Monday, May 18, 2015

German Zippo

Model by Javier Redondo Jiménez

History: In March 1941, an order was placed for a series of 25 flame-thrower assault tanks to be built on the basis of the captured Char B-1 bis. Production rate was supposed to be five in November and ten in December and January, depending upon the availability of serviceable tanks. The total order was increased to include a second series of 35. The flame-thrower was supplied by Koebe and was powered by a two-stroke motorcycle engine. 

Specific features: The tanks converted to Flammwagen had the 7.5 cm hull gun removed and replaced by the flame-thrower mounted in a special ball mount. A new housing, with a Fahrersehklappe 50 driver's visor, was provided for the operator above the flame weapon. The flame fuel was carried in a large 30mm armoured tank fitted to the rear of the vehicle. The 2 metre rod aerial was mounted to the right of the flame weapon. Some vehicles had the commander's cupola removed. 

Combat service: The 213th schwere Panzerabteilung, formed in late 1941, for occupation duties in Jersey and Guernsey, was given one platoon of FI Wg B-2 in each of the two companies of normal Pz Kpfw B-2. The only unit to take the FI Wg B-2 away from the Western Front was the 223rd schwere Panzerkompanie, which took twelve to the Crimea in the summer of 1942, and the 7th SS Freiwilligen Gebirgs Division Prinz Eugen, which operated in the Balkans. Nine FI Wg B-2 were still in service with the 223rd schwere Panzerkompanie on 30 December 1944. While reforming in France during 1943, the 14th and 21st Panzer Divisions had been issued with them, but these were returned to depot before seeing action.

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