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The Panzerlied is one of the best known Wehrmacht songs. It was composed in June 1933 by Oberleutnant Kurt Wiehle while on his way to Königsbrück. Wiehle adapted a German sailor's song, writing lyrics more appropriate to the Panzerwaffe. At the time, Germany was clandestinely developing an armored force in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. The song could be considered as a reflection of the German re-armament, launched in the same time frame as the song was written.

It has gained fame in the English-speaking world due to its usage in the 1965 film Battle of the Bulge.[1][2] While throughout that film German characters speak English, the song is sung in the original German.

The Panzerlied is still in use by Bundeswehr and Österreichisches Bundesheer today.

The song is also sung by the Chilean Military[3] and the tune is used for the French Foreign Legion song "Képi Blanc" and, unofficially, by some motorized and parachute units of the Italian army. The song is also used by the South Korean Army sung in Korean as a Marching Song for its Tank and other Motorized units.

The tune of the Panzerlied is used as the unofficial anthem for the German community of Namibia, and the unofficial anthem of the then South African-ruled South-West Africa (present day Namibia). This song is known as "Das Südwesterlied" or "Hart wie Kameldornholz".

The tune of the Panzerlied was also used as the marching anthem of the fictional Kuromorimine Girls High School from the anime Girls und Panzer.

Original lyrics[edit | edit source]

Originally, the last three lines of every verse were repeated. It was later changed so that only the last line is repeated.

Lyrics and translation[edit | edit source]

German lyrics Best English Translation
First stanza

Ob's stürmt oder schneit,

ob die Sonne uns lacht,
Der Tag glühend heiß

oder eiskalt die Nacht,
Bestaubt sind die Gesichter,

doch froh ist unser Sinn, ja, unser Sinn.

Es braust unser Panzer im Sturmwind dahin. (x2)

If it storms or snows, or the sun smiles on us,
The day burning hot, or the icy cold of night.
Dusty are our faces, but happy is our sense, yes, our sense.

They roll, our tanks, forward into the storm's wind. (x2)

Second stanza

Mit donnernden Motor'n,

So schnell wie der Blitz,
Dem Feinde entgegen,

im Panzer geschützt.
Voraus den Kameraden,

Im Kampfe ganz allein, ja ganz allein.

So stoßen wir tief in die feindlichen Reih'n! (x2)

With thundering engines, as fast as lightning,
Towards the enemy, sheltered in the tank,
Ahead of our comrades, In the fight all alone, yes all alone.

Thus we plunge deep into the enemies ranks! (x2)

Third stanza

Wenn vor uns ein feindliches

Heer dann erscheint,
wird Vollgas gegeben

und ran an den Feind!
Was gilt denn unser Leben

für uns'res Reiches Heer? Ja, Reiches Heer.

Für Deutschland zu sterben ist uns höchste Ehr'. (x2)

When before us a hostile army appears then,
Full throttle is given and we close with the enemy.
What does our life matter but for the Reich's army? Yes, Reich's army.

To die for Germany is our highest honor. (x2)

Fourth stanza

Mit Sperren und Minen

hält der Gegner uns auf,
Wir lachen darüber

und fahren nicht drauf.
Und droh'n vor uns Geschütze,

versteckt im gelben Sand, im gelben Sand.

Wir suchen uns Wege, die keiner sonst fand. (x2)

With obstacles and mines the foe blocks our path,
We laugh about it and don't drive upon them.
And threats artillery in front of us, hidden in the yellow sand, yes, yellow sand.

We search for ways, that no one else found. (x2)

Fifth stanza

Und läßt uns im Stich

einst das treulose Glück,
Und kehren wir nicht mehr

zur Heimat zurück,
Trifft uns die Todeskugel,

ruft uns das Schicksal ab, das Schicksal ab.

Dann wird uns der Panzer ein ehernes Grab! (x2)

And if we are abandoned by treacherous luck,
And if we don't return back home again,
If death's bullet finds us, and fate calls us away, yes, us away.

Then the tank shall become an iron grave for us! (x2)

See also[edit | edit source]

Referencesand notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Movie clip (YouTube video)
  2. Originally, the last line of every verse was repeated, but this is not the case in the performance from Battle of the Bulge; also, only the first verse is sung, and repeated several times.
  3. Chilean Military Parade, September 19th 2010 (YouTube video)

External links and references[edit | edit source]

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