November 29, 2015

1./schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 Receives its Jagdpanthers

Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 received its first Jagdpanthers on May 4, 1944. However the 1st Company of the Battalion was equipped with the new tank destroyer much later. 1./schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 received its first eight Jagdpanthers on August 4 at the Mailly-le-Camp Training Area (north-eastern France). By the time the two other companies of the Battalion were committed to the front.

1. Jagdpanther.

November 28, 2015

November 26, 2015

Field Overhaul!

Tiger A2, of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508, overhauled in the field
Tiger A2, of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508, overhauled in the field.
The action takes place near Nettuno, south of Rome, in March 1944.

November 25, 2015

Uedem, 1945

Uedem is a German municipality in the district of Cleves, in North Rhine-Westphalia, near Netherlands. Uedem was heavily bombed during the Allied preparations for the crossing of the Rhine; 85% of the town was destroyed.

A Cromwell tank of 11th Armoured Division advances through the rubble of Uedem
1. A Cromwell tank of 15th/19th king’s Royal Hussars, 11th Armoured Division,
with infantry onboard, advances through the rubble of uedem on February 28, 1945.

November 24, 2015

Ready to March!

Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 with infantrymen from 256. Infanterie-Division ready to join Operation “Hubertus”. After 24 hours of fighting the Soviet forces that had penetrated were encircled and destroyed. The action took place on 12-13 March 1944 in Belarus. 



November 22, 2015

Dog and Pony Show!

Tiger of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 inspected by Turkish officials
"Dog and pony show" has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. (Wikipedia)

In the area of Belgorod on June 27, 1943 a few days before Operation “Zitadelle” Army Group South organized a “dog and pony” show for Turkish officials, in order to impress them. At the time Turkey was neutral and was approached by both the Axis and the Allies.

Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 along with a Kampfgruppe from the 7th Panzer-Division and Luftwaffe’s Stukas presented an impressive spectacle, executing a live fire exercise. The Tigers spearheaded the Kampfgruppe’s advance and were praised by the visitors.

November 20, 2015

The UHU Motif

Kradschützen-Batailon “Großdeutschland” was commanded by Horst von Usedom from April 1, 1942 until early October 1942. The Battalion became known as Usedom’s Hussars and adopted the owl motif; uhu being the German word for eagle owl.



November 18, 2015

Fighting for Saint-Lô

M-10 Wolverine, from 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, firing in Saint-Lô
A well known photo of an M-10 Wolverine, from
B Company/803
rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, firing in Saint-Lô on 17 or 18 July 1944.

November 17, 2015

M16 MGMC

The M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was a self-propelled antiaircraft gun, with four machine guns (.50’’ M2 HB Browning) being mounted on a Maxson turret (M45 Quadmount). 

1. An M16 MGMC during the fight for Saint-Lô.

November 16, 2015

November 13, 2015

German vs American Tanks: An American Perspective

M4 Sherman

The following thoughts on German and American tanks were written by Lieutenant Colonel Albin F. Irzyk, Commanding Officer of 8th Tank Battalion, and appeared in Military Review in January 1946.  A German perspective on the same matter can be found here

October 30, 2015

Tiger Meeting!

Tiger 312 passes Tiger 322
Tiger 312 passes Tiger 322. Both Tigers belonged to
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 which during the summer of 1943 destroyed 100 soviet tanks. 

October 26, 2015

Stuck in the Mud!

Tiger 332 is being pulled out by Tiger 321
Tiger 332 is being pulled out by Tiger 321. The action took place in Snamenka (Znamianka
in October 1943. At the time schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 was training and refitting in the area. 

October 23, 2015

It Takes Two!

Two Sd.Kfz. 9 heavy tractors getting ready to tow a Tiger I of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508
Two Sd.Kfz. 9 heavy tractors getting ready to tow a Tiger I of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508.
The tank was damaged by mines. The action took place in Italy at the end of February 1944.

October 22, 2015

Gunnery Exercises

King-Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 performing gunnery exercises
The newly issued King-Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503
performing gunnery exercises at Ohrdruf.

October 19, 2015

M29 Weasel

The M29 Weasel was an amphibious, light, tracked carrier. It weighed 4,451 ld and its maximum speed was 36 mph.

1. An M29 taking part into some reenactment action at Villers-Sainte-Gertrude in France.

October 14, 2015

40M Nimród

40M Nimród was a Hungarian self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, based on the Swedish L-62 A/A gun. It was armed with a Bofors 40mm A/A gun and weighted 10,5 tonnes. 135 machines were built and used by Hungarian armored units.

1. A Nimród battery in firing positions.

October 12, 2015

SS Tiger 232

Tiger 232 of 2./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 in Northern France. The tank commander is Unterscharführer Mölly.

1. Tiger 232.

October 11, 2015

Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 in Budapest

After the fighting in France ended schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 was reconstituted in the Paderborn area where it received 45 new King-Tiger tanks between 19 and 22 September 1944.


King-Tigers on their way to the station of Paderborn
1. King-Tigers of 3. Kompanie on their way to the station of Paderborn on October 9, 1944.

October 5, 2015

Tigers in Tunisia

Tiger 142 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 in Tunisia
1. Tiger 142 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 in Tunisia.
The Heavy Tank Battalion destroyed 150 allied tanks there.

October 2, 2015

Tigers in Morgny

Tiger I in Morgny
Tiger 133 of 1st Kompanie/SS-schwere Panzer-Abteilung 101. The date was June 7, 1944
and the place was the village of Morgny in Normandy. The tank was commanded by Fritz Zahner.

September 29, 2015

September 25, 2015

Panzer IVs and Tigers of SS-Division “Das Reich”

Panzer IVs and Tigers of SS-Division “Das Reich”
1. Panzer IVs and Tigers of SS-Division “Das Reich”. The Tigers belonged to
8. schwere Panzer-Kompanie of SS-Panzer-Regiment 2. The action is
taking place near the town of Berdychiv, south of Zhytomyr in 
December 1943.

September 23, 2015

Tigers and SS Grenadiers

Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 supporting grenadiers of
III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment “Eicke” of SS-Division “Totenkopf”.
The action takes place at the Mius front on August 13, 1943.

September 22, 2015

Tigers of “Grossdeutschland” Division Arriving in Gumbinnen

Tigers of III. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment/“Grossdeutschland” Division arriving in the Gumbinnen sector
1. Tigers of III. Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment/“Grossdeutschland” Division arriving
in the Gumbinnen (
Gusev) sector in August 1944. Transport tracks are used for the railroad trip.

September 20, 2015

Tiger 323

Tiger 323 of schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 in Northern France
Tiger 323 of schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 in Northern France. 
Hauptscharführer Hermann Barkhausen is the tank commander.

August 5, 2015

Tigers in London!

Then… 

A captured Tiger tank on display at Horse Guards Parade in London
A Tiger I captured in Tunisia, on display at Horse Guards Parade in London on November 18, 1943.

July 23, 2015

Churchill Crocodile

The flame-throwing Churchill Mk IV tank had a flame nozzle replacing its hull-mounted BESA machine gun which was repositioned in the turret. Fuel for the flame was carried in an armored trailer behind, consumption being four gallons per second. The trailer carried 400 gallons of thickened gasoline, it also carried bottles of pressurized nitrogen, which forced the fuel to the gun and ejected it. An explosive link allowed the trailer to be jettisoned from inside the tank if needed.

Each burst of fire lasted around a second. Tongues of flame could be projected up to 120 yards.

The Crocodile was used for clearing infantry positions such us isolated buildings, concrete emplacements, hedges, ditches and slit trenches.




July 20, 2015

Crusader Anti-Aircraft Tank

Crusader III A/A Mk I

The Mk I variant was armed with a 40mm Bofors A/A gun.

The Mk I variant was armed with a 40mm Bofors A/A gun
At the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset. March 25, 1942.

July 18, 2015

German Combat Methods in the Libyan Desert

German artillery in North Africa


A U.S. Army information bulletin presents the German combat methods which had been experienced by the British in Libya. At the time, summer 1942, U.S. Army was preparing to enter the Mediterranean theater.

July 10, 2015

Cooperation of German Infantry and Tanks

Tanks and mechanized infantry


On U.S. Army's “Tactical and Technical Trends No. 31” we read about a German method of tank-infantry cooperation

July 7, 2015

German Comments on Allied Tanks

T34


A critical study of French, British, Russian and American tanks was published on 27 June 1943 in the German weekly newspaper “Das Reich”. A translation of the “Das Reich” article follows: 

July 6, 2015

Soviet Artillery Counter-Preparation in the Battle of Kursk

203mm Howitzer B-4


A translated Russian article explains the importance of artillery counter-preparation in repulsing the German offensive at Kursk.

July 5, 2015

XXXXVIII Panzerkorps Destroys the Soviet 60th Army

The spoiling attack is a surprise thrust into the enemy attack preparations. A perfect example of such an operation took place in December 1943 near Kiev.

The Soviet offensive from July 17 to December 1, 1943
The Soviet offensive from July 17 to December 1, 1943.

July 2, 2015

Churchill Kangaroo

Churchill Kangaroo
A Churchill tank modified as an armored personnel carrier.

Eastern Limit!

In the summer of 1942 Army Group A reached the Terek river in the Caucasus. On August 30 elements of the 3rd Panzer-Division (I./394.Panzergrenadier-Regiment) established a bridgehead across the river, at Ishcherskaya. That became the easternmost German position in WWII.



June 30, 2015

How Should Tanks Attack a Bridge?

German tanks cross a bridge


An interesting question indeed. Issue No. 36 of “Tactical and Technical Trends” provides a translated German article on the subject. Two examples from the Eastern Front are discussed. 

June 29, 2015

How to Extricate a Casualty from a Tank!

Extricating a casualty from the turret  of a Matilda tank
Demonstration of a method to extricate a casualty from the turret
of a Matilda tank using slings and a hoist. August 7, 1941.

June 28, 2015

The Arras Counterattack

British infantry


Having presented Rommel’s advance from Belgium to Lille here it’s time to take a better look at the Arras counterattack. Rommel’s 7.Panzer-Division crossed the Franco-Belgian border on May 15, and on May 20 Rommel’s tanks were three miles south of Arras. According to the plan the 7th Panzer-Division was to move around the flank of Arras from the west and the 5th Panzer-Division from the east. Then both panzer-divisions would turn north. Further to the south Panzergrouppe Kleist had crossed the Meuse river on May 13, and on May 19 it had reached the Cambrai – Péronne line.

June 26, 2015

Hotel “Moderne”, Arras

Then…

General Viscount Gort  with Air Vice Marshal  Charles Blount
General Viscount Gort, Commander in Chief British Expeditionary Force (BEF) with Air Vice Marshal 
Charles Blount, commanding the Air Component, outside the Hotel “Moderne”, Arras, France.

June 19, 2015

Tank vs Tank

Matilda II


In a previous post we had examined how Tiger I faired against some of its principle opponents. Let’s examine some other tank vs tank cases here.

June 13, 2015

Hotel “Panorama”, May, 1940

Then…

General Guderian in Bouillon
General Guderian in Buillon on May 12, 1940. He is inspecting 
his engineers rebuilding the bridge over the Semois river. 
Hotel “Panorama” is behind and above him, not seen in the photo. 
Guderian established his Command Post there.

June 8, 2015

Hephaisteion, June 7, 1943


Panzer IVs driving in front of Hephaisteion
Panzer IVs driving in front of the Hephaisteion,
the Temple of God Hephaestus. In the background (left) the Parthenon is visible.

June 5, 2015

Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 "O" Group

Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 "O" Group

The picture was taken during training with live ammo. Facing the camera are: SS-Sturmbannführer Heinz von Westerhagen (Battalion Commander) and SS-Obersturmführer Hanno Raasch (3rd Company Commander) holding a map. The collection of dress worn by the Battalion officers is noticeable.

June 2, 2015

Vulnerability of Tiger Tanks

Tiger I


An article published in the Soviet Artillery Journal, in 1943, gave detailed instructions for the use of antitank weapons against the Tiger. A translation of the Soviet article was included in the “Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 51” publication of the U.S. Military Intelligence Service.

June 1, 2015

Flers, August, 1944

11th Armoured Division


Flers (Flériens) is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France. The town was heavily bombed by the Allies on 6 and 7 June, 1944. Flers was liberated by the 11th Armoured Division, on August 16, during the reduction of the Falaise pocket.