Sunday, January 24, 2021

Taking a Personal Day

PzKw V Panther
American Heritage Museum
Hudson, MA

(Sarge Photo)

It's busy, busy, busy we are here at the Global Headquarters of the Chant du Départ fast by the Bay in Little Rhody. (Narragansett for those of you with access to a map, what you nautical types insist on calling a chart. There's a difference ya know.)

Anyhoo, the book proceeds apace, what with adding new sections and starting the editing/grooming process. I've had to cut down on the number of pictures in the book, down to "none" to be precise as I don't own any of them and as I intend the book to be a money making venture, can't cite Fair Use. Because if it's for profit, Fair Use doesn't apply.

Without all the photos, we're at some 600 pages and, as the more astute of you know, the war ain't over yet. The To The Rhine portion is nearly done and all that remains is Part Three, The Fall of the Reich, or something along those lines. (It takes awhile to reconstruct an entire German company, names and ranks, but no serial numbers, after all these are fictional characters. So I'm doing that as well.)

Research on my next historical novel has begun, starting with Ian Toll's Pacific Crucible. The book is riveting, The Missus Herself gave me the three volume trilogy and I am glad she did. I understand more about the Japanese a hundred pages in than I understand from all my previous reading. Can I write from the perspective of a Japanese soldier/sailor/airman? I dunno, I think I can, but we'll see.

As to the armored beastie in the opening photo (I've added that museum to the roll on the right should ye be interested, I know at least one Chanter other than myself has been there), Beans did cast some aspersions on the Panzerkampfwagen V, or Panther, the other day. I believe the word "overrated" was hinted at?

While I personally think it's a damned good tank, when it works, it had lots of teething pains. It is probably overly engineered and too damned complex, but the damn thing had a great gun and really good optics. There was a reason Allied tank crews feared the beast.

The example up in Hudson was dragged from the bottom of a river in Poland and was completely refurbished and rebuilt under the auspices of the late Jacques M. Littlefield and came from his collection to Hudson after his passing.

Wouldn't you know it? There's a clip on YouTube of the Poles dragging that very Panther from the Czarna Nida River, in Bieleckie Młyny, Poland, back in 1990.



Rather than burden you with my opinions of the Panther, let's have Major Nicholas Moran, US Army, take you on a tour of this very tank. (The exact same one in the leading photo. BTW the day I snapped that photo was the first time I actually saw a Panther in person. Also the day I got to meet the Chieftain himself. A very knowledgeable man, also quite personable.)

Without further ado, take it away Major!







Hope you enjoyed that, I know I did.

(Next time I'll try to find some tanks blowing up for Juvat.)




30 comments:

  1. The Chieftain makes quite the point about the Sherman having significant advantages over the Panther when it came to logistics. Not only was the Sherman easier to build in the first place, it had better ergonomics, far better reliability, and was easier to repair. Better ergonomics saves crew lives - the Chieftain's "oh my God, the tank is on fire" video shows just how much easier it was to escape a damaged Sherman than its comtemporaries. Better reliability means when you send a company of Shermans on a road march, a company of Shermans arrives. Not so with the competitors. Easier to repair means that when a Sherman does break down or get shot up, it can be put back into service quickly. All of these are important for a power that has to ship everything across an ocean to reach the combat theaters, and whose vehicles have to be able to function in the Pacific as well as North Africa and Europe.

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    1. The Germans didn't ship their tanks over the ocean. USA tank designs needed to be designed around what could be shipped bt sea and what "longshoreman" facilities, if any, were at the other end. (Yes, I know, my remark isn't original)

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    2. Once both tanks are on scene though, the Panther is a formidable opponent.

      Thing is, there weren't many of them, and there were a LOT of Shermans, and T-34s in the East.

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    3. WSF - It's a good point and one of the things which made the Sherman so effective.

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  2. Back when I was in high school, Wisconsin Public Television had a program about the Pander waffle. They were talking to the CO of a Panzer Division, and they asked him if he could have had any tank to equip his division, what would he have chosen, and he said a Sherman, with the 7.5 cm gun from the Panther. The Sherman started when you pressed the starter, drove to where you wanted it, without breaking down, and was far more reliable than the Panther. Giving it the Panther's gun would mean it could kill whatever threatened it. ( Basically, the Israeli ISherman.)

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  3. I hate auto correct. I typed Panzerwaffe, and proof read it, but it changed when I hit post.

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  4. Auto correct wants breakfast. Waffles with Vermont maple syrup. Old Guns

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  5. Who doesn't fear the Pander Waffle!

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  6. Hey AFSarge;

    Once this Kung-Flu nonsense is over, Heading to that museum is on my list to visit, I do fly for free :). If I had to fight a war in a German Tank it would have been in either a Mark IV or a Panther, I considered them good tanks, overengineered and complicated but good tanks, although the Sherman was far more reliable and got a bad rap because of that crappy 75MM gun it had, when the gun was upgraded, the Sherman rocked. I would avoid the Tiger like the Plague, now that beast was problematic, sure it was big, but it broke down all the time, and if you had 10 tigers in your unit, by the time you got to the front, you lost half of them to breakdowns and getting spare parts was a problem and they were hard to repair in the field, they were not maintenance friendly under combat or field conditions. If I had to take a WWII tank, I would prefer a Sherman with a uprated gun, the Firefly version that the Brits had.

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  7. You make great points about the Sherman vs the Panther. Sadly, I fear the lessons learned then have been forgotten by most modern armies to include ( especially ) the US Army. To many of our weapons ( in all branches) rely very heavily on latest and greatest. However, they tend to cost an arm and two legs, need a lot of maintenance ( some are thought to be prone to breakdown) and are hard to produce and transport in numbers. Are aircraft carriers amazing must have warships or will they become the next big wars version of the WW2 Battleship ?? Modern missiles etc making them big , expensive targets. Will Remotely controlled planes and tanks soon make traditional planes and tanks expensive relics. Speaking of remote control, will next generation jamming devices cause some of our mainline weapon systems to be nonfunctional. I could see a SUV sized vehicle, remotely controlled ( or with 1 man crew) and autoloader being the next Sherman. Shermans swarmed around Nazi armor. Small , fast, vehicles using a lot of off the shelf gear would seem the way to go. Drones show what can be done with drone attack planes and missiles. Drone fighters and bombers should surely be next. Hell, we still use the B52 after all these years. SO , reverse engineer it, add modern weaponry and take it into the next 50 years.

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    1. The modern military is far too much at the mercy of the defense contractors and Congresscritters bringing jobs back to their districts. Follow the money. It's a sleazy tale with no happy ending.

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  8. Thank you for sharing Sarge! That is pretty cool! (The evacuation test made me laugh).

    I think your book will need to be a trilogy.

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    1. One of my favorite lines, "Oh bugger, the tank is on fire!"

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  9. (Don McCollor)...It would be a shame with no pictures. I suggest you at least explore if you can get permission to use some photos (especially official government ones [with attribution, but without cost]) You might be surprised. Am awaiting avidly for an overview (or the beginning) of your Pacific opus, and the chance to paw through the other half of my WW2 history collection...

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    1. I will look into using some photos. They help tell the story.

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    2. Illustrations? When done well can be just as powerful in conveying an a emotion, a mood, or the drama of a moment. IMHO.

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