Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Discussion, background, reviews, and critical analysis of works by Feldgrau.net members who are published authors.
Stephan H.
Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: USA

Re: Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945

Post by Stephan H. » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:08 pm

[quote="Robert K."]Stephan as I understood it Hensler never stated that this Panther was "not a Panzerstellung", so it is a conclusion from you right?

Can you please point out more precise why it should be "not a Panzerstellung".
quote]

I had to really think back to this particular statement, as it was penned close to two years ago now. My interpretation of Henseler’s statement as not being a "Panzerstellung" was derived from the following factors:

1. His use of the words "buried", "Panther", and "tank" though I clearly wasn't there when he was interviewed in the 1960s so it is entirely possible he was trying to describe a "Panzerstellung" but didn't know how to convey it to the interviewer.
2. If I recall the location, it was located north-east of Tempelhoff Airport in Neukollin. I was under the distinct impression from other accounts (particularly Reymann and Reifor) that most of the ant-tank guns that were emplaced went to Eastern Districts and not necessarily Southern (or Northern or Western) districts.
3. Multiple accounts I came across referenced that as German armor in the city that ran out of petrol were used as fixed anti-tank positions - now correct me if I'm wrong as I am no expert in "Panzerstellungs" but does a Panther that runs out of fuel and is partially buried (in rubble perhaps) up to its turret a " Panzerstellung"?

Henseler's account is one of the few that is crisp with detail, and much of his recollections I was able to cross check with others, but while he didn't use the term "Panzerstellung" this shouldn't surprise you. He may never had known what this was officially called.

As the author, all these factors led me to conclude at the time that the "buried panther tank" he encountered was not a "Panzerstellung" but rather the former.

I am curious; in your research have you come across any documentation showing where and when the "Panzerstellung" were emplaced? This was one of those fascinating features of the battle that I could not find additional information.

Cheers,
Stephan

Stephan H.
Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: USA

Re: Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945

Post by Stephan H. » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:32 pm

Robert -

If you have a copy of Endstation Oderfront by Gerald Ramm take a look at the picture on page 66. The caption reads "Berlin, Badstrasse Ecke Pankstrasse. Der eingegrabene Panther-Panzer bestrich mit seinem nur aus der Erde ragenden Turm den gesamten Kreuzungsbereich." It appears to show a Panther tank burried up to its turret, with debries from the digging covering its front hull - though it would be good to get another opinion by someone else.

Cheers,
Stephan

User avatar
Frederick L Clemens
Associate
Posts: 736
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:39 am
Location: Sterling VA

Re: Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945

Post by Frederick L Clemens » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:26 am

I don't believe I have ever seen the term "Panzerstellung" used before to designate a specific structure or design. It is a very generic term, that would translate as "tank position" or "tank emplacement", in the same sense of an Artillerie- or Infanterie-Stellung.

I don't think it would have been used to refer to the Panzerturm emplacements - references to those types of structures invariably emphasis that only the turret of a tank is used versus the entire tank - always Panzerturm or Pantherturm not just Panzer.

If I saw the term Panzerstellung in the context of the Battle of Berlin, I would assume it was a prepared position for a tank, to include the digging in of a Schadpanzer, nothing more significant than that. I would not use the term "Panzerstellung" as a special term in an English text because it is too generic to leave untranslated.

Robert K.
New Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:59 am
Location: Rhein-Main
Contact:

Re: Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945

Post by Robert K. » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:32 pm

1.Yes he meant for sure a not movable Schadpanzer used as a fixed strongpoint from the Pz.Kp. (bo) 'Berlin'.
Those Schadpanzer`s and Panthertürme auf Stahlbetonunterstand had been dugged in at the beginning of March 1945.
A witness told me that those Schadpanzer`s were mainly operated by soldiers which had been recovered from an illness
or wounding. They had there quarters in nearby houses. Each tank had stored 20-25 shells inside.

2.Anti tank guns even the fixed ones had not only been placed on the Eastern Districts.

3.I know the reports of the tanks that due different things had been used as fixed anti-tank positions unfortunately there are not much images which show those tanks.On those images we can see that these tanks had been towed, parked on
the sidewalk between some debris, rubble.
Here some explanations or minds of me about the accounts about buried tanks:
Think about one thing, if those tanks who operated in Berlin run out of fuel or had been damaged, usually the HKL would
not been far away, and as we know artillery fire was all around. Under those circumstances I doubt to dig in a tank like a
Panther to its turret.To be honest I don’t know how long it takes to dug in such a huge tank, but I think it takes some
time. Secondly you need a few shovels to do this and you need some knowledge about the street were you would start
digging cause not everywhere you could dug as deep as you want. Maybe some people would say a bomb crater would be
an option to bury up a tank but I think this would mean also a lot of work and had to be done pedantic otherwise you
would risk that this buried tank couldn’t aim effectively and would be useless.
4. Just take a look at the Panzer-Archiv-Forum there you will find one of the biggest Berlin 1945 Threads on the whole
Internet.
5.The Pantherturret that is shown in Mr. Ramms book is also one of Pz.Kp. (bo) 'Berlin'

BR
Robert K.

Stephan H.
Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: USA

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:27 pm

I just started a thread on source material for Heeresgruppe Weichsel and the battle of Berlin here:

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=30407

It would be great to see any new sources people may have posted there.

Robert/Frederick - I appreciate your insights on the obscure topic of Panzerstellungs! Robert, I tend to agree with your observations regarding the engineering needs required to bury the Panther's during battle. It may simply be that many of the veternas who retreated into the city made comments about these tanks being emlaced due to lack of fuel during battle, simply didn't understand the practice of placing vehicles in fixed positions before the fighting started.

Also, indeed Panzer-Archiv-Forum offers an outstanding thread on the BoB!! I' particularly like the pin-point plotting of Panzerstellungs in the city using Google Earth.

Cheers,
Stephan

panzermahn
Associate
Posts: 919
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:09 am
Location: Malaysia

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by panzermahn » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:38 pm

Hi Stephan

Would your book on Berlin, had any chapters on the foreign embassies during the Battle of Berlin. Most of the Battle of Berlin books I had read never mentioned what happened to the numerous foreign embassies during the Battle of Berlin


Panzermahn

Stephan H.
Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: USA

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:01 pm

Panzermahn,

I only discuss the fighting in the Swiss Embassy. Otherwise, the others do not factor much in the book. Some embassys helped members of the Waffen-SS, that found themselves fighting in the city, by giving them civilian clothes and paperwork to get out of the city at the time of capitulation on 2 May.

Stephan

Nicolai
Supporter
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:36 pm
Location: Stavanger, Norway

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Nicolai » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:01 pm

Quite enjoyed Bloody Streets, marvellous book. The whole text lay-out thing was a bit annoying at the start, but I got used to it after a few pages.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Stephan H.
Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:40 pm
Location: USA

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:06 pm

Nicolai - glad you enjoyed the book. Indeed, the format can be annoying. The good news is that I am working with the publisher to fix that along with the other "warts" noted by readers in a future "revised and expanded" edition (though this will be several years out).

Yes, I have another book regarding H.Gr. Weichsel and Heinrici that is several months away from being in final draft. As I get closer to final editing I'll post some more info about it in the "book" section.

Cheers,
Stephan

User avatar
Richard Hargreaves
Author
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2003 11:30 pm
Location: Gosport, England

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:50 am

I finally have Bloody Streets in my hands. Bloody Streets? Bloody awesome. :D It really is a landmark book. Ignore some of the naysayers. As far as I'm concerned, they are peashooting at a Panzer VI... It's a shame Helion insist on their single column text (which we've touched upon above), but otherwise, this proudly sits on my shelf alongside works by Doug Nash, Cornelius Ryan, Kristian Ungvary et al. Oh yes, and it's better than Beevor. :[]

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence looks a great source of images too. Must brush up on my Bulgar. :D
No-one who speaks German could be an evil man

User avatar
Frederick L Clemens
Associate
Posts: 736
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:39 am
Location: Sterling VA

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Frederick L Clemens » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:57 am

Richard Hargreaves wrote:...Ignore some of the naysayers...
Have you seen anyone say it is a bad book?

User avatar
Richard Hargreaves
Author
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2003 11:30 pm
Location: Gosport, England

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:19 am

Nope, but there's been a little bit too much nickpicking in this thread for my liking and not enough praise. But that's the just the way I perceived it. :[]
No-one who speaks German could be an evil man

User avatar
Frederick L Clemens
Associate
Posts: 736
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:39 am
Location: Sterling VA

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Frederick L Clemens » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:15 am

I was thinking that this would be a good forum for a "peer review" style discussion of the book (or any book) but I was wrong. It's too bad - because it should be possible to discuss a book's flaws or disagreements with an author's approach without it being perceived as a total denunciation. There are few people willing/capable to give or receive objective, serious criticism. I think Stephan personally can handle it, but I stopped because I didn't want to hurt his book sales with my comments.

Recently, I looked at paper records in the archives of a peer review of one of US Army's WW2 histories. It was interesting to see how even the best authors could get raked over the coals by peers. In my opinion, that's what helps people become great authors.

John P. Moore
Author & Moderator
Posts: 1868
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 10:40 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon & France

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by John P. Moore » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:53 am

I strongly agree with Fred's last comments. Any author should welcome objective criticism as it can only help them improve future publications. The comments on page layout, paper, photos and overall book construction should be helpful to all.

John

User avatar
Richard Hargreaves
Author
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2003 11:30 pm
Location: Gosport, England

Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:12 am

I have absolutely no problem with constructive criticism (I've been on the receiving quite a bit :D ) - this forum thrives on it, but to a neutral observer flicking through this thread it seems that we've rather got bogged down debating the minutiae and rather missed the bigger picture, which is that Bloody Streets really does add something very new to a subject many of us probably thought had been thoroughly raked over. Like I say, it's a perception thing. Others, of course, may read this thread entirely differently.

I shall now crawl back into my foxhole. :D
No-one who speaks German could be an evil man

Post Reply