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The Jacques Littlefield Collection At The New American Heritage Museum


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#21 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 1314 PM

Is this the one they had on tank overhaul? Dragged out of a pond in Poland, with a shattered turret?


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#22 Ken Estes

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 1519 PM

A river, so yes. Self destructed with demolitions, The tank tested all Jacques' standing orders for maximum authenticity, as it was apparently a Panther D rebuilt as an A model before it was blown up, or something like that. I can barely keep up. What was most amazing was his ability to find contractors who could deliver rubber rims for road wheels and parts for the transmission and so forth. He hired an assistant to research German radio equipment specifically for this project. I looked at the torn down transmission in 2003 and had to turn away! it was so incredibly complex as to defy reality, including the self ventilating box into which the spent 75mm cartridge cases came to rest. It would be a long time before US/UK tank designers came up with such fastidious features. 


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#23 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 1545 PM

two thoughts:

One, he was already ill when he came to our facility but it was indistinguishable.  His enthusiasm for what we were doing was super high even though our shoestring couldn't compare to what he was doing.  He wasn't judgemental about how we did things, only the results mattered.  It was nice to be complimented so much by someone far more capable.

 

Second:

The first time I encountered real mud at Fort Knox I thought something was wrong with the tank.  The amount of suction and friction on the hull made it feel like we lost an engine.  It was an eye opening experience.  I vividly remember getting back up on the gravel and being amazed at how much faster we were traveling instantly.

Generals should all be forced to operate in mud at some point just to get the point across.


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#24 Mk 1

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 1643 PM


I know that Panther... :)  

 

Indeed. 

Mk1_with_Panther_Oct08.jpg

Another pic from that same day ... yes Jacques was a very gracious host, and an active friend to tanknet.  And he was also not shy to recruit volunteers to break track from time-to-time.

 

 

More than a few TankNetters got the opportunity to know that Panther.

 

Both inside...

Pantherenginedeck.jpg

 

and out...

Panthercupolaandmantlet.jpg

 

The Panther was, an is, a fascinating subject for anyone interested in military history.

DiscussingPanther.jpg

The next time I happen to be chatting with Steve Zaloga and Michael Greene I'll be hard-pressed to have a more interesting topic.  Unless it's a Sherman.  And even then, it is almost impossible to discuss the Sherman tank without adding Panther in the conversation somewhere.

 

Yes, I can honestly say that I have stared down the barrel of a Panther from the turret of a Sherman.

M4A1FacingPanther.jpg

Although it was notably less of a "significant emotional event" in my life than in the lives of my father's generation.

 

-Mark

(aka: Mk 1)


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#25 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 0322 AM

A river, so yes. Self destructed with demolitions, The tank tested all Jacques' standing orders for maximum authenticity, as it was apparently a Panther D rebuilt as an A model before it was blown up, or something like that. I can barely keep up. What was most amazing was his ability to find contractors who could deliver rubber rims for road wheels and parts for the transmission and so forth. He hired an assistant to research German radio equipment specifically for this project. I looked at the torn down transmission in 2003 and had to turn away! it was so incredibly complex as to defy reality, including the self ventilating box into which the spent 75mm cartridge cases came to rest. It would be a long time before US/UK tank designers came up with such fastidious features. 

 

Thats unusual. They refitted with the ball type machine gun, instead of the open MG position? I didnt know they did that. There were still Panthers in Normandy in 1944 that were still clearly D models that were not updated. Im guessing it must have been done on the line.

 

I remember on Tank overhaul the restorers saying that they found evidence of cigarettes and swarf put in the oil lines. This seemed to be quite common in German tank construction of this period. Another Panther being restored by Bruce Crompton (Combat dealers) showed evidence of the pistons having been partly cut through. They would function fine for a period of time, then develop fatigue crack and break. Very sophisticated sabotage.

 

Its amazing what skill set there is out there to repair Panzers even now. Supposedly the best place to send Maybachs for rebuilding is the Czech Republic. In the 1940's they were obviously building them for the Germany Army, and were still using the engines in a variety of roles years afterwards.


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#26 Ken Estes

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 0649 AM

A lot of that depended on by whom and where the rebuild was done. As an E Front vehicle, it could have gone to an intermediary field rebuild facility or, in worst case, the Vienna Arsenal Army Vehicle Workshop, which was where the most difficult jobs were sent. We should check Friedli, L., Repairing the Panzers: German Tank Maintenance in World War II, 2 vols (Monroe: Panzerwrecks, 2011). Also, a lot of tank battalions were loath to have their tanks evacuated, for replacements remained scarce. In that case a local repair might have been the case, albeit rare. This is also a reason for German tank battalions reporting more tanks as ready than was the case, i.e. to avoid evac. and instead to scavange/cannibalize or fparts.

 

It would not necessarily have been a mandatory update, which the Germans could ill afford. However, when parts for the D models ran out, a full [or partial] rebuild to A standards would have been the resort.


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#27 Ken Estes

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 0655 AM

My turn, May 2005:

 

Q8TItU.jpg

 

 

 

 

mQHthu.jpg

 

 

Talk about hog heaven: Jacques, Mike Green and an M103A2 in proper USMC colors. 27 June 2004:

 

rjlsWy.jpg


Edited by Ken Estes, 24 May 2019 - 0706 AM.

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#28 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 0704 AM

A lot of that depended on by whom and where the rebuild was done. As an E Front vehicle, it could have gone to an intermediary field rebuild facility or, in worst case, the Vienna Arsenal Army Vehicle Workshop, which was where the most difficult jobs were sent. We should check Friedli, L., Repairing the Panzers: German Tank Maintenance in World War II, 2 vols (Monroe: Panzerwrecks, 2011). Also, a lot of tank battalions were loath to have their tanks evacuated, for replacements remained scarce. In that case a local repair might have been the case, albeit rare. This is also a reason for German tank battalions reporting more tanks as ready than was the case, i.e. to avoid evac. and instead to scavange/cannibalize or fparts.

 

It would not necessarily have been a mandatory update, which the Germans could ill afford. However, when parts for the D models ran out, a full [or partial] rebuild to A standards would have been the resort.

 

Sure, I can see that for the drivetrain and other components. But actually swapping out the cupola or changing the mg mount, thats odd. The only explanation is (as happened with many of our early Lancasters) in production you consume old parts, then transition as those parts become available. I noted from the Jentz book on the Tiger they had a strange effect of using up new components first, then going back to cold components that remained stacked up on the line that had not yet been consumed, a result of the fairly cramped nature of the construction. Perhaps a similar thing happened here, but its a curious thing. Id be interested if they ever came to a full explanation is discovered.

 

Thanks, thats an interesting point about sabotage possibly coming up in refurbishment centres. I could see that in Austria, they had a lot of slave labour there. One of my Polish neighbours worked in some capacity in Graz.


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