Sunday, December 25, 2016
Panzerjäger Triebwagen 51
During World War 2, the German war machine relied on railways to provide forces at the front with weapons and supplies. These rail lines of communication were especially critical on the Russian Front where roads were few and far between. While these rail lines provided the Germans with the ability to move men and materiel quickly, Russian forces regularly tried to interdict these supply lines by land and by air. These threats to the German lines of communication lead to a number of unique solutions to protect the trains. Against air threats, FlaK guns were mounted to rail cars, then these led up to armored emplacements atop rail cars to increase survivability for the gun crews.
Threats from Soviet ground forces ranged from infantry to armored assaults. To defend against the latter threat, the Gernans employed surplus tank turrets on armored rail cars. One of the more lethal combinations was the Triebwagen 51 that was armed with two Panzer IV Ausf.H or Ausf.J turrets atop a sizeable rolling bunker. These Panzer IV turrets were armed with the 75mm KwK 40 L/48 main gun which was effective against most of the armored threats likely to be encountered.