|21st Panzer Division|
Emblem of the 21st Panzer Division
The 21st Panzer Division is the main enemy in the Taking Command! and a minor unit in Colditz Castle, and is where General Wetherby first displays his inability to command while in North Africa. While sneaking past, Wetherby attacks their front and is almost completely destroyed. In Kasserine Pass, they later attack Kasserine but fail and are completely destroyed or falls back. In Colditz Castle, they are easily destroyed by the attacking tanks under General Sheridan's command and the 89th.
Originally created at the 5. Light Division (or Light Afrika Division) in 1941 from an ad hoc collection of smaller units, it officially gained Panzer-Division status by September of 1941. Throughout the fighting the division experience in Africa it was almost always understrength and undermanned, usually having to rely on dummy tanks constructed in specialized workshops to give the appearance of larger numbers. The division had many instances of supply shortages, mainly from either from being too deep into British territory to be able to receive them, enemy forces attacking convoys, or the supply trucks themselves running out of fuel before reaching their destination. They continued to fight against the British, South African, and Indian forces in Northern Africa but were forced to begin a long retreat northward to Tunis after a string of defeats and heavy casualties. When the Americans intervened in Africa the 21. Panzer-Division had its fate sealed. After the division commander, Major General Heinz von Randow, was killed it was broken up into two Kampfgruppen.
On 15 July 1943 in France, the division was reformed. It mainly consisted of occupation troops and was given the task of defending the French coast from invasion. Its tank units were mostly comprised of the Panzer III, Panzer IV, and various captured tanks of French origin - such as the Hotchkiss H39 and Char B1 Bis. The division remained on rehabilitation and garrison duty until the Allied invasion of Normany.
On 6 June 1944 when the Allies stormed the beaches, the 21. Panzer-Division raced for the coast to engage the invaders. The division did make it there and was the only Panzer-Division to have contact with the Allies on the first day, engaging British paratroopers. After failing to throw the hordes of British, American, and Canadian troops that were advancing, the division as well as the rest of the German forces slowly began to fall back. The last major offensive it took part in in the west was against the British Guards Armored Division on 1 August 1944. The surviving remnants were almost entirely lost in the Falaise Pocket.
On 25 January 1945 the division was yet again reformed as a much-reduced Panzer-Division, much like its days in Africa. They were sent against the Red Army on the Eastern Front and took part in battles at Goerlitz, Slatsk, and Cottbus, inflicting heavy losses on the Russians - although taking many casualties as well. Lacking any functioning tanks and with a very low morale, the 21. Panzer-Division surrendured to the Russians on 29 April 1945.
- Kpfgpe Graf
- 21. Aufklärung
- 200. Feldersatz
- 3. Aufklärung
- Kpfgpe Gerhardt
- 155. Artillerie
- 5. Panzer
- 104. Schützen
- Kpfgpe Stenkhoff
- During the first mission, Colditz Castle, the 21st Panzer Division is seen engaging the player. This is not historically accurate. Instead, the division would have been on the Eastern Front, fighting the invading Soviet Union.