Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Vickers Light Tank Mk VI … in German service

When the BEF abandoned most of its equipment during the withdrawal from Dunkirk, it left behind lots of vehicles and weaponry that the German Army was able to repair and reuse. Amongst the list of equipment that was utilised by its new owners was a number of Vickers Light Tank Mk VI.

The tanks were not much use to the Germans as tanks, but they were tracked vehicles and their chassis did have potential to be converted into self-propelled guns. A certain Hauptmann Alfred Becker of 227 Infanterie-Division saw that potential, and during late 1940 and early 1941 he and his men converted 34 Vickers Light Tank Mk IVs into self-propelled guns and support vehicles.

Hauptmann Becker and his men built:
  • Twelve x 10.5cm leFH 16 auf Geschutzwagen auf Fahrgestell Mk VI 736 (e)
  • Six x 15cm leFH 13 auf Geschutzwagen auf Fahrgestell Mk VI 736 (e)
  • Twelve x Mk VI Munitionspanzer
  • Four Mk VI Beobachtungspanzer
  • A number of Bren Munitionspanzer
These converted vehicles served with 15 Batterie, Artillerie-Regiment 227 (part of 227 Infanterie-Division) on the Eastern Front until 1942.

10.5cm leFH 16 auf Geschutzwagen auf Fahrgestell Mk VI 736 (e)




Mk VI Beobachtungspanzer


Mk VI Munitionspanzer


The trailer that is being towed by this Munitionspanzer does not look right. The wheel arches would appear to have been made to accommodate much larger wheels that those fitted to the trailer.

Having found photographs of these vehicles, I have a feeling that at some time in the future I may well have to build one or two of them to add to my wargames collection ... and I suspect that I will not be the only wargamer to do so!

10 comments:

  1. Great conversion ideas there - thank you.

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  2. Bob

    I've been reading a thread on this unit elsewhere this week, where someone I would expect to know says there were no 150mm SP, that they were planned but never made. This thread also has a photograph of a 105mm SP on the move, and a rather nice WIP shot of someone's Beobachtungspanzer conversion. If you're interested let me know and I'll send you the URL.

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  3. Pat G,

    I had a feeling that other people might find this particular conversion interesting ... and I am pleased to find out that I was right!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Vintage Wargaming,

    I must admit that the only 'proof' that I have of there being a 15cm version is a translation I made from the photograph of the text a German book ... and I would be the first to admit that my German is by no means fluent! I have certainly not seen any photographs of a 15cm version ... so it may well be a chimera.

    I would be interested in any further information that you can direct me to.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. It seems to me entirely possible that 15cm versions were built. However, I would have anticipated seeing a 15.0cm infantry gun (as was fitted occasionally onto a PzI chassis - I have one of these in my collection). The medium piece that was, say, fitted to a PzIV chassis would be too long and heavy, I would have thought.

    I notice that the 10.5cm gun/howitzer looks a bit shorter than and a bit different from the usual light artillery piece we are used to. Possibly the source of this ordnance might need to be looked into?

    These are very informative and intriguing photos, Bob. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  6. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    As far as I can tell, the designations for both the 10.5cm and 15cm indicate that they were weapons first used during the First World War. They were therefore much smaller and lighter than the newer 10.5cm and 15cm howitzers used by frontline units.

    A picture of the 10.5cm howitzer can be seen here and one of the 15cm howitzer here.

    Your suggestion regarding the possible use of the 15cm Infantry Gun on a MkIV chassis makes sense, but they would have been allocated to Infantry Regiments and not to the Artillery.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Great info Bob,

    I've gone a conversion of the JB/ Airfix MkVI into the observation version. It's a little crude as it was my first ever conversion. I can post a pick if it would be of use?

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  8. Pete,

    I'd love to see your conversion ... and I am sure that others would as well.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. I wonder if those trailer wheels aren't actually to allow it to run on (train) rails????

    ps. Bob, pls turn off the captcha password verification thing... dreadful... I can never get the word... :o))

    pps. Since I turned it off on my blog I've seen no increase in spam...

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  10. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    The wheels certainly look like would run on rails ... but I suspect that they might have been taken off another vehicle or even a small anti-tank gun.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. I will try to remove the password verification if I can.

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