Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Panthers Transported on the Rail

Two Panzerkampfwagen V Panthers transported on the rail. The picture was taken at Mailly le camp, Aube, France, circa 1944. Departure for Normandy?

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Panzer-Regiment 31 at Vyazma

PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 697 operated under the name Panzerfaust-PK. The black-and-white photos they took of Panzer-Regiment 31 (part of 5. Panzer-Division) at Wjasma (pronounced in German) were later featured in a double-page spread in action magazine and became extremely famous, sparking a lot of color discussion. Akira Takiguchi photo collection.

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection

Friday, September 8, 2023

Funeral of Johannes Kümmel, Kommandeur of Panzer-Regiment 26

Leutnant Walter Friedl Spohn (Zugführer in 5.Kompanie / II.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 26 / 26.Panzer-Division) is holding the Ordenskissen (medal pillow) of Eichenlaubträger Johannes Kümmel, during the latter's funeral ceremony in Nettuno, Italian Front, March 1944. Oberstleutnant Kümmel was veteran of the campaigns in Africa who became the Commander of Panzer-Regiment 26 in September 1943. On 30 January 1944, Kümmel's regiment was part of the attacking force, which was to destroy the American landing at Anzio-Nettuno but failed. Second attack on the enemy forces was to take place on 27 February 1944, but Kümmel didn't take part in as the day earlier he was killed in a road accident near Cisterna. Leutnant Spohn himself is also Afrikakorps veteran who was born in the same year as his Regimentskommandeur (1909) and both served in Panzer-Regiment 8 during the war in Africa. Spohn received the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold on 7 February 1943 (the medal which can be seen half-visible in his uniform). The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Eberhard Dohm of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 699.

Source :,_Italien,_bei_Nettuno.jpg

Officers of Panzer-Regiment 8 in North Africa

Afrikakorps officers conferred in the North African desert. Wearing monocle in the middle is Oberst Hans Cramer (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 8 / 15.Panzer-Division), while at right is Hauptmann Johannes Kümmel (Chef 1.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 8 / 15.Panzer-Division). The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Klemens Valtingojer of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) "Afrika", between July 1941 and April 1942.

Source :,_Nordafrika,_Offiziere_bei_Besprechung.jpg

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Bio of Panzer Commander Johannes Kümmel (1909-1944)

Johannes Kümmel was born in Coswig, Saxony on July 21st of 1909. He joined the Reichswehr in 1928 and quickly obtained a rank of Unteroffizer (Junior NCO). Kümmel remained in the military as the Reichswehr became the new Wehrmacht and in 1938 was transferred to the newly formed 8th Panzer Regiment of the 10th Panzer Division at Boblingen near Stuttgart, southwestern Germany. In 1939, he was promoted to the rank of Oberfeldwebel (First Sergeant) and received the command of panzer platoon in the 1st Company. He commanded the unit during the Polish Campaign and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on September 27th of 1939. Johannes Kümmel received the award as a recognition for taking part in numerous operation including knocking out three Polish light tanks (or probably tankettes). On October 20th of 1939, after the conclusion of the Polish Campaign, Kümmel was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class for knocking out four more enemy tanks during the campaign. Soon after, he was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant).

On April 1st of 1940, Johannes Kümmel was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (Captain) and received the command of the 1st Company of 8th Panzer Regiment. During the German offensive in the West of 1940, 10th Panzer Division was part of Guderian's XIX Panzer Corps, which broke through at Sedan, fought in the Low Countries and France, finally reaching the English Channel. Kümmel as the commander of the company remained at the frontlines and on June 5th of 1940, was slightly wounded when a mine blew up his tank.

After the defeat of France on June 25th of 1940, Germany was forced to help Italian ally in their unsuccessful struggle against the British in North Africa. On January 18th of 1941, 8th Panzer Regiment was transferred to the 15th Panzer Division (formed on February 1st of 1940). The division along with 5th Leichte (Panzer) Division formed new Deutsches Afrika Korps (German Africa Corps) commanded by Erwin Rommel, destined for Tripoli. On February 14th of 1941, leading elements 5th Leichte (Panzer) Division along with their commander Erwin Rommel landed in Tripoli and were joined in early May by 15th Panzer Division. Germans found Italians to be demoralized by the defeats inflicted upon them by British from May of 1940 during fighting in Cyrenaica (Operation Compass). The 8th Panzer Regiment had 20 Panzerkampfwagen IV, 71 Panzerkampfwagen III and 55 Panzerkampfwagen I, Panzerkampfwagen II and command tanks.

On June 15th of 1941, British under General Wavell launched Operation Battleaxe and again fighting took place in Cyrenaica. At Halfaya Pass, which has been converted to defensive strongpoint, Hauptmann Wilhelm Bach and his group held his position, while Italian Division Trento held area Sollum-Capuzzo-Bardia under the command of 15th Panzer Division. Johannes Kümmel and 8th Panzer Regiment with some 80 tanks were in reserve between Bardia and Capuzzo. British moved towards Capuzzo and Sollum, while attacking Bardia with 50 tanks from 7th Armored Division. The attack was temporarily halted by a single 88mm gun, which destroyed three leading enemy tanks. The rest of British tanks halted their attack to regroup and attack again under cover of smoke. This delay allowed the 8th Panzer Regiment to reach the area of Capuzzo and attack the enemy with the 1st Panzer Battalion including Kümmel's company with two short-barrel Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks. They soon knocked-out one British Matilda II and reinforced by company's Panzerkampfwagen III tanks continued to fire at the enemy armor. Fierce tank battle resulted and Johannes Kümmel found himself in the center of it all. During the battle, panzer commanded by Oberleutnant Peters was hit and he called Kümmel to ask for covering fire, while leaving their panzer. Johannes Kümmel soon found himself firing at two enemy tanks, which kept firing to finish off Peters' panzer. He soon knocked them out and regrouped his company to attack British anti-tank positions. German panzer destroyed the enemy positions and the battle soon involved the entire 8th Panzer Regiment. Then, another group of 20 British Matilda IIs were spotted on the flank and regiment's commander Hans Cramer ordered Johannes Kümmel to attack the enemy and protect the flank. With half of his company including two Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks, Kümmel soon knocked out eight enemy tanks, putting an end to the British attack. British advance was halted but both sides suffered heavy losses. Following the action, on June 18th, Kümmel received his nickname: "Der Löwe von Capuzzo" (The Lion of Capuzzo) and his tank was decorated with the "roaring lion" by his fellow soldiers. On July 9th of 1941, Kümmel was awarded the Knight's Cross following the recommendation by the commander of the 15th Panzer Division Generalleutnant Neumann-Silkow himself for his heroic action.

In May of 1942, Johannes Kümmel was given the command of 1st Panzer Battalion in time of the German offensive in Cyrenaica and into Egypt - Operation Theseus, which was launched on May 26th of 1942. On June 15th, Kümmel tanks reached the coast and by the evening took Port Piastrino. On June 21st of 1942, Tobruk garrison surrenders to Rommel's forces. Following the fall of Tobruk, three more offensive took place, two launched by the British to drive the Axis out of Egypt and Cyrenaica and one by the Germans to drive into Egypt. Before the last British offensive, on October 11th of 1942, Kümmel was awarded the Oakleaves to his Knight's Cross. In November of 1942, he was given the command of Panzer Battalion and on December 1st, received a promotion to the rank of Major. Following his promotion, Kümmel was transferred to Southern Italy.

Back, in Europe, Kümmel was promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) and was assigned at the Headquarters of XIV Panzer Corps under General Hans Valentin Hube in Southern Italy. In October of 1943, he received command of 26th Panzer Regiment of the 26th Panzer Division, which fought at Salerno and Cassino areas. On January 30th, Kümmel's regiment was part of the attacking force, which was to destroy the enemy landing at Anzio-Nettuno but failed. Second attack on the enemy forces was to take place on February 27th of 1944, but Kümmel didn't take part in as the day earlier he was killed in a road accident near Cisterna. On May 20th of 1944, Johannes Kümmel was posthumously promoted to the rank of Oberst (Colonel). In his memory, there was a plate erected in his hometown of Boblingen on April 7th of 1943, honoring Johannes Kümmel as the holder of Knight's Cross with Oakleaves.


Source :

Monday, June 5, 2023

Panzer-Abteilung 65 Officer in France 1940

This photo was taken by Kriegsberichter Erich Borchert and it shows officers from the 6. Panzer-Division having a discussion during the military campaign in France, summer of 1940. Behind them is a medium tank of the Czechoslovakian-made Panzer 35(t) type. Standing in the center wearing the kradmantel is Major Hans-Karl Schenck (Kommandeur Panzer-Abteilung 65), while pointing beside him is Hauptmann Erich Löwe (Chef 3.Kompanie / Panzer-Abteilung 65). The book "Panzer-Regiment 11 / Panzer-Abteilung 65 1937-1945" by Michael Schadewitz (page 162) mentioned that on June 12, 1940 - in the middle of the advance of German troops in France and for unknown reasons - Major Schneck was withdrawn from the front and was replaced by Major Theodor Kretschmer. Schenck himself was later transferred to become Commander of the Panzertruppenschule, a position that was "less exciting" for a combat soldier! For his services in completely capturing a strategic bridge on the Oise canal, capturing French 9th Army staff officers at La Catelet and capturing the village of Doullens from enemy hands, Hauptmann Löwe was awarded the prestigious Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes medal on 4 September 1940.

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-769-0236-27
"Allied-Axis" issue 10 - Sturmgeschütz at the Front

Sunday, May 7, 2023

The surrender of Panzer-Brigade Norwegen to British and Norwegian troops in Norway (June 1945)

Mute edited footage originally shot by US Signal Corps cameramen showing men serving with Panzer-Brigade-Norwegen handing over their tanks and  self-propelled guns to British army and Norwegian MILORG personnel  in the Akershus district outside Oslo circa 10 June 1945 following the unconditional surrender of all German forces in Norway the previous month.

The location is Trandum, the site of a former Norwegian Army training camp. The British officer seen taking the surrender of the commanding officer of Panzer-Brigade-Norwegen (and his adjutant) has been identified as Lt-Colonel O J O'Connor.

The tanks seen in this film are late-mark  Panzer III medium tanks armed with either short-barrelled 7.5cm L/24 cannon or the long-barrelled 5cm L/60 cannon and have been fitted with "Schuetzen"  8mm armour plates as protection for their turrets and also in several instances seen here to their hull sides against hollow-charge projectiles. By 1945, the Panzer III was regarded as obsolete by German panzer commanders but no doubt the German garrison in Norway, denied access to more powerful tanks by the Nazi high command on the grounds they were needed on war fronts where combat was taking place, found their presence in its order of battle reassuring.

Many Panzer IIIs and a smaller number of Sturmgeschutz III 7.5cm assault guns were re-acrivated for use by Norwegian armoured units in 1948 and they remained in  service until their replacement by US M24 Chaffee light tanks in 1951.

The brigade commander, Oberst Georg Maetschke, can be seen at 1:57.

Source :
Simon Orchard photo collection

Sunday, April 9, 2023

German Tanks in the Belgium Countryside

Western campaign, advance. tanks with mounted crew (wearing protective caps a.k.a. panzer beret) in the West (Belgium). The picture was taken in May 1940 by Kriegsberichter Wanderer of KBK Lw 4 (Kriegsberichter-Kompanie Luftwaffe 4).

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-382-0250-02

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Wiking Panzergrenadiers in Kovel

Heroic battle for Kovel: German medium tanks entered a village held by the Bolsheviks and knocked out the Soviets. now the SS-Panzergrenadiers of the 5. SS-Panzer--Division "Wiking" push up to break the Bolshevik encirclement. The picture was taken in the early spring 1944.

Source :

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Battle of Kasserine Pass

This picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Seinig, and it shows German Panzer IIIs of 10. Panzer-Division in the Battle of the Kasserine Pass.  The Battle of Kasserine Pass was a significant military engagement during World War II that took place in the Kasserine Pass, located in western Tunisia, in February 1943. The battle was fought between German and Italian forces under the command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and the Allied forces of the United States, led by General Lloyd Fredendall. The battle began on February 14, 1943, when the German forces launched a surprise attack on the US troops, catching them off guard and causing chaos and confusion. The inexperienced US soldiers were outmatched by the experienced German troops and suffered heavy casualties as they were pushed back. Over the next several days, the Germans continued their advance, and it seemed as though the Allies would be defeated. However, General George Patton was brought in to take command of the situation, and he immediately set about reorganizing the US forces and implementing new tactics. Under Patton's leadership, the US forces were able to turn the tide of the battle. They began to make progress against the German forces and were eventually able to push them back, securing a victory for the Allies. Although the Allied forces suffered significant losses during the battle, it was a turning point in the war and marked the first major defeat of the Germans in North Africa. The Battle of Kasserine Pass highlighted the importance of leadership, tactics, and experience in warfare, and it demonstrated the need for the Allies to improve their military capabilities in order to defeat the Axis powers.

Source :

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Kampfgruppe von Strachwitz (March-April 1944)

"Kampfgruppe von Strachwitz" - part of Heeresgruppe Nord - had different elements through March and April 1944. At that time, Strachwitz was also "Höherer Panzerführer bei der Heeresgruppe", and his task was keeping the few Panzers and Panzergrenadier companies together in counterattacks. In March 1944, Panzerverband Strachwitz was given to the 11. Infanterie-Division. In April 1944, it was given to the 61. Infanterie-Division and the 122. Infanterie-Division.

Panzergruppe Strachwitz contained ad-hoc units as follow:
V.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment "Großdeutschland" (Tigers)
Panzer-Abteilung Feldherrnhalle (5 Panzer IV)
Füsilier-Bataillon. 61
Füsilier-Bataillon 122
III.Bataillon / Grenadier-Regiment 410
Pionier-Bataillon 122
2.Kompanie / schwere-Panzer-Abteilung 502
1.Kompanie / Pionier-Bataillon 652
1.Kompanie / Pionier-Bataillon 676

From KTB (Kriegstagebuch) XXXXIII. Armeekorps:
19.03.1944 10:45 p.m : Oberst Graf Strachwitz will be assigned to Gen.Kdo. [XXXXIII.A.K.] as adviser on tank and assault gun deployment for the upcoming attack.
02.04.1944 12:00 p.m : As part of the preparations for the attack, Gen.Kdo. [XXXXIII.A.K.] from III./Gren.Rgt.410, Pi.Btl.122, 2./s.Pz.Abt.502, V./Grossdeutschland and parts of the Pz.Gren.Div.Feldherrnhalle formed the "Panzerverband Oberst Graf Strachwitz".

Source :
ECPAD archive photo collection
KTB XXXXIII.A.K. NARA T314, roll 1017

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Three German Panzer Soldiers in a French Beach

Three Panzermänner - possibly from 7. Panzer-Division - on a newly conquered French beach. The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Heinz Boesig of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 698 in May-June 1940.

Source :
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-126-0316-21A

Friday, March 10, 2023

Michael Wittmann with His Tank Commanders


Panzer ace Michael Wittmann with his men from 2.Kompanie / Schwere SS-Panzer-Abtailung 101 during training in Northern France, May 1944. From left to right: SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Kleber (Tiger "232"), SS-Hauptscharführer Hans Höflinger (Tiger "213"), SS -Oberscharführer Georg Lötzsch (Tiger "233"), SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann (Chef 2.Kompanie. Tiger "205"), SS-Unterscharführer Karl-Heinz Warmbrunn (Tiger "214"), and SS-Unterscharführer Balthasar "Bobby" Woll (Tiger "212"). They were all tank commanders in the second company and - with the exception of Kompaniechef Wittmann - all of them wore camouflage uniforms of the new SS-Erbsenmuster type (pea-dot pattern). The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Scheck of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 698.

From left to right: SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann (Chef 2.Kompanie / schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101. Tiger "205"), SS-Unterscharführer Karl-Heinz Warmbrunn (blocked by Wittmann, Tiger "214"), SS-Hauptscharführer Hans Höflinger (Tiger "213"), SS-Oberscharführer Georg Lötzsch (Tiger "233"), SS-Unterscharführer Balthasar "Bobby" Woll (Tiger "212"), and SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Kleber (tidak terlihat disini, Tiger "232").

Source :,_Nordfrankreich,_Michael_Wittmann,_Panzersoldaten.jpg

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Panzer IV of 2. Panzer-Division during Training in the West 1940

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf.D with Crew of 5.Kompanie / II.Abteilung / 2.Panzer-Division during training in the West, 21 March 1940. In the Fall Gelb (German invasion of France and Low Countries), 2. Panzer-Division consisted of two panzer regiments (15 and 31), part of Panzer-Brigade 8. The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Huschke of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 698.

Source :,_Im_Westen,_Panzer_IV.jpg

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Bio of Hans-Detloff von Cossel of Panzer-Regiment 35

Johann-Detloff "Hans" Eberhardt Magnus von Cossel

Date of birth : 1 July 1916 (Swakopmund, German South-Western Africa)
Date of death : 22 July 1943 (Kromy, Orel, Soviet Union)

00.00.1934 Fahnenjunker
00.00.1935 Fähnrich
00.00.1936 Oberfähnrich
01.04.1937 Leutnant
01.10.1939 Oberleutnant
01.03.1942 Hauptmann
01.05.1943 Major

06.04.1934 Completed basic training in Reiter-Regiment 6
00.00.193_ Transferred to Reiter-Regiment 7 (reorganized as Panzer Regiment 2 in 1935)
10.11.1938 Zugführer in 6.Kompanie / Panzer-Regiment 35
01.04.1939 Führer 6.Kompanie / Panzer-Regiment 35
00.09.1939 Seriously wounded during the campaign in Poland
00.07.1941 Chef 6.Kompanie / Panzer-Regiment 35
04.07.1941 Seriously wounded during the campaign in Russia and flown to Berlin hospital
23.07.1941 Returned to his unit
00.09.1941 Wounded during the Battle of Kiev. His wounds were so severe that he was not able to return to his unit until spring of 1942
01.11.1942 Führer I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 35
01.01.1943 Kommandeur I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 35
21.07.1943 Kommandeur Kampfgruppe "Von Cossel"
22.07.1943 Fatally hit by bombs from Soviet bombers during counter attack

Awards and Decorations:
00.09.1939 Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz
22.09.1939 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
20.12.1939 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
00.00.19__ Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht IV.Klasse
00.00.194_ Panzerkampfabzeichen in Silber
00.00.194_ Verwundetenabzeichen in Silber
19.08.1941 Ehrenblattspange des Heeres und Waffen-SS #237
08.09.1941 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, as Oberleutnant and Führer 1.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 35 / 4.Panzer-Division
00.12.1941 Verwundetenabzeichen in Gold
00.00.1942 Medaille "Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42" (Ostmedaille)
05.05.1943 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
29.08.1943 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #285 (posthumously), as Major and Kommandeur I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 35 / 4.Panzer-Division

Source :
Jim Haley photo collection

Monday, December 26, 2022

Panzer IVs Before Operation Barbarossa

Two German Panzer IVs moving towards the German-Soviet demarcation line on 21 June 1941, less than 24 hours away before the start of Unternehmen Barbarossa, German invasion of Russia. In the foreground road sign "Grenze 1 km". For the campaign against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about three million men. Among those units were 19 panzer divisions, and in total the Barbarossa force had about 3,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery pieces, and 2,500 aircraft.

Source :

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