Dragon CAN20052C German Sd. Kfz. 171 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf. G Medium Tank Series: Mid Production Panther Medium Tank - LSS-PzRgt, "LAH" Division, Hungary, March 1945 (1:144 Scale)
"We must do everything we can to promote anti-tank defense, and work just as hard to guarantee successful counter-attacks through the instrument of powerful tank forces of our own."
- 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.
Length: 1-1/2 inches
Width: 1 inch
Historical Account: "Stalin's Organs" - By April 1st, 1945, the rampaging Red Army had reached the outskirts of Berlin. Knowing full well that Berlin would be heavily defended, Russian commanders decided to delay their attack by two weeks in order to build up their strength before making a final attack. Meanwhile, the Western Allies had planned to drop paratroops near Berlin to take the capital, but decided against it. Eisenhower saw no need to suffer heavy casualties taking a city that would fall within the Soviet sphere of influence once the war was over. Adolf Hitler, who never thought Berliners supported him the way he imagined, decided to remain in the city.
Some think he stayed to punish the city for its lack of support in the early days of Nazism; more likely there was nowhere else for him to go once the Allies had begun closing in.
The offensive began with a tremendous barrage of artillery, which included 'Stalin's Organs' - ground-launched rockets known for their hideous shrieking noise. On April 16th, the First and Second Belorussian Fronts, in conjunction with the First Ukrainian Front, attacked, striking from the north, west and south. By April 24th, the three army groups had completely encircled the city and began infiltrating the city proper. The next day, the Fifth Guards Tank Army linked up with the US First Army at Torgau, Germany on the River Elbe. On April 20th, Hitler ordered the Twelfth Army facing the Americans and the Ninth Army to break into Berlin to relieve the siege. Neither force was able to penetrate the Soviet defenses so the Berliners were on their own.
Although Berlin's fate was sealed, the resistance continued. Fighting was heavy, with house-to-house battles oftentimes devolving into savage hand-to-hand combat. By battle's end, the Soviets had lost 305,000 dead; Germans casualties amounted to 325,000, including many civilians. On April 30th, Adolf Hitler married his mistress Eva Braun, took cyanide, then shot himself, refusing to be taken alive by the Allied powers. Berlin surrendered three days later on May 2nd and with it came the end of the Third Reich.