wehrmacht awards


Go Back   Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums > Wehrmacht Uniforms and Equipment > Achtung Panzer! Forum

Achtung Panzer! Forum This forum is designated to discuss the equipment, battles and people of the Panzertruppe.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes

My question is reference to the 12th SS Panzer Division "HJ" and the tactical numbers
Old 09-01-2010, 02:56 AM   #1
woodie
Member
 
woodie's Avatar
 
woodie is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: st albans, england
Posts: 337
Default My question is reference to the 12th SS Panzer Division "HJ" and the tactical numbers

A friend was askng this question...I have bernages book, "panzers and the batlle of normandy" but can't see an answer to the numbering of the tanks?
any help too understand the system used..

My question is reference to the 12th SS Panzer Division "HJ" and the tactical numbering system of their panzers .... I understand the conventional numbering on the turrets of tanks of the wehrmacht/SS ... 3 numbers (first = Company; second = Platoon; and Third = vehicle in the platoon). However, in photos of the HJ in Normandy, etc. you find numberings for example "636" or "838"... since only 5 vehicles maximum in a German tank platoon (especially Mark IVs) then the logic is the last number must be a tactical disquise? (as in the first vehicle in normal convention of the third platoon six company would be "631" ... they adopted a "4 + 1" to confuse allied intelligence? In this manner the 5 vehicles of 3rd platton 6th company would be numbered "635, 636, 637, 638, 639" (Photo evidence exists)

Why did HJ use this numbering when the other SS panzer divisions did not nor did the Heer or even HG Panzer Division? This is puzzeling especially since the cadre of HJ came from LSSAH.... I understand the conventional numbering on the turrets of tanks of the wehrmacht/SS ... 3 numbers (first = Company; second = Platoon; and Third = vehicle in the platoon). However, in photos of the HJ in Normandy, etc. you find numberings for example "636" or "838"... since only 5 vehicles maximum in a German tank platoon (especially Mark IVs) then the logic is the last number must be a tactical disquise? (as in the first vehicle in normal convention of the third platoon six company would be "631" ... they adopted a "4 + 1" to confuse allied intelligence? In this manner the 5 vehicles of 3rd platton 6th company would be numbered "635, 636, 637, 638, 639" (Photo evidence exists)

Why did HJ use this numbering when the other SS panzer divisions did not nor did the Heer or even HG Panzer Division? This is puzzeling especially since the cadre of HJ came from LSSAH
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-01-2010, 03:45 AM   #2
tracman
Member
 
tracman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Default

I'm rather certain the 12SS used a +5 numbering system for tanks in each platoon during the Normandy campaign, largely to fool the local resistance in an effort to make its armor strength appear greater than it was. Thus, a Panther numbered 326 in the 12thSS would normally have been numbered 321 in another unit.

The issue of the 12SS' numbering, especially as regards Panthers, is made all the more complicated as, after the engagement outside of Norrey-en-Bessin on 08Jun44, during which the 3rd company under von Ribbentropp lost six of its tanks outright, the remainder of the company's tanks were turned over to the 1st and 2nd companies to make up their losses, and the third was refitted with brand new mounts (the only tanks delivered as replacements to German forces during that campaign), returning to the battlefield only in early July. As a result, a number of 12th SS Panthers can be seen with several sets of numbers on them, usually overwritten. As an aside, it appears some of the tanks of the 101st SS Heavy Tank Battalion - whose members also primarly came from the LSSAH - had odd numbering as well: after all, Michael Wittmann's original issue Tiger was numbered 205 (that tank never made it to the front, as it suffered major engine damage during the long drive from near Beauvais and was not repaired), while the rest of his company's tanks had standard numbering. A picture of that tank, by the way, can be found in several publications, taken outside the village of Morgny not too far from Lyons-la-Foret on 07Jun44 or so...
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-01-2010, 04:55 AM   #3
woodie
Member
 
woodie's Avatar
 
woodie is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: st albans, england
Posts: 337
Default

thanks for quick reply tracman, but how do they arrive at these tank numberings? what system did they apply?

"636" or "838"...
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-01-2010, 06:22 AM   #4
tracman
Member
 
tracman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Default

In the three-digit numbering, the first digit is the company, second digit is the platoon, third digit is the tank in the platoon. So, 321 would be the first tank of the second platoon in the third company. The armor regiment was divided in two battalions, the first (with four companies) made up of Panthers and the second (with five companies) made up of Panzer IVs. I don't have any references in front of me, but if memory serves, a full strength Panther company was made up of three platoons of five tanks, with two command tanks, for a total of 17 tanks: a full strength Panzer IV company was made up of four platoons of five tanks with two command tanks, for a total of 22 tanks.

Again, if memory serves, the 12SS used a +5 numbering only to the tank's number in its platoon: the company number stayed the same, the platoon number stayed the same, but the tank's digit in the platoon was subject to the +5 rule. As noted, a tank normally numbered 321 would have been renumbered 326: a tank numbered 214 would have been renumbered 219, etc.... I've picked two examples I can think of: you can see 326 being cleaned of its commander's remains in a series of shots taken on the morning of 09Jun44 in Rots (the commander, whose name escapes me, was decapitated by a Canadian anti-tank shell during the previous night's action), and there are several pictures of Panther 219 (a D version with the early cupola) around Fontenay-le-Plesnel on or about 26Jun44. The same numbering issues can be seen on the Panzer IVs of the second battalion, several of which were photographed in Belgium during training (from the 6th company, if memory serves) in Spring 1944, as well as in Normandy... That said, it's unclear to me how uniformly this was done, as there appear to be a few tanks in the 12thSS that had standardized numbering... Any definitive comments would be most welcome!

Generally, the issue of numbering is best seen on tanks captured on film early in the campaign, as companies were at or near full-strength and the armor had yet to suffer damage. Indeed, most companies fought - even early on - with tanks out of commission due to maintenance, breakdowns and battle-damage issues, and it's imnportant to note that most German tanks were fixed up and reused after being"knocked out,"unless they suffered from fire (which weakened the armor and fused the insides/engine/hydraulics/etc..) or were left in enemy territory. As tanks were repaired and recycled in Normandy, markings were often reapplied to suit the unit they were sent to or even totally left off, as companies became irrelevant and tanks were pressed into battlegroups with different tactical missions than originally planned. This is especially evident after the 12SS was recalled as it was on its way out for a needed refitting in mid-July - indeed, during GOODWOOD - to fight between Caen and Falaise, at which time its remnants were melded into battle groups vice structured regiments that fought through the Falaise Pocket battles. If memory serves, the 12SS only managed to extricate 10 of its tanks over the Seine...

Last edited by tracman; 09-01-2010 at 06:44 AM. Reason: clarification/more info
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2018, 02:54 PM   #5
Gren. Fuchs
New Member
 
Gren. Fuchs is offline
Join Date: May 2018
Location: NC
Posts: 16
Default

Did this +5 numbering system also apply to SPWS of III./26.? I have been curious if it was observed throughout the Div.?

Thanks in advance!
  Reply With Quote

turretnumbering
Old 07-11-2018, 05:13 PM   #6
Bullitt
Member
 
Bullitt's Avatar
 
Bullitt is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 404
Default turretnumbering

somewhere I've read that 12 SS applied an alternate way of numbering their vehicles because the Russians knew the system too that "311" was the platoon leader and they Always tried to knock out these first so to render the others leaderless. apparantly 12ss suffered great losses on platoon or companyleaders on the eastern front.

afaik only 12 ss changed the system bij starting 315, 316....635, 636....
in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge they had this alternate numbering system on their panzer IV's and panthers ....I 'm not sure if they also applied it on spw's

ciao
Bullitt
  Reply With Quote

12 SS Panzers
Old 07-13-2018, 08:28 AM   #7
Lennard
Member
 
Lennard is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 385
Default 12 SS Panzers

Hi Woodie and Tacman,

It looks to me that you are making the whole subject far too complicated and difficult.

Yes 12 SS used x04 and x05 for company command tanks and xx5 to xx9 for regular tanks, but so did 1st SS with their first ever Panthers they had in early 1943 (all well photographed, and the French resistance does not figure at all at this time).

And of course the I (Panther) battalion of the 1st SS was transferred to be the I Battalion of newly formed 12 SS almost 100%, so methodology of markings etc., carried on over.

It is of course correct that Germany's enemies did get to know the regular command tank marking method, R or regiment, I and II for Battalions and x00, x001, x002 for company command tanks. Thus these were changed as the war progressed into any numbering that the unit commanders wanted.

It mattered not to any other units outside of the renumbered panzer unit what they did, it only mattered to them, and they knew what the numbering meant.

As for 12ss being the only unit to change it command panzer numbering in Normandy, this is quite wrong, at least half the panzer regiments in Normandy used non regulation numbering for their command vehicles, example 2SS, who used unique numbering for all regimental, battalion and company command panzers.

9th Pz division even changed it panzers around so that the I battaion was PzIV and the II Battalion was Panthers, and its eight regimental HQ panzers being numbered 91 through to 98 for example.

Regulations were one thing but surviving a battle whilst in your command panzer is more important, and the more anonymous you are the better.

cheers lennard
  Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump






vBulletin skins developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright Wehrmacht-Awards.com