1st Cavalry Division (Wehrmacht)

The 1st Cavalry Division (German: 1. Kavallerie-Division) was formed in October 1939. It fought in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and on the Eastern Front. It was officially transformed into the 24th Panzer Division in late 1941.

German 1st Cavalry Division
Active20 November 1939 – 27 November 1941
Country Germany
BranchArmy
TypeCavalry
SizeDivision
10,000
Garrison/HQInsterburg, Angerburg
Nickname(s)none
ColoursGolden yellow
MarchWorld War II
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Kurt Feldt
Werner von Fritsch
Insignia
1939–1941

Operational history

The campaign in Western Europe began in the Netherlands before it was assigned to the 4th Army and sent to France. The division crossed the Somme on 7 June and fought near Meulen. On 18–19 June it fought around Saumur and attempted to capture a bridge across the Loire but the attack failed when it was blown up by English troop with a patrol still on it. The division reached La Rochelle when the fighting in France ended.

After the French capitulation the division was stationed in France on occupation duties until the early summer of 1941 when it was moved east in preparation for the attack on the Soviet Union. It was assigned to the XXIV Army Corps in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. The division fought in the southern sector of the front, seeing action around the Berezina and Dniepr rivers, especially in efforts to clear the Pripet Marshes of by-passed Red Army units.

It was withdrawn to France in November 1941 and its 17,000 horses were handed over to infantry divisions. The “Schlußappell”, the last divisional parade, was held on 5 November at Gomel before it was finally disbanded and reformed as the 24.Panzer-Division.[1]

Commanders

  • General der Kavallerie Kurt Feldt (25 October 1939 – 28 November 1941)

Area of operations

  • The Netherlands and France (May 1940-Jun 1941)
  • Eastern front, southern sector (Jun 1941-Nov 1941)

Order of battle

  • Headquarters[2]
  • 1. Kavalleriebrigade (1st Cavalry Brigade)
    • 1. Kavallerieregiment (1st Cavalry Regiment)
    • 2. Kavallerieregiment (2nd Cavalry Regiment)
  • 2. Kavalleriebrigade (2nd Cavalry Brigade)
    • 21. Kavallerieregiment (21st Cavalry Regiment)
    • 22. Kavallerieregiment (22nd Cavalry Regiment)
  • 1. Montiertes Artillerie-Regiment (1st Mounted Artillery Regiment)
    • 1. Bataillon (1st Battalion)
    • 2. Bataillon (2nd Battalion)
  • 1. Fahrradbataillon (1st Bicycle Battalion)
  • 40. Panzer-Zerstörer-Bataillon (40th Tank Destroyer Battalion)
  • 40. Ingenieurbataillon (40th Engineer Battalion)
  • 86. Signalbataillon (86th Signal Battalion)
  • 40. Divisional Supply Group

Literature

  • Hubertus Schulz, ed. (1993), Die Aufklärer (Rf.1, K 4, PzAA 24) der 1. Kavallerie-Division/24. Panzer-Division (in German), Gross-Umstadt: Dohany, ISBN 3-924434-07-7

References

  1. Die 24. Panzer-Division 1939-1945. Vormals 1. Kavallerie-Division
  2. German Order of Battle: 291st-999th Infantry Divisions, Name Infantry Divisions, and Special Divisions in World War II. p. 218.

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