(32) Pz.Kpfw. IV family

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded 821 and named ‘Gisela’ of an unknown unit, Eastern Front, 1944. The shape of the tactical number suggests that the tank belonged to the 16th Panzer Division. It carried a three-tone camouflage with irregular, brush-painted patches of green (RAL 6003) and brown (RAL 8017) applied on the dark yellow (RAL 7028) base. Painting such camouflage was extremely time-consuming.

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded 531 of II./Pz.Rgt.16, 116th Panzer Division, Normandy, August 1944. The 116th Panzer Division was sent to the frontline in the last days of July 1944. During a one-month campaign it suffered significant losses, being divided into small battle groups. The tank coded 531, which belonged to the 5th company of II./Pz.Rgt.16 commanded by Oblt. Werner Adam, was one of the destroyed. Only 4 of 86 tanks which were used by the unit on 18th July 1944 survived till 5th September. The Pz.Kpfw. IVs of the II./Pz.Rgt.16 sported small white tactical numbers (supplemented with thin black outline on the 5th company’s vehicles) on the sides and rear of the turret protective screens. The three-tone camouflage of the tank consisted of green (RAL 6003) and brown (RAL 8017) patches sprayed over dark yellow base coat, while the Schürzens could be taken from another tank as they carried two-tone geometrical pattern.

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J coded 732 of II./SS-Pz.Rgt.3, 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf, Warsaw, early August 1944. The launch of the Warsaw Uprising on the 1st August 1944 surprised the crews of a group of the Totenkopf’s combat vehicles during the transport to the division’s replacement center located in ‘Stauffer-Kaserne’ at Puławska Street. Because of that 8 Pz.Kpfw. IVs, 6 Tiger Is and 1 Panther tank as well as 7 Grille 38(t) took part in the fights in the first half of August. The vehicle coded 732 was photographed in the Warsaw city center at the crossroad of Pankiewicza Street and Jerozolimskie Alleys. Its three-tone camouflage consisted of green (RAL 6003) and brown (RAL 8017) patches on the dark yellow (RAL 7028) base colour. The markings were unusually applied at four locations.

Sturmpanzer IV coded 8 of Stu.Pz.Abt.217, Aachen area, autumn 1944. The vehicle represents the last, fourth production series, manufactured after abandoning of the Zimmerit anti-magnetic coating application. It sported a ‘disc-type’ camouflage, which was a variation of the Hinterhalt-Tarnung (so called ‘ambush’ pattern). It was done by applying big green (RAL 6003) and brown (RAL 8017) patches on the dark yellow (RAL 7028) base, and then adding another layer of dark yellow painted with a template. The template itself was prepared by cutting the openings between adjoining wheels.

Panzer IV/70 (A) coded 223 of II./Pz.Rgt. Großdeutschland attached to the Führer-Begleit-Brigade, Trier, Germany, January 1945. The Brigade took part in the Ardennes Offensive, during which the ¾ of its vehicles had been lost. The majority of the battalion was equipped with Panzer IV/70 (A) self-propelled guns. This particular vehicle luckily survived the campaign in Belgium and was retreated to Germany without the side screens. It carried the three-tone factory applied camouflage consisting of brown (RAL 8017) and dark yellow (RAL 7028) patches on the green (RAL 6003) base. The white tactical numbers were painted as outlines only.

Sturmgeschütz IV coded 214 of an unknown unit, Eastern Front, winter of 1944-1945. The vehicle had the Zimmerit anti-magnetic coating and concrete support layers in front of the drivers compartment and the frontal superstructure. Te standard three-tone dark yellow (RAL 7028), green (RAL 6003), and brown (RAL 8017) camouflage was supplemented with irregular white lines painted with a broad brush.

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J coded 831 of II./Pz.Rgt.31, 5th Panzer Division, Königsberg area, East Prussia, March 1945. The turret sides of the tanks of the 31st Regiment were carefully marked with the division emblem, the head of a devil, as well as another symbol – the letter X in a square. This particular vehicle had the Zimmerit anti-magnetic coating applied and probably had lost the side screens during the earlier battles. The white winter camouflage was neatly applied on its all surfaces. The previous scheme is visible only around tactical numbers and non-typical national markings.

Panzer IV/70 (V) coded 522 of an unknown unit, Germany, May 1945. The high tactical number suggests that the vehicle belonged to the II. Battalion of an armoured division, not the self-propelled tank hunters unit. In the last weeks of the war it was quite common to supply the tank regiments with such combat vehicles. Its camouflage probably represented the three-tone type consisting of green (RAL 6003) patches with thin borders of thinned brown (RAL 8012 or RAL 8017) paint, all over the dark yellow (RAL 7028) base. It is also possible that the borders were applied with less diluted green paint.

Befehlswagen Panzer IV/70 (V) coded 101 of s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt.655, Oldenburg, Germany, May 1945. At the end of the war the battalion comprised three self-propelled tank hunters companies. There were 10 Panzer IV/70 (V) vehicles in the 1st and 3rd company, and 5 Jagdpanthers in the 2nd one. The majority of the vehicles did not sport the tactical numbers. This particular example carried a three-tone camouflage consisting of brown (RAL 8017) and dark yellow (RAL 7028) patches painted on the green (RAL 6003) base colour.

 

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