Forces of Valor 80226 German Sd. Kfz. 171 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf. G Medium Tank with Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Vyskov, Czechoslovakia, 1945 (1:32 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
In many respects, the Panther tank was viewed as the finest armored fighting vehicle of the Second World War. Based in large part upon the Soviet's highly successful T-34 medium tank, the PzKpfw V Ausfuhrung G was built by several manufacturers including MAN, Daimler-Benz and MNH. Mounting a fearsome 7.5cm KwK42 L/70 cannon and two 7.92mm MG34 machineguns, the Panther Ausf. G represented the third and certainly the most impressive installment in the Panther series.
The weight of the production model was increased to 43 tons from the original plans for a 35 ton tank. Hitler had personally reviewed the final designs and insisted on an increase in the thickness of the frontal armor - the front glacis plate was increased from 60mm to 80mm and the turret front plate was increased from 80mm to 100mm.
Once the problems caused by the vulnerability of the engine and the transmission were solved, it proved to be a very effective fighting vehicle. The crew was made up of five members: driver, radio operator (who also fired the bow machine gun), gunner, loader, and commander.
This particular 1:32 scale replica of a German Panther was destroyed at Vyskov, Czechoslovakia during 1945 while attempting to defend the eastern frontier from repeated Soviet attacks.
Release Date: November 2006
Historical Account: "Death Blows" - On January 25th, 1945, Hitler renamed three army groups then operating on the Eastern Front. Army Group North became Army Group Courland; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre. Army Group North (old Army Group Centre) was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Konigsberg in East Prussia.
A counter-attack by the newly created Army Group Vistula, under the command of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, had failed by February 24th, and the Soviets drove on to Pomerania, clearing the right bank of the Oder River. In the south, three German attempts to relieve the encircled Hungarian Capital of Budapest failed and the city fell on February 13th to the Soviets. Again the Germans counter-attacked, with Hitler insisting on the impossible task of regaining the Danube River. By March 16th, the attack had failed and the Red Army counterattacked the same day. On March 30th they entered Austria and captured Vienna on April 13th.
On April 9th, 1945, Konigsberg finally fell to the Red Army, although the shattered remnants of Army Group North continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil and Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe. The East Prussian operation, though often overshadowed by the Vistula-Oder operation and the later battle for Berlin, was in fact one of the largest and costliest operations fought by the Red army through the war. During the period it lasted (January 13th - April 25th), it cost the Red Army 584,788 casualties, and 3,525 tanks and assault guns.
In early April, Stavka freed up General Konstantin Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front (2BF) to move west towards the east bank of the Oder river. During the first two weeks of April the Soviets performed their fastest front redeployment of the war. General Georgy Zhukov concentrated his 1st Belorussian Front (1BF) which had been deployed along the Oder river from Frankfurt in the south to the Baltic, into an area in front of the Seelow Heights. The 2BF moved into the positions being vacated by the 1BF north of the Seelow Heights. While this redeployment was in progress gaps were left in the lines and the remnants of the German 2nd Army which had been bottled up in a pocket near Danzig managed to escape across the Oder. To the south General Ivan Konev shifted the main weight of the 1st Ukrainian Front (1UF) out of Upper Silesia north-west to the Neisse River. The three Soviet fronts had altogether 2.5 million men (including 78,556 soldiers of the 1st Polish Army); 6,250 tanks; 7,500 aircraft; 41,600 artillery pieces and mortars; 3,255 truck-mounted Katyushas rockets, (nicknamed "Stalin's Organs"); and 95,383 motor vehicles, many manufactured in the USA. (courtesy: Wikipedia)