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The Panzerkampfwagen IV

Discussion in 'German Motorised Weapons' started by Jim, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. A, unit unknown; Poland September 1939

    One of only 35 examples of this initial version to be built, this tank is finished overall in standard dark blue-grey. The solid white national cross on the turret would have been over painted yellow shortly afterwards it proved an uncomfortably good aiming mark for the dangerous Polish gunners. The only other visible marking is the turret number, also in solid white, identifying the 4th Company, 3rd Platoon, 4th vehicle. A large `fascine' of pine logs is carried on the rear decking, to assist the crossing of streams and similar obstacles.


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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. B or C, Panzer-Regiment 22, 21st Panzer-Division; Normandy, June 1944

    An extraordinary survival at this late date, this tank is probably an Ausf. C; the regiment's II Abteilung was equipped with a mixed bag of these antiques and French Somuas. Photographs show some vehicles finished in plain dark yellow, others-like this example with an unusual camouflage of broad dark green stripes; national crosses, turret numbers and unit insignia all seem to have been lacking. The battalion was wiped out in the Normandy fighting.


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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. D, Panzer-Regiment 11, 6th Panzer-Division; Russia, summer 1941

    This division operated on the northern sector of the front in the initial drive into Russia. The tank is finished in standard dark blue-grey overall. The national cross is now marked in a narrow white outline presentation on the hull superstructure sides well forward. The divisional insignia from 1941 onwards was two yellow Xs, marked here on the hull front plate outside the driver's visor. The turret number is marked low and small; an `?02' number within a company usually indicated the `spare' command tank, used by the company second-in-command and handed over to the company commander if his tank was knocked out. In some regiments solid coloured numbers followed a company sequence, white, red, yellow and blue-and we therefore assume this mid-tone number to be in blue.


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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. E, Panzer-Regiment 8, 15th Panzer-Division; Libya, 1941-42

    This tank is finished in an overall coat of light desert yellow, through which the original factory scheme of dark blue-grey shows in streaks and patches. The placing of the national cross, on the left end of the upper rear hull plate, in white outline only, is unusual; note that the cross does not appear anywhere on the side surfaces. The divisional insignia is stencilled at the right of the bottom rear hull plate, reversed out of a red disc; balancing it at the left end of the plate is the DAK palm-and-swastika sign, stencilled in white. The divisional insignia is repeated on the hull side in front of the driver's side visor. The turret number identifies the commander of 1 Platoon, 8 Company, in a low-visibility white outline presentation.


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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. F, Panzer-Regiment 15, 11th Panzer-Division; south Russia, 1941

    Still painted overall dark blue-grey, this tank bears a two-digit turret number only; several regiments followed this practice, and normally it was the company number which was omitted, identifying this tank as that of a 3rd Platoon commander. The white ‘K’ on the right of the rear hull plate is that of Panzergruppe Kleist, a temporary grouping of five Panzer divisions under Army Group South during the invasion of Russia. The official insignia of 11th Panzer-Division, a circle with a vertical central bar all in yellow, does not seem to be carried; instead, on hull sides and rear, we see the white ‘un-official’ emblem from which the ‘Ghost Division’ took its nickname. Both divisional signs were often carried on the same tank. An air recognition flag is draped over the rear deck stowage.


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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. F, Panzer Regiment 31, 5th Panzer-Division; central Russia, winter 1941-42

    The tanks of this regiment received partial or complete coats of whitewash snow camouflage; if partial, it seems to have been popular to leave the dark grey exposed in a pattern of narrow streaks, basically vertical in arrangement, to blend with a forest background. The divisional sign is a yellow X, left visible on an exposed square of the dark grey paint on the front hull plate outside the driver’s visor. The regiment’s famous red devil insignia is carried large on the turret side, well forward, likewise on a panel of un-camouflaged grey. Behind it the turret side port is also left in grey, and a three-digit number is painted on the upper part of this in red. Note heavy external stowage.


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  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    1. PzKpfw IV Ausf. H, SS-Panzer-Regiment 12, 12th SS-Panzer-Division `Hitlerjugend'; Normandy, 1944

    A tank of the division which bore the brunt of the early fighting on the invasion front, this Ausf H is finished in the overall dark yellow factory scheme ordered from February 1943, with Zimmerit patterned plaster undercoating the vertical surfaces to repel magnetic and adhesive explosive charges. The tank has been camouflaged at unit level with the olive green and red-brown secondary colours, issued as pastes and diluted according to circumstances. The roughly hand-painted number on the turret girdle plates identifies this as the 5th tank of 3rd Platoon, 6th Company, II Abteilung. The buffer fluid designation is painted on both sides of the gun. Note that the camouflage painting extends over the track links fixed to the hull front. The commander wears black leather clothing see Plate H4 and an odd grey cloth and fleece winter cap, apparently an individual whim, with the SS eagle on the front.

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    2. PzKpfw IV Ausf. H, SS-Panzer-Regiment 12, 12th-SS-Panzer-Division `Hitlerjugend'; Normandy, 1944

    Seen here with its turret traversed to the rear, a tank of 3rd Platoon, 8th Company, II Abteilung, captured intact by British forces. The camouflage is in the same three standard colours, but has been applied in a softer and less distinct pattern of blotches, and seems to be in more diluted colours. Unlike ‘635’ above, ‘837’ bears a black and white national cross on the hull rear plate, and the divisional insignia of ‘Hitlerjugend’ high in the right corner of the same plate. Note toothed rail for mounting skirt armour plates.

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. J, Panzer-Regiment 3, 2.Panzer-Division; France, early 1944

    Photographed in Picardy in the early months of 1944, this tank is in a dense, dark-toned camouflage of the standard colours, applied in short, mainly diagonal streaks and blotches. The turret number ‘823’ is neatly stencilled on the girdle plates in broken white outline; unusually, the manufacturer’s serial number is also displayed, in white at the left top corner of the hull front plate outside the machine gun mounting it is ‘89272’. At the right end of the front plate is the divisional insignia used from 1943, a white trident; again, it was unusual to see divisional signs marked so prominently at this late date. There is no visible national cross; the ‘823’ was probably painted centrally on the rear of the turret girdle. (An almost identically finished tank of the next platoon, ‘834’, bore the serial ‘89589’.)

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. Panzer-Regiment 29, 12th Panzer-Division; north Russia, early 1944

    This division distinguished itself in the fighting before Leningrad in February igq.q. The tank has an overall coat of whitewash snow camou-flage over its dark yellow factory scheme; the rough square of dark green left exposed as backing for the divisional sign, at the lower front corner of the turret girdle plate, suggests that it was in multi-colour temperate zone camouflage before being whitewashed. The national cross and divisional sign are the only visible insignia. Here, the crew are labouring to repair a broken track, having removed the skirt plates, holed by the projectile which did the damage.

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. H, Panzer-Regiment 22, 21st Panzer-Division; Normandy, July 1944

    A tank of 3rd Platoon, i st Company, I Abteilung, knocked out while dug-in beside the road lead-ing north-east from Caen to Lebisey, near the River Orne, in the second week of July. The factory finish of dark yellow is applied over Zimmerit on the hull and turret vertical surfaces, but the skirt and girdle plates do not have the plaster coating. Photos suggest that a soft, sparse mottling of one camouflage colour was applied, with a subsequent streaking of pale dried mud. Once in its pit the hull-down tank was scattered with foliage. The detail view shows a marking observed on the left front track-guard (as viewed) of another tank of this battalion in the same area at the same date; it was most un-common to see this old ‘2nd Tank Company’ tactical sign by 1944.

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf. J, unit unknown; Ukraine, 1943

    Despite the complete absence of visible markings, this vivid tiger-stripe camouflage scheme of red-brown over factory dark yellow makes a most attractive subject.

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  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Two examples of SdKfz 165 Hummel 15cm Panzerfeldhaubitze, 9th SS-Panzer Division `Hohenstaufen'; probably France, winter 1943

    The sequence of photographs from which we take these views indicates that this unit’s vehicles were uniformly turned out. All are camouflaged in dark green over dark grey; all seem to fly a swastika pennant; all seem to be fitted with stanchions for anti-grenade netting over the fighting compartment, and to carry heavy camouflage netting and birch poles. White names are carried on the base of the barrel by several vehicles; our top subject is ‘Scharnhorst’, and another was ‘Horst Wessel’. Note black, red and white survey poles carried low on rear of hull; and tactical sign for a heavy self-propelled howitzer battery, marked low at left of rear hull, immediately left of end of range poles.

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  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Crew uniforms, and hatch details

    Army Panzer Lieutenant, 1941-42

    This officer, in the cupola of an Ausf D or E, wears the standard black vehicle uniform of the first half of the war, with rose pink Waffenfarbe (branch of service colour) piping on his collar and collar patches; as underlay to his silver epaulettes of rank; and around the crown seam and dark green band of his field grey ‘old-style officer’s field cap’. Grey gloves, brown field service belt, and throat-mike/headset rigs are all standard items.

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    Army Panzer private, driver, 1943-44

    The black Einheitsfeldmutze or ‘ski-cap’ generally replaced the black sidecap during 1943, although both continued to be seen side by side until the end of the war. It bears the normal Army insignia. The reed-green working denims were very widely worn by tank crews instead of, or over, the black uniform; often the breast eagle, Panzer collar patches, and/or shoulder-straps were taken from the black uniform and added to the denims.

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    Luftwaffe Oberfeldwebel, Panzer-Division 'Herman Goring', 1944

    The commander of an Ausf H, with single cupola hatch, and MG.34 anti-aircraft machine gun fitted. He wears the black uniform without collar piping, as was normal from 1943 onwards. The Luftwaffe eagle appears on the crown of the side cap, and on the right breast. Rank is indicated by the four stylized metal ‘eagles’ worn pinned directly to each collar point. Grey-blue epaulettes bear ranking in the form of silver braid and ‘pips’, and pink armoured-branch piping. He wears the Iron Cross 1st Class, the ribbon of the 2nd Class, and a Luftwaffe version of the Panzer Assault Badge; on the right sleeve is the non-commissioned pattern of divisional cuff-title. Coloured silk scarves were popular in this unit.

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    SS-Sturmann, 12th SS-Panzer-Division 'Hitlerjugend’, Normandy, 1944

    This junior NCO gunner wears the special SS eagle on his black side cap, above the SS skull. Black collar patches, bearing silver-grey SS runes and ranking on his right and left respectively, are sewn to the collar of his black jacket, which is worn folded outside the neck of the collarless black leather jacket. The black leather clothing issued to certain SS tank units (elements of SS-Pz.Regts. 1 and 12, and s. SS-Pz.Abt. 101) was Kriegsmarine U-boat issue, supplied earlier in the war to the Italian Navy, and retrieved in northern Italy in July-December 1943 by the ‘Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler’!

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  5. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    Very nice article Jim :thumb:. Have you ever watched "Killer Tanks" on Discovery ? They reckon that the Panzer Mk IV was the best all round German Tank of the war. I would tend to agree.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    No! never seen it Spitfire, but i wouldn't disagree with the statement. The T-34 came into its own towards the end of the war but at this time the amount of these that were available compared to the Panzer must have been a major factor.
     
  7. anirban3598

    anirban3598 New Member

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    well done jim, you did your research with everything covered on this medium tank medium tank that was developed in the late 1930s by Germany and used extensively in World War II. The Panzer IV was the most common German tank of World War II, and was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles, such as tank destroyers and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. The Panzer IV has the distinction of being the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout all of World War II, with over 8,500
     

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