Panzerkampfwagen V, Ausfuhrüng A "Panther" - Gerät Nr: 10136A3, Werk Nr. 227
Littlefield's Panther Ausf. A
The Panther partially submerged in the Czarna Nida river
The Panther after being pulled from the river
I was privileged to be given a tour of the Jacques Littlefield military vehicle collection this past weekend (March 2008).
Our tour guide and the collection curator was Michael Green, noted author of the “At War” series.
The tour started with a look at a Panther Ausf. A that is being restored
This Panther was recovered in Poland in 1991 from a small river called Czarna Nida. After recovery it was sold to private German collector. The German collector resold Panther to original Polish owners, who sold it to Littlefield collection.
This Panther is famous because mysterious "fittings' on hull sides - which were removed by Littlefield team. (Possibly because their use could not be determined?).There has been some speculation that the fittings were a field modification to fire Nebelwerfer rockets.This doesn’t make sense…the modification was not performed in the field (it was present when the tank was coated with Zimmerit).It is possible that the fittings are for some as yet unidentified form of stand off armor used to give the side sponsons extra protection.
Since then the Littlefield team has spent approximately $2,000,000 on the restoration to date.
Back to the tour, Dave (another one of the guides) drags up a ladder and invites us up.Here I am standing on the rear deck of a German Panther.I was struck by how unique experience it was.I was also struck by how high up it was.They idea of riding into battle on the back of this thing and jumping off is scary.Granted…the turret and engine were not mounted…and the soldiers jumping off would have been 18-22…but even allowing for all that…it is a long way to the ground.
I am still overwhelmed by all the things I saw that day.I want to go back to see the Panther running…
Letter from the President Military Vehicle Technology Foundation January 20, 2009
I am sad to announce that our long-time friend, the Foundation?s founder, Jacques Littlefield, passed away on January 7, 2009. Shortly before his final hours he indicated satisfaction with the status and accomplishments of the Foundation and its most recent project, the just completed German Panther.
The good news is the collection will remain intact at it's present location. Mr Littlefield will be missed. I never had the privilege of meeting him but standing on the back a Panther A, provided me with a memory I will never forget.
Panther A - Hull Gun
Panther A - Driver's Vision Block
Panther A - Turret
Panther A - Interior (looking forward)
On a Transporter - Note the fittings on the hull sponson
Those Mysterious Fittings...
What are these? The mysterious fittings found on the Littlefield Panther when it was recovered have also been noticed in two photos of Tiger I tanks. A number of theories have been discussed, but nothing definitive has been found to explain them.