10
Jun
09

Panzerkampfwagen III and IV 1939-45

Another Pz.Kptw.lll Ausf.E rolls through a war torn Polish town in 1939. The crew of this vehicle has prudently obscured the white Balkenkreuz with mud to make it less visible to Polish anti-tank gunners. A white outline cross can also be seen in the center of the glacis plate. There were 98 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.E in the German Army inventory at the beginning of the Polish campaign. This battered Pz.Kpfw.lll Ausf.E or F is being transported to a repair depot on an Sd.Ah.116 trailer after the battle of France in 1940. Due to overlapping production schedules and the presence or absence of certain external features, it is often impossible to accurately determine the specific model, or Ausfuhrung of the vehicle. In such cases, the chassis number is the only accurate way to tell This vehicle displays features common with some Ausf.E and F such as the radio operator’s visor, but lacks the splash strip in front of the turret and the armored vents for brake cooling on the glacis that were introduced during Ausf.F production. After the Polish campaign, the German Army adopted a less conspicuous, smaller black Balkenkreuz with a white outline to mark their armored vehicles. It is most likely painted in the two color camouflage scheme of 2/3 dunkelgrau Nr.46 and 1/3 dunkelbraun Nr.45 ordered for armored vehicles on 7 November 1938- largely obscured by a heavy coat of dust.

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