29 November 2012

6. Panzer-Division Tanks in France 1940

Image size: 1600 x 1026 pixel. 247 KB
Date: May-June 1940
Place: France
Photographer: Erich Borchert (PK OKW)

A Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) from Panzer-Abteilung 65 leads a column of Panzerkampfwagen IVs during the Battle of France. 118 PzKpfw 35(t)s were issued to the 6.Panzer Division/XXXI.Armeekorps/Panzergruppe Guderian/Heeresgruppe A; used as a substitute for the better armed and armored Panzer III, the 35(t)'s main 37mm (1.45 inch) gun was not as capable and it did not have as much armor. The Czech-designed tank did have innovative pneumatic power steering, which relieved stress on the driver. The 6. Panzer-Division had some trouble adapting the tank to German use, as the manuals were in Czech. Nevertheless, 6. Panzer-Division crossed 217 miles of France in nine days, captured the British 145th Infantry Brigade at Cassel, and took part in the conquest of Flanders and the Aisne River, eventaully reaching the Swiss border. Almost all the 35(t)s would be lost during Operation Barbarossa, when their guns and armor were inferior to the Soviet KV and T-34 tanks, and the pneumatic steering failed in the cold. 

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-769-0236-23

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