Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

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Manuferey
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Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Manuferey » 20 Nov 2012 23:51

Here is a picture (source ECPAD) of a ex-French R.35 tank used by the Germans in a landing exercise in Le Havre, France (identified by the typical end of the seawall on the background).

Image
Source:
http://www.ecpad.fr/les-debarquements-d ... more-15360

The date of the ECPAD picture is supposed to be 1940 and would correspond to exercises for Operation Seelöwe. But the landing craft looks like a real deal and not a modified river barge like the one behind. It is of the same type as on the Bundesarchiv picture dated 1941: see the two doors and the ramp. Did this type of German landing craft already exist in the Summer of 1940?

Image
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... twagen.jpg

I wonder if the picture was actually taken instead in the Spring or early Summer of 1941 as part of Operation Haifisch or Harpune. :? A deceptive plan like Harpune could explain why the Germans would have used a Beute ex-French tank for this exercise : their armored divisions with their tanks were on their way to the USSR border. :idea:

Emmanuel

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Manuferey » 23 May 2013 23:20

I have made some progress regarding the first picture of this post.

The landing craft with the tank No. 224 (and in the 2nd picture as well) is a Pionierlandungsboot 39, also called Pilabo 39. Only two prototypes of this landing craft existed in September 1940 so it would make training for Operation Sea Lion in Le Havre with a Pilabo 39 in the Fall of 1940 somewhat improbable.

I now believe that the first picture was actually taken sometimes in 1942 during a training exercise of 18. Landungsflottille (18th landing flotilla) with beute tanks of Panzer-Abteilung 205.

18. Landungsflottille was indeed created in Le Havre in January 1942, then transferred some time later to Rouen and finally dissolved in March 1943. Pz.-Abt. 205 was created in November 1941 near Versailles with former French tanks and transferred to Le Havre afterwards. AFAIK Pz.-Abt. 205 was the only Panzer unit stationed in Le Havre during WW2.

I have found a picture of another R 35 tank, No. 223, also leaving a Pilabo 39, on page 13 of “Waffen-Arsenal – Beutepanzer unterm Balkenkreuz” (1990). It was actually taken in Le Havre (see the shape of the constructions on the mole in the background) and most probably during the same training exercise as with Tank No. 224, thus possibly in 1942 and definitely not for Operation Sea Lion. Like Tank No. 224, Tank No. 223 would have belonged to Pz.-Abt. 205.

Image

Emmanuel

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by jpz4 » 24 May 2013 08:26

Hi Emmanuel,
first of all you can skip Pz.Abt.205 as the order to raise that unit (and Pz.Abt.206) was only given in November 1943 (Panzer Tracts No.19-1). This is in contrast to several 'internet sources' that continue to claim both battalions were raised in 1941 (repeated at many places as "Pz.Abt.206 was formed in November 1941 at Satory (near Paris)"). I've not ever seen them mention any evidence for this.
The only link with 1941I've been able to find are some of the K.St.N. they used. Right now I'm suspecting this started out as a typo which others have been paroting. Other K.St.N. used were from 1943, so the typo is not in PT. Interestingly lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de seems to have updated their (very basic) info on Pz.Abt.206, but not on Pz.Abt.205.
(Having ruled out Pz.Abt.205, the following clues no longer matter: there is no evidence that unit ever had R-35s, the vehicle on the photo still has the original cupola and is suspiciously dark suggesting a fairly early date. So while it is Le Havre, it certainly wasn't Pz.Abt.205).

Panzer Tracts also has a photo of '223', which may have been taken during the same exercise. Markings are identical except for a small 'V' on the armor on the right side of the driver (which suggest it could be a different exercise). They identify it as "A Pz.Kpfw.35 R in a Panzerkampfwagenzug with the 336.Inf.Div. during landing exercises in Le Havre in the Summer of 1941. The V for Victory was stenciled on many vehicles during the period."

The Waffen-Arsenal booklet is very dated. Many of the photos get completely different identifications in Panzer Tracts and many of the Waffen Arsenal captions were highly doubtful to begin with. You can look at the photos, but much of it is pretty useless. Get the PT booklet instead (you also get better quality prints of much of the photos).

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Manuferey » 24 May 2013 22:47

Thank you very much, Niels. So Pz.-Abt 205 is out and 336 ID is in.

Emmanuel

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by reinaart » 26 May 2013 10:13

Hi gents, I only saw this thread today because I could have provided the info you were looking for. As it happens I used the very same pics last year to establish where two pics of LWS 1071 were taken. This scan from Waldemar Trojca's LWS book shows two pics taken at the exact same location (fortifications of the harbour entrance are visible in the background). This entrance hasn't changed much as can be judged from the following pic.:

Image
Image

By the way, this is the same LWS that was photographed at Vlissingen (with the Oranje Mill in the background).

Regards,

Arjan

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Knouterer » 23 Jun 2014 11:42

Hi,
Lots of info on German landing craft in this recent book, somebody should translate it:

http://www.amazon.de/Die-deutschen-Land ... sfahrzeuge

As noted above, there were only two prototypes of the Pionierlandungsboot 39 in existence in Sept. 1940. In total 72 were built in 1939-41. Interestingly, it could be divided lengthwise in two halves that floated independently so it could be reassembled in the water. This made transport by rail possible.

Length 15,00 m, width 4,65 m, weight 29 t. It could carry a load of 10 tons, or up to 20 in calm waters. Diesel engine with 42 or 45 HP, speed 8 knots. From mid-1941 on improved versions, the Pionierlandungsboote 40, 41 and 43, were built.

I have noticed, by the way, that just about every book about Unternehmen Seelöwe contains at least one picture of German landing craft that were not yet available in the fall of 1940 (Marinefahrprahm, Infanterietransporter, Sturmtransporter ...)
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 23 Jun 2014 20:04

Or you could look for the English edition of Peter Schenk's book on Seelöwe, "The Invasion of England", which describes in detail every landing craft intended for the invasion.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Invasion-Englan ... 0851775489
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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Knouterer » 05 Sep 2014 13:31

However, from quotations I have seen the translation seems to be pretty poor, leading to major misunderstandings. For example, on a list of vehicles and weapons landing with the first wave, "300 Karren" (meaning hand-or horse-drawn carts or wagons) is translated as "300 cars".
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by MetalNtNRadio » 07 Feb 2015 07:11

31 rolls of film were recently acquired and a photo of one of these tanks is one of the photos captured. Possibly from Le Havre. Here is a link to all photos http://www.rescuedfilm.com/#!rescuedwwii/c1d05

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Manuferey » 07 Feb 2015 15:49

MetalNtNRadio,

The tank on the rescuedfilm website is a totally different tank: a Renault FT, not a Renault R 35. And for a totally different unit and application: Luftwaffe airfield protection (most probably St-Valéry-en-Caux airfield next to the Lucky Strike camp), not part of a Panzerzug of a coastal ID. :wink:

Emmanuel

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Re: Beute R.35 tank in landing exercise in Le Havre

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Feb 2015 15:54

Just to say that this is just the sort of thread that justifies the existence of sites like AHF.

Thanks guys, I am enjoying it without in any way being able to contribute.

Sid.

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