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    Recollections of German Veterans:  12th SS Panzer Division

Photo: An SS Tank Commander in a Panzer IV "Panther."


Interviewed 7 June 2000:

As a Waffen SS Tank Commander in the 12th SS Panzer Division, this former soldier is a veteran of both the Eastern and Western Fronts and a winner of the German Cross in Gold, the Tank Assault Badge, the Wound Badge in Silver, and the Iron Cross First and Second Class.  This officer served in a variety of tanks including the Panzer IV, Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II tanks.  His comments regarding helmets are detailed below:

"Just like the Infantry all of our tank crews were provided with helmets to protect us when we went outside of our vehicles.  Sometimes they had decals on them and sometimes they did not.  What I remember most is that there was no room for them to be carried inside the tank.  For this we were given boxes on the back of the turret to store spare equipment and parts and our personal things.  Because this was normally filled and because we wanted access to the helmet, we would hang them on the outside of the tank near a hatch.  Unfortunately we had a habit of loosing a lot of helmets because of this.  Whenever we hit a ditch or a bump the helmet would bounce off into the field.  Later we would discover that we lost it.  After that we would go to the supply sergeant and ask for more helmets.  I did this three times with my men until the supply sergeant finally told me that he would no longer give us any more helmets because we kept losing them.  From then on we went without any helmets and this is why you don't see many of them on tanks or with the crews."

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