Panzerwrecks X P2 – Code name ‘Toxic’

For me, the word ‘TOXIC’ painted on the side of the Panzer IV/70(V) on page 2 immediately brought to mind the notion of chemical warfare, contamination, or some other insidious encounter with poisonous substances. (Late in the war, military thinkers were concerned that Hitler might resort to ‘mad dog’ chemical warfare tactics involving poison gas to counter Allied advances into Germany proper, and the reports of new filters for German gas masks and secret bunkers full of shadowy chemical shells coming to light during POW interrogations did nothing to lessen such fears.) Thankfully, none of these threats materialized, and we thank Hans Weber for his more prosaic interpretation of “TOXIC.” It is enlightening moments like this that make me want to kick myself in the pants, because an article of mine that appeared in “AFV News” (“Battle Report and Radio Log for 197th Field Artillery Battalion for March, 1945,” Volume 44, No. 3, pages 12-17.) was FULL of code names for Allied units, and I had only to THINK a bit to realize that’s what “TOXIC” was all about. And so, even when we are lucky enough to find an interesting photo of a Panzer, we are even luckier to have found fellows like Hans and Timm and Martin who can provide a level headed explanation of what we see. And then Lee found that photo (page 71) of a Panzer IV with “Losterkrnnungstageln” and I started thinking of chemical warfare all over again.

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