Print this page

Enlarged picture

9th Tank Division in Holland - may 1940

The exact location of this picture is unknown. It was taken somewhere between 11 and 16 May 1940 by a German member of the 9th PD. It may well have been taken during the crossing of the Maas river.

In the picture to the left three mechanised guns of the Schwere Infanterie Geschütz Kompanie 701 [sIG.Kp.701]. The "Selbstfahrlaffetten" [Self-propelled guns] in this picture were quite rare in the German army. Only 38 of these peculiar mechanised guns were produced. It had been a hasty project to supply the armoured and mechanised units with self-propelled guns that could keep up with the Panzergrenadiere [mechanised infantry].

These guns were designated "15 cm sIG 33 auf Panzerkampfwagen IB" or shortly "GW I für 15 cm sIG 33". They were nicknamed "Bison". It was an assembly of a Panzer I.B undercarriage, with a 10 mm armoured shield to front and sides, with a 150 mm heavy infantry gun [howitser] IG33. The IG33 was a Rheinmetall product, introduced in 1933. It had a very limited range of a little under 5,000 m. The assembly total weight rose to 8,5 tonnes, which in fact was beyond the yields of the undercarriage and power-plant. Mechanical failure of the undercarriage and power-plant were therefore frequent, and when the remaining guns were later used in the rough terrain of the Russian theatre they were soon abolished. The last outfit operating the Bison was the unit 704 in 1943. The other units fitted with [each six of] these guns had already abolished the weapon in 1942.

To the right of the three mechanised guns one can see a Pz.IV with a KWK L/24 75 mm gun and a Pz.III to the far right.

Category Gallery / Armament and equipment (69 images)