A Pz I/Pz III Hybrid tank?

German weapons, vehicles and equipment 1919-1945.

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A Pz I/Pz III Hybrid tank?

Postby Doktor Krollspell » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:29 pm

Hello all!

A friend of mine mailed this photo of a Panzer that clearly has the undercarriage and wheels of a Pz I A but what about the turret? The main armament seem to be a 3,7 cm... or? A Pz III turret? Does anyone have any information on this particular Panzer?

Image
Source unknown.


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Postby phylo_roadking » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:48 pm

bloody hell! Herr Doktor, no way - turret ring would be a no-no, that PIII turret needs a power traverse doesnt it? can't remember. Whats that strange thing out the back that seems to have a hatch on the top....is it part of the tank or just very close behind?

Im more interested in "placing" it at the moment; the buildings behind have no bomb or shell damage, the vehicle itself seems to be parked on tarmac. Theres no sign of party banners or flags of ANY sort. I dont see any regimental or unit markings? Mind u, that tower in the background is familiar for some reason.....

Does your friend know what/where/when, or did he come to you for advice? I dont honestly think this could have been a runner; or rather a "user", seems a total waste of time when there were SO many captured french tanks for internal security etc.

A bit of tangential thinking would maybe point me at SOMEWHERE in Eastern Europe in the first months of occupation pos-Barbarossa, and the terrain has a sort of south Russian maybe even a Balkan look, but i could be mistaken. I cant see ANY sign of a joint between turret and hull, so maybe the whole issue of traverse and rignhas been dealt with by welding the poor thing down??? Making a sort of primitive SPG......Lead me oh puzzlemeister.

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Postby Paul_9686 » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:02 pm

Is that monstrosity for real?!? Looks almost like a clever bit of retouching. :?

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Paul
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Postby Tom Houlihan » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:21 pm

I've never seen anything like it, but for some reason, I'm thinking training vehicle of some type. Maybe for transitioning to the early Pz. IIIs?
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Postby Paulus II » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:23 am

Hi all,

I have this picture in one of my books. I'm at work now but this evening I'll look it up and post what I find.

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Paul
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Postby Paul_9686 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:03 am

Please do so, Paulus. Right now, all I can think of looking at it is that it's the vehicular equivalent of the "Feejee mermaid"!

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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:37 am

Ah, that's good Paul(us)! :D

Just spoke to my friend that provided the photo but he didn't remember from which website he downloaded it from... :(

Phylo and Tom, good input on this photo of... Pz X :? Let's see what Paul digs up from his books! :[]


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Postby sid guttridge » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:59 am

Hi Guys,

Assuming the photo is genuine, I would suggest that the PzKpfw.I chassis is probably a factory conversion used to carry PzKpfw.III turrets from the turret construction workshop to the final assembly line, where they can be matched with PzKpfw.III chassis.

I am certainly with Phylo when he says that there is no way that it is a viable tank.

Cheers,

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Postby phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:42 am

Sid, nope theres plenty of film about of the panzer production lines prewar, lifted straight from the cutting bench for machining the turret ring and carried by chain dolly to the hull.

It certainly has a sort of patina of age about it, its not a factory-fresh machine - or machines lol The hull DOES look a little like a PI command tank hull, nor would a factory transport hack have bothered with the drivers' shutters.

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Postby Paulus II » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:28 am

Hi all,

I found it (took a while) but it was a major disappointment.
The picture can be found in 'Beute-Kraftfahrzeuge und -Panzer der deutsche Wehrmacht' by Walter J. Spielberger on page 107.
It belongs to an article about Holzgasgeneratoren. Not a clue what that is called in English. Having a vehicle run on the gases produced by the burning of wood is what it does.
The thing on the back that Phylo pointed out is the generator.

There is however nothing about the vehicle itself!! Well...apart from mentioning that "apparently" such vehicles were used (also with Pz IV turret) to train the three man turret crews.

I checked on AHF (and Tom shouldn't be so surprised, there he thought this vehicle had a thyroid problem :shock: :wink: 21 april 2005) but the answer was never found there either.
One member says he has a picture of the same vehicle but with a Pz IV-turret. The link he provides is dead though :(

BUT!!!

In another book I found something else that might point us in the right direction
There are no pictures but in 'Die Panzerkampfwagen I und II und ihre Abarten' also by Spielberger on page 33 it says (in a short and loose translation) that in 1934 Rheinmetall started the development of "3,7cm Selbstfahrlafette L/45". The Leichttractor chassis was used with a 'new turret' wich mounted the 3,7cm Pak L/45 and an MG. The vehicle weighed 8.5 tons, had a maximum speed of 35 km/h and 13mm front armour to protect the three man crew. The vehicle was never introduced to the troops.
Rheimetall also started development of what was to become the Pz III turret in 1934.
I think that this may be the same vehicle as in the picture even though there are a few contradictions. Maybe after sufficient Pz III's were available for training purposes (never introduced to the troops??) these vehicles were used the test the generators.

Cheers,

Paul
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Postby Paulus II » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:34 am

There's more!!

Just found a site in French (not my best language) where it says that these PzI/PzIII were indeed produced by Rheinmetall and used for training German panzer turret crews in Russia.

http://www.secondeguerre.net/hisetpo/fo/hp_evoarmeblinall.html

Under "B. Les premiers chars".

Cheers again,

Paul
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:42 am

Thanks Paul et al.!

Paul, you sure digged up information completely unknown to me! :shock: It's always interesting to learn new facts! This photo would have made a great Photo Riddle, don't you agree? :D


With best regards,

Krollspell
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Postby phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:50 am

Russia - well, Poirot got the landscape right! LMAO

id LOVE to know - given how bad things got - did these pigs'abortions ever see combat??? Less practical things did!

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Postby Paulus II » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:13 pm

Hi Krollspell,

I had this picture in mind for a riddle but couldn't find it on the internet so I never got to posting it :(
Would have been a great riddle!!

Hi Phylo,

Russia? Possible but would the Germans have experimented with these generators during the days they only practiced warfare in Russia?
If they saw combat well.....it wouldn't have been for long :D , too bad for the crews heh?

regards,

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Postby phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:55 pm

Well, by mid-war at the very latest, no matter what the vehicle in rear echelons, if it CUD run on anything except petrol or derv it was converted.

As for the crew in combat....actually it would maybe have made a relatively nifty reconnaisance vehicle, the PI was quite fast, the only extra thing here was the weight of the turret and the extra crew member lol. Mind you - absolutley NO ammo storage for the 37mm! The PI command tank was already up-armoured a little.

What I CAN"T understand is training tank crews in the rear rather than in training depots, that wud surely be a bit of a b*ll*x-up? More likely converting volunteers from other armoured echelons - panzergrenadiers, recce units etc who might be used to halftracks or armoured cars. If it happened at all.

To me it looks more like a "Gate Guardian" or a recruiting piece - able to run, shuttled around places like the Ukraine "Come join the great and glorious German Army all you Commie-hating Cossacks and Tartars, and get to drive one of THESE" LMAO spose it wudnt matter then if the turret traversed!

Thinking on the fly - no, no way. No way is any factory going to put effort time and resources into a conversion like this for TRAINING. Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to convert a series-production vehicle to do something else? Thats why they used these chassis for SPGs, because they couldnt use them for anything else. The power traverse alone wud be impossible to cram in there let alone the turret ring. Get all THAT in and there isnt ROOM for the third trainee crewman!!!. AND if it was a factory job, there wud be something in the records SOMEWHERE, rather than the contradictory things mentioned here. No, you didnt waste time pissing about with intermediary training steps like this in armoured vehicles in any army; you trained on obsolete units withdrawn from combat, then you went to a depot to convert to type, STRAIGHT to type.

I think theres still a story to be told here. So MANY opics these days get captions from people's knowledge, not from the facts. And if there are no facts to be had....they extrapolate. Doesnt turn it into fact though. You train a crew on THIS ok they get used to the turret, but the DRIVER doesnt get used to the PIII !!!

P.S. Ive seen that bloody tower before thats defo somewhere in the Ukraine.

P.P.S. no - turret rings were expensive to manufacture, theyre not going to waste them on THIS......if it was SO easy why build SPGs???

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