(05) Panzerwaffe – Poland 1944

(05) Panzerwaffe – Poland 1944

Color profiles: Arkadiusz Wróbel, text and captions: Robert Wróblewski
Free decals for selected painting schemes in 3 scales.

Free decals for selected painting schemes in 3 scales

In the summer of 1944, as the entire central sector of the eastern front began to crumble under the titanic pressure exerted by the Soviet Army, eastern Poland became a scene of some desperate and ferocious armour battles. The withdrawing Germans strove to halt the enemy advance at all cost, stripping other operational areas of manpower and armour, and rushing reinforcements to the front. Among them were also units hastily reorganized and re-equipped after they had been decimated in earlier battles. Hence, a great variety of camouflage patterns and markings was noticeable during that period. Although they were applied in accordance with operative regulations of that time, in most cases small differences in painting schemes and tactical codes make it possible to identify a particular unit.
German combat vehicles were fairly frequently repainted and re-coded. Camouflage schemes operative in 1944 were discussed in an earlier publication of the Topcolors series titled Pz.Kpfw. V PANTHER (by the same author). Hence, a few words on tactical codes. The general rule was as follows: a code ‘123’ identified the 3rd vehicle in the 2nd platoon of the 1st company, whilst a vehicle coded ‘531’ belonged to the 5th company, and was the first vehicle of the third platoon, which meant that it was a platoon commander’s mount.
There were exceptions to this rule, though. For example, Pz IV tanks of II Battalion, 29th Panzer Regiment, 12th Panzer Division used a continuous numeration, without identifying component platoons – e.g. vehicle numbers in 7th company ran from 701 through 715, hence the tank coded ‘711’ was not, as it might otherwise seem, the mount of the 1st platoon’s commander. Another interesting case is Tiger IIs of 505th Heavy Tank Battalion (Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505) – the numeral identifying a particular company within the battalion was larger and it was painted on the mantlet casing, whilst the remaining two digits of the code (the platoon’s number and the vehicle’s number within the platoon) were painted at the base of the gun-barrel sleeve. Thus, the same code on the right side (repeated on the turret’s rear) read ‘231’, whereas on the left side it was ‘312’. Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 259 came up with another solution, identifying companies by the colours of the numerals (in each company vehicles were numbered cosecutively from 1 to 14). Of further interest are codes seen on armoured carriers used by III Battalion of 9th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment ‘Germania’, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’. Each of the four component companies (9th through 12th) used a different block of numbers: 9th company – 1xx; the 10th – 2xx; the 11th – 3xx; 12th – 4xx. In that way, a vehicle coded ‘331’ could be easily identified as being assigned to the commander of 3rd platoon in 11th company. Furthermore, the battalion headquarters section used the traditional Roman digit III to identify itself, and its vehicles by adding consecutive Arabic numerals (e.g. ‘III02’).
Generally speaking, other battalion headquarters sections followed the same rule, identifying the battalions they belonged to by Roman digits, and their vehicles by adding Arabic numerals in sequence: I01 – I Battalion’s commander; I02 – I Battalion’s adjutant (equivalent of the chief of staff), I03 – I Battalion’s signals officer. Tanks coded II11 through II15 belonged to II Battalion’s reconnaissance platoon. There were some exceptions, too. I Battalion’s headquarters section Panthers of Panzer Regiment ‘Grossdeutschland’ were marked with a letter ‘N’ (for Nachrichten – Signals). The vehicle coded N1 was the battalion commander’s mount. In case of the aforementioned Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505, the commander’s Tiger was marked with the Roman I, with the two other tanks of the battalion command section sporting II and III. In Schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, the battalion headquarters tanks were numbered 001, 002 and 003, and in Schwere Panzer Abteilung 507 they had the designation A, B and C. The tanks of regimental headquarters sections, in turn, featured numerals which were preceded by the letter ‘R’ (for Regiment), although this rule was not strictly followed, either.
The colouring of tactical codes was fairly consistent, with red, black and white being dominant. On the other hand, styles of code letters and digits were highly varied, as was their size. One rule seemed to be commonly applied – the width of the outline in code numerals was 10 to 12 mm, which was about one ‘finger’s width’.

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘814’ of II Battalion, 1st Panzer Regiment, 1st Panzer Division; bridgehead at Sandomierz, August 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J coded ‘600’ of Hptm. Nökel’s II Battalion, 31st Panzer Regiment, 5th Panzer Division; Gołdap, early November 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]


Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘600’ of Oblt. von Seyfried, the commander of 6th company, II Battalion, 6th Panzer Regiment, 3rd Panzer Division; Sandomierz bridgehead, mid-August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘611’ of Maj. Schultz’s II Battalion, 35th Panzer Regiment, 4th Panzer Division; Radzymin, early August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A coded ‘433’ of Hptm. Leckhardt’s I Battalion, 1st Panzer Regiment, 1st Panzer Division; Poland, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A coded ‘212’ of Hptm. Grohe’s I Battalion, 35th Panzer Regiment, 4th Panzer Division; Radzymin, early August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

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Sd.Kfz. 251/9 Ausf. D coded ‘814’ of Maj. Rausche’s II Battalion, 114th Panzergrenadier Regiment, 6th Panzer Division; Różan area, September 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

09 tc 05

10 tc 05

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A of I Battalion, 2nd Panzer Regiment, 16th Panzer Division; Lvov, July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G coded ‘414’ of Maj. Willikens’s I Battalion, 27th Panzer Regiment, 19th Panzer Division.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘808’ of Oblt. Arius’s 8th company, II Battalion, 29th Panzer Regiment, 12th Panzer Division; Białystok, 19th July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘523’ of II Battalion, 2nd Panzer Regiment, 16th Panzer Division; Sandomierz bridgehead, August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A coded ‘615’ of II Battalion, 23rd Panzer Regiment, 23rd Panzer Division.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A coded ‘435’ of I Battalion (under Sturmbannführer Meierdress), 3rd SS Panzer Regiment, 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Siedlce, late July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]


Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘1032’ of 10th company (under Oblt. Pilder), III Battalion, 24th Panzer Regiment, 24th Panzer Division; Poland, late summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘835’ of II Battalion, Fallschirm Panzer Regiment, 1st Fallschirm Panzer Division ‘Hermann Göring’; Studzianki, August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G, coded ‘R01’ of Maj. Rossmann, the commander of the Fallschirm Panzer Regiment, 1st Fallschirm Panzer Division ‘Hermann Göring’; Gołdap area, autumn 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. A coded ‘534’ of 5th company (under Obersturmführer Karl-Heinz Lichte), II Battalion, 5th SS Panzer Regiment, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’; Warsaw area, autumn 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F L/48 of Maj. Völk’s 92nd Panzerjäger Battalion, 20th Panzer Division; Białystok area, late July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F L/48 of SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 3 (under Sturmbannführer Pittschellis), 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Warsaw area, autumn 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G of 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Siedlce area, late July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded ‘401’ of Untersturmführer Helmut Bauer, the commander of 4th company, I Battalion, 5th SS Panzer Regiment, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’; Warsaw area, early August 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 251/3 Ausf. D coded ‚401’ of Hauptsturmführer Hannes, the commander of 12th company, 9th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment ‘Germania’, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’; Żerczyce, 22nd July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 251/3 Ausf. D coded ‘III 02’ of III Battalion Staff, 9th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment ‘Germania’, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’. Żerczyce, 22nd July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 251/7 of 2nd company, 27th Panzer Signals Battalion, 17th Panzer Division; Poland, summer 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]


Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D of 2102nd Panzergrenadier Battalion, 102nd Panzer Brigade. The brigade arrived at the eastern front in the latter half of August. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II Ausf. B coded ‘313’ of Obstlt. von Legat’s 501st Heavy Tank Battalion (Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501); Sandomierz bridgehead, August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II Ausf. B coded ‘201’ of Hptm. von Beschwitz’s Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505; Nasielsk area, September 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger Ausf. E coded ‘113’ of Maj. Schmidt’s Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507; Zambrów, August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger Ausf. E coded ‚113’ of Hptm. Burmester’s Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 509; Zwierzyniec, late July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmhaubitz 42 Ausf. G coded ‘223’ of Maj. Glossner’s 185th Sturmgeschütz Brigade; Osowiec area, August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmhaubitz 42 Ausf. G coded ‘131’ of Hptm. Gröhne’s 190th Sturmgeschütz Brigade; Poland, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded ‘7’ of Hptm. Tolckmitt’s 259th Sturmgeschütz Brigade; Białystok, late July 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 142/2 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G of 3rd company (under Hptm. Adamowitsch), Maj. Türke’s 904th Sturmgeschütz Brigade; Bielsk Podlaski, July 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘821’ of II Battalion (under Hptm. Michaelis), 11th Panzer Regiment, 6th Panzer Division; Różan, September 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘224’ of Obersturmführer Leopold Mittelbacher’s 2nd company, I Battalion, 5th SS Panzer Regiment, 5th SS Panzer Division ‘Wiking’; Warsaw area, September 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H coded ‘733’ of Obersturmführer Mattern’s 7th company, II Battalion, 3rd SS Panzer Regiment, 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Warsaw area, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 165 Hummel coded ‘158’ of I Battalion, 116th Panzer Artillery Regiment, 5th Panzer Division; Poland, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M Bef. coded ‘001’ of Obst. Bothe, the commander of 29th Panzer Regiment, 12th Panzer Division; Knyszyn, early August 1944. [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 166 Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär of Hptm. Kellmann’s 218th Sturmpanzer Company.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pkw Typ K2s/Typ 166 Schwimmwagen of 3rd Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (led by Sturmbannführer Masarie) of 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Cigów east of Wołomin, 3rd August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Sd.Kfz. 233 of Maj. Westermann’s 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Panzer Division; Cigów, east of Wołomin, 3rd August 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J (VK 1601) coded ‘32’ of 221st tank company, 4th Heavy Cavalry Battalion, 4th Cavalry Brigade; Poland, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger Ausf. E coded ‚913’ of Untersturmführer Neff’s 9th company, 3rd SS Panzer Regiment, 3rd SS Panzer Division ‘Totenkopf’; Warsaw area, summer 1944.  [Painted by Arkadiusz Wróbel]

 

 

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