Panzers in modern armies

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
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Parsifal
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Panzers in modern armies

Post by Parsifal » 06 May 2009 20:55

I think I remember reading somewhere that a few panzers that survived the war somehow wound up being used in modern armies. Especially in the Middle East. I imagine countries like Syria, Egypt and Jordan might have bought war materiel from the Russians, Brits and Americans that would otherwise have wound up in the scrap iron heap.
Anybody have any photos or references?

Cheers

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brano
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by brano » 07 May 2009 03:55


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Ironmachine
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 07 May 2009 07:39

Spain kept its 20 Panzer IV tanks in service till the 60's, and then 17 of them were sold to Syria. There were also 10 Stug III that were used till about 1954, and it seems that some of them were also later sold to Syria. I do not have access to my sources right now, but later I could post some pictures and perhaps some more information.

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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 07 May 2009 16:33

As promised, here is some more information about the Spanish panzers:

Spain received 20 Panzer IV H in February 1944, which were used to create two tank companies (with 10 tanks each), one each in the two tank regiments of the Armored Division "Brunete". From 1957 they began to be transferred to cavalry units (it should be remembered that there wasn't, and there isn't, an armored branch in the Spanish Army; tank units belong to the infantry branch, though cavalry also uses tanks). In 1965, seventeen of them were sold to Syria.

Also in 1944 Spain received 10 Stug III which were used to form a Experimental Artillery Battery. They remained in service till about 1960, though this unit was somewhat ignored by the Army (the Panzer IV was really appreciated, but nobody seems to have known what to do with the Stugs). There is some discrepancy among sources as to whether any of them was sold to Syria; apparently four survived in Spain and the other six were used as targets for the newly received M-47 tanks.

There was another panzer that was used by the Spanish Army in "modern times": the Panzer I. The survivors of the Spanish Civil War were kept in service, though in increasingly greatly reduced numbers, till about 1960, though many were not used in their original form but as infantry carriers, without turret.

I have some pictures I can try to post if you are really interested.

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brano
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by brano » 07 May 2009 16:54

Ironmachine wrote: I have some pictures I can try to post if you are really interested.
Yes, please. THX
Braňo

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Parsifal
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Parsifal » 07 May 2009 17:13

That would be very interesting. Thanks for the info guys!

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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 May 2009 22:11

IM, I've come across the Spanish PxIVs and StuGs before at various times, and have pics of them in the museum at Laturn....but I didn't know about the PzI's converted to APCs. THAT I'd like to see!

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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 May 2009 22:18

Norway kept some PzIIIs until they broke down, then concreted them in as emplacements. A couple were dug up last year and are being used as the basis for restorations. The HAD wanted to keep a lot more, including PzIVs...but the British dynamited them on the Norwegians in 1945! 8O They also retained a few Pak A/T guns.

Bulgaria did the same, as did Turkey, who in the 1950 dug in a lot of WII surplus as emplacements along the border with Russia.

Against the wishes of the Americans, the French recommissioned two regiments of Panthers from battlefield recoveries after the war.

Syria also bought up the majority of the British Army's Archers in the 1950s, and these fought at the Golan Heights alongside their PzIVs and StuGs.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:14

Regarding the Panzer I conversion, there is very little data and much controversy, but they existed, that’s for sure. I have only seen one picture of such vehicle, the picture shown in this post. It is taken from the book Blindados en España (II): La difícil posguerra 1939-1960, though it is reproduced in some other books. In that picture you can see a Panzer I Ausf A without superstructure and turret, and behind some T-26B that have suffered the same conversion.
Though this vehicle is similar to some German tractor versions of the Panzer I, it is a Spanish-made conversion, as Spain received none of those German vehicles.
There is no date in the book for the photography, though other sources indicate that it was taken in the 40’s. The unit is identified as the 63rd Regiment “Oviedo” in various sources, so this may be correct; in the book I have indicated previously, the caption classifies the unit as line infantry regiment; which, if correct, would mean that the picture is from 1949 or later, because before that date that unit, with the same number and name, was a tank regiment; I’m not 100% sure about this, however, because the picture seems to have been taken in Africa, and this regiment left that continent for Logroño at the start of 1945 IIRC.
Regarding the number of such conversions, no data is available AFAIK. Given the scarcity of the information available and the lack of pictures, it is reasonable to think that not many of them were made, though. But then, the number of Panzer I available after the Civil War was little more than a hundred, so any such conversion would have been limited in numbers…
There is also controversy about their function. They have been variously been reported as training vehicles, artillery tractors or personel carriers. Their use as artillery tractors makes no sense as they were apparently used in tank regiments, which had little if any artillery to tow; they could have been used as recovery vehicles, but the Panzer I would have been of little use in that role. Their employment as training vehicles seems reasonable, but then, if the caption with the picture is correct and the regiment was already an infantry unit when the picture was taken, their presence there makes no sense; and if they were training vehicles, would they have been shown in a military parade, like the one in the picture? Anyway, in the book cited, the vehicle is clearly identified as a troop carrier. But then, the number of men that could be carried is almost negligible…
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:20

Here are some pictures of the panzers of the Spanish Army in "modern" times. They come from the book Blindados en España (II): la difícil posguerra 1939-1960. I have to apologize for their poor quality; the originals are quite blurry, and my scanner had seen better times. Still, I think that you would find them interesting.
First, here is a picture of Pz-IV tanks in a military parade; it is not dated, but at the background of the picture there are some M-47 tanks that are marching behind the Pz-IV, so this have to be post 1954, as this was the year in which the first U.S. military material was received.
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:21

Panzer IVs in field maneuvers:
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:23

Another military parade:
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:26

Now the Stug III, seen during the Desfile de la Victoria (Victory Military Parade) in May 1953:
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Ironmachine » 08 May 2009 16:29

As can be seen (at least in the original picture :)), even by that late date they retained their original zimmerit layer.
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Re: Panzers in modern armies

Post by Parsifal » 08 May 2009 16:46

phylo_roadking wrote: Syria also bought up the majority of the British Army's Archers in the 1950s, and these fought at the Golan Heights alongside their PzIVs and StuGs.

I know, those photos of the rusted out PIV hulks in the Golan Heights are heartbreaking... :cry:

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