Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Online review "amazing stuff"

Nicholas Mayhew at www.scaleplasticandrail.com contacted me looking to review the books on the new website. He recently received the Barbarossa supplementary edition and has posted this complementary review:

"The research here and its presentation is indeed top class. But if ever there was a book to help the modeller in search of early war Panzer IV inspiration, then this is it!"

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Parallel universes

I was recently contacted by a fellow researcher from Russia who has been on a parallel track to mine; in fact our research mirrors each others so much that he was suspicious of plagarism when he first saw "Barbarossa Stowage" coming online.

His home page

where he has some nice examples of vehicles from 1941 - you will need to play around with an online translator to get the full benefit.

Russian Discusion forum - thread on PzIV in 1941

where he has been sharing his work with like minded image hunters. You will see half way down that I  get a good kicking when he thought I had stolen his work (we are sharing stuff now that we have found crossed into each others parallel universes). It looks like he may be able to take the work further with more detail of unit make up as he is working on his own book.

Friday, 14 October 2011

8th PzDIv

A bumper lot of PzIVs from an 8th PzDiv album have turned up on ebay. Documenting a number of interesting events including; a derailment caused by a PzIV straying in front of a train, a PzIV falling off its Sd Anh 116 trailer and some comprehensive destruction. They give a great insight into 4th Kompanie.

The image of the careless Panzer who misjudged the level crossing has been published before but wasn't recognised as 8th PzDiv.

They confirm that unlike the other Kompanies the 4th doesn't appear to have any coloured bars on its turret rear.

Here are some other 8thPzDiv images I have come across recently from the other Kompanies:

The last one shows the stowage of wheels on the rear of the turret - these are seen on a KOed Ausf C on page 89 of Volume 1. These are a hang over from the Balkan conflict where all PzIVs in the Division had two wheels on their turret rear before the fitting of turret bins.

It is also one of the most haunting Eastern front images I have come across.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

17th PzDiv - 6th K diary

I recently received "The War Diaries of a Panzer Soldier". These first hand documents describe events on the Eastern Front from the personal point of view of a radio operator in iii/PzRgt 39, fully illustrated with his own photographs. Many great TauchPz IV Ausf Es from every angle, just a shame the are reproduced quite so small. As such it gives us an interesting insight into the day to day activities undertaken by PzIV crew member; food and women seem to have been high on his agenda.

Having just read the first couple of chapters I have found the book enthralling, not just in the activities that are described in the remarkable daily input he managed but also in reading between those lines at his stoic comments on certain situations and circumstances. Made all the more real by the realisation that one of the photos in my collection is of his KOed tank.

I will try and write a full review when I finish the book but one of the interesting things to already turn up is that despite being issued with TauchPz IVs there is no mention of the tanks being used in diving mode to cross rivers underwater. Only a cursory mention of immersion training a few days before the invasion. I have contacted the authors and they confirmed they found no evidence of this in the diaries.

Monday, 8 August 2011

images from 7th PzDiv - 8th K

A group of 7th PzDiv images have turned up on ebay. 
They show the 8th Kompanie on maneuvers just prior to the invasion and in the early stages of Barbarossa. The development of the stowage style is evident, with the earlier images showing the wheels on the superstructure side and front right fender box.

The addition of the rear spare wheel racks, double jerrycan rack on the engine deck and the unditching log signify the time period of the actual invasion. The first image below shows the jerrycans being mounted, they are currently resting on the vehicles turret roof and cupola before fitting to the engine deck. The wooded area is presumably a secreted dispersal point on the eve of the operation. 

more 16th

These two images have been under consideration for a while but I have seen them attributed to 1941 and 1942 in different publications so kept any reference to them out of the book. I found them in the Ulstein Bild photo archive and as such the dates are hopefully a more accurate record of when the images were taken. Both locations seem similar in terms of terrain and events, which would support the same date recorded for both (01.08.1941).

They follow the systems described in previous posts on the 16th PzDiv and maybe helpful in separating the Kompanies. The first has wheels mounted to the superstructure side and the rear box both appear on possible 4th K vehicles, the second (presumably 8th K) has the frame box on the superstructure side and the bracket from the front turret tow hook and across the turret roof. This second image shows a vehicle with the frame box and the turret bracket whereas the previous image below with the turret bracket has mounts for wheels on the superstructure side. Both have non-standard bins. 

So at this point the current best bet on the Divisions stowage is:
4th K
Two spare wheels on left ss side, mounted on bent rod supports. Box across rear of engine deck, sometimes whole length sometime part. Non standard turret bins of either square or angled sides (Ausf Fs have standard bin). Some vehicles have a lip bracket that runs across the front of the turret roof and down the sides in front of the tow hooks, unknown use but possibly to hold jerrycans. 
Turret numbers are narrow open stencil, no infill. Divisional symbol left of driver's visor or on front left mudflap.

8th K
Open box frame on left ss side, assorted objects held here. Non standard turret bins of either square or angled sides. Some vehicles have a lip bracket that runs across the front of the turret roof and down the sides in front of the tow hooks, unknown use but possibly to hold jerrycans. 
No turret numbers, Divisional symbol on rear left mudflap.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

mudflap close up

With the photo from three posts below in my hands I have had a chance to play around with it digitally. There appears to be a structured symbol there and not just random marks. It could well be 16th PzDiv's divisional symbol of a Y with a bar through it.

Quite clear but not 100%.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Tom Cockle has sent me some some observations on the book. He has doubts that the two Ausf Ds on p79 & 78 from 11th PzDiv are indeed the same vehicle, he points out that they are carrying different style hubcaps.

What I can add to this is that both photos were bought from the same source, which may indicate they are the same but from different time periods or that the same crew member worked on two vehicles with the same tactical number.

Also on page p41 the 6th PzDiv Ausf D has Ausf F idlers fitted, something I completely missed and something very rare.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

16th search continued

The same non-standard type bin appears again on a pair of Ausf Es. And again, frustratingly no markings are visible on them or any accompanying vehicles.

Another type of non-standard bin only smaller and squarer. This vehicle carries the same spare wheels fixings on the superstructure side as verified 16th PzDiv vehicles in my book. The halftrack aiding the recovery also carries the Army "K".

There is a chance this maybe 16th PzDiv in the summer of 42 as a photo in another collection, with this unusual turret bracket and the superstructure wheel fixings has this date on the reverse. However this looks more like an Autumn image than a summer one? And photos dates are notoriously unreliable often added well after the event.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

another 16th clue

This image is described as being near the river Dnepr, between Kremenchug (Krementschuk) and Dnepropetrovsk. This was an area where 16th PzDiv were active, crossing the Dnepr just South of Kremenchug before attacking North to close the encirclement of Kiev

The turret bin is clearly similar to one of the examples on the border, previously posted. It also carries a stowage rack on the left side which is different from the left stowage seen on the example in the book, where two wheels are fitted to rod frames. The arrows are not mine but may indicate a Divisional symbol on the left rear mudflap. Hopefully I can pick this up and get a better scan of that area.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Come and See

I came across this film recently and thought it was incredibly relevant to anyone interested in this blog. This is probably one of the best War as well as the best anti-War films made.

Come and See

It tells the story of a young boy joining the Partisans in Belarus who goes on a whirlwind journey through the horrors of the Eastern front. Villages being torched, families massacred, shelling in the forest described with chilling honesty all set against the spectacular scenery shot with a sometimes Tarkovsky like visual poetry. Be prepared for a journey...

The film's time line is about a week but by the end the young "hero" stares back at us through the face of a forty year old. A powerful, troubling, moving, upsetting film that peals back the layers of civilisation to expose the primeval barbarity and raw hatred that drove the Eastern front to create a casualty list that topped 20 million.

For more reviews see this site

Watch this film before you watch The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich and you will get a better contextual sense of the violent circumstance in Berlin 1945.

The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

20th aerial recognition marking

I haven't added anything to the description in the book of the layout used by 20th PzDiv yet. This is primarily because there are quite a few images of this well documented Division and along with 19th was one of the first I was able to distinguish. However there was one feature I described in the book that I was unable to track down subsequently. A case of shoddy note keeping I'm afraid but by chance I came across the original image again, which indicated to me that they used a painted swastika on the turret bin lid for aerial recognition.

An unusual practice and one that is difficult to say if it was universal or specific to this vehicle. Purely because the location makes cross-referencing and checking with other vehicles very difficult.

According to my (better kept) records turret number 61 belonged to an Ausf E. Unfortunately the Russian soldiers manage to cover ever distinguishing feature between E & D except the front drive sprocket which looks pretty mangled.

I have a second image of 61 as a wreck this time stripped bare and on a train returning from the front for servicing/rebuilding. So it would seem that this vehicle possible changed hands at least twice.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

possible 16th PzDiv clue

This image of a command PzIII from 16th PzDiv appeared on a forum recently. See symbol of left rear fender and associated K on truck in front of it.

The writing on the reverse comments on crossing the Bug. The sign on the right "Grenze" reminded me of a an image in my "as yet unknown" pile.

oooooo colour :)

Apparently "Grenze" is not a place name but means Border. There are a couple of similar image of this column of PzIVs which show the vehicles carrying different styles of non-standard turret bins. So potentially there is a match up here with; no known images of 16th PzDiv PzIVs from behind in either 4th or 8th K, these unaccounted for images and the location in the first PzIII image.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

10th PzDiv 4th K update

A speculative purchase of a rather unpromising photo has brought me back to some missed info. Blowing it up revealed the single digit 4 on the turret rear and the 4?? tactical number on the superstructure side that indicate 10th PzDiv.

I looked back through info in notebooks to find reference to stowage on the right fender of 4th Kompanie vehicles. It had got swamped in the growing amount I was dealing with at that point.
I had previously been unable to find any clear side-on image of the left. However rear and three quarter views had given glimpses of a tool box behind the spare wheel and a possible related move of the fire extinguisher backwards to the middle of the fender.

The practice of attaching one end of the tow rope to or near to the crew mounting step was also common.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ex-Lehr wheels stowage system spotted

I have just bought an image in a workshop/dump that shows the left side with the wheels removed from what appears to be a complex rack. Possibly a horizontal bar welded to the armoured vent cover with two vertical loops attached to it in an upright position, which would space the wheels. And finally two straps or bars attaching the main horizontal bar to the fender (theses are the elements visible between the wheels in images already posted).

When the photo arrives and I can get a detailed look at it I'll post a blow up here or make a drawing to try and explain this object.

Meanwhile here are a few others that I have uncovered recently from the same workshop;

 The image I got shows the vehicle below and the one in front of it, which still has its wheels in place.

An Ausf C with an empty bracket.

A 9th K behind what looks like a 3rd K Ausf B with an unusually placed small tool box.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

ex Lehr

Here is the image mentioned earlier and in the book. It is on page 187 of Jentz's "Panzer Truppen". The gothic L is clearly visible on the front plate next to the driver's visor on the PzIIs in the foreground.

This is the same vehicle as the one on page 113 of my book. The 924 tac number can just be made out on the rectangular metal plate in front of the jack. A wire comes from the corner of the turret box and attaches to the lifting hook on the front corner of the turret side. The rear of another PzIV in the very front of the image shows short runs of tracks stored on the rear plate of the engine deck. Also of interest is the upright mount on the commanders cupola of the second PzII. This could be either a AA MG mount or for resting observation equipment. 924 also appears to have a similar mount on the front of its cupola.

This image (from Healy's "Panzerwaffe - volume 2, the campaign in the West 1940") shows the tac number plate more clearly. It was attached to the fender by a vertical support and appeared to stand proud from the jack. This vehicle number was 902 showing us another side to one of the vehicle previously described below.

Both these images show a short fascine carried on the rear deck.