Panthers tested in 1944

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Michael Kenny
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Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 13 Mar 2020 21:59

The first time the Western Allies got a Panther for testing was May 1944. Panther number '433' taken at Kursk in July 1943 and sent to the UK with initial inspection dated 22 May 1944.
Kursk Panther 433 at Bovington May 1944 (8).jpg
Panther 433 . . (9).jpg
Paperwork :
Kursk Panther 433 at Bovington May 1944 (1).jpg
As it was the only Panther it could not be used in firing trials but they managed to work out there would be a problem and this report was the one that introduces the 'deflection' down into the crew compartment.
Screenshot_102.jpg
This vehicle caught fire and burnt out during mechanical/mobility testing on July 28th 1944 and was then later used for firing tests

Panther 433 testing.jpg
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 13 Mar 2020 22:47

Another Panther was taken on May 23rd 1944 in Italy. By coincidence also numbered '433'
Scretgenshot_111.jpg
An account of the demise of '433' of I/Pz Rgt 4 can be read in Jentz 'Panther Tank, Quest For Combat Supremacy' Page 144

The first unit with Panthers to engage Allied Forces was
the I.AbteiIung/Panzer-Regiment 4. It was sent down to Italy
with 76 Panthers (mostly Ausfuehrung A with a few
Ausfuehrung D) in early February 1944 to attack the beach-
head at Anzio. The Allies repulsed these attacks with the aid
of naval gunfire.
Directly before their second major action against the AI-
Iied offensive that kicked off on 22 May 1944, I./Pz.Rgt.4 re-
ported 62 operational Panthers on 19 May. The following excerpt
from the war diary of the 4.Kompanie/Panzer-Regiment
4 reveals how this company fared during their attempt to stop
the Allied advance:
"At 0355 hours on 23 May 1944, the combat elements
were alerted by the company commander. At 0445, three
Panthers (401, 414 and431) Ieft the assembly area. The other
fOUr Panthers (421 , 422, 423, and 433) were to follow as soon
as they finished refueling. This hadn't been completed since
~the gasoline had been delivered in 200 Iiter drums with only
one pump. At 0515, the three advanced Panthers were forced
to immediately change position due to heavy artillery fire.
Enemy tanks and infantry started to attack at 1030. A
decision was made to attack the enemy in the flank. The route
was subjected to heavy artillery barrages. Finding the way
was almost impossible due to powder fumes and artificial
smoke. Bypassing the various barrage zones, five Panthers
managed to attack the enemy in the flank without Ioss due to
enemy fire. Panthers 423 and 431 had remained behind due
to mechanical problems. The opponent fled the battlefield,
pulling back to the east, Ieaving all his weapons and equip-
ment behind. An immediate enemy tank counterattack was
repulsed, Panther 433 was knocked out in this last action
The commander was killed and the gunner and Ioader
wounded. A short time Iater the gunner in Panther 423 was
wounded
.


As this was May 23 1944 this tank can not have arrived in the UK ( if indeed it was sent) until much later and by this time there were quite a few Panthers available. This tank then had no special significance or value. It is seen under test with weights to simulate crew, fuel, ammo etc
Panther 433 weights... (5).jpg
This tank has a 21st Army Tank Brigade signage and markings for 165 REME and the penetration can be seen in the turret lower side.
Panther 433 Italy . . . .b.jpg
Could the testing be done in Italy?
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 13 Mar 2020 23:14

This was published in November 1943
Panther Nov 1943 521 f (5).jpg
Panther, Technical And Tactical Trends No 37. Nov 4 1943. oks.jpg
and it appears a wooden mock-up was made in the UK:
Panther 521 mock-up .. (2).jpg
Panther 521 mock-up .. (1).jpg
However it is not a patch on this version captioned 'Artillery Bowl stadium at Ft. Sill, OK'
Wooden Panther 521 . Artillery Bowl stadium at Ft. Sill, OKf.jpg
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Mar 2020 01:21

Michael Kenny wrote:
13 Mar 2020 21:59
The first time the Western Allies got a Panther for testing was May 1944. Panther number '433' taken at Kursk in July 1943 and sent to the UK with initial inspection dated 22 May 1944.
Interesting. Is that the Panther sent over the winter of 1943/1944? It makes sense that the test report was dated 22 May 1944.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 03:39

The Panther arrived in the UK at the same time the Shoeburyness trials showed there might be 'problems' after the landing.

The Balleroy test shoot is not fully documented. The text notes 5 hits and the description of the hits is not numbered in the same sequence as the roman numerals chalked on the hits (top pic) The bottom photo shows 7 hits and I presume another round smashed the glacis which means another 3 rounds in another shoot.
Panther 321 2nd PD Balleroy(4) . ...-vertbbb.jpg
A later photo shows even more damage to the Panther but that could be because a loose section dropped out.
Balleroy Panther 321 Dr Erbes. 3-67 AR bbbb.jpg
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Mar 2020 06:33

Michael Kenny wrote:
15 Mar 2020 03:39
The Panther arrived in the UK at the same time the Shoeburyness trials showed there might be 'problems' after the landing.
Sorry Michael, I may not have been clear.

Is the Panther Ausf D #433 captured at Kursk the same one that was shipped to the UK sometime in the winter of 1943/1944? That is a bit earlier than the Shoeburyness trial of 23 May 1944, which I always understood was against "rolled homogeneous plate" and not against actual tanks. As I understand it the various tests on #433 were coincidentally completed 23 May 1944 and published as "Memorandum, “German Panther Tank”," by the War Office on 30 May 1944 and subsequently republished by the ETOUSA AFV&W Section as "Memorandum: To: Armored Divisions, Separate Tank Battalions, and TD Battalions in ETO" on 5 June 1944. That a Panther Ausf A was captured at Anzio, also on 23 May 1944, is even more oddly coincidental.

I also have inferred that at least one or more Panther from I./Panzer-Regiment 4. were actually captured earlier at Anzio in March during the latter stages of FISCHFANG, but it is unclear where they went. Perhaps Aberdeen?

It is frustrating that better records on these were not kept.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 11:22

The document notes that the Panther ('433' from Kursk) was received for inspection on Monday the 22nd and I confirmed that May 22 was a Monday. Given it was the first to arrive in the UK It is unlikely it arrived much earlier and after June 6th there was a wealth of Panthers available so it quickly losts its significance. They might as well have shot it up and got 'real' data instead of the Shoeburyness trails. The engine caught fire in July and it burnt out. There is no information about actual firing trials against any Panther in the West prior to June 1944 so its safe to assume none was tested before reality kicked in.

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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Mar 2020 14:42

Michael Kenny wrote:
15 Mar 2020 11:22
The document notes that the Panther ('433' from Kursk) was received for inspection on Monday the 22nd and I confirmed that May 22 was a Monday. Given it was the first to arrive in the UK It is unlikely it arrived much earlier and after June 6th there was a wealth of Panthers available so it quickly losts its significance. They might as well have shot it up and got 'real' data instead of the Shoeburyness trails. The engine caught fire in July and it burnt out. There is no information about actual firing trials against any Panther in the West prior to June 1944 so its safe to assume none was tested before reality kicked in.
Interesting...one day is remarkably quick to complete such a report, even in wartime. Especially a report that was such a volte face from the earlier Soviet-information based one of November 1943.

It also calls into question the photos of the tank supposedly arriving in "winter", which always appeared to be a supposition to me.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 16:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 14:42
Especially a report that was such a volte face from the earlier Soviet-information based one of November 1943.

There is a Canadian Document dated 3rd October 1943 that appears to be the original Russian report on '521' that was simplified for the 'Tactical And Technical Trends' November 1943 booklet
No firing data and it notes that the Panther (521) had the fighting compartment burnt out.
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (2).jpg
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (3).jpg
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (4).jpg
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (5).jpg
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (7).jpg
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 16:16

Panther 521
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Gorque
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Gorque » 15 Mar 2020 20:41

Hi Michael:

Picture 5 ^^: Was the Panther holed just underneath the three vertical dots. And do you know what these 3 vertical dots represent? Hinge mounts?

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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Mar 2020 22:34

Michael Kenny wrote:
15 Mar 2020 16:13
There is a Canadian Document dated 3rd October 1943 that appears to be the original Russian report on '521' that was simplified for the 'Tactical And Technical Trends' November 1943 booklet
No firing data and it notes that the Panther (521) had the fighting compartment burnt out.
I finally had a chance to look at this and have a couple of questions. The distribution slip indicates it was filed 21 October 1943, while the stamp on page 1 of the report appears to be dated 14 October. Where did you get 3 October from?

More interesting is the penciled note on the last page referring to "USA sources in Russia". Given the level of detail in the Canadian document I don't think the Tactical and Technical Trends article was adapted from the Canadian report, but instead came separately from the "USA sources in Russia". The Canadian report does not contain some of the oddities found in the American report, such as "Fire from all types of rifles and machine guns directed against the peep holes, periscopes and the base of the turret and gun shield will blind or jam the parts. High-explosives and armor-piercing shells of 54-mm [sic, 45mm was probably the intended figure] (2.12 in) caliber or higher, at 800 meters (875 yds) or less, are effective against the turret. Large caliber artillery and self-propelled cannon can put the Panther out of action at ordinary distances for effective fire. The inclined and vertical plates can be pierced by armor-piercing shells of 45 mm (1.78 in) caliber or higher."
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 23:07

I left out the handwritten sheet of measurement (5 image per post limit) which also notes US Sources' as well as the Russian details.
Kursk Panther October 1943 report from Russia.. (6).jpg
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Mar 2020 23:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 22:34
The distribution slip indicates it was filed 21 October 1943, while the stamp on page 1 of the report appears to be dated 14 October. Where did you get 3 October from?
I assumed it was 23 Oct and then missed out the '2' in my post. . The date on the first page is ambiguous. It could be 2 Oct or 2? October. Like most of these things the closer you look the more contradictions you find.

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Re: Panthers tested in 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Mar 2020 00:36

Michael Kenny wrote:
15 Mar 2020 23:13
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 22:34
The distribution slip indicates it was filed 21 October 1943, while the stamp on page 1 of the report appears to be dated 14 October. Where did you get 3 October from?
I assumed it was 23 Oct and then missed out the '2' in my post. . The date on the first page is ambiguous. It could be 2 Oct or 2? October. Like most of these things the closer you look the more contradictions you find.
Interesting, thanks for the last page too. The stamped date really looks like a "14" to me on the first page and it looks like the file page endorsement typewriter keys stuck...I'm pretty sure "21" was meant, which would fit the sequence. Anyway, looks like the Canadians aced it.

Was the 22-23 May evaluation done at DTD FVPE at Chertwell?

Anyway, the whole sequence is fascinating. The earliest date I have seen now in Western Allied intelligence is 19 September 1943 in Italy by 56 Division, then the Canadians and Americans in October and November, and finally the definitive report from May 1944. The curious thing is that on 25 April 1944, First U.S. Army Group prepared an evaluation of the desired characteristics of medium tank production in 1945 for the AFV&W Section, ETOUSA. The study finally acknowledged the likelihood the Panther would be the “principal German armor confronting” American and British forces. The notion they would only be employed in small numbers like the Tiger was finally discarded. It was also noted,

"The 75mm tank gun will not penetrate the front of either the Mark V [Panther] or Mark VI [Tiger]. The 76mm gun will penetrate the front of the Mark V at a range of 400 yards and the front of the Mark VI at 200 yards. The 76mm gun can handle these tanks from the side at greater ranges than the 75mm gun."

Although slightlyoptimistic, all of that was of course a month before the DTD report and the results at Shoeburyness test...prescience? :lol:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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