12th SS Panzer Division

12th SS Panzer Division

The 12th SS Panzer Grenadier Division began formation on February 10, 1943 and consisted of 17 year-olds from the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend), as well as experienced men from the 1st SS Panzer Division and Wehrmacht officers who had previously been in the Hitler Youth. The use of Hitler Youth members was in part due to the significant personnel losses that the Germans had suffered in various battles.

Although originally formed as panzer grenadier division, the 12th SS was redesignated as a panzer division in October of 1943.

Following the Allied assault on Normandy on June 6, 1944, the 12th SS Panzer Division, then stationed at Dreux, France, was ordered to defend the city of Caen. The division suffered high casualties (approximately 60%) in its defense of Caen, and was eventually driven out of the city by British and Canadian forces in early July.

The 12th SS Panzer Division was later able to escape the Falaise pocket, but during that time the division lost most of its equipment. They also served as a reserve force during the Battle of the Bulge, and in combat in Hungary.

The division surrendered to the 65th Infantry Division at Enns & Steyr, Austria on May 8, 1945.


Reference to the 12th SS Panzer Division is made in the scene where Captain Miller is picking up Corporal Upham, and is also receiving map updates from a 29th Division mapmaker.

The 12th SS Panzer Division was well to the east of Omaha Beach when Miller was receiving his map updates, while Miller and his men were setting out to the west to travel to Neuville. It is curious that the mapmaker mentions a unit that Miller and his men are travelling in the opposite direction of.

Order of Battle

  • Panzer Regiment No. 12
  • Panzergrenadier Regiment No. 25
  • Panzergrenadier Regiment No. 26