Panther Tank – 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards 'Cuckoo', Netherlands 1944/5
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CC60216 - Sd.Kfz.171 Panzerkampfwagen V Panther (Ausf G) ‘Cuckoo’, Captured and operated by the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards, British Army, Netherlands 1944/45
Despite being a feared adversary, the German Panther tank was admired by its Allied opponents and as such, the opportunity to capture and inspect a working example was highly prized. During the Battle of Overloon in the Autumn of 1944, troops from the 4th Battalion, 6th Coldstream Guards Tank Brigade stumbled across a Panther hidden in a barn following combat. Its owners were the 2nd Battalion Panzer Brigade 107 and they had presumably concealed the tank due to mechanical problems, intending to return and recover the tank once there was a lull in the fighting. The British thought the find would make an ideal, if slightly unusual, addition to their fighting inventory and set about repairing the tank, using parts recovered from other German tanks in the area and quickly returned the Panther to operational status. Assigned to the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards Staff Section, their former adversary took its place amongst their Churchill tanks, after being repainted in an olive drab finish and further embellished with a large white Allied star on both sides of its turret – hopefully, this would prevent it being fired upon by other Allied units. Continuing the unit’s tradition of naming HQ tanks after birds, as this Panther was something of a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, it was decided that the name ‘Cuckoo’ would be entirely appropriate.
In British service, this captured Panther acquitted itself well in over three months of almost continuous operational use, impressing its new owners with both its manoeuvrability and overall combat effectiveness. During actions to take the castle stronghold at Geijsteren in late November 1944, the Panther was used to great effect in dislodging its stubborn defenders, accurately directing shells through the open windows of the castle and pummelling the defenders within. When the stronghold fell later that same day, the irony of the situation cannot have been lost on the combatants, as this German tank helped secure victory over its former owners. ‘Cuckoo’ later saw action during Operations Blackcock and Veritable, where it continued to acquit itself extremely well in the harsh winter conditions in this heavily wooded region, easily outperforming the Churchill tanks which were fighting alongside it. Ultimately though, the forests of the Reichswald would mark the final actions of this famous British Panther, as an irreparable fuel pump problem saw the unit’s Churchill tanks pressing on into Germany without their unusual, yet extremely capable armoured captive. Cuckoo was one of only a handful of captured German Panthers used by the British against their former owners and is a fascinating story from the final months of WWII.
A detailed die-cast scale model for adult collector. Not Suitable for children under 14 years.
Technical Specification & Detail