Image size: 1600 x 986 pixel. 319 KB
Date: May 1944
Place: SS-Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager, Pustków, Dębica, Poland
The photograph on this page show Panzerkampfwagen V Panther '613' from 6. Kompanie / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 / 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking" - note the number '3' just visible on the turret rear access hatch - bogged in thick mud almost to the top of its wheels, being dragged free by Panther 612. The picture above offers the reader a good view of the exhaust system and the vertically mounted jack. Note that the field modified bracket used to hold the unditching beam, which became an identifying feature of this division's tanks, is not yet present although the beam is clearly visible, strapped to the spare tracks. It is possible - or even likely - that the last of these metal brackets were added before the division left Heidelager, although some 8.Kompanie tanks had them as early as April. The flat, marshy terrain, bordered by woods, is typical of Eastern Poland and what is today Western Ukraine and Belarus.
Book "Viking Summer; 5.SS-Panzer-Division in Poland 1944" by Dennis Oliver