► Photothread: French Equipment in German Service

A section dedicated to photo threads on panzer and other Axis vehicles.
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 14:04

47mm Mle37 L/53 (SA37 APX) - in German service : 4.7cm Pak 181(f) and 183(f) for the Mle39 L/53 -
Rate of fire : 30 rpm
Telescopic sight : 4x (?)
Practical AT range : 800-1000 m

Ammunitions :

Obus de rupture Mle1935 (APC)
Caliber : 47x380R mm
Weight of shell : 1.725 kg
V° = 855 m/s
Penetration : 72mm /0° at 1000m (105mm max. /0°)

Obus de rupture Mle1937 (APC – with tungsten core)
Caliber : 47x380R mm
Weight of shell : 1.670 kg
V° = 855 m/s
Penetration : 93mm /0° at 400m, 72mm /0° at 1000m (110mm max. /0°)

The Army weapons office took over 823 in all. The French AT gun exceeded widely the German 3.7cm Pak36 L/45 in terms of penetrating power.
In 1941, the 4.7cm Panzer shell 40 was also introduced for this gun and from 1942 onwards it can fire the Stielgranate 42 HEAT allowing a penetration of 180mm (though only at a range of 100m).
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 14:08

A German FT17 with troops training, a PSW-204(f) turetless command car and a Hotchkiss H-38 driving school tank.
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 14:13

Various Renault UE(f) : Sicherungsfahrzeug armed with 3x MG15s, a UE(f) boarding a Me323 and a UE(f) used to play a dummy T34.
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 14:18

Befehlspanzer Somua S-35 001 Pz.Abt.211 in Finland (note the mosquito nets for the crew) and Befehlspanzer Somua S-35 R02 Pz.Rgt.201 in France 1941.
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 14:22

Hotchkiss H-39 Wurfrahmen : on the first photo, part of a Renault UE(f) Wurfrahmen can also be seen.
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nox
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UE in Denmark

Post by nox » 09 Jan 2004 18:42

Image :wink:
great pictures Panzermeyer :D

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Sander D
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Post by Sander D » 09 Jan 2004 20:07

Ever seen these pictures David.

These two :lorraine-slepper 37f and lorraine-slepper 37f ausf vbcp where diged up in northen germany 1.5-2 years a go.
They where posted on a german moddeling forum i believe,i have been searching for post that forum but didden't found it.

They where saying that the two vehicles where restored and would get a place in a museum.

Regards

Sander D
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 Jan 2004 21:45

Hello,

Thanks for the info :)
In fact I think these vehicles are Lorraine 38L, the French APC for the 'Chasseurs' accompagnying the tanks in a 'Division Cuirassée' (armored division). VBCP = 'Voiture Blindée de Chasseurs Portés'.
The Lorraine 37 was used as a tractor for various supply, the TRC version = 'tracteur de ravitaillement de char' (tank supply tractor) towed a fuel tank for example. There was also a Lorraine 37L version armed with the 47mm AT gun to be used in a tank destroyer role.

Here you can see a Lorraine 37L and a Lorraine 38L.

Regards,

David
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Arensburger
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Post by Arensburger » 11 Jan 2004 19:32

Right now I working with my own research about defensive battles on the islands of Moonsund archipelago (Estonia)1944. I have information that there were used by Germans a few French 1940 vintage armored units.
Responsible for defense of Baltic islands was ID 23. and following units:

Füsilier-Grenadier-Regiment 68 (23.Infanterie-Division)
Grenadier-Regiment 67 (23.Infanterie-Division)
Artillerie-Regiment 23 (23.Infanterie-Division)
Landungspioneer-Kompanie 774
Infantrie-Batallion 23
Artillerie-Abteilung 810
Pionier-Abteilung 23 (23.Infanterie-Division)
2. Landungspionier-Kompanie 772
Feldeisenbahn-Kompanie
Zollgrenz-Kompanie
Sturmpanzerjäger-Abteilung 202
Pionier-Batallion 23 (23.Infanterie-Division)
Marine-Artillerie-Battalion 530
Heeres-Kösten-Artillerie-Regiment 1006
Artillerie-Regiment 210
Artillerie-Regiment 810
Marine-Flak-Battallion 239
Stab Landungspioniere 769
Some of these units had those French armored vehicles. My question is - what kind of French armored vehicles was used on the island of Saaremaa Sept.-Nov.1944. Do anybody have information?

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Jan 2004 20:44

Arensburger,

Personnally I cannot ask your question but it sounds very interesting. I would also be very interested if someone had info or photos concerning your issue. In an other thread here I saw Estonian troops with a French LMG FM24/29, very interesing photo for my interest in beute equipment, I know the German used it too but couldn't find any photo yet.

Regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 16 Jan 2004 23:23

Here a 4.7cm Pak181(f) used againts Soviet partisans positions :
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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 21 Jan 2004 00:48

On the ML forum Lorenzo Tonioli posted pics from e-bay, the first one shows a nice French 6x6 Laffly used by the Germans :

http://www.network54.com/Hide/Forum/mes ... 1074613003

Regards,

David

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 23 Jan 2004 08:32


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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 24 Jan 2004 13:05

New summary of several gathered info :

In August 1940, Hitler already decided that in further enlargement of the Army, the possibility of a campaign against Soviet Russia had to be considered. By the time this campaign began in June 1941, 84 more divisions were created. Without the extensive booty from the western campaign of 1940, these units would have remained without weapons and vehicles. Motor vehicles in particular played an important role in the motorization of at least some of the divisions. The 18.PzD was equipped with stricktly stock French motor vehicles until the end of May 1941. Among the trucks, the 4.5-ton Citroën Type 45 attained a certain significance. The 1-ton Peugeot was also seen often. The same was true for the French halftrack (Somua MCL and MCG, Unic P107 etc.) towing vehicles, which were used as tractors in the Panzerjäger units, infantry gun companies and motorized artillery units. The Czech emergency service also received such vehicles.

Some of the British vehicles were regarded as very robust ones, I suppose also that the Germans liked the lend-lease Studebaker trucks that they captured but I think most of the motor vehicles hastively used for various transports were not to have long lives under the rough conditions of the eastern theater of war.
The progressive deterioration of the German army's motor vehicle situation already in the autumn of 1941 led for example in November to Renault trucks being incorporated again and also to the transformation of about 160+ French tanks into towing vehicles/tractors (Renault and Hotchkiss Artillerie Schlepper).
About French vehicles, the 21.PzD in 1944 had over 50 different softskin types (mainly French) including Citroën, Laffly and Renault trucks. Unic P107 and Somua MCL and MCG halftracks as well as Somua SPWs were very common. In emergency situation the Germans always used their booty vehicles and proved to be skilled to convert and re-use all what they captured ... Even old 120mm Mle1878 De Bange French guns (!) were still used in some fortifications and by Rumanian troops in 1944. If they didn't used themselves some of these booty equipments they provided their allies (mainly Rumania, Bulgaria, Italy) with captured vehicles, guns, small arms or planes. All these captured equipments were necessary to the motorization of the German army of 1941.

Captured French aircraft and on-board weapons were put to use within certain limits. The Luftwaffe made more frequent use of airdropped ammunition. Among others, the French 50kg splinter bombs in packages of four with the Ab 500 3 A airdrop container were used, and the small 1kg splinter bombs were also kept in production.

Concerning the tanks, about 500 FT-17, 800 R-35/40, 600 H-35/38/39, 50 FCM-36, 160 B1bis (18 B2(f) with 10.5 cm howitzers, 60 B2 flametanks and 82 B2(f) tanks) and 300 Somua S-35 tanks have been used by the German army. To these tanks you have to add all the other vehicles : motorcycles, sidecars, cars, trucks, armored cars and the numerous conversions based on French chassis and realized by the Germans. French captured tanks and armored cars were first use on the Eastern front. Several new units were first trained on French tanks like 24. Pz.D. and 25. Pz.D. formed respectively in France (November 1941) and Norway (February 1942) with French tanks before being converted to German ones when sent to the front.

190 P178 amored cars were used unmodified in 1941 with 107 lost in action in Russia. Later 43 more were transformed to operate on rail-roads against partisans. In Summer 1943, several were modified (open-turret) and rearmed with a 5.0cm KwK L/42 gun.

The first units equiped 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 in border battles reducing fortifications in the summer of 1941 during Barbarossa. Pz.Abt.213 was later equiped with B2 tanks and stationned in French islands in the Channel.
Pz.Abt.223 was formed (attached to 22.PzD) with Char B2 flame tanks and was engaged in fightings near Sevastopol. 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 equiped with B2(f) tanks : Pz.Abt.224 in the Netherlands, 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.

In Yugoslavia, the divisions SS Prinz Eugen, SS Handschar and SS Skanderbeg had each one or two H-35/38/39 and R35 squadrons, mostly in their Aufklärung Abteilung beside motorcycle and horse mounted men.
The SS Kama division was later issued with the French tanks of the SS Handschar divisions in Fall 1944.
There were also H-39s in the Heer 200. Panzer Abteilung during the Belgrad battle in October 1944.
According to Otto Kumm ("Vorwärts Prinz Eugen !") and completed by German and Yugoslavian archives, the 105. SS-StuG Abt from captain Paletta attacked on 11th October 1944 a T34 battalion progressing with the 36th Tito partisans's division, in front of Obrenovac (south-west of Belgrad). The dozen StuGs from SS Prinz Eugen are supported by French H-39 and R-35 tanks from 200. Panzer Abteilung and SS Aufklärung Abt. 21 from Kamfgruppe Skanderbeg. They destroyed 13 T34/85 and about 100 other misc vehicles. This counter-attack was launched to cover the retreat of elements from Armee-Gruppen E and F accros the Save. Then the Renault and Hotchkiss tanks protected the retreat of the StuGs. By the end of the day the H-39 and R-35 are hardly attacked by IL-2 Sturmoviks.
The Hotchkiss, Somua and Renault French tanks were really liked in the Balkans because of their small size which allowed them to operate in the mountain areas, on the small trails and "roads" there and to provide close fire support to the engaged infantry units. There was also a huge stockpile of spare parts in the Renault and Hotchkiss factories in France. In the SS Aufklärung Abteilung 21 there were original R-35 and H-39, but in the 200. Panzer Abteilung it is possible that there were also 4.7cm and 5cm Pak38 auf PzKpfw 35R (f) as well as 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 39H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)".

In June 1943 the situation is schematically the following :

- Eastern Front
Heeresgruppe A : 6 Renault B2
Heeresgruppe Süd : 12 Panhard P178
Heeresgruppe Mitte : 15 Hotchkiss H-38, 2 Somua S-35, 18 Panhard P178
Südosten (Balkans) : 96 Hotchkiss H-38, 43 Somua S-35, 17 Renault B2

- Western Front
149 Hotchkiss H-38
67 Somua S-35
81 Renault B2
58 Renault R-35
12 Renault FT-17/18
33 Panhard P178

- Norway
68 Hotchkiss H-38
17 Somua S-35

- Finland (Panzer-Abteilung 211 + Panzerkampfwagen-Zug 217, 218 and 219)
33 Hotchkiss H-38
16 Somua S-35

Germans had still about 750 French tanks in mid-1943 and still at the end of the war there were about 425 such tanks in the inventory. But many vehicles are not listed here : very numerous chenillettes UE(f), Lorraine tractors, Marder based on French chassis, softskins and halftracks are also missing like several tanks (H35, H39, R40, FCM36, D1 and D2). Panzerkampfwagen 39H 735(f) are for example still in use in 1944 in the 21.PzD.
What people should also bear in mind is that in addition to the numbers of french tanks used as is, there were also a number of conversions from other french tanks and halftracks by beginning and mid war that have to be added :
- 174x 4.7cm Pak (t) auf PzKpfw R-35 (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 170x Lorraine 37L converted to 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 37L (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 24x 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 39H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 10x 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw FCM (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 16x 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw Somua MCG S307 (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 107x converted Lorraine tractors with 15cm (94), 10.5cm (12) or 12.2cm (r) (1) howitzers and used as SP artillery in the PzDs before the arrival of the Wespe and Hummel SP howitzers.
- beside the Lorraine conversions, there were also numerous Hotchkiss conversions and for example the 200. StuG Abt / 21. PzD in Normandy was equiped with 16x 7.5cm Pak40 auf Hotchkiss and 24x 10.5cm leFH16 auf Hotchkiss
- 28 Somua S-35 tanks also converted to self-propelled gun with a Pak40 or a 10.5cm howitzer
- 18x B2 chassis with 10.5 cm howitzers
- 60x B2 tanks with flamethrower
+ other halftracks/tanks converted to SP AT gun, SP mortar(s), SP flamethrower, SP Flak or SP rocket-launchers
+ halftracks converted to APCs like the leSPW U304(f)
etc.

About 100 7,5cm Pak40 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz 135)" were still in service by April 20, 1943 :

- Western front :
1. PzD : 9 (already gone by 10.5.43, probably handed over to 26. Pz.Div., which kept them only for about 1 month)
44. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III)
65. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III)
76. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III)
94. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III)
113. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III)
158. ReserveDivision = 9

Eastern front :
31. ID : 8
35. ID : 8
36. ID : 1
72. ID : 8
206. ID : 8
256. ID : 9

- On 31.12.1943 the following units on the Eastern Front still used Marder I :
31. ID : 4
35. ID : 2
72. ID : 4
206. ID : 7
256. ID : 7
384. ID : 14 (20.12.1943)

- Units in the West using the Marder I during 1943 were :
LVXXXIII. Korps
Pz.Rgt. 100
305. ID
343. ID
346. ID
348. ID
353. ID
384. ID
708. ID
709. ID
711. ID
712. ID
716. ID
719. ID

The French industries had also been mobilized by the German occupant :

- For Renault, most of the archives have disappeared during the allied bombings of 1944 but in François Vauvilliers's book "l'automobile sous l'uniforme" it is indicated that about 28000 Renault trucks had been produced (not booty vehciles but brand new ones) for the Germans during the occupation (AHS 2t, AHN 3,5t and AHR 5t models). The Renault factories were administrated by Prinz Von Urach (who will later be the press attaché of Daimler-Benz after WW2)
- During the occupation, Hotchkiss produced spare parts and several chassis for the Germans from 1940 to 1944.
- Gnôme-Rhône in Gennevilliers (nowadays SNECMA) produced German engines for planes like the Hs129.
- For Panhard all the archives had also been lost in allied bombings. Panhard-Levassor produced German panzers track parts.
- Peugeot from March 1941 to September 1944 fabricated 15300 DMA trucks for the Germans and spare parts for the Kübelwagen, the factory is controlled by KDFWagen (future Volkswagen).
- SIMCA produced personnal cars for the German/Italian Army
1941/1942: 5983 Simca 5 (aka Fiat 500 Topolino) and 3960 Simca 8 (aka Fiat 1100)
1943: 122 Simca 8 and 19 Simca 5
1944: 180 Simca 8 and 23 Simca 5
- Some of the Berliet archives seems to be still available and conserved in Lille but I have no info about them.

And many other French industries also produced German parts.

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Jay Felsberg
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Souma 35

Post by Jay Felsberg » 04 Feb 2004 08:17

- 28 Somua S-35 tanks also converted to self-propelled gun with a Pak40 or a 10.5cm howitzer


Never knew about t6his conversion before

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