Original German WWII 1942-1943 Panzer Grenadier NCO Photo Album - 300 Photos

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Original Item: Only One Available. This is an incredible photo album that dates from 1942-1943 of a German WWII Panzer Grenadier Non-Commissioned Officer. The album is 50 pages in length and contains 300 photos!

The album features multiple photos of the very rare SdKfz 251 half-track (same type of vehicle that Matt Damon blew up with a bazooka in Saving Private Ryan). There is even a series of photos showing a SdKfz 251 stuck in deep mud. Almost all photos a military related, the inside cover is marked 1942-1943 which is consistent with the creation of the Panzer Grenadiers. 90% of the photos show a soldier or more in uniform and vary in season and geography (country to town) as well as official celebrations and even Christmas. Other equipment featured are mortars, rangefinders, optics, machine guns, bicycles, panzerfaust, various vehicles including a captured U.S. Willy’s Jeep! All photos are held in place with corner braces indicating that this album was put together in the period and not some crazy post war creation.

The album cover is an attractive, deeply textured leatherette with a finely detailed metal Army eagle in the upper left and the words Kriegserinnerungen (War Memories) embossed in gold on the lower right.

The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was a WW2 German armored fighting vehicle designed by the Hanomag company, based on its earlier, unarmored Sd.Kfz. 11 vehicle. The Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the panzergrenadiers (German mechanized infantry) into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants produced by various manufacturers, and were commonly referred to simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers.

The use of armored half-tracks was rare in the German Army, and even the elite Großdeutschland Division, with two panzergrenadier regiments, only mustered a few companies' worth of the vehicles, generally SdKfz 251 troop carriers. The vast majority of Schützen/Panzergrenadier soldiers were mounted in trucks. Additionally, vehicles in the early war period suffered from poor off-road performance.

The term Panzergrenadier had been introduced in 1942, and was applied equally to the infantry component of Panzer divisions as well as the new divisions known as Panzergrenadier Divisions. Most of the Heer's PzGren. divisions evolved via upgrades from ordinary infantry divisions, first to Motorized Infantry divisions and then to PzGren. divisions, retaining their numerical designation within the series for infantry divisions throughout the process. This included the 3rd, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 25th, and 29th divisions. Others, such as the Großdeutschland Division, were built up over the course of the war by repeatedly augmenting the size of an elite regiment or battalion. The Waffen-SS also created several PzGren. divisions by the same methods, or by creating new divisions from scratch later in the war. A number of PzGren. divisions in both the Heer and Waffen-SS were upgraded to Panzer divisions as the war progressed.

The Panzergrenadier divisions were organized as combined arms formations, usually with six battalions of truck-mounted infantry organized into either two or three regiments, a battalion of tanks, and an ordinary division's complement of artillery, reconnaissance units, combat engineers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery, and so forth. All these support elements would also be mechanized in a PzGren. division, though most of the artillery, anti-tank, and anti-aircraft elements were equipped with weapons towed by trucks rather than the relatively rare armored and self-propelled models. In practice the PzGren. divisions were often equipped with heavy assault guns rather than tanks, due to a chronic shortage of tanks throughout the German armed forces. A few elite units, on the other hand, might have the tanks plus a battalion of heavy assault guns for their anti-tank element, and armored carriers for some of their infantry battalions as well.

On paper a Panzergrenadier division had one tank battalion less than a Panzer division, but two more infantry battalions, and thus was almost as strong as a Panzer division, especially on the defensive. Of 226 panzergrenadier battalions in the whole of the German Army, Luftwaffe and Waffen SS in September 1943, only 26 were equipped with armored half tracks, or just over 11 percent. The rest were equipped with trucks.

This is one of the nicest and rarest, due to the content, German WWII photo album we’ve ever encountered!

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