InfraRed equipped Panthers-Combat reports?Story's?Discussion

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
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Sbf.Koch
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InfraRed equipped Panthers-Combat reports?Story's?Discussion

Post by Sbf.Koch » 31 Aug 2004 23:14

I have read about IR equipped panthers/sdkfz251's/Stg44's for the first time some 8 years ago.
Some units equipped with these:

116th Panzer Division (3rd company of 24th Panzer Regiment, Western Front, Summer of 1944)
Sixth SS Panzer Army (Hungary, early 1945)
Panzer Division Muncheberg and Clausewitz.

Now I would like to hear some story's / combat reports involving these Uhu's, Falke's and Sperber's (Owl, Falcon, Sparrow) because in my opinion it would do quite some damage - Panthers who can destroy tanks in the pitch dark.. Especially since they existed since 1936 (well, the IR equipment, not the panthers ;) )
This subject is not discussed much - time to start it ey :D

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 31 Aug 2004 23:19

Geez - how many times are we going to cover this?

No Panthers with the FG 1250 infrared device were ever employed at the western front. Never. They saw action on the eastern front exclusively.

Christian

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German IR usage

Post by Paul Hanson » 31 Aug 2004 23:31

Thanks Christian;

Obviously, Sbf.Koch, you haven't be on these sites for long. As Christian alluded: This hoary old outdated myth appears every couple of months somewhere. Here is the story in reality, not the crap you've been reading:

From various postings:


Mattens,

So-called solution B is an author's fabrication based on bits and pieces of reality. I have the same ground power, some marks on a mantlet do not equal a functional infrared gun aiming system.

The output of the FG1250 gun/driving scope is in effect a small television screen (i.e. a cathode ray oscilloscope) on which was projected the converted IR image in contrasting shades of green, (green, green always green, only pre war experimental stuff projected in orange (all nations) like Baird's televised infra red image of 1926).

So-called solution B has the FG1250 bolted to the front of the mantlet some 100mm from the standard gunners (Panther D binocular sight).
Using your imagination try to picture what the gunner would see… let me tell you, a green out of focus blob. Gunners sights resolve from around 500mm to infinity and the aperture of the opening in the mantlet means only half of the screen would be seen if it was ever used like that, I've tried. Furthermore the FG1250 sight could be focussed from 5 - 300 meters how was that done from the gunners position and how was the supporting transformer etc stowed in the turret in which little room could be found for the commanders IR gear.

Further fanciful drawings (Trojca et al) of multiple fittings for gunner and driver completely ignore the main armament and the effect it would have on all the rubbish in the way of traverse or what would happen when the main or secondary was fired. (i.e. it would all go down range with the blast).

But lets stick to the documented facts, that the designer Dr Gaertner states categorically such a combination was not even envisaged because they couldn't afford more than one FG1250 per vehicle due to the poor production rates. (Falkes only had one FG1250 for the MG and one FG1252 for the driver - essentially the same item the 1250 was much better quality than the 1252/53 driving scopes).

Further information (with special thanks to Mirko) comes from the records of the 'German Army infrared working group' minutes of their meetings for the first half of 1945 has no evidence of that combination or any thing else except the Panther as we know it. (They also hope to fit it to the new Panther 88 when that appeared.)
They where for instance having enormous problems scrounging the old cupola hour rings used in the mount we know and had ruled out the possibility of providing armour for the exposed commander as being not possible.

The German army only ever fielded IR on the Panther in the manner that is well documented. It was only used in small numbers and was not really field-ready, but good results could be obtained when the temperamental gear worked. Conversely the Western allies had 10,000 infrared TABBY sets manufactured and in store west of the Rhine and would have pummeled any mass use by the Germans there (The Germans knew this and did not deploy IR, per Guderian's orders, on the western front). The Russians also had IR technology.

Jon.
____________________________________________________________

The use of IR by German nachtjäger(armored or otherwise)units is vastly over-rated and over-estimated. Thanks to Cran Smith here's a brief synopsis:

I./24, I/130, I./6 and I./11 all began IR training at Fallingbostel in fall '44, all with nice new IR Panthers. The crisis in Hungary led to all four abtn being sent there, all without their IR gear. By the time things settled out, it was late winter '45. The only units to operationally use FG 1250s were four designated independent kpn: 3./6 in Hungary and 1./29, 1./130 and 4./11 at the Seelow Heights. IR use was actually quite short-lived, because Soviet strength was so overwhelming that minor tactical success from IR assaults yielded no operational gains, and the Sovs were too strong to depend on night attacks alone. They also may have used searchlights to defeat IR. No IR use in the West, ever. That apocryphal Brit account of its use is bogus, merely someone making excuses for inferior night tactics, says Jon Bailey.

Other accounts from vets said the stuff was heavy and unwieldy, and not all that effective.

Hope this helps. It's pretty obvious that these units were few and had basically no effect on the course of the war. Mirko Bayerl, Cran, Jon Bailey and others have been researching this and the above is a very abridged summary of their efforts.

Paul

_____________________________________________________________

Hi !

Paul statement, that no Panther with IR equipment
was ever used against the Allies, is correct. I want
to apologize for the posting of incorrect information.
When I wrote my message I used only my memory. I checked
some files in my archive(various files of GenInspdPzTr
and OrgAbt/GenStbH) and now I'll try to "enlight" this
topic(IR Panthers).

An document issued by GenInspdPzTr on 26.6.44 states that,
according to Guderian orders, I./PzLehrR 130 will be the
first unit equiped with IR-PzV. This unit was created on
29.7.44,but was sent to the front(Western) without IR devices.

In the beginning of Oct'44 I./130 was sent back to the rear
(Fallingbostel training ground). Between 19.10 and 22.10.44
a total of 56 "simple" PzV(w/o IR) were recieved by this unit.

On 27.9.44 it was ordered to send I./PzR 6 (tactically subordinated
to PzLehrDiv) to Fallingbostel training ground for rebuilding.
Between 29.10 and 4.11.44 a total of 33 "simple"
PzV(w/o IR) were recieved by this unit.

On 7.11.44 I./130 was renamed in I./6 and vice versa.

On 29.8.44 it was orderd to send I./PzR 11(tactically subordinated
to 8.PzD) to Grafenwoenr training ground for
rebuilding. Between 22.10 and 27.10.44 a total of 28 "simple"
PzV (w/o IR) were recieved by this unit.

On 4.11.44 an subordination of 4./PzR 11 to newly formed PzBr 150
was ordered.

A toatal of 27 IR-PzV's were shipped from HZa to I./6 between
17.11 and 4.12.44

A toatal of 32 IR-PzV's were shipped from HZa to I./11 between
11.11 and 2.12.44

4 IR PzV's were shipped from HZa to I./130 on 9.12.44

All these units saw action in Hungary during Dec'44. The area
between lakes Balaton and Velence was, probably, the first
battleground where IR-PzV's were used.

On 5.1.45 it was ordered to send I./130 back to its parent division.
All available Panthers were left behind.

On 11.1.45 it was ordered to send I./24 to Hungary. This Abt was
tactically subordinated to 1.PzD. It was to be shipped from
Grafenwoenr training ground with 14 "simple" PzV. Another 46 "simple"
PzV's were to recieved during the transportation. However, according
to the records of GenInspdPzTr show that between 17.1 and 25.1.45 a
total of 50 "simple" PzV (w/o IR) were recieved by this unit. Probably
the remaining 10 PzV's were IR-PzV's(or some of them) left behind by
other units.

On 12.2.45 it was ordered one Kp of Fuehrer-Grenadier Division(1./101)
to be equiped with 10 IR-PzV's and 3 SdKfz 251/20. However, this order
was never materialized.

10 IR PzV's were recieved by 3./6 on 7.3.45. Right after that this Kp
was sent to its parent division(3.PzD)

On 13.3.45 it was ordered one Kp of 19.PzD and 26.PzD(4./27 and 3./26)
to be equiped with 10 IR-PzV's and 3 SdKfz 251/20 each.

On 16.3.45 it was ordered one PzKp of I./29 and one PzGrKp(of PzGR 25)
to be equiped with IR machines.

On 23.3.45 it was ordered one Kp of I./130, I./PzR "Brandenburg" and
KGr "Dreyer"(4./PzR 11) to be equiped with 10 IR-PzV's and 3 SdKfz
251/20 each.

On 23.3.45 10 IR-PzV's were shipped from HZa to the Kp of I./130 which
was mentioned above. Soon after that this Kp was shipped from Wuensdorf
training ground to Muencheberg area where it was tactically subordinated
to 25.PzGD.

On 1.4.45 1./29 and 2./PzGrR 25 was located in Wuensdorf training ground,
and 4./27, 3./26, 4./11 and 4./"Br" - in Fallingbostel training ground.
The same document states that a Kp of I./39 was sent from its parent
division(17.PzD) to Fallingbostel to be equiped with IR-PzV's.

10 IR PzV's were shipped from HZa to I./29 on 5.4.45.

10 IR PzV's were shipped from HZa to 4./11 on 8.4.45.

On 19.4.45 the personal of 3./26 was shipped to PzD "Muencheberg",
the personal of 4./27 - back to 19.PzD and the personal of 4./"Br"
- back to PzGD "Kurmark".

On 19.4.45 it was ordered 4./11 alongside with PzGKp "Uelzen"(equiped
with SPW's with IR) to be shipped from Wuensdorf training ground to
7.PzD in Neusterlitz area. However, this order was chaged twice and
on 22.4.45 both Kp were attached to KGr "Ritter" in Zossen area.

Have a nice day,

Kamen

_____________________________________________________________

Hi Guys,
Kamens post is in general correct - but some of the units never recieved IR Panthers. Units that really saw combat with IR Panthers was a Versuchs unit under command of a Haas ( ca 4-5 Panthers) . It was in Hungary Dec-Jan 44-45. Otherwise during the Winter they cancelled the operations with IR device becauce of the snow which made the IR "Blind"
Later the 1./29 (Rasim) saw combat at Seelow heights 4. /11 southeast of Berlin and finally the 1/130 in area Berlin. Reports says (perhaps) that a couple of vehicles of 1/BR (staff) saw action with the IR.
Small groups was tested as well but without Panthers. Some crews saw a "lehrgang" but (ex Pz.Rgt 27) saw never action with the Panthers.
The 3./6 recieved its Panther and was transported to Hungary in March 45 but saw never action - as they were afraid it would fall in the advancing russian hands. The crew had one problem and it was to identify foe or friend throug the device - it was like looking on a old movie and you could not see if it was a T-34 or a Panther. Thats why they "hold" fire many times. On each IR Panther it was 2-3 Soldiers that was guarded the Tank armed with IR MP 44. They were also guarded on the back by a steel plate.
( I cant post pictures - but if you go to www. missing -links you will see a Panther from 1./29 based on facts .Interwievs with Vets etc).
Well just a short reply...
Well concerning the units I/130...I/24...I/11 is correct they rushed to Hungary in Dec.44 but without any IR equippment -one Comp of I/130 (1:st) stayed in Germany as a base for the later I/130 and continiud training with IR.
The main reason they did not use the IR in Dec - Feb 44-45 was two reasons...the equippment was not reliable enough and as i said they did not used IR during the winter and snow. Just a short history - over and out
regards Mirko

_____________________________________________________________

Just a personal comment, "Paul" above is me. This gets brought up constantly and many of us have to blow it out of the water constantly. NO IR use in the west and pratically none in the east.

Moderators, how about locking this down again before it gets out of hand.

Paul

[/u]
Paul

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Post by Sbf.Koch » 31 Aug 2004 23:50

Allright, well my apologies then, I am indeed new on this forums. thank you for your post, Paul.
Christian, sorry to say this - but I am indeed NEW so don't treat me like some retard okay? The post without the GEEZ and Bold letters would have been enough.

But I don't feel like searching all the forums for IR, so here's a question:

Why do so many people keep writing about IR equipped units? I have read eye witness reports about 37mm PaK's(IR) used in Poland and France. Even though sporadically.
Furthermore some 75mm PaK's(IR) are said to have been tested in Barbarossa ('41/42)
So I am not talking about Panther's only - halftracks, Stg's and PaK's as well.
Also I've seen some 3 or 4 report's from GI's finding Stg44's with a 'searchlight' on top of them in the Ardennes, near the Rhine and in Holland.
If all you are saying is true, how come there are so many reports saying otherwise?

Regards,
Sbf.Koch

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Post by Christoph Awender » 31 Aug 2004 23:59

StbfKoch

Probably the stories you hear or read somewhere are probably not true? If you would give sources and more detailed informations instead of hearsay stories we would be able to see what could be correct and what is simply wrong with these stories.

But I don't feel like searching all the forums for IR, so here's a question


You should really change your feeling about that because in future threads about topics already discussed will be closed. That is how I feel about it.

\Christoph

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Post by Paul Hanson » 01 Sep 2004 00:03

Sbf.Koch

Sorry, I tried to be polite but this damn thing shows up constantly and we all get tired of seeing it. Your reports of all the IR usage are BS and undocumented other than some story in a book or magazine, or even worse, on the web.

Get over it. NO IR usage either in 1945 of 1941 or whenever. The people who keep writing about IR usage are repeating the same old crap with no shreds of evidence to provinence their claims.

The British captured some and most of the photos of German IR weapons are from their weapon tests. Some small amout were used. But as I commented above, the Germans felt they were unwieldy and cumbersome. Maybe one or two were found by GI's or Tommies but that is far from major usage in combat.

If you read someone spouting off about the great German advances in IR and destruction of allied armor at war's end using IR just throw the book or magazine in the trash because that's where it belongs. Secondly, a Google search for several variations of a topic doesn't take over 10 minutes; and I know because I do it regularly.

And one other thing: Christian, Christoph, I, and many others put our names on the line. We don't hide behind pseudonyms and fake avatars.

Paul
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Post by Sbf.Koch » 01 Sep 2004 00:51

lol, I meant 'feel like' more in such a way, the number of threads is so huge, I don't want to spend several hours looking for it...
About the documents: My grandfather had a huge collection of WWII-Documents, reports, maps (alot of them copy's) and so on. In some of them, he showed me, IR was mentioned to have been seen and used (US and german reports)
I remember it was in a report of the 4th Armored Division, near Chaumont / Bastogne. l0th Armoured Infanry Bn, I believ Major Cohen (?).
A Ssgt came back to his 2ndLt with a Stg44 carrying a device that looked like a small searchlight, on top of a scope.
I cannot remember all the details of the report, only the time of the start of the counteroffensive (0100hrs) and the time of the order to withdraw to original positions (0220hrs).

Oh and, what do you mean with
"And one other thing: Christian, Christoph, I, and many others put our names on the line. We don't hide behind pseudonyms and fake avatars." ??
If you mean me, I can explain- My Mohaa clan (yes, I still play MOHAA) is called [12th-SS] (hence the avatar) and Sbf is my original rank in it... Koch is my real familyname.

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Post by Christoph Awender » 01 Sep 2004 01:10

There were tests with night-vision devices on 7,7cm Pak in 1942. This never got over a prototype test phase.
It could well be that some devices like the "Vampir" were tested in the Ardennes but these devices were not frequently found/used etc... Like you put it it sounds like they were lying arround like K98´s. It is also reported that the devices were nearly useless in snow covered winter terrain.
There were for sure no Pak37 in 39/40 with such devices.

\Christoph

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Post by Paul Hanson » 01 Sep 2004 01:25

OK. You mention one(1) weapon being found. This is the point we are all making in response to your comment. ONE weapon. This is not a major usage of IR.

All things said and done; most accounts of IR usage by Germany are apocryphal without any concrete evidence to support them. I am not slamming your grandfather; but just because he was able to collect these reports doesn't mean there is a REAL shred of evidence to support any of them.

OK. I am not a computer gamer. What's MOHAA? LOL

Paul
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Post by Sbf.Koch » 01 Sep 2004 01:34

8O are you serious about MOHAA? hmm... well to be sure: MOHAA is Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - a GREAT ww2 shooter and great fun to play online!

Thanks for the comments anyway, and I know your point is the number of weapons(IR) used, but I never said they were used in large numbers either ;)

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 01 Sep 2004 07:31

By the way, you write that your grandfather *had* a collection of documents - what happened to it?

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Post by Sbf.Koch » 01 Sep 2004 20:12

What I understood from my fathers words, is that when he passed away some 6 years ago, the whole collection of books, documents, maps and militaria (insigna's, badges, medals) has been given to several people and organisations. One is a close friend of my grandfather who I never knew. Another, that my father can remember, was the Free University of Amsterdam.
My grandfather, Hans Koch, from the Hague, was an Exlibris and journalist. Just to let you know.

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Re: InfraRed equipped Panthers-Combat reports?Story's?Discussion

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Dec 2008 23:35

Instead of opening another thread I thought I would tack this on here. Please bear with me while I go over the main points of the debate.
In 1995 Feist and Culver published their Panther book
Image
the following 2 claims are made on pages 169 and 170:
1
One action took place on the 21st of April 1945. The last ten
tanks of "Clausewitz", followed by a Puma 20 mm (Sd.Kfz.
234/1) recce vehicle, approached a US antitank-gun position
(76 mm AT gun M2) at the Weser/Elbe Canal. This first attack
took place at 2 o'clock in the morning. The Americans were
alert and fired illumination rounds. The leading Panther was
then hit and slipped into a ditch, the attack halted. Then the IR
Panthers moved into cover and after a short time located the
guns and fired some twenty rounds. The entire position was
destroyed, the crews and the accompanying infantry company
escaping in somewhat of a panic. The IR Panthers followed
up, destroying some lorries and further support vehicles.
This attack was a success, revealing the enormous possibili-
ties of the IR technology. It is not known, whether the IR
Panthers of "Clausewitz" were used a second time.


2
Some reports tell of a last action of thus equipped IR Panthers
when they met a British armored division. A British platoon
equipped with Comet tanks was engaged in April 1945 (at
night) by some Solution B IR Panthers. In a short, one-sided
and fierce firelight the entire platoon was annihilated..


These claims are repeated in their 1998 Panther book Image
they are also picked up in the 1996 Concord book ( page 66) and they match so closely they must be sourced in Culver and Feist

Image

These 2 sites repeat the claims
http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/ ... nthers.htm
http://www.achtungpanzer.com/articles/ir.htm
but they are so worded as to be obvious repeats of the Culver and Feist claims.

This indicates that there is only the one source, Culver and Feist.

It is interesting that though the Culver and Feist books mention a photograph of a solution B Panther in their 1995 book it is only printed in the 1996 Anderson book.
Image

Unfortunately this photo turned out to be a fake and thus completely demolished the claim for a Solution B Panther.
http://www.network54.com/Forum/47207/th ... in+Falaise

The way I see it then we have the claim for the use of 2 IR Panthers on the night of 21st April 1945.
I found this
http://www.5ad.org/04_45.html

and the report for 21/4/45 states:
On 21 April, the Division attacked north from a line of departure DAHRE - SALZWEDEL with CCA on the left and CCR on the right. Just prior to the attack, CCA was counter-attacked by elements of Division "Clausewitz". Artillery fire was placed on the attacking forces and they broke and dispersed into the woods to the north.

CCA attacked against a determined enemy who had set up make shift defenses in the woods along the combat command's routes of advance. An increase in the use of anti-tank mines was observed, and fire from nebelwerfers and artillery pieces slowed the advance to some extent. At 2100, the 46th Amrd Inf Bn (married) was assembling for the night in the vicinity of GADDAU. The married "C" companies (46th Armd Inf Bn and 34th Tank Bn) went into position with the CCA CP near KLENZE and the 34th Tank Bn (married) assembled in the vicinity of BERGEN .

CCR was held up in its attack until 1500. The reason for this was that the resistance in front of CCA was such that the two combat commands could not parallel each other's advance, and thus a threat existed to the flank of either, if one was held up and the other moved too rapidly forward. After CCA had cracked the resistance in its sector, CCR attacked with the 47th Armd Inf Bn (married) advancing north on the SALZWEDEL - LUCHOW road and the 10th Tank Bn (married) attacking on the left to clear the pockets in the woods near BOMBECK. The 47th met a good deal of resistance along its route, and mines were found strewn on the road with a minefield near SAASSE. Road blocks defended by AT guns, nebelwerfers, mortars, and infantry, were encountered all along the route and at 2000, heavy fire from LUCHOW, and vicinity, prompted the force to abandon its further advance that night. The battalion went into a security position near SAASSE. In the meantime, the 10th Tank Bn was attacking in the BOMBECK area. The woods in this vicinity had been reported to be a strong-point of enemy armor and infantry. The positions had been sealed off on the north and east by CCA's attack in the early part of the day. The attack was made with one married tank-infantry company moving south from SEEBEN to the railroad and holding there while the balance of the 10th attacked north from the south edge of the woods.

A quantity of enemy personnel was trapped and captured and material loss for the enemy was large. Three (3) tanks were known to have escaped the trap and these moved northwest into the CCA sector. The 10th Tank Bn secured for the night near GR GERSTEDT.

CCB, with the 85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz attached, continued its clearing at the KLOTZE FORST. Many burned out enemy vehicles were found along with others which apparently had been abandoned. The combat command also maintained its road blocks on the western boundary of the sector in the WITTINGEN - ZASENBECK RADENBECK area, and kept contact with the 29th Inf Div to the north. An advance Division CP was established at SALZWEDEL and Division operations were directed from there.

(NOTE: Div Arty accomplished its usual efficient mission in a supporting role, and the disorganization and dispersal of enemy units attested to the accuracy of the artillery fire.)

Enemy losses were reported as follows:

personnel, PW's six hundred fifty (650), killed, one hundred fifty nine (159),

material captured or destroyed,

fourteen (14) tanks,
four (4) armored cars,
nine (9) half-tracks,
two (2) SP guns (1-75mm, 1-105mm),
two (2) 88mm AT/AA.guns,
four (4) 105mm guns,
two (2) 20mm flak guns,
seventy-two (72) miscellaneous cycles,
one (1) fuel-lubricant dump containing one hundred fifty (150) 50 gal drums of fuel.


There is no mention of 'panic' nor is there anything about IR Panthers. Why were they not noticed?
Perhaps the US Soldiers would not have known about IR and thus might have missed the signs?
A little further down the same page ( 6. COMMENTS: Section II - Intelligence Matters)
it says:
Two, apparently new and highly secret weapons of the enemy were captured during the period.

At STENAL, Germany a German research technician was taken prisoner. This technician had in his possession and installed on his automobile, Infrared equipment which he was removing from the vicinity of BERLIN and the ultimate danger of capture by the Russians. This equipment was designed for installation on tanks for the purpose of night fighting. The entire equipment, plus the technician was turned over to Enemy Equipment Intelligence Service, NINTH Army. A secret report has been subsequently rendered on this equipment and a copy of the report is on file at this Headquarters.

So it seems they did have the ability to recognise the importance of IR Equipment after all.

The claim about Comets being 'wiped out is even easier to expose as fiction.
The following link shows how easy it is to check out the facts before making these claims:
http://www.network54.com/Forum/47207/thread/954934532/

Is there any more information on these claims about IR usuage?


.
.

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Re: InfraRed equipped Panthers-Combat reports?Story's?Discussion

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Dec 2008 23:37

A very good link on Allied IR.

http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/Tabby02.pdf

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Re: InfraRed equipped Panthers-Combat reports?Story's?Discussion

Post by Michael Kenny » 27 Dec 2008 00:10

Have done a bit more digging trying to find the source of the claim that a platoon of Comet tanks were 'wiped out' by the IR Panthers.
The only incident I can find that matches any of the criteria is the night attack by Clausewitz on British Units in and around Stadensen/Uelzen on the night of 14/15th April 1945.

Here it is as described in the history of 15th Division published in 1945:

"Farther south, throughout 14th April, the 46th Brigade continued its
approach to Uelzen. mopping up astride the Divisional main axis On
the right of the road the Glasgow Highlanders and a troop of the
Reconnaissance Regiment surprised a column of a couple of hundred
Germans in the act of withdrawing. After killing a few, they took the
rest prisoners.
That night the Glasgow Highlanders halted in the village of
Stadensen. six miles south-east of Holdenstedt. Realising that his
batlalion was out on its own and that there might be enemy battle-
groups in the offing, Lieutenant-Colonel Baker-Baker wisely decided
to form a perimeter camp, with his rifle companies at the four corners
and with his tanks, artillery, mortars, machine-guns, and transport
parked in the centre. The squadron of the Reconnaissance Regiment
which had been covering his front went into harbour at Netteikamp
about a mile to the north-east. Shortly Ie-fore midnight the Glasgow
Highlanders heard sounds of firing coming from the direction of Nettelkamp.
. At I2-30 .A.M. on 15th April the H.L.I, resumed their advance into
Veerssen, on the southern outskirts of Uelzen. From the start they
met savage opposition. The enemy counter-attacked and broke up
the H.L.I's right forward company, which ceased for a time to be
an entity, though its several parts continued to fight on stoutly
The enemy had plenty of machine-guns and S.P. guns admirably
sited to command every approach. These formed the framework of
a defence winch was completed by squads of determined infantry-
men armed with bazookas or machine carbines. In these conditions
the Scots Guards Churchill's could not advance. The close-packed
battle resolved itself into a house-to-house struggle, at point-blank
range. Lieutenant-Colonel Bramwell Davis was wounded and was
replaced by Major Noble. By daylight the H.L.I, had won a foothold
in Veerssen,, but no more.
Meanwhile the Gordons on the right liad attacked up the road
on a one-company front into the houses and gardens on the southern
outskirts of Uelzen itself. There they fared no better than tlie H LI
and their forward company was soon held up by more S.P.s. supported
by spandau and bazooka teams, before it had advanced far beyond
the level-crossing. Both H.L.I, and Gordons spent 15th April with
their forward troops pinned by fire and unable to make progress.
They had taken about two hundred prisoners.
We must now return to the Glasgow Highlanders, whom we left
in laager at Stadensen at midnight on 14th-15th April. The sounds
of firng in the direction of Nettelkamp soon died away. In fact
as afterwards became known, the squadron of the Reconnaissance
Regiment in harbour at Nettelkamp had been overrun In their
battalion group that night the Glasgow Highlanders had a lot of
3-ton lorries attached to them, besides their own transport-not to
mention the squadron of Coldstream. an S.P. 17-pounder troop of the
91st Anti-tank Regiment, the Headquarters of the 190th Field Regi-
ment and the 529th and 530th Field Batteries, and a platoon of
Engineers. All this mass of vehicles was parked hugger-mugger in
the streets and alleys of Stadensen. It was not till about 4 A M that
the fighting at Stadensen itself began, when both companies at the
eastern side of the perimeter reported simultaneously that they were
under fire and that they could hear the noise of track vehicles'-"off "
Immediately after, enemy infantry riding on armoured half-tracks
and supported by S.P. guns overran the forward platoons of both
companies and came crashing into the village. A wild and terrible
melee followed, in which the enemy S.P.s set most of the houses of
Stadensen alight-and these in turn set fire to the Glasgow Highlanders-
transport. Lieutenant-Colonel Baker-Baker hurried round his com-
panies and gave them the encouragement which was all they needed
to make them fight it out where they stood. On his return to battalion
headquarters he found that an enemy S.P.. which had penetrated into
the courtyard, was in the act of blowing away his signal-office at
point-blank range.
To the smoke and flames of the houses was soon added the blast
of explosives as piles of German ammunition went up, followed bv
several ammunition trucks. In this confusion the crews of tank's
and guns had a frantic struggle to hold the flames at bay till they
could extricate themselves and get into action. Here Major J H M
Stephenson of the 530th Field Battery showed leadership of the finest
order. First he shot a German officer with his revolver- next he
knockexl out two German half-tracks with a P.I.A.T. ,- and finally he
manned a 25-pounder with success in an anti-tank role. He was
to get a Military Cross for his night's work. Guns and tanks at
last succeeded in taking up positions to cover the main road-junctions,
and the Glasgow Highlanders, fighting back stubbornly, managed to
stop further infiltration. The dreadful ordeal continued, however, till
after dawn, when the enemy began to witlidraw. Now it was our turn.
The two field batteries were in action south-west of Stadensen,
with an OP, manned. These two batteries, the S.P. troop of the
91st Anti-Tank Regiment, the Churchills. and the Glasgow High-
landers' 6--pounders all took their toll. The enemy left behind him
twelve S.P. guns and ten armoured half-tracks destroyed, besides very
many killed and prisoners.
From these last and from marked maps captured it was learnt
that the battle-group which had carried out this attack belonged to
the Panzer Division Clausewitz, a newly created formation which had
orders to break through southward and join up with the German
forces encircled in the Harz Mountains. The battle-group had
approached Stadensen not by the roads—which, according to the
book, the Glasgow Highlanders wen1 covering -but across country.
To this fact the enemy's initial success was largely due.
For their part the Glasgow Highlanders had lost seven killed and
forty-seven wounded and missing. Fire had played havoc among their
transport, their losses in vehicles amounting to twenty-two carriers,
ten half-tracks, and thirty-one miscellaneous vehicles, besides two
17-pounder guns. Stadensen itself was a ruin, and casualties among
the villagers had been very heavy. But for the unshakable resolution
of all concerned when the attack came, the enemy would certainly
have overrun the battalion-group.
The Glasgow Highlanders spent the day reorganising in Stadensen.
The Cameronians moved up to Nettelkamp, which they occupied
without resistance, taking eighty prisoners. On the left the Seaforth
were still in contact with the enemy west of the main axis.
That evening the 6th Air Landing Brigade of the 6th Airborne
Division relieved the 46th Brigade, which was now to take over from
tlie 227th Brigade outside Uelzen. The Glasgow Highlanders were
extremely short of equipment and transport, but Ordnance performed
miracles of replacement"


Image

This is the story from the history of 6th Guards Tank Brigade from 1948:

the tank crews...soon discovered that the village was already swarming with German SPs and half-tracks manned by Panzer Grenadiers... the Germans had managed to hoodwink the men of the outpost company into thinking that they were British armour and had completely overrun them." It appears that the Coldstream tanks, guns, transport etc were crammed nose to tail in the village. After the fierce battle, 12 out of 13 German SPs were knocked out and 7 half-tracks were deserted. At least 150 German dead and 150 prisoners taken. The Coldstreams lost 2 tanks, one petrol three tonner, 2 M10s; the Glasgow highlanders lost most of their carriers, their command vehicle and practically all their transport with 30 dead and 30 missing. The platoon of sappers suffered heavily and their transport was wiped out.

Now though softskin/transport losses were severe the key fact for our purpose is that only 2 Churchills and 2 M10's were lost.
It appears this attack resulted in the award of 3 KC's for the destruction of 22 tanks.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 10&start=0

"2.Leutnant Friederich Anding-18 kills
Friederich received his KC for the destruction of 6 tanks and 5 armored vehicles (so says his Verleihungsvorschlag zum Ritterkreuz), as adjutant of the Pz.Jg.Abt. Großdeutschland (commander of the battalion was Maj. Walle) on 8 May 1945. This action took place in northern Germany (more specifically in Stadensen) on 14-15 April. The battalion was attacked by a large number of enemy tanks and armored vehicles. Major Walle (9 destroyed tanks), Leutnant Anding and Obergefreiter Stützle (7 destroyed tanks) received KCs for their actions"


Now there is a comment added that advises caution on the claimed losses:

Now here's what Andreas Düfel (the webmaster of das-ritterkreuz website, he also lives near the town Stadensen, where this action took place and talked to several witnesses) says about this particular incident:

'The town was almost completly destroyed by the tank battle. A documentiation about this fightings still exist. It's interested that the town residents doubt whether there were really18-22 British tanks destroyed. The wrecks were predominantly armored vehicles (not tanks) and quite a few of them were also German. War confusions of the last days of the war could have quite led to a false evaluation of the actually destroyed tanks..'


and from the reported losses you can see exactly why there should be a degree of skepticism about these claims!
There is no mention in British accounts of IR Panthers and it is quite possible the root of the tale lies elsewhere. If there is any info about suitable actions please let me know and I will find the other side of the story.

Many thanks to all those who helped with the out of print sources.......you know who you are!

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