Monday, March 7, 2016

Tiger and Vehicle of sPz.Abt.508 in Italy

A Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E and battalion vehicle belonging to schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508 (508th Heavy Panzer Battalion), taking a rest at the Italian front. Notice the hasty camouflage on the Mercedes-Benz 170V staff car and the carefully applied camouflage on the Tiger. This color slide is one of a series of color images of the Werkstattkompanie taken by Hans Becker. In the mid-1970s Becker's son loaned the slides to a model maker, who displayed them in the booklet "Modell Magazin - Foto Archiv". Since then the photos have appeared regularly in publications about the Tiger. Unfortunately the slides have not been returned to the son! Hans Becker himself was attached to the headquarters staff of the Panzer-Regiment 8 in North Africa in 1942-43, and he extensively photographed front line operations there. After he was wounded, he was flown home, and after recovering from his wounds, in autumn 1943 he joined the sPz.Abt.508 during its formation. Soon afterwards, the battalion commander tasked him with “recording the battalion’s path photographically, to illustrate the war diary”. His experiences in France in a Werkstattkompanie (Work Company) and his thoughts on those who preferred the comfortable life over soldiering, to his experiences during the low level flight across the Mediterranean and the pranks of the Luftwaffe crew of his aircraft is well documented in the book "Als Panzermann in Afrika und Italien 1942-45" by Axel Urbanke. His trek across North Africa was well detailed. In the book, we even glimpse at life recuperating in Germany after being injured. Finally the action in Italy showing not only the war but the good and bad interaction with the civilians. The book ends with a short sojourn as an American POW. His photographs show him, his friends, units, and life on the front. He was an accomplished amateur photographer and this shows with the quality of his work.

Source :
Book "Als Panzermann in Afrika und Italien 1942-45: Panzer Regiment 8 und schwere Panzer-Abt. 508" by Axel Urbanke and Hans Becker

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