Damaged Panzer IV ausf G, Tunisia, 1943

Damaged Panzer IV ausf G, Tunisia, 1943


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Damaged Panzer IV ausf G, Tunisia, 1943

Here we see a damaged Panzer IV ausf G, knocked out in the fighting in Tunisia early in 1943. We are looking at the back-right of the fuselage and the long 75mm gun. The turret ring must come from a different tank. (North African Campaign)


During the early development of the Panzer IV, no one involved in the program knew that this vehicle, designed to serve as a support Panzer, would become the Wehrmacht’s backbone for a good deal of the war. While today the Tiger and Panther are better known, the Panzer IV was produced in the greatest numbers and served on all fronts in many bloody engagements throughout the war.

The development of this tank began in the mid-thirties, leading to the first version being built, the Panzer IV Ausf. A. Being the first version, there was still a lot of space for improvement. The improvement of the Panzer IV Ausf. A version would eventually lead to the development of two nearly identical versions, the Ausf. B and C.


World War Photos

Panzer IV of Fallschirm Panzer Division 1. Hermann Göring in Italy 1944 front Panzer IV Holland 1944-45 German tanks Panzer IV Ausf D 1940 Panzerkampfwagen IV tank
Destroyed Panzer IV and Panzer II tanks Panzer IV number 705 of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Panzer IV Ausf H number 514 rail transport Holland 1944 German tanks Panzer IV with schurzen
Panzer IV Ausf H tank number 122 winter camouflage 1944 Panzer IV April 1943 Panzer IV Ausf E eastern front 1941 Panzer IV Ausf G Bjelgorod 1943
Bulgarian Panzer IV tank Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf G tank Bridgelayer Brückenleger IV on Sd.Ah. 116 low loader trailer Panzer IV Ausf A tank 1939
Panzer IV crew of the Deutsches Afrikakorps Panzer IV Ausf C tanks 1940 Panzer IV Ausf B Lomza Poland 1939 Panzer IV Eastern front 1943
British Soldiers Look Over destroyed German Afrika Korps Panzer IV Tank Panzer IV near Stalingrad 1942 PzKpfw IV Ausf B tanks Panzer IV of the 5th Panzer Division 1940
Panzer IV tanks winter camouflage Panzer IV ausf G ostfront Panzer IV Ausf. B of 10 Panzer Division in Graudenz 1939 German tank Panzer IV Ausf J
Panzer IV Ausf E tank eastern front 1941 Panzer IV Ausf B front view Panzer IV Ausf. G with Winterketten German Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind
Panzer IV Ausf J. Tank number 613 1944 Panzer IV Ausf G with schurzen, tank number 155. Kursk July 1943 Panzer IV tanks of the 23rd Panzer Division Hungary 1945 Bolchow Russia Panzer IV Tank 1942
Panzer IV number 533 Panzer IV tank side view Panzer IV Holland 1944 Panzer IV Ausf D column Eastern front winter 1941
Panzer IV Ausf H with schurzen and winter camouflage. tank number 842 Panzer IV Ausf A Anschluss Panzerparade 1938 German tanks Panzer IV Ausf E in their way to the front – 1941 Panzer IV Ausf F2 Marseille France 1942
Panzer IV DAK and Beute Truck Panzer IV Ausf H 61 Panzer IV with zimmerit Panzer IV Ausf G Nr 735 1943
Panzer IV Ausf D eastern front 1941 Panzer IV Ausf G tank and crew 1943 Panzer IV Kursk Orel 1943 Damaged Panzer IV tank Invasion of Poland 1939
Panzer IV column, tank number 333 Eastern front winter 1941 Destroyed Panzer IV tank Panzer IV Ausf A. Tank number 433 Invasion, of Poland 1939 German bridgelayer Brückenleger IV
German medium tank Panzer IV Ausf G in action Engineer tank Infanterie Sturmsteg auf Fgst Panzer IV Ausf. C Panzer IV Italy 1943 Soldiers lightning a fire under the tank before it starts.
German tank Panzer IV Ausf B. This tank has short barreled 75 mm gun. Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf C Pz.Kpfw. IV and III tanks number 610 614 Eastern Front Infanterie Sturmsteg auf Fgst Panzer IV Ausf. C
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf F of DAK Afrika Korps Panzer IV with turret hatch open – Ostpreussen 1944 Panzerkampfwagen IV tank on Sd.Ah.116 trailer Panzer IV Ausf F1 number 400
German tanks Panzer IV Ausf C near Sochaczew Poland 1939 German Panzerkampfwagen IV Tank And Refugees – Invasion Of Yugoslavia 1941 Destroyed Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F2 Benghazi Libya 1942 Panzer IV and soldiers of Afrika Korps
Panzer IV Ausf F2 of the 11th Panzer Division Eastern Front Panzer IV of Fallschirm Panzer Division 1. Hermann Goring in Italy 1944 Panzer IV Ausf F1 number 413 of Afrika Korps Destroyed Panzer IV Ausf C
Panzer IV Ausf C 631 of the 4th Panzer Division Miedzno Poland 1939 Panzer IV tank 642 Poland 1939 Pz.Kpfw. IV and Panzermann Eastern Front 1941 near Lepel Panzer IV
Panzer IV with turret hatch open – color photo Captured German Pz.Kpfw. IV Tank 933 of 8th Panzer Division Panzer IV France 1944 German tanks Panzer IV with winter camouflage
Abandoned Panzer IV number 514 Panzer IV November 1942 – The Scuttle of the French Fleet at Toulon Panzer IV Langrohr of the Division Hermann Goring, Ostpreussen 1945 Panzer IV Ausf J tank with Zimmerit of the Das Reich Division in France 1944
Panzer IV Ausf C Lomza Poland 1939 Panzer IV Ausf. G medium tank Panzer IV Ausf A 433 France Infanterie Sturmsteg Number 43 and Bruckenlegepanzer IV auf Panzer IV
Panzer IV of schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 France Bievres 1944 Panzer IV and burning truck Panzer IV Ausf G of the Deutsches Afrikakorps 1942 American soldier approaches a knocked out German Panzer IV tank near Salerno
German tanker pose in front of his Panzer IV Ausf G 1943 2 German tanker pose in front of his Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf G with winterketten Panzer IV E/G tanks German tank Panzer IV Ausf F1
Panzer IV tank interior Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C 8 of 10th panzer division Panzer IV and tank crew members German tanks Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf G Eastern Front 1943
Panzer IV Aus F with schurzen Kursk 1943 Panzer IV Ausf G Tank Greece PzKpfw IV ausf G “Unternehmen Lila” Toulon, November 1942 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf D during the French campaign in 1940
Panzer IV ausf B 443 and 432 Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf B 1940 Panzer IV Ausf B tank Destroyed by internal explosion a German Panzer IV Ausf C wreck France
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C France 1940 Crusader tank passing a burning Pz.Kpfw. IV during Operation Crusader in Libya 1941 Panzer IV Ausf H of 2nd SS Panzer Division “Das Reich” France 1944 Panzer IV Ausf H Tank Eastern Front 1943
General Erwin Rommel and Panzer IV of 7th Panzer Division France 1940 German tank Pz.Kpfw. Ausf H number 303 1943 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf H with winter camouflage Eastern Front 1943/1944 Destroyed Panzer IV Ausf C, Poland 1939
German tank Panzer IV Ausf H 808, Poland Eastern Front 1944 Pz.Kpfw IV tank near pontoon bridge Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C 311 Destroyed Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C, Eastern Front
Destroyed German tank Panzer IV Ausf C Panzer IV Ausf H 303 Italy 1943 Panzer IV Ausf G number 135 winter camouflage 1944 Panzer IV Ausf F1 tanks are loaded aboard railcars for transport to the front.
Panzer IV on trailer + Famo Bruckenleger IV auf Fgst Pz.Kpfw . IV German Panzer IV ausf G tank Abandoned Infanterie-Sturmsteg auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV (engineer bridge)
Panzer IV Ausf D WW2 tank /> Panzer IV ausf G front view tank ww2 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf F2 and M3 Stuart tank Sicily German Panzer IV Ausf G number 843, 1943
/> Kurland Pocket 1944 Panzer IV Panzer IV Ausf. E tank Russia Flakpanzer IV with 37mm flak Panzer IV ausf C WWII tank
/> German Panzer IV Ausf J With Zimmerit Liege Belgium 1944 /> Panzer IV Ausf G and crew – long barrel variant /> Panzer IV ausf G tank WW 2 Panzer IV Ausf D WWII, tank winter
Panzer IV ausf F2 rear Pz.Kpfw IV ausf A tank, side view Flakpanzer IV Mobelwagen rear /> Panzer IV ausf F2 wwii tank
/> Panzer IV tank ww2 Panzer IV Ausf G crew Ruhr Pocket 1945 /> Panzer IV ausf G and crew /> Panzer Regiment 4 Panzer IV with long barrel And Side Armor (Schurzen)
/> Bruckenleger IV bridgelayer tank /> 3.7 cm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV sf FlakPanzer IV Mobelwagen /> Flakpanzer IV Mobelwagen AA tanks /> Pz.Kpfw IV and Waffen SS crew Russia
late Panzer IV number 122 /> Panzer IV rail transport Panzer IV ausf C crossing an auxiliary bridge Bruckenleger IV Herlo german bridge layer
Panzer IV ausf H tank front view German tank Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf G /> Bruckenleger IV bridgelayer Panzer IV number 813 Kleist Panzergruppe in Paliseul Belgium
/> PzKpfw IV Ausf H of the Panzer Regiment 4 /> Panzer IV ausf C Tanks /> Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf D tank with Balkenkreuz Eastern Front German Panzer IV tanks winter
Bruckenleger IV German bridgelayer Panzer IV ausf F2 and crew /> Panzer IV ausf B tank front view /> Panzer IV Ausf H tank, Anzio Italy 1944
Waffen SS Panzer IV ausf G of the 10 Panzer Division Frundsberg Tarnopol 1944 Details of the turret of Panzer IV ausf C /> Panzer IV ausf H number 581 winter 1945 /> Panzer IV ausf J March 1945 with Thoma schurzen
/> Pz.Kpfw IV ausf F2 number 215 Afrika Korps (DAK) 1943 /> german tank Pz.Kpfw IV ausf D /> WW2 tank Panzer IV ausf G /> PzKpfw IV Ausf. C of the German 9. Panzer Division Romania 1941
Panzer IV on a typically primitive Russian road /> Panzer IV number 201 Abandoned late Panzer IV 1945 /> Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf. C in Greece 1941
German Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf J in Liege Belgium 1944 /> Panzer IV ausf G number 232 /> Panzer IV Ausf G tanks, June 1943 Eastern Front /> Panzer IV ww2 tanks
/> Bruckenleger IV auf Fgst Panzer IV /> Afrika Korps Panzerman and Panzer IV Panzer IV tank on trailer Pz.Kpfw IV of German 6 panzer division, number 613 1940
German Pz.Kpfw IV with long barrel of the Panzer Regiment 4 Bruckenleger IV auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV Panzer IV Ausf. H number 777, Normandy, France 1944 /> BruckenlegePanzer IV France 1940
Panzer IV ausf G tank /> Panzer IV Ausf G suffered an internal explosion – 1944 /> Panzer IV Ausf. C knocked out German tank Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F2
Bruckenleger IV Engineer Vehicle /> Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf C Tank in Russia /> Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf J and crew March 1945 /> Panzer IV Ausf F2 of 23 Panzer Division 1944 Hungary
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf E tanks winter Panzer IV Ausfuehrung D France 1940 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. B destroyed in France Tank is lifted into the air by harbour crane
Panzer IV Ausf C on bridge Panzer IV with infantry Panzer IV Ausf B tank Poland 1939 Panzer IV Ausf D 1941/1942 Russia
Panzer IV Ausf C number 812 Panzer IV number 321 and Panzer 38(t) of the 7. Panzer Division. Division commander Erwin Rommel in the background. Panzer IV ausf H Winter 1944 Erwin Rommel and Panzer IV France
Panzer IV Ausf F1, Waffen SS tank Panzer IV of the Waffen SS, advancing towards Kharkov, Ukraine 1942/1943 Panzer IV of the Waffen SS 1941/1942 Eastern front Damaged Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf D number 410
Panzer IV Ausf F in mud Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf G, front sprocket wheel Panzer IV turret 1st Armored Division Engineers sweep for mines in front of two Panzer IV Anzio 1944
Panzer IV Ausf E “Vorpanzer” Panzer IV 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking Russia Panzer IV Ausf H and British soldiers Panzer IV number 622 1939
Pz.Kpfw. IV number 613 1939 35th Infantry Division Halftrack and Pz.Kpfw IV Foy Belgium Bulge 1945 Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf G number 533 with Winterketten during winter operations on the Eastern Front 1943 Pz.Kpfw. IV France 1940 2
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C Bruckenlegepanzer IV Panzer IV ausf H Waffen SS 2 TauchPanzer IV tank 1941
Pz.Kpfw. Ausf E of the 12 Panzer Division Russia Tichwin 1942 Panzer III and Tiger british POW Tunisia DAK Afrika Korps Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf D of the 5th Panzer Division Panzer IV Poland 1939 5
Panzer IV tank Pz.Kpfw IV France 1940 4 Pz.Kpfw IV ausf B and Panzer II tanks Panzer IV winter camo Eastern Front
Panzer IV Ausf A of the 12 Panzer Division, 443 Panzer IV AA tank Möbelwagen Sd Kfz 161/3. 3.7 cm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) Pz.Kpfw IV 12 Panzer Division Russia Tichwin 1942 3 Panzer IV Ausf C Panzer Group Guderian
Panzer IV Ausf D number 321 and Panzer 38(t) 613 of the 7. Panzer Division Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf C of the 2nd Panzer Division (Wehrmacht) France 1940 Pz.Kpfw IV of the 8 Panzer Division Lithuania June 1941 Panzer IV number 422
Panzer IV Poland 1939 Panzer IV Ausf. C 2 Panzer 4 with Ostketten tracks Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf H of the Grossdeutschland Division East Front 1944
Panzer IV number 612 1939 KO German Panzerkampfwagen IV ausf H Liege Belgium 1944 Erwin Rommel and Panzer IV number 321 Panzer IV ausf A
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf E of the 12 Panzer Division Russia Summer 1941 Panzer IV of the Totenkopf Division 1941 Russia Panzer IV ausf E Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf E east front
Panzer IV with zimmerit (special anti-magnetic paste) Panzer IV 12 Panzer Division Russia Tichwin1942 knocked out tank Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C Bulgarian Panzer IV Ausf G
Mobelwagen 3.7 cm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV sf Panzer IV Möbelwagen 3.7 cm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV sf Panzer IV Ausf. G tanks of the Waffen SS – Soviet Union PzKpfw IV Ausf G Eastern Front
Panzer IV in Poland 1939 Panzer IV number 323 Pz.Kpfw. IV Poland September 1939 4 Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. E
Panzer IV Ausf F1 Russia winter Pz.Kpfw.IV 8 Panzer IV ausf H number 313 Danmark 1944 Panzer IV Orleans France 1940
Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf C of the Panzer Regiment 5 Afrika Korps 1941 DAK Panzer IV in winter Panzer IV ausf G winter camouflage German medium tanks Pz.Kpfw. IV
Panzer IV ausf B Pz.Kpfw IV Vorpanzer 2 Panzer IV ausf F2 France Pz.Kpfw IV of the Panzer Regiment 5 Afrika Korps 1941
Panzer IV Ausf F1 Olianowo Russia 1942 Panzer IV ausf D Panzer IV Ausf C Russia eastern front Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf G Unternehmen Zitadelle
Panzer IV Ausf C Panzer IV Ausf D Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf D destroyed in France 1940 Engineer vehicle Infanterie Sturmsteg auf Fgst Panzer IV Ausf. C
Bruckenleger IV Pz.Kpfw IV number 632 1939 Panzerkampfwagen IV ausf B Poland 1939

Construction

The Flakpanzer I used an almost unchanged Panzer I Ausf.A chassis and hull. It consisted of the front driving compartment, central crew compartment and the rear engine compartment.

Engine

The design of the rear engine compartment was left almost unchanged. The main engine was the Krupp M 305 four cylinder giving out 60 [email protected] 500 rpm. The only source to mention the Flakpanzer I’s driving performance is D. Nešić (Naoružanje Drugog Svetsko Rata-Nemačka). According to him, the weight was increased to 6.3 tonnes (from the original 5.4 tonnes). The increase of weight led to a reduction of maximum speed from 37.5 to 35 km/h. This source also notes that the operational range was 145 km. This is probably wrong, as the regular Panzer I Ausf. A’s operational range was 140 km. Unless there was an increase of the original 140 l fuel load that is not mentioned in the sources, this seems unlikely.

The extra added weight could also have led to engine overheating problems. To prevent this, two larger 50 to 70 mm wide holes were cut open in the engine compartment in order to provide better ventilation. Some vehicles had several smaller 10 mm holes cut for the same purpose. Another change was the removal of the vent usually located on the right side of the hull. Its purpose was to provide heated air to the crew compartment.

Suspension

The Flakpanzer I used an unmodified Panzer I Ausf. A suspension. It consisted of five road wheels on each side. The last road wheel, which was larger than the others, acted as the idler. The first wheel used a coil spring mount with an elastic shock absorber in order to prevent any outward bending. The remaining four wheels (including the last larger wheel) were mounted in pairs on a suspension cradle with leaf spring units. There was one front drive sprocket and three return rollers per side.

A view of the unchanged Panzer I Ausf. A suspension. Source: ww2.wiki

Superstructure

The superstructure of the original Panzer I was heavily modified. First, the turret and the superstructure top and parts of the side and rear armor were removed. On top of the frontal superstructure armor, an 18 cm high armored plate was welded. In addition, two smaller triangular in shaped plates were added to the front side armor. This added armor served to protect the opening between the lower part of the gun shield and the superstructure. The driver’s and the two side visors were left unchanged.

The added frontal armor plate is clearly visible in this photograph, slightly above the driver’s visor. Source: Pinterest

On top of the vehicle, a new square shaped platform for the main gun was installed. Unlike the original Panzer I turret, which was placed asymmetrically, the new gun was placed at the center of the vehicle. The Panzer I was a small vehicle, and to provide proper working space for the crew, the Germans added two additional foldable platforms. These were placed on the sides of the vehicle and some vehicles had one more to the rear, just behind the engine. The platforms actually consisted of two rectangular shaped plates. The first plate was welded to the superstructure, while the second plate could be folded down to provide additional working space.

A Flakpanzer I with a folding side platform, which is raised during the march. Source: Pinterest When engaging targets (in this case, probably a ground target), the crews would pull down the side platforms to have more working space. But even with this, the Flakpanzer I was quite a cramped vehicle. Source: Pinterest

As even these were insufficient, the crew had to move around the engine compartment. The Panzer I had muffler covers placed on either side of the engine, so the crew had to be careful to avoid accidentally burning themselves on them.

Armament

The main armament of the Flakpanzer I was the 2 cm Flak 38 anti-aircraft cannon. This was a weapon intended to replace the older 2 cm Flak 30, which it never actually did. It was designed by Mauser Werke, incorporating many elements of the Flak 30 with some internal changes, like the addition of a new bolt mechanism and return spring. In order to provide the crew with some level of protection, the armored shield was retained. The gun had a full traverse of 360° and an elevation of -20° to +90°. The maximum effective range was 2 km against air targets and 1.6 km against ground targets. The maximum rate of fire was between 420 and 480, but the practical rate of fire was usually between 180 to 220 rounds.

The 2 cm Flak 38. Source: WIki

Interestingly, Author D. Nešić (Naoružanje Drugog Svetsko Rata-Nemačka) mentions that the first Flakpanzer I prototype was armed with the Italian 2 cm Breda Model 1935 cannon. Why this particular weapon was used is sadly not mentioned by this source. There is a possibility that the author simply confused it with the Spanish Nationalists conversion of the Panzer I which was armed with the same weapon.

The 2 cm Flak 38 was unchanged and could be (if needed) easily removed from the vehicle. The overall performance and its characteristics were also unchanged on the Flakpanzer I. The time to deploy from the march to a combat position ranged between 4 to 6 min. The ammunition for the main gun was carried inside the hull, just beside the driver and the radio operator. The ammunition load consisted of 250 rounds. This number is unusual, as the normal 2 cm Flak 38 clip contained 20 rounds. Additional spare ammunition (and other equipment) was carried either in the Sd.Ah.51 trailers (not all vehicles had them) or in support vehicles. No secondary armament was carried, but the crews would have probably been armed with pistols or submachine guns for self-defense.

This Flakpanzer I was equipped with the Sd.Ah.51 trailers in which additional ammunition, spare barrels and other equipment would be stored. Source: www.worldwarphotos.info

Armor

The Flakpanzer I’s armor was quite thin. The Panzer I front hull’s armor ranged between 8 to 13 mm. The side armor was 13 to 14.5 mm thick, the bottom 5 mm and the rear 13 mm. The gun operators were only protected by the 2 cm Flak 38’s gun shield, with the sides, rear and top being completely exposed to enemy fire.

The Flakpanzer I was lightly armored. The gun crew beside the gun shield were completely exposed to enemy fire. Source:firearmcentral.fandom.com

For such a small vehicle, the Flakpanzer I had a large crew of eight. Five of these would be stationed on the vehicle itself. They consisted of the commander, gunner, loader, driver, and radio operator. The driver’s position was unchanged from the original Panzer I, and he was seated on the vehicle’s left side. To his right, the radio operator (with the Fu 2 radio equipment) was positioned. In order to enter their positions, they had to squeeze themselves between the frontal armor and the gun platform. These two were the only fully protected crew members. The remaining three crew members were stationed around the gun platform.

Despite being a small vehicle, Flakpanzer I needed a large crew to operate the gun properly. The 2 cm gun had a fast firing cycle, which requested a constant supply of ammunition. Source: Panzer.net

Three additional crew members were positioned in the auxiliary supply vehicles and were probably responsible for providing additional ammunition or acting as target spotters.


Panzer IV - the Workhorse

In November 1943, Alkett, the manufacturer of the StuG III, suffered damage in a bombing raid. Alkett produced 255 StuG III in October 1943, but in December production fell to just 24 vehicles. A conference held December 6𔃅, 1943, addressed possible solutions to this problem. Hitler welcomed the suggestion of taking the StuG III superstructure and mounting it on a Panzer IV chassis. The StuG IV could be more quickly manufactured than the Jagdpanzer IV at the time. This restarted the Sturmgeschütz IV project. This time, the superstructure of the StuG III Ausf. G was mounted on a Panzer IV chassis 7, with a box compartment for the driver added. Combat weight was 23000 kg, lighter than the 23900 kg for the StuG III Ausf. G. On Dec. 16-17, 1943, Hitler was shown the StuG IV and approved it. To make up for the large deficit in StuG III production StuG IV production was now given full support.

From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls. While the number is smaller than the 10,000+ StuG III, the StuG IV supplemented and fought along with StuG III during 1944-45, when they were most needed.


Contents

Panzer ( / ˈ p æ n z ər / German pronunciation: [ˈpantsɐ] ( listen ) ) is a German word that means "armour". It derives through the French word pancier, "breastplate", from Latin pantex, "belly". [2]

The word is used in English and some other languages as a loanword in the context of the German military. In particular, it is used in the proper names of military formations (Panzerdivision, 4th Panzer Army, etc.), and in the proper names of tanks, such as Panzer IV, etc.

The dated German term is Panzerkampfwagen, "tank" or "armoured combat vehicle". The modern commonly used synonym is Kampfpanzer, or "battle panzer". The first German tank, the A7V of 1918, was referred to as a Sturmpanzerwagen (roughly, "armoured assault vehicle").

The German tank forces were a success especially due to tactical innovation. [3] Using so-called "Blitzkrieg" ("lightning war") tactics, Heinz Guderian, Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist and other field commanders such as Erwin Rommel broke the hiatus of the Phoney War in a manner almost outside the comprehension of the Allied — and, indeed, the German — High Command. Basically, as a coherent unit, the combined arms tactic of the "blitzkrieg" shocked the Allies.

Despite this, the German Panzer forces at the start of World War II appeared not especially impressive. Only 4% of the defense budget was spent on armored fighting vehicle (AFV) production. Guderian had planned for two main tanks: the Panzer III and the Panzer IV, with production starting in 1936 and 1937 respectively. The design work for the Panzer IV had begun in 1935 and trials of prototypes were undertaken in 1937, but by the time of the invasion of Poland only a few hundred 'troop trial' models were available. Development work was then halted and limited production was begun by Krupp in Magdeburg (Grusonwerk AG), Essen and Bochum in October 1939 with 20 vehicles built. However, even that low number could not be sustained, with production dropping to ten in April 1940. Such low production numbers were due to tanks being given a low priority for steel relative to the more conventional needs of an army, such as artillery shells.

Panzer III development and performance Edit

Nevertheless, the number of available Panzer IVs (211) was still larger than that of the Panzer III (98). There were also technical problems with the Panzer III: it was widely considered to be under-gunned with a 37 mm KwK L/45 gun and production was split among four manufacturers (MAN, Daimler-Benz, Rheinmetall-Borsig, and Krupp) with little regard for each firm's expertise, and the rate of production was initially very low (40 in September 1939, 58 in June 1940), taking until December 1940 to reach 100 examples a month. The panzer force for the early German victories was a mix of the Panzer I (machine-gun only), Panzer II (20 mm gun) light tanks and two models of Czech tanks (the Panzer 38(t) and the Panzer 35(t)). By May 1940 there were 349 Panzer III tanks available for the attacks on France and the Low Countries. Despite the German tanks appeared numerically and technically inferior to the Anglo-French armored forces, equipped with a greater quantity of medium and heavy vehicles, German crews were trained and experienced in the new combined tactics of tanks, anti-tank guns and dive bombers, being able to exploit the advantages of the Panzer III, in particular, the modern radio communications system and the deployment of three men in the turret resulting in greater efficiency in the field, winning the Battle of France. [4]

The objections to the limited gun armament of the Panzer III were recognized during its conception, and its design was altered to include a large turret ring to make it possible to fit a 2250 ft/s (656 m/s) 50 mm KwK L/42 gun on later models. In July 1940, too late to see action in the final weeks of the Battle of France, the first 17 of these models were produced. Designated the Panzer III Ausf. F, the other changes included an upgraded Maybach engine and numerous minor changes to ease mass production.

The Ausf. F was quickly supplanted by the Ausf. G with an up-armored gun mantlet, which was the main tank of the Afrika Korps in 1940–41 and also saw action in Yugoslavia and Greece. Around 2,150 Panzer IIIs were produced, of which around 450 were the Ausf G. These tanks were still under-gunned, poorly armored and mechanically overly-complex in comparison to equivalent British tanks. After fighting in Libya in late 1940 the Ausf. H was put into production with simpler mechanics, wider tracks, and improved armor. In April 1941 there was a general "recall" of the Panzer III to upgrade the main gun to the new 50 mm L/60, with the new Panzergranate 40 projectile, and muzzle velocity was pushed to 3875 ft/s (1,181 m/s). New tanks produced with this gun were designated Ausf. J.

The invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa signaled a very important change in German tank development. In June 1941 Panzer III tanks first encountered the Soviet T-34. Initially the Germans had 1,449 Panzer III tanks ready for combat, about 950 of which were versions equipped with the 50 mm L/42 gun, which constituted the Wehrmacht's main tank force. [5] In July 1941 36 panzer and motorized infantry divisions were assigned to the invasion, fielding over 3000 AFVs.

While German tanks were inferior in armor, armament, and numbers, [6] the Soviet armored forces were almost annihilated during the first months of the campaign by the German panzer divisions, which proved to be much more experienced and efficient: over 17,000 Soviet tanks were destroyed or abandoned. The Soviets complained of serious mechanical deficiencies and design flaws in their T-34 tanks. Also, the crews were inexperienced and the logistical support was insufficient. On the battlefield, the Panzer III's 50 mm gun was able to seriously damage T-34 tanks and at the typical combat distances—500 metres (1,600 ft) to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft)—the German tank was not really inferior. It was more difficult for Panzer III tanks to counter KV-1 heavier tanks with their armor being nearly impenetrable at the front. [7]

During the North African campaign Panzer III tanks, especially older models, had troubles in direct fights against Matilda II British tanks, due to the superiority of their armor and powerful Ordnance QF 2-pounder gun. [8] Despite this, the Panzer III tanks managed to obtain important victories, such as in the Battle of Gazala, where the tank, skilfully employed by experienced German crews and supported by anti-tank formations, achieved the most brilliant results of its deployment in Africa, despite some difficulties against the Allied heavy tanks. The British armored forces, on the other hand, were almost destroyed. [9]

The Panzer III's armor was upgraded to 70 mm by additional plates, and spaced armor was introduced to protect against hollow charge (a.k.a. high-explosive anti-tank) attacks. However the first Panzer IV tanks with 75 mm L/48 cannon marked the end of the Panzer III's role as the German main tank. Eventually, Panzer III production was ended in August 1943 with the Ausf. M (a conversion of older types), the vehicle having been up-gunned to a 75 mm L/24 gun and downgraded to a support role. The Panzer III chassis continued in production until the end of the war as the base for a range of special purpose vehicles like the Sturmgeschütz III.

Panzer IV development and performance Edit

Although slow, production of the Panzer IV had continued by the end of 1940 386 Ausf. D models were in service and in 1941 a further 480 were produced, despite an order from the army for 2,200. The short 75 mm (2.95 in) L/24 gun was the main advantage of the Panzer IV the weight and armor of early models were close to that of the Panzer III.

With an upgrade of the Panzer IV's 75 mm L/24 short gun to a longer high-velocity 75 mm gun, suitable for anti-tank use, the tank proved to be highly effective. This new L/43 gun could penetrate a T-34 at a variety of impact angles beyond 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and up to 1,600 m (5,200 ft) range. [10] [11] On the Eastern Front, the shipment of the first model to mount the new gun, the Ausf. F2, began in spring 1942 and by the Case Blue offensive there were around 135 Panzer IVs with the L/43 tank gun available. At the time, these were the only German tanks that could defeat newer T-34-85 models with sheer firepower. [12] They played a crucial role in the events that unfolded between June 1942 and March 1943, [13] and the Panzer IV became the mainstay of the German panzer divisions. [14]

On the Western Front, the American M4 Sherman's 75 mm M3 gun, had troubles facing the Panzer IV late model. [15] Panzer IV late model's 80 mm (3.15 in) frontal hull armor could easily withstand hits from the 75 mm weapon on the Sherman at normal combat ranges. [16] The British up-gunned the Sherman with their highly effective Ordnance QF 17-pounder gun, resulting in the Sherman Firefly, which was the only Allied tank capable of dealing with all German tanks, at normal combat ranges, in time for the Normandy landings. [17] It was not until July 1944 that American Shermans fitted with the 76 mm gun M1 gun achieved parity in firepower with the Panzer IV. [18]

Later Panzer IV variants further improved the gun to the 75 mm L/48 but were mainly characterized by increasing the main armor and adding spacer and skirt armor to protect against anti-tank weapons. Zimmerit paste to prevent magnetic charges being attached was also introduced on the Panzer IV. [19]

About 12,000 Panzer IV tanks (derived chassis included) were produced during the war, more than twice as many as the next German tank.

Panzer V (Panther) development and performance Edit

Despite continued efforts with the lighter tanks throughout the war, German designers also produced a direct counter to the heavier Allied tanks with the PzKpfw V, the Panther (in 1944 the PzKpfw designation was dropped and the vehicle was known simply as the "Panther"). Design work on the replacement for the Panzer IV had begun in 1937 and prototypes were being tested in 1941. The emergence of the Soviet T-34 led to an acceleration of this leisurely time-table. At the insistence of Guderian a team was dispatched to the eastern front in November 1941 to assess the T-34 and report. Three features of the Soviet tank were considered the most significant: the top was the sloped armor all round which gave much-improved shot deflection and also increased the armor effective relative thickness against penetration the second was the wide track and large road wheels that improved stability and third was the long over-hanging gun, a feature German designers had avoided up to then. Daimler-Benz and MAN were tasked with designing and building a new 30–35 ton tank by spring 1942. At the same time the existing prototype tanks were up-gunned to 88 mm and ordered into production as the PzKpfw VI, the Tiger.

The two T-34 influenced proposals were delivered in April 1942. The Daimler-Benz design was a "homage" to the T-34, ditching the propensity for engineering excellence, and hence complexity, to produce a clean, simple design with plenty of potential. The MAN design was more conventional to German thinking and was the one accepted by the Waffenprüfamt 6 committee. A prototype was demanded by May and design detail work was assigned to Kniepkampf.

If the overhanging gun and sloping armor are ignored the Panther was a conventional German design: its internal layout for the five crew was standard and the mechanicals were complex. Weighing 43 tons it was powered by a 700 hp (522 kW) gasoline engine driving eight double-leaved bogie wheels on each side, control was through a seven-speed gearbox and hydraulic disc brakes. The armor was homogenous steel plate, welded but also interlocked for strength. Preproduction models had only 60 mm armor, but this was soon increased to 80 mm on the production Ausf. D and later models had a maximum of 120 mm. The main gun was a 75 mm L/70 with 79 rounds, supported by one or two MG 34 machine guns.

The MAN design was officially accepted in September 1942 and put into immediate production with top priority, finished tanks were being produced just two months later and suffered from reliability problems as a result of this haste. With a production target of 600 vehicles a month the work had to be expanded out of MAN to include Daimler-Benz, and in 1943 the firms of Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover and Henschel. Due to disruption monthly production never approached the target, peaking in 1944 with 330 a month and ending around February 1945 with at least 5,964 built. In addition to these mainstream efforts the German army also experimented with a variety of unusual prototypes and also put into production several peculiarities. Some Tiger tanks were fitted with anti-personnel grenade launchers that were loaded and fired from within the tank as an anti-ambush device.

The Panther first saw action in the Battle of Kursk beginning on July 5, 1943, where it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long range engagements [20] and is considered one of the best tanks of World War II for its excellent firepower and protection, although its initial tech reliability was less impressive. [21] [22]


Contents

The Sturmgeschütz IV resulted from Krupp's effort to supply an assault gun. As Krupp did not build Panzerkampfwagen IIIs, they used the Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis in combination with a slightly modified Sturmgeschütz III superstructure.

The first known proposal for a Sturmgeschütz on the Panzer IV chassis is in Krupp drawing number W1468 dated February 1943. This initial drawing unitized the outdated Sturmgeschütz Ausf. F superstructure on a Panzer IV chassis 9. This proposal had a sloped front superstructure with a combat weight of 28.26 tons. Krupp abandoned it in February 1943 because it was too heavy. Plans for the StuG IV were halted.

During the Führer Conference of August 19–22, 1943, after the battle of Kursk, Hitler had seen reports of the StuG III outperforming the Panzer IV when used in an infantry support role and tactical defence. Convinced that a tank-hunter version would be superior to the tank version, Hitler planned to switch Panzer IV production to "Panzerjäger IV" production as soon as possible. It was to mount the same 7.5 cm L/70 used for the Panther. Another manufacturer, Vomag built a prototype Panzerjäger IV with 7.5 cm L/48 gun and demonstrated it on October 20, 1943. It was later re-designated as Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F. As the Jagdpanzer IV was already being produced by Vomag, the StuG IV may not have materialized, had it not been for the major disruption of StuG III production, and the scarce supply of the 7.5 cm L/70 gun designated for the Jagdpanzer IV.

In November 1943, Alkett, the manufacturer of the StuG III, suffered damage in a bombing raid. Alkett produced 255 StuG III in October 1943, but in December production fell to just 24 vehicles. A conference held December 6–7, 1943, addressed possible solutions to this problem. Hitler welcomed the suggestion of taking the StuG III superstructure and mounting it on a Panzer IV chassis. The StuG IV could be more quickly manufactured than the Jagdpanzer IV at the time. This restarted the Sturmgeschütz IV project. This time, the superstructure of the StuG III Ausf. G was mounted on a Panzer IV chassis 7, with a box compartment for the driver added. Combat weight was 23000 kg, lighter than the 23900 kg for the StuG III Ausf. G. On Dec. 16-17, 1943, Hitler was shown the StuG IV and approved it. To make up for the large deficit in StuG III production StuG IV production was now given full support.

From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls. While the number is smaller than the 10,000+ StuG III, the StuG IV supplemented and fought along with StuG III during 1944-45, when they were most needed.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Panzer IV of Panzer-Abteilung 8

This slide is from the estate of Siegfried Keller, which belonged to Panzer-Abteilung 8. The Panzer-Abteilung 8 was formed in October 1943 as replacement for the destroyed Panzer-Regiment 8 and was assigned to 20. Panzergrenadier-Division. The detachment was established in late 1943, and there is no information about Keller's previous career. This tank, Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G, chassis number 82849, was sent to the unit in May 1942. The entire surface is factory painted in Tropen 2 scheme, but inside of the hatches remain gray as seen, and it suggests that gray painted parts was assembled at the factory and painted in Tropen 2 before shipment. The gun tube was later installed, therefore the gray primer color is retained. The spare wheel at the front is in red primer but when you look at it closely the center hub is painted in Tropen 2. Other interesting features like red cross painted on the superstructure front, light gray fire extinguisher, etc.

Source :
Akira Takiguchi photo collection
https://www.axishistory.com/about-ahf/153-germany-heer/heer-other-units/9181-panzer-abteilung-8
https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10222991026797609&set=gm.1662913953894021


Update for March 2017 at HistoryofWar.org: North African Campaign, Lutzen & Bautzen 1813, Ancient Greece and Persia, Wickes class destroyers, Supermarine & Boulton Paul Aircraft and US Heavy Tanks.

Update for March 2017 at HistoryofWar.org: North African Campaign, Lutzen & Bautzen 1813, Ancient Greece and Persia, Wickes class destroyers, Supermarine & Boulton Paul Aircraft and US Heavy Tanks.

This month we post our main article on the North African Campaign of 1940-43, one of the longest land campaign fought by the British army during the Second World War, and cover the central part of the campaign in more detail, from Operation Battleaxe to the fall of Tobruk to Rommel.

Our series on the War of Liberation of 1813 covers the period of the battles of Lützen and Bautzen, Napoleon's best chances to defeat the Prussians and Russians before their gained more allies.

In antiquity we look at some of the battles of the Third Sacred War, the Fourth Sacred War, which saw Philip II of Macedon rise to a dominant position in Greece, and the careers of the Persian Emperors Darius I the Great and Xerxes I, best known for their attempts to invade Greece.

In military technology we continue through the Wickes class destroyers, look at US Heavy Tanks, and cover pre-war Supermarine aircraft and wartime Boulton Paul aircraft designs.

North African Campaign

The North African Campaign (1940-1943) produced some of the British army's most iconic moments of the Second World War, and the Allied and Axis armies repeated advance back and forward across Libya, before the Allied victories of El Alamein and Operation Torch forced the Axis forces back into an increasingly small bridgehead in Tunisia.

Operation Battleaxe (15-17 June 1941) was an unsuccessful British offensive in North Africa, carried out in an attempt to raise the siege of Tobruk

Operation Crusader (18 November-20 December 1941) was Rommel's first defeat in North Africa, and was a confused battle, won in part by a combination of Auchinleck's determination and Rommel's rash 'dash to the wire'.

Rommel's Second Offensive (21 January-4 February 1942) was an unexpected counterattack that forced the British to retreat 350 miles, from the western border of Cyrenaica to the Gazala Line, and set the scene for Rommel's advance into Egypt later in the year

The battle of Gazala (26 May-14 June 1942) was Rommel's most impressive victory in North Africa, and saw him force the British to abandon the defences of the Gazala Line and retreat back towards the Egyptian frontier. In the aftermath of the battle he was also able to capture Tobruk, which had held out for eight months in 1941, but fell after the first serious attack in 1942.

The siege of Tobruk (17-21 June 1942) was one of the more embarrassing British defeats in North Africa, and helped to reduce Churchill's confidence in General Auchinleck's abilities as a commander.

The battle of Mersa Matruh (26-28 June 1942) was Rommel's last victory against the Eighth Army, and saw him brush aside a British attempt to defend the Mersa Matruh position

The action of Poserna (1 May 1813) was a French victory on the road to Lützen, but one that cost them Marshal Bessières, who was killed by a cannon shot during the battle.

The battle of Lützen (2 May 1813) was Napoleon's first victory during the Spring campaign of 1813 (War of Liberation), but he was unable to take full advantage of his victory, and the Prussians and Russians were able to escape east with their armies largely intact.

The combat of Colditz (5 May 1813) was a rearguard action during the Allied retreat after their defeat at Lutzen three days earlier.

The combat of Konigswartha (19 May 1813) took place on the day before the battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) and saw the French defeat an Allied force that had been sent out to attack Lauriston's corps (War of Liberation).

The battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) was the second major battle of the Spring Campaign of 1813, and saw Napoleon come close to winning the descisive victory he needed to knock at least one of his opponents out of the war.

The combat of Reichenbach (22 May 1813) was a rearguard action during the Allied retreat after their defeat at Bautzen, most notable for the death of one of Napoleon's closest friends, the Grand Marshal Duroc.

The combat of Görlitz (23 May 1813) saw the French force their way across the River Neisse, on the border between Saxony and Silesia, in the aftermath of their victory at Bautzen (20-21 May 1813).

Ancient Greece and Persia

Darius I the Great (r.522-486) was the third Persian emperor of the Achaemenid dynasty, and was a successful leader, despite being best known in the west for the failure of his invasion of Greece.

Xerxes I (r.486-465 BC) was a Persian emperor most famous for the defeat of his massive invasion of Greece of 480-479 BC.

The battle of Orchomenus (c.352 BC) was the first in a series of defeats suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus during a failed invasion of Boeotia (Third Sacred War).

The battle of the Cephisus River (c.352) was the second in a series of defeats suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus during a failed invasion of Boeotia (Third Sacred War).

The battle of Abae (c.352 BC) was one of a series of setbacks suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus, and came after a unsuccessful invasion of Boeotia and a failure to capture the city of Naryx (Third Sacred War).

The battle of Coroneia (c.352) was the second in a series of defeats suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus during a failed invasion of Boeotia (Third Sacred War).

The Fourth Sacred War or Amphissean War (339-339 BC) was the final step in Philip II of Macedon's rise to a position of dominance in Greece, and ended with the defeat of the joint Athenian and Theban army at the battle of Chaeronea.

USS Colhoun (DD-85/ APD-2) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw limited service towards the end of the First World War, and was later converted into a fast transport and sunk in a Japanese air attack off Guadalcanal.

USS Stevens (DD-86) was a Wickes class destroyer that served from Queenstown during the First World War, and supported the first successful transatlantic flight in 1919.

USS McKee (DD-87) was a Wickes class destroyer that carried out one mission to the Azores during the First World War, and had a limited post-war career before being decommissioned in 1922.

USS Robinson (DD-88) was a Wickes class destroyer that was commissioned too late to see service during the First World War, but that served in the Royal Navy as HMS Newmarket during the Second World War.

USS Ringgold (DD-89) was a Wickes class destroyer that was commissioned too late to see service in the First World War, but that served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War as HMS Newark.

USS McKean (DD-90/ APD-5) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service too late for the First World War, but that served in the Solomon Islands campaign of the Second World War as a fast transport, before being sunk off Bougainville.

USS Harding (DD-91) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a brief interwar career, mainly as a seaplane tender, before being decommissioned on 1922.

USS Gridley (DD-92) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a brief career after the First World War, most notably supporting the first successful transatlantic flight during 1919.

The Supermarine Scarab was an amphibian reconnaissance and bombing aircraft, produced in 1924 for the Spanish Navy.

The Supermarine Scylla was a flying boat originally designed to replace the Felixstowe F.5, but that was eventually used for taxing trials only.

The Supermarine Sheldrake was an amphibian aircraft produced for the British Air Ministry, but only one was ever built.

The Supermarine Swan was designed as a civilian airline, but the sole example was completed as a military reconnaissance aircraft.

Boulton Paul Aircraft

The Boulton Paul P.103 was a design for a naval fighter based on the Defiant turret fighter.

The Boulton Paul P.104 was a design for a pusher naval fighter produced in response to Specification N.7/43.

The Boulton Paul P.105 was a design for a multi-use naval attack aircraft.

The Boulton Paul P.106 was a design for an elementary training aircraft, but that lost out to the Percival Prentice.

The Heavy Tank M6 (Heavy Tank T1) was the first American heavy tank to come close to production during the Second World War, but was rejected by the Armored Force and only a handful were ever completed.

The Heavy Tank M45 was a howitzer armed version of the M26 Pershing tank, originally developed as the T26E2

The Heavy Tank T28/ 105mm Gun Motor carriage T95 was a heavily armoured vehicle that was designed to attack fortified positions.

The Heavy Tank T30 was developed in response to the appearance of heavier German tanks in 1943-44, and was armed with a 155mm gun.

The Heavy Tank T32 was an attempt to quickly produce a heavy tank based on the T26E3 version of the Pershing, and was the first of several contemporary designs for heavy tanks to reach the pilot stage.

The Heavy Tank T34 was based on the Heavy Tank T29 and Heavy Tank T30, and was armed with a modified 120mm anti-aircraft gun. It didn’t enter production, but the post-war Heavy Tank M103 was largely based on it.

The Mongol Conquests - The Military Operations of Genghis Khan and Sübe'etei, Carl Fredrik Sverdrup.
A detailed examination of the campaigns of the two greatest Mongol military leaders, using a wide range of sources, including previously un-translated Chinese materials. Gives a clear picture of the true nature of the Mongol conquests, from Genghis's own establishment of power in Mongolia to the invasions of Western Europe and northern China. Not always the easiest of reads (mainly because of the complexity of the story), but a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the rise of the Mongols.
[read full review]

Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1 - 1914-1918, Peter Lyon.
Looks at the fate of British merchant seaman during the periods of German surface raiding and the U-boat war. Rather firmly takes sides, with a hostile view of the U-boat commanders and their tactics, although one that is supportable by the evidence provided. Contains a series of impressive tales of survival against the odds, as well as tracing the development of U-boat tactics and the British countermeasures.
[read full review]

Europe: Chained by History, Larry J. Hilton.
A generally well meaning book looking at the history of Europe, and suggesting that a truly united Europe is the continent's best chance for a safe and prosperous future, somewhat marred by a series of minor historical errors that rather niggle (including Vienna's attempt to claim Mozart as a native son). Includes a very strong examination of hyper inflation and the rise of anti-Semitism in Vienna, a dark shadow that marred an otherwise impressive city
[read full review]

T-64 Battle Tank - The Cold War's Most Secret Tank, Steven J. Zaloga.
A brief history of a tank that was too advanced for its own good, combining advanced features that meant it couldn't be exported with an unreliable engine that made it unsuited for service with the Red Army for many years after it first appeared. The limited service life of the T-64 allows the author to focus on the complex and troubled development process, giving us an interesting picture of the way tank development worked in the Soviet Union
[read full review]

Special Operations South-East Asia 1942-1945: Minerva, Baldhead and Longshanks/ Creek, David Miller.
Focuses on three Special Forces operations in South East Asia – a failed attempt to gather intelligence on Sumatra, a series of similar but successful operations on the Andaman Islands and a 'cutting out' operation conducted in the Portuguese enclave of Goa. These were three very different operations, and perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are now hardly remembered, so this is a useful study of the three.
[read full review]

Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson.
An interesting study of the Ottoman side of the Palestinian campaigns of 1915-1918, looking at the failed Ottoman attacks on the Suez canal, the first two unsuccessful British attacks on Gaza and Allenby's successful campaign that eventually forced the Ottomans to sue for peace. A useful book somewhat marred by the author's approach to the Armenian Genocide, which is briefly discussed as if it was a valid response to a major security threat instead of a deliberate genocide ordered from above.
[read full review]

Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts.
An excellent guide to the most famous Confederate attack on the third day at Gettysburg, combining four battlefield trails with a detailed examination of the attack itself, covering the impact of the terrain on both sides, the performance of individual units and commanders, and many of the controversies that have dogged the subject ever since the fighting stopped. The trails appear to make sense, but for me the main value of the book is its account of the Confederate attack, supported by a detailed knowledge of the landscape over which it took place
[read full review]

Railway Guns of World War II, Steven J. Zaloga.
Although the heyday of the railway gun came during the First World War, the most famous example of the type, the massive German 80cm K(E) guns 'Dora' and 'Gustav', came from the Second World War. In reality these were useless vanity projects, but as this book makes clear every major combatant used a least a handful of railway guns during the Second World War. This book combines brief technical descriptions of each country's railway guns with a look at their combat service
[read full review]

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome.
Looks at the most numerous British tank of the Second World War, but one that only saw limited combat service, mainly in North Africa. Notable for the amount of information packed into a series of tables, including specifications and identifying features of the many versions of the Valentine, as well as the interesting material on the interior of the tank, how it was driven, and on the many special variants such as the Archer self -propelled gun, which carried its main gun pointing backwards.
[read full review]

The Hindenburg Line, Patrick Osborn & Marc Romanych.
A good study of the full network of defences generally known in English as the Hindenburg Line, and which spread from the Channel coast to the St. Mihiel salient east of Verdun. Looks at the original purpose behind their construction, the actual shape they took on the ground, and how they performed under attack. Very useful to have a book that focuses on the entire length of this key German fortification
[read full review]

Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945, Claes Johansen.
A wide ranging examination of Finland's two wars with the Soviet Union, the period leading up to the Winter War, the uneasy peace, and the aftermath of the wars, looking at the political debate within Finland, the fighting, and the wider impact of the war in the other Nordic countries. Especially interesting for the light it shines on the rather murky period between the two wars, where parts of the Finnish government entered into a de-facto alliance with Germany without the authority to do so, and on the varying Soviet aims.
[read full review]

Normandy June 1944: The Night of Liberation, Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré.
A heavily illustrated book that follows one stick of paratroops from the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment as they dropped behind Utah Beach on D-Day. A splendid educational publication that doesn't pull its punches, following a stick that saw its leader killed before reaching the ground, suffered heavy losses and fell into German hands almost immediately. Also follows the aircraft that flew them to Normandy and its aircrew.
[read full review]


Preserved copies

As far as is known, only four IV assault guns have survived.

A StuG IV was excavated in 1999 near Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and is in the "Orzel-Bialy" museum in Skarżysko-Kamienna, Poland . It is currently (as of July 2018) not on display, but is still in the process of restoration with the help of parts from other vehicles.

A second specimen was found near Poznan on the bottom of a river in 2006 and 2008 and was made roadworthy again. It is located there in the "Muzeum Broni Pancernej CSWL".

A third specimen was found in Russia in 2009-2010. The shell could be reconstructed with parts from other vehicles and can be seen today in the “Vadim Zadorozhny” Museum in Arkhangelskoye .

The fourth vehicle was recovered from a swamp in Latvia in 2011 and also reconstructed using parts from other vehicles. It is now part of the exhibition in the Military Vehicle Museum of the Hotel Sventes Muiža (Svente, Latvia).


Watch the video: Panzer IV Destroyed in Tunisia, 1943