Help to identify French Tank

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Rand
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Help to identify French Tank

Post by Rand » 03 Sep 2004 21:57

Hello, some old war photos from my grandfather's service in the Canadian Royal Regina Rifles, shows a French tank in use by the Germans. I want to see if any one can identify the type of tank and give some history on it. Many thanks.

The Rand Corp.
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Rand
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Post by Rand » 03 Sep 2004 22:00

Here's the reverse side for my shady, and quite flimsy evidence that it is a French tank.
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Wm. Harris
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Post by Wm. Harris » 04 Sep 2004 00:20

I believe that's a Char B1 bis, known to the Germans as Panzerkampfwagen B1 740(f). There's a view similar to the second pic at http://www.ostpanzer.boom.ru/Bkfoto.html, just scroll down ot the bottom of the page.

There is a lot of history on this vehicle at http://www.wwiivehicles.com/html/france/char_b1.html. The page says most of these tanks were issued to German units in France, particularly the 14th and 21st Panzer divisions.

Bill

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Jack Nisley
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Post by Jack Nisley » 04 Sep 2004 16:59

The tank in the picture is a Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen B-2(f), a captured French Char B tank converted to flamethrower role. 60 converted Nov 41 to Jun 42. Assigned to Channel Islands defense (no combat), used by 223rd schwere Panzerkompanie in Russia. Supposed to have been issued to 21st Panzer Div. for reforming/training in France in 1943, but returned to depot without seeing action. Source for this is "Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two" by Chamberlain and Doyle. I guess 21st Panzer kept a few for combat in Normandy! You can tell it's a flame tank by the large storage tank mounted on the back of the tank. On the wwiivehicles website , scroll down a little further.

Jack Nisley

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Rand
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Post by Rand » 04 Sep 2004 18:10

Thanks to you both.

A flamethrower tank eh? Interesting to read the history on this, the Germans did quite alot of conversions to captured vehicles didn't they.

Rand

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 04 Sep 2004 22:32

Panzerkampfwagen B2 740(f) (Renault B1bis)

160 B2(f) tanks were used by the German army :
• Panzerkampfwagen B2 740(f)
• 10.5cm leFH18/3 auf Geschützwagen B2(f) (18 converted in 1942)
• Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2 (f), retaining the turret-mounted 47mm, but with the hull-mounted 75mm replaced by a flamethrower (60 converted)
• Fahrschulpanzer B1 (f) (turretless)

The first units equipped with B2 flame tanks were the 7th companies of Pz.Rgt.201 and 202, which were regrouped in 1941 in Pz.Abt.102 and engaged on the eastern front. Char B2(f) and B2(f) flame tanks were used during Barbarossa to reduce and destroy Russian fortifications in the summer of 1941. Pz.Abt.213 was later equipped with B2 tanks and stationed in French islands in the Channel.
Panzer-Abteilung 206 was formed in November 1941 at Satory (near Paris), this battalion was used as a reserve unit for the 7.Armee. Wedged in Cherbourg, this unit was destroyed there. Its composition in beginning 1944 included 2 companies of 10 Hotchkiss H-39 and 4 Somua S-35 (in each company) and one "Stab Kompanie" of 3 Renault B2, 3 Renault B2 flamethrower, 2 Somua S-35 and 2 Renault R-35. Many such small units were formed with French booty/converted tanks like the 100. Panzer Abteilung committed to 91. ID in Normandy in 1944 (1 Somua S-35, 8 Hotchkiss H-39, 14 Renault R-35, 1 Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2 (f), 1 PzIII and 5 FT17c) and the 21. Pz.D. included many French tanks.
Pz.Abt.223 was formed (attached to 22.PzD) with Char B2 flame tanks and was engaged in battles near Sevastopol in 1942. This unit was then expanded to include 2 panzer companies and command elements with a second company composed of 5 Pzkpfw.B2 and 12 Pzkpfw.B2 (Fl).
Different other units were also equipped with B2(f) tanks : Pz.Abt.224 in the Netherlands (engaged in Arnhem and Oosterbeek in 1944), two companies of the Pz.Rgt.100 in France and one company of 17 Pzkpfw.B2 from SS Pz.Abt.7 (SS Prinz Eugen division) in the Balkans. In February 1945, 40 B2(f) tanks were still in service in the German army. Late war B2(f) had sometimes a kind of Zimmerit/concrete on their armor, at least on the turret. The B2(f) Flammpanzer could fire about 200x 2-3 seconds "napalm" shots.

David

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Homerr
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Post by Homerr » 16 Nov 2004 17:19

In the Concord book on Arnhem there are pictures of Panzerkampfwagen B2 740(f) that were operationg in the area. The Canadians took part in this iirc.

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Aufklarung
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Post by Aufklarung » 09 Jan 2005 03:12

Hi Homerr

If you mean "Market Garden" then no; Cdns were not involved except Engineers evacuating Brit Paras after it was lost. 1st Cdn Army was doing the dirty work of clearing the Scheldt in Oct-Nov '44. While MG was happening, they had nothing in regards to Allied support. Everything was going to Monty's obsession due to Ike's ignorance.

All the Allied forces sort of grounded in Dec'44-Jan'45. We were holding a line from Njimegen SE to the sea.

If you mean later then again no. 1st Cdn Army launched In Feb '45 from Njimegen toward the Reichwald, the Hochwald, and met 9th US Army around middle March 1945. This was all on the other side of the Waal and Rhine from Ahrnem. They did cross the Rhine North of Ahrnem around 23 March and were heading east until about a week later. They were then tasked to go North and clear NE Holland and NW Germany to the Elbe.

If Rand's Grandpa was a Regina Rifle then he had some hard slogging.

regards
A:)

*editted to add later ops.
Last edited by Aufklarung on 09 Jan 2005 22:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Rand
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Post by Rand » 09 Jan 2005 07:04

Hey Aufklarung, when I was back at my dad's for Christmas, he gave me a book of the history of the Royal Regina Rifles. It's amazing, I even have tracked down what battle my grandfather was wounded in on July 8, 1944 against the 12th SS. I am waiting for his army records to come in the mail, but Ottawa is taking its sweet time. I want to get all his medals mounted and have a really nice display set up with photos and maps, etc. In the future, I guess.

Rand.

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