propelled artillery. It also received some roughly 2,000 DAK veterans, who were to be the nucleus of the “old cadre.” It organization was as follows:
The 21. Panzer remained stationed in France for the next year, being deemed unfit for service on the Eastern Front. However, it saw its first action on June 6th, 1944, when the allies landed on the Normandy beaches. The division was the only unit available for immediate counterattack due to its nearby vicinity (mainly in Caen). With confusion rampant, the division was not released in time to counterattack the landings on the beaches, and made a slow move to attack the British paras at Ranville. By 10:30, Maj. Hans von Luck (acting commander) took charge to begin counterattacking the British advance towards Caen.
For several weeks, bitter fighting developed between old foes as little progress was made (although the 21st managed alone to drive back 3 whole division from Caen). Despite being reinforced by the 12th SS, sheer numbers and Allied air power eventually overwhelmed them, forcing retreat. By August of 44, the 21. Panzer was largely destroyed in the Falaise Pocket.
In September, the division’s tank regiment was equipped with 34 Panther tanks, which help stem the advancing Allied tide. It withdrew from France and into Germany mainly in the Epinel, Nancy, Metz, and Saar regions. On January 25, 1945, it was reformed once again, and sent to the east in defence of the Russian advance into Germany. Operations included were in the areas of Goerlitz, Slatsk, and Cottbus, which created a small window for escaping comrades moving to the west from the Russians. The division finally surrendered on April 29, 1945.
Sources: www.feldgrau.com and 21st Panzer Div. by Chris Ellis