Wednesday, 25 August 2010

BARBAROSSA stowage - a new direction

The book is finished and available now at Blurb. 150 pages, 125 images, 10 pages of diagrams. So the blog takes on a slightly different role. I will continue to post images here that filled gaps and confirmed information that I was unable to get from my own collection during the research but also add new and interesting stuff that continues to appear and if any errors appear correct them.

This preview is full just now but will be reduced to a partial review after a month on the website. Click on the link to be taken to the books page on the website.


I have been persuaded to add diagrams to the end of the book to help referencing the info. Here is 3rd PzDiv as an example.
A BIG job.


The book is finished and available now at Blurb. 150 pages, 125 images, 10 pages of diagrams. So the blog takes on a slightly different role. I will continue to post images here that filled gaps and confirmed information that I was unable to get from my own collection during the research but also add new and interesting stuff that continues to appear and if any errors appear correct them.

This preview is full just now but will be reduced to a partial review after a month on the website. Click on the link to be taken to the books page on the website.

image quality

The quality of the images when they are enlarged to fit the page is fuzzy. This doesn't happen to all of them? I am trying to sort this out but in any case an larger clearer view is available if you click on them.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

4th K sorted

The open topped 4 in these left sided views is the same as those on the right side, as are the wheel supports. The stack of planks and associated features in the next three images point to them being a unit feature.

However the run of tracks seen on the right side of the hull do not seem to be applied to the left.

This image confirms that these left sided feature are in fact 3rd PzDiv as the divisional symbol is visible in front of the driver's side visor. It is clear in on this vehicle as the planks have been removed, the vertical bracket can be seen clearly.

This last image show the large G and the low slung track-links across the hull front, neither of which were worn by 8th K.

4th K 3rd PzDIV

The size and style of numbers are similar to those of 8th K. Plus the use of bent rods to create the spare wheel supports which are identical to 8th K.

The cleaning rods are moved from the left to the right on the aerial trough and a run of track are mounted to the hull side.

3rd PzDiv - i/PzAbt?

Images of 8th Kompanie vehicles are easy to come across and a number of these are in "PzKpfw at the front" Vol 2 and 12th Kompanie has the distinctive TauchPzIV Ausf Ds with the log on the right side, large turret numbers, Notek moved to glacis and three spare wheels spread out down the left superstructure.

However 3rd PzDiv is another division with 3 battalion so the hunt is on for 4th K vehicles.

12th PzDiv

I had originally thought the "plank" along the hull side of 12th PzDiv PzIVs was additional armour. Being atached by 3 bolts, Its size and placement lead me to this conclusion. However images such as this turned up showing it removed. Why would supplementary protection be removed? (click on images to see larger version) The grenade launcher with its 3 stick grenades in place shows up well here as do the bolts welded to the hull side without the plank attached.

Although the lack of large turret numbers makes Kompanie identification difficult close up images show small numbers applied to the left superstructure side and to a rhombus plate on the aerial trough. This 3rd Kompanie vehicle still has something added to its hull side but the shadow indicates that this is log and not a plank shaped. Other close ups of the same vehicle confirm this and indicate is was supported on 3 brackets, not bolted. The conclusion is that what was stored in these locations was a device for unditching the vehicle. Plank on 6th K and log on 3rd K.The fire extinguisher is moved down the fender as 3rd K mounted a medium sized box on the front of the left fender instead of the large central box which seems to be a 6th K feature. The grenade launcher with its armoured cover is just visible behind the figure on the right of the image note also that this is a hybrid vehicle with an earlier C/B turret mounted on either an E or D hull.

This third image is added to show that although very common the use of the grenade launcher was not universal.
All 3 images show the regular use of the divisional symbol on vehicles. Front and centre and on both sides of the superstructure.

12th PzDiv also had 3 Battalions but no confirmed images of 9th K have yet been found to clarify any different items used by them.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

6th PzDiv 4th Kompanie

The combination of Kompanies in this Division is unusual. PzRgt 11 with two battalions (3rd & 6th K) had been joined by a third battalion that was made up by 65th PzAbt. For some reason when this unit joined the Division its nomenclature never changed and 65th PzAbt was not subsumed by PzRgt 11 as was the case in most other Division when such an amalgamation occurred. They also kept their Kompanie numbers and thus the anomaly of the 4th K occurred.

Even though their Stowage was shared, with the same system for holding jerrycans used in all three Kompanies and the two spare wheels on the engine side used on 3rd and 4th.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Kompanie structure in 6th PzDiv

I own a rather moth eaten copy of Opresy's 6th Panzer Division by Oberst. a.D. Helmet Ritgen

Which as you can see by the cover has some excellent colour photos of PzIVs attached to the division on the eave of Barbarossa. The images were taken by the author and clearly show the Divisional symbol of two Xs. So the lineage of them is not in question

but putting them with the other images already discussed we see a 6th Kompanie a 3rd Kompanie and in these colour photos the vehicles are clearly 4th Kompanie.
So 3rd, 4th and 6th? A strange combination indeed.
At first I thought that one of the images was from a different time period when the units were organised differently but this is not the case. 6th PzDiv did have 3 battalions So there should be three Kompanies. This is one of the anomalies that I mentioned earlier.

7th PzDiv - 12thK

7th PzDiv was one of the Divisions who split their PzRgt in to three Battalions. Therefore the hunt was on for a third Kompanie presumably the 12th.

This vehicle (1201) mirrors the placement of the two wheels on the left side seen for 8th K and the numbers are similar although the need for 4 digits would see them reduced. The location also looks like one where a number of KOed 7th PzDiv vehicles have been seen.

Here we see the same wheels and jerry can combination but the jack does not appear to have been moved. This may indicate the log was not used by this Kompanie or that it was stowed differently

A third image purchsed by me with the divisional symbol and the features above confirms these are 7th PzDiv 12thK.

7th PzDiv - 8th K

Trawling through my books and hoard of images I came across this image of a vehicle in Ground Power ? It carries the same style of turret numbers as 821 below and like 4th Kompanie does have jerry cans across its rear deck although in a different configuration.

A second image clearly showing the unique and complex spare wheel supports and the double row of jerrycans cantilevered off the engine deck.

The inclusion of a large log on the right side of the vehicle in this image further confirms the connection with 4thK, 7th PzDiv.

The purchase of this third images (also of 811) ties it together as it shows more features known on 4thK vehicles such as the national cross on the turret rear and the distinct large cross used on the superstructure sides and the jack moved to the left front fender because of the large log. I t also connects the stowage of the known image of 821 to those above.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Divisional organisation

To give a bit of context for some of the discussion I had better lay down a simple description of a PzDiv's structure (this is something I knew absolutely nothing about 6 months ago and have had to quickly pick up as I went). If you are going to read any books to help you get your head round this stuff I highly reccommend these two:

A Panzer Division (PzDiv) was made up of a lot of disperate units Infantry, recconaisance etc with a Panzer Regiment (PzRgt) at its core. By 1941 the number of Panzer Regiments in each Division had been reduced to one. These Regiments had a number of Battalions (PzAbt), usually two but in some cases three. These Battalions consisted of a number of Kompanies (K) and these Kompanies had different roles and therefore different vehicle types assigned to them.

The PzIV was assigned to the Medium (Mittlere) Kompanie within each Battalion, where the Regiment had two Battalions these were usually the 4th and the 8th Kompanies. Therefore Turret numbers starting with either a 4 or an 8 are most common for PzIVs during this period. Regiments with three Battalions are less simple as Kompanie numbering could be 3rd, 6th & 9th or 4th, 8th & 12th.

As always there are anomalies in this system where, for historical reasons, Division had unusual combinations but I will discuss them as and when they appear.

achtung panzer

"Achtung Pnnzer 4" attributes the majority of the images used within it. And these identified images allowed me to start making connections, noticing some subtle as well some significant differences of stowage used by Kompanies within the Divisions.

This first one is designated 7th PzDiv but does not have its spare wheels stored in the classic three semicircular bins.

The turret numbers are the same size and style and are repeated as smaller versions on the rear sides as in other 7th PzDiv images. However the arrangement of the numbers indicate this image is of a vehicle from the 8th Kompanie which suggest the stowage was altered from Kompanie to Kompanie, at least in relation to wheel stowage.

Similarly the image below is designated as 6th PzDiv but is significantly different from previous images.

The turret bin is the standard version and there are no wheels on the rear plate. This vehicle belongs to the 3rd Kompanie and previously discussed images clearly belong to the 6th.

Closer inspection of this image reveals two spare wheels behind the standing soldier, attached to the side of the engine deck and a short run of track-links attached to the hull side.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Known points of reference

There are three units that immediately spring to mind when identifying Divisions by stowage and theses are;
7th PzDiv with the distinctive shaped triumvirant spare wheel bin (especially the many images of the unfortunate 421),Jerry cans across the engine deck and large log above the right fender,

6th PzDiv with their large rectangular turret bin, row of jerry cans on the left superstructure side and rear spare wheel cages

and 12th PzDiv with the large left hand storage box, no turret bin, plank mounted to their hull side, wheels storedon the rear plate and grenade launcher on the rear fender.

All three standout due to their use of obvious and non-standard fixtures. However other vehicles with the divisional symbols of these units do not carry the same style of stowage.