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Hummel abandoned at Oudler, 1944
This Hummel 150mm self-propelled gun was abandoned at Oudler, fifteen miles south of St. Vith, during the Battle of the Bulge. This picture was taken after the village was re-taken by the Allies. The side view shows us the Panzer IV style suspension and the details of the gun.
Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 04 Oct 2012, 13:59
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Revellations » 07 Oct 2012, 00:33
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 07 Oct 2012, 11:07
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Revellations » 07 Oct 2012, 13:09
As a Arnhem specialist (that is my website), I really havent looked into the Ardennes campaign so cant help you there. Please drop me a message with your email so we can correspond a bit more.
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Tom Peters » 08 Oct 2012, 02:45
For what its worth, here are the hits in the German records:
LXXXVIII KTB (T314 R1623)
T314 R1625 (LXXXVIII anlage)
Oct 31 (000455)
oct 29 (000489)
Oct 28 (000493)
Oct 25 (000498)
Nov 26 (000294)
Nov 15 (000357)
Nov 13 (000370)
Nov 10 (000385)
nov 7 (000404)
Nov 7 (000407)
Nov 4 (000420)
Nov 3 (000432)
Nov 2 (000440)
T314 R1626 (LXXXVIII anlage)
Oct 31 (000239)
Nov 15 (000204)
Nov 8 (000216)
Nov 5 (000225)
Nov 1 (000235)
T314 1627 (LXXXVIII anlage)
Oct 25 (000709)
Nov 16 (000929)
T314 R1667 (LXXXVIII anlage)
Oct 31 (000576) (s)
Oct 28 (000618) (s)
Oct 28 (000626)
Oct 25 (000711)
Nov 15 (000816)
Nov 7 (000917)
Nov 6 (000935)
Nov 6 (000940)
Nov 4 (000970)
Nov 4 (000979)
Nov 3 (000991)
Nov 3 (000993)
Nov 3 (000994)
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 08 Oct 2012, 12:27
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 15 Oct 2012, 09:13
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Tom Peters » 16 Oct 2012, 02:52
Thats every reference I have found in the German records. If BAMA has material for the s.Pz unit that controlled it, that would be a source, but off the top of my head, there is nothing for the time period and location - with the possible exception of TsAMO.
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Revellations » 16 Oct 2012, 03:14
Tom is correct. Pz Kp Hummel became the 4th Kp of s. Pz Abt 506 before Ardennes if I remember the dates correctly while I am at work. So you need to look 506 files.
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 24 Oct 2012, 08:13
Did spzk Hummel join 506. Abt 18.12.1944 or earlier, 8.12.1944. Most sources say 18.12, if this is correct, i don't think that Hummel did fight at all in St.Vith area.
Kp Hummel did support many units late 1944 , one of them was 15. PzGrenDiv. In Tripsrath 19.11.1944 company did suffer some losses, and its commander, Hummel, died in Lindern 20.11.1944. is there any info or details considering this action? New commander was leutnant Flöhr??
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by skylinedrive » 24 Oct 2012, 15:46
As a preliminary I have to state that I am not at all a specialist when it comes to the german OOB, but I'm quite at ease regarding the "Battle of the Bulge". The more the sources on the TigerI in the Bulge are scarce and sometimes contradictory, so you might take the following with a pinch of salt.
It seems as if on the 8th of december 1944 the Schwere Panzerkopmpanie Hummel was attached to the Schwere Panzerabteilung 506 as it's fourth company. At the beginning of the offensive the Schw. Pz. K. Hummel had eight TigerI tanks. Apparently they were under the command of the 7. Armee and not, as I would have thought under the 6. Panzerarmee They see action from the 21st of december on, but in the vicinity of Bastogne, I'm quite positive that one was destroyed or abandoned near Oberwampach in Luxembourg in january 1945. At the end of january the Sch. Pz. Abt. 506 is taken out of frontline duty. On the 16th of february 1945 the Schwere Panzerkopmpanie Hummel is detached from the Schwere Panzerabteilung 506.
Steven Zaloga: Armoured Victory 1945 published by Stackpole Books
Re: Schwere-Panzer-Kompanie "Hummel" info needed
Post by Carelian » 24 Oct 2012, 17:02
thanks for this, it's very hard to find any sources. It seems that this oberwampach tiger is only clue in this mystery. but i did find note that 506. Abt did fight in new years day in Wardin against US 6th Arm Div, maybe there was 4th Company with some TIGER 1 too?
16.2.1945 back to independent unit, transfer to Elsdorf area
24.2 two TIGER 1 supports 9.PzDiv/33. PzRgt, any details.
25.2 that famous incident in Elsdorf when Tiger destroys M26 Pershing and get stuck/abandoned. At last, photos!! but little info. In fighting in this area, company suffered many losses.
5.4.1945 company has 11 Tigers? When unit did get new tanks, and where?? Subordinated to 106. PzBrig, in area of Brunskappel. Again, details are missing.
-And then, unit gets sucked in crumbling vortex and disappears??
Development of a heavy tank design had been initiated in 1937 the initial design contract was awarded to Henschel. Another design contract followed in 1939, and was given to Porsche.  Both prototype series used the same turret design from Krupp the main differences were in the hull, transmission, suspension and automotive features. 
The Henschel version used a conventional hull design with sloped armour resembling the layout of the Panther tank. It had a rear-mounted engine and used nine steel-tired, eighty-centimeter-diameter overlapping road wheels per side with internal springing, mounted on transverse torsion bars, in a similar manner to the original Henschel-designed Tiger I. To simplify maintenance, however, as when the same steel-tired road wheels were used on later Tiger I hulls, the wheels were only overlapping without being interleaved—the full Schachtellaufwerk rubber-rimmed road-wheel system that had been in use on nearly all German half-tracks used the interleaved design, later inherited by the early production versions of the Tiger I  and Panther.
The Porsche hull designs included a rear-mounted turret and a mid-mounted engine. The suspension was the same as on the Elefant tank destroyer. This had six road wheels per side mounted in paired bogies sprung with short longitudinal torsion bars that were integral to the wheel pair this saved internal space and facilitated repairs. One Porsche version had a gasoline-electric drive (fundamentally identical to a Diesel-electric transmission, only using a gasoline-fueled engine as the prime mover), similar to a gasoline-electric hybrid but without a storage battery two separate drivetrains in parallel, one per side of the tank, each consisting of a hybrid drive train gasoline engine–electric generator–electric motor–drive sprocket. This method of propulsion had been attempted before on the Tiger (P) (later Elefant prototypes) and in some US designs and was put into production in the WW1 Saint-Chamond tank and the post-WW1 FCM Char 2C. The Porsche suspension components were later used on a few of the later Jagdtiger tank destroyers. Another proposal was to use hydraulic drives. Dr. Porsche's unorthodox designs gathered little favour. 
Henschel won the design contract, and all Tiger IIs were produced by the firm.  Two turret designs were used in production vehicles. The initial design is often misleadingly called the "Porsche" turret due to the misbelief that it was designed by Porsche for their Tiger II prototype in fact it was the initial Krupp design for both prototypes.  This turret had a rounded front and steeply sloped sides, with a difficult-to-manufacture curved bulge on the turret's left side to accommodate the commander's cupola. Fifty early turrets were mounted to Henschel's hull and used in action. In December 1943 the more common "production" turret, sometimes erroneously called the "Henschel" turret, was simplified with a significantly thicker flat face, no shot trap (created by the curved face of the earlier turret), and less-steeply sloped sides, which prevented the need for a bulge for the commander's cupola, and added additional room for ammunition storage. 
The turrets were designed to mount the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 gun. Combined with the Turmzielfernrohr 9d (German "turret telescopic sight") monocular sight by Leitz, which all but a few early Tiger IIs used, it was a very accurate and deadly weapon. During practice, the estimated probability of a first-round hit on a 2 m (6 ft 7 in) high, 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) wide target was 100 percent at 1,000 m (0.62 mi), 95–97 percent at 1,500 m (0.93 mi) and 85–87 percent at 2,000 m (1.2 mi), depending on ammunition type. Recorded combat performance was lower, but still over 80 percent at 1,000 m, in the 60s at 1,500 m and the 40s at 2,000 m. Penetration of armoured plate inclined at 30 degrees was 202 and 132 mm (8.0 and 5.2 in) at 100 m (110 yd) and 2,000 m (1.2 mi) respectively for the Panzergranate 39/43 projectile (PzGr—armour-piercing shell), and 238 and 153 mm (9.4 and 6.0 in) for the PzGr. 40/43 projectile between the same ranges. The Sprenggranate 43 (SpGr) high-explosive round was available for soft targets, or the Hohlgranate or Hohlgeschoss 39 (HlGr—HEAT or High-explosive anti-tank warhead) round, which had 90 mm (3.5 in) penetration at any range, could be used as a dual-purpose munition against soft or armoured targets. 
Powered turret traverse was provided by the variable speed Boehringer-Sturm L4S hydraulic motor, which was driven from the main engine by a secondary drive shaft. A high and a low speed setting was available to the gunner via a lever on his right. The turret could be rotated 360 degrees at 6º/second in low gear independent of engine rpm, at 19º/second — the same as with the Tiger I — with the high speed setting and engine at 2000 rpm, and over 36º/second at the maximum allowable engine speed of 3000 rpm. The direction and speed of traverse was controlled by the gunner through foot pedals, or a control lever near his left arm. This system allowed for very precise control of powered traverse, a light touch on the pedal resulting in a minimum traverse speed of 0.1 deg/sec (360 degrees in 60 min), unlike in most other tanks of the time (e.g. US M4 Sherman or Soviet T-34) this allowed for fine laying of the gun without the gunner needing to use his traverse handwheel.  If power was lost, such as when the tank ran out of fuel, the turret could be slowly traversed by hand, assisted by the loader who had an additional wheel, which could manually rotate the turret at a rate of one-half a degree per each revolution of the hand crank (i.e. 20° turret rotation required 40 full cranks of the handwheel, and to turn the turret a full 360° the gunner would be required to crank the handwheel 720 full revolutions).
Like all German tanks, the Tiger II had a petrol engine in this case the same 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW) V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 which powered the much lighter Panther and Tiger I tanks. The Tiger II was under-powered, like many other heavy tanks of World War II, and consumed a lot of fuel, which was in short supply for the Germans. The transmission was the Maybach OLVAR OG 40 12 16 Model B, giving eight forward gears and four reverse, which drove the steering gear. This was the Henschel L 801, a double radius design which proved susceptible to failure. Transverse torsion bar suspension supported the hull on nine axles per side. Overlapped 800 mm (31 in) diameter road wheels with rubber cushions and steel tyres rode inside the tracks. 
Like the Tiger I, each tank was issued with two sets of tracks: a normal "battle track" and a narrower "transport" version used during rail movement. The transport tracks reduced the overall width of the load and could be used to drive the tank short distances on firm ground. The crew were expected to change to normal battle tracks as soon as the tank was unloaded. Ground pressure was 0.76 kg/cm 2 (10.8 psi). 
Command variant Edit
The command variant of the Tiger II was designated Panzerbefehlswagen Tiger Ausf. B. It had two versions, Sd.Kfz. 267 and Sd.Kfz. 268. These carried only 63 rounds of 8.8 cm ammunition to provide room to accommodate the extra radios and equipment,  and had additional armour on the engine compartment. The Sd.Kfz. 267 was to have used FuG 8 and FuG 5 radio sets, with the most notable external changes being a two-metre-long (6.6 ft) rod antenna mounted on the turret roof and a Sternantenne D ("Star antenna D"), mounted on an insulated base (the 105 mm Antennenfuß Nr. 1), which was protected by a large armoured cylinder. This equipment was located on the rear decking in a position originally used for deep-wading equipment.  The Sd.Kfz. 268 used FuG 7 and FuG 5 radios with a two-metre rod antenna mounted on the turret roof and a 1.4 metre rod antenna mounted on the rear deck. 
The Tiger II was developed late in the war and built in relatively small numbers. Orders were placed for 1,500 Tiger IIs—slightly more than the 1,347 Tiger I tanks produced—but production was severely disrupted by Allied bombing raids.  Among others, five raids between 22 September and 7 October 1944 destroyed 95 percent of the floor area of the Henschel plant. It is estimated that this caused the loss in production of some 657 Tiger IIs.  Only 492 units were produced: one in 1943, 379 in 1944, and 112 in 1945. Full production ran from mid-1944 to the end of the war.  Each Tiger II produced needed 300,000 man hours to manufacture and cost over 800,000 Reichsmark or US$300,000 (equivalent to $4,400,000 in 2020) per vehicle. The vehicle was the costliest German tank to produce at the time. 
The Tiger II served as the basis for one production variant, the Jagdtiger casemated tank destroyer,  and a proposed Grille 17/21/30/42 self-propelled mount for heavy guns which never reached production. 
The Maybach HL234, an engine born from the developments initiated by attempting to convert the Maybach HL230 to fuel injection, would have increased the power from 700 to least 800 PS (hp). In January 1945 the Entwicklungskommission Panzer unanimously decided that HL234 be immediately included in the engine design and procurement program. The ZF AK-7-200 gearbox was also explored as an alternative to the Maybach Olvar-B semi-automatic gearbox, but Waffenamt research and development department Wa Prüf 6 found that it offered inferior driving characteristics and so the Maybach Olvar-B was retained.  There was also a program using the Simmering-Graz-Pauker Sla.16-cylinder diesel engine,  but the war's constraint on supplies and capitulation resulted in the cancellation of this program. [ citation needed ] Krupp proposed mounting a new main weapon, the 10.5 cm KwK L/68. Wa Prüf 6 was not supportive of this as the Heer had not accepted the cannon itself. Other suggested improvements included stabilised sights, a stabilised main gun, an automatic ammunition feed (often known as an auto loader), a Carl Zeiss AG stereoscopic rangefinder, heated crew compartment, stowage for an additional 12 rounds, and an overpressure and air filtration system to protect against poison gas. However, these also never got beyond the proposal stage or did not enter production before the war ended. 
- Gearbox: Maybach OLVAR OG 40 12 16 B (eight forward and four reverse) 
- Radio: FuG 5, Befehlswagen (command tank) version: FuG 8 (Sd.Kfz. 267), FuG 7 (Sd.Kfz. 268) 
- 8.8 cm – 80 rounds (early turret),  86 rounds (main production turret), usually 50% PzGr 39/43 and 50% SprGr 43, sometimes with a limited number of PzGr 40/43, or with the SprGr replaced by HlGr PzGr 39/43 (Armour-piercing, hardened steel) (longer range, lower penetration, explosive filler) PzGr 40/43 (Armour-piercing, tungsten carbide core) (shorter range, higher penetration, inert) SprGr 43 (High explosive) HlGr 39 (Hollow charge) 
- 7.92mm – up to 5,850 rounds 
Apart from research, training, and a five-tank attachment to the Panzer Lehr, the Tiger II was only issued to heavy tank battalions (schwere Panzer-Abteilungen) of the German Army (Heer), or Waffen-SS. 
A standard battalion (Abteilung) comprised 45 tanks: 
|Battalion command |
3 × Tiger II
|1st company command |
2 × Tiger II
|2nd company command |
2 × Tiger II
|3rd company command|
2 × Tiger II
|1st platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|2nd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|3rd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|1st platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|2nd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|3rd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|1st platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|2nd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
|3rd platoon |
4 × Tiger II
Units that used the Tiger II were as follows: 
Reliability and mobility Edit
Early Tiger IIs proved unreliable, owing principally to leaking seals and gaskets, and an overburdened drive train originally intended for a lighter vehicle.  The double radius steering gear was initially particularly prone to failure.  Lack of crew training could amplify this problem drivers originally given only limited training on other tanks were often sent directly to operational units already on their way to the front. 
The Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung 501 (s.H.Pz.Abt. 501) arrived on the Eastern Front with only eight out of 45 tanks operational these faults were mostly due to drive-train failures. The first five Tiger IIs delivered to the Panzer Lehr Division broke down before they could be used in combat, and were destroyed to prevent capture. 
The introduction of modified seals, gaskets and drive train components, as well as improved driver training and sufficient maintenance improved the tank's mechanical reliability.  Statistics from 15 March 1945 show reliability rates of 59 percent for the Tiger, almost equal to the 62 percent of the Panzer IV and better than the 48 percent of the Panther that were operational by this period. 
Notwithstanding its initial reliability problems, the Tiger II was remarkably agile for such a heavy vehicle. Contemporary German records and testing results indicate that its tactical mobility was as good as or better than most German or Allied tanks. 
Combat history Edit
The first combat use of the Tiger II was by the 1st Company of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.H.Pz.Abt. 503) during the Battle of Normandy, opposing Operation Atlantic between Troarn and Demouville on 18 July 1944. Two were lost in combat, while the company commander's tank became irrecoverably trapped after falling into a bomb crater created during Operation Goodwood. 
On the Eastern Front, it was first used on 12 August 1944 by the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.H.Pz.Abt. 501) resisting the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. It attacked the Soviet bridgehead over the Vistula River near Baranów Sandomierski. On the road to Oględów, three Tiger IIs were destroyed in an ambush by a few T-34-85s.  Because these German tanks suffered ammunition explosions, which caused many crew fatalities, main gun rounds were no longer allowed to be stowed within the turret, reducing capacity to 68.  Up to fourteen Tiger IIs of the 501st were destroyed or captured in the area between 11 and 14 August to ambushes and flank attacks by both Soviet T-34-85 and IS-2 tanks, and ISU-122 assault guns in inconvenient sandy terrain. The capture of three operational Tiger IIs allowed the Soviets to conduct tests at Kubinka and to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses 
On 15 October 1944, Tiger IIs of 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion played a crucial role during Operation Panzerfaust, supporting Otto Skorzeny's troops in taking the Hungarian capital of Budapest, which ensured that the country remained with the Axis until the end of the war. The 503rd then took part in the Battle of Debrecen. The 503rd remained in the Hungarian theater of operations for 166 days, during which it accounted for at least 121 Soviet tanks, 244 anti-tank guns and artillery pieces, five aircraft and a train. This was set against the loss of 25 Tiger IIs ten were knocked out by Soviet troops and burned out, two were sent back to Vienna for a factory overhaul, while thirteen were blown up by their crews for various reasons, usually to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Kurt Knispel, the highest scoring tank ace of all time (162 enemy armoured fighting vehicles destroyed), also served with the 503rd, and was killed in action on 28 April 1945 in his Tiger II. 
The Tiger II was also used in significant numbers, distributed into four heavy panzer battalions, during the Ardennes Offensive (also known as the Battle of the Bulge) of December 1944.  At least 150 Tiger IIs were present, nearly a third of total production most were lost during the course of the offensive. 
Some Tiger IIs were also present during the Soviet Vistula–Oder  and East Prussian Offensives in January 1945,  as well as the German Lake Balaton Offensive in Hungary in March 1945,  the Battle of the Seelow Heights in April 1945, and the Battle of Berlin at the end of the war. 
The 103rd SS Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.SS Pz.Abt. 503) claimed approximately 500 kills in the period from January to April 1945 on the Eastern Front for the loss of 45 Tiger IIs (most of which were abandoned and destroyed by their own crews after mechanical breakdowns or for lack of fuel). 
Gun and armour performance Edit
The heavy armour and powerful long-range gun gave the Tiger II an advantage against all opposing Western Allied and Soviet tanks attempting to engage it from head on. This was especially true on the Western Front where, until the arrival of the few M26 Pershings in 1945 and the few M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbos" that were scattered around Europe after D-Day, as well as a few late Churchill models, neither the British nor US forces brought heavy tanks into service. A Wa Prüf 1 report estimated that the Tiger II's frontal aspect was impervious to the 122 mm D-25T, the largest calibre tank gun of the war. However, Soviet testing contradicted this as they found that the frontal glacis could be destroyed by firing 3-4 shots at the weld joints from the ranges of 500-600m  which were found to be inferior in quality to that of previous German designs like the Tiger I or Panther.  On the other hand, an R.A.C 3.d. document of February 1945 estimated that the British QF 17-pounder (76.2 mm) gun, using armour-piercing discarding sabot shot was theoretically capable of penetrating the front of the Tiger II's turret and nose (lower front hull) at 1,100 and 1,200 yd (1,000 and 1,100 m) respectively although, given the lack of a stated angle, this was presumably at the ideal 90 degrees and in combat the Tiger II was never penetrated frontally by the QF 17-Pounder. 
As a result of its thick frontal armour, flanking manoeuvres were most often used against the Tiger II to attempt a shot at the thinner side and rear armour, giving a tactical advantage to the Tiger II in most engagements.  Moreover, the main armament of the Tiger II was capable of knocking out any Allied tank frontally at ranges exceeding 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi), well beyond the effective range of Allied tank guns. 
Soviet wartime testing Edit
During August 1944, two Tiger Ausf B tanks were captured by the Soviets near Sandomierz, and were soon moved to the testing grounds at Kubinka. During the transfer, the two tanks suffered from various mechanical breakdowns the cooling system was insufficient for the excessively hot weather, where the engine tended to overheat and cause a consequential failure of the gearbox. The right suspension of one of the tanks had to be completely replaced, and its full functionality could not be re-established. The tank broke down again every 10–15 km. The 8.8 cm KwK 43 gave positive results in penetration and accuracy, which were on par with the 122 mm D-25T. It proved capable of passing completely through its "colleague", a Tiger Ausf B's turret at a range of 400 m. The armour of one vehicle was tested by firing at it with shells between 100 and 152 mm calibre. The welding was, despite careful workmanship, significantly worse than on similar designs. As a result, even when shells did not penetrate the armour, there was often a large amount of spalling from the inside of the plates, which damaged the transmission and rendered the tank inoperable. Further testing showed that the armour plate itself exhibited deficiencies in quality compared to earlier German tanks such as the Tiger I and Panther. Lab testing found that the armour plates lacked molybdenum (ascribed to a loss of supply, being replaced by vanadium), resulting in low malleability.  
The expanded firing test states that the АР projectiles from the 100 mm BS-3 and 122 mm A-19 gun penetrated a Tiger Ausf B's turret at ranges of 1000–1500 metres, which suggests a quality factor of 0.86 for the Tiger Ausf B's turret. The firing test against the Tiger B turret front, however, was conducted after removal of the gun and mantlet, and resulted in penetrations close to armour openings, such as vision slits and gun location. The penetrations to the right gun opening were influenced by previous 100 mm projectile penetration hits or armour damage.  The 100 mm BS-3 and 122 mm A-19 could also penetrate the weld joints of the front hull at ranges of 500–600 metres after 3–4 shots. 
The only working example is displayed at the Musée des Blindés, Saumur, France. It has the production turret and is accessible to the public. This tank belonged to the 1st Company, 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. It was believed to have been abandoned by its crew on 23 August 1944, due to engine problems, at Brueil-en-Vexin, near Mantes-la-Jolie. It was salvaged by the French Army in September 1944 and then stored in a factory in Satory before being transferred to the museum in 1975. It was believed to have had turret number 123, but Colonel Michel Aubry, the founder of the museum, decided to put 233 on the turret in honour of the Tiger II that destroyed his Sherman tank at the end of the war. Unlike other captured German vehicles, this Tiger II was never used by the French Army. 
ROMMEL’S HOME IN HERRLINGEN
More than a century prior to the day, when the Erwin Rommel, the German Fieldmarshal, devastated by his own retreat from Africa, moved his family to a cozy city of Herrlingen, Philipp Jakob Wieland , a local German industrialist had become a pioneer of the metals industry in the territories. He was way more than just a founder of the gargantuan metals conglomerate, known today as Wieland-Werke. Philipp Jakob Wieland once made his mind to fund the construction of a cheap accommodation-for-rent around the factories for the needs of his workers and he eventually established one among the first insurance companies in Germany of its kind, which was initiated to preserve the rights of the manpower. While being far from ignoring the needs of his staff, the manufacturer himself set his heart on a charming location within the Herrlingen village, a cradle of his business empire, where he had once bought a couple of scrubby flour mills. The mid of the XIX century would witness the construction of Wieland’s countryside residence on this very location, destined to be remodeled and reconstructed for a number of occasions.
No sooner than in October 1943 Erwin Rommel, his wife Lucia, and their son Manfred finally left their long-ago residence in the Austrian city of Wiener Neustadt , their home from 1938, to move in a villa in Herrlingen, a small township next to Ulm. Manfred Rommel, a young man of fifteen years old at that time, would periodically visit his parents and stay for some granted days while serving his cadet military service at the air defense battery. A luxurious villa attributed back then as an icon of modern style in the Württemberg region had been in private ownership of the Wieland family for more than a century and was entrusted to Erwin Rommel for use. The field marshal was severely hurt on July 17, 1944 , on the occasion when his car had been attacked by an Allied fighter aircraft. The 52-years-old German national hero came across the believable loss of an eye, he suffered from a fracture of a temporal bone and cheekbones. Not before August 8, 1944 , Rommel got medical approval (of own volition) to leave the second-in-a-row hospital and to go back home to Herrlingen for home treatment. His transfer to Herrlingen was arranged by means of a car under the Red Cross.
For the first time in years of his intense career as a lifetime military man, Erwin Rommel finally had a chance to take advantage of a rest back at his home, surrounded by a treat of his wife, a son, an adjutant, and two doctors. It took him less than a month to initiate walkings around the mansion and his damaged eye was now half-recovered. Being wounded for the sixth time over the span of two World Wars, at that in Herrlingen Rommel used to wear ‘the golden sign’, had been granted to him by the ‘Oberkommando of Wehrmacht’ after the accident of July 17. Subsequent to the failed attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944 (The ‘July plot’) the German Fieldmarshal finally reconsidered the accumulated warnings of his neighbors in Herrlingen, that his home had been under the supervision of ‘ Geheime Staatspolizei’ , generally known as ‘ Gestapo’ . In a matter of two years between 1942 and 1944, the national star of Rommel had been brought down (in the eyes of Hitler and regime) to the status of an all-out and exhausted field-marshal, absorbed in defeatist thoughts, a figure that should now keep track on. The American investigators had succeeded in researching (after the war) the captured archives of ‘Gestapo’ and ‘Reichskanzlei’ (Reich Chancellery) to reveal the documented validation of the fact, that Rommel had been supervised by three agents, summoned from Munich not to be identified by the locals. They used to keep an eye on the villa in Herrlingen and even used threats to make the neighbors provide information on Erwin Rommel.
At 6 o’clock a.m. on October 14, 1944 , Manfred Rommel made his steps on the platform of the Herrlingen train station, being previously released for visiting the home at a personal request from his father to the commander of the air defense station (Manfred would be assigned retired a few weeks later). Once he reached the villa after a walk of a few hundred meters, Manfred found his father awaken, yet worried about the upcoming announced visit of two officers. The father and the son made a few hours of promenading around the villa until the very afternoon (Fieldmarshal also contributed time to speak to his wife and to his adjutant) to see the arrival of two high-ranking officers: Wilhelm Emanuel Burgdorf , the chief officer of the Personnel Department of Wehrmacht and Ernst Maisel , the authorized investigator of the ‘July plot’, accompanied with his adjutant Anton Ehrnsperger, a holder of ‘Deutsches Kreuz in Gold’ . By virtue of the testimonies of Lucia Rommel , Manfred Rommel , Hermann Aldinger (adjutant) , it was later established that the villa was surrounded by five trucks with armored men in civilian clothes. The field marshal shared his worries and the given ultimatum with his nearest and dearest and took a place in a car apr, at 1 p.m. on October 14, 1944 . In the aftermath of the 45-minute arrangement with the generals within his cabinet, the German national hero put his dress-coat, a leather coat, and dais final goodbyes to his wife, son, and adjutant.
The villa that witnessed the last two months and the last hours of Erwin Rommel was in the ownership of the Wieland family until 1950 , five years after the metals factory in Ulm had been destroyed by the Allied air raid. The mansion was sold out to the authorities of Herrlingen, yet the greater part of the territory, including a number of the household outbuildings, had been in possession of the ancestral metallurgists until the year 1977. No later than in 1952 the city authorities of Herrlingen allocated a local school into the villa, which would severely change the historical appearance of the building and its artifact interiors. In 1969 ‘Lindenhofschule mit Werkrealschule Herrlingen’ was built less than one hundred meters distanced from the Wieland-Rommel villa and the next year witnessed a release of demolition permission to devastate the villa in order to widen the territory of the school. All while the construction plans were drowned in the lack of financing back in the mid-1970s, the protests finally resulted in assigning the villa with a status of a historical monument. Already in the 1980s a new reconstruction works, valued at 1 million Deutsche marks, would turn the villa into a museum devoted to Erwin Rommel.
Hummel abandoned at Oudler, 1944 - History
Planned Operations of World War II
Wikipedia (for initial quick and dirty research)
NOTE: This is an early version created by agglomerating information from Wikipedia. The descriptions are essentially straight from wikipedia. This is a placeholder to provide a place for starting research. It will be revised extensively as I research more into each operation and verify Wikipedia's claims.
Saturn (1942) &mdash Proposed major attack following the Stalingrad encirclement revised to Little Saturn.
Rädda Danmark ("Save Denmark") (1945) &mdash Swedish plan to liberate Denmark before the country was occupied by the Soviet Union (cancelled because of German surrender)
Rädda Själland (1945) &mdash Swedish landings on Zealand
Rädda Bornholm (1945) &mdash Swedish landings on Bornholm
C (1939) &mdash Spanish plan for the seizure of Gibraltar
Plan W (1942) &ndash Joint British/Irish planning to deal with a German invasion of Ireland.
Operation Accolade (1942) proposed British occupation of Rhodes, and subsequently, failed occupation of the Dodecanese
Operation Constellation (1943) &mdash one of several proposals to retake the Channel Islands
Operation Condor (1943) &mdash proposal to retake Jersey
Operation Concertina (1943) &mdash proposal to retake Alderney
Operation Coverlet (1943) &mdash proposal to retake Guernsey
Operation Comet (1944) - Early Version of Market Garden
Operation Ventilate (1945) &mdash cancelled assault crossing of the Maas by British 3rd Infantry Division
Operation Backbone & Backbone II (1942 & 1943) &mdash contingency plans to occupy Spanish Morocco and area around Gibraltar if Germans entered Spain
Operation Challenger (?) &mdash plan to seize Ceuta
Operation Culverin (1943) &mdash Proposed allied invasion of northern Sumatra
Operation Zipper (1945) Planned British seaborne landing in Malaya.
Operation Catherine (1939) British plan to gain control of Baltic Sea
Operation Jupiter (1942) &mdash suggested invasion of Norway
Operation R 4 (1940) &mdash Planned British invasion of Norway
Operation Giant II &mdash cancelled landing of U.S. 82nd Airborne near Rome.
Operation Roundup (1942) - plan to invade Europe in event of German or Soviet collapse.
Operation Sledgehammer (1942) - establishment of beachhead in Cherbourg or Brest.
Operation Roundhammer &ndash Revised version of Roundup.
Fall Blau (Case Blue) 1935 - German defense planning on the eastern border, simultaneously with Fall Rot
Fall Rot (Case Red) 1935 - German defense planning on the western border, simultaneously with Fall Blau. The 1940 version was used to invade France.
Fall Otto (Case Otto) 1937 - German plan to occupy Austria
Fall Richard 1937 - German contingency planning for Soviet takeover of Spain
Fall Rot 1937 - German planned invasion of Czechoslovakia
Fall Grün 1938 - German plan for invasion of Czechoslovakia
Fall Otto 1938 - German plan to establish a puppet government in Austria
Plan Z 1939 - German plan to expand the Kriegsmarine to match the strength of the British Royal Navy
Unternehmen Felix (1940) - German planned invasion of Gibraltar via the Iberian Peninsula
Unternehmen Nordwest (1939) &ndash Early study for invasion of Britain parts of Nordwest were integrated into Seelöwe .
Unternehmen Seelöwe (1940) - German planned invasion of Britain anglicised as 'Sealion'
Fall Grün (Case Green) 1940 - German plan for a diversionary invasion of Ireland in support of Operation Seelöwe
Unternehmen Grüne Bewegung 1940 - German planned landing at Brighton, England part of Operation Seelöwe
Unternehmen Herbstreise (Autumn Journey) 1940 - German planned diversionary invasion of Scotland, Britain part of Operation Seelöwe
Unternehmen Hummel 1940 - German intelligence gathering for Operation Seelöwe
Dietrich (1942) &mdash planned counter-attack to relieve Sixth Army using Grossdeutschland & LSSAH. Unimplemented.
Unternehmen Ikarus 1940 - German planned invasion of Iceland in response to British Operation Fork originally planned to launch in conjunction with Operation Seelöwe
Unternehmen Kathleen 1940 - German planned invasion of Ireland
Unternehmen Lucie 1940 - German planned invasion of the Dutch island of Texel in the North Sea
Unternehmen Löwe 1940 - German planned invasion of Britain precursor of Operation Seelöwe
Unternehmen Spark 1940 - German planned assassination of Adolf Hitler and coup d'état against the Nazi German government
Unternehmen Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree) 1940 - German planned invasion of Switzerland
Unternehmen Wal 1940 - German aborted plan to coordinate actions with Scottish and Welsh nationalist groups
Unternehmen Fritz 1941 - German planned invasion of the Soviet Union later abandoned in favor of Operation Barbarossa
Unternehmen Isabella 1941 - German planned invasion of the Iberian Peninsula
Unternehmen Strafe 1941 - German planned invasion of Bulgaria
Unternehmen Südwind 1941 - German defense plan against a general uprising in occupied France
Unternehmen Alpenveilchen (Alpine Violet) 1941 - German aborted planned intervention during the Italian invasion of Albania
Unternehmen Sportpalast 1942 - Failed planned naval operation to attack Arctic convoys PQ-12 and QP-8
Fall Anton 1942 - German occupation of Vichy France with Italian support in 1942
Unternehmen Bettelstab 1942 - German planned offensive at Leningrad, USSR
Unternehmen Donnerschlag 1942 - German planned break-out movement from Stalingrad, USSR
Unternehmen Gertrud 1942 - German planned response in case of Turkey joining the Allies
Unternehmen Gisella 1942 - German planned invasion of the Iberian peninsula revised from Operation Isabella
Unternehmen Herbstzeitlose 1942 - German cancelled planned plan to advance to the Don and Volga Rivers in the Caucasus region of Southern USSR
Unternehmen Herkules 1942 - German planned airborne invasion of Malta
Unternehmen Hornbläser 1942 - German planned attack on Alexandria harbor, Egypt
Unternehmen Ilona 1942 - German planned invasion of the Iberian peninsula revised from Operation Isabella
Unternehmen Lila 1942 - German attempt to capture French fleet at Toulon, France
Unternehmen Möwe I 1942 - German planned operation to sabotage aluminum factories in southern Scotland, Britain
Unternehmen Nordlicht 1942 - German planned attack on Leningrad, USSR formerly planned as Operation Feuerzauber
Unternehmen Nordpol 1942 - German cancelled planned operation east of Moscow, USSR
Unternehmen Pastorious 1942 - German plan to sabotage industrial targets at Long Island, New York, United States
Unternehmen Schamil 1942 - German planned operation to secure Caucasus oil fields in Southern USSR using paratroopers
Unternehmen Silberstreife 1942 - German planned operations against Allied convoys to Murmansk, USSR
Unternehmen Brunhild 1943 - German planned evacuation from the Caucasus region in Southern USSR
Unternehmen Husar 1943 - German cancelled planned anti-shipping operation in Kara Sea by Lützow
Unternehmen Michael 1943 - German cancelled planned evacuation of Crimea
Unternehmen Nürnberg 1943 - German planned response in case of an Allied invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, focusing largely around the defense of the Pyrenees passes
Unternehmen Panzerfaust 1943 - German operation to kidnap Miklós Horthy's son to prevent Horthy from siding with the Allies codename later changed to Maus
Unternehmen Rabat 1943 - German plan to kidnap the Pope from the Vatican City
Unternehmen Schwarz 1943 - German plan in the event of an Italian surrender
Unternehmen Ulm 1943 - German planned aerial bombing operation against Soviet industries in the Ural Mountains
Unternehmen Wunderland II 1943 - German planned naval operation involving Admiral Scheer in the East Siberian Sea
Fall Falke 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of Norway
Fall Forelle I 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of the Balkans via the Adriatic Sea
Fall Forelle II 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of the Balkans via the Aegean Sea
Unternehmen Freischütz 1944 - German cancelled planned operation to occupy the island of Vis off Croatia, Yugoslavia
Unternehmen Großer Schlag 1944 - German planned mass-deployment of fighters against Allied bombers
Unternehmen Herbstnebel 1944 - German rejected plan to withdraw German troops in Italy behind the Po River
Unternehmen Laura 1944 - German proposed planned evacuation of Courland, Latvia
Fall Marder 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of Italy activated after Allies launched Operation Shingle
Fall Marder I 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of Italy via the Ligurian Sea part of Fall Marder
Fall Marder II 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of Italy via the Adriatic Sea part of Fall Marder
Unternehmen Martin 1944 - German planned attack of the Ardennes region as proposed by Gerd von Rundstet rejected by Adolf Hitler for being too conservative
Unternehmen Richard 1944 - German defense plan in case of an Allied invasion of Italy activated after Allies launched Operation Shingle
Unternehmen Tanne West 1944 - German planned invasion of the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea from Finland
Unternehmen Walküre 1944 - German attempt to overthrow Adolf Hitler, written under the cover of a plan to foil potential worker rebellions Anglicized as 'Valkyre'
Unternehmen Zeppelin 1944 - German failed operation to destroy power plants in Moscow, USSR
Unternehmen Aktion 24 1945 - German aborted planned suicide aerial attack on bridges over river Weichsel in attempt to disrupt Soviet supply lines
Unternehmen Alpenfestung 1945 - German plan for a redoubt in the German Alps
Unternehmen Gertraud 1945 - German planned aerial bombing of hydropower plants east of Moscow, USSR
Operation FS 1944 - Japanese cancelled plan to isolate Australia by capturing New Caledonia, Samoa, and Fiji
Operation Ketsu-Go 1945 - Japanese defense plan against potential American invasion of the Japanese home islands
Operation Ken 1945 - Cancelled Japanese operation to use transports to land suicide troops on American airfields in the Mariana Islands
Operation Kon-Go 1945 - Cancelled Japanese offensive against American ships using manned torpedoes
The Surprising Origins of Wonder Woman
Today, Wonder Woman is viewed by many as a feminist icon. But as Wonder Woman’s popularity endures, the actual women who shaped and inspired the comic book character are often overlooked—including Margaret Sanger.
Sanger is known as the founder of Planned Parenthood, although she viewed that name as euphemistic and preferred the organization’s original title, the American Birth Control League. In the early 20th century, after watching her own mother suffer through 18 pregnancies and witnessing the dangers of back-alley abortions first-hand in her job as a nurse, Sanger took bold action for contraceptive rights.
She violated postal obscenity laws to distribute a monthly newsletter promoting birth control (with a slogan Wonder Woman would approve of: “No Gods, No Masters”) opened the first-ever birth control clinic in the United States in 1916, alongside her sister Ethel Byrne and prompted a decisive court battle that, finally, in 1937, ended the federal ban on contraception.
In other words, Sanger got shit done, and drastically altered the national conversation surrounding women’s reproductive rights. Unfortunately, she was also a supporter of eugenics—at least for part of her life—and often used arguments and language associated with eugenics in her writing.
PBS has an informative breakdown of Sanger’s confusing relationship with eugenics (a relationship that some anti-abortion activists exaggerate to discredit Planned Parenthood). They note that Sanger’s support of eugenics may have been strategic, designed to give the contraceptive movement more credibility by aligning it with popular eugenics ideals. Many historians believe she actually opposed the eugenicist theory that poverty was hereditary, arguing instead that environmental factors led to social struggles.
Nevertheless, Sanger remains a controversial figure today, 50 years after her death. But during her lifetime, she enjoyed vocal support from a surprising source: Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston.
Marston was a contentious figure in his own right. He worked as a psychologist, screenwriter, lawyer, entrepreneur, and polygraph developer before turning to comics, and was the center of a national scandal in 1922.
Marston was an expert witness in a controversial landmark case, Frye v. United States, in which he attempted to use his polygraph technology to clear the defendant James Frye of murder allegations. The same month as Frye’s appeal, Marston was arrested by federal agents and charged with fraud for allegations relating to his role as treasurer for the Boston firm United Dress Goods. Marston was eventually cleared, but not before his reputation had been tarnished. The charges cost him his job as chairman of the psychology department at American University, and, by discrediting an expert witness in the Frye case, may have also cost James Frye his freedom.
Despite the controversies that plagued Marston’s career, his personal life was even more scandalous — at least for the time.
The Wonder Woman creator lived and wrote in a sprawling house in Rye, New York that he shared with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston his lover, Olive Byrne his children from both Holloway and Byrne and, occasionally, his other lover, Marjorie Wilkes Huntley.
Judging by their journal entries and correspondence, Byrne, Holloway, and Marston had a relationship that, although sometimes unbalanced in Marston’s favor, also offered all three partners freedoms they might not have had in a monogamous marriage. It’s not known whether Elizabeth and Olive were lovers with each other in addition to Marston, but given they remained inseparable until Olive’s death in the ’80s, it seems likely.
The three partners kept their unusual dynamic a secret by telling everyone who asked—including both women’s children—that Byrne was Holloway’s widowed sister. Byrne was also the niece of the famous Margaret Sanger, but, to hide Byrne’s true identity in order to sustain the family’s pretense of monogamy, this had to be kept secret. In fact, Sanger was more than just Byrne’s aunt she was also her savior. After Byrne was born, her father drunkenly threw the baby into a snowbank, and Sanger rescued her.
In the early 1940s Marston decided to pursue writing for comics, and turned to the women in his life for inspiration. Holloway reportedly encouraged Marston to create a female superhero, saying “Come on, let’s have a Superwoman! There’s too many men out there!”. Byrne inspired Wonder Woman’s iconic look Wonder Woman’s Bracelets of Submission are based off bracelets Byrne always wore. Huntley provided some of the lettering and inking.
Sanger was a massive influence on the character, too. Despite having to keep their family connection secret to hide Byrne’s true identity, Marston had always been one of Sanger’s biggest fans—in 1937, he even called a press conference in which he announced that a matriarchy was ‘inevitable,’ and declared her the second most influential person in the world. When Wonder Woman debuted in 1941, Marston proclaimed “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”
That “new type of woman” was modeled to a large extent off feminist texts from the early 20th century, including Sanger’s book Woman and the New Race, which championed sex-positivity and contraception (and, unfortunately, some arguments from the eugenics movement). According to Jill Lepore, author of the 2014 book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, “The philosophy of Margaret Sanger’s Woman and the New Race would turn out to be the philosophy of Wonder Woman, precisely.”
Although Wonder Woman didn’t explicitly support any of the eugenics theory from Woman and the New Race, it’s worth noting that Marston did cite works by eugenicists in his other writing. In Marston’s treatise on sexuality, Emotions of Normal People, he cites works by Havelock Ellis (Sanger’s lover and vice-president of the Eugenics Education Society), as well as Harland William Long’s Sane Sex Life and Sane Sex Living (published by the Eugenics Publishing Co., Inc). Marston was also a firm opponent of interracial marriage, and although his Wonder Woman stories sometimes depicted people of color, they were typically racist caricatures. One particularly terrible example, Wonder Woman #19, featured a fictional African nation allied with the Nazis.
Marston’s admiration for Sanger, and his sympathy with the struggle for contraceptive rights, may have been evident in some of Wonder Woman’s symbolism. Wonder Woman was constantly shown chained, gagged, and mid-spanking in Marston’s comics, causing DC’s editorial board to lament the series’ kinkiness.
That frequent bondage was an expression of Marston’s theories about female eroticism and the importance of learning to love submission. But Jill Lepore argues that it was also an homage to the imagery of activists like Sanger: “Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.”
Marston and his family clearly considered Sanger’s philosophies to be crucial to the Wonder Woman ethos. In 1944, an ailing Marston hired nineteen-year-old Joyce Hummel as an assistant. To help Hummell prepare to write Wonder Woman, Marston’s family gave the young writer two books: Marston’s Emotions of Normal People, and Sanger’s Woman and the New Race.
Marston passed away in 1947, and the women who contributed to Wonder Woman’s story—Holloway, Byrne, Huntley, and Hummel directly Sanger by providing inspiration for Marston and his collaborators—no longer had a say. DC assigned Wonder Woman to Robert Kanigher, despite protests from Marston’s family, and Kanigher reduced her from a powerful Amazon into a ditz desperate to marry Steve Trevor.
In the years since, Wonder Woman has received countless adaptations both great and terrible. Provided the live-action Wonder Woman film manages to improve on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which, let’s be honest, shouldn’t be hard) she stands to become an even more influential character. As her popularity grows, it’s important to remember the unabashedly political spirit Wonder Woman was created in — the same spirit that brought us Planned Parenthood.
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Operation Cobra: The Normandy Breakout
After weeks of stalemate, the German army underestimated the mobile potential of the American armored units. In hopes of preserving the remaining panzers for a counterattack, the German Seventh Army's commander directed their withdrawal toward
the road junction at Percy, unwittingly positioning them to be surrounded. During the last week ofJuly, the 2nd SS Panzer Division and the remnants of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division were cut off, and much of their armored equipment was lost in the encirclement battle with the U.S. 2nd Armored Division around Roncey. Although the Roncey pocket is not as well known as the later Falaise pocket, the Germans' losses here crippled their defenses in the American sector.
While the U.S. First Army was dealing with the remnants of the German Seventh Army, Patton's new Third Army was injected into the crumbling defenses near the coast, racing westward for Avranches, the gateway into Brittany. Allied planning had made the capture of the Breton ports one of its key summer objectives. The 4th Armored Division raced across the base of the peninsula, cutting it off from further reinforcement, while the 6th Armored Division made one of the fastest and deepest advances in U.S. Army history, isolating the key port at Brest.
A column of tanks from the 2nd Armored Division uses the cover of a tree line near Champ du Bouet while awaiting orders prior to the start of Operation Cobra. The lead tank is one of the new M4A1 (76mm)'s and-judging from the vehicle number, E-1-is probably a Company E commander's tank.
In preparation for the start of Cobra, M29 Weasels were used as resupply vehicles loading 4.2-inch smoke ammunition for Company C, 87th Chemical Battalion, U.S. First Army, in the Normandy bocage on 24 July.
The tiny M29 Weasel was sometimes used as an improvised troop carrier as seen here on 24 July, with vehicles supporting Company C, 87th Chemical Battalion.
An M2 half-track follows behind an M5A1 light tank through a village near St. Lo on 25 July while moving forward to the start line.
Operation Cobra began at 1300 hours on 24 July with a massive carpet-bombing attack along the D900 St.Lo-Periers highway by 1,495 B-17 and B-24 bombers. This is a rare view of the strike, looking toward the west with the bomb impacts in the lower left covering the area around Chapelle-en-Juger near the intersection of Routes D900 and D972. A pair of B-24 bombers is in the upper right.
The carpet-bombing that opened Cobra targeted the Panzer Lehr Division, which had fewer than a dozen Panther tanks strung out in a thin defensive belt south of St. Lo. The attack caused heavy casualties among the leading edge of the division, as is evident from this overturned Panther.
A Panther tank knocked out during the St. Lo breakout. There is a distinct shell gouge on its glacis plate, so this may have been knocked out in fighting rather than by the bombing attack.
U.S. Army engineers sweep for mines around one of the Panther tanks knocked out along the St. Lo-Periers road by the Cobra bombing.
GIs clamber over the Panther for a closer look. It is not clear if this Panther was knocked into the ditch by bombing or shoved off a road by tractors.
A view of the same Panther from the other side reveals that the bomb attack penetrated the upper-right corner of the hull armor.
A Panther with its turret knocked off along the St. Lo-Periers road.
This close-up of the Panther with the dislodged turret suggests an internal ammunition fire that detonated inside the vehicle as the plate over the driver's compartment is also blown off. There was an ammunition bin under the center of this panel.
A view of the Panther from the front as GIs inspect the wreckage.
A close-up of the demolished Panther while the GIs pose for the camera.
GIs pose next to a knocked-out Panther of the Panzer Lehr Division along the St. Lo-Periers road. One of the GIs has extracted some clothing from inside the tank.
A GI poses in front of another of the Panzer Lehr's Panthers knocked out at the start of Cobra.
A day after the initial bombing, GIs inspect some of the equipment abandoned by the Panzer Lehr Division along the St. Lo-Periers road after the carpet-bombing. In the foreground is an Sd. Kfz. 251/7 armored half-track fitted with engineer bridging equipment, and behind it is a disabled Panther Ausf. A. A few Panthers survived the initial bombing but were quickly overwhelmed by the ensuing infantry attack.
GIs advance past a destroyed Panther, perhaps the same one as in a previous photo. The irregular surface on the Panther is Zimmerit, a type of cement coating applied to many German tanks from 1943 as an antidote to Russian magnetic antitank mines.
The Panzer Lehr had only about sixteen Panther tanks operational when Cobra started, and by the end of the campaign, it had none. This one is another victim of the preliminary air bombardment.
Another view along the St. Lo-Periers road, where the Cobra carpet-bombing has overturned an Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track.
Later on 25 July 1944, the 2nd Armored Division overran other depleted elements of the Panzer Lehr Division, including this Pz.Kpfw. IV with tactical number 841.
A view of the same Panzer Lehr Pz.Kpfw. IV from the opposite side as a column from the 2nd Armored Division passes by. Of the seventy Pz.Kpfw. IV in service at the beginning of July, the Panzer Lehr had only fifteen left by 1 August.
One of the new M4A1 (76mm)'s is seen breaking over the top of a hedgerow near Pont Hebert during the opening phases of Cobra. A total of 102 of these were split evenly between the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions when first delivered on 22 July. It was hoped that the 76mm gun would be the trick in dealing with the Panther, but Cobra showed that it was inadequate when dealing with the wellangled frontal armor of the Panther.
An M4 tank moves down a road in Normandy on 25 July. To the left is an overturned Sd.Kfz. 251, probably one of the vehicles from the Panzer Lehr Division that was hit in the carpetbombing attack.
An M4A1 (76mm) of the 3rd Armored Division fitted with a T2 Douglas device in operations near Reffeuville on 25 July at the start of Operation Cobra.
One of the key pieces of equipment during Cobra was the M1 bulldozer blade, seen here fitted to Apache from Company A, 70th Tank Battalion, near Tribehou on 25 July. Although the Culin prongs are more famous, the bulldozer blades were in fact more effective. Each of the separate tank battalions was provided with five or six tank dozers for the Cobra breakout.
A close-up of a 70th Tank Battalion dozer tank named Here's Dots Mom is seen pushing through hedgerow.
A day after the start of Cobra, an M8 75mm howitzer motor carriage of the 3rd Armored Division passes by the wreckage of an overturned M4 tank near Marigny on 26 July. The M4 has suffered an internal ammunition fire which has blown out floor panels.
German units in Normandy made extensive use of the Sturmgeschutz, a turretless assault gun based on panzer chassis. There were about 190 StuG's operational in Normandy at the start of Cobra, of which about a third were in the Seventh Army's sector facing the U.S. First Army. This is a StuG IV based on the Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis, which was less common than the StuG III in Normandy. This particular vehicle served with SS Panzer Abteilung 17 of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division and was hit by Ninth Air Force fighter-bombers along the Marigny-Montrevil road.
Another view of the destruction along the Marigny-Montrevil road caused by Ninth Air Force fighter-bombers. On the right is a burnt-out Panther, while a Pz.Kpfw. IV lies in the mud off the road.
An Sd.Kfz. 250/8 Schutzenpanzerwagen (2cm) knocked out along the MarignyMontrevil road. This was the reconnaissance version of the Sd.Kfz. 250 halftrack family and intended to replace the earlier Sd.Kfz. 222 wheeled armored car.
The onrush of the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions on 26 July overwhelmed a number of German armored units in their path. This smoldering StuG IV, probably from the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, is passed by an American M2A1 half-track.
An M4A1 (76mm) (named Duke) of Company D, 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, carries an infantry team into action during Operation Cobra. During the first few days of the campaign, it was the practice in the 2nd Armored Division to carry a team of armored infantry on the tanks to assist in the breakthrough. This tank has the new First Army black and olive-drab camouflage pattern adopted in anticipation of Cobra.
This StuG IV became trapped in a ditch along a hedgerow on the MarignyMontrevil road and was abandoned during fighting on 27 July.
A pair of M5A1's of Company B, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, races down a road near Marigny on 26 July. This was part of the Combat Command B spearhead that collided later in the day with a force from the 2nd SS Panzer Division.
An M5A1 light tank moves forward during Cobra. It is finished in the standard First Army camouflage scheme. The tanker manning the .30-caliber light machine gun has stuck an M1 steel helmet over the usual tanker's helmet for head protection. The tanker's normal helmet offered no ballistic protection, and there were many field expedients by American tankers to remedy this problem.
An M4 passes by a Panther knocked out near La Chapelle during Cobra.
An M8 75mm howitzer motor carriage leads a column from the reconnaissance company of the 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, at Montreuil-surLozon on 26 July. CCB of the 3rd Armored Division was committed that day to support the attack of the 1st Infantry Division.
A platoon of M4A1 (76mm) tanks, probably from the 2nd Armored Division, undergoes repairs in the town square of St. Jean de Daye on 26 July. The new 76mm gun was not well received when first issued to American tank units as its high-explosive projectile was not as effective as the type available with the 75mm gun. The 76mm gun was better appreciated in July when tank units began encountering the thickly armored Panther in greater numbers.
The crew of an M8 light armored car (named Danny) scan for German forces after reaching the road junction in Canisy. They are from the 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion that was spearheading the drive southward past the shattered remains of the Panzer Lehr.
CCA of the 2nd Armored Division reached the road junction at Canisy by the late afternoon of 26 July, after part of the town had been set ablaze by an air attack. There was little resistance from the shattered Panzer Lehr Division. This is an M8 armored car of the division's 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion.
An M4 tank, probably from the 712th Tank Battalion, which was supporting the 90th Division during the attack, moves through the contested town of Periers on 27 July, with an M10 3-inch gun motor carriage tank destroyer behind it.
Traffic jams in the French towns south and east of St. Lo were a major hindrance once the breakout began, and MP jeeps were out in force to enforce traffic order, as seen here on 29 July. In the background is one of the new M4 (105mm) assault guns, probably from 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, judging from the markings.
A GI walks past an Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. D of a towed antitank gun company of the 2nd Panzer Division.
This StuG IV, probably from the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, was knocked out during fighting near Periers.
U.S. Army military police direct traffic at an intersection in St. Gilles near the wreckage of two Pz.Kpfw. IV tanks knocked out in the fighting there. The Panzer Lehr had attempted to defend the junction with four Pz.Kpfw. IV tanks and a StuG III, but they were quickly overwhelmed by the 2nd Armored Division.
A Pz.Kpfw. IV knocked out in the Canadian sector between Caen and Vaucelles during the fighting there that culminated in the Falaise pocket in August.
Some idea of the intensity of the aerial bombardment during Cobra can be gathered from this aerial photo, taken days later after the road had been cleared for use by U.S. troops. During the retreat of the 2nd SS Panzer Division, a German column was caught in the open during daylight and hit by medium bombers.
An M4 tank of the 6th Armored Division speeds through Brehal on 27 July, the day armored units of Patton's Third Army were injected into the west flank of the advance to race for the access roads to Brittany.
An M4 fitted with the Culin prongs passes by an M10 3-inch gun motor carriage during the opening phases of Cobra in late July 1944.
An M5A1 (named Wasp) of a battalion HQ from 32nd Armored, 3rd Armored Division, passes through a shattered town on 27 July. It has the characteristic 3rd Armored Division's brushguard below the bow machine gun. A typical tactical number 3-11 appears on the hull rear, but it seems to have been painted over. An air ID panel is draped over the rear turret stowage.
Lead elements of CCB of the 2nd Armored Division seized the bridges over the Soulle River at Pont Brocard on 27 July, nearly capturing the commander of the Panzer Lehr in the process. Here, a 57mm antitank gun is stationed at a road junction in the town on 29 July as an M4 medium tank passes by. The 2nd was one of the few American units to wear camouflage battle dress during Cobra, a practice that ended in August because of frequent confusion with German camouflage clothing.
On 28 July, the commander of the German Seventh Army ordered a retreat toward Percy to avoid encirclement. The direction of the withdrawal was ill-advised, and the 2nd SS Panzer Division became encircled around Roncey. In a series of engagements with 2nd Armored Division and U.S. P-47 fighter-bombers, the division lost most of its heavy equipment. Some idea of the carnage on the road back from the roadblock can be seen in this photo taken outside St. Denis-le-Cast the next day. The abandoned hulks of a number of Sd.Kfz. 251 halftracks have already been pushed off the road. The second half-track in the column is an Sd.Kfz. 251/7 bridging vehicle from an engineer company of the 2nd SS. Behind it is a burned-out M4 medium tank of the 67th Armored Regiment that was destroyed during the nighttime battles.
A 57mm gun crew of the 41st Armored Infantry of the 2nd Armored Division sets up an ambush position.
A motley collection of German artillery lies abandoned around the Roncey school building. To the left is one of the most modern and powerful antitank weapons of the campaign, the 88mm PaK 43, while to the right is a French artillery half-track towing a Soviet 76.2mm F-22 USV field gun, a weapon widely used by the Germans as an antitank gun.
Allied air superiority led the Wehrmacht to pay serious attention to air defense. One of its most effective weapons was the 20mm FIaK 38 mounted on the Sd.Kfz. 7 half-track. This vehicle from the 2nd SS Panzer Division was abandoned in the Roncey pocket and is being inspected by some GIs.
A nighttime attempt to break out of the Roncey pocket failed. At the head of a retreating column from the 2nd SS Panzer Division at the crossroads near Notre-Dame-de-Cenilly was this 150mm Hummel self-propelled gun (named Clausewitz) and Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track, followed by about ninety other vehicles and 2,500 Waffen SS troops. It was finally stopped around midnight on 28 July at a roadblock of Company I, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. The ensuing traffic jam along the hedgerowlined road left the remainder of the retreating column exposed to American fire, and a savage battle began in which the column was largely destroyed.
Dry Run, an M26 tractor with M15A1 semi-trailer, is used by the 66th Ordnance Battalion to evacuate a captured Panther Ausf. A. This tractortrailer combination was popularly called the Dragon Wagon.
This M2 half-track of the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Armored Division was one of those re-armed with a 37mm antitank gun. However, the large gun shield has been removed, probably because it interfered with the traverse of the weapon in the cramped interior of the half-track. The squad is wearing the distinctive and controversial camouflage battle dress, which was largely discontinued after August 1944.
This Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J from 2nd SS Panzer Division was knocked out by a 37mm gun mounted on an M2 half-track of the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment during fighting for St. Denis-le-Gast on 31 July. A tanker from the supporting 67th Armored Regiment points to a hole in the turret side skirts where the round penetrated.
An M3A1 half-track of the 3rd Armored Division passes through the ruins of Roncey on 1 August. In the wreckage is a destroyed Sd.Kfz. 7 fitted with a quadruple 20mm antiaircraft gun and a 75mm Panzerjager 38(t) Ausf. M (Sd.Kfz. 138) tank destroyer. The M3A1 half-track is towing a 37mm antitank gun, a weapon inadequate for antitank defense in 1944.
Another view of the devastation inside the small town of Roncey following the encirclement battle.
Here, a woman from the town walks past the several wrecked Panzerjager 38(t) Marder III, showing some of the same wreckage as the previous photo from a different perspective.
A company of M8 75mm howitzer motor carriages from the 3rd Armored Division takes up firing positions along a tree line near Marigny on 28 July. The censor has covered over the front details of the lead vehicle, obscuring the hedgerow cutter on the bow, which was considered a big secret at the time.
An ordnance team prepares to recover Destroyer, an M4 tank of 2nd Armored Division that has overturned after going over a hedgerow at too steep an angle near Canisy during Cobra. Prior to the operation, one out of every five of the division's tanks was fitted with Culin prongs.
This Panther Ausf. A was found knocked out in a hedgerow-lined road outside Coutances on 28 July.
The key road junction at Coutances fell on 28 July to CCB of the 4th Armored Division, which had advanced down the coast against modest opposition. Here, a heavily camouflaged M5A1 light tank passes through the damaged town.
A column of M4 tanks of the 6th Armored Division moves through Coutances on 29 July as they start their race toward Brittany. This was one of two armored divisions of Patton's newly activated U.S. Third Army.
An M4 of the 4th Armored Division passes through Coutances in late July 1944. Both the 4th and 6th Armored Divisions were funneled through the town on the way to Avranches, the gateway to Brittany.
An M3A1 half-track of the 4th Armored Division passes through Coutances in late July 1944.
An M4 (named Fury) of the 2nd Armored Division on the move with infantry aboard during Cobra. It is finished in the distinctive First Army camouflage scheme of black over olive drab adopted prior to the start of the offensive.
An M31 tank-recovery vehicle recovers an M4 medium tank bogged down on a country lane. To the right is an abandoned German Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track. Although armored divisions were nominally allotted the newer M32 tankrecovery vehicle, many of the older divisions still used the older M31 in Normandy, which was based on the M3 medium tank chassis.
French townspeople wave enthusiastically as a column from the 4th Armored Division races southward from Coutances in late July. Patton's Third Army pushed down the coastal roads toward Brittany while Bradley's First Army encircled the German panzer formations farther east.
An M3 half-track of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion is seen here towing a 3-inch antitank gun during operations in support of the 30th Infantry Division. The 3-inch antitank gun was used in the towed tank destroyer battalions. Organic antitank companies in the infantry divisions used the 57mm antitank gun through the end of the war.
An M7 105mm howitzer motor carriage towing an M8 armored trailer passes by a cemetery near St. Gilles on 29 July, with the grave of a German SS officer of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division in the foreground. When carrying 105mm ammunition, the M8 trailer could hold forty-two rounds.
A field near Coutances serves as a hasty gravesite for German troops killed in the Normandy fighting. In the background are an overturned Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track to the left and a Pz.Kpfw. IV tank to the right.
An M7 105mm howitzer motor carriage, probably from the 4th Armored Division, leads an armored infantry column through Coutances on 30 July. The crew has rigged a stowage rack on the front holding five oil cans.
A U.S. Army bulldozer pushes a wrecked Pz.Kpfw. IV off the road in the 1st Infantry Division's sector in late July 1944.
An infantry column marches past a pair of M4 Sherman tanks in the ruins of Coutances after the U.S. Army had gained control of the town in late July. The tank to the right is a new M4 105mm howitzer tank that entered production in February 1944. These howitzer tanks were usually deployed in the HQ of tank battalions to provide added fire support.
A jeep and an M4 medium tank of the 6th Armored Division pass through Brehal on 31 July on their way to Brittany. The white triangle on the hull side of the M4 identifies this tank as part of the 68th Tank Battalion, and the tactical number 62 identifies it as part of Company C, which used the numbers 61 to 78.
A column of M4 tanks from the 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division, tries to negotiate a large crater in the road caused by mines.
Another view of a column from the 6th Armored Division. Led by an M4 tank, it passes through a village on the way to Brittany. The 6th used distinctive white tactical "speed" numbers painted on the hull side for radio communication between their tanks.
An M3A1 half-track of the 6th Armored Division passes through the ruins of Lessay on 28 July.
An M4 medium tank of the 6th moves through the ruins of Lessay on 28 July. This division was attached to Patton's newly activated Third Army.
An M3A1 half-track of the 6th Armored Division passes through Le Repas on 31 July, with a German prisoner of war on the hood of the vehicle.
An M7 105mm howitzer motor carriage of Battery B, 22nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 4th Armored Division, passes through the ruins of Coutances on 31 July on its way to Brittany. The town of Coutances was shattered by repeated Allied bomber attacks and artillery barrages since it controlled Route N171, the main coastal road south out of Normandy and into Brittany.
The clear superiority of the Panther over the Sherman in Normandy led U.S. Army officers to try to develop antidotes. A few captured Panthers were subjected to fire from various types of weapons at a test field near Isigny, trying to determine the Panther's weak spot.
An M4 tank of the 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, passes through Coutances in pursuit of retreating German forces on 31 July. The 8th heavily camouflaged its tanks with mud and foliage prior to the breakout efforts near Coutances.
Several M4 medium tanks from the 4th Armored Division burn in a field outside Avranches during fighting there on 31 July. The tank in the foreground has suffered an ammunition explosion in the right sponson which has blown the sponson floor down onto the upper run of track. Although the gasoline-powered versions of the Sherman were notorious for their tendency to burn after hit, these early Shermans were more vulnerable to catastrophic ammunition fires.
An M3 half-track of the 146th Armored Signal Company moves across a new bridge laid by divisional engineers of the 6th Armored Division during operations near La Rogue on 31 July. This half-track has been modified with additional radio equipment as can be seen from the many whip antennas. The vehicles in the background are from the division's 25th Armored Engineer Battalion and the divisional headquarters.
An M5A1 (named Mickey Georgiana) of the 4th Armored Division in Sartilly on 31 July, possibly of the division's 25th Cavalry Recon Squadron. The cartoon markings were seen on a number of division tanks, most commonly with the 37th Tank Battalion.
No doubt the most feared weapon in the German arsenal was the 88mm FlaK 36 antiaircraft gun, widely used in a secondary antitank role. It was not as common as most GIs, who called almost any antitank gun an 88, seemed to think. The smaller and more versatile 75mm PaK 40 antitank gun destroyed far more Allied tanks in Normandy, but most of its victims were credited to the more celebrated 88. This particular gun was captured by American forces on 31 July.
Heavy firepower was provided by nondivisional M1 8-inch howitzer units like the 105th Field Artillery Battalion seen here, supporting the First Army near Carentilly on 31 July. In contrast to the Wehrmacht, which depended heavily on horse-drawn artillery, American artillery was heavily mechanized, like the this M4 eighteen-ton high-speed tractor towing a howitzer named Berlin Buster.
Romanian armoured vehicles used betwen 1919-1947
Romania used many kinds of tanks during the war, bought or captured from France, Czechoslovakia, Germany or Russia. There were also attempts to create their own tank destroyers, but the Romanian industry was not able to create a 100% original vehicle, basing on imports. The first tank division was created in 1919, containing 74 Renault Ft.17 vehicles. During 1930s, they tried to modernise the arsenal, by buying new tanks (Renault R.35, AH-IV, Panzer 35(t) etc.). Many problems will appear during the fights on the Eastern Front, many tank models being outclassed by the new soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks. This later lead to the creation of the Romanian tank destroyers, a basic adaptation to the original tanks, but with decent results.
Tanks built or produced in Romania
"Mareșal" Tank Hunter is a concept of antitank mobile cannon developed in Romania during the Second World War. From a constructive point of view it is similar to the Hetzer German tank hunter. Six prototypes (M-00, M-01, M-02, M-03, M-04, M-05) were built between December 1942 and January 1944. On October 26, 1944, the remaining prototypes and tanks' were seized by the Soviet army on the basis of the armistice.
TACAM R-2 was an SPG used by the Romanian Army in the second part of the Second World War. The first prototype appeared in the summer of 1943 and was named "Tun Anticar pe Afet Mobil R-2". In total, 21 (one being the prototype) copies were produced from July 1943 until July 1944. In July 1944, under the 1st Battle Regiment, the 5th TACAM R-2 Company was formed under the 2nd Battalion Training, and was later transferred to Company 63 Antitanc. They have effectively taken part in the struggles for the liberation of Romania. Subsequently, following the decision of the Soviets to abolish the 1st Blind Division, the remaining 6 TACAM R-2 remained operational, were transferred to the 2nd Battalion Regiment, a regiment that took part in the liberation of Hungary and Austria. He survived the war in a single copy, being exposed today at the National Military Museum in Bucharest.
TACAM T-60 (Antitank Canon on the Mobil T-60) was a tank destroyer used by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. In 1943, thirty-four copies were transformed into Leonida Workshops using red Army captured material: the chassis was from the T-60 tanks, the superstructure armor was from the BT-7 tanks, and the F-22 cannons 76.2 mm Model 1936 were Soviet-made. The TACAM T-60 tank hunters have been used by the "Greater Romania" Division 1 and by the 8th Motorized Cavalry Division on the East Front. Thirty-four copies were converted to the Leonida Workshops by the end of 1943. Sixteen vehicles were assigned to the TACAM Company in the 1st Armored Regiment, and eighteen were allocated to the TACAM 62 Armored Regiment. However, the TACAM T-60 tank hunter units were sent where the situation on the front was worse. The Blind Cantemir Group, ad-hoc formed on 23 February 1944 to strengthen the defensive in northern Transnistria, had 14 TACAM T-60 vehicles, organized in two batteries. Tank hunters were returned to the 1st Armored Division to participate in Moldova's defensive during Operation Iasi-Chisinau. All TACAM T-60 tank destroyers who survived the events before and after August 23, 1944, were confiscated by the Red Army after October 1944. It is possible that one surviving vehicle to be located in Kubinka Tank Museum, if it was not already scrapped.
The R-35 tank hunter was a version designed and produced in Romania by the French tank Renault R-35, used in the Second World War. Following the disastrous results of the Battle of Stalingrad, suggestions have been made to upgrade existing Renault R-35 tanks either by replacing the original turret with that of the T-26 light tank or by replacing the main cannon with a Soviet 45 mm or with a 47 mm Schneider antitank cannon. In December 1942, it was decided to focus the research on the replacement of the 37 mm original cannon with the 45 mm Soviet cannon obtained from the captured BT-7 and T-26 tanks, and the project was entrusted to Colonel Constantin Ghiulai and Captain Dumitru Hogea. The tunnel was attached to a frontal extension of the turret that would contain the kickback mechanism, but even so the interior space was too narrow to allow a ZB coaxial machine gun to be mounted. Additionally, the 45 mm bumpers were three times larger than those of 37 mm. The prototype was completed at the end of February 1943 and, after being tested in the summer of that year, the Mechanized Troops Command ordered the conversion of 30 R-35 tanks. The 45 mm guns were reconditioned at the Army Army of Targoviste, while the storms were poured into the Concordia plants in Ploiesti. The conversion of the 30 tanks took place at the Leonida Workshops and lasted until June 1944. The vehicles, called the "The Ranger 35 (Transformed) Hunter", were returned to the 2nd Battalion Regiment. In July 1944, the Mechanized Troops Command ordered that the remaining R-35 tanks be converted, but events after August 23 prevented this. The R-35 hunters were used together with R-35 tanks in the Czechoslovak and Austrian campaigns, all of which were lost until the end of the war. Today, there is only one piece left of this tank, a turret discovered in the Hron river valley in Slovakia.
The Renault EU was a tracked vehicle manufactured in France between 1932 and 1941 and used by the Romanian army. In 1930, at the request of the French infantry, the decision was made to design a lightweight, crafted armored vehicle capable of hauling and carrying ammunition for lightweight artillery pieces. In 1931, the contract was awarded to Renault, being chosen as the EU track and trailer. In 1937, the improved EU 2 was chosen for mass production. More than 5000 pieces were built from both versions, including under license in Romania at Malaxa factories, the Renault UE tracker being the standard equipment of the French infantry divisions.
The T-1 scenic was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. The Ford factory in Bucharest had to build between 1944 and 1945 a thousand trailed tractors, officially called T-1 (Tractor 1). These were to be used for towing anti-stick Reciţa Model 1943 75 mm caliber, manufactured in Romania. The vehicle was based on the Soviet tractor used in agriculture STZ. The vehicle was engineered by Military Engineers specializing in the Technical Division. The T-1 Stack was partially tested in the summer of 1944, with good results. The engines and transmission were to be manufactured by Rogifer, the Reşiţa plants made the frame and the propulsion, and the Ford factory assured the bodywork and assembly. Only five prototypes were built, because the Marshal tank hunter had priority. After August 23, 1944, the project was canceled. Tractor T-1 was the first tractor vehicle manufactured in Romania.
AB md. 1941 (abbreviation: Autoblindat Model 1941) was the prototype of a self-propelled vehicle made by Resita plants during the Second World War. The armored vehicle was built in 1941 to enter the Romanian army, but it did not enter the production stage due to the limited industrial capacities of the Kingdom of Romania. The main unit of fire consisted of a 37 mm Czechoslovak cannon.
AH-IV, named R-1 within the Romanian army, was assigned to the mechanized recognition squadrons of the cavalry brigades. Cavalry Brigades 5, 6 and 8 received six R-1 tanks, and cavalry brigades 1, 7 and 9 received four. Between 1941 and 1942, with the Cavalry Corps (made up of 5, 6 and 8 cavalry brigades), they took part in the actions of southern Ukraine and the Caucasus, but also in other areas of the front where cavalry units in Odessa). The Cavalry Training Center withdrew the R-1 tank from the Romanian army as a consequence of the defeat at Stalingrad. From this tankette, Romania created a prototype called R-1-a, produces in 1 copy.
Used, but not built in Romania
Panzer 35(t): As part of the army modernization program started in 1935, in August 1936 126 Škoda LT tanks.35 were ordered from Czechoslovakia. The first 15 tanks were received on May 1, 1937, but they encountered technical problems on the engine, which was incompatible with the climate and local fuel. Therefore, tanks were sent back and modified according to Romanian specifications. All 126 tanks (called R-2 in Romania) were received until 1939, but another order for 382 tanks sent in mid-1939 was denied by the Germans. R-2 was assigned to 1st Division Combat 1st Armored Battalion in 1941-1942. Acting as a shock unit, the Armored Division 1 gained considerable success in the battle for Chisinau, but in Odessa suffered heavy losses when the R-2 tanks were used to support the infantry, their thin armor making them a light prey for Soviet anti-tank rifles. At the end of the 1941 campaign, 26 R-2 tanks were damaged without recovery, so in 1942 Germany agreed to deliver 26 Panzerkampfwagen 35 (t) tanks almost identical but worn to cover the losses. The 1st Armored Division was rebuilt in the country until August 1942 and was assigned to the 3rd Army defending the Don's Cot. As the German-Romanian troops encountered an increasing number of T-34 tanks, Armored Division 1 tested the effectiveness of an R-2 against a captured T-34. The test proved that the T-34 was invulnerable in front of the 37 mm cannon of the R-2 tank. During the Battle of Don's Battle, where medium and heavy Soviet tankers created chaos among the exhausted and badly equipped Romanian troops, the Armored Division 1 lost 60 percent of the fighting capacity, crossing the Cir River with 19 R-2 tanks, some towed T-3 or T-4 tanks due to lack of fuel. The total R-2 tank losses at Stalingrad were 27 out of action, 30 abandoned due to fuel shortages and 24 due to mechanical problems. Some surviving R-2 tanks were used by ad-hoc armored detachments in 1944 (the Cantemir Armored Mixed Group on the Basarabian front and the Popescu Armored Detachment on the oil fields near Ploiesti). Two R-2 tanks that escaped the Soviet requisitions in February 1945 were used by the 2nd Regiment to fight during operations in Czechoslovakia and Austria. Both were lost on 12 April 1945 to Hohenruppersdorf, northeast of Vienna, when the 2nd Battalion Regiment rejected a German counterattack consisting of elements of the 3 Panzer, 25 and 26 SS divisions.
Renault R35: In December 1937, Romania began negotiations with France for the inauguration of a production line for armored vehicles in the country. The planned production included 200 Renault R-35 tanks, but the deal could not be completed and eventually the tanks were ordered from France. The needs of the French Army, as well as concurrent exports to Yugoslavia, Poland and Turkey, have slowed the delivery of the product. Only 41 Renault R-35 tanks were received until 1939, deliveries ceased after the fall of France in 1940. At the end of September 1939, a total of 34 Polish R-35 tanks in the 305 battalion that had fled to Romania was taken from it on the basis of a Romanian-Polish agreement, resulting in a total of 75 R-35 tanks available for service in the Romanian army at the end of 1939. The R-35 tanks endowed the 2nd Battalion Regiment, established on 1 November 1939 Several adjustments were made to the original vehicle, such as replacing the 7,5 mm Chatellerault machine guns with 7,22 mm lightweight ZB machine gun, improving suspensions or replacing wheels with rubber rims with some more resilient with metal wheels designed by the lieutenant - Colonel Constantin Ghiulai. Since the operational characteristics of the R-35 tanks compared to those of the more modern R-2 Tanks in combat regiment 1 were different, it was decided before June 22, 1941 that the Armored Division 1 would retain only the Regiment 1 which fought, the Regiment 2 the battle was transferred to the 4th Army General Headquarters. They were used to free Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and to the siege of Odessa. Although they enjoyed considerable armor, their low speed and weak cannon retained them solely for the role of infantry support.
Panzer 38(t): Between May and June 1943, Germany delivered 50 Panzerkampfwagen 38 (t) used tanks to the Romanian Kuban district. The tank was produced at the ČKD Czech factories between 1939 and 1942 for the German army, so that until the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 it had become quite common among the Wehrmacht troops. Leaving aside their poor condition that led to the German-German understanding, the tanks were only slightly superior to the R-2 and still remained vulnerable to all Soviet anti-tank guns and rifles. They were named T-38 and formed the T-38 Tank Battalion of the 2nd Battalion Regiment, with Companies 51, 52 and 53 comprised of 15 tanks each. In the winter of 1943 and 1944, Temporary Company 54 was created with the five T-38s of the battalion headquarters. The unit became operational in June 1943 and was attached to the Cavalry Corps in July. They took part in defensive battles in Kuban and Crimea. Since November 1943, T-38 tanks from companies 51 and 52 have been evacuated to Romania. However, in April 1944 there were still ten T-38s from Tank Company 53 as support of the 10th Infantry Division in the Crimea. Many were lost in these operations, and in August 1944 the Battalion 2 Regiment could barely throw a nine-tank T-38 company into battle. They participated in the battles around Bucharest and the oilfields near Ploiesti, and in March 1945 the fortification of the rivers Hron, Nitra, Váh and Moravia in Czechoslovakia and then in Austria. Until April 22, 1945, the regiment still had in possession five highly used T-38 tanks which were confiscated by the Soviets.
Panzer III: 12 Panzer III tanks were delivered to the Romanian Army in the autumn of 1942. These were the Ausf model. N, painted in khaki color. The tanks were officially named T3 (or T-III) by the army and were inscribed with both the German cross and the "Mihai Cross" to avoid confusion among the Axis armies. Almost all T3 tanks were lost during the Battle of Stalingrad and the Don's Cote, except for one tank. Another copy was kept in Târgovişte for instruction. This type of tank was not delivered by the Germans to the Romanian Armed Forces, being considered outdated. The two T3 tanks were later assigned to the Joint Battle Group Cantemir, formed on February 24, 1944, being lost during the fighting for the defense of Transnistria.
Panzer IV: Romania received from Germany a total of 138 Panzer IV tanks called T IV in the Romanian army. Of these, 11 were the G model, delivered by Germany in September-October 1942, before the Battle of the Don, and the remaining 127 were the H and J models (possibly the previous G model) delivered between November 1943 and August 1944. Most of these armored were lost in the fights on the eastern front in the spring and summer of 1944, and a small number who survived fought on the western front in Transylvania, Czechoslovakia and Austria. At the end of the war, only two T IV tanks were still operational, participating in the military parade of August 23, 1945.
Renault Ft.17: The first Romanian Armored Force Battalion, Battle of Fighters, was established in 1919. It was equipped with 76 Renault FT-17 tanks, obtained as a result of the cooperation between Romania and France. Of these, 48 were equipped with a Puteaux tunnel (caliber 37 mm) and the remaining 28 with a Hotchkiss (8 mm caliber). The crew of the Renault FT-17 tank was made up of two people: the mechanic and the commander, who operated the rotating turret. Between the two world wars, some of the FT-17 tanks were refurbished at the Leonida Workshops and the Army Arsenal in Bucharest. With the outbreak of the war against the USSR, the already obsolete FT-17 tanks, renamed FT meanwhile, formed the FT Battle Battalion, an independent unit tasked with security and training missions. During the conflagration they were used to protect important cities and industrial centers in Romania (Bucharest, Ploiesti, Sibiu, Resita). They therefore made a decisive contribution to the elimination of German resistance in these locations after the coup d'état of 23 August 1944. In February 1945, the Soviet army seized all copies of the Romanian army, except for one, kept today in the National Military Museum from Bucharest.
Komsomoleț T-20: In 1943, the Romanian army decided to refurbish 34 Komsomolet T-20 tractors at the Rogifer plant (previously called Malaxa). The official name was the Russian Sheenalet Capture Ford. The engine of these armored tractors was manufactured under Ford's license. Since in Bucharest there was Ford Truck Factory, maintenance and refurbishment were relatively simple. The vehicles were equipped with a towing hook to tow the German anti-tank gun 50 mm PaK 38. The armored tractors were distributed as follows: 12 pieces were sent to the 5th and 14th Infantry Divisions, six were delivered to the Regiment 2 Fight and four were sent to the 5th Cavalry Division in August 1944. All vehicles were lost on the Moldavian front in the summer of 1944 or seized by the Soviets after August 23, 1944.
StuG 3G: 100 StuG III Ausf. G were delivered to Romania in autumn 1943. They were officially named TAs. In February 1945, 13 assault guns were still in the army's inventory. No copy of this delivery has caught the end of the war. In 1947, 31 TAs were in the inventory of the Romanian army. Most were StuG III, but there was also a small number of Panzer IV / 70 (V), officially named TAs T4. These StuG III came from the Red Army's capture stocks, as well as the repair of units out of the war during the war. StuGs were used until 1950, when they were replaced by SU-76 Soviet manufacturing. Until 1954, all German tanks were dismantled.
SdKfz 250: A Motorized Infantry Battalion of the 1st Armored Division was equipped with semi-dented SdKfz 250 (called light SPW) and 251 (called medium-sized SPW) between 1943 and 1944, supplied by the German army following the Olivenbaum arming plans. Most of the vehicles were already used when they were received by the Romanian army. The motorized infantry battalion thus became the equivalent of a Panzergrenadier battalion within the German army. In March 1945, 5 SPWs were still in the inventory of the 2nd Battle Regiment. Only 3 SPW vehicles were in the army after signing the armistice.
Leichter Panzerspähwagen: The Leichter Panzerspähwagen were organized in reconnaissance companies within armored divisions and were officially named AB in the Romanian Army's inventory. On December 12, 1942, the Armored Division 1 research group was equipped with a SdKfz 222 vehicle (10 vehicles). 40 SdKfz 222 trucks were delivered to the Romanian Army since September 1943 following the Olivenbaum Armament Delivery Plan. The Niculescu detachment had 5 SdKfz 222 vehicles available during the battles for the liberation of Transylvania in September 1944. In early 1945, the 2nd Battle Regiment had 8 SdKfz 222 armored cars. On November 15, 1947, the Romanian Army had 13 SdKfz 222 dealerships in their possession.
AB-41: 8 AB 41 were delivered to Romania at the end of 1943 following Olivenbaum's contingency plans. These were confiscated by the Germans after the truce signed by Italy and delivered to Romania.
OA vz 27: Little is known about the career of the OA vz. 27 in Romania after one Czech platoon of three sought refuge there in March 1939 other than it performed internal security duties. Two were destroyed during one of the American bombing raids on Ploiesti during the summer of 1944 while being serviced at the depot there.
OA vz.30: Almost nothing is known about the career of the OA vz.30 in Romania after one Czech company of nine sought refuge there in March 1939. One unconfirmed report says that some were on the strength of the Romanian dictator Antonescu's bodyguard unit (Batalionul de gardă al mareşalului Antonescu or Regimentul de gardă al Conducătorului Statului). Supposedly three were destroyed during American bombing of Ploieşti in the summer of 1944 while being serviced at the depot there.
Modifications to Romanian vehicles
Flackpanzer Mareșal: Flakpanzer Mareșal was a German proposal to modify the Romanian tank hunter "Mareșal" in an anti-aircraft vehicle. The German version was supposed to be armed with two 37 mm anti-aircraft guns. This proposal has never gone beyond the sketch stage.
Hetzer: Two Hetzers were captured during the battles for the liberation of Transylvania (September-October 1944). These were used by the Romanian troops for a short period, but were later handed over to the Red Army under the terms of the truce signed on September 12, 1944 between the Soviet Union and the Kingdom of Romania.
Zrinny II: A functional Zrinny II was captured by the Romanian troops in September-October 1944 in Northern Transylvania and was used for a limited period of time. Later, it was seized by the Red Army.
T-26: at least 2 have been captured by the Romanians and used during the fights on the Eastern Front.
T-60: vehicles captured by the Romanian army have been mostly converted in the TACAM T-60 tank destroyer.
Jagpanzer IV: At least one Jagdpanzer IV / 70 (V) was in the Romanian Army after the end of the Second World War. It came from the Red Army's catch stocks. The official name of these vehicles was TAs T4 (T4 tank-based assault vehicle). German autotunes were used by the Tudor Vladimirescu-Debrecen Armored Artillery Regiments until 1950, when they were replaced by Soviet SUVs SU-76, SU-100 and ISU-152.
Panzer 5 Panther: In May 1946, Romania received 13 PkKpfw V Panther tanks from Red Army stocks. The tanks were initially used by the 1st Brigade of Tanks, and later they were assigned to the Tudor Vladimirescu-Debrecen Division. The 13 tanks were different models (Ausf A, Ausf D and Ausf G) in an advanced wear state. However, they were painted and inscribed with the emblem of the Romanian Army. Officially, the tank was named T5 Panther, in 1948 it was painted with the new emblem of the Romanian Army (cockarde). In 1950, all 13 tanks were abandoned and replaced with T34 / 85. The T5 Panther was used for training, military maneuvers and parades, such as May 1, 1948 in Bucharest. Until the introduction of Soviet manufacturing tanks, the T5 was the heaviest armored at the disposal of the Romanian Armed Forces.
Hummel: The Romanian Army received only one Hummel from the Soviet stocks at the end of the Second World War. The self-propelled cannon was used by the 2nd Battalion Regiment. The vehicle was officially named Hummel TAs, with registration number U069009. Autotun could not be used because it lacked the cannon lock. However, he participated in 1946 at the military parade on the national day of the Kingdom of Romania in Bucharest, being inscribed with the emblems of the Romanian Army.
T-34: During the Second World War, the Romanian troops captured a small number of T-34 tanks, but they were only used for a short period due to the lack of spare parts. Most captured tanks were sent to Romania for testing and training. The plans of the General Staff to produce a copy of the tank in Romania did not materialize because of the embryonic autochthonous industry. All Soviet manufacturing tanks were seized by the Red Army after August 23, 1944.
R-3: In the middle of 1940, the traditional arms suppliers of Romania, France and Czechoslovakia were under German influence. Deliveries of Renault R-35 tanks were stopped after the French Army defeated. Because the army's equipment was precarious, Romania wanted to buy 216 medium Skoda T-21 tanks. This tank, originally called S-II-c, was the successor of LT vz. 35, already in the armament of the Romanian armed troops. The tank is about 17 tons and is equipped with a 47 mm cannon and an armor with a thickness between 16 and 30 mm. The attempts of 1940 did not materialize because Romania was not yet officially a member of the Axis. Negotiations were resumed because Germany sold the license to build the T-22 tank in August 1940. The T-22 was a variant of the T-21 tank and was later built in Hungary under the name of 40M Turán I. In January 1941 , Romania tried to buy this tank again, but the order was not delivered due to limited industrial capabilities, despite the efforts of the Romanian and German governments. In June 1941, Romania tried to build under the license 287 T-21 tanks, officially named R-3, but the project was abandoned due to the limited industrial capacities of Skoda plants and the Romanian embryonic industry.
TACAM R-1: TACAM R-1 (Antitank Gun on Mobile Support R-1) was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. On 22 November 1943, the General Staff decided to turn the 14 R-1 tanks available in TDs. Tank hunters were supposed to be equipped with a Soviet anti-Soviet canon (of catch stocks) of 45 mm and they had to guard strategic objectives in Romania. The project was canceled because the utility of this vehicle did not justify the resources needed to develop.
TACAM T-38: TACAM T-38 (Anti-Tank Canon on T-38) was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. In 1943, the State Staff decided to convert dozens of T-38 tanks into tank hunters, following the TACAM R-2. Fourty guns of 76.2 mm (s) of Soviet manufacturing were retained for this plan. Since the TACAM R-2 project has not been completed, TACAM T-38 plans have not been put into practice.
Romanian "Goliath": During 1944, Romania designed and built its own model of remote-controlled tracked mine, known as "Romanian Goliath", due to lack of information about its actual name. However, it was markedly different from its German counterpart. The few surviving photos show that the vehicle had no armor, and it is not known if that was ever changed. It did have some logistical improvements, however, as the Romanian-designed chassis allowed it to cross trenches and craters much better than its German counterparts. Little is known about the stats of this Romanian vehicle, aside from the fact that it never went beyond the prototype stage and that it weighed about two tons.
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"George Orwell war ein Optimist."
Combat history [ edit | edit source ]
The first unit to take the Sturmpanzer into battle was Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 216. It was formed at the end of April 1943 and transferred in early May to Amiens to train on its new assault guns. It was organized into 3 line companies, each with 14 vehicles, and a battalion headquarters with 3 vehicles. It arrived in Central Russia on 10 June 1943 to prepare for Unternehmen Zitadelle (Operation Citadel), the German attack on the Kursk salient. For this action it was temporarily assigned as the third battalion of schweres Panzerjäger Regiment 656 ("Heavy Anti-tank Regiment 656") under the command of the 9th Army of Army Group Center.
It remained in the Orel-Bryansk area until its transfer to the Dnepropetrovsk-Zaporozhe area at the end of August. Its vehicles were refitted there and it remained there until the Zaporozhe Bridgehead was abandoned on 15 October. The battalion retreated to Nikopol where it helped to defend the German salient there until it was withdrawn back to the Reich at the end of December. Ε]
The Allied landing at Anzio on 22 January 1944 caused the battalion, fully independent once more, to be transferred there in early February with 28 vehicles to participate in the planned counterattack against the Allied beachhead, Unternehmen Fischfang. This failed in its objective, but the battalion remained in Italy for the rest of the war. The battalion still had 42 vehicles on hand when the Allies launched their Po Valley offensive in April 1945, but all were blown up to prevent capture or lost during the retreat before the war ended in May. Ε]
Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 217 was formed on 20 April 1944 at the Grafenwöhr Training Area from cadres provided by Panzer-Kompanie 40 and Panzer-Ersatz Abteilung 18, although it did not have any armoured fighting vehicles until 19 'Sturmpanzer's' were delivered at the end of May It departed 1/2 July for the Normandy Front. Here it had to detrain in Condé sur Noireau, some 170 kilometres (110 mi) behind the front lines, because the Allies had heavily damaged the French rail network. Many of the battalion's vehicles broke down during the road march to the front lines. The first mention of Sturmpanzer's in combat is on 7 August near Caen. On 19 August, the battalion had 17 Sturmpanzers operational and another 14 in maintenance. Most of the battalion was not trapped in the Falaise Pocket and managed to retreat to the northeast. It had only 22 vehicles in October, which were divided between the 1st and 2nd Companies the surplus crews were sent to Panzer-Ersatz Abteilung 18. It participated in the Battle of the Bulge, only advancing as far as St. Vith. It was continually on the retreat for the rest of the war and was captured in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945. Ζ]
Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 218
Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 218 was raised in August 1944. It was sent to Warsaw where it was attached to Panzer Abteilung (Fkl) 302. It remained on the Eastern Front after the Warsaw Uprising was suppressed and was eventually wiped out in East Prussia in April 1945. It was supposed to have been the cadre for Sturmpanzer Abteilung 218 in January 1945, but it was never pulled out of the front lines to do so. Η]
Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 2./218 was raised simultaneously with Sturmpanzer Kompanie z.b.V. 218, but was transferred to the Paris area on 20 August. Nothing is known of its service in France, but company personnel were sent to Panzer-Ersatz Abteilung 18 at the end of the year and were supposed to have been used in the formation of Sturmpanzer Abteilung 218. Η]
Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 218 was ordered formed on 6 January 1945 with three companies with a total of 45 Sturmpanzer's, but it received Sturmgeschütz III assault guns during February instead. Η]
Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 219 was originally to be formed from Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 914, but this was changed to Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 237 in September 1944. In mid-September 1944 the brigade transferred to the Döllersheim Training Area to reorganize and re-equip. Only ten Sturmpanzer's had been received when the battalion was alerted on 15 October to participate in 'Unternehmen Eisenfaust', the German coup to forestall Hungary's attempt to surrender to the Allies. All the vehicles were given to the First Company and it departed for Budapest on the following day. Bomb damage to the rails delayed its arrival until 19 October, by which time it was no longer needed as a pro-German government had been installed. It was railed to St. Martin, Slovakia for more training. The battalion was transferred to the vicinity of Stuhlweißenburg to relieve trapped German forces in Budapest. It remained in the vicinity of Budapest until forced to retreat by advancing Soviet forces. ⎖]