Thursday, September 17, 2015
39- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. L (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), 60. Inf. Div.
(mot.), Southern Stalingrad, U. S. S. R., October 1942. During the spring of 1942, the 60 Infanteriedivision (mot.) (60th Motorized Infantry Division) received other that a few backup subunits, a Panzerabteilung from the 18. Pz. Div. The illustration shows a camouflaged armored vehicle with colors Braun RAL 8020, Grau RAL 7027 and Grün RAL 6007, having on its fenders the emblem of the 60. Inf. Div. (mot.), two small yellow crosses one on top of each other. This was one of the units that was annihilated in the Stalingrad siege. During the spring of 1943 several Infanteriedivisionen (mot.) were reformed, at least in theory, with a Panzerabteilung (armored vehicle battalion) a Panzerjägerabteilung (armored vehicle hunters) and an Aufklärungsabteilung (reconnaissance battalion), and from that moment on were renamed Panzergrenadierdivisionen; around this date a new formation was created; the 60. Pz. Gren. Div. a, which was finally called the Pz. Gren. Div. "Feldherrnhalle".
40- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J (Sd. Kfz. 141), SS-Pz. Gren. Div. "Wiking", Caucasian region U. S. S. R., November 1942. Between September 1942 and November of that year, the Waffen SS "LSSAH", the "Das Reich", "Totenkopf" and "Wiking" divisions were upgraded to panzergrenadierdivisionen. As it has been mentioned, much war material that was intended for Northern Africa ended up on the Eastern Front, so in 1942 many vehicles with a tropical camouflage were seen on the Caucasian region. This Panzer III has been camouflaged before it got out of the factory with the official camouflage pattern approved in March, which is basically a Braun RAL 8020 base with Grau RAL 7027 spots occupying approximately 1/3 of the armored surface. The Swastika that identified the "Wiking", a "Sonnenrad" (a sun shaped rune), can be seen in the frontal right sided fender and in the rear left fender. On top of the spares wooden box on the turret there is a painted Swastika for aerial ID purposes.
35- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. H (Sd. Kfz. 141), Pz. Rgt. 8, 15 Pz. Div., El Alamein, Egypt, October 1942. At first sight, the armored vehicles of the 15. Pz. Div. could be told apart from those of the 21. Pz. Div. by the numeral system: The first ones had a single big digit on both sides and on the back of the turret, while the second ones had three digit numerals. The "lonely" numeral in this case is a "6" the numeral identifies the company so this Panzer III belongs to the 2. Kp. of the II. Abt. The formation numerals can be seen in full on both sides of the frame in a smaller size. On the rear of the turret, on top of the division insignia, we can see the emblem of the Pz. Rgt. 8, a "Z" shaped rune reversed and lying down. This motif was called "Wolfsangel". Some armored vehicles in this unit had the top of the rear wooden box behind the turret painted red in order to be properly identified by fellow German aviators.
36- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. N (Sd. Kfz. 141/2), sch. Pz. Abt. 501, Kairouan, Tunisia, January 1943. In the Stab of this schwerepanzerabteilung we could find the Tiger "01" and "02" and a leichte Zug (light squad) with eight Panzer III's armed with a 75mm gun and numbered "03 to "10". The Panzer III arrived to Northern Tunisia painted with Braun RAL 8020 paint, a color tone which was not appropriate for this region with lots of green vegetation, so most vehicles were covered up with green paint, although in some cases only large green spots were painted. It makes sense to assume that we're dealing with Grün RAL 6007, but Feldgrau RAL 6006 and even Olive Drab paint
(captured from US forces) could have been used. The insignia for this unit; a lurking tiger, can be seen in the front right by the drivers' sight
37- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. M (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), 4./SSPz. Rgt. 3, SS-Pz. Gren. Div. "Totenkopf", Jarkov, U. S. S. R., March 1943. The Heer armored vehicles' divisionary emblems were usually painted yellow, but the Waffen SS vehicles were painted white. This Panzer III with white Weiss RAL 9001 camouflage paint, has its division emblem (a skull) right by the drivers' sight. The 4. Kp. from the SS-Pz. Rgt. 3 was a schwere Panzerkompanie (heavy armored vehicle company), and was equipped from the start with nine Tigers and ten Panzer III, but in May 1943 it was reduced to six Tiger and was reorganized as the 9. Kp.
38- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. M (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), 8./SS-Pz. Rgt. 2, SS-Pz. Gren. Div. "Das Reich", Jarkov, U. S. S. R. March 1943. The 8. Kp. from the SS-Pz. Rgt. 2 was a schwere Panzerkompanie which as it was customary and due to the slow manufacturing process of Tiger armored vehicles, had at first ten of these and twelve Panzer IIIs. The commander of this vehicle died in combat in March the 14th 1943 while conquering back Jarkov. Towards the end of that month, the company had some days off to get some provisions and recover from battle, and crews wrote the name of their fallen companion on both sides of the turret. The division emblem a "Wolfsangel", can be seen right by the drivers' sight and on the rear plank of the vehicle's frame. On top of the factory painted Gelbbraun coat, thin irregular lines of Dunkelgrau have been painted.
41- Pz. Kpfw III (FI) Ausf. M (Sd. Kfz. 141/3), Pz. Rgt. 11, 6. Pz. Div., Kursk, Southern Sector, U. S. S. R., July 1943. For the offensive that took place in the Kursk peninsula and with the purpose of confusing the Russian secret services, the Germans changed their insignias on every division that was to be a part of this offensive. The new insignias were simple geometric figures. The new one for the 6. Pz. Div. was a reversed double "T" with uneven arms; it was usually painted on all four sides of the vehicle and was simultaneously used along with a small four armed star, although this star was only painted on the front and back of the vehicles' frame. The system for identifying the different units of this division was to paint the abbreviated form of the commander's family name. For example the commander of the Pz. Rgt. 11 (only the second battalion was available here) was Von Oppeln- Bronikowski, his armored vehicles were painted with the letters "Op". The Flammpanzer (armored vehicle with flame thrower device) portrayed in this color profile has been camouflaged with the color pattern of 1943: Dunkelgelb RAL 7028, Olivgrün RAL 6003 and Rotbraun RAL 8017.
42- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. M (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), SS-Pz. Rgt. 3, SS-Pz. Gren. Div. "Totenkopf", Kursk, Southern Sector, U. S. S. R., July 1943. The temporary insignia for this division of the Waffen SS in the "Zitadelle" operation was a "Dreizackrune" or trident shaped rune: Three vertical bars painted in either white or black paint on the front and back of the vehicles. In spite of having three authorized battalions, the SS-Pz. Rgt. 3 only had two, with three companies each. This armored vehicle has numerals "II5" on both sides and the back of the turrets' shielding, indicating that this vehicle belongs to the Stab of the II. Abt. Camouflage consists of a series of irregular Olivgrün paint gun strokes on top of the factory painted Dunkelgelb.
31- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. F (Sd. Kfz. 1941), Pz. Rgt. 2, 1. Pz. Div., France, June 1940. In 1940 this division took the oak leaf as their distinctive, a motif that was usually drawn in the front and rear of the armored vehicles' turret. The armored vehicles of the Pz. Rgt. 2 could be told apart from those of the Pz. Rgt 1 thanks to a painted dot after the formation numerals. Some units had a white cross for aerial ID purposes on top of the turret, a marking that was sometimes accompanied by a rectangle in the same color painted on top of the motors' cover.
32- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. E (Sd. Kfz. 141), Pz. Rgt.
31, 5. Pz. Div., Balkans, May 1941. The emblem that the OKH gave to this division in 1941 was an "X" which the armored vehicles had painted in the front, on both sides and on the back of the frame. The Pz. Rgt. 31 had a particular insignia named "Rot Teufel" (Red Devil) painted on both sides of the turret. This armored vehicle has its tactical numerals painted only on both sides of the frame; on the back of it we see a stencil with five small digits; these are the vehicles' frame number, in red.
33- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. G (Sd. Kfz. 141), Pz. Rgt. 5, 21. Pz. Div., Sidi Rezegh, Libya, November 1941. Under the brief and worn Gelbbraun RAL 8000 coat, we can see the factory painted Dunkelgrau RAL 7021 of this Panzer III. On both sides of the turret and on the "Rommelkiste" (Rommel box) screwed to the back of it, we can see painted white the numerals that tell us that this is the third armored vehicle from the first section of the first company. The Afrikakorps palm tree can be seen on both sides of the frame, and on the back of it we can see this motif right by the division insignia. Both motifs are also painted on the frontal armored plank, between the drivers' sight and the machine gun, although partially concealed by some spare track links set there to "increase armoring".
34- Pz. Bef. Wg. III Ausf. E (Sd. Kfz. 267), Pz. Rgt. 5, 21 Pz. Div., Bir Hakeim Libya, May 1942. This Panzerbefehlswagen (commanding armored vehicle) repainted Gelbbraun does not have its division emblem, but it does have the DAK palm trees. These motifs have been painted with the same color used for camouflage, while the crosses and numerals are white with hollow (unpainted) inside. This type of vehicle was equipped with several pieces of radio equipment, and because the lack of room, its turret was fixed (not moveable) and the gun was a decoy as well; after having lost the fake weapon on a fight, crews have placed a piece of wood to accomplish the function of the previous one.
29- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. L (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), sch. Pz. Abt. 502, Tortolowo U. S. S. R., September 1942. Heavy armored Tiger vehicles were manufactured slowly, so in the schwere Panzerabteilungen, (Independent battalions of heavy armored vehicles) a few Panzer III's were included. At some point in this year, in the Stab of the 1. Kp. there were Tigers "100" and "101", while vehicle number "102" was a Panzer III that was replaced in October of that year for a Tiger. The color of this vehicle once it got out of the factory seems to be one of the light grays employed by the Luftwaffe, but it could also be Grau RAL 7027; the unit that the vehicle was entrusted to, painted some Feldgrau RAL 6006 camouflage spots. The battalion insignia, a mammoth drawn in a white outline, can be seen right by the machine gun in the front and on the back of the turret. The style in which the Balkenkreuz is painted is quite interesting because of the unusual color array.
30- Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. J (Sd. Kfz. 141/1), Pz. Rgt. 15, 11. Pz. Div., southern sector of the Eastern Front, U. S. S. R., July 1942. The official distinctive of this division was a circle divided by a vertical bar, which was usually painted on all four sides of the armored vehicles. This unit also employed another symbol; a ghost yielding a sword and reclined on the front of a vehicle in motion. The motif was painted on both sides of the frame and in the large box that most armored vehicles had in the back. The Pz. Rgt. 15 was known for painting on its vehicles formation numerals with only two digits: the first one indicated the squad and the second one the position of the armored vehicle inside the squad. On top of the Grau RAL 7003 base coat, elongated Grün RAL 6007 spots have been painted to camouflage the vehicle.