Panzerwrecks 13: Italy 2, the latest volume in the well known Panzerwrecks photo-book series, has been released by authors Lee Archer and William Auerbach. Photograph features include: Weapons Dump – Italian Style; Nashorn 214; Elefants of 1./s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653; and Dug-in Panther Turret – Concealed Killer. Other highlights include: Recaptured Shermans from 760th U.S. Tank Battalion and NZ 19th Armoured Regiment; Sturmgeschütz IV fitted with concrete add-on armour; rare photos of the Panzerjäger Elefant, field modification of Sd.Kfz.10/4 halftrack with a 2cm Italian Scotti flak; T-34 tanks used in Italy; and AB41 armored cars surrendered to U.S. forces.
Panzerwrecks 13 lengthy Axis vehicle list includes: Elefant, Tiger I, Panther Ausf. A uparmored, Panther Ausf. A dug in, Panther Ausf. A, Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G, Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H, Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J, Sturmgeschütz IV, Nashorn, Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G, Sturmhaubitze 42, Marder 38t, M4A1 Sherman, Sherman III (M4A2), T-34/76, 19.4cm Kanone 485 (f) GPF, StuG M42 mit 75/18 850 (i), StuG M42 mit 75/34 851 (i), StuG M43 mit 75/34 851 (i), StuG M43 mit 105/25 853 (i), 15cm Panzerwerfer 42, le.Zgkw 1t (Sd.Kfz. 10), Sfl. (Sd.Kfz. 10/4) für 2cm Flak (Scotti), Sfl. (Sd.Kfz. 10/5) für 2cm Flak, le.Zgkw 3t (Sd.Kfz. 11), Nbkw für 15cm NbW41 (Sd.Kfz. 11), 3.7cm Flak36 auf Sf (Sd.Kfz. 7/2), m.S.P.W. (Sd.Kfz. 251) Ausf. C, le.S.P.W. (2cm) (Sd.Kfz. 250/9) Ausf. A, and Pz.Sp.Wg.AB41 201(i).
Instructions for painting the M4 Sherman tank from the Technical Manual TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, January 1943.
Section XXV: PAINTING
a. Ordnance materiel is painted before issue to the using arms. One maintenance coat per year will ordinarily be ample for protection. With but few exceptions, this materiel will be painted with ENAMEL, synthetic, olive drab, lusterless. The enamel may be applied over old coats of long oil enamel and oil paint previously issued by the Ordnance Department if the old coat is in satisfactory condition for repainting.
b. Paints and enamels, usually issued ready for use, are applied by brush or spray. They may be brushed on satisfactorily when used unthinned in the original package consistency or when thinned no more than 5 per cent by volume with THINNER. The enamel will spray satisfactorily when thinned with 15 per cent by volume of THINNER. (Linseed oil must not be used as a thinner in this enamel, since it will impart an undesirable luster.) If sprayed, enamel dries rapidly enough to permit repainting after one-half hour, and dries hard in 16 hours.
c. Certain exceptions to the regulations concerning painting exist. Fire-control instruments, sighting equipment, and other associated items will not be painted.
d. Complete information on painting is contained in TM 9-850.
During the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans disguised several Panther tanks as U.S. M10 tank destroyers (“Ersatz M10″). Part of the Operation Greif created and commanded by Otto Skorzeny, Panzer Brigade 150 deployed these Panther Ausf. G tanks which had been extensively modified and painted to resemble U.S. M10 tank destroyers.
Tank driver instructions for dealing with mud, thrown tracks, and bellied tanks from From TM 21-306: Manual for the Full Track Vehicle Driver, War Department, August 1946.
CHAPTER 6: FIELD EXPEDIENTS
32. GENERAL. Field expedients are based on a common sense use of the things you have in the field with which to do a job. A few minutes of thought before starting the work often save hours of unnecessary labor.
33. CONTROLLED DIFFERENTIAL. A number of field expedients for full-track vehicles are based on the way the controlled differential works. If your vehicle has thrown or broken one track, you can move the vehicle by holding back on the steering lever on the same side. This throws power over to the side that has the track and your vehicle moves either forward or in reverse. However, if you do not hold back on this steering lever, the vehicle stands still because the power is thrown to the sprocket which is free to turn without the track. Paragraphs 34 through 38 describe several of the most common field expedients.
34. ONE TRACK SPINNING. To move a full-track vehicle which has one track on solid ground and the other spinning in the mud, pull back on the steering lever on the same side as the spinning track. This throws power to the track on solid ground and your vehicle moves out. (See fig. 36.) To move the vehicle in a straight line pull back alternately on the levers.
Figure 36. When in mud and only one track spins, move the vehicle by holding back on the steering lever on the same side as the spinning track.
The U.S. Military Intelligence Service issued the “Campaign Study” series during WWII to summarize lessons from the various campaigns. Written by U.S. observers in the Middle East, Notes and Lessons on Operations in the Middle East (Campaign Study, No. 5, January 1943) drew a number of conclusions about German and British armor operations in North Africa.
In order of importance, the desirable characteristics of armored vehicles are (1) firepower,(2) mobility and mechanical reliability, (3) armor.
The British infantry tank and the U.S. M4 have relatively the same armor. But the British tank with its 2-pounder (40-mm) armament is undergunned; also, it possesses low tactical mobility and is mechanically unreliable. The M4, with its 75-mm high muzzle-velocity gun is effective against German tanks, possesses high tactical mobility, and is mechanically reliable. The M4 is a superior tank; the British infantry tank, because it lacks the first two characteristics, is almost worthless except for a few special operations.
Only after adequate firepower has been provided, and a high degree of mobility, accompanied by mechanical reliability, has been developed, is heavy armor plate for vehicles justifiable. When the first two characteristics are attained, such armor as does not interfere with mobility and reliability should be placed on the vehicle.
Armor is far less important than is generally supposed. Two years’ observation has indicated that if the tank compartment is penetrated, escape of the crew is usually impossible. Even though the tank does not burn, the German shell bursts after penetration, and the explosion destroys the crew. If the tank catches fire–and this is frequently the case–escape of the crew is impossible.
On the other hand, the same field observation indicates that chances of survival in an unarmored vehicle are almost as good as in an armored one, since the moment an unarmored vehicle is attacked the crew can abandon it. The same order of importance applies even more strongly to self-propelled artillery, where light armor is desirable but not essential.
In the race between armor and guns, guns are in the ascendancy.
In 1939 and 1940, German Panzer units overran Poland and Europe; the Allies’ antitank guns could not stop a tank. In 1940, General O’Connor’s infantry tanks were impervious to Italian artillery and antitank weapons. During the past 2 years, however, in the desert and elsewhere, there has been a steady increase in the power of antitank weapons. Today both the British and the Germans have weapons which will stop any tank.
This increase in the effectiveness of antitank guns has caused the tank to become a weapon of opportunity, to be used only against objectives which it can easily and quickly destroy. In such a role the tank is becoming more and more dependent on other weapons.
Top view of the rear engine deck of the M36B2 tank destroyer from TM 9-745: 90-mm Gun Motor Carriage M36B2, War Department Technical Manual, July 1945:
A-GUN TRAVELING LOCK B-LIFTING HOOKS C-LEFT TAILLIGHT D-ENGINE COMPARTMENT DOORS E-ENGINE COMPARTMENT LEFT COVER PLATE F-LEFT WATER EXPANSION TANK FILLER CAP COVER G-LEFT FUEL TANK FILLER CAP COVER H-FIRE EXTINGUISHER EXTERIOR PULL HANDLES J-LEFT (LC) ENGINE LUBRICATING OIL TANK FILLER CAP COVER
K-RIGHT (LA) ENGINE LUBRICATING OIL TANK FILLER CAP COVER L-AUXILIARY GENERATOR FUEL TANK FILLER CAP COVER M-RIGHT WATER EXPANSION TANK FILLER CAP COVER N-RIGHT FUEL TANK FILLER CAP COVER P-ENGINE COMPARTMENT RIGHT COVER PLATE Q-ENGINE COMPARTMENT REAR COVER PLATE R-RIGHT TAILLIGHT
Illustration of correct and incorrect track tension on the M4A2 tank from the M4A2 technical manual. The tank crew were instructed to inspect the track tension regularly and tighten the track if it shows noticeable sag.
Track with insufficient tension
Track with proper tension
Source: TM 9-731B: Medium Tank M4A2, War Department Technical Manual, January 1943.