[Lone Sentry: Enemy Vehicles at Aberdeen including German Tiger Tank]
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"Enemy Vehicles" from Yank

[Yank - The Army Weekly: Cover, German Tiger Tank]    Article on enemy vehicles tested at Aberdeen Ordnance Research Center from the January 21, 1944 issue of Yank. The cover is an image of German Tiger I tank from the 1.Ko. of s.Pz.Abt. 504 which was captured by Allied forces in Tunisia.

At Aberdeen's Ordnance Research Center, inquisitive
experts finds what makes an Axis vehicle tick, and
their tests produce facts worth remembering.
By Sgt. MACK MORRISS and Sgt. RALPH STEIN, YANK Staff Correspondents
berdeen, Md. -- The first thing you learn at the Foreign Material outfit here is never, ever, to call a Nazi tank a "Mark Six" or a "Mark Four." The correct designation is PzKW VI or PzKW IV. "Mark" is a British way of saying model, whereas PzKW means what it says: Panzer Kampfwagen, or armored battlewagon.
For more than a year captured enemy vehicles have been arriving here from every battle front on earth. The first was a half-track prime mover that came in sections and required three months of trial-and-error tinkering to be completely reconstructed. Missing parts, which were requisitioned from North Africa, never arrived; mechanics in the Base Shop section made their own.
The worst headache for repair crews here is the difference in measurement caused by the European metric system. Nothing manufactured in the U.S. will fit anything in a Nazi machine unless it is made to fit. In reconstructing the captured stuff, it has sometimes been necessary to combine the salvaged parts of two or three vehicles in order to put one in running order. The mechanics have made their own pistons or recut foreign pistons to take American piston rings; they've cut new gears; they've had to retap holes so that American screws will fit them.
Specially assigned recovery crews, ordnance men trained to know and work with enemy material, roam the battlefields of the world to collect the captured rolling stock, which is being accumulated here. It arrives with the dust of its respective theater still on it, plus the names and addresses of GIs who scratch "Bizerte" or "Attu" or "Buna Mission" in big letters on the paint.
Generally speaking, ordnance experts here have found German stuff exceptionally well made in its vital mechanisms, whereas the less essential parts are comparatively cheap. The motor of a Nazi personnel carrier, for example, is a well-built affair, while the body of the vehicle is little more than scrap tin. Japanese pieces of equipment for the most part are cheap imitations of American or British counterparts.
The engineers, who judge by the mass of detail employed in all German-built machines, are convinced that the Nazi idea has been to sacrifice speed for over-all performance and maneuverability. The German equipment, from the sleek motorcycle to the massive PzKW VI, is rugged.

[PzKW VI Tiger at Aberdeen]
T-3 Bruce Warner welds the cracked fender of a German personnel carrier received at Aberdeen.
A mechanic at Ordnance Research Center adjusts the valves of the Maybach engine in a PzKW IV.
This is the famous Tiger (with a picture of its namesake painted on the face plate), the largest and heaviest German tank. Weighing 61 1/2 tons, it is propelled at a speed of from 15 to 18 miles an hour by a 600-to-650 horsepower Maybach V-12 cylinder engine. Maybach engines are used in many of the Nazi panzer wagonen and in submarines. The PzKW VI has an armor thickness which ranges from 3 1/4 to 4 inches. An additional slab of steel mounted in conjunction with its 88-mm forms frontal armor for the turret. Besides the long-barreled 88, it carries two MG34 (Model 1934) machine guns. Largest tank used in combat by any nation today, the Tiger is more than 20 feet long, about 11 3/4 feet wide and 9 3/4 feet high. It has a crew of five.

[Enemy Vehicles, PzKW III, PzKW IV]
Germans love gadgets. To operate the viewing slots used by the commander of this PzKW III, there is an intricate system of levers and handles to raise or lower the cupola a fraction of an inch. A few grains of sand might easily jam the works.
The German medium tank (above) is driven by a 280-horsepower 12-cylinder Maybach engine. It can do 29mph at top speed. Compared with the Tiger, the PzKW III is lightly armored, weighing a mere 19 tons. This tank mounts a 5-cm (two-inch) kampfwagen kanone and two 7.92-mm MG34 machine guns, and has a crew of five. It ranges somewhere between our own light and medium tanks, and in the early days of the war it was a mainstay of the German Wehrmacht's famed blitzkrieg tactics.
Close-up of the PzKW III shows spare bogie wheel and, on the side of the turret above it, three smoke projectors. Escape hatch, with door open, can be seen in the side of the hull.
The PzKW IV is slightly heavier than the III, weighing 22 tons, and is a later model. It has the same engine as the III, but its speed is less: 22 mph maximum. It is armed with a 75-mm gun and two 7.92 MG34s. Cannon shown here, like the 88 on the opposite page, is fitted with a muzzle brake which reduces recoil. Nazis festoon their tanks with spare tracks, as seen here on the front sloping armor and on the turret.

[PzKW II and Japanese light tank]
The PzKW II is an obsolete type of tank now primarily used by the Germans for observation and reconnaissance. Although it is comparatively low powered, having a six-cylinder 135-horsepower engine, its maximum speed is 35 miles per hour, making it the fastest German tank in use today. It is armed with a 20-mm auto-cannon and one 7.92-mm machine gun. In the close-up at left is shown the quarter-elliptic springing of bogies which has been replaced in newer German models by a torsional-suspension system. This PzKW II came into Aberdeen painted a bright red, with "Snafu" lettered on the side.
Germans frequently use captured material intact or convert it to suit their own purposes. In the foreground above is a German 15-cm howitzer mounted on a French Lorraine medium tank chassis. To its right is a German 75-mm gun on a Czech medium tank chassis.
JAPANESE light tank, model 1935, pictured above and right, was built in October 1941 and was captured last summer in the Aleutians. Like most Japanese equipment, it performs better than it looks. It has a six-cylinder air-cooled 250-horsepower Diesel engine which moves its eight-ton weight at 22 mph. It is armed with a 37-mm cannon and two 7.7 machine guns. Note the old-style riveting of armored plates throughout.

[How to Drive an Axis Vehicle]
German, Czech, Italian and some Jap vehicles have Bosch ignition systems, many of which can be operated by the key pictured at left. Note that the key is notched. Under the key is shown the ignition switch and the ignition light. On the switch, which is turned by the key, are positions numbered 0, 1 and 2, which control the lights. The key acts as a master switch. If key is inserted to its first notch, lights can be operated but ignition is off. If key is pushed in further, lights, ignition, starter all can be operated but ignition is off. If key is pushed in further, lights, ignition, starter all can be operated. In this position of the key, the red ignition light glows; and when this light, which is also the starter button, is pushed the starter will operate.

[Halftracks and Recon Cars]
The German armored half-track personnel carrier is a six-cylinder, 100 horsepower job with a maximum speed of 40 mph. It carries two MG34 machine guns. This vehicle has a coffin-shaped body, and carries 10 men on two longitudinal seats. One machine gun is mounted to the right of the eleventh man, the driver, whose visibility is limited to two small glassed-in slots as shown above.
Interior of the half-track at left shows its unique inverted steering wheel. Included among instruments on the dashboard is a tachometer, indicating engine revolutions.
This is the German eight-tom half-track personnel carrier and prime mover. It has a passenger capacity of 12 men and is used as the standard tractor for the 88-mm dual-purpose gun.
The spare wheel on each side of the chassis of this German command and reconnaissance car turns freely to prevent bellying on rough ground. It has a V-8 engine, four-wheel drive, and can do 45 mph. There is no armament.
The Nazi BMW motorcycle has an opposed horizontal twin engine, driving the rear wheel by a shaft instead of a chain. Unlike most European models it has a hand gear shift similar to conventional U. S. models.
A side-car version of the BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) which has a unique motorcycle feature -- a reverse gear. Unlike American models it has a hand clutch. This is as good as any motorcycle in the world.

[Yank Cover: German Tiger Tank in Tunisia]
[PzKW VI Tiger in Tunisia] This vicious-looking machine, photographed by YANK's Sgt. George Aarons during the Tunisian campaign, is a PzKW VI (Panzer Kampfwagen) which translates literally as armored battlewagon. More often it was called the Tiger, but here with the sleeve knocked off its 88-mm cannon and resting against the muzzle brake, it is definitely a tamed one. See pages 2, 3, 4, 5 for photos of Nazi and Jap vehicles at Aberdeen (Md.) Ordnance Research Center.
PHOTO CREDITS: Cover -- Sgt. George Aarons 2, 3, 4, 5 -- Sgt. Ben Schnall.

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