A row of destroyed “Hanomags” – France 1944

A row of destroyed “Hanomags” – France 1944

The “Hanomag” or Sd.Kfz 251 series of vehicles was a half tracked armored fighting vehicle of Nazi Germany.  Over 15,000 were built during the war, there were 22 variants of the base vehicle.

These particular half tracks were knocked out by Allied air power between Carrouges and Rânes – an area below Caen and roughly a 12 km stretch of road.  There were two other attacks around the same time which eliminated the entire group.

Panther on the Eastern Front 1944

Panther on the Eastern Front 1944

One source has cited the cost of a Panther tank as 117,100 Reichmarks (RM). This compared with 82,500 RM for the StuG III, 96,163 RM for the Panzer III, 103,462 RM for the Panzer IV, and 250,800 RM for the Tiger I. These figures did not include the cost of the armament and radio. Using slave labour on the production lines greatly reduced costs, but also greatly increased the risk of sabotage. French army studies in 1947 found that many Panthers had been sabotaged during production.

The main gun was a Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.5 cm KwK 42 (L/70) with semi-automatic shell ejection and a supply of 79 rounds (82 on Ausf. G). The main gun used three different types of ammunition: APCBC-HE (Pzgr. 39/42), HE (Sprgr. 42) and APCR (Pzgr. 40/42), the last of which was usually in short supply. While it was of a calibre common on Allied tanks, the Panther’s gun was one of the most powerful of World War II, due to the large propellant charge and the long barrel, which gave it a very high muzzle velocity and excellent armour-piercing qualities — among Allied tank guns of similar calibre, only the British Sherman Firefly conversion’s Ordnance QF 17-pounder gun, of 3 inch (76.2mm) calibre, and a 55 calibre long (L/55) barrel, had more potential hitting power.

A grave for fallen comrades

A grave for fallen comrades

A German panzer crewman stands over the grave of two fallen panzer crewmen – potentially from the Panzer I in the background.

Most likely this photo is taken in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, as the black panzer beret – the schutzmütze – was phased out and production had ceased in 1941, however it continued to be worn after that date for a while.  The surviving crewman is wearing the newer style of panzer crew headgear which was introduced in early 1940.

Abandoned Flak 41 inspected by American soldier at Magdeburg – 1945

The Flak 41 was a Rheinmetall improvement on the famous Krupp “eighty-eight”, resulting in a more powerful version than any of the previous ones.  Only very few numbers were produced, but this prompted Krupp to respond with another prototype which ended up becoming the feared Pak 43 & KWK 43 – mounted on the Elefant, Jagdpanther and the Tiger II.