Panther-fibel

Andy the Sheep

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I think someone might be interested about this new release from the Tank Museum: the English language version of the Panther-Fibel, the volume originally published on June, 1st 1944 by the Inspector General of the German Armoured Corps (a fellow named Guderian :thinking:).
If I'm not wrong, someone showed interest in my opinion about this book when I first named it in what I suppose was the 2021 "Latest acquisition" thread. I'm sorry but I do not remember who he was and my search on my last year posts died of unfathomable boredom after 30 minutes :sleeping::tired:. Anyway, here is my answer to his request.
That is the cover (just for discussion).

Panther Fibel 0001.JPG

It's a very sturdy and nice hardcover reporting the serial number of the manual D 655/27 (D 655 was the serial number assigned to all Panther Service manuals).
The contents are rather interesting for all Panther's aficionados. It describe the fundamental skills a Panther tanker was supposed to master before being sent to the front units.
If you are looking for a document providing useful information on how to get a more precisely detailed model you will be fairly disappointed: there are some pictures and drawings providing nice details (e.g: the gyroscopic course or the carburettor) but you will probably find more significant pictures and explanations on more technical publication.
What you are going to find is a book that will put you through the training of a German tank corps recruit and, not less important, a totally different approach to didactic.
Those of you who spent some times in the armed forces will probably remember how boring was to study the manuals, with all those technical terms and with their unsympathetic, if not dull and boring, prose.
Panther-fibel has a totally different approach: vignettes, pretty girls, continuous references to the daily life of a German young man in the '40s of the last century and, last but not least, a totally different style. Almost all the text is in rhyme! It sounds like a very long limerick (small example in both languages here below and JUST FOR DISCUSSION).
Panther Fibel 0002.JPG
That last aspect made my reading rather difficult, but I'm not an English language native speaker, so I think most of you will enjoy much more than me the original and chanting approach adopted in what was a military training manual of an armed forces in its 5th year of war.
The manual begins explaining how the gunner (Richtscutze) skills should be developed followed by the instructions dedicated to the wireless operator (Funker) and finally the driver's (Fahrer) instructions, who was, according to the Fibel, the real key element of the tank as its transmission and steering system, as most of us already know, was very advanced but very fragile too and a tank stuck on the battlefield is a dead tank (and its crew too); the Commander has no dedicated section because most of tank commanders were NCO's or Officers with a different training course and probably because the tank Cdr was supposed to know everything about his Panther and how to make the best out of it and his crew.
The only crew member who did not need a technical instruction was the loader (Ladeschutze) whose main requirements were strong arms and back and the talent to distinguish among no more than 4 different kind of grenades. In fact, you are going to find almost nothing about him in this manual.

From the modeller's point of view this book will add nothing really significant to your skills and knowledge but if you like dioramas, you will find it somehow useful. How to fill the petrol in heavy rain, the steering range for each gear, how to tow correctly a Panther, what to do before recovering the tank in the workshop for repairs are a few among a lot of small information that could be transformed into tiny but significant details in a diorama.
For the Panther addicts: this book must find a place in your library. (no, I will get no fees from the Tank Museum for that... :smiling4:)

Recommendation: Yes (see above for qui mal y pense... :smiling4:).
It's a piece of history now available to the non German speaking audience. Moreover, if you like gadgets, the book comes with a small (A4 size) Panther picture and, hear hear, a "snake and ladders" board game which was intended to entertain the learners while running through the main points of their Fibel (no dice and pawns included :sad-face:).

Andrea
 

adt70hk

I know its a bit sad but I like quickbuild kits!!!
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Andrea

Thanks for that. Much appreciated. I saw it advertised on a tank museum Q&A last year. Might have a look when I'm down at Tank Fest this year.

Thanks again.

Andrew
 
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