Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) in Service Part I




21- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. C, Pz. Rgt. 25, 7. Pz. Div., Central sector of the Eastern Front, U. S. S. R., September 1941. Before April 1941, when the attack to the Balkans and Greece took place, some armored vehicles were camouflaged with spots of secondary colors, and it seems that the old color references Erdgelb, Grün, Braun and Dunkelbraun were used. Once in Russia in 1941 and 1942 these colors were still in use -especially RAL 6007 and RAL 7017- and were mostly used to camouflage their war material. This vehicle has great Grün RAL 6007 color bands painted on top of the Dunkelgrau RAL 7021 factory base coat. The numerals on both sides of the turret are new. The old numerals were covered with dark grey paint and the new ones were painted white in profile without filling the inside. This was done in order to reduce their visibility.

22- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. F, Pz. Rgt. 204, 22. Pz. Div., Crimea, U. S. S. R., April 1942. An efficient way to conceal a vehicle is to apply local mud with a brush. The crew of this armored vehicle evenly and carefully distributed big mud spots on the turret without covering the numbers on the sides and the cross on the rear, but at some point it seems that the work had to stop abruptly and we can see evidence of this by sloppier work as opposed to the more precise brush strokes in the wooden equipment boxes placed on the left side fenders.

23- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. A, Pz. Abt. 67, 3. Ie. Div., Poland, September 1939. The 1., 2., 3., 4. and 5. Panzerdivisionen took part on the invasion of Poland, having each a Schützbrigade and a Panzerbrigade. The Panzerbrigade had two regiments with two battalions each and nominally three companies per battalion -before this campaign they used to have four companies- with three or four sections per company. The number of armored vehicles per section varied from three to five depending on its weapons. The still incomplete 10. Pz. Div. and the 1., 2., 3., and 4. Leichte Divisionen belonging to the Kavallerie (chivalry) section, with an armored battalion each, also took part on the campaign. A few weeks later, all four light divisions became the 6., 7., 8. And 9. Panzerdivisionen. During this period the formation numerals were usually painted in some small rhomboid shaped tins -tactical symbol of an armored vehicle-, screwed on the sides and back of the vehicles' frame.

24- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. C, Pz. Abt. 66, 7. Pz. Div., Close to Arras France, May 1940. When in combat, formation numerals were hard to see, so in the Western campaign many armored vehicles had these numerals redrawn in greater size on both sides of the turret. This Panzer 38, has a white rectangle on the motors' cover, and it also has a yellow canvas for aerial ID purposes. A few months after the French campaign, the ten Panzerdivisionen in existence were reorganized, armored vehicles were redistributed (leaving only half of those previously available) in order to create ten more armored divisions. Now, each division had only an armored regiment with two battalions, although some regiments had three battalions. To compensate, theoretically most battalions had to grow up to four companies with four sections with five armored vehicles per company, but in the real world there simply weren't enough vehicles to fully comply with this directive.

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