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Old 01-30-2009, 08:23 AM   #6
Dowly
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The Major stopped in today for an update on his Tiger and after showing him the latest pics, I showed him a couple of books that had some photos that I thought he might be interested in. While thumbing through the Concord Panzers in North Africa, he stopped me and said turn the page back, that's me!


Oh Strukt, he said the Stuart had a wrecked motor from a Pak hit. While it didn't burn, the crew bailed and got back to their unit. They drained the fuel out of it, took whatever goodies they could find and left it.
He did say that they were very fond of the British Desert boots because they had crepe soles and kept the heat away from your feet much better than those hi top canvas boots the DAK got issued. He also said that you were better off in sandals than to wear the normal jackboots because they had iron hobs in the soles for traction and the metal conducted heat into the boot to bake your feet.
Whenever possible, they wore shorts, or even stripped down to skivvies in the heat. It did (does) get pretty cold in the desert at night too, which made for quite a mish-mash of uniforms. I guess a lot of guys wore Italian gear too because they had the most comfortable tropical uniforms.


Stankyus asked about ammo load outs;
Lindemann says that they carried 90 rounds of 88mm ammo, usually 30 AP. 30HE, and 30 dual purpose rounds, unfortunately he couldn't remember the actual designations for the round. He also said that since they had ammo trucks following them around that they would trade rounds to get the load out that they thought they would need for any prospective engagement, so, theoretically they could have all AP or HE or whatever mix they wanted. They also carried 40,000 rounds of MG ammo and 4 mp-38 or mp-40 with 8 clips per smg. He personally carried a Walther P-08 with 4 clips and the other crew were allowed to carry handguns if they wanted to.

Schuster and Rdiggety asked what he thought about Allied armour;
Stuarts and armoured cars were used as scouts and the Tiger guys didn't worry much about them except as they might call in support. The 75mm tanks (Grants Shermans etc.) were not anything to worry about either per se. You just had to be careful around them and never let them get position on you. Usually this was not a problem because you always had infantry nearby and artillery to back you up, so as long as you didn't get too far out on your own you were pretty safe. He had a healty respect for the Brit ATGs but not so much for their armour. He said their tankers had a lot of guts and pretty good tactics (mostly) but you could punch a hole in anything they had pretty easily. This meant that they would never engage you frontally if they could possibly avoid it, but would try to distract you while they slipped around on your flanks.
The LRDG were the guys that annoyed them most because they were always sneaking around trying to destroy the Afrika Korps supply dumps, and they NEVER had enough of anything to spare as it was. If a panzer was going to be shipped back for repairs, crews would strip it of any spare parts they thought would be useful.


His last crew (member changed from time to time) were all oberfeldwebels, they tended to get the more experienced crews to serve on the Tigers.
He said that every one of them had Iron Cross first or second class. They all wore the A.K. sleeve ribbons (3 months service in theatre) as well as Panzer badges.

Since I have been working on the figures lately, I spent some time asking about uniforms and what crews might be expected to wear. I had read something to the effect that crews were forbidden to wear shorts or remove their shirts for too long. Obviously the idea was to prevent troops from getting too sunburned to be useful. In fact it quickly became a courts martial offense since you were actually damaging wehrmacht property....
It turns out that this rule only applied to infantry. Panzer crews were allowed to wear shorts and shirtsleeves since the inside of a steel box with a twelve cylinder engine running in the back and a desert sun blazing down at you, is not exactly the coolest of environments...
Ever see that photo series on the guy frying an egg on the hull of his tank?


Something else he mentioned while we were talking about 'damaging Reich property'. The desert was (is) a hard place to live without proper equipment and guys got sicknesses that were untreatable with the early medical set ups that the Germans used in the early parts of the Afrikan campaign. The normal routine would be to fly patients back to German hospitals, sometimes all the way back to Germany.
Jaundice was one of these conditions, and some bright lad found out that if you left a tin of sardines out in the sun all day, you could punch holes in the tin and suck out the hot olive oil which would give all the signs of a jaundice attack. You would then be sent back to Germany for a nice refreshing leave until your 'Jaundice' cured itself. Naturally, the higher ups figured this little game pretty quickly and if you got caught it was considered a courts martial offense. Pretty slick trick for the first couple of guys though....

German prisoners held in Michigan had a fair amount of freedom and were often assigned to work details on farms surrounding the camp. The soldiers who were meant to guard them were usually pretty green and pretty young. When they left camp they were given their lunch in a paper bag, sandwiches and what not usually, and the farms were supposed to supply them with water.
Guard duty was dull and with not a lot else to do and one day both their guards fell asleep over the lunch break. POWs being what they are Lindemann and his comrades decided that here was an opportunity that couldn't be missed and they immediatley stole the guards rifles, disassembled them and hid the various parts in their pockets and nearby trees. Then they all sat back down and one of them bounced pebbles off one of the guards helmet until he woke up. The poor guy immediately noticed he was missing his rifle and woke up his buddy now also weaponless. The two guards knew they were in deep trouble and pleaded with the POWs for their weapons back. Lindemann said "Well, we can probably make a deal here, there is a little store about a mile down the road, go get us a case of beer and four cartons of ciggarettes....." Not having much choice the kid trudged off down the road. When he finally got back, the prisoners handed back the weapons in exchange for the beer and smokes. Except, they didn't give back the ammunition. When the guards objected, Lindemann and the rest of the prisoners grinned at them, Lindemann pointed at the guard who had stayed behind the first time and said "OK your turn to go to the store..."


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That's enough for now, just woke up so, need to get me a cup of coffee and something to eat. The next bit will be a big one, the OP went into one of Lindemann's lectures and quite a few stories came out of it.
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