Zimmerit. (And schurzen digressions)

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by von Poop, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Isn't the STUG at Bovington covered in waffle zimmeret?
     
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Zimmerit is a funny thing. It's composition according to Ze Net is:

    40% Barium Sulphate, BaSO4 - is made from Barium (Ba) treated with Sulpheric acid (H2SO4), and is water-insoluble
    25% Polyvinyl Acetate, PVA - commonly known as white carpenters glue
    15% ochre pigment, An earth-toned colouring material
    10% Zinc sulphide and ZnS A natural mineral, and a Zinc ore.
    10% sawdust
    White glue, sawdust and ochre pigment? I could use this for my wargame bases! I wonder what the barium sulphate would be for, though ;)

    Application

    For their application, the product was not used as paint and therefore it didn't require to be diluted. The surface of the vehicles neither required a special preparation, the base of traditional anticorrosive painting was only used. The zimmerit was applied in two layers with a metallic spatula. The first layer was of about 5 mm of thickness and was made a drawing in form of squares using the border of the spatula. This drawing favored the adherence of the second layer. The first layer of zimmerit allowed to dry off to ambient temperature during 24 hours. The second layer was marked with irregular lines with a metal tool in comb form. The final drawing gave him a rough and irregular appearance. After having applied the two layers, was carried out a drying by means of a gas torch to harden them. This took around one hour for vehicle. The final result was seemed the one that have the pressed sheets of cardboard and it was not brittle, but compact and very stingy to the metal. If the forced drying was not used, to the zimmerit took eight days outdoors to become hard. Also, the drying to high temperature increase their resistance to the blows. The zimmerit was also resistant to the water, but due to the behavior of the vinyl acetate was brittle to very low temperatures. There are many pictures and movies in those that armored vehicles are come with parts of the zimmerit removed. A great quantity of historical references indicates that several types and different zimmerit designs were used. The applications in the factory were generally neat and uniform apparently, while the applications in the field were not it so much, mainly keeping in mind the battle conditions and the available time for the company to complete the application. The application increased considerably the weight of the vehicles. According to the British report that is based this article, a StuG required 70 kg, a Panzer IV, 100 kg; a Panther, 160 kg and a Tiger I, 200 kg.

    from WW2incolor.com

    Also Most popular modelling literature has stated that zimmerit was a plaster or concrete, however this is not correct, according to a British war-time report, "'Zimmerit', Anti-Magnetic Plaster for AFVs", (reported by Major J.W. Thompson and Mr. C.E. Hollis, July 1945). In fact, zimmerit was a mixture of polyvinyl acetate, 25%, which formed the matrix, 10% saw dust used as a filler. Additionally Zimmerit included 40% barium sulphate and 10% zinc sulphide in the mix, but the report did not state why. Its dark yellow colour was achieved with the addition of 15% ochre pigment. Zimmerit was developed in Berlin by the C.W. Zimmer Company, (this was where Zimmerit got its name), it was ready for use in the summer of 1943.

    from Index of /tips/tipsfilesZimmerit2.pdf
     
  3. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The first layer was of about 5 mm of thickness and was made a drawing in form of squares using the border of the spatula. This drawing favored the adherence of the second layer. The first layer of zimmerit allowed to dry off to ambient temperature during 24 hours. The second layer was marked with irregular lines with a metal tool in comb form. The final drawing gave him a rough and irregular appearance.


    If this is the "official" directions...see how the final appearance would indeed difer from both the Alkett and MAIG StuGs? ;)

    I wonder what the barium sulphate would be for, though

    Maybe they....had lots of it and it was non-strategically important? ;):lol:
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Isn't the STUG at Bovington covered in waffle zimmeret?
    Finnish Waffles:
    [​IMG]

    If this is the "official" directions...
    Not quite, from what I can make out.
    Though just how official or complete surviving guidelines are seems a little unclear.
     
  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Interesting; I've just noticed something that's NOT in there...

    The first layer was of about 5 mm of thickness and was made a drawing in form of squares using the border of the spatula. This drawing favored the adherence of the second layer. The first layer of zimmerit allowed to dry off to ambient temperature during 24 hours. The second layer was marked with irregular lines with a metal tool in comb form. The final drawing gave him a rough and irregular appearance. After having applied the two layers, was carried out a drying by means of a gas torch to harden them. This took around one hour for vehicle. The final result was seemed the one that have the pressed sheets of cardboard and it was not brittle, but compact and very stingy to the metal. If the forced drying was not used, to the zimmerit took eight days outdoors to become hard. Also, the drying to high temperature increase their resistance to the blows.


    ...there's NO mention of pressing anything into the hardening Zimmerit after sweating/forced drying...to press out bubbles/cavities. Both the Alkett and MIAG final stamping dealt with this, but there's nothing in that set of instructions.
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Old thread poking.

    Had another look for this shot of a 251 with Zimmerit, as mentioned in that panzerworld Article.
    Zimmerit was rarely applied to other vehicles than the ones described above, however one Sd Kfz 251 Ausf. D has been seen with a non-standard pattern.

    Pic here:
    SdKfz 251 D in zimmerit - planetArmor
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I just love this forum !!!!!

    Where else would I have a chance to talk with such knowledgable chaps about such arcane matters ?

    Such as magnetic mines ?

    As Maurice Chevalier once said in the film Gigi "Ah yes, I remember it well !"
    I first wrote about it here, on the BBC site:
    Then, when I first started posting here I asked a question about a magnetic mine that resembled an arial.................. this will take some finding but I will come back here when I've sussed it out :smile:

    Got it.!....... that didn't take long, did it ? :smile: :smile: :smile:
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/weapons...-beetroot.html

    Ron
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    What is it that you don't have a recollection off tucked away somewhere? :)
     
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Za

    What is it that you don't have a recollection off tucked away somewhere? :smile:


    I can't help it if I had an eventful life :) :) :)

    Ron
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From a Recce war diary in Italy 1943.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    The "girl" herself Andy.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Hope it's cool with you Andy, but I merged your documentary mention of Schurzen (now post #51) into this thread.

    Interesting to see an original version of what I see as 'the schurzen misconception' in the belief it was put up to shield against PIAT/Spaced rounds.

    ~A
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Back to the Zimmerit thread for the first time in a while (Cheers, Idler).
    That recent Haynes tiger Manual has an excellent two-page spread from Mike Gibb on his experiences applying repro Zimmerit to an Alkett Stug in 2008 "To our knowledge, for the first time in 65 years we reproduced Zimmerit to the original detailed formula and applied it to a vehicle".
    Firstly, he says the pattern and application was all - the interest being purely in creating an uneven surface that mines wouldn't stick to squarely (still no comment on what these mines might be though).

    He does make interesting mention of the potential for causing fires with it - while factory instructions meant it was blowtorch treated between coats to burn off excess benzene and harden it, he notes that vehicles were painted soon after the final blowtorching, while the material was still pretty soft and contained a lot of benzene. Apparently it won't then harden/dry fully in cold conditions, so a vehicle sent East may well have been a benzene-coated little treasure, giving credence to the users reports that vehicles were burning easily (something that the German scientists had been unable to recreate at home).
     
  15. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Back to the Zimmerit thread for the first time in a while (Cheers, Idler).
    That recent Haynes tiger Manual has an excellent two-page spread from Mike Gibb on his experiences applying repro Zimmerit to an Alkett Stug in 2008 "To our knowledge, for the first time in 65 years we reproduced Zimmerit to the original detailed formula and applied it to a vehicle".
    Firstly, he says the pattern and application was all - the interest being purely in creating an uneven surface that mines wouldn't stick to squarely (still no comment on what these mines might be though).

    He does make interesting mention of the potential for causing fires with it - while factory instructions meant it was blowtorch treated between coats to burn off excess benzene and harden it, he notes that vehicles were painted soon after the final blowtorching, while the material was still pretty soft and contained a lot of benzene. Apparently it won't then harden/dry fully in cold conditions, so a vehicle sent East may well have been a benzene-coated little treasure, giving credence to the users reports that vehicles were burning easily (something that the German scientists had been unable to recreate at home).

    Adam,

    It may not be the book of the year, but I found the manual most excellent reading and more than a decent price to purchase.

    I just wonder how effective or ineffective Zimmerit was, considering it was a pain to apply and used up a lot of valuable time, either at the factory or at the front being applied by the crew.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Interesting to see an original version of what I see as 'the schurzen misconception' in the belief it was put up to shield against PIAT/Spaced rounds.

    Not too many A/T Rifles in the West Front, Adam :)

    giving credence to the users reports that vehicles were burning easily (something that the German scientists had been unable to recreate at home).

    What, as often as Shermans? :lol:

    But Andy's was a nice catch, I had missed it the first time round :)
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Not too many A/T Rifles in the West Front, Adam :)
    Aye mate, and given that the report is from 1943, and apparently based on a 4th armored brigade capture, that particular Mk.IV was likely encountered by the Western Allies for the first time in Italy, but it's still interesting to read an early thought by a man on the ground.
    If you or I had looked at the skirts we might have made the assumption he does too, but we now have hindsight and wider documentation to confirm the misconception.
    Still a lot of PTRS/Ds in the Ost at that point, and Mark IVs were apparently coming from standardised production lines for whatever theatre.

    Need to check Spielberger's dates for the initial Shurzen tests & introduction, as I don't seem to have included 'em here.
     
  18. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The spaced armour principle to increase protection against hollow charge antitank weapons has been used ever since the war and is still in use. The effect is to detonate the hollow charge at a greater than ideal distance from the main armour, thereby hopefully ensuring that the jet is degraded enough so it does not penetrate the main armour. Not really a misconception, though maybe the Germans did not realise it would work against hollow charge weapons as well as anti-tank rifles.

    Incidentally, Zimmerit was intended to ensure that magnetic mines did not adhere.

    Chris
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Zimmerit:
    anyone seen a picture of an SdKfZ.251 with Zimmerit coating as mentioned in that article? I'm intrigued.:)
    Still the only Image I can find of a 251 with Zimmerit:
    [​IMG]
    Can anyone find the original Bundesarchiv file? Wanting to see if there are more in the series.

    Schurzen:
    Need to check Spielberger's dates for the initial Shurzen tests & introduction, as I don't seem to have included 'em here.
    Somewhat later... sure there's more references in there, but StuG book covers reasonably well.

    'Sturmgeschutz' - Spielberger - Schiffer, 1993 (Good book)

    "... Schurzen side-skirts became a topic of discussion during the Fuhrer's conference on 6 & 7 February 1943. Hitler was quite in agreement with mounting skirts on the Panzer III, IV & Sturmgeschutz to provide protection against Russian Anti-Tank Rifles.
    test firings on Schurzen protective skirts (wire & steel plates) were reported on February 20, 1943, Firing tests utilising the Russian 14.5mm anti-tank rifle at a distance of 100m (90 degrees) showed no tears or penetration of the 30mm side armour, when protected either by plates or wire mesh. when testing was conducted with the 75mm high explosive shell (charge 2) from a Field Gun, there was no damage to the the sides of the hull armour when protected by the wire or plates. Wire mesh & plates had indeed been penetrated and even torn away, but they still remained usable.
    The decision to utilise the plates as opposed to the wire mesh (although both had proven effective and the mesh was lighter) was based on the fact that the wire mesh required the design of a new mount, which would have required additional time to be developed.
    additionally, the procurement of wire mesh for the side-skirts was difficult. The skirts were not tested against shaped charges, nor were they intended as protection against this type of shaped charge (HEAT) shells."

    06/03/43 - Adolf satisfied, and skirts approved for all new StuG, Pz.IV & Panther, with retrofitting for all tanks in for repair.
    06/43 - Retrofitting of plates on StuGs in the East.
    03/44 - New mount (tabbed rails) introduced.
     
  20. pminotti

    pminotti Junior Member

    Barium sulphate and zinc sulphate were common component of wall paint, the yellow (sandgelb) pigment avoid the necessity to repaint the vehicle.

    Polyvinyl acetate and sawdust gave the "roughness".

    It's seems more a water paint.
     

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