Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tiger Tanks Transported on Railway Carts

A group of Heavy Tiger I tanks being transported on railway carts to the front. The first tank has number '223' show this could be Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505. The photo is dated 2 November 1943. The original caption says: "In Gegenangriff geworfen. Bei den schweren abwehrkämpfen im Osten müssen oft in kürzester zeit umgruppierungen schweren waffen vergenomen werden. Hier werden Tiger panzer in einen gefährlichen frontabschnitt geworfen. Ihre durchschlagende kampfkraft wird auch hier keine entscheidende erfolge des eindes gestretten." (Thrown into counterattack. During the heavy defensive battles in the east, heavy weapons often have to be regrouped in a very short time. Here Tiger tanks are thrown into a dangerous section of the front. Your resounding combat strength will not save any decisive successes of the one here either)

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Panzerjäger Leutnant Arrested by the Canadians

A well decorated German Leutnant, member of Panzerjäger (Tank Hunter) unit, arrested by the Canadian army on 13 April 1945 in Netherlands. He have the Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse ribbon in his lapel, while in his uniform is pinned Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse, Allgemeines-Sturmabzeichen and Verwundetenabzeichen in Silber. He is also wearing the Kuban Shield in his sleeve.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Panzer IV Carrying Fuel Drums

Das Reich Panzer IVs in Normandy. The lead tank carries two supplementary fuel drums, in the Russian style. These were removed during operations.

Source :
"German Armor in Normandy" by Yves Buffetaut

Panzer IV of Hitlerjugend in Flanders

A Superb photograph of a Panzer IV from II.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 / 12.SS-Panzer-Division "Hitlerjugend". As the numbers on the turret indicate, it is the fifth tank of 2nd platoon of the 6th Company. The architecture of the house in the background is typical of Flanders, and confirms the location of the scene, photographed in early 1944. The infantry hitching a ride are not Waffen-SS.

Source :
"German Armor in Normandy" by Yves Buffetaut

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Story of Marder III in North Africa

Rare Colour Picture of German Marder III (7.5cm PaK40.3 auf PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf H - Sd.Kfz. 138 Model) Tank Destroyers in Tunisia. Probably newly arrived and prepared to be sent to the front packed with gasoline drums and jerrycans. An unknown number of 7,5cm Pak40/3 auf Pz.38(t) Ausf.H (Sd.Kfz 138) did make it to Tunisia, and the only known units thus far to be known to have this vehicle was the 2.Kompanie / Panzerjäger-Abteilung 39 and the schwere Schwadron / Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 580. There is another image title "North Africa-unknown date. Vehicle captured in Tunis" on page 24 of the Zimmerit Press booklet by David V. Nielsen entitled 'Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)' which shows a 7,5cm Pak40/3 auf Pz.38(t) Ausf.H (Sd.Kfz 138). There appears that the DAK palm tree is located on the right side of the front plate and on the left there is a tactical symbol that looks like the front of an elephant's head. While the tactical marking, is for a Kavallerie Aufklärungs-Abteilung. It seems that units of the 90. leichte Afrika-Division carried some variations on the elephant theme of troop markings, (i.e. the 7,62cm FK auf SdKfz6, w/ H.Pz.Jg.Abt.605 etc.), so it is possibly belongs to the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 580.BTW, an excellent reference on how the shade of RAL8000 looked like on the Hull and Wheels, RAL8020 on the Jerrycans, in addition to their fuel stowage!

After the failed Italian attack on the British positions in Egypt, Mussolini was desperate to convince Hitler to send military aid to his shattered forces in Africa.

Initially, Hitler was not interested in the Mediterranean. He reluctantly decided to help his ally and sent an armored force under the leadership of Erwin Rommel.

The Germans quickly found out that, beside the famous ‘88’ (88 mm Flak gun), the standard 3.7 cm and short 5 cm anti-tank weapons struggled against the well armored British Matilda tank.

A number of captured and modified 7.62 mm PaK 36(r) guns were also sent to the North African front. One great issue with this weapons was the low mobility on a front were speed was essential for success. Several solutions to this problem were tested, like the Sd.Kfz..6 armed with the 7.62 mm PaK 36(r) in a box shape casemate and the experimental half-tracks armed with the 7.5 cm L/41 gun.
Before sending the new Marder to Africa, it was necessary to adapt them for service in the African desert. In March 1942, one Marder III was equipped and tested with sand filters. The tests were successful and later vehicles sent to Africa would have these filters. The number of vehicles sent ranges from 66 to 117 (depending on the sources).

The first Marder IIIs (6 x Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r) - Sd.Kfz. 139] arrived to North Africa in May 1942, with the last one arriving in November 1942. The freshly arrived Marder IIIs were used to reinforce and equip anti-tank battalions of the 15th and 21th Panzer Divisions.

By late October 1942, the 15th Panzer Division had at its disposal some 16 Marder III [Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r) - Sd.Kfz. 139]. All were allocated to the 33rd Anti-Tank Battalion, together with a number of towed 5 cm PaK 38 anti-tank guns. After the British attack at El Alamein at the end of October 1942, the 33rd Anti-Tank Battalion was under a heavy attack. It managed to inflict some heavy damage to the British advance units but it also suffered losses. Almost all the Marder IIIs were lost, except one.

In September 1942, the 39th Anti-Tank Battalion of the 21st Panzer Division had around 17 PaK 38 guns and 18 Marder IIIs divided between two Kompanien (1st and the 2nd). There is little information on this unit’s participation in the Battle for Alam Halfa (October-September 1942). In late October 1942, during the British counterattack at El Alamein, all 18 Marder III vehicles were reported to be still operational. By the 25th of October, this unit was pulled out into reserve. The next day, the 2nd Kompanie was sent to the north to help stop a British attack while the 1st Kompanie was located to the south.

By the end of October, the 39th Anti-Tank Battalion was heavily involved in fighting, trying to free some encircled units of the 164th Light Division. On the 4th of November, the surviving German forces were forced to retreat. The 39th Anti-Tank Battalion lost all its Marder IIIs and had only a few 5 cm PaK’s left. By December, the 21st Panzer Division had only two Marders III, which were not even fit for action.

In March 1943, after some resting time, the 39th Anti-Tank Battalion was reformed and reinforced. The 1st Kompanie received 9 Marder IIIs [Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r) - Sd.Kfz. 139] and the 2nd Kompanie received Marder III Ausf.H [7.5 cm PaK 40/3 auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H, Sd.Kfz. 138]. They fought in Tunisia until the Axis surrender in May.

The 10th Panzer Division was pulled out from the Eastern Front and after some time resting was reinforced with 9 Marders III [with 7.5 cm PaK 40/3 auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H, Sd.Kfz. 138] in July 1942 (90th Anti-Tank Battalion).

The 10th Panzer Division was sent to the North African front in November 1942. In Africa, this unit was engaged in many battles against the British and newly-arrived American forces and the losses were heavy. The last Marder III was reported lost in March 1943.

Source :

Panzer Ace Karl Brommann



Denis J. Horgan (the owner of the picture above): "Karl Brommann was another Panzer man who welcomed me into his home with my friend Peter Mooney. We spent a whole day with him and his wife. He joined the SS in 1937 and served in Totenkopf Standarte 2 and in 1939 joined the Totenkopf Artillery Regiment. In August 1940 he transferred to KG Nord and served in Finland in 1941 where he was seriously wounded. In May 1943 he transferred again , this time to the Nordland Division where he was in the Panzer Regiment. Brommann was wounded several times during the war and was holder of the wound badge in gold. While attached to SS Panzer Abteilung 503 he destroyed over 60 Soviet tanks between February and March 1945. On March 26 he destroyed six Josef Stalin tanks in one engagement. Later that day he was again injured and his war was over. He was removed to hospital and taken POW by the British on May 21, 1945. On April 29, 1945 he was awarded the Ritterkreuz for his actions. I have a collection of material which Karl gave me about the operation and actions of his unit 503, hopefully in the future when I have time I post up this material . The photos I am posting were given to me by Karl the day I met him with Peter."

Source :
Denis J. Horgan photo collection

Ritterkreuz Award Ceremony of Karl Nicolussi-Leck

 Photo of SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Paetsch (Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking") and SS-Obersturmführer Karl Nicolussi-Leck (Chef 8.Kompanie / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"), possibly taken on the day Karl (right) receiving his Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 9 April 1944 while serving in the 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking". Paetsch would get his own Ritterkreuz on 23 August 1944 while serving with 10. SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg". Paetsch, went from being an Anti-Tank Company Commander, to a Recce Battalion Commander, to a Heavy Tank Battalion Commander to a Panzer-Regiment Commander. A phenomenal record by any standard! He also served as the Ic (military intelligence and counterespionage) staff officer for the Wiking Division during the first six months the division fought in the Soviet Union. As the Ic, he was privy to the knowledge of many things happening at the front and in the division rear area involving partisans and other segments of the Soviet civilian population. This photo was signed by Karl Nicolussi-Leck.

Source :
Denis J. Horgan photo collection

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Panzer IV of Panzer-Abteilung 8



This slide is from the estate of Siegfried Keller, which belonged to Panzer-Abteilung 8. The Panzer-Abteilung 8 was formed in October 1943 as replacement for the destroyed Panzer-Regiment 8 and was assigned to 20. Panzergrenadier-Division. The detachment was established in late 1943, and there is no information about Keller's previous career. This tank, Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G, chassis number 82849, was sent to the unit in May 1942. The entire surface is factory painted in Tropen 2 scheme, but inside of the hatches remain gray as seen, and it suggests that gray painted parts was assembled at the factory and painted in Tropen 2 before shipment. The gun tube was later installed, therefore the gray primer color is retained. The spare wheel at the front is in red primer but when you look at it closely the center hub is painted in Tropen 2. Other interesting features like red cross painted on the superstructure front, light gray fire extinguisher, etc.

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Bio of Oberstleutnant Karl Roßmann


Karl Roßmann (November 23, 1916 in Kempten - April 1, 2002 in Bad Kreuznach).

He joined Flak-Regiment 5 on April 1, 1936 as a Fahnenjunker (Officer Cadet). On September 1, 1937, he was transferred as Oberfähnrich to the II.Bataillon (Flak) / Regiment "General Göring". He was promoted to Leutnant on April 1, 1938. In the summer of 1939, he and his unit were dispatched to the Führer's Headquarters, where they provided anti-aircraft cover for Adolf Hitler's trips to the front lines. On April 1, 1940, he was promoted to Oberleutnant and in early 1941 went on to command the 16th Battery of the Flak-Regiment Hermann Göring.

On August 2, 1941, as the Battle of Uman came to an end, the encircled Soviet forces attempted a desperate breakout at night. One of the German units on their way, located between Uman and Slatopol near the town of Swerdlikowo, was the Batterie Roßmann along with a handful of infantry, including troops from the SS "Wiking" Division. This small force, under the command of Roßmann himself, was able to withstand all attacks for 14 hours and thus played an important role in ensuring the destruction of the trapped 6th, 12th and elements of the 18th Soviet Armies. For this act he would receive the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 12 November 1941.

In late 1941, he and his unit were transferred to France. On July 1, 1942, he was promoted to Hauptmann (captain) and appointed Commander of the I. Abteilung of the Panzer Regiment Hermann Göring. With this unit he fought in Sicily and later in Italy. On January 1, 1944 he was promoted to Major and in June 1944 he was appointed Commander of the Reconnaissance Detachment "Hermann Göring". But already in October 1944 he took over the former I. Abteilung from him in the Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiment "Hermann Göring". His next employment was in East Prussia, at the Russian bridgehead on the Vistula near Warka. On February 1, 1945, as Major and Commander of Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiments 1, he received the Eichenlaub for the Ritterkreuz. On March 1, 1945 he was promoted to Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel). Towards the end of the war, Roßmann and his unit withdrew across the Oder and Neiße rivers and surrendered to American forces to avoid capture by the Red Army.

Roßmann died on April 1, 2002 in Bad Kreuznach

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Panther Recovery


Panther Ausf. D being hooked up to a German tank recovery vehicle, Soviet Union, 1943-44. They're changing the engine and need to move around to the front for the transmission. Either job is a lot of hassle. Tank engines from this era pretty much universally had very short lives, with most tanks only having an engine lifespan of a few hundred hours before needing to be replaced. The worst offender was the early T-34/76s, which only had a lifespan of about 100 hours! The tank itself is from 23. Panzer-Division attached to Kampfgruppe Bäke, and was taken at the end of the Korsun-Cherkassy battles, probably late February/early March 1944. Photograph is credited to Wolff & Tritschler

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German Panzers Ready to Cross a Pontoon Bridge



Interesting photo of a German panzer unit on the approaches to the blown bridge at Kremenchug, Ostfront. At left we can see a temporary bridge built to get across. German Army pioniere were pretty experienced at this point at quickly constructing sturdy pontoons for armored units. The truck has the symbol of "Werkstattwagen" (repair company). According to Axel Urbanke, the slide of this traffic jam at the makeshift bridge next to the blown up Dnjeper bridge near Kremenchug was taken by Obergefreiter Joseph Kleinhenz from the Brückenbau-Bataillon 751 in August 1941. The tanks could belong to the 13. Panzer Division. They have little yellow tower numbers. Its a slide of big group (320 slides) of this soldier. All slides are well labeled. Later this unit was transferred to Heeresgruppe Nord.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Waffen-SS StuG Unit


There is no information about the unit of this Waffen-SS soldiers. It's either the 1. SS-Infanterie Brigade or the SS-Kavallerie Division, but in the winter of 1943/44 regardless. The photographer was named Ahrens, and there were several Waffen-SS war reporters with that name (both units had one of them). Both units also had a single battery of around 10 Sturmgeschützs.


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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sd.Kfz.222 of 2. Panzer-Division during Balkanfeldzug



An Sd.Kfz.222 from Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 of 2. Panzer-Division is seen with its crew in Balkan during Balkanfeldzug, spring 1941. Later after the campaign, surviving armored vehicles of 1.Schwadron were lost in the sinking of"Marburg" and "Kybfels" by the sea mines.

Some unit names were used by different organizations during the war. Names of Aufklärungs-Abteilungen are good examples. One must be careful when reading and writing about these units! Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 was a unit of 5.Infanterie-Division (later 5. Jäger-Division) since August 1939. It was renamed to Radfahr-Abteilung 5 in May 1942, but renamed back to its original name in1943. Confusing enough another "Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5" was in existence since October 1935, which later in March 1940 renamed to Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 until it was disbanded in August 1941. This unit was organic to 2.Panzer-Division. The name was succeeded by the new Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 in 1943, renamed from Kradschützen-Bataillon 55. This unit was organic to 5.Panzer-Division.

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection

Oberst Rudolf Sieckenius in his Command Tank


Oberst Rudolf Sieckenius (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 2 / 16.Panzer-Division). Oberst Sieckenius on his command tank "0", summer 1942. Oberst Sieckenius had been commanding his Panzer regiment of 16.Panzer-Division since May 1941 and had won Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes for his achievement on 17 September 1941. He would escape the Stalingrad tragedy and would be commanding reestablished 16.Panzer-Division next year as a Generalmajor. His command tank had been painted in dark gray but was camo'ed with one of Tropen brown colors in thick bands.

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Panzer III with Soldiers in the Eastern Front

Ostfront. Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf.J with long 5cm main gun. It has double layered tracked on the turret side. Unusual. On the Pz.III turret, you can see helmets hanging, canteens, and a mess kit. Please note the soldier with the MG 34: the buttstock has metal reinforcement on the top and bottom!

Source :
ECPAD Archives (courtesy of Blanluet Christophe)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Award Ceremony of 11. Panzer-Division

These pictures shows award ceremony of 11. Panzer-Division during Unternehmen Barbarossa, summer of 1941. The recipients received Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse and Kriegsverdienstkreuz II.Klasse mit Schwertern.

Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division).

Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division) with his officers.

Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division) gives the award to his soldiers.

 Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division) with all of the recipients in an award ceremony of the division. 6th from left (wearing sidecap) is Oberstleutnant Gustav-Adolf Riebel (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 15 / 11.Panzer-Division)

 Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division) speaking in front of the member of his division. At right wearing black Panzer uniform is Oberstleutnant Gustav-Adolf Riebel (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 15 / 11.Panzer-Division)

Four new recipients of the Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse (left) and Kriegsverdienstkreuz II.Klasse mit Schwertern. Wearing black Panzer uniform at far right is Oberstleutnant Gustav-Adolf Riebel (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 15 / 11.Panzer-Division).

 Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (left, Kommandeur 11. Panzer-Division) with one of his officer.

 A new recipient of Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse from 11. Panzer-Division. He is already sported SA-Treffen Braunschweig 1931 Badge and SA-Sportabzeichen in his uniform.

 The new recipient of Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse from 11. Panzer-Division (which also a member of Sturmabteilung if you look at his SA-Treffen Braunschweig 1931 Badge and SA-Sportabzeichen in his uniform) chats with an officer from Sonderführer Z (left)

Other new recipients of Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse from 11. Panzer-Division

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Ritterkreuz Award Ceremony for Panzergraf

Ritterkreuz award ceremony of Major der Reserve Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz (Kommandeur I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 2 / 16.Panzer-Division), which was given by Generalmajor Hans-Valentin Hube (Kommandeur 16. Panzer-Division). The "Panzergraf" won this prestigious bravery medal on 25 August 1941 in the Eastern Front, as a reward for his leadership in the battle against the Red Army on 2-3 August previously. As a part of Kampfgruppe Wagner, Panzergraf has a decisive role in the efforts of the German troops to conquer the city of Pervomaisk in Ukraine, a critical road junction for the Soviets. Strachwitz's Panzer Battalion carried out an attack from the north, which later managed to destroy the defense of the Russian troops, a major contribution towards the victorious outcome of this battle. In this photo, we can see that General Hube only used his right arm when awarded the medal so it had to be helped by his aide. This is because he only has one arm, while his left hand has been lost since the Great War (and then replaced by artificial arm). Interestingly, Strachwitz and Hube would later become the two of only 27 people throughout the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS who won the fourth grade of the Ritterkreuz: Brillanten. Strachwitz received the medal on 15 April 1944, while Hube got it five days later, on 20 April 1944.

From left to right: Generalmajor Hans-Valentin Hube (Kommandeur 16. Panzer-Division) and Oberstleutnant Rudolf Sieckenius (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 2 / 16.Panzer-Division). Hube had previously received the same medal on 1 August 1941, while Sieckenius got it a few weeks later after this photo was taken (17 September 1941).

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Aufklärungs-Abteilung 7 in a Snowy Street

This Sd.Kfz.221 of Aufklärungs-Abteilung 7 (motorisiert) of the 4. Panzer-Division moves down a snowed-over street while a crowd of curious civilians observes

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection
"Tip of the Spear: German Armored Reconnaissance in Action in World War II" by Robert J. Edwards

Waffen-SS Panzer Reconnaissance Troops in Color

SS-Armoured Crews in front of an Sd.kfz.222

Source :
Book "Tip of the Spear: German Armored Reconnaissance in Action in World War II" by Robert J. Edwards, Michael H. Pruett and Michael Olive

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The History of Black Panzer Uniform

With an effective date of 12 November 1934, special-purpose clothing was authorized for service on German armored vehicles. It was designed to replaced the previous special-purpose uniform worn by the motorized forces. The branch-of-service color chosen for the new branch was rose pink. The branch-of-service color appeared along the edge of the jacket collar (later discarded), around the collar patches, on the shoulder straps (enlisted personnel) and as underlay on the boards (officers). The crash helmet/beret had only national insignia on it, but the field cap for both officers and enlisted, whether in field gray or black, had branch-of-service piping on it as well (also later officially discarded). Initially, both the field jacket and the crash helmet/beret combination had no national insignia. Effective 11 November 1935, the national insignia started to be worn on both items.

 "Panzers in the Sand: The History of Panzer-Regiment 5" by Bernd Hartmann