Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Zimmerit 1- History

This is a summary of my main Zimmerit guide in my Captured King Tiger Project (King Tiger Build Proper-Zimmerits with or without). The guide is mostly from Mikey's Modeling Pages on Applying Zimmerit by Paul A. Owen and from other sources.


Zimmerit was a non-magnetic coating produced for German armored fighting vehicles during World War II for the purpose of combating magnetically attached anti-tank mines like the British "Clam" experimental ordnance. 
A British Rigid Limpet Mark from WWII
During WW2, the British had adhesive "sticky bombs" as anti tank weapons for which Germans had lost several Panzers during the attacks on France, Greece and North Africa. This was also used by the Soviets by virtue of a Lend-Lease agreement with Britain. 

The operation of the Sticky Bomb was simple. The first pin was pulled, releasing the protective clamshell. The second pin was yanked, freeing the safety lever, igniting the timed fuse. An operator had five seconds to get the pin pulled, grenade stuck to the target and beat a hasty retreat to safety. Some 2.5 million Stick Bombs were produced by the end of World War II. from the

In the summer of 1943, the Zimmerit was made available as a counter to these magnetic and adhesive anti-tank mines. It was developed in Berlin by the C.W. Zimmer Company, (hence the term Zimmerit) and was used in the summer of 1943. As a counter measure before production zimmerit was made available, temporary measures late in 1942 were also ordered which included field application of readily available materials such as concrete, thick coatings of mud, even ice in winter conditions. This accounted for a variety of zimmerit patterns and applications on odd vehicles during the first half of 1943.
Close view of Zimmerit on the glacis of a Tiger II
Contrary to popular belief that Zimmerit was made with plaster or concrete, it was actually composed of a matrix (polyvinyl acetate, 25%), a filler (10% saw dust) and additional mixtures of unknown purposes ( 40% barium sulphate 10% zinc sulphide). It’s colored dark yellow with the addition of 15% ochre pigment. Take note that zimmerit has no "anti-magnetic" properties but it was an effective counter weapon to sticky bombs and mines since it created a rough surface reducing the area of contact for "sticky bombs"; AND it put distance between the hull and the mine which defeated magnetic mines.The coating was a barrier that prevented direct contact of magnetic mines with metal surfaces of vehicles. It was normally ridged to increase overall thickness- the non-magnetic coating holds the magnet of the mine too far from the steel of the vehicle for it to adhere.
Two Jagdpanther with Zimmerit coat and camouflage, belonging to 2.Kompanieschwere Heeres-Panzerjäger-
Abteilung 654 rolling at high speed through the streets of Bourgtheroulde-Infreville, Haute-Normandy.
Production Zimmerit was applied only to the vertical surfaces to all tanks and closed top Self Propelled guns but rarely to anything else. This was applied at the factory but many vehicles received field applications as mentioned above. 

In mid 1944, the application of zimmerit was phased out as it was rendered obsolete due to greatly improved AT weapons.


Zimmerit 2-Zimmerit Patterns


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