an excellent article on Panzer-Lehr-Division vehicle marki



an excellent article on Panzer-Lehr-Division vehicle marki
Panzer-Lehr-Division SdKfz 251 markings
December 15 2007 at 11:06 AM
Barry Crook
(Login Archive1944-45)
Forum Owner
This article provides an overview of the interesting variety of tactical and other markings used on SdKfz 251s
(m.SPW) of the Panzer-Lehr-Division in 1944.
While several variations are illustrated below, these should not be considered by any means the complete range of
types that existed. The Pz-Lehr, after all, had numerous subunits equipped with the m.SPW and, indeed, it was one
of the best m.SPW-equipped units in the Wehrmacht. Readers should also understand, given the limitations in both
the number and clarity of photographs available, no possibility of absolute precision as to the true design and
colours used in the marking interpretations rendered below is possible at this stage. As and when further evidence
becomes available, these marking designs and accompanying information will be updated. The desire at this stage
as a result is to provide the reader with a general appreciation of both the sorts of marking variations, as well as
consistencies that occurred within this large armoured formation.
One of the most recently identified and certainly most vivid of unit markings thus far attributed to the Panzer-Lehr
(or indeed arguably any SPW unit) is that seen on this SdKfz 251 Ausf C:
Various evidence indicates this vehicle belonged to Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901.; one of two Pz-GrenRegt's organic to the Panzer-Lehr-Division (the other being Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 902., a junior and invariably less
well-equipped unit in comparison). The photo itself was taken in the vicinity of Le Dezert, Normandie, in the
aftermath of the ill-fated German counter-attack against US forces that occurred on the 11th of July 1944
As to the true design & colouring of the disc-shaped marking, at this stage it is not possible to be sure, given the
nature of the photos currently available. However, it’s clear the insignia carries within it a capitol “S” in a
Frakturschrift font (similar to a “G” in shape):
It is believed this “S” denotes, in typical German military fashion, Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901.’s commander,
Generalmajor Georg Scholze, a native of Eastern Saxony and a Jaeger veteran of the First World War. On the basis
of these facts, the design of the marking at this stage is very tentatively interpreted to depict a Saxon warrior of
old – the predominantly green and white design representative of Saxony (as per the Saxon cockade used in
WWI), with the green also representative of both Jaeger and Panzer-Grenadier branch of service colour. The partial
hexagonal shape surrounding the Frakturschrift “S” is also a specific design associated with Panzer-Lehr
Grenadiere, which appears to represent the outline of the bow plate of a m.SPW (hence forth referred to here as
‘bow plate outline’ marking). This design appears to be derived from an earlier version seen mostly in Hungary,
which will be described in more detail further below.
Some other examples of what will be called the “Scholze Insignia” for now may be seen in the following
photographs, the first having been taken in an unidentified town in Normandie, in the summer of ‘44:
This further example below of a 'Scholze insignia' is, in all probability, seen on a SdKfz 251/3II Funkwagen. The
camouflage attired GIs belong to the US 2d Armored Division and were photographed in Pont Brocard, on the 30th
of July 1944:
The image below captures a distant rear view of the same abandoned Pont Brocard 251/3 and 57mm anti-tank
gunners of the 2d Armoured Division:
An enlargement of the image shows a little more clearly the distinctive armoured housing for the Sternantenna
(star antenna) attached to the LH rear. Owing to the limited resolution of this distant view and the mud spattering,
etc, it's difficult to be certain if the rear had any markings, but it would seem extremely likely based on other
Panzer-Lehr m.SPW that markings would also be carried on the rear of this m.SPW Funkwagen:
Returning to the SdKfz 251 Ausf C captured near Le Dezert, we also see the faint presence of a tactical marking on
the bow – one of the more common examples seen on Panzer-Lehr m.SPW:
This same Pz-Gren tac sign is probably best known from the following widely published photo, taken on the 17th of
June 1944, in Cristot, Normandie - within the British zone of operations and prior to Panzer-Lehr’s transfer west to
face the Americans. Cristot was within Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901.'s sector:
The name “Zita” with which the vehicle has been christened is more likely white and could be some light hearted
reference to Saint Zita, the hard working, brutalised but ultimately triumphant patron saint of maids and domestic
servants. It is inconclusive whether the tactical number is red or black, or what the full sequence is, but it is
believed to be a 3. Kompanie vehicle.
The Pz-Gren tac sign may also be just discernable on two of the most widely-published Lehr m.SPWs, SdKfz 251/9
“Stummel” thought to belong to Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 902. and photographed in Juaye-Mondaye, on the 10th of June
As mentioned earlier, the ‘bow plate outline’ marking seen within the disc-shaped ‘Scholze Insignia’ used in
Normandie also appeared in an alternative (and most likely the original) design used on Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901.
vehicles in a parade in Budapest in March 1944; the example below being an SdKfz 251/3 Ausf C m.SPW
Another, somewhat similarly camouflaged, but differently configured 251/3 Ausf C m.SPW Funkwagen seen below,
was photographed much later near Jodenville, Belgium, during the Ardennes Offensive, on the 6th of January
1945. The chief difference is the Sternantenne location. This Ardennes eg also has three radios fitted, suggesting a
251/3(II) version. It would seem the camouflage paint is as fresh-looking on this Ardennes vehicle as is seen on
the Budapest eg, given the sharp contrast of the secondary colour(s), indicative of a recent repainting - especially
given the vintage of this Ausf C. Of particular note is the tactical number, which can be confirmed as just “98” from
an original Archer/Auerbach print. Also of significance are Balkenkreuze applied to both the rear and just barely
visible on the forward side plate. It should be emphasised that such crosses were exceedingly rare on Panzer-Lehr
m.SPW, indeed this is the only example the author has seen to date and may have been a post-Normandie/post
repaint addition:
A further example of the Panzer-Lehr ‘bow plate outline’ marking is seen on an SdKfz 251/7 in Hungary in March
1944 (although this may have an alternate “L” design to the type drawn in the inset):
Note the small “11”, which indicates the vehicle would have belonged to Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901’s 11. PanzerPioneer-Kompanie. This subunit is erroneously omitted in all published sources to date, however, original surviving
Gliederung records sourced by Hans Weber establish such a unit indeed existed within Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. (but
not however in its less well-equipped sister, Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 902.):
Further evidence of this Panzer-Pionier-Kompanie is confirmed by the following photo, showing another SdKfz
251/7, this time near Northern La Chapelle en Juger, Normandie on the 26th of July 1944. This vehicle is believed
to have been captured in the wake of the controversial carpet bombing which proceeded the US Army’s Operation
Note: there has been some recent online debate over the generally accepted notion this vehicle belonged to
In essence it has been alleged "1134" is in fact a vehicle of 2.SS “Das Reich” Panzer-Division, ostensibly because
the four digit number and font matches that unit, who were also in the general area and furthermore, no 11.Pz-PioKomp. ever existed in Panzer-Lehr.
For the record, there is no doubt an 11. Pz-Pio-Komp existed, as established by the SdKfz 251/7 "11" photo and
Hans Weber's Gliederung information above. Apart from this, “1134” carries none of the variety of mostly very
distinctive Balkenkreuz types routinely used by Das Reich; nor does it have any of the unique 2.SS welded fieldmodifications so common on their m.SPW. On the other hand, Panzer-Lehr m.SPW are invariably characterised by
the absence of any form of Balkenkreuz, as well as no unit-specific welded field-mods (these units are at opposite
extremes in other words). If we factor in the Panther seen near "1134" is also a confirmed Panzer-Lehr vehicle
(field-mod stowage rack on engine deck), which further establishes the photo was taken in Panzer-Lehr's section of
the line, there can be little doubt at all "1134" is a Panzer-Lehr vehicle.
Appreciation of this is worthwhile when considering the rationale behind the research and box art this author was
commissioned to do by DML for their fictitiously-conceived 2.8cm Panzerbuchse auf Sdkfz 251/7:
It should be noted this specific m.SPW variant is not documented anywhere in photographs to date, indeed the
configuration of this weapon on this type of vehicle, whilst plausible, is the product of the imagination of the model
kit company. All the markings, however, are based on the variety of Panzer-Lehr types seen on this page, albeit
arranged together on a purely conjectural basis, given the vehicle type is conjectural in itself. (Note the very same
manufacturer subsequently released a 1/72 scale diecast collectable of the vehicle the author illustrated, which has
been mislabelled as "unit unknown, Italy 1944")
Moving along to other variations of marking, below is perhaps the must subtle of styles thus far documented, once
again seen on a SdKfz 251 of the 3. Kompanie Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901., or 902. during the Budapest parade:
Amongst several other m.SPW with this style of marking was a relatively rare SdKfz 251/10, armed with a 3.7cm
Pak. The vehicle appears to be the platoon leader’s within an as yet unidentified Kompanie:
Whilst not seen on an m.SPW, the marking on this BMW R75 combination below is also included to show yet
another variation in Panzer-Grenadier tactical insignia, this time seen in Normandie, in the vicinity of JuayeMondaye, early June 1944 (note: its quite possible this marking had a Kompanie number painted beside it,
obscured by foliage):
One of at least two variations of Panzer-Pioneer insignia used by Panzer-Lehr may also be seen below on this rarely
photographed Sdkfz 251 Ausf D “Stuka zu Fuss”, during the same Budapest parade. The marking appears to have
a Kompanie number beside it, albeit it regrettably indistinct. To date no records have been found to determine
which subunits were assigned these SP rocket launchers within Panzer-Lehr, however a photo found by Paul
Hocking shows one numbered "33" assigned to the 3./Pz-Pio-Bat 38. of 2. Panzer-Divsion, hence the tentative 3.
Komp allocation shown here:
The other variation is somewhat more sporty-looking, shown this time on a SdKfz 251/9 “Stummel” in an
unidentified Normandie location. Note also it uses the ‘bow plate outline’ marking associated with Pz-Gren-LehrRegt 901. in Budapest:
It’s the author’s present impression this ‘bow plate outline’ marking was probably the original design used by PzGren-Lehr-Regt 901, but eventually it evolved into the disc-shaped ‘Sholze Insignia’ by the time of the Normandie
campaign. If that is the case this SdKfz 251/9 would have been photographed just before the ‘Scholze Insignia’
became standardised in Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901. There may also be cases where both markings were used
concurrently for a period.
Yet another insignia used on Panzerz-Lehr m.SPW is this fairly obscure example, seen on yet another SdKfz 251/7
somewhere in Normandie:
This marking can also be just made out on the SdKfz 251 seen below and is believed to be the Stabs marking of
Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130. This SdKfz 251 was photographed in the St-Lo area, 26th of July 1944, under the new
management of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division:
Returning finally back to the Pont Brocard SdKfz 251/3, unfortunately given the low resolution of this scan, it's not
possible at this stage to be certain what the tactical number is, ie was it just “91”, “911” or even a four digit
sequence? While there was indeed a specific set of guidelines on the application and sequencing of tactical
numbers, German units often adopted variations on this theme tailored to suit their own needs, meaning prefixes
like “91” may not necessarily be associated with a 9. Kompanie, 1. Zug, as face value would suggest.
In the case of Pz Lehr, the 9. Kompanie was in fact the Infanterie-Geschutz-Kompanie (IG-Komp., aka selfpropelled howitzer company), as this SdKfz 138/1 Ausf H Grille well illustrates – note the use of the PzGren-Lehr-Regt 901. ‘bow plate outline’ marking:
As a result, if indeed the Pont Brocard 251/3 was of that subunit (normally one m.SPW Funkwagen was allocated),
then this is how it may have arguably looked:
The tactical number “911” is not based on any identified sequencing within the IG-Komp., but rather on a vague
indication of this number in the photograph, although the GI peering into the vehicle and the resolution of the
image make it impossible to be sure at this stage. As to the colour of this tactical number, due to the nature of
black and white photos and film types potentially used, it remains open to debate - red being the most likely
alternative to black.
On the other hand, there are some interesting similarities between the Pont Brocard 251/3 and another m.SPW
Funkwagen seen earlier in the Budapest parade:
Given this circumstance, it seems plausible to suggest the Budapest example is the same vehicle, prior to the
application of the ‘Scholze Insignia’ seen in Pont Brocard (a marking that by the way has only thus far been
identified in use in Normandie to date)
Also of potential relevance here is the precedent of another m.SPW Funkwagen using a two digit sequence,
coincidentally beginning in “9”:
Furthermore, it may be observed on the Budapest example below what appears to be the possibility of a “St”
marking adjacent to the ‘bow plate outline’ marking, indicating its assignment within the Stab of either the
Regiment, or one of the two Abteilungen of Pz-Gren-Lehr-Regt 901:
Factoring all of these pieces of evidence in, an alternative (and to this author possibly more plausible) appearance
for the Pont Brocard SdKfz 251/3 may be something along these lines possibly:
This SdKfz 251/3 is depicted as a II version, which mounted three radios. As with the vast majority of Panzer-Lehr
m.SPW, it is configured as an early-production Ausf D; characterised by the Notek headlight on the LHS fender,
with its associated square-section conduit running up the body behind the front wheel and bolted to the inner
fender edge. Often m.SPW of this vintage are also seen with an additional set of small Bosch or Hella brand
headlights on each fender. In this event a similar conduit is mounted under the RHS fender. By at least the spring
of 1944, m.SPW were leaving the factories instead with just a single large Bosch headlight on the LHS fender initially with a square-section conduit, but which was soon substituted for a tubular version winding its way under
the fender. Essentially the introduction of the large Bosch headlight helps identify (in a generic sense) a midproduction vehicle, that is up until the introduction of the revised bonnet arrangement in early 1945, so
characteristic of late-production Ausf D.
In closing, special thanks go out to Lee Archer, Bill Auerbach, Frédérick Deprun, Hans Weber, Henrik Sjovall and
Sam Wren for their knowledge and generous assistance in this ongoing study.
Further reading:
Bernage, Georges; Cadel, Georges, Cobra La Bataille Decisive , Editions Heimdal, 1984 (ISBN 2-902171-15-3)
Bernage, Georges; Mari, Laurent; Benamou, Jean-Pierre; McNair, Ronald. Bataille de Normandie , Editions Heimdal,
1993 (ISBN 2 84084 026 3)
Jentz, Thomas L., Doyle, Hillary L., Panzer Tracts - No.15-3 mittlerer Schuetzenpanzerwagen SdKfz 251 Ausf C &
D, Panzer Tracts (ISBN 0-9771643-5-7)
Lodieu, Didier, Dying For St Lo - Hedgerow Hell July 1944 , Histoire & Collections, 2007 (ISBN 978-2-35250-035-3)
Perigault, Jean-Claude. La Panzer Lehr Division , Editions Heimdal, 1995 (ISBN 2 84048 081 6)
Ritgen, H. The Western Front 1944 - Memoires of a Panzer Lehr Officer, J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc, 1995 (ISBN
Sturm und Drang - Sdkfz 250 & 251 , Delta Publishing, 1991 (no ISBN
A Hummel photographed on the banks of the Seine at Rouen.
Given the relative rarity of these vehicles in Normandy, I decided to undertake an effort to do what I could to
at least whittle down the field of candidate owners. With only one Battery of six Hummels per Panzer Division
(minus 21. Panzer and with the possible exception of (9. Panzer and 116. Panzer) plus replacements or other
odds and ends (of which I could find no evidence), that means that only 54 Hummels served in Normandy
and that is only if all batteries were at full strength upon arriving. Added to that would be 20 munitionsträger
(2 per division except for 9. Panzer who had 4, though it is not know if all four were sent to Normandy).
As with most other German AFVs, the Hummel went through several noticeable changes throughout its
production life. Unlike other vehicles, though, the design changes were not granted any sort of official
designation. When discussing the Hummel, therefore, one must resort to an informal terminology to describe
the different production types. For a more detailed discussion of this refer to Nuts & Bolts. For my purposes, I
will use the term "early" to describe Hummels with a driver only pod and a centrally-mounted muffler on the
rear of the vehicle, the term "mid" for those Hummels that still have the driver only pod but which have
exhaust pipes which no longer connect to the rear-mounted muffler (the muffler having been deleted) and
the term "late" for those Hummels which have the driver and co-driver compartment. All of the "late"
Hummels that were photographed in Normandy still lack the armored cover for the air intake louvers so at
times I refer to these as "early late".
Most Normandy Hummels appear to be the mid-type Hummel with the driver only pod (and simple hatch for
co-driver), but with the rear-mounted muffler deleted. There are a few (three, possibly four, that I have seen
and one munitionsträger) Hummels with the later version driver & co-driver compartment. Since 1.SS and
116 Panzer and Panzer Lehr were equipped with Hummels immediately before or during the beginning of the
Normandy invasion, it is probable that these three were issued the "Late" version. None of the late Hummels
of which I have seen photos have armored covers for the air intakes (see the example under "Unidentified
Since Hummels were considered artillery pieces, the allocations of them were the responsibility of the Gen. d.
Artillerie and not many records from that department survived, so exact allocations would require combing
through Divisional, Corps and Army records.
Many sources categorically state that the I. Abteilung of each Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment was the self-
propelled Abteilung in which the 1st and 2nd Batteries were equipped by Wespes and the 3rd Battery was
equipped with Hummels. While this was a common arrangement, an even cursory review of the photographic
and document records reveals that this was far from being a standard organization.
According to "Nuts & Bolts Vol. 10: The Hummel" (Pg. 9), Hummels were assigned to the following ArtillerieAbteilungen in Normandy:
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 74................2.Panzer.......I. Abteilung
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 102..............9.Panzer.......II. Abteilung (conflicting evidence)
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 228...........116 Panzer........I. Abteilung (conflicting evidence)
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130...........130 Pz. Lehr.....II. Abteilung
SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 1............1. SS............II. Abteilung (later changed to I.)
SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 2............2. SS.............I. Abteilung.....1. Btty
SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 9............9. SS.............I. Abteilung.....1. Btty (probably 3. Btty)
SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 10.........10. SS.............I. Abteilung
SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12.........12. SS.............I. Abteilung
This list is generally corroborated by the extant literature available to me with a few exceptions. A short
comment on sources must be made before continuing. A basic premise in academic research, especially in
the context of historical studies, is the importance of primary sources. Primary sources are those sources
produced at the time or shortly after the event being studied and by a person or persons that are in the
position to write authoritatively on that subject. War diaries, reports, diaries, etc are examples of primary
documents. Secondary documents cite primary documents and build upon them with additional information.
Books, even when written by participants in the events being discussed, are with few exceptions secondary
documents. This work is limited in its accuracy and scope due to the lack of primary documents upon which
to base the information. While much of the secondary sources are of relatively high quality, with some being
authored by participants in the Normandy battles, the accuracy of others in regards to the Artillery Regiments
remains questionable and some, to be blunt, are works of guess, assumption or fiction.
Included below is a simplified chart condensing the additional information I have been able to obtain. In
many cases the identification of the Abteilung was found, but not the batterie number(s). A similar chart
summarizing known markings used by each division is included further below:
As for markings, there are five basic types: Divisional insignia, tactical number, tactical letter (the standard
artillery practice), tactical symbols, balkankreuz & names. These will be given where verifiable photos or
other reliable information allows. All additional information I have been able to uncover thus far follows:
2. Panzer Division:
Zetterling (Pg. 312) places the Hummel battery in the I. Abteilung but does not specify which Batterie. Strauß
does not really shed any light on the artillerie at all. Tessin (Vol. 6) also places the Hummels in the I.
Abteilung. According to Leonard Paul (Spannermann) in, the Hummels were located in the 3rd
Battery. His source is "Anlage zu 2. Pz Div. Ia. Nr. 392/44 g.Kdos." from the Bundesarchiv. Scherzer (Pg. 20)
also indicates that the 3. Batterie was the Hummel battery.
I have found no known photos of 2. Pz. Hummels nor any information about their markings. According to
Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 35) 2. Panzer reported 2 Hummels on hand on Sept. 5, 1944, so at least two made it
over the Seine. Ledwoch (Pg. 20 & 26) attributes two photos to 2. Panzer in Normandy but I highly doubt the
accuracy of these captions as the first one is a well-known photo that has always been attributed to the
Eastern front (per Allied-Axis it belongs to Großdeutschland).
9. Panzer Division:
Zetterling (Pg. 329) places the Hummel batterie in the II Abteilung. Tessin (Vol. 6) states that the Hummels
were in the I Abteilung. Leonard Paul has graciously supplied a photo of a 9. Pz. Hummel. It is a "new "
Hummel which sports a very non-standard tactical number of 6313 and other views apparently show a
tactical letter (C in this case) also. The numbers, due to their eccentric nature, do not at first blush seem to
shed much light on the battery to which they belong. The first number, "6", could possibly indicate the 6.
Batterie of the II. Abteilung, while the second number, "3", could indicate the 3. Batterie of the the I.
Abteilung. However, 9. Panzer had a tendency to employ an initial number that was either arbitrary or had
some sort of internal meaning. The second number indicates the battery or company as the case may be;
therefore, this Hummel belongs to the 3. Batterie. These are the marking combinations as extrapolated by
Leonard Paul:
C the Nouans/Saumur Hummel
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 41) 9th Panzer was actually allocated two batteries of Hummels. On Sept. 1,
1944 the Division reported 7 Hummels on hand, including two in short-term repair. Scherzer (Pg. 1) indicates
that originally (November 1943) the II. Abteilung was composed of 4. and 5. Batteries equipped with Wespes
and 6. Battery equipped with Hummels, but as of May 1944, the self-propelled battery was changed to the I.
Abteilung and the 1. and 2. Batteries were equipped with Hummels, the 3. with Wespes. According to
Zetterling (Pg. 330) on June 15, 1944 9. Pz had 6 Hummels on hand and was short 0. He cites "Pz.Gr. West
Ia Nr, 2592/44 g.Kdos., Meldung über Stand der Neuaufstellung (Stand 15.6), H.Qu, den 21. June 1944" as
the source for this information.
This is a very good example of how many (if not all in some cases) secondary sources incorrectly (some,
monumentally) present the incorrect organizational information for some German units. While Scherzer offers
a general bibliography, he does not give detailed sources, so I have no idea from where he extracted this
information. A gliederung from June 1, 1944 however, verifies that there were two Hummel batteries and
they were the 2. and 3. batteries, not the 1. and 2. as Scherzer asserts:
Here is a close-up of the Panzer-Artillery Regiment portion of the gliederung:
According to this Gliederung, the 3. Batterie had 6 vehicles and 1. and 2. Batteries were still being equipped.
According to Leonard Paul, who kindly forwarded this gliederung to me, the July gliederung reflects the same
composition. Also of interest is the written note showing that there were 2 Beobachtungs Panzer IIIs, 6
Hummels, 4 Munitionträger Hummels and 2 Munitionträger Wespes on strength in the I. Abteilung.
116 Panzer Division:
Zetterling (Pg. 379) and Guderian place the Hummels in the I. Abteilung (Pg. 5), but the Batterie is not
specified. Both the English and German versions of Guderian state that there were two Batteries of Hummels
(15.0 cm self-propelled, Pg. 5). I assumed that this was a typo but considering the information regarding this
possibility with 9. Panzer and that Dugdale also indicates an allocation of two batteries for 116. Panzer, it is a
possibility. Guderian also states that on 7 June this division was still short 5 Hummels (Pg. 38 - English) and
that all SP guns of the 1. Batterie were rendered useless on 25 August and the crew crossed the Seine that
night (but no clarification as to whether the 1. Batterie was equipped with Wespe or Hummel - Pg. 98).
According to Zetterling, Pg. 381 (quoting from "Anlagen zum KTB LXXXI. A.K. Ia, Meldungen der Divisionen,
Gliederung der 116. Panzer-Division, Stand 22.8.1944"), on August 22 the Artillery Regiment only had one
Hummel. It is not stated, however, if this number does or does not include any vehicles that are in short or
long-term repair. Tessin is not clear. Again, nothing of any certainty is known of 116. Pz. Hummel markings.
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 61) 116 Panzer was allocated 12 Hummels (two batteries) but on Sept. 14,
1944 they reported 0 Hummels on hand. Again, it is not clear if the division was allocated the two Hummel
batteries during the entire Normandy campaign. If allocated two Hummel batteries, were both present in
Normandy? Again, any information that might clear up this question is extremely helpful.
Zetterling (Pg. 385) supports the "Nuts & Bolts" conclusion of having the Hummels in the II. Abteilung,
although originally they were in the I. Abteilung. Once the I. Abteilung was equipped with its Wespes and
Hummels in Germany, it rejoined the Division in the region of Vire on June 20. In the meantime, the original
II. Abteilung became the I. Abteilung and the I. Abteilung became the II. Abteilung (see Zetterling, Pg. 384).
Furthermore, he states that the Hummel Batterie was the 6. Batterie (Pg. 387) and on 21 July there were
only two Hummels (it does not state if the other 4 were total losses or in repair). Perrigault (Pg. 129) also
places the Hummels in II. Abteilung, as does Ritgen (Pg. 51). Tessin (Vol. 6) also states that the II. Abteilung
was the self-propelled abteilung. According to Perrigault, most artillery was lost between the fighting from
Tilly-sur-Seulles to St. Lô.
This photo may or may not be of a Pz Lehr Hummel. It is labeled as such in Perrigault's book and in Ritgen's,
but the date and location are not indicated:
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 29), Panzer Lehr reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 3, 1944.
1. SS-Panzer Division "Leibstandarte":
According to Tessin (Vol. 2, Pg. 80) the Hummel Btty was initially in the II. Abteilung (May, 44) but was
moved to the I. Abteilung before going to Normandie. According to Lehmann/Tiemann (Pg. 320) the
Hummels were in the 3. Batterie. According to Dugdale Vol. II there were 0 SP guns on hand on May 1, 1944
and on May 15, 1944 but was fully outfitted by June 1, 1944. Thus, one can assume that all Hummels were
newly-issued and probably had the new style crew compartment that extended over to the co-driver also.
According to Dugdale/Wood (Pg.55), the Hummels were in the 5. Batterie (II. Abteilung) as of June 1 but
were in the 3. Batterie as of July 1: 6 Hummels, 2 Munitionsträger (Pg.74). As of August 3 (Pg. 102, 111,
113) LAH still had 6 with one undergoing repairs.
On the Eastern front, the Hummels and Wespes were christened with the names of fallen comrades, (Fischer,
"Von Berlin Bis Caen", Pg. 119):
There is no indication that this practice was continued after re-equipping in Belgium in 1944.
The following is the only post-Russia photo of an LAH Hummel that I have found (Fischer, "The SS-PanzerArtillerie 1", Pg. 183). Unfortunately, the photo does not show the sides and no markings are visible:
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 67), the LAH reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 1, 1944.
2. SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich":
Due to the multiple views of Hummel 110 aka "Clausewitz" , there is no doubt that the Hummels of Das Reich
were in the 1. Batterie, (NARA, printed in many different books):
This front view is a poor photo but the "bite" taken out of the top edge of the armor to the right of the gun
(as viewing it) and the bullet hole through the left front fender (as viewing it) match Clausewitz (there is
another frontal view of "Clausewitz" on the Pathe site
( The photo is from Pipet's "La
Trouée de Normandie":
Of interest is the double application of the Wolfsangel on the front of this vehicle: one, in the "normal
location", which is the fender, and the second on the upper glacis, above and to the right of the woman's
Both the Wespe and the Hummel that were knocked out in the Roncey Pocket show that names (those of
prominent German historical figures being most common, but others such as "Kirschke", on the side of the
251/18? behind Hummel 110, are of unknown significance) were painted on the sides of vehicles of SSPanzer-Artillerie-Regiment 2. This appears to be a common theme in Das Reich as the Stugs, at least the
earlier ones on the Eastern Front, had similar names applied to the side.
As can be seen in the photo from "La Trouée", the Das Reich divisional insignia is painted on the inside edge
of the front right (as viewed) fender and beside it is painted the tactical symbol for a fully-tracked SP battery,
to the left of which is the number one. This arrangement is more clearly seen on the same front-right fender
of the ammo-carrier below. The tactical number is centrally painted on the rear with the "0" seen on the
right-hand rear door and the "11" painted on the left-hand door (not seen, since the door is open). The
Sd.Kfz. 251/18 has the "Das Reich" divisional insignia painted to the left of the rear doors with the tactical
markings for an SP (fully tracked) Arty Abt. with a "1" to the right. It can be assumed that the Hummel has
similar markings that are covered up by the rear door. Notice that the "S" for schwere is absent from the
tactical symbol. The name "Clausewitz" is located above the louvers, the Balkankreuz located just a bit above
and to the rear of the top, rear-most corner of the air intake louvers. The tactical number is located a bit
above and to the rear of the Balkankreuz. Similar marking locations are found on the sides of the Wespe 307
"Scharnhorst" (see below).
The camouflage on the Hummel 110 and the Wespe 307 is quite visible and unique and, apparently,
somewhat standardized in the Abteilung. It is composed of long, wavy but generally straight bands which are
oriented diagonally from front to rear. The Wespe is painted in green bands only as can be verified in the
following color photo:
The Hummel appears to be painted in green bands outlined with brown (as suggested by Barry Crook and
which seems to be the most common opinion in past threads and other discussions of this Hummel) but could
be reversed. The Sd.Kfz 251/18 is painted in a similar pattern but the bands appear to be vertical on the rear
and almost vertical on the sides.
There is also a photo of a Das Reich Munitionsträger, which possibly was also photographed in the Roncey
pocket. Of interest is the later version full driver and co-driver compartment. Also, the full set of markings
(Div insignia to the left and the tactical insignia to the right) on the left fender. Due to the slight hue
difference between the Divisional insignia and the tactical insignia, I believe that the divisional insignia is
painted in yellow, which appears to be the normal color for Das Reich during this time, and the tactical
symbol in white:
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 67), Das Reich reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 1, 1944.
9. SS-Panzer Division "Hohenstaufen":
According to Zetterling (Pg. 335, 338) the Hummels were in the 3. Batterie. This is supported by Fürbringer
(Pg. 33). Tessin (Vol. 3, Pg. 158) also states that the I. Abt. was the self-propelled abteilung, but does not
identify the battery.
Both the 9. SS and 10. SS Panzer Divisions were equipped with the early version Hummels with single
driver's pod and the large muffler that was mounted on the rear of the vehicle. It is possible that these two
regiments were the only ones equipped with the earlier version Hummels in Normandy.
These Hummels are often stated to be painted in a base color of grey with green camouflage applied on top.
The illustrations in the old Vanguard series No. 18 on the Panzerkampfwagen IV represents the vehicles in
this paint scheme. Since Hummels were produced after the order to switch base colors from grey to
dunkelgelb makes this almost impossible. Some of the Hummels of 9. SS were dunkegelb with an
interconnecting pattern of green stripes that appear to match the pattern of mortar between roundish shaped
stones in a wall or floor. On at least one vehicle (Scharnhorst), the odd green spot is painted in the center of
some of these roundish areas of dunkelgelb. Other Hummels had a patterns of wavy bands that were moreor-less vertical but with some branching of bands.
Purported and verifiable photos of 9.SS Hummels do not show tactical numbers in use, but each gun had the
name of prominent German historical figures painted on the base of the barrels ("Blücher", "Seydlitz",
"Gneisenau", "Scharnhorst", "Clausewitz" are the ones that can be seen in known photos) and at least one,
"Seydlitz" had a tactical letter "C" painted to the left of the barrel on the front.
II. SS Panzer-Korps (9. & 10. SS) was rushed from Galicia to Normandy so the equipment they used in
Normandy was the same as that they had used in Galicia. It is doubtful that any equipment was replaced.
The Hummels of 9.SS had the tactical marking painted on the lower left plate below the spare wheel holders
(a field modification unique to 9.SS). These later became standard when the rear-mounted muffler was
deleted, but they were located much lower than those on the 9.SS Hummels) and the Balkankreuz is painted
on the left, rear door. It appears that the "s" is included in the tac sign. There are no good rear views of
these Hummels but in a right-rear view of the Hummel which has an anti-grenade screen attached, just to
the left of the ranging poles and below the left-hand spare road wheel, one can see the tactical symbol for
the Hvy SP artillery Battery. The "S" Appears to be in the standard place but the location in which the number
would normally be found is obstructed by the ranging poles. While it is not a very clear photo, it appears that
the very slightest left-hand edge of a number "3" is just visible, so I have represented the tactical symbol
using a three (but I may be wrong):
Comparison of all of the 9.SS Hummels loaded on the train makes obvious that the location of the
Balkenkreuzes were not exactly matched from one vehicle to another, but they were painted approximately
with the horizontal midline a little above the louvers and rear to them by about 2-3 feet (my guess).
A closeup of "Scharnhorst":
A closeup of "Clausewitz":
This next photo is labeled as a Hohenstaufen Hummel but the names which were visible on the gun tubes
while in Russia are not to be seen. It is possible that these were painted over or obscured with mud or that
this is not a Hohenstaufen Hummel:
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 67), the Hohenstaufen reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 3, 1944.
10. SS-Panzer Division "Frundsberg":
Tessin (Vol. 3, Pg. 190) places the self-propelled artillerie in the I. Abteilung. According to Leleu (Pg. 113),
the 2. Batterie was equipped with Wespe so that leaves 1. and 3. as possibilities. He also states that all
remaining SP artillerie ran out of fuel near St. Lambert and were destroyed by their crews (Pg. 164). This
poor photo is from Tieke's book and is said to be a 10. SS Hummel firing in Galicia:
The "Frundsberg" Hummel captured in Normandy and photographed by the British government had no
number markings:
Here are three photos of the same Hummel in situ, where it was abandoned:
It seems possible that the top photo shows "C" in Galicia, while the second three show it in British captivity
and the last three show it after it was abandoned by the Germans.
The Frundsberg Hummels appear to be painted in dunkelgelb only, but close review of the photo from the
Ryton book show camouflage patterns on the barrel. It is likely that the vehicles were at least lightly
camouflaged, but the scheme is obscured by dust and/or poor photography.
The only markings they bear on the sides are the balkankreuz. On the front right corner plate the tactical
letter (A, B, C, D, E or F) was painted in white probably, then below that is the tactical symbol and below that
the chassis number. I cannot make out this number. This vehicle went through a great deal of abuse between
the time that the photos of it were taken in Normandy and when they were taken by the British Government,
and there are two large scratches over the tactical symbol. It appears that there is a number to the right of
the symbol and possibly a letter to the upper left of the symbol. On the left-hand front corner plate, the "C" is
repeated below which is painted the divisional insignia for 10th SS. On the rear left is painted "C" again,
below which is the balkankreuz. To the left of the balkankreuz the Divisional Insignia is repeated. While it is
not very visible in any of the prints of the above photos that I have, I believe that the tactical symbol is
identical to or very similar to the example on the 9. SS Hummel.
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 67), Frundsberg reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 5, 1944.
12. SS-Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend":
According to Tessin (Vol. 3, Pg. 258) the I. Abteilung was the SP Abteilung. According to Meyers (Pg. 369 English, Stackpole), the Hummel Batterie was the 3. Batterie.
There are four different views of the same Hummel, which appears to have been destroyed in combat judging
from the bodies behind it. The fourth photo in this group appears to show it after it has been pushed or pulled
off of the road. It illustrates a probable "mid" version of the Hummel. The rear is destroyed but the spare
wheel hangers, which were only added as a standard feature after the muffler was deleted, are still visible.
To the left of the gun in the first photo the divisional insignia is faintly visible. I have cropped and heavily
contrasted this area so that it can be more readily visible. While this could also be the insignia of a 1.SS
vehicle since the insignia was similar and the image is too indistinct to be sure, I believe that it belongs to 12.
SS simply because 12. SS, being equipped earlier than 1.SS, was probably equipped with mid Hummels while
LAH was probably equipped with late Hummels:
According to Dugdale (Vol. I, Pg. 67), the Hitlerjugend reported 0 Hummels on hand on September 1, 1944.
The following is a summary of identified markings of Hummels operating in Normandy:
Also, on Panzer-Archiv at, Martin Block has
posted a list of strength returns which I have translated and included the June-August of 1944 portion here.
This information was provided to me after I had posted this information on Missing-Lynx
( and answers some of the above questions,
though I have not edited the original post other than inserting this additional information):
Hummel Inventory on the Westfront from June 1944
Information obtained from the monthly status reports of the units concerned and other documents.
(? means that no report is available, + means the minimum number)
1.6.1944 = 38
6 with 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 74 (2. Pz.Div.)
6 with 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 102 (9. Pz.Div.)
5 with 2./Pz.Art.Rgt. 119 (11. Pz.Div.)
0 with Pz.Art.Rgt. 155 (21. Pz.Div.)
10 with 2. & 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 146 (116. Pz.Div.)
0 with Pz.Art.Lehr-Rgt. 130 (Pz.Lehr-Div.)
6 with 2./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 1 (1. SS-Pz.Div.)
5 with 1./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 2 (2. SS-Pz.Div.) [Note: Although the return reports indicate that the 3rd Bttr is
Hummel battery, photos from France unambiguously show that it is 1st Bttr.]
6 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 12 (12. SS-Pz.Div.)
1.7.1944 = 56+
6 with 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 74 (2. Pz.Div.)
6 with 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 102 (9. Pz.Div.)
5 with 2./Pz.Art.Rgt. 119 (11. Pz.Div.)
0 with Pz.Art.Rgt. 155 (21. Pz.Div.)
12 with 2. & 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 146 (116. Pz.Div.)
6 with 6./Pz.Art.Lehr-Rgt. 130 (Pz.Lehr-Div.)
6 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 1 (1. SS-Pz.Div.)
5 with 1./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 2 (2. SS-Pz.Div.) [Note: same as above]
6 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 9 (9. SS-Pz.Div.)
? with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 10 (10. SS-Pz.Div.) Ostfront 1.6.1944 = 6
4 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 12 (12. SS-Pz.Div.)
1.8.1944 = 18+
? with 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 74 (2. Pz.Div.)
? with ?./Pz.Art.Rgt. 102 (9. Pz.Div.)
6 with 2./Pz.Art.Rgt. 119 (11. Pz.Div.)
0 with Pz.Art.Rgt. 155 (21. Pz.Div.)
? with 2. & 3./Pz.Art.Rgt. 146 (116. Pz.Div.)
3 with 6./Pz.Art.Lehr-Rgt. 130 (Pz.Lehr-Div.)
5 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 1 (1. SS-Pz.Div.)
? with 1./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 2 (2. SS-Pz.Div.) [Note: same as above]
? with SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 9 (9. SS-Pz.Div.)
? with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 10 (10. SS-Pz.Div.)
4 with 3./SS-Pz.Art.Rgt. 12 (12. SS-Pz.Div.)
Unidentified Hummels:
This first photo is of an early or mid-version Hummel abandoned at Rouen. A tactical number is absent but a
tactical letter and tactical symbol is present. The normal format for this symbol for a Hummel battery would
be the symbol for a fully-tracked artillery battery with an "s" ("s" is for schwere meaning heavy, as opposed
to "le" for leichte, or light, for Wespen) above the left end of the "track" and the battery number to the right
of the right end of the "track". This marking is unusual because the "s" appears to have been replaced by a
"c". I have no idea why. On the far corner there is a white marking which might be a duplication of the "E".
The markings are very similar to the Frundsberg Hummel which was captured by the British (see above). Any
elucidation on the "c" in the tactical symbol would be appreciated. (Note: Per Nuts & Bolts, Pg. 16, 5th
paragraph, the author(s) state that the letter that appears to be a "c" to me is an "s"):
Next is an early late version Hummel (no armored cover for the air intake louvers). It appears to belong to a
Heer unit from the uniform of the crewman/passenger. There are absolutely no visible markings but there is
probably a balkankreuz lurking below the vegetation:
Finally, there are two Hummels in this photo of a dump said to be in the Falaise area. The nearest one is
numbered 362. The number sequence is distinct from the Seine Hummel (316) so very likely does not belong
to the same division. Nothing much can be observed on the second Hummel as the photo is of poor quality,
small and the Hummel is very damaged. They do both appear to be mid versions, though.
11th Panzer:
While this Division did not participate in the Normandie battles, the following photo is of a Hummel that
belonged to 11th Pz (the 11th Div insignia can be seen) and was lost in France. It was found on the web and
belongs to Bill Petz: hummel
The Seine Hummel cannot belong to either Panzer Lehr (since their Hummels belonged to the 6. Batterie and
the bulk of the division also withdrew much farther to the east), to 2. SS (1. Batterie), 9. SS (their Hummels
were early models, they did not carry numbers and the camouflage does not match) or 9. Panzer (due to the
4-digit number sequence they employed). It probably does not belong to 10.SS as the markings do not
match and, again, their Hummels were early models. That leaves 1.SS, 2 Panzer, 12. SS and 116. Panzer as
According to Pallud (Pg. 174) elements of 2., 21., 116. and 2.SS crossed at Rouen, but which elements are
not specified nor can it be assumed that parts of other Divisions, whether large or small, did not (try to) cross
at Rouen. Many 1st SS vehicles have also been photographed in the area in which Hummel 316 was parked.
While it is possible that batteries may have contained mixtures of "early", "mid" and/or "late" version
Hummels, it is more likely that they were, given the small numbers needed to equip a battery, from the same
production batches (admittedly, an assumption on my part). Under this assumption, it is probable that 1.SS
was equipped with late Hummels based on the photo from Fischer's book and the date that they received
there Hummels (May, 1944). It is also probable that 116. Panzer was equipped with late Hummels, though
the lack of any sort of photographic touchstone for this unit makes ruling it in or out impossible at the
moment. Nonetheless, unfortunately, since the front of the Hummel is not visible, we cannot even clearly
ascertain if it is a mid version or late version (unless there are smaller components of which I am not aware
that shed light on that) and cannot use that to help determine the Division to which it belongs.
The possibility that Hummel 316 belongs to 2. Panzer is compelling to me, but based on admittedly very thin,
circumstantial evidence, most of which is contained in the thread linked in the first paragraph of this article.
Hans Weber mentions the memoir of a member of Pz.-Art.-Rgt. 74 who states that one Wespe and one
Hummel crossed the Seine and, according to Dugdale, they were the only unit, other than 9. Panzer, to have
any Hummels on strength at the beginning of September. While it is tempting to assume that 316 is the 2.
Panzer Hummel that made it across, we have no evidence that 316 was even ferried to the other side of the
Seine. It could have ended up as a smoldering hulk after the allied bombing of Rouen. Another piece of highly
circumstantial evidence that the Hummel belongs to a Heer unit is that the car that is being towed is a Heer
But, again, this could have been an abandoned vehicle that was "saved" by another unit.
Even though I have not been able to narrow down the owner of Hummel 316 as much as I had expected
would be possible, I hope that this information is interesting and helpful to some of you who are reading it
and that it will provide a firm foundation on which to build further investigations concerning Hummels in
Normandy. I will continue to investigate this topic and if and when more useful information arises, I will post
I would like to thank all of those who helped me with this including Leonard Paul (without whose generous
sharing of photos and documentation this article would have been much less accurate and more skeletal),
Barry Crook (who in addition to sharing information and photos gave me a quick tutorial in Photoshop
graphics production - the poor quality of which is totally due to my lack of skill and practice), Martin Block
and Vasco Vaz.
Any mistakes are completely mine and any constructive criticisms and/or additions are appreciated.
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(Sd.Kfz 165)." Uelzen: Nuts & Bolts, 1999.
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Bedford, PA: The Aberjona Press, 2001.
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Sam Wren
Abilene, República de Texas
"There are some who call me ...Tim." you know where it's from
Respond to this message
other pictures
Fred Bayerlein
(Login Fred_Bayerlein)
Researcher - Archive1944-45
January 18 2008, 9:42 AM
Thanks Sam,
Very nice work, please find below several others picture of Hummel at western front
in summer 44.
1... Front view of Das Reich Hummel near Montauban ( southern France ) may 1944
2,3 ... Two view of this HJ Hummel disabled and badly damaged outskirts of
Chambois/Fel, Falaise Gap - 20/21 august 1944
4... Other 9.Pz Hummel destroyed near Marolles les Braults from the Fabrice Avoie
5... collected self prop in Saint-Lambert sur Dives dump in November 1944
6... 11.Pz Hummel crossed Baumes les Dames early september 1944