DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

T A N K SC A R R I E R SG U N SA R M O U R E D   C A R S

 

The Littlefield Panther.
   (Ver 1)

 

The pictures in this article are courtesy of John Moores of "Windup Film Works" of Canada and show the progress of the Littlefield Collection's (California) Panther as at May 2004. All pictures are copyright and are used on this site with the permission of John Moores and Jacques Littlefield.

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11313

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A very clean and neat hull.




11314

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Note the very substantial piece of curved armour to protect the final drive.




11315

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A close up of that unique jointing system used in heavy German AFVs. Note the crudity of the weld finish.




11316

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11317

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Suspension arms, they are sitting at odd angles as the torsion bars have yet to be installed.




11318

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Note that the arms face forward (leading) rather than trailing as you would expect. It is all to do with wheel spacing and fitting the torsion bars into the available spacein the hull.




11319

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LHS running gear view.




11320

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I think this is a suspension arm bump stop mount.




11321

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A blurry shot of the LHS rear and an unidentified tank.




11322

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A good view of the rear hull interior.




11323

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LHS rear bay - radiators, fans, fuel and oil tanks live in here. A very nice stainless steel fuel tank appears to have been made to fit in here. I doubt the original was stainless, but can well understand why the repro is.




11324

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The fact that they have had to make a new engine cover suggests that this vehicle was either a parts donor or quite incomplete when obtained. I note the steel was made in Canada, authenticity has to give way to economics at some point......




11325

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The LHS rear shock absorber (centre) and what I think is the idler tension adjuster (upper most in pic, large screw thread). The braided pipe is from the centralised greasing station.




11326

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The object lying to the right of the access hole is a torsion bar mount (serves to all ow double lenght torsion bars). Note the central greasing station at LH top of pic - an excellent teutonic idea.




11327

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A better vew of the greasing station, I am curious as to why they have used modern pattern greas nipples as I am reasonably sure they should be the WW2 style flat ones?




11328

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RHS rear bay.




11329

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Engine bay again.




11330

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Fighting compartment facing rear and firewall.




11331

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A view of the odd circular transmission mounts. I am glad I am not the one installing it in there.




11332

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Front RHS shock absorber with it's safety cover and greasing line.




11333

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11334

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11335

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11336

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11337

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11338

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Looking to the rear over the hull roof.




11339

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11340

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Amazing how roomy tanks are without the mechanicals.




11341

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Why the jack? I don't know. I do know that when you pulled the transmission out of an M3 and M3A1 Stuart that you had to jack the hull apart. So perhaps the Panther hull also needs the transmission for rigidity reasons?




11342

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11343

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Is the battry cut off switch a modern improvement or did the Germans have them too? (I know from experience that US armour did, but it certainly wasn't of the type in this pic.)




11344

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For those who are wondering why the torsion bars have not been installed, here is the reason. Torsion bars are a very good form of suspension, far superior to volute or horizontal volute spring systems as used on WW2 US tanks or leaf springs as used on earlier German vehicles. However, they do use up hull interior space, are heavy and are expensive. They are also particularly sensitive to damage. Even such vehicles as the M113 family of APCs, using modern materials have still had to resort to wrapping the torsion bars with electrical tape in order to protect them. There is a story of how the British occupation forces in Germany at the end of WW2 rounded up the former factory workers at a Panther/Jagdpanther factory and got them to finish construciton of the remaining hulls. A British officer who until that point had found the German workers to be respectfull and dilligient made the mistake of walking across the torsion bars installed in a hull. He very quickly learned that he had just committed the ultimate transgression. Nothing quite compares to being told off by a German and it was an experience he didn't forget.
Even a scratch or rust pit will cause a torsion bar to fail in use.

My thanks to John Moores for supplying the pics. I would like updates for this article from anyone who is granted access and permission to photograph this vehicle as it progresses?

 

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