Panther V Which Still Runs Found at German Man’s Home

 

In this July 2, 2015 picture a World War II -era Panther tank is prepared for transportation from a residential property in Heikendorf, northern Germany. Authorities have seized a 45-ton Panther tank, a flak canon and multiple other World War II-era military weapons in a raid on a 78-year-old collector's storage facility in northern Germany. Kiel prosecutor Birgit Hess said the collector is being investigated for possibly violating German weapons laws but his attorney Peter Gramsch told the dpa news agency all the items were properly demilitarized and registered. (Carsten Rehder/dpa via AP)
In this July 2, 2015 picture a World War II -era Panther tank is prepared for transportation from a residential property in Heikendorf, northern Germany. Authorities have seized a 45-ton Panther tank, a flak canon and multiple other World War II-era military weapons in a raid on a 78-year-old collector’s storage facility in northern Germany. Kiel prosecutor Birgit Hess said the collector is being investigated for possibly violating German weapons laws but his attorney Peter Gramsch told the dpa news agency all the items were properly demilitarized and registered. (Carsten Rehder/dpa via AP)

 

Looking at the photograph which accompanies this article, the tank appears to be a Panther V known to the Allies as a “Mark V” and to the Germans as the “Panzerkampfwagen V Panther.” “Panzer” translate idiomatically as “tank.”

In the photo, you will note that the turret is completely reversed with the gun barrel centered between the two outboard exhausts on the rear of the tank. You can readily identify the front of the tank by the sprocket wheel which is the last of the wheels to the far right.

The small rectangular objects on the side of the tank are sections of the caterpillar treads and were used to repair the treads if they were damaged which they often were.

The Panther V required a crew of five to operate as a combat vehicle: commander, driver, radioman/ machine gunner, loader & gunner.

Theoretically one man could operate the tank as the driver but it would be difficult to tell where you were going. Panther’s were not mechanically reliable and needed a lot of maintenance so it is certainly a tribute to this man’s mechanical ability that he could keep the Panther running.

During the war, maintaining the tank required specially trained mechanics in the rear area service company who only worked on the complex tanks like the Panther and the Tiger and their variations.

Since the guy is obviously a law abiding citizen who openly collects weapons from World War Two, few of which would still work except for small arms, it seems a stretch for the German authorities to raise such a ruckus.
Since the guy is obviously a law abiding citizen who openly collects weapons from World War Two, few of which would still work except for small arms, it seems a stretch for the German authorities to raise such a ruckus. The last of the tanks were probably built in either March early April of 1945 so it truly is amazing the owner could get it to run.

Plus the man could hardly go into a store and buy shells to fit the gun breech of a Panzer much less a shell you could fire. These shells had to machined to a fine tolerance and packed with a specific mix of explosives.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/