Thursday, August 13, 2015

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

25- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E, Pz. Rgt. 21, 20. Pz. Div., Northeast Smolensko, U. S. S. R. August 1941. This division was a part of the Heeresgruppe "Mitte" (Central Army Group) during the operation "Babarossa"; the invasion of the U. S. S. R. At the beginning, their emblem -a letter "E" lying down with its arms pointing downwards- was a representation of the Brandenburg Gate, identical to the one used by the 3. Pz. Div. in France; later on this one would be changed for different one. During this period tactical numerals on the armored vehicles of this division had two digits identifying the squad and the position of the vehicle inside it, the color of these numerals varied from one company to another.

26- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. D, Pz. Rgt. 204, 22. Pz. Div., Crimea, U. S. S. R., April 1942. Towards the beginning of 1942, the Wehrmacht already had twenty-four Panzerdivisionen. Their numbers grew to twenty-seven by the fall of that year, but in February 1943 some were destroyed in Stalingrad, (the 14., 16. And 24. Pz. Div.) and others were dissolved (the 22. and the 27.) this was mainly because of the harm sustained in the Don sector. On the other hand in May 1943 the 10., 15. And 21. Pz. Div. were lost in Tunisia. Some of those units were rebuilt later (for example the 14., 16., 21. And 24.), while the 15. was reorganized and became a Panzergrenadierdivision. This Panzer 38 has only one division emblem on its rear, on top of the armored plank protecting the smoke screen device. 

27- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E, Pz. Rgt. 2, 16. Pz. Div., Caucasian region U. S. S. R., September 1942. As I've mentioned before, in 1941 and 1942 some of the old color references were used again. Dunkelbraun RAL 7017 was used to paint camouflage spots on armored vehicles for instance. In this case the spots are quite irregular and do not follow a specific pattern. During this period as a rule, each battalion had four companies, each one with four sections of five armored vehicles maximum; the numerals on both sides of the turret of this Panzer 38 say -these should be read from right to left- that this is the fifth vehicle of the fourth section of the fifth company of the regiment. 

28- Pz. Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E, Panzerzug Nr. 63., Stanislav, Ukraine, U. S. S. R., March 1944. Obsolete armored vehicles were usually assigned to crew training units or even police units in the rearguard to deal with guerrilla warfare, or as it is the case here, to back armored trains in this type of fighting. These armored vehicles were transported in platform wagons that could be easily downloaded and the tanks could work coordinated with the artillery pieces on the convoy. This armored vehicle does not have any emblems, except for the nationality distinctives and it is painted with Dunkelgelb, Rotbraun and Olivgr├╝n; colors that became standard in 1943.

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