Monday, 24 September 2012

20th PzDiv: Command vehicle

I have seen images before of this Ausf  E with the multiple victory markings that include the unusual train one and the turret number that indicates it was probably from a Command (Stab) unit.

But a second and third image shows that it infact belongs to 20th PzDiv and would therefore be part of PzRgt 21's Stab.

The train is just visible above the driver's right arm.

From the right hand side we see the train is mirrored.

The stowage evident here is the same as on the standard Kompanie vehicle, only the turret number differs. Any one got an idea of who this might make the Commander of this tank?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

20th PzDiv rear detail

While writing Barbarossa Stowage I was unaware of any specific rear stowage for 20th PzDiv PzIV's however some subsequent connections have made me relook at this area.

It would appear that two rolled up fascines were carried on the rear plate of the engine deck. These were supported on four quite heavy brackets cantilevered of the engine deck. The overhanging nature of these lead to the exhaust pipe being extended and a small hood added to shield the wooden fascines.

This collection of images above clearly show the extended exhaust and the structure of the brackets. They also provide evidence of the tray of four or five jerrycans stowed on the engine deck in a row parallel to the direction of travel. In the final image two can be seen side by side, sometimes the two were also mounted at right angles to one another. Interestingly the Jerrycans appear darker than the rest of the vehicle and much warmer in tone than the Panzer.

Finally, this image shows another view of 61 (previously discussed here and in the update) just prior to the Russian troops looting it.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

vehicles swapping Kompanies in 7th PzDiv

A few images have appeared via Russian websites (links I have found through my new Russian contacts) that show specific Kompanie stowage on vehicles with another turret number. That is 8th K vehicles with 12th K turret numbering. The first image of 1231 below where the distinctive 8th K stowage of spare wheels is clear, which also carries the BalkenKreuz on the right fender box - see early posts on this blog This may be a signifier for the vehicles that swapped as original 12th K vehicles had the jack in its factory position. 

The next series of images were taken by Soviet troops and show a KOed 1232 being inspected. Again the spare wheel brackets on the engine rear are very specific. It is clear in these images that the 12 has been applied in a different colour or type of paint.

These Russia images give us the best view yet of the complex brackets both loaded and empty.

So why this move? I am not aware of actual reference to this but my Divisional knowledge is very limited, the assumption must be that initial loses were higher in 12th K than 8th K and vehicles were therefore shifted from one unit to the other to fill those holes, keeping an equal balance of PzIVs across the Regiment. It looks as if the 3rd Zug in 12th K was the one to be filled this way. Or alternatively 8th K had such heavy losses that it was no longer sustainable and only 4th & 12th continued. I am on the hunt for evidence of a change of battalion structure within the Division at any point during 41.

Entries in the 17th PzDiv diary (mentioned in previous post) support this, detailing a number of occasions when vehicles from other units were moved to fill their units loses. Where there is crew but no tank and where there is tank but no crew, simple logistics I suppose.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Ausf F

Finally got my hands on the English translation of Spielbeger's updated PzIV book, not the holy grail I had hoped for. A bit of a dry technical tome but some interesting detail worth the effort of digging through the poor translation and difficult structure of the book, specifically the more detailed production statistics. Bed time reading for us rivet counters only I'm afraid.

These monthly production stats for early Ausfs reveal that only 16 Ausf Fs were produced by Krupp in May 41 followed by 38 in June and another 38 in July. These figures explain the relatively few images of Ausf Fs during the early stages of Barbarossa.

Further production by Krupp in August was 42 and Vomag joined production only managing 2.
September saw 42 from Krupp and 4 from Vomag.
October 43 from Krupp and 8 from Vomag.
November 39 from Krupp, 12 from Vomag and Nibelungen joined adding 1.
December 45 from Krupp, 14 from Vomag and 2 from Nibelungen.

These numbers show why there was so few replacements added to the Panzer's ranks and how the push Eastwards was to gradually bleed the Divisions dry. These numbers were affected by a lack of specialist workers at the factories.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

TauchPz IV Volume available

The TauchPz volume is now online and available on Blurb. As the vehicle main activity was on the Eastern front in 1941 it is the perfect companion to the Barbarossa Stowage supplement. Enjoy the preview below:
The book covers the TauchPz IVs use on exercises prior to Operation Barbarossa and during the conflict on the Eastern front. It goes into greater detail of the TauchPz supplied units introduced briefly in "Barbarossa Stowage". 

As the first book solely dedicated to the TauchPz IV a number of details revealed here have never previously been discussed. The information includes detailed analysis of the different specification for each Ausf as well as the units that used them and their associated markings and stowage. There are also images of TauchPz IIIs and a few rare glimpses of the SchwimmPz II.

This volume contains: 98 period photos illustrating the vehicle in greater depth than ever before, the vast majority published for the first time, short appendix on the TauchPz III, diagrams and a section on modelling the vehicle to conclude the book.

To make this volume worthy of the little dipper I have asked a number of other collectors who I have met online and through various forums and searched through national archives for images that fill some of the inevitable gaps in my own collection. So although the book is still subtitled "from the collection of 8wheels-good" there are some supplementary images (about 10 in total) kindly lent to me so this monograph can fulfill the potential of the research I have uncovered.

The models used to illustrate one of the appendixes in the book, may open up a sideline, as a few people have enquired about the resin parts I have made. 

I will produce some of these and sell them on ebay to recoup some costs. I have started modelling equipment for some of the other Tauch units - PzRgts 7 & 36, both of who also used standard PzIVs with the same equipment. Plus other unTauch related projects for 6th PzDiv and 19th PzDiv.

So keep an eye open, I will post images of the masters here as they take shape.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

9th PzDiv

A couple of recent images from different sources showing Ausf Fs serving with the Division.

These confirm the placement of jerrycans in a rack on the right as shown on p39 of Tankograd's "PzKpfw IV in combat", which is a 9th Kompanie vehicle. As well as the small tool box placed higher up the glacis plate than on other PzIVs in the Regiment.

Unfortunately neither turret numbers are visible but the fact that they are both Ausfs Fs may indicate that this Ausfs was used to fill this Kompanie.