What’s in a Name? The change from Panzergruppe to Panzerarmee

Background

This is just a small housekeeping issue, but when googling I noted that there is a lot of false information on the internet about the date of the change in designation from Panzergruppe to Panzerarmee. This change was communicated to Panzergruppe on 22 January 1942, effective immediately, i.e. just the day after the counter-offensive started. The change did therefore not co-incide with Rommel’s promotion to Generaloberst which followed on 30 January, or the award of the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross, which happened on 21 January, and it was not related to the success of the counteroffensive.

I am not sure why there was this divergence, it is possible that Rommel’s promotion was a snap decision based on the re-occupation of Benghazi, but to be honest I have no information on this.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I 784 0208 32A Nordafrika Erwin Rommel Alfred Gause Erwin Menny

Rommel instructing his staff. Picture dated to mid-1942, but almost certainly from CRUSADER period. Bundesarchiv Bildarchiv.

What is certain however is that the redesignation of Panzergruppe had nothing to do with the successful counteroffensive, it was probably just an administrative move, since the other four Panzergruppen on the eastern front had by then all been redesignated too.

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