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Excavation of the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf, J.

The tank was found in 2011 at the airport in Kluczewo near Stargard Szczeciński, on April 18 “Stowarzyszenie Pomorze 1945” was informed that parts from a German tank had appeared in one of the scrap yards. A day later, the recovery of the tank, led by Andrzej Ossowski, began from the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin After a hard day, the wreckage was recovered and found in the collection of the Polish Arms Museum in Kołobrzeg
In 1945, the area where the wreck was found was the site of the last large German counter-offensive on the Eastern Front, code-named “Sonnenwende” (Day and Night Solstice). “In the area of ​​finding the wreck near Kluczewo in February 1945, two large German units armed with Pz IV vehicles were operating: the 10th SS Panzer Division” Frundsberg “and the Panzer Division” Holstein “. Panzer Division “Holstein” was created in January 1945 in Denmark on the basis of the 233rd Reserve Panzer Division on the basis of the so-called Panzerdivision 45. On February 2, 1945, this division set off from Denmark with its 29 Panzer IV cars (they were certainly not brand new cars, so they are older production versions) to Szczecin. Here, on February 7 and 16, 17 brand new Panzer IVs arrived from the factory – it is almost certain that they were cars of the same version, which also includes the monument from Kluczewo. The “Holstein” division launched its offensive happier than its neighbor – the stronger and more experienced 10th SS Panzer Division, achieving a deep break into the Soviet defense. During the fighting, the “Frundsberg” division was moved to a different section of the front, as a result of which the attack strip of the “Holstein” Panzer Division dramatically increased. We did not have to wait for the effects – the Russians switched to vigorous counter-strikes and pushed the “Holstein” Panzer Division by a few kilometers. At this point, the damaged tank could fall into the hands of the Russians or stand in no man’s land until the end of the fighting.
It should be remembered that the German tank evacuation services functioned flawlessly until the last days of the war. The damaged vehicle would be transported to workshops in Szczecin or Stargard. If it ended up in the area of ​​the former airport – it was most likely towed there after the fighting by the Russians. The fact that the forehead was towed to the place where it was found from some other location is also supported by the fact that no battles with Panzer IV tanks were fought in the area where the wreckage was found, because the “Holstein” Division was moved to the east of Pomerania after the collapse of Operation Sonnenwende. the section over Miedwie was taken over by the 281st Infantry Division.
The tank was included in the Honorary Adoption of Monuments program and in 2011 it went to Artur Zys – the owner of Przedsiębiorstwo Usług Komunalnych in Pławce. from the Armored Weapons Museum in Poznań. In 2016, Artur Zys undertook to assemble the vehicle into one body. A group of the company’s employees, called the “Panzer Magicians”, was working on the wreckage under the supervision of Lt. Col. Tomasz Ogrodniczuk from the Armored Weapons Museum in Poznań (branch of the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw). The vehicle was assembled as a whole with all original elements preserved. The right side of the tank is complete, the left side shows the destroyed wreckage. From August 2, 2016, the PzKpfw IV ausf. J can be seen at the open-air exhibition of the Polish Arms Museum in Kołobrzeg. As of today, it is the only original and almost complete German tank from World War II that can be seen in the Polish museum. It is also the only German tank that took part in the fights in the territory of present-day Poland and has survived to our times.




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