German tank deliveries to North Africa

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Urmel
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Urmel » 12 Mar 2018 01:53

Major woopsie, uploaded the wrong file last night. Now corrected. Info now up to 30 July.

http://rommelsriposte.com/2018/03/04/ge ... -5-lei-div

Items of note:

1) 26x Panzer 5.7t delivered with no unit against them. Intriguingly, around the same time 25x '5.7' cm guns delivered. Could these be replacement/spare vehicles for PzJg605 that were only mated in North Africa?
2) Replacement shipments often without indication other than 'Panzer'. Also on Rialto 1x8 Panzer for Nachschubstab 683 and 1x8 Panzer for Ersatzteillager 210. Are these the same, or were there really 16x Panzer delivered?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

nmao
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by nmao » 12 Mar 2018 12:42

Hello.

Unfortunately Thomas Jentz doesn't give sources, but those Pz I are also mentioned (minus 1?) on Tank Combat in North Africa, page 37:
The additional 25 Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A that had been held
in reserve were shipped as reinforcements for Panzer-Regi-
ment 5, arriving in Tripoli by 10 May 1941. On 12 May 1941 ,
arrangements were made for the Italian division "Ariete" to
supply 26 trucks to pick up the 25 Pz.Kpfw.l Ausf.A in Tripoli
and deliver them to the unit.
The shippments on 3 and 4 April are almost certain these ones:
Replacements for the ten Pz.Kpfw.lll and three Pz.Kpfw.IV were immedi-
ately issued. The ten replacements were Pz.Kpfw.lll Ausf.F
and G with 5 cm Kw.K. L/42 requisitioned from those previ-
ously issued to Panzer-Regiment 6. The three replacement
Pz.Kpfw.lV were new production Ausf.E that were issued
directly from the ordnance depot. Shipped to Tripoli with the
18th or 19th convoy, the replacements did not catch up to the
unit at the front until 29 April 1941.
regards,

-Nuno

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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Urmel » 13 Mar 2018 05:23

Great, thanks! Does he have anything on the Rialto transport in September?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by nmao » 13 Mar 2018 10:38

Unfortunately no precise informations, only this:
TCiNA page 34
The only replacements shipped to Libya prior to June 1941 were
those sent to replace 10 Pz.Kpfw.lll and three Pz.Kpfw.lV
lost to Panzer-Regiment 5 during a fire on board a ship.
Panzertruppen I, page 167 & 168
Ten Pz.Kpfw.lll and three Pz.Kpfw.IV replacements had
already arrived in April 1941 by Panzer-Regiment 5 to re-
place those that had been destroyed in the fire on the ship
"Leverkusen." For losses that Panzer-Regiment 5 had sus-
tained in April, 15 Pz.Kpfw.III and 5 Pz.Kpfw.IV replacements
had been issued by 4 June 1941. By 30 June 1941, four
Pz. Kpfw.ll and Six Pz.Kpfw.IIl were issued as replacements
for those reported lost in Operation "Battleaxe" and another
four Pz.Kpfw.III replacements were issued by 10 July 1941.
Space on ships was at a premium and priority lists were es-
tablished for shipment of all commodities, so these replace-
ment tanks didn't actually arrive in Libya until August through
October. They still had the long drive along the coast road
from Tripoli to the front before arriving at their unit. No other
replacement Panzers arrived for the Deutsches Afrika-Korps
until 5 January 1942.
regards,

-Nuno

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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:00

OK so here is the ship identification post
All photos can be enlarged (Ctrl+left click then left click again)

The first 3 were easy, as they have their own dedicated sites with plenty of info. I'm gonna reuse a couple photos as they are quite clear
http://www.ddghansa-shipsphotos.de/kybfels200.htm
http://www.ddghansa-shipsphotos.de/reichenfels200.htm
http://www.ddghansa-shipsphotos.de/wach ... 0.htm#oben

KYBFELS
Top right photo from AA3 album and taken in February 1941. Some of the photos, like the bottom left one with a Panzer IV, taken in Patras, Greece and show transport of 2. Panzer Division.
1 kybfels.jpg
REICHENFELS was a sister ship of Kybfels. Identification thru different camouflage pattern.
2 reichenfels.jpg
WACHTFELS
3 wachtfels.jpg
ANKARA lasted quite a long time and probably carried more Panzers to Africa than any other ship. In fact the bottom right photo features a tank from the 10.Panzer Division, in transport to Tunisia.
4 ankara.jpg
MARITZA
5 maritza.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:04

MENES
6 menes.jpg
The next two turned out to be sister ships - built within a year in the same shipyard, same owner, almost the same size. Identification by shipping data and camouflage patterns.

ALICANTE
The bottom right photo is NOT an error - Alicante (and others) did take Pz.Rgt. 8 tanks on board, but they were quickly unloaded then loaded again - on different ships. The source for this are veteran's recollections in Pz.Rgt. 8 unit history by Kevin Fish.
7 alicante.jpg
CASTELLON
Bottom and bottom right photo are 5. Panzer Division tanks in transport from Piraeus to Crete. Bottom left one is a Panzer III from 10 April shipment of replacement tanks. The rest is from 15. Panzer Division.
8 castellon.jpg
LEVERKUSEN
Top left photo taken hours before infamous "accident"
9 leverkusen.jpg
MARBURG
10 marburg.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:10

ADANA
The only useful photo comes from Urmel's site
11 adana 1.jpg
Urmel discovered there were 3 extra Befehlswagen sunk en route to Rommel (with Adana and Arta), so let's try to find out more
The next photo is probably also ADANA, looks about the same except for the lower bridge. The command vehicle is being hoisted up. There weren't many of these and I don't see any other ship as a possible option. Sd.Kfz.253 has markings of AR 33 which makes sense, Rgt HQ embarked unlucky Convoy 20 which included Adana. There is another armored radio vehicle to the right.
If this is indeed Adana, then things are perfectly clear. What we're seeing are preparations for the ship's last journey, and all the command vehicles will be lost with it.
12 adana 2 R321 Foto DAK 7. Panzer Reg.8 Karl Schick Schiff Neapel.jpg
ARTA
Now that Adana is out of the way, we can move to ARTA. No questions about this one, again there is a Befehlswagen, clearly a different ship and no other candidates left. Arta never carried any Panzers before its last trip (with 1 Pz.Bef. on board). Loading completed on April 12, then all ships sunk on 16 April - and the photo captions confirm it entirely ("Am 12.4 wurden wir ... Schiff u. am 16.4 bei Malta angegriffen").
13 arta.jpg
RIALTO
Rialto carried Pz.Rgt. 8 tanks so it is included as well. Sadly no front view yet. The lines painted on the sides of the ship indicate camouflage pattern plan - painting is in progress while troops board up.
14 rialto.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:19

I need help with identifying the others.
Still unknown ships: PROCIDA (1842 grt) HERAKLEA (1927 grt) AEGINA (2447grt) SAMOS (2576 grt) ARCTURUS (2596 grt) SAN MARCO (3113 grt) ISERLOHN (3704 grt) SANTA FE (4627 grt) RUHR (5954 grt) DUISBURG (7389 grt) Preussen (8230 grt) SPARTA (?)
List might be incomplete

This one was photographed allegedly by soldier from Fla-Btl. 606, suggesting it's a 30 March convoy (possible options: Samos, Heraclea, Ruhr or Italian ship Galilea). What a beautiful camouflage!
21 unclear 2.jpg
One more ship from the same album
23 Orig. Foto ital. Fiat Ford Lkw m. Tarn Camo Schiff Verladung DAK Italien Neapel.jpg
Armored car looks like AA33 vehicle, hence main possibilities are Santa Fe and Procida
32 (11) 8-Rad Panzer Spähwagen Afrika - Santa Fe or Procida.JPG
OK this one looks fairly similar to Leverkusen, so maybe it's Duisburg? Both were built 2 months apart, same shipyard, same size. They were passenger/cargo ships, not just a cargo ships like most others. Another bunch of sister ships? Heavy artillery presence suggests it's summer-fall 1941. Leverkusen didn't last that long but Duisburg did
33 unclear 5.jpg
The next one shouldn't be hard, Panzer III is an early production Ausf.J, hence probably a replacement tank from summer 1941. Not many options for this one. Maybe Preussen?
34 unclear 4.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:22

At the end, here's a bunch of other unidentified ships. Some are no doubt Italian, but most look German.
40 unclear 1.jpg
41 unclear 3.jpg
42 7912590998_ac19a85a9b_o.jpg
43 Foto XL Afrikakorps verladung panzer sdkfz schiff tarn 8,10,16.jpg
44 k-DSC02078.JPG
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:23

46 Orig. RIESEN Foto Lkw Ford G 917 T b. Schiff Verladung Hafen Neapel Italien DAK 2.jpg
47 Transport-Schiff neben Ponton in Afrika beim Afrikakorps im 2.WK.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:51

The research so far revealed plenty of interesting informations so I'm going to expand on a few topics related to the DAK shipping.

SHIP ARMAMENT
Anti-aircraft armament on transport ships was rather limited - typically a tower for a 20 mm gun was raised on a stern and another was on a bow. As seen below, captain of Ankara later decided more guns would be useful, so 2 more towers were installed on a bridge
1 ankara.jpg
Desperate measures were taken to provide extra security. According to Schorm "Besides the two 2 cm AA at bow and stern all available MGs are manned for AA defense. There is a Mk II tank on the starbord side and another on the port side"
Below, various weapons used as extra armament while being carried to Africa. The use of medium tanks as gun turrets was not common
2 DAK Afrikakorps Truck Landser MG Tarn Fliegerschutz WK2 Überfahrt Frachter.jpg
3 atk guns.jpg
4 pz ii and ac.jpg
5 heavy weapons.jpg
All these measures proved remarkably ineffective, as few German ships managed to survive 1941, only to be sunk later in 1942 or 1943
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 16 Mar 2018 23:57

Some claims were made that ships were only partially loaded, in order to reduce losses in case of sinking. This doesn't seem true at all, at least for the first few months. Instead, every available space was used. The decks of the ships were totally clogged!
21 on the deck.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 17 Mar 2018 00:01

SHIP CAMOUFLAGE

In the initial period the ships had some sort of grey camouflage with the colors blending with each other. The dark color on the stern might have been an attempt to reduce the ship's size visually
1 camo.jpg
Distinctive "colorful" camouflage schemes were absolutely NOT yet present when Pz.Rgt. 5 embarked, on the other hand, they became common by the time Pz.Rgt. 8 appears on the scene. Thus it seems the new patterns were applied sometime between mid-March and mid-April 1941.

An example of colorful camo on Castellon shows how difficult b/w photographs are to interprete - colors look very different every time!
2 camo.jpg
What colors were supposed to be used on ships in Medditerranean? Are there any original documents about the ship camo available?
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 17 Mar 2018 00:12

Evidence shows German troops almost always embarked in the same general area of Napoli harbor...
2 Fotokarte Postcard Neapel Napoli Dampfer an der Stationi Marittima 1937.jpg
1 napoli fdshfdhdf.png
An enormous building in the middle is called Stazione Marittima and was built 1933-1936 by famous architect Cezare Bazzani. It's an example of fascist architecture
(google translate of architect's biography) https://translate.google.com/translate? ... re_Bazzani

More photos of Stazione Marittima - an Outer Plaza
4 DAK Afrikakorps Foto POW WK 2 WW2.jpg
5 Foto, Kriegsberichter H.Schlösser, DAK, LKW vor Hafengebäude in Neapel, (G).jpg
Inner Plaza
6 15. Panzer Div. Afrikakorps 3 Photos Hafen NEAPEL Italien ua DAK-Verschiffung.jpg
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Re: German tank deliveries to North Africa

Post by Brevity » 17 Mar 2018 00:46

The building was damaged by Allied bombers later on, but not destroyed. It was subsequently fully rebuilt and still exists today
8 0922022289.jpg
9 napoli 2.jpg
Let's add a little bit about how embarking was organized. An average transport ship was 100 to 150 meters long, but the pier had a size of 500x150 meters and could have easily accommodated several ships at once. There were 5 berthing slots adjacent to the pier; slots 1-4 were basically always used, while slot 5 seems to have been usually empty, for some reason. The ships berthed with their stern towards the East-Southeast.
11 napoli.jpg
Evidence shows possibly all the Panzers destined for Africa embarked in this very area, at least until summer 1941.
tank shipments.jpg
It is not clear where the tanks were loaded later on. The 3./Pz.Rgt. 8 in December 1941 boarded Ankara allegedly in Salerno-Amalfi, so maybe something changed. However loading photos from 1942-1943 are rare because few passengers were carried on ships.
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