Following the German collapses in North Africa and at Stalingrad, partisan activity in almost the whole of Europe began to be much more aggressive. The most troublesome to the Germans were those groups that had fought in the vast forests of Eastern Europe. One of their main targets was railways used by “Panzerzug” armoured trains for anti-partisan actions and for defending main railway junctions against Soviet air attacks. Here is a close-up of one of the Panzerzug wagons fitted with a 2cm Flakvierling 38 anti-aircraft gun. The 2cm gun was intended as defence against aircraft, but it could also be used against ground targets. Note the style of applying the removable white camouflage.
Another shot of the same 2cm Flak 38 mounted on another Panzerzug. This one is painted in the standard dark yellow camouflage and has special markings: a black and white national cross, the inscription “Wg 7” (it probably means “Wagon 7”) and two white bars. The Panzerzugs were a formidable enemy for the partisan groups because they were well armed and armoured, and during action they used their great firepower at close range with very destructive results.
The Germans also used captured Soviet armoured trains, like the one shown here, to fight against the partisan groups in Eastern Europe. Before being sent into action it was repainted with German colours: dark yellow and (most probably) green. Note the heavy foliage camouflage; it wasn’t used for camouflage against partisans, but against Soviet aircraft.
Another type of Panzerzug originally produced by the Germans is shown here in a photograph taken in June 1944. The platforms seen here are not true armoured wagons, but standard railway equipment prepared for combat use. The most interesting is the wagon in the middle with a Pz.Kpfw. IV mounted on it, which was used as an improvised artillery wagon. The Pz.Kpfw. IV is without its tracks, and the crew has used wooden boards to conceal the sides of the tank. The flatcar in between the armoured wagon and the gun car was used as a transport wagon for the Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) tank.