• Tank Type       :           15cm sFH 13/1 (Sf) auf GW Lorraine Schlepper(f) – Sd.Kfz.135/1
  • Writing             :           stamped: “87”, front side: “Welsh”, “Mobile canon”
  • Info                  :           from collection of US soldier – Airfield Repair&Recovery Unit
  • D.U.P.              :           1944, Belgium
  • Paper               :           ridax – with traces of glue

Lot of 5 photographs. The best side view photograph of the lot – therefore the highest priced. The dotted camouflage scheme is clearly visible; sandy yellow is the basic color with patches of green and brown over it. The canon stands at about 15 degrees elevation, the drivers hatch is opened and the rear side artillery spade is extended to the ground.

An unbelievable rare set of photographs of one and the same German beutepanzer. This is a panzer from which not many photographs are available on the market. And those which are available are high priced. Besides that his photograph is taken after D-Day and the fighting withdrawal of the German forces through Belgium.

Someone mentioned one of these photographs been sold before as a copy – assuming these must be copies too. Another person attended me that these are definitely authentic originals originating from the same person/photo album. Judging the difference in paper of these five photographs it could definitely be that some were developed in different batches. These rare photographs, especially of the inside, are very wanted by panzer historians and Modellers.

Information which came with these photographs:

Made by corporal Howard R. Dow of the 820th Engineer Aviation Battalion (EAB). The 820th EAB closely followed the allied frontline during their advance and immediately repaired all axis airfields which were recaptured – making them operational for allied aircraft. Therefore this unit were among the first which set foot on unspoiled battlefields; like the one this Sd.Kfz.351/1 was found upon.

 

Information from these photographs:

‘Belgium’, ‘Welsh’ (probably posing soldiers name – most likely got a copy),

‘Café Letore – Simon Pils’

 

  • From September 1944 the 820th EAB entered Belgium and started repairing airfields.
  • Simon Pils brewery is located in Luxemburg and is a local brewery – therefore this photograph most likely is taken in the Belgian Ardennes area.
  • This Sd.Kfz.135/1 has the tactical symbol for Self-propelled Artillery on its left front side and rear.
  • This Sd.Kfz.135/1 is numbered ‘622’. This is a vehicle of the 6th Kompanie, 2nd Zug (platoon) and numbered no.2.

 

Breakdown from operational Sd.Kfz.135/1 units June 1944:

  • 1942: 30 Sd.Kfz.135/1’s were built by Alkett – all were sent to the DAK and all were lost.
  • 72 were built by Baukommando Becker in France – with D-handles and short spade
  • 60 were built by Alkett – with D-handles and long spade

 

Operational history is not completely clear:

30 were issued to the Gepanzerte Artillerie Regiment 1;

  •             This was disbanded and 10 Infantry Divisions received each 3 Sd.Kfz.135/1’s

30 were issued to the Gepanzerte Artillerie Regiment 2;

  •             This was eventually renamed to 155th Panzer Artillerie Regiment at which it only had 12 remaining Sd.Kfz.135/1’s. This regiment was part of the 21st Panzer Division.

 

When going by the numbering of the Sd.Kfz.135/1 on this photograph you would look for a 6th Kompanie – or Battery in this case. This would only have one result: the 6th Battery of the 155th Panzer Artillerie Regiment; which had 6 Sd.Kfz.135/1’s – most likely in 2 Zugs (platoons).

Later on one if these platoons would be transferred to Kampfgruppe Rauch (Panzergrenadier Regiment 192) to attack the Canadian and British forces landing on Sword and Juno beach. After this many more battles would follow – and all Sd.Kfz.135/1’s were reported destroyed after the battle of Falaise pocket.

If the description “Belgium” is correct, which is most likely referring to the the ‘Simon Pils’ sign, then this could be proof that at least one Sd.Kfz.135/1 made it all the way to Belgium before being knocked out.

Or this must be one of the 30 ‘missing’ Infantry Division Sd.Kfz.135/1’s which is unlikely because of the ‘622’ marking. This would mean the Sd.Kfz.135/1 on the photograph would be the 2nd vehicle of the 2nd Zug (platoon) of one Kompanie. There were only 3 Sd.Kfz.135/1’s attached to one infantry Division and normally different types of artillery were not combined in one Kompanie – they each would have their own Kompanie. Therefore the Sd.Kfz.135/1’s attached to infantry divisions would have numbers like _11 to _13. Although it could still be one of these 30 ‘missing’ Sd.Kfz135/1’s.

 

Frontal view of this Sd.Kfz.135/1. The drivers hatch can be seen fully opened. In the left hand front side of the hull can be seen a large round hole. This panzer must be knocked out – weird thing is the fact no other damages can be seen inside the structure. A hole that large would have a significant energy load resulting in much more overall damage.

Both spare roadwheels are missing from the cannon shields – the left shield is even missing the pin which would hold the spare roadwheel. Also visible on the left shield is the tactical symbol for self-propelled artillery. In the foreground can be seen the remnants of a motorcycle sidecar on its side. Most resembling the sidecar of a Zundapp.

From the building in the background can be seen hanging the sign ‘Café Letore – Simon Pils’.

 

  • Tank Type       :           15cm sFH 13/1 (Sf) auf GW Lorraine Schlepper(f) – Sd.Kfz.135/1
  • Writing             :           front side: “Belgium”
  • Info                  :           from collection of US soldier – Airfield Repair&Recovery Unit
  • D.U.P.              :           1944, Belgium
  • Paper               :           no markings – no traces of glue

The cannon at this photograph can be seen set at a much higher elevation. The US soldiers most likely were staging some nice scenes to make their war shots. The rear entry hatch can be seen missing.

 

‘MINDEST ABSTAND 75M AUCH BEIM HALTEN’ – ‘keep your distance at least 75m also when stopped’. To the left beneath this text can be seen the tactical symbol for self-propelled artillery. The text would be a very nice detail for modelling hobbyists and (book) researchers. On this photograph the canon is also set in its high elevation like in the previous photograph.

 

Once again a most interesting photograph due to the many details. Interior photographs of panzers are always rare from all types. The technics can be seen clearly and the very stained overall inside. To the left of the canon and on the left inside hull shield can be seen some tables which were used for aiming the canon. Most likely something with degrees/distances. In this photograph the canon is still in its lower set elevation.

 

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