Regular contributor to Panzerwrecks, Matthias Radu kindly sent us some information and comparison shots of the Tiger I knocked out at Berlebeck. Over to Matthias:
“The abandoned Tiger sat on the shoulder of Paderborner Straße between Berlebeck and Heiligenkirchen. The Tiger facing uphill, coming from Detmold.
The area has changed considerably since, but the prominent building in the background at the bend of the road is the clincher. It serves today as a restaurant called “Cherusker Grillstube”
The Tiger must have been part of “Panzer-Gruppe Paderborn”, abandoned on 2nd April 1945.”
I took the liberty of Photoshopping the period and contemporary photo.
While researching the Paris feature in Panzerwrecks 15, I took some screengrabs from Google Earth. With a few minutes to spare, I took the opportunity to Photoshop one of my photos into one of them. The results are not perfect because the photos were taken at ground level, whereas the Google Car’s camera is significantly higher, throwing the perspective out.
Rue de Courcelles
Discovered too late to include in PW15, the following information comes to us via Tom Laemlein of Armor Plate Press who has just released a reprint of the Recognition Handbook of German Technical Equipment originally published in May, 1945 by SHAEF Office of Assistant Chief of Staff G-4: The 18t Zgkw on page 69 and the Marder II on page 70 both have Enemy War Material Branch Numbers painted on them. These numbers were created to help in “inventorying Enemy War Materials which may be captured by the Allies or surrendered by the enemy before final disposal instructions can be given.”
German equipment was broadly classified into various sections, Ammunition, Armaments, etc. Within each section all equipments have been further classified and allotted a number X/Y/Z called the Enemy War Materials Branch Number, EWMB No.
“X” is the German Stoffgliederung (classification of equipment) Number. “Y” is a further subdivision by convenient groups. In the case of vehicles there are eight such groups. “Z” denotes a specific item within a group based on ascending Sd.Kfz. number. On page 69, the s.Zgkw.18t has received the number 21/4/16, identifying it as a 18-ton semi-tracked tractor. On page 70, the Marder II has received the number 21/1/17, denoting a 7.5 cm, A.T. gun 40 on Mark II – Model ‘A’, ‘C’ or ‘F’ tank chassis – MARTEN II.
The (2) at the end of the number is not addressed in the Handbook. Since the Marder II made it back to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY, it may mean that the item was to be saved or returned to the states, but this is pure conjecture at this point.
As you mentioned in the book, the Italians called the semovente da 105mm
“bassotto”. This isn’t just the name of a dog breed, it’s also a way to
refer to somebody who isn’t that tall (just like those dogs), kind of an
equivalent of “shorty”. This, of course, referred by the limited height of
the vehicle, a feature that was valuable and appreciated by its crew.
Stefano Di Giusto contacted us a few days ago with information regarding some of the vehicles in Panzerwrecks 14. Over to you Stefano:
I have received Panzerwrecks 14 a few days ago, interesting as always.
I have a couple of comments on some photos:
- Page 54: the insignia painted on the Sd.Kfz.250 is from Heeres-Artillerie-Brigade 88 (formerly Art.Rgt. 88 from 18. Artillerie-Division).
Note the Heeres-Artillerie-Brigade 88 insignia on the mudguard
- Page 63, top photo: this Panther is indeed from I.Abt./Pz.Rgt.26 as shown by the small black panther’s head painted just in front of the turret number; this insignia is seen on many photos of Panthers from the Abteilung operating with PzGrenDiv GD in Lithuania in summer 1944.
- Page 62, top photo: also from I.Abt./Pz.Rgt.26, the small clear patch in front of the paint covering the turret side number probably covered the panther’s head.
- Page 77, the Pz IV with the heart: I attach another e-bay image, the tank is not the same (the heart is not exactly in the same place) but the unit must be the same; this tank also carries a white half-circle on the front plate however I do not know which unit this might be.
Note the heart insignia
Thanks Stefano! If we are stepping on anyone’s toes by publishing these images on the blog, please email Lee and he’ll remove them.
Mario Lippert contacted us recently regarding Panzerwrecks 14, he writes:
On page 28 and 29 is a Panther near a railway line. I attached 3 stills which show the same Panther (in my opinion), I think it´s also from the Halbe pocket.
PW14/P28-29. From Mario Lippert
PW14/P28-29. From Mario Lippert
PW14/P28-29. From Mario Lippert
On the last page is a Tiger II wreck in Pillau, you write it´s of s.SS.Pz.Abt. 503. But it´s actually of s.Pz.Abt 505, and thanks to the good quality of the photo we can see it´s of the 3. company, you can see a ’3′ on the gun mantlet. And with a bit fantasy we can see the “Zimmerit cut out” on the turret side.
Following on from his previous submission, reader Ronny August kindly took the time to visit Werbig to photograph what remains of the railway station. Here is what he had to say:
Earlier than expected, I’m back again from a short visit to my old home. I tried to take some pictures at the location at railway station Werbig. Now, the most leaves of trees and bushes are fallen down and now you can recognize more details. Unfortunately, the weather was quite bad, like autumn normally is. So the pictures are not of the best quality.
Picture one (above) shows, how I think, nearly the position were the old Panther-picture was taken.
Picture two (above) shows a detail of the remains of the old, wider railway platform with its iron construction, also recognisable in the b/w picture. At wartime there were two tracks at this railway and therefore the platform had to be much wider then today with one track.
Picture three (above) shows the location nearly photographed from the position, like the old picture (1914), I sent to you.
Recently we received an email from Ronny August regarding one of the Panthers in Panzerwrecks 2. Over to you Ronny:
In your very excellent series “Panzerwrecks”, I’ve found in PW 2 page 85, the picture of a Panther tank of I./Pz.Rgt.29 „Müncheberg“. The location there is given as „in a suburb of Berlin“.
I think I know what the real location definitely is, if you don’t know it already. It’s the cross-station at post station Werbig (Postbahnhof Pbf) near the village Werbig, not far away from the famous town Seelow (Seelow Heights). At the front side of the building you can clearly perceive the name of the station written in white. Today the building is no longer present, but the railways and the upper platform still exist, and i think the tree is still there, too. On old postcards you can clearly see the same design of the building. I will try to take a picture this winter at the same location for comparison (Then&Now).
It could be, that this tank was prepared or equipped with night vision equipment for night time operations. This unit of I./Pz.Rgt.29 was in action at this area in 16/17th of April 1945.
The tank was manufactured by DB or possibly MAN. With a closer look, I think you can recognize at the right side of the tank rear hull, the smaller and armored stowage compartment for IR-equipment. I think the tank has the very late commander’s cupola without the AA-ring, but for me there is visible a MG-mount. Because of the very interested group of Russian soldiers, i think it was an uncommon “Panther”.
Do you know more about this vehicle at the moment ?
Can you tell me where this photograph is from, please ?
I look forward for your next editions of Panzerwrecks. It’s always a real pleasure.
Greetings and best wishes from Germany.
In a subsequent email Ronny included a scan of a period postcard of the station (taken in 1914), shown below: