In another post I have already got to talk a bit about the Panther in Overloon, but a recent visit to the museum there lead me to believe there was something off with the Panther’s turret. I only fully realised this after reading about cutting methods of the steel plates at the armour manufacturers. In general the armour plates that make up the sides of a Panther turret are cut perpendicular to the plates themselves (which seems like a sensible thing to do). Doing so would result in the rear-end of the turret looking like shown below on the Panther Ausf. G in Saumur:
There is, however, a different method of cutting these side plates known to be used by at least one specific armour manufacturer. This method involves cutting the side armour parallel to the rear armour plate of the turret. The end result differs ever so slightly and the Panther in Overloon demonstrates this quite nicely.
MacDougall and Block note in their book that starting with the production of the Ausführung A, turrets featuring the parallel cut side plates started to appear. Turret with this distinctivefeature are identified as having been manufactured at Eisenwerke Oberdonau in Linz . As such, any turrets sporting the parallel cut armour are expected to show this manufacturer’s three letter code ‘kmy’ casted into the gun mantlet. These manufacturer stamps would, however, often times be obscured due to Zimmerit application in this area.Fortunately, all of the Zimmerit on this vehicle has peeled off. Taking a closer look at the gun mantlet does, however, not reveal the expected manufacturer code ‘kmy’, but instead reads ‘bxe’. Some leftover Zimmerit makes the lower part of the casting illegible. A handy list of manufacturer codes in Nürnberg’s Panzer Factory tells us the code ‘bxe’ is registered to the firm Bochumer Verein in Bochum .
In the end it turns out that either the method of cutting armour plates were shared among multiple armour manufacturers (and thus Eisenwerke Oberdonau is not unique in parallel cutting the side armour) or there must be a possibility for one manufacturer’s gun mantlet to end up on another’s turret armour. To be frank, I don’t have a clue about which of the two is more plausible, so I leave it up to you to decide 😉 – at least it’s an interesting feature of the vehicle in Overloon.