1). ‘Panther Vs T-34: Ukraine 1943’, p33 says: ‘In contrast no German panzer unit equipped with Panther Ausf D or A model tanks was able to sustain an operation readiness rate above 35 percent for any sustained period in 1943.’
2). ‘Panther vs Sherman: Battle of the Bulge 1944’, p10 says: ‘The Panther's operational rate rose from an appalling 16 percent at the end of July 1943 to the merely wretched rate of 37 percent by December 1943.’Hmmm only 35%-37%? That is embarrassingly low.
Or is it?
What was the general serviceability rate for all the German tanks in the East in the same time period? According to ‘Panzertruppen vol2’, p110 the German rates peaked in June ’43 at 89% and then collapsed. The average for the second half of 1943 was 44%.Not much difference between 44% and 35% is there? Did the other German tanks also suffer from mechanical problems or were there other factors at play?
Maybe the low rates were mainly caused by the heavy fighting and lack of maintenance? Just a thought…