The Panther is often believed to be the best German tank of the Second World War.
When the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, they were surprised by the quantity and quality of Soviet armour. Hitler ordered that the T-34 be copied and the result was the Panther, which saw action for the first time at Kursk in 1943.
The Panther was larger and of much better quality than the T- 34. The Panther’s suspension system was more complicated than that of the Russian T-34, involving torsion bars and 18 overlapping road wheels on each side. Wide tracks spread the Panther’s weight when travelling over soft ground. Its 75mm gun was a vast improvement on the Russian equivalent. Production of the Panther was slow and there were never enough of them to make a serious difference to the fighting in Russia, Italy or North West Europe.
The Tank Museum’s Panther
This Panther was one of a group of tanks that were built under British supervision after the German factory in Hannover had been taken over by the Allies. The small plate on the front shows where this tank was built. The abbreviations mean that it was assembled by 823 Armoured Workshops (ARMD WKSP), Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (REME), British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), based at the Maschinenfabrik Niedersachen (MNH) plant in Hannover.