what were the panther tank flaw?

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AKahl
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by AKahl » 07 Apr 2021 20:25

Hey, Cult Icon, I'm pleased to read your replies and I'll look up the book on the 116th Panzer Division you mentioned, and try to get a copy. Any recommendations on books detailing the 11th Panzer's retrograde operations in Southern France and Lorraine? That also sounds really interesting. Those sorts of operations are notoriously hard on Panther equipped units, as tanks fall out from being forced to move long distances under their own power. I read Operation Dragoon by Steven Zaloga, and he did speak positively about 11th Panzer Division's rearguard actions. It sounds like they did lose a lot of their panthers, and I'd guess the majority were from breakdowns or abandoned vehicles due to lack of fuel. I can't imagine they had the luxury of always moving their tanks via rail.
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2021 23:29

AKahl wrote:
07 Apr 2021 20:25
Hey, Cult Icon, I'm pleased to read your replies and I'll look up the book on the 116th Panzer Division you mentioned, and try to get a copy.
Beware. Didier Lodieu is not very good at captioning photos and makes a lot or errors

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=230187&hilit=Didier

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Apr 2021 15:16

AKahl wrote:
07 Apr 2021 20:25
Hey, Cult Icon, I'm pleased to read your replies and I'll look up the book on the 116th Panzer Division you mentioned, and try to get a copy. Any recommendations on books detailing the 11th Panzer's retrograde operations in Southern France and Lorraine? That also sounds really interesting. Those sorts of operations are notoriously hard on Panther equipped units, as tanks fall out from being forced to move long distances under their own power. I read Operation Dragoon by Steven Zaloga, and he did speak positively about 11th Panzer Division's rearguard actions. It sounds like they did lose a lot of their panthers, and I'd guess the majority were from breakdowns or abandoned vehicles due to lack of fuel. I can't imagine they had the luxury of always moving their tanks via rail.
The same author has a book called "Hedgerow Hell" that provides more details and photographs about the Panzer Lehr counterattack on July 11th, 1944.

That Panther book is mostly about the rearguard actions leading to the crossing of the Seine. The unit left with 33 Panthers. Author notes 21 abandoned out of 43 Panthers lost. A further 38 tank kills made (total 87) on the run after the first 13 days of operation. I didn't double check my mental note but you get the picture. I liked "Victory at Mortain" by Reardon and "First on the Rhine" by Yeide. The former is the best book on Operation Luttich, the latter is more of a general history.

On the 11th Panzer Division

Wietersheim's US Army report
Patton's Vanguard: The United States Army Fourth Armored Division by Fox
Ghost Division by Gantz
Patton vs the Panzers, Zaloga has a chapter on the engagement but the coverage provided in the Osprey booklet " Panzergrenadier vs Armored Infantrymen" is better. This booklet covers FBB taking of Rodt against elements of the 7.AD, breakthrough at COBRA, and 11.Pz's counterattack.
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Apr 2021 15:38

On the topic of Panthers battalions in the West, the Panzer Brigade figured heavily in the fighting starting Sept 1944. In July 1944 under Hitler's orders- and Guderian's disapproval- there was an attempt to increase armored strength on the East and West fronts with the quick raising of Panzer Brigades which had an short operating existence. 101-110 were bare bones formations of circa 2,000 men, 36 Panthers and 11 Jagdpanzer IVs. These units had minimal service and support assets and no artillery. The second generation, 111-113 were larger units.

These were trained in circa 1-6 weeks and put together from newly produced material and cadres from units along with personnel provided by the replacement army. Reports from Panzer Brigade 108 indicate that these units lacked unit cohesion due to the varied nature of the personnel and how they didn't even know each other and also the extremely short training cycle. Also the design concept was meant to primarily defensive- the idea was to have this small, heavily armed and maneuverable unit counterattack breaches in the line. These units had only direct fire and no indirect fire capability.

"Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzer Brigade 107" and "Hold the Westwall, a History of Panzer Brigade 105, September 1944" provide detailed histories behind these two Panzer brigades. They were largely involved in screening actions and counterattacks and didn't suffer the fate of the brigades used in Arracourt. Most in the West were disbanded in the fall of 1944 as reinforcements to Pz divisions. 106th "F" was used into 1945.

The combat utility of Panzer Brigade 107 against Operation Market Garden was heavily limited by their lack of artillery and other supporting assets that a Panzer division would have had. But it was adequate as a screening/blocking force. It defeated the US 7th Armored division in the fights for Overloon.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Apr 2021 17:13

Panzer Brigade disbandment:

101: integrated into 20. Panzer-Division on 21 September 1944
102: integrated into 7. Panzer-Division in November 1944.
103: It was used to form the stab for Panzer-Division Müncheberg on 8 March 1945.
104: integrated into 25. Panzer-Division in November 1944.
105: integrated into 9. Panzer-Division in September 1944.
106: fought on the Western front and ended the war in the Ruhr.
107: units are assigned to the newly formed 25. Panzergrenadier-Division October 1944.
108: integrated into 116. Panzer-Division in October 1944.
109: integrated into Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle in October 1944.
110: integrated into 13. Panzer-Division in November 1944.

111:integrated into 11. Panzer-Division on 1 October 1944.
112: integrated into 21. Panzer-Division on 23 September 1944.
113:integrated into 15. Panzergrenadier-Division on 1 October 1944

Of these:

105, 106, 107, 108, 111, 112, 113 fought in the West and their continuation bodies there were 9.Pz, 11.Pz, 21.Pz, 116.Pz, 15.PzG, 25.PzG. Only 106 remained independent.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Apr 2021 18:36

And, besides the interest in Normandy/Ardennes for Panther fights there was also Operation Winter Solstice (Sonnenwende) which saw the use of 106.PzB. Also, more significantly the Gambshein bridgehead which featured bloody tank battles between 21.Pz/ 25.Pz, 10.SS vs US 12.AD and 14.AD.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by AKahl » 11 Apr 2021 19:04

Thanks, Cult Icon. Good info.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Apr 2021 02:01

Inspector General of the Armored forces proposal for Adolf Hitler:
Panzer-Brigade 105 to Panzer-Brigade 108 have been rapidly stood-up formations with the following characteristics:

a) Personnel without experience in the west and without experience in the tactical and technical requirements of a fully armored formation.
b) A uniquely valuable complement of armored vehicles and weapons.
c) Shortfalls of maintenance services and heavily reduced recovery services.

Characteristics of Panzer-Brigade 111 to Panzer-Brigade 113 and “Valkyrie” Units:

a) Command and control elements and signals personnel that have not had a chance to become cohesive.
b) Forces not cohesive due to a lack of unit/formation-level training.
c) Although fully equipped with tanks, an insufficient complement of other materiel, especially for maintenance and recovery services.


The prerequisite for the successful employment of all of the armored brigades is their integration into an organic armored formation—as is planned by the headquarters of the 5. Panzer-Armee—after their planned formation.
The armored brigades are to be used offensively only within the framework of armored formations that are themselves fully capable with regard to combat power and combat experience.
Otherwise, the results will be high personnel and materiel looses with corresponding combat success.
Because the remnants of the armored divisions that are still conducting operations can considerably increase their combat power in a short period of time through personnel and materiel replacements and the employment of personnel and materiel in them promises more success than in the armored brigades, I propose the integration of Panzer-Brigade 105 to Panzer-Brigade 108 and Panzer-Brigade 111 to Panzer-Brigade 113 into the armored divisions still being employed.
The following formations are to be consolidated:


Panzer-Brigade 105 and Panzer-Brigade 106 into the 9. Panzer-Division
Panzer-Brigade 107 and Panzer-Brigade 108 into the armored division of Heeresgruppe B
Panzer-Brigade 111 into the 11. Panzer-Division
Panzer-Brigade 112 into the 21. Panzer-Division
Panzer-Brigade 113 is to be consolidated with either the 21. Panzer-Division, the 3. Panzergrenadier-Division or the 15. Panzergrenadier-Division


Cf. BA-MA RH 10/90, p. 78 ff.
Panzer Brigade 107 was deployed at Arnhelm. 105 and 108 at Aachen. These three were used, for the most part, in screening activity and local counterattacks.

The ill fated ones were used offensively (106, 111, 112, 113) in the Vosges Panzer counteroffensive.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by AKahl » 13 Apr 2021 23:47

Hard to argue with those conclusions, CI.

Was that document written by Guderian?
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Apr 2021 00:32

I don't know who held the position after Guderian...!

Hold the Westwall is an underrated and essential book for the battle of Aachen, "miracle in the West", and also the use of the Panther tank in the most disadvantageous circumstances of disorder and material weakness. It's stitched together primary sources, mostly from the vantage point of LXXXI. Armee-Korps.

PzB 105 is attached to various divisions, most often to the hollowed -out 9th Panzer Division. Also the hollowed out 116.Pz and elements to the 12th Infantry division, among others. The nemesis of the 9th Pz. is the US 3rd Armored Division and 3AD's perspective is significant in this book.

The Panthers of 9.Pz and 105 Panzer Brigade are, for the most part, spread out in the front line in isolation- individual Panthers alone as a strongpoint in screening duty, surrounded by what is often low-quality and unreliable infantry that has significant MIA in action. Or deployments at around platoon size. Some are placed in the rear for local counterattacks. A very unenviable position to be in particularly when powerful task forces of the 3rd Armored Division make contact- frequently happening to the Panthers of the corps in Sept 1944.

This tactical employment is completely at odds with the guidance provided by Panzer Brigade 108 that discouraged splitting up of Panthers and wanted them to be entirely concentrated.

In Sept 10-20, 9.Pz reports 133 tanks knocked out. From Sept 1 to Sept 18th PzB105 claims 43 Shermans knocked out. Despite their own heavy losses the use of PzB 105 and 9.Pz in the defensive battles are considered a success given the circumstances and Major Volkner is awarded the RK and is put in charge of Panzergrenadier regiment 11 for a counterattack at Arnhem. Afterwards he is put in command of Panzer Brigade 107.

Effectively once the PzB105 was attached to the 9.Pz it also benefited from its support and services. The dissolution of the unit involved splitting the remaining personnel in small groups and cross-pollinating 9.Pz's elements.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Peasant » 15 Apr 2021 14:54

I always thought that most german tanks had recoil cylinders arranged symmetrically in order to balance the forces and minimize the interference on the shot exiting the barrel in order to get the best accuracy. From what I've seen, the vertical dispersion on the Kwk 43 L/71 was greater than that on the Kwk 36 L/56, so I guess it was working.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Apr 2021 00:17

FMS B-364 "Commitment of the 11th Panzer Division in the Lorraine", Hohne and Wietersheim

http://downloads.sturmpanzer.com/FMS/NARA_FMS_B364.pdf

11.Pz, Oct-Dec 1944

http://downloads.sturmpanzer.com/FMS/NARA_FMS_B416.pdf

11.Pz, Dec-1944-Feb 1945

http://downloads.sturmpanzer.com/FMS/NARA_FMS_B417.pdf

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Apr 2021 02:08

+ The Operation Queen offensive saw bloody tank battles with Panthers. It would be interesting to see a good quality book or research on this offensive. I don't know of any.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 20 Apr 2021 13:30

Tank vs. Tank

http://854534263155010103.weebly.com/up ... k_1946.pdf

An interesting- and rhetorical (in response to the tank scandal)- piece by the commander of 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division. The typical errors of veterans can be spotted out immediately however the generalization he makes of isolated German tanks commonly being used in a strongpoint style in the Western front is notable. This characterized the fighting outside of Normandy/Arracourt/Ardennes.

What he does not say is the fact that the majority of AFVs fought by US armored crews were not tanks but SPG type weapons- Stug, Jagdpanzer. Tigers were rare and present in two digits in the West.
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Cult Icon » 20 Apr 2021 13:32

Day of the Panzer: A Story of American Heroism and Sacrifice in Southern France

https://www.amazon.com/Day-Panzer-Ameri ... ks&sr=1-22
This is a rarely detailed, “you are there” account of World War II combat, describing a brief but bloody tank/infantry action in August 1944. Based on six years of research—drawing from interviews, primary documents, and visits to the battlefield—The Day of the Panzer transports the reader into the ranks of L Company, 15th Regiment, Third Infantry Division, and its supporting M4s of the 756th Tank Battalion as they grapple head-on with the Wehrmacht.

On August 15, 1944, L Company hit the beaches in southern France, joined by the tank crews of 2nd Lt. Andrew Orient’s 3rd Platoon, all veterans of Cassino. Despite logistical problems, the Third Division forged north through the Rhône River valley, L Company and its supporting tanks leading the regimental charge—until they faced a savage counterattack by the Germans and a rampaging Panther tank . . .

In this book, the minute-by-minute confusion, thrill, and desperation of WWII combat is placed under a microscope, as if the readers themselves were participants. “Through his well-wrought prose, Danby paints a detailed picture of deadly fighting and stunning victory” (WWII History).
Articles in WW2 magazines summarizing this book about a struggle with a strongpoint Panther came out many years ago.

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