Popski's Private... Panther?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Chris C, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I feel sure that Popski's memoir never mentioned a Panther tank so I puzzling over what I just read in The Canadians in Italy 1943-1945. It is just after describing an after crossing the Savio River, in fact the "tank hunter" engagement in which Private "Smokey" Smith won the VC. The paragraph ends as follows:

    "Later 'C' Company discovered a third Mark V bogged down in a ditch near the scene of the fight. It was captured intact and subsequently went to help solve the equipment problems of Popski's Private Army."

    Maybe they cannibalized it for parts?

    There is a footnote given but it just mentions "Account given to Historical Officer by Lt-Col H P Bell-Irving, 12 Nov 44"

    Peculiar, isn't it?
    JimHerriot likes this.
  2. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I would assume that the co-axial and hull machine guns were removable, and that the crew's personal weapons were still on board. Plus there would have been a few thousand rounds of 7.92mm ammunition. I would also think that there were also grenades and smoke bombs on board, rations, blankets etc. Maybe they could remove the radio and get that working on Allied frequencies too.
    JimHerriot and Chris C like this.
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I should check Popski's book to see if there what mention there is of this or their actions in October 44.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  4. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello Chris, I had "Popski's Private Army" close to hand (for other reasons) so have read through the final chapters again (from page 361, Chapter VI, "A SHIPWRECK" to book end, which latterly includes the crossing of the Savio) and can find no mention of a Panther, or any other tank being stripped.

    However, the fact that PPA lost so much kit as a result of the abortive assault landing near the mouth of the Tenna river I don't doubt in the aftermath they would have taken any weapons or "useful" kit (from any source) that they could get there hands on.

    It is an interesting quote that you've found to say the least.

    Kind regards, always,

    Chris C likes this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Thanks Jim, much obliged!
  6. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Maybe it never arrived? A similar tale comes from France.

    The 6th guard Tank Brigade wanted a Panther platoon from Normandy onwards. In Normandy they had salvaged three working Panthers from various locations. Then you never hear anything about them ever again. It's not until Overloon that they recover another Panther, which becomes the famous Cuckoo.
    Chris C likes this.

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