command tanks

German weapons, vehicles and equipment 1919-1945.

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command tanks

Post by ewaldvonkleist » Mon May 01, 2006 2:50 pm

Hope someone can help me with this:I'm wondering what type of tanks unit commanders would use{if they're in tanks at all}I'm interested in many units and time periods but one specific question I have is about 3rd panzer division at Kursk,say a pkfw IV battalion commander;would he be in a IV?Haven't been able to find much info about commanders and their vehicles;I'm looking for more info about this topic.I'm wondering especially how high up a commander needed to be to have the better radios and the tanks with the dummy guns.I understand also that the IV's weren't generally converted to command tanks so the question there is would a commnder on a unit of PKFW IV's be in some OTHER type of vehicle?all comments appreciated...

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Sat May 06, 2006 4:05 am

a question: why wouldn't they? After all, Panzer commanders riding in Panzers, no matter what Division, is not surprising, Guderian did it in Barbarossa, and Manteffeul was in a Panzer of the first wave of a Panzer attack of his Panzer Division 'Grossdeutschland' when in a counterattack in Romania in 1944.

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Post by The Goth » Sat May 06, 2006 9:04 am

Nowadays the commanders of a tank platoon or squadron rides in the same tank as al the tanks in the unit. If the commanders ride in a different tank it would be a priority target for the enemy.

The platoon commander has two radios 1 for communication in the platoon 1 for communication on squadron or batalion level :beer:

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Post by hruza » Mon May 22, 2006 5:17 am

I would need time to give you some sources which I dont have right now (time) so just short:

Comanders of tank units ...probabli up to batalion level, I dono about division comanders but it was possible... were comanding from tanks. Those could be special command tanks with better radios (better range) and main gun removed (dummy gun barrels were used in order enemy cant recognize command tank). In case command wersion of tank was not available, he was riding in normal combat tank. Normali he would be asigned the same type his unit was using. In case several models were used, he would be assigned better one.

Regardless of levell (regiment, battalion..) he would be placed in the middle of attack formation. Behind front elements and in front of reserve from where he could maintain best controll over his forces.

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Post by Epaminondas » Mon May 22, 2006 9:31 am

Actually, German commanders generally went in the worse tank if two models were availible- his job was to direct the combat, not fight personally.

ie if you had IV longs; IIIJs with 50L42 and IIILs; the battalion commanders on up would likely be in the short IIIs.

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command tanks

Post by Richtkreis » Wed May 24, 2006 1:08 pm

Hallo everybody,

first of all I’m a new member in this forum and second I’ve to apologise for my poor english.
generally armoured command tanks (Panzerbefehlswagen Pz.Bef.Wg.) where used by the commander of the armoured regiment (Panzerregiment), his staff and also by the commanders of the armoured battalion (Panzerabteilung) and their staff.
The Pz.Bef.Wg. of the Panzerregiment headquarters usually were numbered like R01, R02 .... The vehicles of the Panzerabteilung were numered linke I01, I02..., II01, II02..., (I, II, III indicates the first secend or third Panzerabteilung of a Panzerregiment). In independent Panzerabteilungen they were only numbered like 01, 02....

Pz.Bef.Wg. were not built for fighting. Their main objective was to keep steady flow of communication between command post, airforce(Luftwaffe), companies and platoons. For this purpose, they were equipped with several types of radios which needed a lot of space in the tank (when WWII starts a ordinary battletank had only a radio receiver). Pz.Bef.Wg. usually were equipped with radio types Fu.G.5 and Fu.G.8 (Sd.Kfz 267) or Fu.G.5 and Fu.G.7 (Sd.Kfz 268).
For more information about german radios: ... pment_.htm ... ipment.htm

In the beginning of WWII Pz.Bef.Wg. were designed by using the hull of the Pz.Kwg I. Because space had to be cleared for the radio equipment and the third member of the crew (driver, commander, radio operator) it was not possible to design the outer shape of the Pz.Bef.Wg. I like the ordinary Pz.Kwg I which had only a crew of two. So the turred with its two MG was removed and a superstructire like a tower with an simple cupola for the commander and one MG for self-defence was installed. The first few vehicles where equippes with an frame shape aerial.
All in all this vehicle was easily recognisable as an special one on the battlefield and easy destroyable preferred target. The germans were conscious about this fact und as a result in 1938 the Sd.Kfz 266/267/268 Pz.Bef.Wg. III was developed.
This Pz.Bef.Wg. was designed on the hull and turret of the Pz.Kwg. III. To clear space for the radio equippement the turret received only a dummy-gun made of wood and only one MG (instead of two) for self-defence. Traversing the turret was not neccessary so it was fixed to the hull. The third MG in the bow of the tank was also removed. The Pz.Bef.Wg. III distinctive frame aerial above the engine compartment, though this was replaced by pole-type aerials („Star“ D) from 1943 on. Looking from distance the frame aerial was the only obvious differnce between the Pz.Kwg. III and the Pz.Bef.Wg. III. After implementation of Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. D1 (in 1938), Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf.E (in 1939-March 1940) and Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. H (from November 1940 on) the last production run, the Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. K, was released from August 1942 to August 1943). This was the first series which had only pole-type aerials. It also had no more a dummy-gun but a 5cm KwK 39 L/60 to improve ist ability of self-defence.
Untill 1942 when Pz.Kwg VI (Tiger) appeared with its sPzAbt (heavy tank units) equipped with Sd.Kfz 267/268 Pz.Bef.Wg. VI (TIGER I) Ausf. A and 1943 when Sd.Kfz 267/268 Pz.Bef.Wg. V (Panther) on the battlefields, the Pz.Bef.Wg. III was the only type of Pz.Bef.Wg. used in the tank units.
No more than March 1944 a Pz.Bef.Wg. IV was designed and introduced in minor numbers mainly by modification of damaged Pz.Kwg IV Ausf. G and H. Like the Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. K, Pz.Bef.Wg. V and Pz.Bef.Wg. VI, it had an non-dummy gun (7,5cm KwK 40 L43) and only pole-type aerials. Space had cleared for the radios by reducing the number of rounds of main gun ammunition.

From 1941 on each Panzerregiment should have a headquarters unit (Stab, Panzerbefehlstrupp), an armoured communication unit (Panzernachrichtenzug) equipped with 2 Pz.Bef.Wg III and 1 Pz.Kpfw. III, a light tank plattoon equipped with 5 Pz.Kpfw. II and two tank battalions (Panzerabteilungen).
A Panzerabteilung should consist of a headquarters company (Stabskompanie) equipped with 2 Pz.Bef.Wg. III und 5 Pz.Kpfw. II, one medium tank company (mittelschwere Panzerkompanie) equipped with 14 Pz.Kpfw. IV and 5 Pz:Kpfw. II and two light tank companies (leichte Panzerkompanien) each equipped with 17 Pz.Kpfw. III and 5 Pz.Kpfw. II.
Though a Panzerregiment should equipped with 6 Pz.Bef.Wg III, 45 Pz.Kpfw. II, 69 Pz.Kpfw. III and 28 Pz.Kpfw. IV.
Because the german Panzerdivisions suffered from losses during battles they were reorganized deviant from standard organisation schemes. Others were organised diffently by special order.

How was the 3. Panzerdivision organized in spring and summer 1943?
The centralized tank unit of the 3. Panzerdivision was the 6. Panzerregiment (6th armoured regiment). Until March 15th 1943 it had three battalions. Then the thrid battalion was canceled and the remaining rest of its companies were spread over the other two battalions.
Previous to Operation Zitadelle, the Battle of Kursk, the first battalion was sent to France for reequipping with Pz.Kwg V (Panther) witch took place about August 6th 1943.
Therefore only 2nd battalion was available for 6. Panzerregiment.
At the beginning of Operation Zitadelle (July 5th – July 13th 1943) 2nd battalion of 6. Panzerregiment was equipped with 7 Pz.Kpfw. II, 23 Pz.Kpfw. III short (kurz 7,5cm KwK 37 L/24), 34 Pz.Kpfw. III long (lang, 5cm KwK 39 L/60), 2 Pz.Kpfw. IV short (kurz 7,5cm KwK 37 L/24), 21 Panzer IV long (lang, 7,5cm KwK 40 L/43) and only one Pz.Bef.Wg III!

So there were no Pz.Bef.Wg IV and only one Pz.Bef.Wg III!



References: ... er/PR6.htm Aufl 1024.htm ... 80-2976511 ... 80-2976511 ... 80-2976511 ... 80-2976511

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Post by Willhelm Gruber II » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:45 am

i read a book that said in the early and mid war they where in Panzer I's even if there troops were in III's or IIII's this is because he was not supposed to be in comabt but could see his troops and be protected but had a machine gun if it go too bad

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