Panther Ausf. G "Ersatz M10"

Model by Michael McSwiney

In late 1944, Hitler was planning one last desperate offensive to attempt to obtain a separate peace from the Western Allies. The Wacht am Rhein plan was designed to split the British and American armies as well as capture Antwerp. This battle, of course, became known as the Battle of the Bulge in the West. As a part of the Wacht am Rhein plan was Operation Greif under the command of Otto Skorzeny. English speaking German commandos in American uniforms and using as much American equipment as possible would infiltrate American positions to seize bridges across the Meuse.

This unit, innoculously entitled Panzer Brigade 150 was supposed to consist of 3,300 men, 15 Sherman tanks, 32 armored cars (U.S.), 198 trucks, and 147 jeeps which had been requisition from OB West. Unfortunately for the brigade, the required equipment never materialized. Panzer Brigade 150 went into battle with only about 2,500 men and a dozen tanks and assault guns. Several of the tanks were Panther Ausf. G's extensively modified to look like U.S. M-10 tank destroyers.

Making a Panther look like an M-10 is no mean feat, and the conversion process was extensive to maintain the illusion. The turret was surrounded by sheet metal and made to resemble the M-10 turret. The mantelet was also altered. As the M-10 had an open-topped turret, all protrusions on the top of the Panther turret either had to be covered by the false side-walls or removed. This fact meant that the Panther's cupola was removed and a new split hatch was attached in it's place. The front and rear hull were also extensively modified to resemble the M-10.

While a few of the jeep commando teams easily slipped through American sentries and roamed freely behind American lines, but the rest of the unit languished with Sixth Panzer Armee. When it became apparent that no breakthrough was going to occur, the "Ersatz M-10's" were committed along with the rest of the brigade as a normal combat unit. Ultimately all of the vehicles were destroyed or disabled in the fighting.

Model by Michael McSwiney


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