Minichamps MIN350020002 Captured T-34/76 Medium Tank - Oberstleutnant der Reserve Franz Bake, Panzer Regiment 11, 6.Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943 (1:35 Scale)
"By powerful artillery fire, air strikes, and a wave of attacking tanks, we're supposed to swiftly crush the enemy."
- Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov
The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility. The first T-34s were assembled at Kharkov, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, then moved behind the Ural mountains when the German advance encircled Leningrad, overran Kharkov, and invested the "City of Stalin". Legend has it that some T-34s rolled off the Stalingrad assembly line unpainted and even unfinished to prevent the Nazi invaders from capturing the city.
Now Minichamps is proud to roll out its own 1:35 scale rendition of the Soviet T-34/76D medium tank. This stunning recreation features a rotating turret, elevating gun, working suspension, and treads that are made of flexible metal links! This particular T-34/76 medium tank was captured and used by Oberstleutnant der Reserve Franz Bake, Panzer Regiment 11, 6.Panzer Division in 1943 and bears oversized German
balkenkreuz insignia on the turret sides. Bake used the tank during a night action to get the upper hand on the Soviets during the Battle of Kursk. Now in stock!
Release Date: July 2004
Historical Account: "Night Engagement" - In June 1943, 6.Panzer was attached to 4.Panzer-Armee under General Colonel Hermann Hoth. 4.Panzer-Armee was to form the southern pincer of the attack on the Kursk salient, Operation Citadel. Bake led his Abteilung through fierce fighting against the entrenched soviet forces near Belgorod. On July 13th, 1943, he was wounded, but remained with the unit. On July 14th, the commander of Panzer-Regiment 11 was severely wounded, and command of the regiment was temporarily delegated to Bake. During the ferocious armored battles, Bake led the regiment and proved himself a capable regimental commander. The offensive was cancelled on August 13th, 1943, and Bake's regiment saw heavy combat during the withdrawal to the Dniepr. For his actions during Operation Citadel, Bake was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross.
On November 1st, 1943, Bake was promoted to Oberstleutnant der Reserve [Lieutenant Colonel] and his command of the regiment was made official. In December 1943, he was ordered to begin formation of an ad-hoc reinforced tank regiment, titled Heavy Panzer Regiment Bake [Schweres-Panzer-Regiment Bake]. The regiment consisted of 46 Panther and 34 Tiger I tanks, supported by self-propelled artillery and a mechanized engineer battalion. The Regiment was to be used in 'fire-brigade' duties in the southern sector of the Eastern front. In January 1944, Bake commanded his regiment during the battles for the Balabonowka pocket. During the five-day battle, Bake's regiment was credited with destroying 267 Soviet tanks for the loss of only 4 tanks . Bake single-handedly destroyed three Soviet tanks during the battle with infantry weapons at close range, for which he received three Tank Destruction Badges, worn on his upper right sleeve.
Next, the regiment was sent to the area of Korsun-Cherkassy, where Gruppe Stemmermann had been encircled in the Cherkassy Pocket. Together with a Kampfgruppe of the 1.SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, Bake's tanks opened a route of escape for the trapped Germans and held it open while many escaped. During this month his regiment was credited with the destruction of 500 soviet tanks and assault guns.
For his actions during these battles, Bake received the Swords to the Knight's Cross on February 14th, 1944, as 49th Wehrmacht soldier. In March, the regiment was trapped in the Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket along with the entire 1.Panzer-Armee. Bake's regiment formed one of the spearheads moving west to break the encirclement, and effected a link up with II.SS-Panzerkorps, creating an escape route for the army.