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SS-Panzer Regiment 5

Activation of Panzer Abteilung “Reich” at WILDFLECKEN Training Area as the first Panzer Abteilung in the Waffen SS. It’s new commander is SS-Sturmbannführer Johannes Mühlenkamp.
The bulk of officers and NCOs consists of volunteers from Division “Reich”, with recruits from Ersatz Bataillon Deutschland (in PRAGUE), Germania (in HAMBURG-LANGENHORN) and from another SS Ersatz unit in APELDOORN, The Netherlands.

At Wildflecken training-area, Germany; 3 staff-units from 3 new Panzer Abteilungen are assembled together with the three commanders.
SS-Stubaf. Mühlenkamp - Pz.Abt.2 for division 'Reich', Stubaf. Albin von Reitzenstein - Pz.Abt. 5 'Wiking' and Stubaf. Georg Schönberger for the LAH. Although designated for 'Das Reich' it was change into 'Wiking'. Redesignated SS-Pz. Abt. 5 “Wiking” since Division “Reich” was being pulled out of the line in Russia and ordered back to France.
Since the Abteilung was needed for upcoming 1942 summer offensive, the SS-Führungshauptamt decided to transfer it to Wiking instead.


Order of Battle

Battalion organization

From September 1943, one Panzer battalion with 96 Panthers constituted the Panzer regiment of a Panzer-Division 43.
In contrast to the other Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS Panzer Regiments, its battalion equiped with the Panther tanks carried the number of 2nd Battalion within the SS-Pz.Rgt. 5 'Wiking'.
A battalion's order of battle consisted of a Batallions Stabes  with the battalion commander - batallions kommandeur - and staff., reconaissance platoon - Aufklarungs Zug - and communications platoon - Nachrichten Zug - and a workshop unit - Werkstatt Zug -.


Commanding Officers of the SS-Panzer Regiment 5 (thanks to John Moore)


Regiments-Kommandeure 1943 - 1945


Dezember 1943 - 11.8.1944

SS-Standartenführer Johannes Mühlenkamp

11.8.1944 - 8.5.1945

SS-Obersturmbannführer Fritz Darges

I. Abteilungs-Kommandeure 1942 - 1945

11.2.1942 - 27.2.1943

SS-Sturmbannführer Johannes Mühlenkamp

27.2.1943 - 17.2.1944

SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Köller (gefallen 17. Feb. 44 Cherkassy)

Februar 1944 - 19.5.1944

SS- Sturmbannführer Paul Kümmel

19.5.1944 - 26.8.1944

SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Säumenicht (gefallen 26. Aug 44 Czarnow)

9.1944 - 8.1.1945

SS-Hauptsturmführer Willi Hein

9.1.1945 - ?

SS-Obersturmführer Helmut Bauer (mdFb)

März 1945 - ?

SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Nicolussi-Leck

II. Abteilungs-Kommandeure 1943 - 1945

Mai 1943 - 24.1.1944

SS-Sturmbannführer Siegfried Scheibe

24.1. 1944 - 10.3.1944

SS-Hauptsturmführer Ewald Klapdor

10.3.1944 - 22.6.1944

SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Paetsch

22.6.1944 - 15.8.1944

SS-Hauptsturmführer Alois Reicher

15.8.1944 - 5.1.1945

SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Flügel

19.1.1945 - 28.3.1945

SS-Hauptsturmführer Ingmar Berndt (gefallen 28. Mär. 45 Vezprem)

28.3.1945 - 5.8.1945

SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl-Heinz Lichte (mdFb)






































I./SS-Panzer Regiment 5


Organization as of 11 Feb 1942:
  • Battalion Command (composed of Communication and Reconnaissance platoons)
  • Communication Platoon –
  • Reconnaissance Platoon – 5× Pz.Kfw. II
  • 1st Company – 17× Pz.Kfw. III Ausf. J
    • Company Command – 2× Pz.Kfw. III Ausf. J  
      • 1st Platoon – 5× Pz.Kfw. III Ausf. J
      • 2nd Platoon – 5× Pz.Kfw. III Ausf. J
      • 3rd Platoon – 5× Pz.Kfw. III Ausf. J

 

  • 2nd Company – 17×  (composed as 1st Company)
  • 3rd Company – 17×  Pz.Kfw. IV-F2 (7.5cm short barrel)
  • Service Platoon –



II./SS-Panzer Regiment 5


"Enemy introduced a new tank!
Shape roughly similar to 'Tridsatchedverka' (T-34). tank is heavily armored, weight is est. 40-50 tons.
Armament is probably 88mm AA gun.
We had losses at combat ranges beyond 2,000 meters..."


Soviet radio message from July 8th 1943.









Organization as of
Panzerbefehlswagen Panther Ausf. A (Sd.Kfz. 267) of the Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland photographed in southern Ukraine in 1944.
  • Battalion Command (composed of Communication and Reconnaissance platoons)
  • Communication Platoon – 3× Befehlswagen Panther [SdKfz.267/268]
  • Reconnaissance Platoon – 5× Panther

  • 5th Company – 22× Panther
    • Company Command – 2× Panther
      • 1st Platoon – 5× Panther
      • 2nd Platoon – 5× Panther
      • 3rd Platoon – 5× Panther
      • 4th Platoon – 5× Panther
  • 6th Company – 22× Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • 7th Company – 22× Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • 8th Company – 22× Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • Service Platoon – 2× Bergepanther  [SdKfz.179]


The Panther

The Sd.Kfz.171 Panther was a German medium tank deployed during World War II from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the Soviet T-34, and as a replacement for the Panzer III and Panzer IV. While never replacing the latter, it served alongside it and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. While the Panther is considered one of the best tanks of World War II due to its excellent firepower and protection, it was less impressive in terms of mobility, reliability, and cost.

 The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I tank, it had better frontal hull armour (the sloping glacis was equivalent to 140 mm (5.5 in) of vertical steel plate), better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tigers. The tradeoff was weaker side armour, less than the T-34. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long range engagements, but vulnerable to flanking fire. Also, the 75 mm (3.0 in) gun fired a smaller shell than the Tiger's 88 mm (3.5 in) gun, providing less high explosive firepower against infantry.
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H26258, Panzer V "Panther".jpg
The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I tank, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were compromises made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages, whereas other 
overengineered elements such as its highly compact engine and its complex suspension system remained. The result was that Panther tank production was far higher than what was possible for the Tiger I, but not much higher than of the Panzer IV. At the same time, the simplified final drive became the single major cause of breakdowns of the Panther tank, and was a problem that was never corrected even after the war.
All these compromises resulted in the Panther being less reliable than the Tiger I which, when given appropriate logistical support and after initial flaws were addressed, was generally satisfactory.


 The Panther tank arrived in 1943 and was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk with its initial problems uncorrected, which resulted in a high breakdown rate.
The Panther tank commanded respect from the Allies, and its qualities, along with the Tiger I, led to the introduction of heavier Allied tanks such as the Soviet IS-2 and the American M26 Pershing,
and the development of the postwar British Centurion tank. Its successes were nullified by Germany's generally declining position in the war, the loss of air superiority by the Luftwaffe, the loss of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of tank crews.


Development and production


The Panther was born out of a project started in 1938 to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. The initial requirements of the VK 20 series called for a fully tracked vehicle weighing 20 tonnes and design proposals by Krupp, Daimler Benz and MAN ensued. These designs were abandoned and Krupp dropped out of the competition entirely as the requirements increased to a vehicle weighing 30 tonnes, a direct reaction to the encounters with the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks and against the advice of Wa Pruef 6 (Waffenamt Prüfwesen).

Panther Ausf. A

Machinery One Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 23-liter gasoline engine rated at 592hp
Suspension Dual torsion-bar
Armament 1x7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 gun (79 rounds) with Leitz TZF 12a sight, 2x7.92mm MG34 machine gun
Armor 60mm hull lower front, 80mm hull upper front, 40mm hull side, 40mm hull rear, 110mm turret front,
45mm turret side, 45mm turret rear, 15mm turret top, 120mm gun mantlet
Crew 5
Length 6.87 m
Width 3.27 m
Height 2.99 m
Weight 45.5 t
Speed 55 km/h
Range 200 km
















Panther Ausf. D
- The Ausf. D can best be recognized by the drum-shaped commanders cupola.
Machinery One Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 23-liter gasoline engine rated at 592hp
Suspension Dual torsion-bar
Armament 1x7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 gun (79 rounds) with Leitz TZF 12 sight, 2x7.92mm MG34 machine gun
Armor 60mm hull lower front, 80mm hull upper front, 40mm hull side, 40mm hull rear, 80mm turret front,
45mm turret side, 45mm turret rear, 15mm turret top, 120mm gun mantlet
Crew 5
Length 6.87 m
Width 3.27 m
Height 2.99 m
Weight 43.0 t
Speed 55 km/h
Range 200 km
















Panther Ausf. G

Machinery One Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 23-liter gasoline engine rated at 592hp
Suspension Dual torsion-bar
Armament 1x7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 gun (82 rounds) with Leitz TZF 12a sight, 2x7.92mm MG34 machine gun
Armor 60mm hull lower front, 80mm hull upper front, 50mm hull side, 40mm hull rear, 100mm turret front,
45mm turret side, 45mm turret rear, 30mm turret top, 120mm gun mantlet
Crew 5
Length 6.87 m
Width 3.27 m
Height 2.99 m
Weight 44.8 t
Speed 55 km/h
Range 200 km


















Some Panther facts:





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One source has cited the cost of a Panther tank as 117,100 Reichmarks (RM). This compared with 82,500 RM for the StuG III, 96,163 RM for the Panzer III, 103,462 RM for the Panzer IV, and 250,800 RM for the Tiger I.
These figures did not include the cost of the armament and radio. Therefore, the Panther tank was one of the most cost-effective of the German armored fighting vehicles of World War II.



Waffenamt und Prüfwesen

Waffenamt (WaA) was the German Army Weapons Agency. It was the centre for research and development of Germany and also during the Third Reich for weapons, ammunition and army equipment to the German Reichswehr and later Wehrmacht. It was founded 8 November 1919 as Reichwaffenamt (RWA), and 5 May 1922 the name was changed to Heereswaffenamt (HWA).
The task of overseeing the Germany's gigantic World War II rearmament process was given to the Heeresabnahmestelle (the Army Acceptance Organization, commonly referred to as the Abnahme), a subsidiary of the Heereswaffenamt.
By 1940 the Abnahme consisted of 25,000 men in five departments in 16 inspection areas, augmented by specially selected plant personnel who were assigned to assist the Waffenamt inspectors in each manufacturing facility. Later, in the middle of 1944, approximately 8,000 of these Abnahme inspectors were "freed for service at the front".

The Heeres-Abnahmewesen was responsible for the testing and acceptance of all weapons, equipment and ammunition before delivery to the Wehrmacht. Inspections were carried out according to detailed guidelines called "Technische Lieferbedingungen" (TLs) prepared by the various Waffenprüfämter (WaPrüf) departments.
When the rearmament program began, Waffenamt inspection departments were established in each factory and armourers were encouraged to apply for positions there. In preparation for their new duties they were given a four-week course at theHeereswaffenmeisterschule (Army Armourers School). The course ended with a test for Technical Inspector which raised the rank of each successful applicant to that of Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant). At the beginning of 1935, all inspection officials in the newly created program started on an equal footing as Technical Inspectors, but by the start of the war in 1939 nearly all of them had been promoted to Technical Inspector First Class with a rank of Hauptmann (Captain).
Waffenamt code is the German inspection proof mark. (link opens in new window)


Waffenamt Prüfwesen (Weapons Proof) departments

Wa Prüf - Amtsgruppe fur Entwicklung und Prüfung - Development and Testing Group

Wa Prüf 1 - Ballistische und Munitionsabteilung - Ballistical and Ammunition Branch
Wa Prüf 2 - Infanterieabteilung - Infantry Branch
Wa Prüf 4 - Artillerieabteilung - Artillery Branch
Wa Prüf 5 - Pionier- und Eisenbahnpionier Abteilung - Engineer and Railway Engineer Branch
Wa Prüf 6 - Panzer- und Motorisierungsabteilung - Panzer and Motorized Equipment Branch
Wa Prüf 7 - Nachrichtenabteilung - Signal Branch
Wa Prüf 8 - Abteilung fur Optik, Messwesen, Heereswetterdienst, Feuerleitung und Kartendruck - Branch for Optical, Survey, Meteorological,
                    Artillery Fire Control and Map Printing Equipment
Wa Prüf 9 - Gasschutzabteilung - Gas Protection Branch
Wa Prüf 11 - Abteilung fur Sondergerät - Special Equipment Branch
We Prüf 12 - Abteilung fur Versuchsplätze - Branch for Proving Grounds


 

  1. Over 6,000 Panthers were build by the Germans, but surprisingly, 9 were build by the British Army in 1945-1945.
  2. The full name was the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther and had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. But on 27 February 1944, Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral “V” be deleted from the designation.
  3. The Panther was the third most produced German armoured fighting vehicle, after the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer at 9,408 units, and the Panzer IV tank at 8,298 units.
  4. There were 3 main version of the Panther, versions D, A and G, each new version incorporating significant improvements. There were also the artillery spotter, recovery and commander versions.
  5. The tank was designed to weigh 30 tons but Hitler demanded extra armor and a heavier gun thus it ended up weighing almost 50 tons.
  6. The later models had a top speed of 46km/h, roughly as fast as the Tiger and slightly faster than the Sherman tank.
  7. The Panther tank uses the same engine very similar as that used in the Tiger Tank, it had an average life of 1500 hours.
  8. On a full tank of 720 liters (190 gallons) a Panther could drive between 97 and 130 km on the road or 64 to 84 km cross country. On comparison, a Sherman Tank could drive up to 193 km on 660 liters of fuel.
  9. The Panther tank came in service AFTER the Tiger tank, the Panther being first used in combat in July 1943 in Kursk wheres the Tiger was first used in Leningrad in December 1942.
  10. The Panther had a 7.5 cm main gun could carry 40 rounds of anti tank ammo and 39 high explosive shells. It also had two MG 34 machine guns with 5100 rounds of ammunition.
  11. The Panther II project did lead to the Jagdpanther, the Panzerjäger V Panther which used the famous 88mm gun of which 418 were built during the war.
  12. When 184 Panthers were first deployed during the battle for Kursk they claimed 267 destroyed tanks, but after 5 days of fighting there were only 10 Panthers left on the front line.
  13. At their peak on September 1944 there were 552 Panthers operational on the Eastern front out of a total of 728.
  14. After the Battle of the Bulge and because of the Panther Tanks only 76 mm gun-armed M4 Shermans were shipped to Europe for the remainder of the war.
  15. In February 1945, eight Panzer divisions with a total of 271 Panthers were transferred from the West to the Eastern Front. Only five Panther battalions remained in the west.
  16. The last operational report dated March 15 1945 lists 361 operational out of 740 Panther tanks.
  17. One of the top German Panther commanders was SS-Oberscharführer Ernst Barkmann of the 2nd SS-Panzer Regiment “Das Reich”. By the end of the war, he had some 80 tank kills claimed.
  18. The French army used over 50 Panther tanks from 1945 until 1950 in their 503e Régiment de Chars de Combat.
  19. There are thought to be 5 surviving Panthers in running order, two of which were built by the British Army. There are a lot more non-runner Panthers out there in museums, as monuments or in the hands of private collectors.

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The Panther was the third most produced German armored fighting vehicle, after the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer at 9,408 units, and the Panzer IV tank at 8,298 units.

Production by type[citation needed

Model

Number

Date

Notes

Prototype

2

11/42

Designated V1 and V2

Ausf. D

842

1/43 to 9/43

Ausf. A

2,192

8/43 to 6/44

Sometimes called Ausf. A2

Ausf. G

2,953

3/44 to 4/45

Befehlspanzer Panther

329

5/43 to 2/45

Converted

Beobachtungspanzer Panther

41

44 to 45

Converted

Bergepanther

347

43 to 45

 








 

Panther production in 1944 by manufacturer

Manufacturer

% of total

Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (M.A.N.)

35%

Daimler-Benz

31%

Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover

31%

Other

3%

















































       
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