Germans reboot a Cold War Panzer battalion

The German Army has been steady in retiring armored units since the Cold War thawed in 1991, shrinking from some 4,000 Leopards holding the Fulda gap to just two active Panzerbrigades and a paltry 225 Leopard 2A4 and 2A6 tanks backed up by a similar number of Marder, Puma and Boxer armored vehicles by 2016. Since then, they have moved to increase those numbers to a planned 320 tanks and (slowly) update their big cats to the 2A7V standard.

Kampfpanzer Leopard!

With that, the Bundeswehr announced on 27 November that Panzerbataillon 363 will be stood up, equipped with 44 Leopards, and based at Hardheim, Baden-Württemberg. PzBtl 363 was a former West German Heer unit that was established at Böblingen in 1963 and disbanded 30 October 2006. Now, after 13 years with their colors furled, they will be reborn.

Notably, the WWII Wehrmacht fielded heavy tank battalions that all used a numbering sequence in the 500s (PzAbt 501 to 511), meaning the FGR’s PzBtl 363 had no Nazi-era lineage. However, there was a short-lived Panzerjäger-Abteilung 363 as part of the 363rd Volksgrenadier Division which was destroyed in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945,  but of course, a panzerjäger battalion is not a panzer battalion proper.

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Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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