Panther Tank 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards "Cuckoo", Netherlands 1944/5 (1:50)
Item # CC60216
Prepainted Diecast Metal Model
Collectors item: Not suitable for children under 14
Sale Price: $64.95
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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.
As Allied forces advanced deeper into German territory during the spring of 1945 and inexorably towards the heart of the Third Reich, their overwhelming numerical superiority was gradually wearing down remaining pockets of resistance. The Wehrmacht counter-attacks which took place in the weeks and months following D-Day had left armoured units hugely depleted and with the net of war closing around them, there was little hope of replenishing even a fraction of these losses. As Allied armoured units approached the town of Bamberg in Northern Bavaria, they would face a hastily assembled collection of German armour and assault guns from various units, including several early Panther tanks taken from nearby Training and Reserve Tank Divisions. Used to train crews destined for the heavy tank battalions, these units operated some of the first Panthers to enter service, often inheriting them after they had been sent back from front-line units for maintenance or upgrade.
Indeed, at this stage of the war, it was common to find the latest tank deliveries utilising components from much earlier variants of the same vehicles, such was the pressure on German manufacturing at that time. This fascinating Panther, which served during the Battle for Bamberg, is sporting a replacement barrel for its 75mm gun and has hastily applied camouflage to its turret and gun only. The prominent placement of the Balkenkreuz at the front of the turret served to identify the tank to other local Wehrmacht units, presumably as some may have been relatively inexperienced in combat - it would have also clearly marked it as a target for the approaching US and Russian forces. Despite being one of the oldest Panther tanks still in operational service, these fearsome weapons were still capable of taking a heavy toll of Allied armour and their swift destruction would have been a priority.