The 11th Panzer division was formed on August 1, 1940 around the veteran 11th Schützen Brigade and Panzer Regiment 15. The division first saw action in the Balkan campaign in April 1941 and was credited with the capture of Belgrade. The Division was then transferred to the southern sector of the eastern front in June 1941 and the to the central sector in October of 1941. It remained there until June 1942 when it was again returned to the southern sector. In the summer of 1943, the Division took part in the Belgorod and Kursk offensives. In the autumn of 1943 the Division was heavily engaged in the Krivoj Rog area and in February 1944 suffered heavy losses in the Kersun encirclement, south of Kiev. In June 1944, the remnants of the Division were transferred to southern France, near Bordeaux, where it was completely refitted with personnel and equipment of the 273rd Reserve Panzer Division. In July 1944 the Division was shifted to Toulouse and in August it took part in delaying actions after the Allied landings in southern France and later in the withdrawal to Alsace. There, it participated in the defense of the Belfort Gap in September 1944, and subsequently withdrew north into the Saar area. The Division saw action in the Ardennes Counteroffensive in December 1944, and was engaged in the Trier area in January 1945 as part of the 7th Army. In March 1945 it fought against the American advance at Remagen and at War's end in May 1945, the remnants of the Ghost Division surrendered to the U.S. Third Army in the Bavarian Forest.


The "Ghost" Nickname and Symbol

In France, we turned up everywhere the enemy didn't expect us, always ready to fight. Astonished prisoners questioned us "When do you actually eat? When do you sleep? You are like ghosts." As an expression of admiration, they gave called us "Ghosts" because of our speed and toughness as well as our excellent tactics and discipline which made us proud. When the 11.Panzerdivision was formed, I was ordered to make a sketch to serve as our tactical symbol. I drew a ghost standing on a vehicle, sword ready to strike in one hand and grabbing at the enemy with the other.

Stabsgefr. Schönberger


Germany's Forgotten Panzer Commander

~ Click on photo for a detailed history ~

Hermann Balck

1893 - 1982

 

Kommandeur der 11.Panzer-Division

May 1942 - September 1943

 

 

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