Saturday, November 12, 2022

Inspection of 3. Panzer-Division at Wünsdorf

On 20 October 1935, 3. Panzer-Division - one of the first newly established armored units of the Wehrmacht - move into their new garrison in Wünsdorf, near Berlin. Generalleutnant Ernst Feßmann (second from left, Divisionskommandeur) inspecting the troops in the barracks courtyard. At left is Oberst Friedrich Paulus (Chef des Generalstabes beim Kommando der Panzertruppen).
Source :,_W%C3%BCnsdorf,_General_Fessmann_schreitet_die_Front_ab.jpg

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

German Tanks Near Moscow

White winter camouflaged tanks of the 11. Panzer-Division in the village of Matronino near Volokolamsk. On the left, the first and third are Panzer III tanks, while between them and on the right is Panzer II tanks. The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Artur Grimm in Moscow area, November 1941. From 31 October to 13–15 November 1941, the Wehrmacht high command stood down while preparing to launch a second offensive towards Moscow. Although Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Centre) still possessed considerable nominal strength, its fighting capabilities had thoroughly diminished because of wear and fatigue. While the Germans were aware of the continuous influx of Soviet reinforcements from the east as well as the presence of large reserves, given the tremendous Soviet casualties, they did not expect the Soviets to be able to mount a determined defense.

Source :

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Panzer IV Before Fall Gelb

Panzer IV Ausf.D in the Western Front before Fall Gelb, 21 March 1940. The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Huschke from PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 689. Despite increased production of the medium Panzer IIIs and IVs prior to the German invasion of France on 10 May 1940, the majority of German tanks were still light types. According to Heinz Guderian, the Wehrmacht invaded France with 523 Panzer Is, 955 Panzer IIs, 349 Panzer IIIs, 278 Panzer IVs, 106 Panzer 35(t)s and 228 Panzer 38(t)s. Through the use of tactical radios and superior tactics, the Germans were able to outmaneuver and defeat French and British armour. However, Panzer IVs armed with the KwK 37 L/24 75-millimetre (2.95 in) tank gun found it difficult to engage French tanks such as the Somua S35 and Char B1. The Somua S35 had a maximum armour thickness of 55 mm (2.2 in), while the KwK 37 L/24 could only penetrate 43 mm (1.7 in) at a range of 700 m (2,300 ft). The British Matilda II was also heavily armoured, with at least 70 mm (2.76 in) of steel on the front and turret and a minimum of 65 mm on the sides, but were few in number.

Source :,_Im_Westen,_Panzer_IV.jpg

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Panzers of Afrikakorps in Tripoli

Panzer IV Ausf.D and Panzer II tanks in Tripoli, Libya, March 1941. Note the big storage box at the back of the turret. Rommel arrived in North Africa in February 1941 with fairly mundane orders to act as a Sperrband, a “blocker” to bolster the Italians after their mauling at Beda Fomm. The force he led was appropriately tiny:  the reconnaissance battalion and an antitank detachment of the 5. leichte-Division (soon renamed the 21. Panzer-Division). The rest of the division was still en route to Africa, and a second division, the 15. Panzer-Division, would not arrive completely until the end of May 1941.

Source ;
"Deutsche Afrikakorps (1941-1943)" by Ricardo Recio Cardona

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

German Tanks in the Night

The German tanks fighting against Soviet tanks. A rocket flare in the night. Undated photograph, taken by photographer Artur Grimm and published by 'Signal' 19/1942.

Source :
'Signal' magazine 19/1942

Sunday, October 9, 2022

German Panzer Strength in the Operation Barbarossa


German Panzer III tank on the advance in the Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa, summer 1941. Photographer: Artur Grimm.

There are some that believe the sheer numerical superiority of the Red Army and Allies doomed Germany to defeat less than two years after continent wide war resumed in Europe late in 1939. For instance, the vast majority of David Stahel's decade long work posits that the Wehrmacht in general, but the German army (Heer) in particular, had shot their bolt as early as August of 1941. In assessing such claims this article will take a look at the primary component of the German army's striking power - it's panzer divisions. More to the point, I shall examine the state of the tank complement in those panzer divisions assigned to Operation Barbarossa (the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union) after the campaign's first three months. In doing so, I hope to highlight one of many elements (for instance manpower losses in the infantry divisions would be another) that taken together can help readers understand for themselves whether or not the Ostheer (German army in the east) was beyond repair early in the fall of 1941.

The panzer divisions ready to invade the Soviet Union late in June 1941 were at that time the most powerful combined arms organizations in the world. For that matter, the quality of the armor fleshing out those panzer divisions had taken a quantum leap over that of the previous year. Whereas more than half the panzers deployed in France during May of 1940 were light Panzer I and II variants, by June of 1941 fully two thirds of each division's panzer complement comprised the far more capable Pz 35/38t, Panzer III/IV, and StuG (assault guns). Most importantly, the Panzer III, arguably the main battle tank (MBT) of the German army in 1941, had been significantly improved. On the eve of Barbarossa the Panzer III Ausf G to J series served as the majority of medium tanks in Germany's inventory (1,090 of 1,440 Panzer III).These upgraded Panzer III's featured 30mm thicker frontal armor than their predecessors, offering for greater protection. In terms of hitting power the 50mm L/42 cannon represented a huge improvement over the old 37mm gun. From there, the 50mm L/60 main gun equipping the J model Panzer III's (see picture accompanying this article) that went into production in April 1941 had twice the muzzle velocity and thus penetrating power of even the L/42 gun.

In addition, each panzer division gained a motorized infantry regiment. This had increased the division's ability to operate in built up urban areas, guard it's flanks, sweep up bypassed centers of resistance, hold terrain, and ward off counterattacks. Off-road mobility also had improved as the number of half-tracks increased as did firepower further supplemented by the addition of assault guns and anti-aircraft battalions to the panzer divisions. Moreover, previous TO&E calling for two light artillery battalions had been upgraded so that each panzer division also deployed a heavy artillery battalion including a dozen 100mm cannons and 150mm howitzers. As such, the June 1941 era panzer divisions represented a far better balance of infantry, armor, artillery, supporting arms,and thus combined arms strength than did the Polish/French campaign vintage panzer divisions.

In terms of the number of tanks available, by June of 1941, and even with Rommel's Afrika Corps taking 314 panzers, the German army still held a surplus of 974 panzers and assault guns (including 490 Pz 35/38t, Panzer III/IV, and StuG) - and this doesn't include the 312 armored fighting vehicles produced by German factories in that same month. All told, the German army had 6,052 tanks in June 1941 (including those in repair and being upgraded). It's important to note here that sources vary in regards to the actual numbers of panzers/assault guns in the nineteen panzer divisions initially participating in Barbarossa. But, if one excludes those tanks assigned to the forces fighting in the Arctic Circle and includes the StuG assault guns assigned to the eleven assault gun battalions deployed for Barbarossa as well as those weapons given to the Waffen-SS motorized divisions and Motorized Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland; and if one then goes with the most reputable estimates published we end up with over 3,500 panzer/assault guns deployed in Eastern Europe. This number can be further broken down as follows: 337 Panzer I, 890 Panzer II, 155 Panzer 35(t), 625 Panzer 38(t), 973 Panzer III, 439 Panzer IV, 225 Beflpz., 259 StuG. So that's what the Germans were starting with when they invaded the Soviet Union. Now, let's fast forward and look at that state of the panzer division's tank strength in each of the three German Army Groups (North, Center, South) following the brutal fighting that characterized Barbarossa's first three months. If Stahel's thesis is correct then by late in August/early September 1941 these divisions should have become mere shells of their former selves.

Let's start with Army Group North's Fourth Panzergruppe. It began Barbarossa with three panzer divisions (the 1st, 6th, 8th) equipped with 156, 256, and 223 panzers respectively. During the campaign it would be reinforced by additional armored elements from Army Group Center. However, by September 10th, or after Army Group North had reached the gates of Leningrad and five days before the Fourth Panzergruppe headquarters, the headquarters for three motorized corps, and four panzer/motorized divisions began their transfer to Army Group Center for Operation Typhoon, these three panzer divisions had lost 131 tanks as total write-offs (Totalausfalle). This meant that on September 10, 1941 the 1st, 6th, and 8th panzer divisions still retained 123, 196, and 187 panzers or 79, 77, and 84 percent of their respective strengths on June 21, 1941. Moreover, these three panzer division's retained these strength levels in spite of receiving only two replacement tanks from Germany during the entire first three plus months of the campaign. Needless to say, this is hardly indicative of a panzer force in collapse. More to the point, it's the first piece of evidence not only challenging Stahel's claims but leaving us to wonder something else: What had the German high command been doing with the surplus of unassigned armor in Germany's tank park (remember this totalled nearly 1,000 armored fighting vehicles) accumulated on the eve of Barbarossa. Perhaps the answer to that question lies in events elsewhere.

German Army Group Center started Barbarossa as by far the strongest Army Group the Wehrmacht had ever assembled. The Second Panzergruppe began Barbarossa with 1,086 panzers in it's 3rd, 4th, 10th, 17th, and 18th panzer divisions. Meanwhile, the Third Panzergruppe started the campaign with 989 panzers in its 7th, 12th, 19th, and 20th panzer divisions. Between June 22nd and early September these two panzer groups (and their initial 2,075 panzers) had fought a series of massive battles as well as penetrating hundreds of miles into the Soviet Union in dusty, hot summer weather not at all friendly to tank engines. Overall, the heavy fighting and rough conditions had resulted in the two panzer groups writing off as completely destroyed (Totalausfalle) 641 tanks. Yet, in spite of all of that by early September Army Group Center's two panzer groups still had 1,480 panzers available or 71.3% of their initial strength. What's more, only 67 of those tanks were replacement vehicles. One interesting takeaway from this is that of the nearly 1,000 surplus tanks in German stocks on the eve of Barbarossa and with German tank production averaging several hundred tanks per month in the intervening three months by early September of 1941 Army Group North and Army Group Center had received a combined total of only 69 replacement tanks. Now to be fair, at the end of September 1941 Army Group Center received from OKH reserve the entire 2nd and 5th Panzer Divisions with 194 and 186 tanks respectively. In addition, Army Group's North (AGN) and South (AGS) also dispatched three panzer divisions to Army Group Center in September (the 1st and 6th from AGN and the 11th from AGS). Many of these formations were quite strong. For instance the 11th Panzer Division while fighting with Army Group South had started Barbarossa with some 157 panzers, and yet it had only suffered permanent losses of 39 vehicles. This thus still leaves us wondering how it was that the Ostheer was already irrepairably damaged. Maybe Army Group South had been sucking up all the replacement tanks?

Army Group South began Barbarossa spearheaded by the First Panzergruppe, which included a powerful armored complement in the form of the 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th, and 16th Panzer Divisions as well as two battalions of assault guns. All told, 792 tanks and 42 StuG's. As is well known, the Soviet Southwestern Front ranked among the Red Army's most powerful formations in June of 1941. It did not fail to make the First Panzergruppe pay dearly for it's advance deep into the Ukraine. By September of 1941 Army Group South had lost 174 tanks as total write-offs. Nevertheless, early in September of 1941 and with the receipt of 20 replacement tanks from Germany First Panzergruppe still had 614 total available panzers of 78% of it's original strength.

So here we are, early in September of 1941 and the three German Army Group's that had been fighting for three and a half months still had on average well over three quarters of their original strength. This, by the way, is remarkable in and of itself. That's because tanks require a tremendous amount of maintenance to stay in running condition. The lay person often forgets that if a panzer division, or a U.S. armored division, or Soviet Tank Corps has an establishment strength of a certain number that in all likelihood and even in ideal conditions this number is almost never held once that unit takes the field. During the Second World War armored units from all nations moving under their own power at any distance greater than relatively short ranges almost always experienced significant numbers of broken down tanks. Even units equipped with the T-34 or M-4 Sherman, the gold-standard of Second World War era tanks in terms of mechanical reliability, often lost as much as twenty percent of their strength to break downs (regardless of combat losses) on extended cross-country operations over a period of days no less weeks or months.

Accordingly, for the Ostheer's panzer divisions to be operating at an average of three quarters their establishment strengths in armor following three plus months of combat against the Red Army says quite a bit about the supposed terminal decline those same panzer divisions had entered as of the late summer of 1941. Furthermore, the Ostheer's Panzergruppe's were maintaining these relatively high rates of available tanks in spite of having received a mere 89 replacement tanks to replace the losses in their original panzer divisions. Now, and to be fair, in September and October of 1941 the German command finally sent 316 replacement panzers to the Ostheer. But again this leaves unaddressed the question surrounding the bulk of the surpluses, what had been done with them, and thus why they weren't being used to maintain Barbarossa's panzer divisions in peak operating condition.

Addressing that issue we find a number of things happening. First off, the German high command had decided to forgo fully reinforcing Barbarossa's panzer divisions in order to pursue a number of competing and, in this author's opinion, questionable and secondary initiatives. For instance, they had been sending considerable numbers of replacement tanks to the Afrika Corp's two panzer divisions. An Afrika Corps that was at that time doing little more than fighting back and forth against the British and their Commonwealth Allies to see who could control Mussolini's strategically irrelevant Libyan colony. In addition, a larger number yet of Germany's surplus tanks had been redirected to equipping new armored formations being formed in the latter half of 1941, such as the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Panzer Divisions. We also know additional tanks were delivered to Germany's Axis allies - albeit these deliveries included only 184 mostly obsolete models such as the Panzer 38(t). As to this last decision it must be said that it greatly bolstered the strength of Germany's allies and thus represented a wise and, given the numbers and quality of vehicles involved, cheap investment.

Taking all of these decisions together however, a larger picture emerges. For instance, in terms of our understanding, does it seem more likely that Germany lacked the productive capacity to maintain Barbarossa's existing panzer divisions (an idea backed by quantitative based theorists like Stahel) and a development that would mean every additional lost tank in Russia truly represented a slow creeping disaster Germany could not overcome? Or are we seeing that, on the other hand, the German high command had decided to divert resources elsewhere at the expense of the most important campaign in the Third Reich's history? The latter would fit within a qualitative based approach to the war's ouctome as it implicates the way Germany prosecuted the war as a primary factor in her defeat, not the fact that she was massively outproduced by the Allies and Soviet Union.

Now, going back and taking this information presented so far we can see in regards to the Ostheer's panzer divisions during the fall of 1941 that far from having shot their bolt the four panzergruppe's deployed in Russia still retained formidable strength when compared to their original complement of pre-Barbarossa panzers. Furthermore, the only thing in September of 1941 standing between the Ostheer's panzer division's fighting at 100% strength instead of roughly 75% strength in reality were the decisions made by Hitler and OKH/OKW in terms of how they allocated the output of German factories producing more than enough vehicles to keep the Ostheer's tank park fully supplied if that is what they had wanted to accomplish. All of which is indicative not of a Wehrmacht being ground into the dust under the weight of Allied and Soviet numerical superiority as postulated by brute force advocates such as David Stahel, but a German high command whose own decision making was undermining the Axis war effort from within. All of which once again leads us back to the fact that the numbers game many use to show the hopelessness of the German position doesn't add up. Nor does it work for producing a better understanding for why the Second World War ended as it did.

Source :

Saturday, October 8, 2022

German Panzer Crew Work to Free Their Panzer

German panzer crew work to free their Panzer III from frozen mud, Ukraine, late 1941. Photographer: Artur Grimm. During the invasion of Russia, the Wehrmacht lacked necessary supplies, such as winter uniforms, due to the many delays in the German army's movements. At the same time, Hitler's plans for Operation Barbarossa actually miscarried before the onset of severe winter weather. Neither Hitler nor the General Staff anticipated a long campaign lasting into the winter. Thus, they failed to make adequate preparations for a possible winter campaign, such as the distribution of warm clothing and winterization of vehicles and lubricants. In fact his eastern army suffered more than 734,000 casualties (about 23% of its average strength of 3,200,000) during the first five months of the invasion before the winter started. On 27 November 1941, Eduard Wagner, the Quartermaster General of the German Army, reported that "We are at the end of our resources in both personnel and material. We are about to be confronted with the dangers of deep winter." Also of note is the fact that the unusually early winter of 1941 cut short the rasputitsa season, improving logistics in early November, with the weather still being only mildly cold.

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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Panzer Leader Studying Maps

The German tanks fighting against Soviet tanks. The head of the armoured unit studying maps - undated 1942- Photographer: Artur Grimm- Published by: 'Signal' 19/1942.

Source :
SIGNAL magazine

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Ritterkreuz Action of Gerhard Hensel

Gerhard Hensel (24 May 1912 - 26 January 1943) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 26 December 1941 as Oberfeldwebel and Zugführer in 2.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 15 / 11.Panzer-Division. On 29 July 1941 Oberfeldwebel Hensel and his Zug clashed with double the number of enemy tanks near Manjokowka, with Hensel at the spearhead of his unit. Despite the loss of two of his own Panzers Hensel resolved to carry on the battle, and succeeded in eliminating 6 enemy medium tanks with his Panzer. As a result of this deed the march route for the continued advance of the Division was cleared and it could continue its movement without interruption. Hensel would be awarded the Ritterkreuz for this action.

Source :,_Gerhard

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Guderian with a Panzer IV

Generaloberst Heinz Guderian (Oberbefehlshaber Panzergruppe 2) standing beside a Panzerkampfwagen IV of Panzer-Regiment 35 / 4.Panzer-Division, 12 September 1941. The picture was taken in the Eastern Front during Unternehmen Barbarossa, German invasion of Soviet Union.

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Panzer III in Poland 1939

Poland.- Group of tanks standing in a meadow behind a village in Poland, September 1939. The tank in the foreground is a Panzer III Ausf. D with crews in turret. The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Rascheit. Starting the Second World War since the invasion of Poland, Germany had only about a hundred Panzer III tanks, so in the Polish campaign and the battles with the French and British armies in the west, this tank was not so noticeable among the mass of more outdated tanks with which at that time it was armed tank forces Germany. But by the beginning of the eastern campaign of the Wehrmacht, the Pz.III had already become the main tank of the German army. On the Soviet borders on June 22, 1941, there were 965 Panzer III tanks!

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-318-0083-30,_Polen,_Panzer_III_mit_Panzersoldaten.jpg

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Funeral of Regimentskommandeur Gustav-Adolf Riebel

This picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Dieck from Propaganda-Kompanie 694, and it shows the funeral of Oberst Gustav-Adolf Riebel, Kommandeur of Panzer-Regiment 24 / 24.Panzer-Division. Riebel was killed in action by artillery shell on 23 August 1942 whilst commanding his regiment just outside Krasnoarmeyskiy, which is just south of Stalingrad on the Volga bend. He was posthumously promoted to Generalmajor.

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Sunday, May 8, 2022

HQ of Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 40 in Denmark

Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. Bs of 1.Kompanie / Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 40 at the entrance of the Jørgensens Hotel in Horsens, Denmark, which housed the headquarters of the battalion, April 1940. The hotel is located at Søndergade Street no. 17.

Panzer-Abteilung zur besonderen Verwendung 40 (Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 40), translating as "panzer unit for special purpose utilization", was formed on March 8, 1940 for the German invasion of Norway and of Denmark. The unit consisted mostly of Panzer I and Panzer II light tanks. It took part in the invasion of Denmark on 9 April and then was transported to Norway in April 1940.

The unit consisted of an HQ section and three companies, one taken from 3rd, 4th and 5th Panzer Divisions, each with three platoons as the fourth platoon remained with the original division in each case. On April 9, 1940 the unit complement included 69 tanks (42 Panzer I, 21 Panzer II and 6 Panzer I Befehlswagen command tanks.) Most of Panzer I tanks were Ausf A while the Panzer II tanks were primarily the Ausf c variant.

With the invasions on April 9, 1940, the First and Second companies were sent to Denmark while the Third company was sent to Norway aboard the transport ships Urundi and Antaris H.[1] On April 10, 1940 Antaris H was sunk by the Royal Navy submarine HMS Sunfish with the loss of 15 tanks and crew. Only two tanks, a Panzer I and II, arrived in Norway. German forces in Norway were reinforced by the First and Second companies, who embarked on 20 April and arrived on 24 April.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Parade of Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 40 in Oslo

The German military parade of the Panzertruppen (Tank Troops) unit which were held at Karl Johans Gate, Oslo, the capital of Norway, on October 1, 1940. These Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf.B type tanks were from the Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V. 40 led by Oberstleutnant Ernst Volckheim (1898-1962), seen here giving a military salute accompanied by one of his officer. Volckheim is dressed in a black Panzer uniform. The Universitetsplassen square is surrounded by buildings of the University of Oslo.. Ernst Volckheim himself went down in history as one of the founders of the German panzer force, apart from the more famous Heinz Guderian. From 1924 he had written on the theory of tank warfare, drawing on his experiences in the First World War as a member of the Imperial German Tank Corps. Ironically, the one who then received wider publication was Guderian, who had just written his masterpiece, "Achtung Panzer!", only in 1937! This is because it was the latter who introduced the armored unit to German leader Adolf Hitler, who was then so impressed by Guderian's presentation that he immediately said enthusiastically, "This is what I need! This is what I want to have!"

The Norwegian "Aftenposten" newaspaper described the parade on page 2 in its evening issue on Tuesday 1 October 1940, as follows: "German armored vehicles parade on Karl Johan. Just before half past ten this morning, a large German military music corps marched down Karl Johan and lined up just opposite the University on the occasion of German armored vehicles parade for its commander, Colonel Volksheim. It was not long after the band had lined up, before people gathered along the curb to watch the parade. And on the University Stairs, a number of students had gathered, who had a short break between lectures. Before the parade itself, the units that were to participate were gathered on Tullinløkken and marched from there to their tanks, which were meanwhile parked in the side streets. Shortly after, the long wagon column came up in Karl Johan and passed over Drammensveien. When Colonel Volksheim had taken his place, the first tank passed the colonel a moment later, while the music played a military march. Armored car after armored car rolled past on its belts. Different types of passers-by, followed by open cars, which brought everything an armored battalion needs to be effective. When the last carriage in the column had passed, Colonel Volksheim drove away, the music was silent and the parade was over. A few minutes later, the traffic went back to normal on Karl Johan."

Source :

Friday, March 18, 2022

Rommel and Officers of Panzer-Regiment 25

Divisionskommandeur Rommel is having a casual discussion with his officers from the Panzer-Regiment 25 / 7.Panzer-Division near the banks of the river Seine (France), mid-June 1940. From left to right: Major Franz von Lindenau (Kommandeur I.Abteilung / Panzer -Regiment 25), Oberst Karl Rothenburg (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 25), Major Casimir Kentel (Kommandeur II.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 25), Hauptmann Adelbert Schulz (Chef 1.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 25), Generalmajor Erwin Rommel (Kommandeur 7. Panzer-Division), and Major iG Otto Heidkämper (Ia Erster Generalstabsoffizier 7. Panzer-Division). In the Battle of France, 7. Panzer-Division was equipped with outdated Czechoslovakian tanks (some of them are visible in the background). The division, resuming its advance on 5 June, drove for the River Seine to secure the bridges near Rouen. Advancing 100 kilometres (62 mi) in two days, the division reached Rouen to find the bridges destroyed. From here they moved north, blocking the westward route to Le Havre and the Operation Cycle evacuations and forcing over 10,000 men of the 51st (Highland) Division, French 9th Army Corps and other supporting troops to surrender at Saint-Valery-en-Caux on 12 June.

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1972-045-08,_Westfeldzug,_Rommel_bei_Besprechung_mit_Offizieren.jpg

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Two Regimentskommandeur of Grossdeutschland


Oberst der Reserve Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche (left, Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment "Grossdeutschland") standing in front of his Panzerbefehlswagen's "three-ruble note" with number 0. To the right of Strachwitz is Oberstleutnant Karl Lorenz (Kommandeur Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Grossdeutschland"). This picture was taken in the summer of 1943 in the Eastern Front, during Unternehmen Zitadelle (Battle of Kursk). At the beginning of 1943, Panzer-Abteilung "Grossdeutschland" was upgraded into a tank regiment. At first, the commander's tanks carried two-digit tactical numbers: "01", "02", "03". And already in the summer of the same year, their numbering changed and in the Battle of Kursk the "befehl" of the regimental headquarters carried the numbers: "0", "01", "02". The same numbering, it seems, remained until the end of the war. At least for the summer of 1944, two command Panthers of the regiment headquarters with the numbers "0" and "01" are known. The battalion headquarters apparently had "classic" numbers with Roman numerals I and II.

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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Heinz Guderian Listening to His Subordinate



Generaloberst Heinz Guderian (Oberbefehlshaber Panzergruppe 2) looked serious while listening to the explanation from Major Heinz-Werner Frank (Kommandeur Panzerjäger-Abteilung 521). Behind Guderian stood Oberstleutnant Otto Büsing (Adjutant Panzergruppe 2). Büsing would later awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 21 November 1942 as Commander of the Panzer-Regiment 39. This photo itself was taken in September 1941 during the Unternehmen Barbarossa (German invasion of the Soviet Union).
Source :

Sunday, December 19, 2021

German Panzers in Poland 1939

Poland, on the Brda river.- Panzer soldiers on German Panzer Is and Panzer IIs, along with a medium Schützenpanzer half-track Sd.Kfz. 251/3. The officer in the halftrack vehicle might be Heinz Guderian. The picture was taken circa 3 September 1939 [Date of release?]. Germany declared war on Poland on Friday, September 1, 1939, and attacked with massed motorized columns of armor, infantry, artillery and waves of bombers and fighters in what was dubbed the Blitzkrieg (“Lightning War”). On Sunday, two days later, while German troops continued to pour into Poland, France and Britain declared war on Germany and proceeded to launch no major military land operations in what came to be known as the Sitzkrieg (“Sitting War"), a play on the word Blitzkrieg.

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1976-071-36,_Polen,_an_der_Brahe,_deutsche_Panzer.jpg

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Soldiers of Panzer-Regiment 5

Panzersoldaten (tank soldiers) of the 5.Kompanie / II.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 5 / 3.Panzer-Division in front of the entrance to the accommodation with a sign for "Panzer-Rgt. 5, 5. Komp.". The picture was taken in 1936. The original caption is read: "Ein Tag beim Panzerregiment Wünsdorf. Auf zum Dienst. Neben und über dem Eingang das Hoheitsabzeichen und das Kampfwagenabzeichen zur Erinnerung an die Tankwaffe im Weltkriege." (A day at the Panzer-Regiment Wünsdorf. Off to do the duty. Next to and above the entrance is the national emblem and the chariot emblem, in memory of the tank gun in the World War).

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S07964

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Divisionskommandeur Rommel with Panzer 35(t) in France

Generalmajor Erwin Rommel with map and binoculars on foot on the way to the Scarpe section, while Panzer 35(t)s is waiting on the left. The picture was taken around the end of May or beginning of June 1940 at Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1998-043-20A