Panther Ausf. G – Overloon

The Panther Ausführung G was the last version of the Panther to be mass produced. It featured a number of improvement over the earlier A model. Characteristic for this model are the lack of a driver’s hatch in the glacis plate as well as the simplified (one piece) side armour plates. The vehicle at the Oorlogsmuseum Overloon carries Fahrgestell Nummer 128427 which identifies this as the 127th produced Panther Ausführung G assembled by the M.N.H. firm in Hannover in early August 1944. This Panther’s turret was produced at Eisenwerke Oberdonau, Linz as evident by its parallel cut turret armour. After sitting outside for many years, Panther #222 was restored over the period 1999-2005. The following pictures taken in 1999 by Edgar Driesen show a relatively complete tank.

Unfortunately, many of the torsion bars were broken or damaged and the tracks were completely rusted solid. Possible due to a lack of funds, attempts to restore the vehicle to running order were ceased. The torsion bars were left as is and the vehicle was placed on a steel construction to keep it upright. Additionally, the engine was sold to the SDKFZ foundation (Weald foundation) to use in their Jagdpanther. Nowadays, the tank is accompanied by a static display model of the  Maybach HL 230 P 30 engine.

The newly restored vehicle was placed in the museum’s entrance hall. At the time, the tracks were mostly missing due to the fact they were mostly rusted together and the process of loosening them was painfully slow. The applied camouflage scheme and Zimmerit patterns were poorly researched and quite unrealistic. The photos below show the Panther in 2008-2010.

When the museum changed its name and chose to focus more on the battle of Overloon, the Panther was ‘tackled’ once again. The Zimmerit layer was removed and the vehicle repainted to a dark yellow colour, matching the colour of factory new Panthers at the end of the war; Dunkelgelb nach Muster. The photos below were taken in 2016 and 2018.

Panther #222 belonged to Panzer Abteilung 2107 which was established on the 30 July 1944 on the eastern front near Mława (Mielau), Poland. The panzer battalion was subordinated to Panzer Brigade 107 ​[1]​. Panzer brigades were an alternative to the classic panzer divisions introduced in July 1944 ​[2]​. In contrast to the large and sluggish divisions, brigades offered more flexibility and could be (re)deployed faster. A total of ten panzer brigades (101 through 110) where established.

The panzer battalion of the brigade consisted of four armoured companies. The companies where outfitted in correspondence with KStN 1177 (freie Gliederung) ​[2]​, which meant that each would contain either 11 Panthers or Panzerjäger IV (L\70). The battalion’s first three companies contained Panther and the last one Panzerjäger. The first eight Panthers destined for Panzer Abteilung 2107 were received on 26 August 1944. On 29 and 30 August another eight Panthers and, 3 Befehlswagen Panther or the battalion staff arrived respectively. On the first of September the Panther companies conducted live-firing exercises with their brand new tanks. On the same day, the remaining 17 Panther tanks were picked up at the Mielau railway station, meaning that the unit had reached its full compliment of 36 Panther tanks. The day after all 11 Panzerjäger arrived at once. ​[1]​ The Panther in Overloon with turret number #222 was the second vehicle in the second platoon of the second company.

The panzer battalion is ordered to move to Noord-Brabant in The Netherlands to stop the allied Market Garden offensive. On 18 September 1944, the battalion’s first company arrives at Venlo and the other companies disembark in Roermond. The unit’s first objective is to reclaim a bridge south of Son. After fierce fighting, the battalion only has less than half of its original number of armoured fighting vehicles operational1 by the end of the month.

Children playing on a knocked out Panther near Veghel 3/6/1945. This tank was part of the 3rd company of Panzer Abteilung 2107. Source: A. Hustinx via Beelbankwo2.nl

Between 30 September and 14 October a heated battle would take place for the city of Overloon. On the 12th the city of Overloon is given up by the German troops. According to some sources, Panther #222 was lost on the 13th, however, the war diary of Panzer Abteilung 2107 makes no note of any losses on this day. It is far more likely that this Panther was hit by a PIAT during the intense fighting in the city on the 12th and captured the day after2. As a result of the encounter two pairs of road wheels were knocked off rendering the vehicle immobile. According to British reports the crew was killed after bailing the vehicle, but German records are not clear on this matter.

A remarkable feature of Panther #222 is the occurrence of double Balkenkreuze on its turret sides. This Panther does not seem to have been unique in this matter as other Panther from the 2107th panzer brigade feature a similar application of national markings. Additionally, all of these Panthers seem to not have featured any camouflage but the standard yellow base colour.

The Panther in the newly founded Oorlogsmuseum Overloon in ~1947. Source: J. de Haan, Gemeentearchief Weert via Beeldbankwo2.nl

Soon after the war, the Overloon warmuseum (oorlogsmuseum) was founded, the first of its kind in The Netherlands. The collection existed of left over equipment scattered around in the area. The Panther’s right track was closed around the remaining road wheels which allowed the vehicle to be towed to the museum premises. A colour photograph taken around 1947, shows the Panther in its original colour in the museum park. In the photo it can be clearly seen that the barrel is painted in a glossy coat of heat resistant lacquer. The image below shows the Panther after it was knocked out.

  1. [1]
    Leibenfrost and Höcker, “Kriegstagebuch der PAnzer Abteilung 2107 unbennant in Panzer Abteilung 5,” , Jul. 1944.
  2. [2]
    T. Anderson, Panzer V Panther: Geschichte – Technik – Erfahrungsberichte. GeraMond Verlag, 2016.