Panzerstahl PS88001 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F1 Medium Tank - 15.Panzer Division, Libya, 1942 (1:72 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
Just one month prior to the commencement of "Operation Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow) the Waffenamt was scheduled to begin installing the long-barreled 7.5cm KwK gun on its new Mark IV Ausf G tanks. However, when the Wehrmacht encountered the superior Russian KV-1 and T-34 tanks during the summer campaigning season, a decision was made to mount the 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 gun onto as many existing Mark IVs as possible. Since the new gun fired larger rounds than the short-barreled gun mounted on the F1 tanks, ammunition storage capacity had to be increased and the crew compartment had to be re-arranged to accommodate the modifications.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a German PzKpfw IV Ausf. F1 medium tank was attached to the 15.Panzer Division, then serving in Lybia during 1942.
Release Date: June 2010
Historical Account: "With the Fox" - 15.Panzer Division was created from the 33.Infanterie Division in 1936, and mobilized in 1939, but it did not take part in the invasion of Poland. In 1940. it participated in the invasions of Belgium and France. It was then reorganized as the 15.Panzer Division in August 1940 at Darmstadt and Landau by incorporating the Panzer Regiment 8 from the 10.Panzer Division and giving up its Infantry Regiment 110 to the 112.Infanterie Division.
In April 1941, the division began transport to Libya, joining General Erwin Rommel's Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) with the 21.Panzer Division and the 90th Light Division. By June 15th the division was deployed in reserve to the south of Bardia, and fought in the successful defense during Operation Battleaxe at Halfaya Pass.
On November 18th, British forces began Operation Crusader with the objective of relieving the besieged forces at Tobruk. The 15th was situated to the east of Tobruk, and by November 20th they joined the 21.Panzer Division to battle the armored forces of the British XXX Corps.
With the XXX Corps situated on the approaches to Tobruk, Erwin Rommel sent his panzer divisions on a rapid advance to the east, threatening the British rear. However the British continued to advance on Tobruk and by November 27th they had linked up with the fortress. The Axis forces were forced to withdraw.
By December 31st, 1941, Rommel's forces halted at the line at El Agheila for refitting his depleted forces. By January 21st, he was ready to advance again, and the DAK and Italian forces began another march to the east.
The British Eighth Army had drawn up in mine-fortified positions on the coastal town of Gazala, to the west of Tobruk. 15.Panzer was deployed with the other Axis armor on their southern flank, with infantry divisions holding the northern part of the line.
The Axis began their attack on May 26th, with the DAK sweeping around the southern end of the British line. They were met by the armoured forces of the British, and took losses in tanks. Without a supply line, the Germans had to withdraw into a "Cauldron" position along the front until supplies could be moved through the minefields.
On June 11th, they began their breakout, advancing to the east and threatening to encircle the British. The Eighth Army was forced to withdraw, leaving Tobruk once more encircled. This time, however, the Tobruk fortifications were weaker, and an attack on June 20th, which included 15.Panzer, captured the town and the garrison.