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Axis One-Man Tank in France?
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:35 pm
Post subject: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

I think this might have been brought up before...
www.icwest.com/tc/nmohar/minen.htm

The allied soldier has this recolection:

"On one day after a counterattack, we took a bunch of prisoners and all of their equipment. One of the "things" was a little one-man tank that had a Model A Ford motor in it. The guys from the wire platoon rammed it around, smashing it into trees and really 'testing' it. I wish I had that miniature tank here at home, too."

Any idea what they're talking about? I'm guessing it's just some sort of artillery tractor or some such thing.

---Vil.
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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:14 pm
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

And here are some other WWII One-Man tank references. I understand that most of the time the observer is simply mistaken - either it's an artillery tractor, or a 2-man vehicle. But hey, you never know. Any ideas?

www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopl...0512.shtml
"I remember that the Gun Artillery Officer was driving a german
one man tank."

www.silverkingtractors...Shaver.htm
The transmission in the Silver King was very good.
General Motors was allowed to use it in their
one man tank during the war. After the war, some
of the parts came back here and went into tractors.


www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopl...9162.shtml
I can remember the time when we pushed the Italians
out of North Africa. As we moved up to Tobruk we
came across about 100 small Italian tanks which
were called the Beetle. They were a one man tank
which the Italians filled up with high explosives
and sent over into our lines. They were then
exploded by remote control to try and cause
as much havoc and damage as possible but it
was never a success since we used to keep moving
our supplies about to different places.
-----

Any idea what that one man "Beetle" tank the Italians were using was...?
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Cloudy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:02 pm
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

- BenjaminLiottel


www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopl...9162.shtml
I can remember the time when we pushed the Italians
out of North Africa. As we moved up to Tobruk we
came across about 100 small Italian tanks which
were called the Beetle. They were a one man tank
which the Italians filled up with high explosives
and sent over into our lines. They were then
exploded by remote control to try and cause
as much havoc and damage as possible but it
was never a success since we used to keep moving
our supplies about to different places.
-----

Any idea what that one man "Beetle" tank the Italians were using was...?



I would be inclined to dismiss this as either garbled information that was passed to the individual or just simply failing memory. I have a hard time believing that the Italians would have 100 or so remote-controlled tanks at Tobruk either prior to capture in 1941 or the second time around in 1942. I believe that these vehicles would most likely be CV-33 two-man tankettes or similar that were obviously useless by 1942 and were simply stored. Never say never though...
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JohnPrigent
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:54 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Sounds to me like either Goliaths or Borgward BIVs. More probably the Borgwards since those did have a driver's space, who was supposed to hop out before the radio control took over. Goliaths were wire-controlled if I remember rightly, much too small for a driver to get into, and like the Borgwards were intended to allow remote demolition of minefields and pillboxes etc without a soldier needing to creep through enemy fire to place the explosives.

Cheers

John

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armyjunk2
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:45 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Could a Renault FT-17 be confused as a "little one-man tank that had a Model A Ford motor" by the guy that was used to seeing Shermans?
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:21 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Obviously the Germans had a lot more Kugelpanzers than previously though Wink

Neil
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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:37 pm
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

John Prigent,

I have been attempting to compile information on all the worlds One-Man Tanks, either paper projects, or completed vehicles.

Would you agree that I could classify the Borgward IV as a "One Man Tank"? In my definition, a one-man tank is a Tracked, Armoured Fighting Vehicle, manned by only one man. As such... It seems the Borgward IV was driven and controlled by only one man, and was armored, was tracked, and was a fighting vehicle. Unless objection is raised, I will add the Borgward IV to my list of "one man tanks". Its method of "fighting" was a bit unorthodox - dropping a huge charge and then driving away and detonating it, but it is still fighting.

---Vil.
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JohnPrigent
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:46 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Vil

I would certainly class the Borgward IVs as one-man tanks, all three versions of them - Ausfs A, B and C. Plus the two other charge-layers, one was a predessor of the Borgward that had a concrete hull instead of steel and a later type called the Springer was based on the Kettenkrad chassis. I don't have my books to hand at the moment to give you the designation of the concrete version. All of them were tracked, armoured fighting vehicles and as you say, dropping a large explosive charge is just as much "fighting" as is firing a gun.

Cheers

John

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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:33 pm
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

John,

I would love some better pictures of these vehicles. The Borgward IV Ausf A had an open cockpit with a little glass windshield, while the B and C had hinge-walled armored cockpits, with the cockpit either on the Left, or the Right of the vehicle, depending on model, correct?

And this is the Springer vehicle you mentioned, right? Its really hard to see the driving compartment in any of these... And I found no good pictures of models of the vehicle or anything.
wilk.wpk.p.lodz.pl/~wh...ringer.htm

Could you direct me to information on that concrete hulled vehicle you mentioned?

And all of these were one-man vehicles correct?

I had not been aware of any of these vehicles. Very cool stuff. The two-man vehicle made out of the Borgward IV mounting all the rockets in a light tank-killer role is quite something too.

Do you think there is a book that covers these vehicles in depth? I know theyre not mentioned at all in classic books like "Tanks Of The World 1915-1945" by Camberlain and Ellis. So I'd love to know more.

---Vil.
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JohnPrigent
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:36 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

The trouble with those books is that they're old, out of date due to more recent research, and do leave a lot out for reasons of space. Yes, there are at least three books that cover the Borgwards. I'll check my collection and post the titles later today.

Cheers

John

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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:34 pm
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

I read in a kit review for a model of the Borgward IV that, "Later in the war, the B IVs were adapted as makeshift weapons platforms, carrying items such as the 8.8 cm Panzerschreck and other antitank means. It was limited due to the fact it was only designed to carry one person (the driver).".

I have only seen photos of the B IV "Wanze" light panzer jager, mounting 6 panzershrecks with provisions for a gunner to the other side of the driver. This is a picture of the MMS model of the Wanze, and it gives a better impression of the vehicle than most photos I have seen.


I didnt know B IVs modified with other weapons.

---Vil.
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JohnPrigent
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:06 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Sorry to be late getting back on this, I had a rather hectic day yesterday, but here's a list of good books dealing with the Borgwards.

First, Panzer Tracts No.14, Gepanzerte Pionier-Farhzeuge by Tom Jentz. $19.95. It does deal with other German engineer vehicles as well but is a very good single reference.

Second, a two-book set, German Remote-Control Tank Units 1940-1943 and the same but 1943-45,both by Markus Jaugitz, also cheap since they're in Schiffer's paperback series. They're translations (good one) of Jaugitz' books in German on the subject and have lots of photos.

Third, the expensive one, also by Jaugitz and titled FunklenkerPanzer, a History of German Army Remote and Radio-Controlled Armor Units. This has a great deal of extra information and more photos, it's not just a compilation of his other two books.

Those Borgwards with rocket launchers did see some use in 1945 but there were only a few of them and the impossiblity of aiming meant that they were volley weapons - fire once and run away in case you miss!

Cheers

John

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BenjaminLiottel
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:42 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

Fantastic! Thank you very much John. I really appreciate it. That expensive book goes for around $90 on Amazon.com, it shouldn't be too hard to aquire.

Do any of these books go into the one-man demolition vehicles being used as makeshift weapons carriers? I read something about how there were plans to fit a 150mm recoiless weapon onto a Springer! How this was to be done, I have no idea, the Springer was a very small vehicle.

I am interested in these vehicles because they are quite fascinating, and I had never heard of any of them except the Goliath. However, any chance to tie these vehicles into my research on "one-man tanks" would be greatly appreciated. In the strictest definition, the Springer, while sacrificial, was a one-man tracked armored fighting vehicle - but if any Borgwards or Springers were ever fitted with guns, while still retaining one occupant, that might fit peoples definitions of "one man tank" even better.

Thanks again for the information! I will endeavor to pick up those books when I can.

---Vil.
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JohnPrigent
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:58 am
Post subject: Re: Axis One-Man Tank in France?

There isn't much information about them being used as weapons carriers, Benjamin. Off the cuff, the only photo I remember seeing was one of a BIV in Berlin 1945, as in the model photo you showed.

Cheers

John

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