Marching into Erfurt,
creation of Panzerregiment 1 on October 8, 1935
Most of the sources known to us give the founding date of Panzerregiment 1 as being October 15, 1935. In fact, the marching into Erfurt and the founding of the regiment, a major public event, took place a week earlier. The contemporary press reported extensively on this event. Based on photographs and then / now comparisons, we have traced the regiment's path on that day and present it below.
The march began early in the morning that day in the Ohrdruf military camp, which served as the garrison of Kraftfahrlehrkommando II Ohrdruf for more than one year.
After approximately 40 kilometers, the column reached the western outskirts of Erfurt – maybe at around noon.
The vehicles assembled at the Herbert-Norkus-Platz (today Benaryplatz) at the entrance to Brühler Straße (Brühl street). The beginning of the ceremony was scheduled for 3.00 pm. Precisely at the ordered time, the column set off into the Brühler Straße in the order of regimental staff, I. Abteilung, II. Abteilung. Panzerregiment 1 was followed by I. Abteilung of Artillerieregiment 74 and a Luftwaffe unit from the Bindersleben airbase. All of these units were also welcomed to Erfurt this day. After about 400 meters, the column passed the "Gustav Knauff butcher's," where the first known photo was taken. Here in the picture is the commander of the 1st Company, Hauptmann Alfons Materne, in his Panzerbefehlswagen I model A. The first spectators are seen to the left and right of the street.
The Brühler Straße has changed its appearance over the last 80 years. But interestingly, at the very same spot is still a butcher's (Fleischerei Gaßmann).
The panzers followed the Brühler Straße and thus came into the Mainzerhofstraße after another 300 meters. Now, the column had reached the city center. Shortly after that, Erfurt Cathedral came into sight. Then, the panzers turned left and drove in the direction of Petersberg Citadel.
The western side of Erfurt Cathedral has changed its appearance as well. The picture of Mary on the front of the building was removed after World War II, and a new roof was installed in the 1960s.
The panzers now drove via the Peterstraße and Lauentor around the cathedral and passed the courthouse at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz (today Domplatz).
Spectators filled the area in front of the cathedral. The panzers lined up in front of the courthouse just next to the cathedral.
The building serves as a courthouse until today but is at the moment empty since an extensive restoration is planned for the next couple of years.
After all the units had taken up their position, the divisional commander, Generalleutnant von Weichs, took the salute and welcomed the troops. Then, flower girls decorated all the vehicles with autumn flowers (Erfurt is known to be the flower city).
After playing the Badonviller-Marsch and the Panzerlied, General von Weichs, Dr. Zeitler as well as Major Schuckelt hold a short speech. The podium stood in front of today's Hofbräuhaus (one of the oldest inns in Erfurt), seen in the background. Erfurt Cathedral is to the right, and the courthouse is behind the camera.
After his speech, the march "Preußens Gloria" was played by the bands, and then, at 4.30 pm, the units left for the barracks.
Here in the picture is the departure of the panzers; in the background is the "Grüne Apotheke" (Green Pharmacy) and again the inn (today Hofbräuhaus).
The new barracks for Panzerregiment 1 had been built in the Löber-Vorstadt – a southern suburb. The march went via Marktstraße, in front of the city hall, Neue Straße, Schlösserstraße, Anger, Regierungsstraße, Hirschgarten, Löberstraße., Löberring, Adolf Hitler Straße, Epinaystraße, Hermann Göring Straße, Langemarckstraße. In this area, the vehicles were parked, and the troops marched on foot to the Löberfeld barracks and again took up position on the sports field. Finally, at 05.30 pm, the barracks were handed over by the local authorities. Another speech by Major Schuckelt concluded the event, and the troops took up their accommodation.
Explanation of signs:
Point 1: butcher's shop
Point 2: cathedral, south-west side
Point 3: the tanks passing the district court
Point 4: Line-up of the tanks of the tanks
Point 5: Departure in front of "Grüner Apotheke"