounted in trucks. Additionally, vehicles in the early war period suffered from poor off-road performance. In 1944 a couple of Panzer Divisions based in France had more than the standard one battalion mounted in Sd. Kfz. 251 troop carriers. The Panzer Lehr Division's infantry and engineers were mounted in Sd. Kfz. 251 troop carriers, while the 1st Battalion in both Panzergrenadier regiments in 2. Panzer Division and 21. Panzer Division were half-equipped with armoured halftracks. In the German army, Panzergrenadiere act as mechanized infantry and escort for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. According to the German central army regulation HDv 100/100, the Panzergren