Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Supplementary image for Vol 1

Ausf B possibly in the Sudetenland.

This image shows the Ausf B on p57 of Vol 1, broken down again. The location is clearly different and the vehicle is well weathered in this second image but the turret number and unusual BK are unmistakable.

This slightly lower angle reveals an interesting feature; the hull front appears to be one piece. This is not evident in the image in Vol 1 but clearly seems to be the case here. One piece rather than two welded sections was a feature of unique to the Ausf A. On the A the hull front and the angle below the chin were constructed out of one 14.5mm sheet bent to create the angles, on the B the nearly vertical front was upgraded to 30 mm with the lower chin being 20mm thick. However because of supply issues during the change over in production from A to B five Ausf A hulls had to be used to complete the first batch of Bs.

So technically speaking this is one the first of the hybrid hull, superstructure and turret combinations that were produced.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Vol 4 supporting images

On page 28 of Volume 4 an image shows a good close up of a mid production Ausf G of Pz.Rgt. 35, 4th Pz.Div. apparently falling through a frozen lake or river. I have come across this series of images that document an attempt at a difficult recovery of that vehicle. This first one is from a similar position...

From the other angle the plate across the turret roof described in Vol 4 is more obvious. This clear view shows the plate crossing in front of the cupola to cover the deleted signal port on the left side of the roof. This seems like an interim fix before the new thicker rear roof and uparmoured cuploa with a one piece lid could be fitted from Feb 43.

I did put in a bid on a few of them but was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Supporting image for Vol 3

I came across these images which change my understanding of the series of 5 images that cover pages 76 - 79 in Vol 3, showing PzIV F2(G)s and a StugIII. 

The vehicles in the images are mostly intact with only one PzIII apparently destroyed. I had always thought that they showed a German unit carefully returning to or picking over a recent battlefield. This was partly due to me thinking that part of the series I didn't buy was of PzGr with a SdKfz251. I have found this image too, which shows the same location but with German troops.

It is still unclear if theses images are all from the same series or two (one from either side) that have got mixed together.

The location is Veliki Luki, a brutal Kessel that could be seen as the Stalingrad of the North. 11th PzDiv were part of the relief force trying to break the encirclement.

However the presence of Russian troops in the image above, which is clearly part of the series, changes my interpretation and explains the creepy deserted feeling in the images. They must have been taken after the relief efforts had been thwarted and Russian troops inspected abandoned vehicles left by the unsuccessful rescue attempt amid the hellish landscape.

The image on p76 and the bottom right of p77 appears to show a column of vehicle in motion and the last PzIV does look like it has a Commanders head is poking above the lip of the cuploa? Perhaps  this image shows the salvage of vehicles that were abandoned due to lack of fuel and then taken as booty by the Russians. It is however unusual for troops abandoning vehicle not to disable them.