Thread: Zimmerit
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:37 PM
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James Tainton James Tainton is offline
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The history of Zimmerit
Introduction
During the progress of the war, enemy magnetic mines, attached to the sides of the Panzer by infantry, was becomming an increasing problem to the Germans. These mines were attached by a number of strong magnets, and then directed a hollow-charge explotion towards the tank. Therefore, it was decided that some new invention was needed in order to prevent the mines from sticking to the Panzer.

History of Zimmerit
In 1943, the chemical company Zimmer came up with a combination of materials:

* 40% barium sulphate
* 25% polyvinyl acetate
* 15% ochre pigment
* 10% saw dust
* 10% zinc sulphide

This would create a paste that, when spread over an ironeous surface, would make mines unable to stick to the surface. The paste itself does not caontain any anti-magnetic abilities, unlike what is often believed (this error is from an Allied intelligence report from 1945). On September 9th 1944, it was ordered that Zimmerit was to cease being used. The oder came because of rumors saying that shells could ignite the Zimmerit, even if they didn't penetrate the armour, causing the vehicle to be lost. The rumors were untrue, but the application was not re-started. Zimmerit was applied to vehicles for some time after this date, however. Besides the intended function of the Zimmerit, the material and patterns did have other advantages. It made the shape of the vehicle more blurry, and less reflective, thus making it harder to spot it.

Application
From the beginning, a number of vehicles were intended to carry Zimmerit. In an order from OKH dated 29th of December 1943, these vehicles were to recieve Zimmerit:

* Pz.Kpfw. III
* Pz.Kpfw. IV (100kg/200lbs)
* Panther (160kg/320lbs)
* Tiger (200kg/400lbs)
* StuGs (70 kg/140lbs)
* Jagdpanzer 38
* Panzerjäger Hornisse

The Zimmerit was to be applied on all surfaces of the hull and the superstructure, including surfaces under the armour skirts. Zimmerit was NOT, however, to be applied on the sideskirts, the turret, exetrnal engine parts, lamps, tools, tracks, and similar places. These places, the Zimmerit would have been worn off quickly, or would not have served any purpose. This order was rarely respected, and often is Zimmerit seen both on turrets and side skirts, however rarely on tracks and tools. Zimmerit was to be applied on the vehicle in a pattern of small squares, separated with spaces of approximately 5mm. (0.2"). The paste should then be left to dry for 4 hours, after which it should be hardened with a blowtorch. After this, a spatula should be used to raise the surface into a ridged pattern.
Zimmerit was very rarely applied to other vehciles than Panzers. One Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. D with an unidentified pattern has been seen, but other than that, application on softskins is unknown. Vehicles not used in front-line service, such as self-propelled artillery, were of course not given Zimmerit.

Patterns
These patterns have all been identified on photographs. If you know of any pattern which is not present here, please e-mail a photograph of the pattern to panzer@panzerworld.net.
Zimmerit patterns

* 1. Ridged
o Pz.Kpfw. III
o Stu.G. III Ausf. G
o Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H, J
o Pz.Bef.Wg. IV
o Stu.G. IV
o Jagdpanzer IV
o Panzer IV/70 (V)
o Sturmpanzer
o Wirbelwind
o Ostwind
o Panther
o Jagdpanther
o Bergepanther
o Tiger
o Panzersturmmörser
o Ferdinand/Elefant
o Tiger II
o Jagdtiger (Porsche only)
* 2. Vertically ridged
o Stu.G. III Ausf. G
o Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H
o Jagdpanzer IV
o Panther Ausf. G
* 3. Vertical ridged with diagonal one-way cross-hatches
o Panther AUsf. G
* 4. Vertical ridged with horizontal cross-hatches
o Stu.G. III
o Panther Ausf. A, G
* 5. Cross-hatched
o Stu.G. III
o Panther Ausf. A, G
o Jagdpanther
* 6. Waffle stamped
o Stu.G. III Ausf. G
o Stu.H. 42
o Panther
o Tiger
* 7. Diagonal ridged
o Pz.Kpfw. IV
* 8. Vertical Ridget with diagonal two-way cross-hatches
o Panther
* 9. Ridget with vertical cross-hatches
o Stu.G. III
o Panther Ausf. G
* 10. Uniform waffle pattern with diagonal two-way cross-hatches
o Stu.G. III
* 11. Long, vertical hatches
o Panther
o Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf. D
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