Distribution of Demag Panthers

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Posts: 48
Joined: 20 Jun 2005 16:10
Location: Derby Uk

Distribution of Demag Panthers

Post by Dsotm » 03 Jul 2009 15:03

Hi Guys

We are trying to fill in the blanks of history of the Demag Panther 'A' currently under restoration at the Wheatcroft Collection. The information we have to date is:
Fgst No. 158134 manufactured in December 1943 (one of 11 in that month apparently), and its fitted with the double towing pintle. Bewteen that and it ending up at Saumur we have a blank. The only damage apparent on its arrival was from a (probably kinetic) round penetrating the rear plate in the upper right quadrant that went through the rear plate of the sponson fuel tank. A second (probable HE) round impacted the rhs upper hull just below where the sledgehammer head would have been, causing a spall on the interior of the armour.

Its possible the tank served post-war in the 501-503rd Regiment de Char de Combat and was then retired to a range where the damage occurred, following which it ended up at Saumur.

We have seen images of Demag Panthers of the 9th SS in Normandy and l./Pz.Rgt.4 in Italy, but without knowing where the December production run were shipped cannot nail down a unit.

Any info in this regard, or help with info or contacts for records on the history of the Panther use in the French 501-503rd regiment would be greatly appreciated and full credit given in the next book.

Brian Balkwill

Martin Block
Posts: 440
Joined: 17 Apr 2005 12:21
Location: Good old Germany

Re: Distribution of Demag Panthers

Post by Martin Block » 04 Jul 2009 10:05


Sorry for not responding to your earlier PM request, but I had a rather busy week.

If the Panther in question was employed on the Western Front IMHO there is only one possible unit ID that might fit.

If one assumes that Fgst.Nr. 158134 was issued to a unit relatively quick after its completion, i. e. during the second half of December or very early January 1944, and ended its career in German service in France during the summer or early fall then there is only one possible option and that is: Pz.Lehr-Div.! All other Panthers completed during the month of Dec 1943 seem to have been sent east - except for another handful given to units in the replacement army.

If you have a look at the issue list for December 1943 http://www.panther1944.de/Panther/panth ... n1943.html you see an entry on Dec 28th which says that on that day 10 Panthers were shipped to "Inspekteur (f. Lehr-Rgt.)". Now this 'Lehr-Rgt.' actually was the "Panzer-Lehr-Regiment" which during January 1944 would become the famous "Pz.Lehr-Rgt. 130" for the new formed Pz.Lehr-Div.

The "Pz.Lehr-Rgt." was based in Germany the Bergen/Fallingbostel training area where it served as training and demonstration unit. It consisted of
- Rgt.Stb. mit Nachr. u. Aufkl.Zug
- I.(Pz.)/Pz.Lehr-Rgt.
- II.(Pz.Gren.)/Pz.Lehr-Rgt.
- III.(Pz.Jg.)/Pz.Lehr-Rgt.

On 14.1.1944 the regiment was renamed to Pz.Lehr-Rgt. 130 and became part of the new Pz.Lehr-Div.
The I. Abt. became II./Pz.Lehr-Rgt. 130 and would be equipped with Pzkpfw. IV. A new I.(Panther) Abt. was to be formed later.
The II. Abt. became I./Pz.Gren.Lehr-Rgt. 902
The III. Abt. became Pz.Jg.Lehr-Abt. 130

The 'missing' I. Abteilung was replaced by the I.(Panther)/Pz.Rgt. 6 (originally belonging to the 3. Pz.Div.) which was subordinated to the Pz.Lehr-Div. on 22.1.1944.

Now back to the 10 Panthers shipped at the end of December 1943. Status reports of the Pz.Lehr-Div. indicate that they probably ended up 'somewhere' in the I./Pz.Rgt. 6.

Pz.Lehr-Rgt. 130 with the attached I./Pz.Rgt. 6 was authorized to have 79 Panthers in total. Actually it fielded 89 Panthers. I./Pz.Rgt. 6 had received 79 Panthers between Oct 1943 and Mar 1944. 11 had to bee handed over to the 12. SS-Pz.Div. but nevertheless Pz.Lehr-Div. arrived in Normandy 10 Panthers overstrenght. The only possible explanation for me is that the Panthers of the former I.(Pz.)/Pz.Lehr-Rgt. had been taken to (more than) fill up the ranks again (there had already been Panther deliveries before the shipment in late December).

This is only a theory so far which I cannot verify with Fgst.Nr. documents, but - if I may say so - it doesn't sound completely like a fairy tale :wink:

Just my two cents

Martin Block

Posts: 48
Joined: 20 Jun 2005 16:10
Location: Derby Uk

Re: Distribution of Demag Panthers

Post by Dsotm » 04 Jul 2009 13:31

Hi Martin

Many thanks for the detailed reply - this really helps. I have contacted the Demag factory to see if they keep archives of any kind, and I have a researcher going to the BA to see what he can find as well. Whatever comes to light I will post back here.

Are there any images of Demag Panthers in Panzer Lehr? Kent has sent me several of them with the 9th SS in Normandy but so far no Lehr.


Kent W
Posts: 23
Joined: 21 Feb 2004 13:03
Location: Sweden

Re: Distribution of Demag Panthers

Post by Kent W » 05 Jul 2009 12:09

Hi all!

Got invited by Brian to help finding the history of 158 134 (the Wheatcroft Demag Panther early Ausf A) after my posting on Missing Lynx about the identity of the Saumur Panther Ausf G and thought I might reveal my 2 cents regarding this to you all for a maybe fill in for the all good of it.
All of this below has been sent to Brian/Kevin for further investigation and maybe this is the one or maybe not... :oops:

If this change in production listed here…
http://www.panther1944.de/Panther/panth ... ktion.html
is correct…(please not the German text that says “monthly production numbers of DEMAG estimated over decrease numbers”)
a December made Ausf A would have monocular gunsight and a Kugelblende instead of the letterbox MG-slits.
The Weathcroft Panther has binocular gunsight as well as the letterbox MG slit indicating being made before December 1943 or at least a very early dec-made.

Unit delivery in December 1943 to units fighting in western Europe according to this list:
http://www.panther1944.de/Panther/panth ... n1943.html
Shows that on December 13th (9), 18th (16) and 19th (13) I./Pz.Abt.4 received about ½ of its final strength and soon after the rest before they were hasty sent to Anzio Italy in January 1944.

There on 25th of May one of their Panthers was captured quite intact and photographed with free French tankers present:

This must have been one of the first Panthers captured by the western allied and therefore very, very interesting.
The free French fighting in Italy was soon after departed for the invasion on southern France.
Maybe they took their drivable Panther with them – just me thinking out loud…

The Panther seen in the photos is a Demag early A Panther spot on the Wheatcroft Panther.
More photos of that Panther especially from the rear would be much helpful to see.
Either to confirm or put this one out from the list of possible 158 134.

Regarding Panzer Lehr that’s keep coming up as an alternative I have to say I have not seen any photo of a confirmed Demag early Ausf A in Normandy from them.
The only Demag early Ausf A in Normandy I know of is #223 from 9thSS so if someone with better knowledge then me can fill in here would be much appreciated.


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