Panzerwrecks 1, 3, 4 & 5 – update on wrecks in the Netherlands

Back in December of 2007, we received a letter from Dr NCHM Heitman regarding various German AFVs identified as being in the Netherlands. Parts of his letter are reproduced here for the benefit of our readers:

“After having greatly enjoyed the 5 Volumes (so far) in the Panzerwrecks series I feel I should react to several photos and their captions regarding armoured and other vehicles in the Netherlands in May 1945. I will first list the pages of the various Panzerwrecks volume, alongside the contents of photo and/or caption. Then I will give some remarks.

Panzerwrecks Volume 1: Pages 42-47, showing vehicles in a dump in Utrecht. Marder III, Sherman (2 types), PzKpfw III N are shown amongst others, captions give as formations the I./PzJagAbt 346, 346 Infantry Division, and for the Shermans the Pz.Kp 224.

Panzerwrecks Volume 3 pages 60-61: shown are Renault R35 tanks near Rotterdam.

Panzerwrecks Volume 4, page 80: Marder III, Bergepanzer III (with transmission as cargo), 1 PzKpfw III N.
Page 82: 1 StuG III (kurzrohr) and 2 StuG III (L/48). In total visible are 5 PzKpfw III N. Page 82 also shows 2 Sfl Flak 2 cm, and a number Kettenkrad.

Panzerwrecks Volume 5 pages 18-19: shows 3 Shermans (two types) in German service.
Page 20 shows Zgkw, Marder III M and Mun Pz II amongst others.

Armoured vehicles are somewhat of a rarity in the Netherlands in May 1945, and most were concentrated in the 346. Infanterie Division.

The “Ist-Kriegsgliederung” of May 8, 1945, 1200 hour, shows that PzJagAbt 346 had the following composition:
-Staff
-StabsKompanie,
-Panzer-Aufklaerungszug (arm. Recce platoon)
-1.Kompanie
-2.(Sturmgeschutz) Kompanie
-3.(Panzer) Kompanie

The Armoured Recce Platoon has 5 wheeled armoured recce vehicles equipped with 2 cm guns (type not given). In the 1./PzJagAbt 346 are 4 drawn Pak-guns, alongside 6 self-propelled 2 cm Flak vehicles. The 2.(StuG)/PzJgAbt 346 holds 3 Sturmgeschuetze and 1 x 7.5cm PAK(sf). The 3.(Panzer)PzJagAbt 346 holds 5 PzKpfw III and 3 Sherman tanks.

The weapons overview (9.5.45) give the following within PzJagAbt 346:
-6 x 2cm Flak
-5 x Pak 40
-2 x 7.5cm StuKa L/48
-6 x 7.5cm StuKa L/24
-1 x 7.62cm Sherman
-2 x 7.5cm Sherman

The overview of general equipment (9.5.45) gives for the PzJgAbt 346 (Vehicles only)
-13 x Panjewagen und Landesublich (Horsedrawn vehicles)
-1 x gr. Feldkuchen (large fieldkitchen)
-1 x kl. Feldkuchen (small fieldkitchen)

The overview for the vehicles and equipment and fuels/oils (9.5.45) gives for the various subunits of the PzJgAbt 346 the following:
-Stab: 14 Kraeder (14 mc’s), 1 Kettenkrad, 23 Pkw, 1 KrKw (medical
vehicle/ambulance), 15 Lkw (trucks) and 6.PzSp.Wg
(Panzerspaehwagen=arm.recce vehicle)

-1(MotZ)Mp: 6 Kraeder, 1 Kettenkrd, 7 Pkw, 7 MTW
(Mannschaftstransportwagen, troop carrier), 13 Lkw, 1 Maultier, 1
Zgkw.sf. 2 cm, 3 Anhaenger 1-achs (single axle trailer), 1 Pkw.Gen
(Generator Pkw). 3 Lkw Gen (Generator Truck)
-2.Komp: 4 Kraeder, 8 Pkw, 14 Lkw, 1 Maultier, 2 x Kettenkrad, 3
Panzer(sturmgeschuetz), 1 Bergepanzer, 1 SF 7.5 cm PAK (also listed
Getriebe (transmission) fuer Pz III, 1 Motor for Pz III.

-3.Komp: 4 Kraeder, 6 Pkw, 3 MTW, 10 Lkw, 1 ZgKw (Zugkrftwgen), 5
PzKpfw III, 3 PzKpfw Sherman.

If one carefully looks at the data contained in these lists the following picture emerges:
The Marder III shown in the various pictures is indeed in the 1./PzJag Bat 346. The 2 StuKa 1/48 are the 2 longbarrelled StuG’s shown in PzWrecks 4. The 6 StuKa L/24 are in 1 StuG Kurzrohr (PW Vol 4) and the 5 PzKpfw III.
Perhaps you noted the inclusion of both the transmissions and engine in the overview of the 2.Kp. The picture of the Bergepanzer III shows clearly the Transmission (the same?????)
The Flak Sf in the picture are probably from the 1.Kp and so on.
The 3 Shermans are definitely from the 3.Kp as no other Shermans are reported in the various list for the other formations, in fact only a very few (mainly ex-French AFV’s) are listed.
So one strange vehicle remains, the Mun Pz II in the various pictures. As this is not listed within the 346 Inf Div, or within the various formations attached to it, it is probably from another formation.
The only formation which lists an armoured vehicle, not identified as a tank, is the Stab der Kuestenverteidigungsabschnitt Sued (20.Fallschirmjaegerdivision), which lists a Panzerfahrgestell in its inventory. Whether or not this is the Mun Pz II is unknown to me.

The Renault R-35 shown in PzWrecks 3 are also very interesting. As I had stated before, information on the vehicles in the Netherlands in May 45 is fairly well known to me. A logical candidate for the ownership of these Renault R-35 tanks is the Kampfkommandant Rotterdam (battle commander Rotterdam) which listed 6 Panzer mit je 1 3.7 cm Kanone und 1 MG (6 tanks with each a 3.7 cm gun and 1 machine gun) on 8.5.45.
This is a logical candidate as the troops of the Kampfkommandant Rotterdam were to assemble/concentrate in an area southeast of Rotterdam (Formations include III.Batillon/Sicherungsregiment 26, 7th and 8th Company of Festungsstamm truppen LXXXVIII).

The other candidate, which I feel is illogical, is the Kampfkommandant Amsterdam, which lists 8 French Tanks (1 x 4.7 cm gun, 7 x 3.7 cm gun, 1 Tank of 18 Ton, 4 tanks of 12 tons, and 3 of 10 tons, alongside 2 Pzspaehwagen und 2 armoured Raupenschlepper). These troops were to concentrate Ijmuiden and therefore should not be near Rotterdam.

So much for now.”

Many thanks to Mr Heitman for sharing this information with us. On page 80 of Panzerwrecks 4, we managed to incorrectly give the location as Armsfoot, it should read Amersfoort. That taught us not to copy the locations from the photo caption …


Panzerwrecks 4 P33

Closure to this ‘case’ came with the purchase of an excellent little book called ‘Les chars de la Résistance by Luc Braeuer. Photographs on pages 38 & 39 show our Panther in FFI use bearing the name ‘Dauphiné’. The identifiers are the French roundel on the side of the gun mount, distinctive damage to the side track-guards and ‘Zimmerit’ on the glacis plate. A rear three-quarter photo shows the tank to have been a Befehlspanzer as it has the armoured pot for the extra antenna fitted to the engine deck.

I bought mine from Aviation Book Centre (product link, opens in a new window)

Les Chars de la Resistance

Panzerwrecks 4 P52

Randy Roy from San Fernando, CA, was good enough to contact us and inform us that “on page 52, the Pakwagon shown has the rear 14.5 mm armor folded down (hinged from the bottom), not “missing,” also the 234/4 had no ‘rear facing driver’s visor.’ For emergency egress the crewman folded down the rear plate flush with the engine deck to steer. The rear fender stowage compartment is the final version hinged from the top with keyhole locking device.” Which just goes to show that I should have taken a closer look and confirmed my facts before writing the caption. Having examined the Sd.Kfz.234/4 at the Patton Museum, I have no excuses, and I appreciate getting put back on the right track.

Thanks Randy.