Canadian War Museum unveils restored Panther tank from the Second World War

January 10, 2008

Canadian War Museum unveils restored Panther tank from the Second World War

Ottawa, Ontario, January 10, 2008 — The Canadian War Museum (CWM) unveiled one of its newest artifacts today: a restored German Panzer V tank, better known as a Panther, from the Second World War.

“This is possibly the largest restoration project ever undertaken by the Museum,” stated Mark O’Neill, the CWM’s Director General. “After two years of hard labour by a dedicated team of volunteers, staff and others, the result can now be appreciated by visitors.”

The new artifact provides an opportunity for visitors to better understand the equipment used by the Germans during the Second World War, and better appreciate some of the obstacles the Allies faced in liberating Europe.

The Panther was one of the largest tanks produced in quantity during the Second World War.

Although research continues into the history of the artifact, the Museum has discovered that after its capture, it was shipped to Canada to Canadian Forces Base Borden and displayed there until the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage, CFB Borden, and the Base Borden Military Museum donated it to the Museum in 2005.


Panzer V Tank (Panther)

Germany designed the Panzer V tank (also known as “Panther”) to combat the tough, effective Soviet tanks encountered after the invasion of Russia in June 1941. The Panther made its first major appearance on the Eastern Front in mid-1943 at the Battle of Kursk; by war’s end, nearly 6,000, in a variety of configurations, had been deployed on all fighting fronts. Deadly and difficult to destroy, although prone to mechanical failure in some early variants, both the Panther and the Soviet T-34 it was initially intended to destroy are widely considered the best tanks of the war.

Canadian units faced some Panthers as they advanced through Italy, but many more after the Normandy landings in Northwest Europe, where they were far more numerous than expected. Allied forces used captured Panthers for evaluation and testing, and they were viewed as one of the war’s ultimate combat trophies. Soviet forces often used captured Panthers against the Germans.

The Canadian War Museum acquired this Panther Mark A from the Department of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, and the Base Borden Military Museum in 2005. It had previously been on outdoor display at Borden since the late 1940s. The tank participated in V-E Day celebrations on Sparks Street in Ottawa on May 8, 1945. This means that it had been transported from Europe before the end of the war, but whether as a war trophy or for testing and experimentation by the military remains unknown. This Panther is the largest Second World War tank in Canada.

The CWM has conducted a major restoration on this artifact. All major mechanical components were removed and treated in order to preserve them. The interior and engine bay components were removed and refurbished and then re-installed. The exterior surfaces were cleaned and stabilized and re-treated with a “zimmerit” paste created from a period recipe. Zimmerit was applied during the war to tank surfaces to help defeat magnetic anti-tank mines, and had been applied in wartime to this Panther; residue of the original coating can be seen on the sections between the track and the upper hull. The restoration team reproduced many of the damaged or missing components in order to present the tank as would likely have appeared on operations in 1944.

As the restoration team w