Training Tank assigned to unknown unit, Northern Bavaria, April 1945, Defence of the Reich
Widely regarded as the finest German tank of the Second World War, the PzKpfw V Panther was a formidable combination of speed, manoeuvrability, armour protection and firepower, making this a feared battlefield adversary. Built in response to combat experiences on the Eastern Front and the impressive performance of the latest Soviet tanks, Russia would also see the combat introduction of the new Panther, during the battle of Kursk in the summer 1943.
Although classed by the German’s as a medium tank, the Panther weighed in at an impressive 45 tons, but proved to be significantly more mobile than its size suggests and after overcoming initial service introduction issues, the Panther began to show its destructive potential.
One criticism of the larger German tank designs was that they tended to be over-engineered and whilst they were undoubtedly impressive fighting machines, there simply were not enough of them with front line units. By the time of D-Day, the Panther was fighting a losing battle and if superior numbers of Allied tanks didn’t get them, rocket firing Hawker Typhoons undoubtedly would.
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