• A Tiger in the Marsh
    Tiger Tank in the Marsh
  • A Tiger in the Marsh: Right View
    Tiger Tank in the Marsh: Right View
  • A Tiger in the Marsh: Back View
    Tiger Tank in the Marsh: Back View
  • A Tiger in the Marsh: Left View
    Tiger in the Marsh: Left View
  • BergePanzer: Side View
    BergePanzer: Side View
  • BergePanzer Crew: Back View
    BergePanzer Crew: Back View
  • BergePanzer Driver and Soldier Refilling Ammo
    BergePanzer Driver and Soldier Refilling Ammo
  • BergePanzer Soldier Refilling Ammo
    BergePanzer Soldier Refilling Ammo
  • BergePanzer Winch: Top View
    BergePanzer Winch: Top View
  • BergePanzer Winch Operator
    BergePanzer Winch Operator
  • BergePanzer Winch Operator: Back View
    BergePanzer Winch Operator: Back View
  • Look Close for Crushed Skull and Skeleton Hand
    Crushed Skull and Skeleton Hand
  • Attaching Tow Cables to Tiger Tank
    Attaching Tow Cables to Tiger Tank
  • Tiger Tank and Driver: Front View
    Tiger Tank and Driver: Front View
  • German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner
    German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner
  • German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner: Side View
    German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner: Side View
  • Panzer Crewman Having a Smoke
    Panzer Crewman Having a Smoke
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Front View
    Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Front View
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Back View
    Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Back View
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Back View
    Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Back View
  • Tiger Tank in the Marsh
  • Tiger Tank in the Marsh: Right View
  • Tiger Tank in the Marsh: Back View
  • Tiger in the Marsh: Left View
  • BergePanzer: Side View
  • BergePanzer Crew: Back View
  • BergePanzer Driver and Soldier Refilling Ammo
  • BergePanzer Soldier Refilling Ammo
  • BergePanzer Winch: Top View
  • BergePanzer Winch Operator
  • BergePanzer Winch Operator: Back View
  • Crushed Skull and Skeleton Hand
  • Attaching Tow Cables to Tiger Tank
  • Tiger Tank and Driver: Front View
  • German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner
  • German Soldiers with Russian Tank Crew Prisoner: Side View
  • Panzer Crewman Having a Smoke
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Front View
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Side Back View
  • Tiger Tank Stuck in Mud: Back View

A Tiger in the Marsh

As World War II progressed, tanks got bigger on all sides. But the bigger the tanks got, the more difficult it became to recover them after they became immobile either due to mechanical failure or getting stuck in the environment. In the German’s case, by 1943, it was even more important to salvage any immobile or malfunctioning tank since resources were becoming scarce, and their factories were being destroyed. Consequently, the Bergepanzer (or Bergepanther) was designed. This was basically a modified Panzer III or Panzer IV. They took off the turret and installed a 40-ton winch, which was the heart of this “Salvage Tank”. The Bergepanzer IV (displayed in this diorama) was also fitted with a 2-ton jib beam for field repairs, and a ground spade. Two square plates were welded to the bow, intended to push vehicles in combination with the “recovery timber”.

This diorama takes place on the Eastern front in late Fall of 1943. During a tank skirmish, this Tiger I went off the “beaten track” and ended up in a marsh. It didn’t take long for it to become bogged down in the deep mud. Luckily there was a maintenance company nearby outfitted with a Bergepanzer. Problem solved!

In the right foreground are a couple of German infantry soldiers taking their captive, a Russian tanker, to high command for “questioning”. Two of the Bergepanzer’s crew watch the scene with mild interest.

The two crewmen assigned to fitting the tow cables have the worst job. They had to dig out the U-hooks to fit on the towing hooks; a mucky job indeed! At least they were able to utilize the Bergepanzer’s wooden winch covers to make it easier walking on the spongy ground.

The Tiger’s commander has noticed something the Bergepanzer uncovered with its’ spade- a human skull and skeletal arm.

Lastly, I wanted to point out a known logistical problem with this diorama. In reality, the Bergepanzer would have been much further away from the vehicle being salvaged. Of course, you’d need at least a couple tank-lengths between the two vehicles to properly attach the winch to the tow cables and pull it out. To achieve this, I would have had to make the diorama at least 8 inches longer, thus creating a lot of “dead space” in between. So good old artistic license came to the rescue!

View Model Kit List and Modeling Materials Used to Create this Diorama.
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