Soviet tanks in germans units
Captured tanks in frontline units
According to German data of that locating in the divisions of RKKA before beginning the war more than of 28 000 tanks in two months of war to 22 August 1941 were lost more than 14 079 tanks. Substantial part from these machines was lost in the course it was combat or was destroyed during the retreat, but an enormous quantity of equipment was left in the parks being fully operational state, while on the way because of the shortage of fuel or it is left due to faults, many of which could be removed into the short time.
According to some datum in the initial period of war Germans captured in the working state from 900 to 1100 tanks T -26, 300-500 tanks BT, more than 40 tanks T-28 and more than 45 tanks T-34 and KV. The tanks seized in the working state were used by their taken subdivisions and usually served to the complete failure. Nevertheless, in 1941 the use of captured Soviet technology in Wehrmacht had very limited nature, which was caused from one side with the an even more sufficient staffing by the regular technique of German parts and the confidence in the fast end of war, - by the complexity of the identification of this mashines in the intensive fight. For example, first captured T-34, which entered into 1, 8, 11 Pz.Div. Germans so did not decide to use.
In addition to this the significant role played the unwillingness of the commanders of many German units to encounter with the routine of formulation and account on the seized captured tanks, that it does not make it possible now to determine accurately a quantity of used equipment. Considerably simpler it was use trophies without the calculation, and in the case of serious damages or breakdowns, and also absence of fuel or ammunition throw the seized machines, without troubling itself by what or formulation of the reports about the loss.
Like captured T-34, the seized in the working state heavy tanks KV were used in the German subdivisions since the beginning of the war. From the middle of 1942 some KV-1 those sent for the German factories, began to again cross to the front. KV-1 transferred mainly to 1, 8 and 22 Pz.Div. Official German sources give number of 50 KV's used in Wehrmacht.
To October 1941 in the German units were used about hundred of seized Soviet tanks, only completely proper machines arose into the system. However, the basic mass of the deserted technology remained in the fields it was combat it conducted the winter of 1941/42 years under the open sky because of the overloading of repair and evacuation units by the restoration of its own technology, after which it arrived into the unfitness and subsequently left for the melting. From the report bases in that period Wehrmacht obtained only several T-26, BT and T-60.
Losses at 1941 and beginning of 1942 with the incapacity of German plants to compensate losses draw more attention to restoration and use of captured technology. Beginning from end of 1941 seized T-34 they began to send to the repair plant in Riga for the restoration and the modernizations.
One of the best known unit in that period that had captured technology in arsenal of 2'nd company is formed on 30 May 1942 PzAbt zBV-66 that intended for the cancelled intrusion on Malta. This battalion consisted of many rare machines, such as PzKpfw I Ausf F, PzKpfw I Ausf J, PzKpfw II ausf F2 (?) with 80 mm front armor, tanks KV-1 and KV-2, and also T -34. T-34 (9 T 34, 1 KW I, and 1 KW II on 31 May 43) were transmitted to the army group of “Center”; and reach Ski-Jaeger-Brigade 1 (renamed 1.Ski-Jaeger-Division on 15 Jun 44), the 2.Kp./ Pz.Abt.(z.b.V.)66 was renamed 4.(Pz.)Kp./schw.Ski.Btl.1. On the 30 December 1944 the l.Ski.Jg.Div. reported a strength of 28 T 34, of which 9 were operational (T-34 and 5 T-43).
A number of enterprises were occupied by restoration trophies increased since 1943, to the works were drawn plants Mercedes - Benz (Mrienfeld), Daimler - Benz (Berlin) and Wumag (Goerlitz). After the combat in the spring of 1943 for Kharkov and its repeated seizure, more than 50 completely proper T-34/76 dropped into the hands of the Germans (2 TK SS) mainly of release 1942/1943 from which 25 tanks was transferred to 2 Pz.Gr.Div. SS "Das Reich" (some source say that 22 tanks was transfered to 3 Pz.Gr.Div SS "Totenkopf").
Kharkov Lokomotiv Plant (Plant No183. now Malyshev plant) proved to be under control of J-Staffel 2 SS Pz.Gr.Div "Das Reich" where was organized the repair unit Panzer-Werkstaff SS occupied practically only by restoration captured T-34 and KV.
In the summer of 1943 were organized entire units equipped with captured tanks, but the widest application was in parts of SS. 25 tanks T-34 of different production types (according to others data to 33) they became part of 3 Pz.Jg.Abt. 2 Pz.Gr.Div. SS "Das Reich".
In the composition of battalion T-34 served together with tanks Pz. Kpfw IV equipped with long-barrell 7,5 cm gun for the tasks of tank destroyers. According to the data on 4 July, 1943, into Pz.Jag.Abt. of 2 Pz. Gr. Div. SS "Das Reich" were 18 operational tanks T -34 and 9 more were located on the repair.
From June to August 1943 on captured T-34 in the 3 ss Pz. Abt. battled the well-known German tank ace Emil Seibold. It is assumed that of 69 victories recorded, in that period he destroyed 23 tanks. On 6 May 1945, in the course of the last ceremony of rewarding he was entrusted with "knights cross".
Captured T-34 in the period of combat near Kursk were used also in the Wehrmacht units. For example 11 Pz. Rgt. 6 Pz. Div., according to the data on 26 April 1943, had 1 tank T-34, and on 10 July 1943 - 4 tanks T-34. In the same period captured T-34 there were in Pz.Jg.Abt. 128 23 Pz.Div. The use of captured tanks in the battalions of tank destroyers was most justified, which made it possible to avoid losses from friendly fire, and the shortage of tank destroyers.
The only known case of replacing the regular armament with German one was recorded in 1943 in the environs of Belgorod. Tank KV-1 m.1942 was rearmed by German 7,5 cm gun KWK 40 instead of the regular ZiS-5. Besides this tank obtained commander's cupola from tank Pz - III/IV.
Certain quantity captured T -34 arrived also in France, where they were used for training purposes. In 1944 to allies to that landing to Normandy it was fighting with such machines. Documentary confirmation of this information is not encountered, but on the recollections of veterans were such cases. In the existing photographs from the veterans albums of shown two T -34; however, no confirmation that on the photographs precisely France can be found, it is not possible to determine this, also, according to surrounding nature and architecture. Das Reich division use a few turreteless T-34 in Normandie, classified as "Berge T-34", first saw in Normandie in july 1944. Probably three T-34 used by repair unit. One view of this vehicle in the book "La Massue" Didier Lodieu. On the picture T-34 in the Trun - Mont-Ormel area, captured by Poles or British troops.
In 1944 captured T-34 and SU-85 they warred in Rumania in composition of Pz. Jg. Abt 128 23 Pz. Div. Officially during December 1944 in the German parts were located 39 additional captured T-34, from which 28 machines were into 1 Ski Jager Division.
At the end of 1944 was created special unit "Jaguar" initially acted in the region of Krakow and had tasks the similar to tasks of 150 brigade used in the Ardennes. Staff of this unit is unknown, but in its composition there was the so-called medium company, equipped with tanks T-34/76 and T-34/85. Unit was formed in East Prussia (Brauneberg). At the end of 1944 Kommandoverband was moved in the composition of army group "South" and in the composition 6 TA SS participated in combat in the territory of Hungary during January 1945.
According to official data during January 1945 in the units were 49 tanks T-34 29 machines from which still belonged to 100 ski Jager Division.
Some quantity of heavy tanks KV-2 was sent for Germany for studies and demonstrations in the initial period of the war, where minimum one of them remained to the last stage of war. During April 1945 this tank protected Krupp's plant from the advance of American tanks. On the book "Die Entscheidungschlacht an rein und Ruhr" H.Euler mention one KV-1 captured US forces in 1945.
One of the basic problems with the use of captured Soviet tanks was the complexity of their identification by own forces, tanks differed from enemy technique only by painting and by symbolism were often destroyed in the fever of battle by the fire of their own artillery or tanks, which were being oriented in essence not on the signs, substituted to the armor and to painting, but on the silhouettes of machines.
For this very reason captured mechanics in general were used in the units of tank destroyers, acting in the depth of its orders supporting with their fire, which excluded the possibility of their destruction by "friendly" fire. The police parts, which acted in the depth of the occupied territory, where the captured technology was used for the fire support, were another place of the active application of a captured armament.
The absence of spare parts and ammunition, and also the swift delay of the constructions the seized in the initial stage of war technique from the requirements of those dictated by realities of war, led to the gradual disappearance of the growing antiquated trophies from the front parts and to their gradual reduction in the rear units. Meanwhile are encountered the photographs of different obsolete machines (BT, T -26, BA-10 and of others) the dated by second-half war beginning from 1943 and up to 1945. Bulk of these machines entered in essence into the composition of police parts (Ordnungspolizei).
As the minimum one tank BT-7 was located the consisting of 8 police tank company from November 1943 and to the end of 1944 of that entered into the composition of army group “North”. One T -34 and as the minimum one T -26 entered the consisting of 9 police tank company and performed in the army group “Center”. 12 (Reinforced) tank police company used several Soviet combat vehicles, including T -34, T -60, T -70, BA-10 and as the minimum one T -26. From 2 March of 1944. 5 tank police company had 2 platoons of 5 tanks T -34, these machines performed in the Ukraine, and beginning from the summer of 1944 in Italy.
Painting and the designation
Painting captured combat vehicles depended on the temporary period and on the special features of their application. The initially seized machines obtained new designations - crosses and swastikas, and in this form they adapted. Subsequently of machine those adapting on the foremost in the bulk began to be repainted in the dark gray color Panzer Gray standard for the German units, while subsequently, beginning from 1943 they began to obtain camouflage from the dirty-yellow color Dunkel Gelb sometimes with spots or curves of red-brown (Rot Brown) and/or olive-green (Olive Grun). The presence of the base painting of Soviet tanks in the shielding color, which had the often very wide spread of nuances, during putting of new it is color was created by time very unique, camouflage. In winter machines was colored with white distemper.
Far from the foremost, there where the possibility of incorrect identification was excluded, machines were repainted sufficiently rarely. Sometimes to the machines were brought the camouflage spots Panzer Gray or others it was color. However, machines utilized for the protection of airfields Luftwaffe frequently it were repainted in standard for this branch of service color Luftwaffegray (RAL 7016).
Besides new it is color they were brought and the standard signs of rapid recognition - crosses by it swastika in the black and white palette. Signs were brought to the largest and noticeable planes of machine - onboard, frontal and stern sheets of turret and hull. Frequently in the captured machines were brought the large crosses of the white color, which thus far were brought to the machines in essence in the period of Polish campaign. Signs usually had maximally possible sizes, considerably large than delivered by the German machines.
The signs of subdivisions were usually brought sufficiently rarely, in essence in the infantry divisions and Scnelltruppen, together with them were brought the tactical symbols, thinner to the machines were brought numbers or individual inscriptions. Among the individual inscriptions in the machines in essence are encountered names (Emil, Karl, Radetzski, Jaeger and other), the name of wild animals (Tiger, Leopard and other) names it is municipal or provinces (Dantzig, Saar and other).
In units Ordnungspolizei to the technology was frequently brought symbol by the size of approximately 24 cm with the image of Nazi eagle, with the head of that turned forward on the motion of moving the machine, placed in the oval. Yellow sign officially was used, but are encountered the photographs of machines with the white sign, emblem was covered with the layer of clear varnish IQS for weather protection.
Sometimes on the German tanks by the clearly being appeared German trophies is present the designation, which includes letter E, roman numeral and further three-digit number. In all existing photographs the tanks having such designations has the insignificant damages, which do not make it possible to immediately introduce it into the system, or simply clearly it is not used. On the existing assumptions the letter "E" indicates Erprobung - testing, or Erbeuten - to take as the trophy, although completely possible that also Evakuieren - to evacuate as order to evacuating of trophy into the rear, the roman numeral judging by the existing photographs designates the type of the seized machine. Arabic numerals most probably designate the ordinal number of trophy.