Throwback Thursday at NACM: Last year at this time, the Restoration Shop was in overdrive. When the cast and crew of the film "Fury" made plans to hold an exclusive premiere for the Armor School, the Museum was asked to provide vehicles for display, including a German tank. The panzer selected was the Panther II prototype, due to it's impressive size yet relative ease of transport. However, this required a fresh coat of paint, cleaning of the interior, and other cosmetic work to make her ready for the big day. With only two weeks to work, the Panther II's older paint (applied post-war) was carefully removed, while her fenders were removed and straightened out. Next red-brown primer was applied, and finished with a dark yellow known as "Dunkelgelb".
The Panther II prototype was developed not long after the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther was approved for German service in WWII (and even before the Panther debuted at the Battle of Kursk). Designed as a next-step in the Panther's evolution, the Panther II had thicker armor, all-steel road wheels, as well as other new changes. Eventually it was decided to limit changes in the Panther design to maintain production, though several features (including the steel road wheels) would be used on the King Tiger. Only this single Panther II mild-steel prototype (orginally with no turret) was made and captured by the US Army in 1945. Brought back to the US, a Panther Ausf. G turret (with the improved "chinned" mantlet) was eventually installed.
- Pictures by MSG David Hobbs (Ret.), NACM volunteer.
- Thanks to National Armor and Cavalry Museum (Fort Benning)