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Elepahnt use on the EF questions

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Steve... i have found a reference to the use of the loose mg being fired through the main weapon on the Ferdinand. On page 71 in the Panzer Colours 3 book by Bruce Culver he states that some crew’s in Maj.Noak’s sPzJg Abt 654 fired MG42s down the barrel of the main weapon using the main sights to line up on groups of Soviet infantry.

The only other reference i have been able to find so far is in a modelling book “The German Tiger Tanks” by Francois Verlinden of Verlinden Productions....in fact it states that the main gun was used to shoot individual soldiers!!!!!!!.

On the subject of the 654th sPzJg Abt....JFF have announced a pre publication offer for the “Combat History of Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654” . Its US $ 90 and should be published some time this September.

Maybe when that book arrives we might find photos of the field modified mg mount you were talking about.

Hope this is of some help smile.gif



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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Makjager Said…some crew’s in Maj.Noak’s sPzJg Abt 654 fired MG42s down the barrel of the main weapon using the main sights to line up on groups of Soviet infantry.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

During an interview with Dr. William Atwell (curator of the Aberdeen Tank Museum) for the “Achtung Panzer” video series, he mentions this stop-gap method of firing an MG 34 down the main gun barrel of the Ferdinand during Kursk. Dunno know where Atwell came up with the info.

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From Spielberger & Co. (Militärfahrzeuge, Band 15, page 69):

[Regarding the original “Ferdinand” vehicle, interior storage plan]

“Side armament” consisted of a MG 34 (600 rounds of ammunition) and two MP 38/40 (384 rounds), all carried loosely within the fighting compartment.

These weapons could be used by the crew to fire through either the opened hatches or through the gun ports (one on each side of the superstructure and two towards the rear).


Later in the text there is a combat report complaining that the gun ports (-pistol openings-) are too small and that aiming is impossible because of this. It is not clear whether it refers to the MG or the MP though.


[ 06-02-2001: Message edited by: Mattias ]

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Marlow:

... five Ferdinand tank destroyers ... had arrived. They were part of the 653d Heavy Panzerjager Battalion, ...

In contrast, Achtung Panzer states that:

"In Autumn of 1944, all existing Elephants were grouped into newly created unit - schwere Heeres Panzerjager Kompanie 614, sPzJagAbt 653 was re-equipped with Jagdtigers."

So, is there any credence to MacDonald's version where Elefants were used at the Bulge?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Yes! sPzJagAbt 653 is the TD battalion.

It had three companies;

* a supply company

* 2nd company (= the 614th, equipped with Elephants, one platoon of which saw action attached to the 5. Fallshirmjäger Div. at Bastogne)

* 3rd company (equipped with JTs that didn't make it into battle during the operation).



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I just now remembered WHY the gun shield was reversed on the Ferdi (forgive me if this has already been posted above). The original setup with the bolts on the outside meant that the shield itself stood out from the gun mount some distance, allowing schrapnel spinters to sneak past and enter the fighting compartment. Reversing the mount exposed the mounting bolts, but it would also position the shield closer to the hull, more effectively shielding the mount from shell splinters. The Churchill and Cromwell also had trouble with schrapnel sometimes sneaking past the gun mount.

Any word yet on whether the MkIV-based Brumbar is going to be modelled in the game? Photo evidence seems to associate Ferdi and Brumbar units pretty closely on the Eastern front.

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Further to Marlows question regarding the possible deployment of Elefants in the Ardennes in Dec 1944.

The 1st Coy/653rd served in Italy from Feb -44 till Aug-44.

They had in service 11 Elefants.By the time of August when they were ordered to had over their remaining Elefants , they had 3 vehicles left. These were returned to the Army Arsenal in Vienna for repairs.The personnel after leave were sent then to be trained on the Jagdtiger.

The 2nd & 3rd Coy. of the 653rd Abt were on active service on the Russian front from March 1944 with a total of 30 Elefants. With the Russian summer offensive this figure had dwindled to 12 Elefants total by 1st August for both the 2nd and 3rd Coy.

These 12 Elefants were combined into the 2nd Coy .Two additional vehicles were taken on board after been returned from the repairs centre.This 2nd Coy was assigned to the 17th Army ( Army Group A on the 19th Sept-1944.

The 3rd Coy was moved to Fallingbostel , later to Dollersheim for training on the Jagdtiger.

The 2nd Coy was renamed to the 614th Heavy Army Panzerjager Company ( Elefant ) on the 15.12.1944.

It was assigned to the 4th Panzer Army ( Poland ) in Dec-1944. It occupied a position around the Kielce area.

There is a Unit Operations Map in the book “Combat History of Schwere Panzerjager Abt 653” and at no time does it show any units of the 653/614 anyway near the Ardennes.

As for the sister 654th Abt......it handed over all its remaining Ferdinands to the 653rd in August 1943...it was then shipped back home to train on the Jagdpanther.

It seems to me ( personal opinion ) that maybe the US troops misidentified the vehicles that they came up against.

At the time of the Battle of the Bulge there were never no more that 12-14 Elefants left in the whole of the German Army....and all these were on the E.Front.

Hope this may be of help smile.gif



ps the Sturmpanzer Abt 216 served with the 656th sPzjg Regt with 45 Brummbars.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Måkjager:

It seems to me ( personal opinion ) that maybe the US troops misidentified the vehicles that they came up against.


This is starting to look like the right answer. Maybe it was JagdPanthers instead?

OK, then, anyone know anything about the 559th heavy panzerjager batt. attached to Panzer Lehr that was mentioned earlier in the thread? Did it fight south of Bastogne against the 4th Armored?

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MikeyD:

Any word yet on whether the MkIV-based Brumbar is going to be modelled in the game? Photo evidence seems to associate Ferdi and Brumbar units pretty closely on the Eastern front.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I believe Steve did say the Brumbar is going to be in. As for the photos, the 2 Ferdinand battalions were grouped with a Brumbar battalion at Kursk into a brigade attached to Army Group Center for the assault on Ponyri.

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OK, on the report of some sort of heavy TD on the 22nd, run into by CCB 4th Armored, here is what I have been able to dig up.

The official history does talk about 4th armored running into German armor on the way to Bastogne, and in particular on the 22nd. But they were StuG IIIs from the 11th StuG brigade, and supporting infantry from the 26th Volkgrenadier division, not the 5th FJ. The number of them was estimated as 10 to 15. They KO'ed 11 Shermans and drove a company of armored infantry out of a particular village, with heavy loss.

The next day, the 4th did run into the 5th FJ, and specifically the 14th regiment of that division. But it was on a different axis, the one that succeeded. They were supported by 3 other StuG IIIs. 4th AD attack the village they were in and lost 4 Shermans to the StuGs and 1 to "bazooka" fire, but took the village and KO'ed those StuG. Soon after that, they had another tough fight with 13th regiment of the 5 FJ, and one incident against a single StuG on a ridgeline, probably a company commander left after his platoons were deployed to various villages. Unit histories of elements of the 4th AD confirm these encounters. The primary force that 4th AD fought its way through in the approach to Bastogne was the 5th FJ.

Panzer Lehr was not then in the area. It was west and northwest of Bastogne, on the other side of the pocket from the direction 4th AD attacked.

It is conceivable the StuG encountered included 10 StuG and 4 StuH. And that the heavier shell impacts from the StuH, lead the infantry to believe they were something more serious than just the regular sort of StuG. The force in the village was 1 medium tank company and 1 armored infantry company, and the tanks were practically wiped out (lost 11, as mentioned, and probably weren't at full TOE already). It is recorded in one of the unit histories (51st AIB's combat diary) that the German TDs stood off and shot a way clear for the German infantry, rather than charging into the village.

Now, there were certainly Jadgpanthers in the Ardennes. 51 of them initially, spread over 6 battalions (!). The 559th attached to Panzer Lehr had 12 of them (probably meant to be 14, a company, but some in the shop is my guess). So did the 560th, also 12, which was attached to 12SS, the Hitler Youth (HJ) division. Now, 12SS did counterattack not 4 AD, but 6 AD (also in 3rd Army), and not in December but in early January, as 6 AD was trying to drive out of the Bastogne area, to reduce the bulge. That was just east or northeast of Bastogne.

Incidentally, on the interesting question of where the rest of them were, one sees 7 of them in the 519th heavy -panzer- battalion, not panzerjaeger. I think what was happening may have been companies at a time were assigned to "schwere" armor battalions, some in the heavy anti-tank (two of them, each with 12-14), with the others probably used in place of Tiger IIs that weren't in running condition - or perhaps spread in company strength over AT battalions assigned to many panzer divisions. In any event, the Actung Panzer site says 51 used in 6 different battalions in the Ardennes, and other sources confirm 12-14 each in 559 and 560 with Panzer Lehr and 12 SS respectively.

The places they would have been seen were probably Rochefort (Lehr) and Bizory (12SS), in company strength. In other places, a platoon or two.

Another possible source of confusion, in the sense of sightings of long-barrelled TDs (some probably left on the field as wrecks) involves a number of Jdgpanzer-70s. The 3rd Panzergrenadier had ~15 of them in its divisional AT battalion, for instance. It did not come into the line until well after 3rd Army had reached Bastogne.

In the particular fight, then, I suspect the "5 Tiger TDs" were nothing but 4 StuH from the 11th StuG brigade, called "Tiger" by the US eyewitnesses to mean "heavier", just because their shell blast was noticably more deadly than that of StuGs to the armored infantry in the village they were plastering. And someone took the report literally and looked up Tiger chassis TDs, and assumed they were Elephants. (Why 5? Rounded to a platoon size and used a US size for the formation).

It is also possible that long-barreled wrecked TDs - either JdgPz-70s from 3PGR or Jadgpanthers from 12SS - were seen in the aftermath on the general battlefield area, and assumed by someone to be the unknown "heavy TDs" from 4 AD's fight on the approach to Bastogne, and misidentified as "elephants".

What I have been able to make of it, anyway.

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