Tuesday, 30 August 2011
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
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.
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:
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.
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.