PzKpfw. V "Panther"

I'll have the bacon cheesburger please

Primus inter pares

The Panther is, simply put, a beautiful tank. The first of a new generation, the golden poster boy of German engineering excellence. It was fast, mobile and had a wicked main gun. Then again, it was overly complicated, easily overheated and very, very expensive. This is normal for Germans, by the way. You see, a Russian engineer will generally be happy if a machine just works and can be repaired by hitting it with a mallet. A German engineer will feel his design is succesful if it is a) complicated and b) expensive. Well, they succeeded on both counts! But criticism aside, it's a wonderful machine. Even though the first ideas were put on paper before the war, the design process was speeded up after the Germans met the Soviet T-34. The Panzer 3's Panzer Anklopfgerät had trouble penetrating its armour, not to speak of the Panzer 4D's HE pop gun. And it's the speeding up that was part of the problem; this machine was rushed into service and, understandably, broke down a lot.

All in all, during the war and after the kinks had been worked out, this was the best tank in the world. Centurion and IS-2 could certainly match it, maybe (very maybe) so could Pershing. Thing is, all those tanks were designed and built to counter the Panther. This one was here first, the OG and primus inter pares. And still, STILL, it's not as badass as Tiger.

PzKpfw V ausf. D

PzKpfw V ausf. D
  • Butovo, Kursk, Ukraine, USSR
  • July 4th, 1943
  • PzAbt 51, PzGrenDiv "Großdeutschland"

The first use of Panther tanks was at Kursk in 1943. The battle was even delayed because the things needed just a little more work. And, being the first production models, most broke down before even reaching the battlefield. But the ones that did work, were excellent.

Rubarth saves the day

PzKpfw V "Panther" ausf. D/VI-H

PzKpfw V Panther ausf. D/VI-H
  • Rome, Italy
  • June 10th, 1944
  • 653e sJpzAbt

Schwere Jagdpanzerabteilung used Ferdinand tank destroyers but their commander, Majoor Steinwachs, wanted something a little more mobile. They found him an old Panther D, washed it out with kerosene (to get rid of the smell of burning corpses) and bolted a Panzer IV-H's turret to it. Presto - unique Befehlspanther.

PzKpfw IV ausf. A

PzKpfw V ausf. A
  • Teklino-forest, Tsjerkasy, Ukraine, USSR
  • January 20th, 1944
  • 5e SS PzDiv "Viking"

After Stalingrad and Kursk, the Germans retreated to the Panther-Wotan line in Ukraine, waiting for better times. But there were brigdeheads and one such was jumped by the Russians. This "kessel" contained the non-German Nazis of the 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking" and the SS Sturmbrigade "Wallonien", lead by a Walloon named Leon Degrelle.

PzKpfw IV ausf. A

PzKpfw V ausf. A
  • Tirgu-Frumos, Romania
  • January 20th, 1944
  • "01", General-major Willi Langkeit's tank, PzReg "Großdeutschland"

The Soviet juggernaut was slowly closing in on the German Heimat. The advance was costly because the Germans knew what was going to happen if Ivan got his hands on the Fatherland. The fight was desperate and the Germans defended every inch of the way home. Not thet it mattered - the Soviet wave was just too high.

PzKpfw IV ausf. G

PzKpfw IV ausf. G
  • Le Lorey, bij Saint Lo, Normandie, Frankrijk
  • July 27th, 1944
  • 2e SS PzDiv "Das Reich"

After the Allied invasion in Normandy, there there was an ever growing flood of Sherman tanks for the Germans to overcome. Really, by that time it was alreay over for them. I think many of the smarter Germans knew that ful well. Maybe Ernst Barkmann knew too, but he was defending his crossroads and he wasn't giving up.

PzKpfw IV ausf. G

PzKpfw IV ausf. G
  • 2e SS PzDiv "Das Reich"
  • August 16th, 1944
  • Hill 69.9, Tannenberg-line, Sinimäe, Estland

After the Germans pulled back from Leningrad, they fell back on the Narva line. A little further to the east, you'll find three low hills and a small village: Sinimae. That village saw a LOT of fighting and some very sad Estonians.

Estonian drama

PzKpfw IV ausf. F

PzKpfw IV ausf. F
  • 24e PzDiv
  • May 1945
  • Fallingsbostel, Duitsland

The Panther was the world's first tank with night vision optics. This could have been a total game-changer IF, and that is always the issue with the Germans in WW2, if there had been enough of them. The Americans were horrified to discover that night vision was a thing, but they quickly overcame the technology with massive firepower - and copied it for themselves.

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This is me

    Martijn aka. Nine. All-round nice man, “Can we do it? – Yes, we can!”, classical biker, armchair historian, Knight of Löwensenf to Chilichutney – but also cook, father, writer and general pusher of buttons. Somehow has a tattoo of a Soyuz TMA on his arm.

    If you have something interesting to say, I can be reached at martijnproper@gmail.com

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Best games played: KSP, GTA-VC, Portal 2, Tomb Raider 1&2, Final Fantasy VII, Ace Combat, SP:WAW
Great bikes owned: Trident 900, GSX-1100RW, Supermagna, GSX-1100F, GSX-750ES, XT550, K75RT
Heroes: Richard Feynman, Otto Carius, Michael Palin, Douglas Bader, Yuri Gagarin, Ray Mears, Robert A Heinlein, Mad Jack Churchill, Sergei Korolev, John Cleese

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