Polish Troops 1945

One of the units involved in the operation in Pomerania was the Polish 4th SPCzC (the Polish abbreviation for Independent Heavy Tank Regiment), which took part in the skirmish at Miroslawiec on 10 February 1945. Note that the turret on the last IS-2 heavy tank in this photo is covered with a solid coat of winter camouflage, while the rest of tanks are in standard dark green camouflage. A few of this unit’s IS-2s were still marked with four-digit tactical markings at this time.

This is an excellent portrait of an IS-2 heavy tank from the Polish 4th SPCzC. It is the later model with a rebuilt frontal part of the superstructure. Note the many details on this tank, including the crew’s mascot (a teddy bear) seated behind the front light. The lack of the rear road wheel was quite a common sight in units equipped with these tanks. The Soviets did not care for spare wheels, and when the chassis was damaged by a mine, they simply replaced the damaged road wheel with one from the rear. Remnants of white paint, which was removed soon after December 1944, may be seen on the turret and gun barrel. The clothes worn by the soldiers show just how warm this winter was. This photo was taken in the first half of February 1945!

During the pursuit action across the Pomeranian fields in the first week of March 1945, Polish troops captured 22 tanks and self-propelled guns. Among them was this StuG III Ausf. G, which was captured by the Polish 4th Infantry Division. Note the steel return roller that replaced the standard one in late 1944.

Another German vehicle abandoned on a Pomeranian road – a Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. J with wire mesh side skirts and standard armored skirting on the turret. Note the additional armored plate bolted onto the frontal wall of the superstructure and the two entry holes where rounds hit the turret. One of them blew out the doors and a piece of turret in the area at the upper right corner of the hatch.