Panzer Division Clausewitz
|Panzer Division Clausewitz|
|Active||1 April – 8 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
It was formed in central Germany area at the beginning of April 1945 under the command of Generalleutnant Martin Unrein, from the 233rd Panzergrenadier Division and also drawing Panzergrenadier troops from the 233rd Reserve Panzer Division and vehicles from the Panzer training school at Putlos. Other elements came from the reserve brigade of the Großdeutschland division, the remnants of the Holstein panzer division, the Panzerkorps Feldherrnhalle, and units drawn from Army Group Blumentritt.
Most of the infantry were front-line veterans who had been posted to reserve divisions after recovering from injuries, and the tank crews were mostly composed of instructors. However, the unit was heavily deficient in equipment - overall, only around 20% of the assigned vehicles were available. The equipment was also often outdated - several tanks were Panzer IIIs or Panzer IVs - and in a bad state of repair. Individual units were equipped with a variety of vehicles, making maintenance difficult, and ammunition was in short supply. There were no artillery pieces, very little signals equipment, and no supply troops.
It first saw action in the northern front, fighting British armoured units from the 10th to the 12th, before being assigned to the XXXIX Corps. The XXXIX Corps was ordered to push south to cut the supply lines of the leading American divisions, which had now reached as far as the Elbe river, and attempt to link up with the 11th SS Panzer Army, which was fighting in the Harz mountains. Most division's personnel were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in this push, and by the 20th it had split into small disorganised groups. On the 24th, the divisional commander was captured by American troops.