German Tank Museum

I have always been a WW2 history buff, and especially I’ve always loved tanks. When I got a chance to visit the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Munster on my way up to Denmark, I had to drop by.  It is one of the few places where you can see some of the rarest ww2 tanks. Some of which there are only a couple left in the world. I have always been interested in the technology that was developed in ww2. It was a race between nations, a race to be the first and the best at everything. Many advanced technologies were developed in this time such as; TV, radar, the first jet fighter, the assault rifle, the swept wing, first rocket powered aircraft, medical penicillin, helicopters, freeze dried coffee, computers and much else. Many house hold names owe themselves to advances made in WW2. The AK47 assault rifle is a late derivative of the German MP44 assault rifle. The MiG15,  the most advanced jet fighter of the 1950s was based on German drawings of a prototype Focke-Wulf Ta 183, and even had a copy BMW 003 jet engine in it.

Late model Tiger tank, Munster Panzer Museum. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany fielded many different tanks in ww2, they were constantly improving and changing designs. Although numerically very few, many German tanks were extremely deadly. The Tiger and Panther became well known names to allied tank commanders, and became armor to avoid! The German Tiger tank had much greater armor plating than regular tanks, and a much more powerful gun, which could destroy most tanks at more than twice the distance they could. On the eastern front Tiger crews recorded 14:1 kill death ratios. Munster specializes in German tanks from 1917, and has many of these rare beasts.

For its time, the Panther tank was very advanced and led the way in tank development for years to come. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Impressive armor plating of the Jagdpanther. Many allied tanks had great difficulty in dealing with the Jagdpanther. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

These heavy tanks were developed as a result of the German experiences in Russia in 1941. The German army enjoyed very fast progress initially, as they had before in the blitzkrieg era, but that all changed when they ran into good Russian tank designs like the KV and T34 tanks. To deal with these threats Germany developed specialized tank hunter tanks like the jagdpanzer and increasingly heavier tank designs.

A collection of tank hunters. Here we see a Hetzer in the foreground, and two Jagdpanzers along with the Jagdpanther. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Jagdpanzer IV with L48 gun. Its low profile made it a very hard target to hit, it became almost invisible when used defensively. It also packed a powerful punch. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

This is a Hetzer tank based on a Czech tank design. It was very small, but highly agile and had a powerful cannon. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany could never match the mass production of the soviet union and the USA. The US produced 53,000 Sherman tanks in the war years, while German produced 1300 Tigers. The T34 Russian tank was the greatest threat, and while a very formidable tank, many were lost with poor crew training, lack of communications and inexperience. As more and more waves of soviet tanks hit the battlefield, the Germans were finally pushed back. Russia paid a high price for this, and it can be seen on some of the exhibits at Munster. There is a T34/85 there where you can see the rush under which is was made, the welding and general assembly of the turret is very poor.

Turret of a Russian T43/85. The Russian tanks were very roughly made, had poor optics and communications, but were very numerous, highly reliable, had good protection and a good gun. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art.

As well as the main battle tanks, there are also many other interesting vehicles on display at Munster. The car below is a Schwimmwagen, made by VW. This was an amphibious car with 4×4. The tracked vehicle below is a Goliath. A remote controlled mini tank packed with explosives designed to bring down fortifications.

Schwimmwagen, amphibious car. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Goliath, remote controlled bomb. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany’s history with tanks began a in WW1 where they captured a British tank, one of the first in the world. A German version was soon developed and became the A7V. These early tanks were more mobile bunkers than anything else. They were very slow and had very little mobility. New tactics first visualized by the British, and developed by Germany in the 1930s called for a mechanized army with fast mobile tanks spearheading enemy positions with great shock and confusion. This became known as Blitzkrieg tactics which proved very successful and led to the collapse of Europe.

WW1 A7V tank from 1918. Germany’s first tank. Crew of no less than 18 people was needed. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

First of the German Panzers. This is a Panzer I  from the mid 1930s. Had two machine guns and weighed just 5.4 tons. The Tiger II produced in the last years of the war had an 88mm cannon, 185mm thick steel plating and weighed 70 tons. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

The final tanks to be made by Nazi Germany were monsters. The Tiger II or King Tiger tank was one of the heaviest tanks ever made. It weighed 70 tons, had 185mm think steel plating and packed a very powerful gun which could destroy tanks at 2000 – 3000m. Some Tigers are known to have had a 14:1 Kill/Death ratio. Equally insane is the Sturmtiger. Weighing 68 tons, this tank fired a 380mm rocket propelled artillery shell which was designed to destroy fortifications and buildings. The shell is shown in the foreground.

King Tiger tank. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Sturmtiger with 380mm rocket propelled shell in foreground. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art.

Munster Panzer Museum also has more modern tanks including the Leopard I, right up to the present day. Its a great museum, especially if you are interested in WW2 tanks. I would highly recommend a visit to any history buff! Below are a few pictures from the day! Hope you enjoy and please don’t forget to follow my blog.

Official website is here: http://daspanzermuseum.de/

Location information:

Photography information:

  • The museum allows photography with no limitations that I am aware of.
  • All the photos here were taken with a 5D Mark III and 24mm 1.4 lens.
  • The light is pretty good, I used f1.4 and iso400. So if you have a 2.8 lens you will likely need iso 1600.
  • 24mm is the widest angle I would use so that you don’t distort the subjects too much.
  • It costs 8 Euro to get in and the museum is open 6 days 10:00-18:00.
  • Fully guided tours are available upon request.

Gallery

2 Comments on “German Tank Museum

  1. Is Hamburg a good place to stay if you’re visiting the tank museum. And if so what are the best railway​connections?

    Like

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