This is part II of my visits to Musée des Blindés blog posts. To check out part I please see here. We left part I just before entering the infamous German WWII hall (Salle Allemande Seconde Guerre Mondiale), a favorite of many visitors and that includes me.
Salle Allemande Seconde Guerre Mondiale
Schützenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz. 250)
The armored personnel carrier Sd.Kfz. 250/1 was developed by Demag (Deutsche Maschinenbau-Aktiengesellschaft) on the basis of a modified chassis of the light artillery tractor Sd.Kfz. 10. Its purpose was to carry infantry into battle and from 1942 onwards it was issued to armored reconnaissance and Panzergrenadier units. Fourteen versions were later developed including a self-propelled 37 mm PaK anti-tank gun carrier.
|Armament||Depending on version|
|Crew||1 + 5|
Hanomag SS 100
This heavy towing vehicle with a closed cab built by Hanomag (Hannoversche Maschinenbau AG) was specially designed to tow the V1 and V2. After the war this vehicle served in the French army until 1985.
Zugkraftwagen 1t (Sd.Kfz. 10)
The light half-tracked artillery tractor Sd.Kfz. 10 with a load capacity of one tonne was designed by Demag in 1934 and was officially issued to artillery units in 1939. The purpose of this tractor was to tow light anti-tank artillery guns such as the 37 mm or 50 mm PaK or light field artillery howitzers and to serve as well as a troop carrier for the gun crew. Other versions would feature either a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun or a 75 mm PaK 40. Produced in great numbers (17,000) the Sd.Kfz. 10 design would contribute to the development of the Sd.Kfz. 250.
|Crew||1 + 7|
Flak 30 de 20 mm
This 20 mm anti-aircraft gun has an initial speed of 900 m/s. It has a rate of fire of 280 shots per minute.
Panzerkampfwagen II (Sd.Kfz. 121)
At the beginning the Panzer II was designed in order to make a transition before the German industry would be able to produce the future Panzer III and IV. Lightly armed and armored it will nevertheless be the structure of the Panzerwaffe during the Polish (1939) and the French (1940) campaigns. The Panzer II will the be limited to minor roles (command, observation) or be transformed into a self-propelled 105 mm howitzer (Wespe). This is a Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw) II Ausführung (Ausf.) C.
|Armament||20 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 30 L/55 and a 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. L (Sd.Kfz. 123) “Luchs”
A light reconnaissance tank, the Ausf. L was the only Panzer II design with the interleaved road wheels and “slack track” configuration to enter series production, with 100 being built from September 1943 to January 1944 in addition to conversion of the four Ausf. M (VK 1301) tanks. Originally given the experimental designation VK 1303, it was adopted under the alternate name Panzerspähwagen II and given the popular name Luchs (Lynx). The Luchs was larger than the Ausf. G in most dimensions (length 4.63 m; height 2.21 m; width 2.48 m). It was equipped with a six speed transmission (plus reverse), and could reach a speed of 60 km/h with a range of 290 km. The FuG12 and FuG Spr a radios were installed, while 330 rounds of 20 mm and 2,250 rounds of 7.92 mm ammunition were carried. Total vehicle weight was 11.8 tonnes.
|Armament||20 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 38 L/55 and a 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen III (Sd.Kfz. 141)
Designed as the standard combat vehicle of the German Panzer Regiments the Panzer III first versions were comprehensively tested in 1936. Although the Panzer III did well against French and British light and medium tanks the 37 mm gun already proved inadequate against armored targets such as the Renault B1 bis. Hence the mounting of the more powerful 50 mm gun in 1941. For infantry support a version featuring the 75 mm gun was developed in 1943. This is a hybrid version, an Ausf. F on a Ausf. G chassis.
|Armament||50 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 38 L/42 (685 m/s) and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz. 161)
Designed first as a heavy support tank for the Pzkpfw III in the German Panzer Battalions the Panzer IV soon became the standard medium tank of the German armored forces. A robust chassis, adequate armor protection and upgradable turret which supported throughout the war, from the short 75 mm tank gun onwards, more powerful main armament, contributed to the success of the Panzer IV. Produced in greater numbers than any other German tank (9,000). Well-constructed chassis used in many subsequent designs. This is a Sd.Kfz. 161/2 Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H.
|Armament||75 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 40 L/48 (740 m/s) and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen V (Sd.Kfz. 171) “Panther”
From 1943 in increasing numbers in German tank regiments, thus supplementing and replacing the PanzerKampfwagen IV, the Panther was developed as the German swift answer to the remarkable qualities demonstrated by the Russian T34 medium battle tank. Interleaved suspension and steeply sloped superstructure were inspired by the T34 design, but superior firepower and protection were obtained by integrating the powerful 75 mm tank gun in a well-shaped armored vehicle, which proved highly mobile on all terrains. Considered as the best medium tank developed during World War II. More than 6,000 Panthers were produced. This is a Ausf. A.
|Armament||75 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 42 L/70 (930 m/s) and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. E (Sd.Kfz. 181) “Tiger”
The first engagement of the Tiger heavy combat tank at the end of 1942 symbolized the renewal of the German Panzerwaffe. The powerful 88 mm Flak gun was adapted into a heavily armored vehicle. This remarkable technical achievement was however showing clear limitations both in terms of strategic and tactical mobility. The interleaved suspension was similar to the Panther, but the poor ballistic shape of the Tiger remained its Achilles’ heel throughout the war.
|Armament||88 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 36 L/56 (810 m/s) and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 182) “Königstiger”
The most formidable operational German Panzer ever engaged during World War II. The Königstiger had excellent firepower, provided by the infamous 88 mm tank gun, associated with well-sloped heavy armor combined into a superlative battle tank. These qualities were outweighed by a severely limited mobility and resulting mechanical unreliability. The Königstiger was issued to the heavy tank battalions and engaged from May 1944 onwards in heavy defensive battles.
|Armament||88 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 43 L/71 (1000 m/s) and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Marder I (Sd.Kfz. 135) (75 mm PaK 40/1 auf Geschützwagen (Gw) Lorraine Schlepper(f))
The Marder I was designed by mounting the powerful 75 mm anti-tank gun on the popular chassis of the French Lorraine Tracteur Blindé 37L. 170 of these were produced between June and August of 1942. The great majority of this Panzerjäger was engaged on the Eastern Front to provide adequate anti-tank support to the hard-pressed German Panzer. Two units of Marder I were engaged in Normandy in 1944, but the lack of protection for the crew proved this time too great a disadvantage.
|Armament||75 mm PaK 40/1 L/46 (792 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Marder III Ausf. M (Sd.Kfz. 138) (Panzerjäger 38(t) mit 75 mm PaK 40/3)
This motorized gun mixes the 75 mm gun PaK 40 with the chassis of the Czech tank type 38(t). It succeeded the version that was equipped with the 76.2 mm Soviet gun.
|Armament||75 mm PaK 40/3 L/46 (792 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Marder III Ausf. H (Sd.Kfz. 139) (Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm PaK 36(r))
The demand by the German infantry for adequate anti-tank weapons shortly after the start of operation Barbarossa led to the interim measure of mounting the captured Russian 76.2 mm anti-tank gun on the chassis of the Czech THNP PzKpfw 38(t). It was officially designed as Marder III the 27th of February 1944. Production began on the 24th of March 1942 and 344 vehicles were issued to the anti-tank units.
|Armament||76.2 mm PaK 36(r) (740 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Marder Hotchkiss (10.5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen (Gw) 39H(f))
The development of the German armored artillery led to extemporized adaptations, usually with overloaded chassis and very low power/weight ratio, such as for the self-propelled 105 mm light howitzer model 18/40 on the Hotchkiss H 39 chassis, featuring an open topped and lightly armored fighting compartment. Only 48 of these were produced between 1943 and 1944.
|Armament||105 mm leichte Feldhaubitze Modell 18/40 (540 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Leichte Feldhaubitze 18/2 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf) (Sd.Kfz. 124) “Wespe”
The Wespe was one of the most important German self-propelled armored artillery types produced during the war. For artillery mobility purpose, the older 105 mm model 18/2 light howitzer was effectively adapted on the obsolete chassis of the PzKpfw II, which was modified by shifting the engine into the middle of the hull, thus leaving on the heck a large space for servicing the gun.
|Armament||105 mm leichte Feldhaubitze Modell 18/2 L/28 (532 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
105 mm Leichte Feldhaubitze 18M
105 mm howitzer with a maximum range of 12,325 m at an initial speed of 540 m/s.
The PaK 35/36 is an anti-tank gun able to perforate 38 mm armor up to 365 m away. 37 mm, initial shell speed is 760 m/s.
The 50 mm PaK 38 is an anti-tank gun with a muzzle velocity of 855 m/s. It pierces 100 mm armor at a distance of 740 m.
The PaK 40 is a 75 mm anti-tank gun which can shoot explosive as well ass armor piercing shells. Its maximum perforation is 98 mm armor at 2,000 m away.
Jagdpanzer 38(t) (Sd.Kfz. 138/2) “Hetzer”
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) design was based on the excellent 75 mm anti-tank gun model 39 and the Czech Skoda-built PzKpfw 38(t) chassis. From 1944 on, it equipped anti-tank battalions of infantry divisions. A total of 2,527 of these anti-tank vehicles were produced during the war. The Hetzer proved very successful during the defensive battles of Normandy and the later Ardennes counter-offensive. During the years 1946-1947, Switzerland ordered 158 of these vehicles, which were labelled as G13 tank destroyers.
|Armament||75 mm PaK 39 L/48 (750 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Sturmgeschütz III (Sd.Kfz. 142) StuG III
The chassis of the PzKpfw III was used as a basis for the development of an armored artillery close-support weapon for infantry and anti-tank purposes, which became known as the assault gun StuG III. These combat vehicles proved themselves to be extremely valuable in close-support, and later with the 7.5 cm assault gun. 10,528 StuG III were issued to the Panzertruppen during the war. This is a Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1).
|Armament||75 mm StuK 40 L/48 (750 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Sturmhaubitze 42 (Sd.Kfz. 142/2) StuH 42
With the installation of the 75 mm assault gun model 40, a dedicated tank destroyer was created in the Sturmgeschütz, thus leading to its replacement by the Sturmhaubitze with the 105 mm light howitzer, as close-support weapon against soft targets. The 105 mm light howitzer model 18M could be traversed from -10 to +10. Maximum range is 13,325 m.
|Armament||105 mm leichte Feldhaubitze Modell 18M (540 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Jagdpanzer IV/48 Ausf. F (Sd.Kfz. 162)
The design of the Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F was based on a modified Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis with a fixed superstructure featuring the 75 mm PaK 39 anti-tank gun. Issued from 1944 to anti-tank battalions of tank divisions, this vehicle although somewhat nose heavy demonstrated excellent tank hunting capabilities, due to good protection, low profile and relative mobility. 769 vehicles were produced during 1944.
|Armament||75 mm PaK 39 L/48 (750 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Jagdpanzer IV/70 (A) (Sd.Kfz. 162/1) “Zwischenlösung”
The urgent need for an adequate combat vehicle with upgraded anti-tank capabilities to face up against allied crushing superiority in numbers led to the rushed design of lesser expensive vehicles such as the Jagdpanzer IV/70 Alkett (A). The 75 mm gun of the Panther was fitted in the roomy Jagdpanzer IV superstructure on the Ausf. J of the PzKpfw IV chassis. This interim type (Zwischenlösung) led to very nose heavy vehicles with negative consequences for the overloaded chassis. Only small numbers were built towards the end of the war.
|Armament||75 mm PaK 42 L/70 (935 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Jagdpanzer V (Sd.Kfz. 173) “Jagdpanther”
In the German tradition of developing a tank hunter mounting a powerful anti-tank gun on a successful chassis, the Jagdpanther was designed on the chassis of the Panther featuring a prominent and extremely well-sloped superstructure with the 88 mm L/71 gun of the Königstiger. Outstanding firepower and an ideal ballistic shape combined with sufficient mobility resulted in the best German tank destroyer of World War II. A much-feared opponent, only air support or flanking maneuvering could provide a sound tactical answer against it.
|Armament||88 mm PaK 43/1 L/71 (1000 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
15 cm schwere Panzerhaubitze 18/1 auf Geschützwagen III/IV (Sf) (Sd.Kfz. 165) “Hummel”
The self-propelled armored howitzer Hummel was designed from the chassis of the PzKpfw IV integrating mechanical parts of the PzKpfw III, such as the Maybach HL 120 TRM engine, mounted directly behind the transmission. Fighting compartment at rear with 150 mm heavy field howitzer. Very successful design later used for the anti-tank version of the Hummel, the Nashorn featuring the 88 mm gun.
|Armament||150 mm schwere Feldhaubitze (sFH) 18/1 L/30 (525 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34 or MG 42|
Sturmpanzer IV (Sd.Kfz. 166) “Brummbär”
The assault tank Brummbär was the result of a long design tradition of vehicles combining strong armor protection and a heavy infantry gun. The 15 cm Skoda assault howitzer was first mounted in a fixed superstructure on the PzKpfw IV. In service from 1944 with heavy infantry gun companies of Panzergrenadier Regiments, armored artillery and tank battalions, this vehicle was plagued by mechanical troubles considering its overloaded chassis. Only 313 of these vehicles were built.
|Armament||150 mm StuH 43 L/12 and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Flakpanzer IV (Sd.Kfz. 161/3) “Möbelwagen”
Increased allied air superiority on all fronts compelled a more adequate mobile anti-aircraft defence. The Möbelwagen was thus fitted with a 37 mm AA gun on an unaltered PzKpfw IV hull and protected by hinged armor flaps 10 mm thick. The fact that these flaps had to be removed for firing the gun made the tactical value of the vehicle questionable. Only 240 of these were produced.
|Armament||37 mm FlaK 43 L/89 (820 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
This 20 mm FlaK (Flugabwehrkanone, anti-aircraft gun) is made of four tubes and has a rate of fire of 1,800 rounds per minute.
Kleine Feldküche (hf. 13)
Cooking part of the little field kitchen. This one was meant to supply 50 to 125 meals.
Bergepanzerwagen Panther (Sd.Kfz. 179) “Bergepanther”
Considering the need for a heavy Panzer recovery vehicle, the development of a special recovery version of the Panther was thus decided in 1944. The basic hull and chassis of the Panther were used and a powerful winch, which could be moved forwards and backwards and lift 40 tons, was fitted into the turretless fighting compartment. A heavy hinged spade was also fitted on the rear of the vehicle, which was raised or lowered by the winch. The fighting compartment was covered by a canvas awning, and featured a 2 cm gun for local self-defence.
|Armament||20 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 38 L/55 and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 34|
Kettenkrad (Sd.Kfz. 2)
Originally designed by NSU (NeckarSUlm) for dedicated paratrooper support as light gun tractor, this half-tracked motorcycle was powered by a 4-cylinder Opel Olympia engine. The Kettenkrad would under extreme conditions prove its worth against the classic motorcycle design. 8,345 of these were produced.
|Crew||1 + 2|
Raketenwerfer 43 “Püppchen”
This 88 mm calibre reusable anti-tank rocket launcher was given to infantry to bolster their anti-tank capability. The weapon was fired from a small two-wheeled gun carriage which fired a rocket-propelled, fin-stabilized grenade with a shaped charge warhead, similar to the grenade of the Panzerschreck but not the same. Approximately 3,000 units were completed from 1943 to 1945. It was made in much smaller numbers than either the Panzerschreck, which was based on the American Bazooka, or the Panzerfaust, which was a disposable recoilless rifle firing an anti-tank grenade. This is partly because it was realized that a simple hollow tube with an ignition device was all that was needed to launch the 88 mm rocket, rather than an elaborate miniature artillery piece with carriage and breech. Due to the carriage and better sights, the accuracy was better, and the range more than double that of the Panzerschreck.
28 mm schwere Panzerbüchse 41 (sPzB 41)
Anti-tank gun endowed with a cone-shaped tube measuring 28 mm at the breech and 20 mm at the muzzle. This gives a muzzle velocity of 1,400 m/s.
Nebelwerfer 41 / 42
The Nebelwerfer 41 is a multiple rocket launcher which fires 6 15 cm rockets in 10 seconds up to a distance of 7 km.
The Nebelwerfer 42 is a multiple rocket launcher which fires 5 21 cm rockets in 8 seconds up to a distance of 7.8 km.
Panzerwerfer 42 (Sd.Kfz. 4/1)
The armored version of the standard Maultier chassis (based on the Opel Blitz truck) with Carden-Loyd suspension was featuring a flat supporting rear with a 2 x 5 150 mm Nebelwerfer 41 rocket launcher. Superior cross-country performance was achieved on difficult terrain. From 1944 with Panzerwerfer battalions. Used to bring down heavy concentrations of fire.
|Armament||10 x 150 mm Raketenwerfer (342 m/s) and one 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 42|
Schützenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz. 251)
Instead of developing a whole new vehicle, the German company Hanomag used the chassis of the 3t artillery tractor (Sd.Kfz. 11) for the medium personnel carrier Sd.Kfz. 251, which was originally designed for carrying the Panzer Regiments supporting infantry into battle. 22 versions of the Sd.Kfz. 251 were built with a total number of 16,000 vehicles produced. The displayed Sd.Kfz. 251/7’s role was to carry engineer equipment and is also designated as the Pionierpanzerwagen.
|Armament||Depending on version|
|Crew||1 + 11|
This concludes part II of the visits to Musée des Blindés blog posts. In the final part III we will move on to the other halls of the museum.