Can anyone tell me, what types of Panzer IV the 26. Panzerdivsion in Italy have ? When were they delivered ? And if they got Panzer IV G, did the crew applied Zimmerit on it or not ?
Yeah, it's me again lol.
After researching for my response to your previous post, I became interested in this unit. I have a DML Pz IV Ausf G and a DML Pz III Ausf N that I might build later this year and I became intrigued because this unit employed both long & short barrelled Pz IV's, short barrelled Pz III's AND Flammpanzers; not very common in the Panzerwaffe. Anyway, I'm a prolific reader and have 1000's of military history books and I love to research this sort of stuff. I'm not stingy either, so here's what I found out about 11./PzRgt 26. Hope this is of some use to you and it's not too long winded.
With all the research I've done, I think it's safe to say that II./PzRgt 26 employed the Pz IV Ausf G and Ausf H both with and without Zimmerit. The unit was formed and sent to Italy before Zimmerit became standard. Replacements recieved after Sept 1943 would have had the Zimmerit but it appears that the original Pz IV 's without Zimmerit soldiered on at least untill mid 1944.
Here;s some additional info I found out.
After serving in Poland, Belgouum, France and Russia as 23 Inf Div, the unit was withdrawn to France (Amiens) and then Belgium (Mons) for refitting in the summer of 1942. The unit was reformed as the 26 Pz Div by order dated 14 Sept 1942. The unit was formed as follows:
26th PzG Bde. (9th & 67th PzG Rgt's each with 2 Btn's)
26th Motorcycle Btn. [formerly 26th Recon Btn]
93rd Panzer Artillery Rgt. [formerly 23rd Artillery Rgt.]
304th Army FlaK Artillery Rgt.
93rd Panzer Engineer Btn.
93rd Tank Destroyer Btn.
93rd Signal Btn.
26th Panzer Rgt. [Staff & II. & III. Abteilung of the former 202nd Panzer Rgt.]
The 26 PD trained in France & Belgium until July 1943 when it was sent to Italy. At this point it is probably safe to say the unit was equipped with Pz IV Ausf G's and it is also likely it acquired the short barrelled 7.5cm Pz III's & IV's at this time as well. In Thomas Jentz's book Panzertruppen Vol. 2 1943-45 it is stated that there were 25 Pz IV's sent to Italy as replacements for PzRgt Hermann Göring and PzRgt 26 in Jan 1944. How these were divided up is not mentioned.
There are also 3 after-action reports for II./PzRgt 26 in the book, all from Dec 1943 in actions against the British 8th Army on the eastern coast of Italy. The first report is for 1 Zug, 5 Kp., II./PzRgt 26 and describes actions on 1-2 Dec 1943 in the Lucianno area and mentions the use of Pz IV "langs" (7.5cm L/48) and Pz III "kurz" (7.5cm L/24) tanks. The second report is more detailed and describes an attack on Ruetti on 6 Dec 1943 by the 7 Kp., II./PzRgt 26 commanded by Oberleutnant Ruckdeschel which consisted of 7 Pz IV lang and 2 Pz III kurz tanks. Losses in the attack were 4 Pz IV lang & 1 Pz III kurz. Turret numbers mentioned are 712, 721, 722, 725 & 733. The third report describes an attack near Ortona between 14-16 Dec by 6 Kp. II./PzRgt. 26 commanded by Oberleutnant Schaff and mentions only the use of Pz IV lang tanks. From these reports, it appears that the Pz III's and Pz IV's were mixed in the companies and at the time, Dec 1943, about half the tanks available were the short barrelled Pz III's and Pz IV's. But, according to the strength report for 21 Jan 1944 this had changed. On 21 Jan 1944 II./PzRgt. 26 had a total panzer strength of 114 panzers with 88 operational (not counting StuG's). This total probably includes the replacements recieved in Jan 1944 that was mentioned above.
Total panzer strength of II./PzRgt. 26 dated 21 Jan 1944:
Pz III (7.5cm L/24): 12 with 9 operational
Pz IV (7.5cm L/24): 11 with 3 operational
Pz IV (7.5cm L/48): 80 with 66 operational
Flammpz: 11 with 8 operational
StuG: 14 ?? operational
It also appears that the Abteilung was very heavily engaged in the next 10 days because the operational strength was reduced from 88 to just 21 panzers by 1 Feb 1944.
Operational panzers for II./PzRgt. 26 on 1 Feb 1944:
5 Pz III (7.5cm L/24)
12 Pz IV (7.5cm L/48)
I'm not sure if the II./PzRgt. 26 was engaged against the landings at Anzio/Nettuno but I remember reading somewhere that they were. Other sources that I found state that later, after the withdrawal north of Rome the 26 PD was employed against the British in NE Italy into the Po Valley where it was destroyed in April 1945. So, if the 26 PD was still on the eastern coast if Italy fighting the British on 21 Jan 1944 the division most likely couldn't have been egeaged at Anzio for several days. Maybe someone else here can enlighten us on that.
Finally, I can find very little info on I./PzRgt. 26. The only info is that it was sent to the Eastern Front in Jan 1944. I think maybe that the I./PzRgt. 26 may have stayed behind in France/Belgium in July 1943 to equip and train with the Panther, and after this was sent to the Eastern front in Jan 1943.
I'm including a few pics:
A photo from Jentz's Panzertruppen book. It is a Pz IV Ausf H and clearly shows the PzRgt. 26 unit insignia on the front driver's plate. See photo below for the symbol description.
This and the following photos are from Concord Armor at War #7023-Panzers in Italy. These are the only 3 photos of panzers identefied as from PzRgt. 26 based on the locations where the Rgt was known to have been employed.
And here's the unit symbol. This scan comes from another book called Panzertruppen by Francois de Lannoy & Josef Charita and is a French/English book that has all Panzerwaffe symbols as well as brief histories for every unit that employed tanks, from Battalion to Pz Armee. Very useful book.
Hope this is useful to you. I enjoyed the research and it will be handy for me as well.