2. ss panzer division das reich

On leaving the Soviet village, the Das Reich Division troops were fired on forcing the men to seek cover in a ditch near the road. This photograph was taken during Operation Barbarossa in 1941.

Tiger s.Pz.Kp./SS-Pz.Rgt.2 of the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich” go up to the front end 1943, near the town of Berdichev in Zihtomir sector (Ukraine ). They are then attached to the Kampfgruppe Lammerding.

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Emblems of Waffen SS  Divisions 1

1 División Panzer SS “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler

2 División Panzer SS "Das Reich”

3 División Panzer SS “Totenkopf”

4 División SS “Polizei”

5 Division Panzer SS “Wiking”

6 SS Mountain Division “Nord”

7 SS Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”

8 Kavallerie Division “Florian Geyer “

9 División Panzer SS “Hohenstaufen” 

Cpl. James Gordon and Pvt. L.C. Rainwater of the US 2nd Armored Div., inspect a Panzer V ‘Panther’ of 2.SS Panzer Division “Das Reich” deserted near the village of Grandménil in Belgium.
Sometime after the of Battle 25 - 27 December 1944.
When the 2.SS Pz Div., pulled back form Grandménil on 26 December 1944, seven Panther tanks were left behind for various reasons. One of them still remains as a memorial of the bloody winter day in late 1944 when this village with barely three hundred inhabitants became a focal point in the great Ardennes Battle.

Soldiers of the Das Reich Division stop by a village to accept water and food from a civilian in Yugoslavia in April 1941. Das Reich was among the forces tasked with striking directly towards Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia. It captured Belgrade in record time and with no casualties.

First in Belgrade, Yugoslavia! Soldiers of the Das Reich Division in the streets of Belgrade, after SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg received the city’s surrender on 12 April 1941. Organized resistance soon crumbled in the country after the fall of the capital.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg photographed after he was awarded the Knight’s Cross in May 1941, for capturing Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia on 12 April 1941. Klingenberg used a mix of dash and bravado to capture the city virtually single-handed. Promoted to SS-Oberführer, Klingenberg was killed in March 1945 while commanding 17. SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen.

SS-Gruppenführer Paul Hausser, commander of the Das Reich Division, presents the Knight’s Cross to SS-Untersturmführer Ludwig Kepplinger in September 1940. Kepplinger was a company commander in Regiment Der Führer of the Das Reich Division at the time, and was awarded the coveted decoration for his bravery during the assault on the Dutch fort of Westervoort on 10 May 1940. Kepplinger and two of his men neutralised the key enemy strongpoint and managed to break through and proceed with the advance after capturing more than 90 soldiers of the Dutch garrison. Thirty more prisoners were capture later on the same day. He has been shot several times once in the hand, twice in the upper thigh and twice in the lower abdomen during the attacks on Dutch bunkers and fortified positions.

A soldier from the Das Reich Division writes a warning that the street is mined on a wall of a building during the advance towards Belgrade, Yugoslavia in April 1941. The Division started up from the Yugoslav border from their positions around the town of Denta in Romania, as part of the XXXXI. Armeekorps commanded by General der Panzertruppe George-Hans Reinhardt.

Soldiers of the Das Reich Division trying to get a 3.7cm PaK 36 out of the mud during the advance towards Belgrade, Yugoslavia in April 1941. The Division’s line of advance was over very marshy terrain, and it had difficulty in making progress in adverse weather conditions. The motorcycle reconnaissance unit of the Division, however, under SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg, found that its light vehicles could make good headway by travelling along railway tracks and embankments, and it took off at speed towards Belgrade while the remainder of the Division laboured in the mud.

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler examines a Tiger tank with SS-Hauptsturmführer Herbert Zimmermann (left), the commander of the 8./SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 of the Das Reich Division, Kharkov area, Ukraine, 24 April 1943. In the hands of the Waffen-SS the Tiger will rule.

Soldiers of the Das Reich Division photographed during the campaign in Yugoslavia in April 1941. The man on the left is a motorcycle despatch rider, while the two on the right are SS-Untersturmführers.

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The men of the Das Reich Division on the long march towards Moscow during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The vast distances in the Soviet Union took their tools on men and machines alike, while supply problems multiplied with every mile. Roads were very few and often little more than unpaved dirt tracks.

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An advance party from the Das Reich Division has encountered another Soviet defensive position during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The men dismount from their vehicles to move forward in open formation.

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Das Reich received new Tiger tanks in the spring of 1943, just in time for Operation Zitadelle. Here, crew members are cleaning the gun of their Tiger. These Tiger tanks arrived still painted in overall Panzer Grey, but it will be changed by the time of the battle.