Panther on the Eastern Front 1944

Panther on the Eastern Front 1944

One source has cited the cost of a Panther tank as 117,100 Reichmarks (RM). This compared with 82,500 RM for the StuG III, 96,163 RM for the Panzer III, 103,462 RM for the Panzer IV, and 250,800 RM for the Tiger I. These figures did not include the cost of the armament and radio. Using slave labour on the production lines greatly reduced costs, but also greatly increased the risk of sabotage. French army studies in 1947 found that many Panthers had been sabotaged during production.

The main gun was a Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.5 cm KwK 42 (L/70) with semi-automatic shell ejection and a supply of 79 rounds (82 on Ausf. G). The main gun used three different types of ammunition: APCBC-HE (Pzgr. 39/42), HE (Sprgr. 42) and APCR (Pzgr. 40/42), the last of which was usually in short supply. While it was of a calibre common on Allied tanks, the Panther’s gun was one of the most powerful of World War II, due to the large propellant charge and the long barrel, which gave it a very high muzzle velocity and excellent armour-piercing qualities — among Allied tank guns of similar calibre, only the British Sherman Firefly conversion’s Ordnance QF 17-pounder gun, of 3 inch (76.2mm) calibre, and a 55 calibre long (L/55) barrel, had more potential hitting power.

A half track passing a knocked-out Soviet Churchill tank

Knocked out Soviet Lend-Lease Churchill

Significant numbers of British Churchill, Matilda and Valentine tanks were shipped to the USSR along with the US M3 Lee after it became obsolete on the African Front, ceasing production in December 1942 and withdrawn from British service in May 1943. The Churchills, supplied by the arctic convoys, saw action in the Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Kursk, while tanks shipped by the Persian route supplied the Caucasian Front. Between June 1941 and May 1945, Britain delivered to the USSR:

  • 3,000+ Hurricanes
  • 4,000+ other aircraft
  • 27 naval vessels
  • 5,218 tanks
  • 5,000+ anti-tank guns
  • 4,020 ambulances and trucks
  • 323 machinery trucks
  • 2,560 Universal Carriers
  • 1,721 motorcycles
  • £1.15bn worth of aircraft engines
  • 600 radar and sonar sets
  • Hundreds of naval guns
  • 15 million pairs of boots
In total 4 million tonnes of war materials including food and medical supplies were delivered. The munitions totaled £308m (not including naval munitions supplied), the food and raw materials totaled £120m in 1946 index. In accordance with the Anglo-Soviet Military Supplies Agreement of 27 June 1942, military aid sent from Britain to the Soviet Union during the war was entirely free of charge.
Two Tiger II tanks on a Paris street 1944

Two Tiger II tanks on a Paris street 1944

The heaviest tank on the battlefield, the Tiger II or Königstiger was a formidable foe, but it had its fair share of shortcomings.  From over-complicated engineering, not enough power for the weight of the beast and the lack of quality raw materials led to this monster not being able to perform to its fullest.
However that being said, wherever this tank was deployed, it devastated its opponents.

In this photo two King Tigers of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion are passing through a Paris street on the way to the Normandy front in August 1944, ultimately however nothing the German’s threw at the invading Allies was enough to halt their advance, and once Operation Bagration was launched it was really only a matter of time before the war for Germany was over.

8.8cm flak mounted on a Vomag Omnibus 7

8.8cm flak mounted on a Vomag Omnibus 7

An interesting photo as the Vomag Omnibus 7 was a civilian transport vehicle.  There isn’t a lot of information available about the Omnibus 7.

The variant is known as the Vomag 88mm Flak 18 Waffentrager.  It is an example of the need to get such an excellent but horribly immobile weapon into battle and as maneuverable as possible.

A grave for fallen comrades

A grave for fallen comrades

A German panzer crewman stands over the grave of two fallen panzer crewmen – potentially from the Panzer I in the background.

Most likely this photo is taken in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa, as the black panzer beret – the schutzmütze – was phased out and production had ceased in 1941, however it continued to be worn after that date for a while.  The surviving crewman is wearing the newer style of panzer crew headgear which was introduced in early 1940.