Jagdpanther in Normandy

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keith A
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Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by keith A » 25 Mar 2020 22:19

I know that there were no Ferdinands in Normandy but on 1 August 1944 five "Ferdinannd" SPGs are knocked out by British troops of 5/Wilts, field guns and an Achilles SPG in a single engagement. The wisdom is that they were Jagdpanthers. The loss of five Jagdpanthers (three in a formation attack) in one day would surely be noteworthy, can anyone identify these? 654. Schwere Panzer­jäger Abteilung does not appear to be the unlucky unit.

regards

Keith

Michael Kenny
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 25 Mar 2020 22:24

Whatever they were they were not Jagdpanthers. Lots of stange 'code-words' were used for enemy vehicles. 'Hornets' is common and it did not correspond the the actual German Hornet.

keith A
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by keith A » 26 Mar 2020 07:51

I did think that they could have been Marders which as you know were smaller but had the open top configuration of the Ferdinand with a correspondingly smaller gun. They's also be more vulnerable to infantry weapons like the PIAT. An earlier incident states a Ferdinand was destroyed or damaged by phosphorous grenades thrown by an British infantryman which would indicate an open tp vehicle. i know there were several Marder-equipped units in Normandy.

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 26 Mar 2020 08:36

keith A wrote:
26 Mar 2020 07:51
I did think that they could have been Marders which as you know were smaller but had the open top configuration of the Ferdinand with a correspondingly smaller gun. They's also be more vulnerable to infantry weapons like the PIAT. An earlier incident states a Ferdinand was destroyed or damaged by phosphorous grenades thrown by an British infantryman which would indicate an open tp vehicle. i know there were several Marder-equipped units in Normandy.
Except that the Ferdinand wasn't open topped of course.
Alan

keith A
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by keith A » 26 Mar 2020 09:42

Sorry I am being a bit thick :)

Is this statement relevant?

http://tank-photographs.s3-website-eu-w ... n-spg.html

"In Normandy the Germans were not facing vehicles with such strong armour like that found on the Soviets. The Marder crews found their 75mm gun very effective against the thinner armour found on the Allies M4 Sherman, Churchill and Cromwell tanks. One Allied regimental battle report mistakenly identified them as self-propelled 88mm anti-tank guns after losing tanks in an engagement with Marder I SPGs. The 21st Panzer Division’s Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 200, commanded by now Major Alfred Becker, had 24 Marder I self propelled guns operational in Normandy. The 17th SS Panzer-Grenadier Division 'Götz von Berlichingen' had a company of 12 Marder I SPGs."

I assume this means they identified them as Ferdinands and not Jagdpanthers?

regards

Keith

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Sheldrake
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Mar 2020 13:25

keith A wrote:
26 Mar 2020 09:42
The 21st Panzer Division’s Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 200, commanded by now Major Alfred Becker, had 24 Marder I self propelled guns operational in Normandy. The 17th SS Panzer-Grenadier Division 'Götz von Berlichingen' had a company of 12 Marder I SPGs."
On a slightly different nit pick,
There are several varieties of "Marder 1)
Sturm geschutz abteilung 200 of the 21st Panzer Division was equipped with 75mm and 105mm sp auf Ho i.e. on Hotchkiss H 39 chassis.
10.5 cm here
Image
7./5 cm here
Image
Although famous for their part in the OP Goodwood battle on 18-19 July as anti tank guns these were sturmartillerie rather than panzerjaeger. According to Feuchtinger, the divisional commander, quoted in the divisional history, after D Day the unit was used in an indirect fire role in place of the field artillery units lost on the afternoon of D Day. The 170 Panzerjager Marder 1 conversions completed in 1942 mounted a pak40 on a Lorraine chassis with the fighting compartment at the rear. These were deployed with the Panzer Jaeger units of infantry divisions.
Image

Zetterling also lists the 17 SS as holding 3 x 7.5cm SP and 9 x 7.62cm SP. I can't find any details of Becker built SP guns mounting 7.62cm (r) guns so these were more likely to be Marder III on pz 38 (t) chassis

Allied accounts rarely distinguish between 75mm and 88 mm PAK, so AFV recognition was a bit ropey at best.

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Mar 2020 13:47

keith A wrote:
25 Mar 2020 22:19
I know that there were no Ferdinands in Normandy but on 1 August 1944 five "Ferdinannd" SPGs are knocked out by British troops of 5/Wilts, field guns and an Achilles SPG in a single engagement. The wisdom is that they were Jagdpanthers. The loss of five Jagdpanthers (three in a formation attack) in one day would surely be noteworthy, can anyone identify these? 654. Schwere Panzer­jäger Abteilung does not appear to be the unlucky unit.

regards

Keith
The history of the 21st Panzer Division descibes a failed counter attack on 1st August ion the Bois du Homme area against 43 Wessex Division. Panzer Regiment 22 lost several Pz IV and SchwerPz Bn 503 lost three Tiger II tanks either to enemy fire or bogged. If you thought a Tiger looked like a Pz VI E and had never seen a PzVIB before you might think it was called something else.

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 26 Mar 2020 13:55

Finding out what the term 'Ferdinand' meant to Allied troops in Normandy would be a start. I presume its the same problem for a German historian trying to work out what an Allied 'President' or 'Dreadnought' tank looked like.

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Mar 2020 14:44

Michael Kenny wrote:
26 Mar 2020 13:55
Finding out what the term 'Ferdinand' meant to Allied troops in Normandy would be a start. I presume its the same problem for a German historian trying to work out what an Allied 'President' or 'Dreadnought' tank looked like.
Page 10 of the 15 September 1944 issue of The War Illustrated has pictures of German tanks, including one type of Tiger and a Ferdinand.
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/TWI/TWI-44-09-15.pdf

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by keith A » 26 Mar 2020 15:14

Interesting. I would be surprised that given the Wiltshires had the vehicles in their possession they'd call an SPG a tank, especially something as huge as a Tiger II but looking at a photo of one, turret in regular position, it does resemble a Ferdinand a little. Why they wouldn't make more of this event is less so. Three massive new tanks?

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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 26 Mar 2020 22:39

keith A wrote:
25 Mar 2020 22:19
I know that there were no Ferdinands in Normandy but on 1 August 1944 five "Ferdinannd" SPGs are knocked out by British troops of 5/Wilts, field guns and an Achilles SPG in a single engagement. The wisdom is that they were Jagdpanthers. The loss of five Jagdpanthers (three in a formation attack) in one day would surely be noteworthy, can anyone identify these? 654. Schwere Panzer­jäger Abteilung does not appear to be the unlucky unit.
I checked and this was a busy period for sPz.Jgd Abt 654. The Unit history lists 3 losses on Aug 1st but we know from photos 1 of those losses was a Command Panther.
IWM B8377
B8377 Befehls Panther 001.jpg
Also the Unit lost 2 Jagdpanthers the day before after an engagement with Guards Churchills that are not listed as losses in the book.
I presume it is the book that is the source of the '3 Jagdpanther' claim. I doubt if this will ever be resolved due to the conflicting claims by the many Units engaged in the area. Who knows if the 2 Jagdpanthers from the previous day were counted as Aug 1st losses?

There were 4 Jagdpanthers scattered about the battlefield but not 3 lost in a single engagement.

Thread here but the photos have long gone. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missing ... 0-s10.html
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Mar 2020 00:21

There is an account of the action in Patrick Delaforce's Fighting Wessex Wyverns p95 - 96

Early on the morning of 1st August patrols from 7 Somerset Light Infantry had been sent out one reported a Tiger tank. The mist cleared and lots of enemy infantry are seen

Len Stokes is quoted as approaching a road. "I cautiously looked left and found myself looking down the barrel of the biggest gun I had ever seen on the biggest tank I had ever seen which was encased in a layer of concrete and slowly ,moving towards me"
That is a fair description of a Tiger II with Zimmerit

One soldier identifying the AFVs as "Ferdinands" was Captain R K Kerr of 94th Field Regiment. "I was going in an RE Carrier to meet the CO of 5th Wilts near the church of St Pierre-du-Fresne. A hundred yards short of the crest on which the village stands, the infantry by the roadside warned us not to go further. We turned in the road when a Ferdinand (much the same as a Tiger and equally nasty) appeared over the rise, put a shell through the carrier from back to front." Private Jones 11 platoon stalked one of the German AFVs and put two PIAT Bombs into the rear from close range. Private Johnson put four more PIAT bombs into it. The crew abandoned the vehicle which continued grinding forwards in gear. Cpl Mclernon threw phosphorous bombs at a second "Ferdinand" which withdrew.

The Germans then launched an infantry attack, which was beaten off with heavy German losses. The Company Commander and Cpl Mclernon received the MC and MM for their actions and Private Johnson was mentioned in dispatches.

John McMath the signals Officer of the 5th Wiltshires made a report about an action about 5 km S of St Pierre on the Bois du Homme feature after 8 pm on 1st August. This has the detail of three "Ferdinands" KO. one by a PIAT, Another abandoned apparently KO by artillery fire . Then attacked by three more - one bogged down and was destroyed, Two remaining AFVs drove over C Comapny position. A second was bogged and destroyed the remaining tank drover back through A Company's position but was KO by an M10 SP gun from 235 ATk Battery
(That latter cannot be right. 235 Atk battery were from 59 Atk Regiment the 43 Div anti tank regiment. and equipped with a mix of 17 pounder and 6 pounder towed guns. 129 Brigade did have a battery of SP M10s from 73 Atk Regt the Corps Anti tank Regiment. This was 234 ATk bty, co-incidentally and confusingly, numbered between 233 & 235 Anti tank batteries whioch along with , 236 & 333 were those of 59 ATk Regt.

So I count six German AFVs identified as "Ferdinands" and written in many histories (including mine in press) as Jadgpanther, but probably include either Tiger II or one of Beckers' SP./ These were two actions that match the disaster in the 21 Panzer Division history. I cannot envisage Beckers lightly armoured vehicles attempting to run amok over a company position, nor taking six hits from PIATs or surviving a couple of phospherous grenades in the open topped crew compartment. Nor do they match the description of the largest tank I have ever seen

von Rosen's memoir says that the remaining tanks from no 3 Company were handed over to no 2 Company after OP Goodwood.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 27 Mar 2020 10:58, edited 2 times in total.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 27 Mar 2020 01:14

The German account has JagdPanther 314 a victim of a phosphorus shell 500 mtrs SW of St Pierre du Fresne
Jagdpanther 314 . . . . (5) n.jpg
Jagdpanther 314 . . . . (2).jpg
Someone appears to has painted a dragon of some sort on the front.......................

The vehicle where it was stopped
JagdPanther 314 Caumont- (8).jpg
JagdPanther 314 Caumont- (9).jpg
It looks like a PIAT hole in the side below the tow-rope
JagdPanther 314 Caumont- (10).jpg
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 27 Mar 2020 05:02

This is interesting.

Fonds/Collection: Canada. Dept. of National Defence collection

Title: General G.G. Simonds standing on turret of `Ferdinand' SP gun of the Wehrmacht.

Date: 31 May 1945

Place: Meppen, Germany.

Photographer: Richer, Charles H.

Reproduction copy number: PA-141689

Accession number: 1967-052

MAR2020005.jpg
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keith A
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Re: Jagdpanther in Normandy

Post by keith A » 27 Mar 2020 09:29

Interesting. As you are hinting the dragon looks very like a Wyvern (the symbol of 43 Division). The photo of Guy Simmons on a "Ferdinand" (Jagdpanther) is another interesting point. It seems the Jagdpanther was misnamed by Allied forces. No mention is made of the crews which is unusual. Did they all escape?

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