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Research on the German Armed Forces 1918-1945

Eisenbahn-Panzerzug 30

History Panzerzug 30 (Feldpost Nr. 42308) (wide gauge) was the product of the 'Panzerzug 1941' program. Created in early 1941 in Wehrkreis VIII - Breslau, it was designed as a wide gauge armored train suitable for operations on Soviet wide gauge rail lines. The train contained an un-armored Deutsche Reichsbahn BR class 57 engine (57 1504), three open-top flat wagons and two tank-carrying wagons (transporting two French Souma S-35 tanks). For Barbarossa, it was assigned to the 16. Armee; being home based in Königsberg. As with Panzerzug 26, Panzerzug 30's first assignment was to advance towards Kaunas in Lithuania from Eydtkau in East Prussia. However, during the day on June 22nd, 1941, the coal tender of the train sustained a hit from a Soviet dud bomb. The damage was enough to take the train out of action for a few days until the damage could be repaired.

Between June and the fall of 1941, Panzerzug 30 advanced from Kaunas to Vilnius to Daugavpils to Rositten, following Panzerzug 26. From Rositten, Panzerzug 30 was re-routed to advance on Pskov and then towards Luga. By December of 1941, Panzerzug 30 found itself close to the German rear areas of Leningrad, near Yeglino. Because of the Soviet winter counter-attack during the end of January 1942, a number of crew members were temporarily detached from the train and ordered to man the front lines as regular infantry troops. The situation has stabilized itself by the middle of March, 1942, and the surviving commandeered railway troops were returned to their train now patrolling the Nevel to Velike Luki region.

In October of 1942, Panzerzug 30 found itself near the villages of Gatshina and later Lyuban. In December of 1942, it was withdrawn from the front-lines for refit and upgrading in Germany. Panzerzug 63 was ordered to take up the duty stations previously assigned to Panzerzug 30. After refitting, Panzerzug 30 was reassigned to Heeresgruppe Süd.

In February of 1944, Panzerzug 30 was supporting the German positions between Nikolayev to Odessa. The trains engine was seriously damaged on April 6th, 1944 near Yeremeyevka, forcing it to be sent to Odessa for repairs. During the summer of 1944, Panzerzug 30 received a captured Soviet "S" class locomotive as a replacement for its irreparable German locomotive (Class 57, number 57 1504). In early 1945, Panzerzug 30 was placed under the jurisdiction of Heeresgruppe Mitte. By March of 1945, Panzerzug 30 was able to escape to East Prussia, but was captured by Soviet forces on March 21st, 1945 near Gross-Katz.