Tank Hidden In German Villa Basement

Some people have some remarkable collections in their basements. This guy had a WWII Panzer tank among an Anti-Aircraft gun, a torpedo and other weaponry.

According to the Mayor, the 78 year old owner has been seen “chugging around in that thing during the snow catastrophe in 1978”. What concerns me is that all of a sudden the villa owner, described as leading a secluded life, is now being investigated for breaching the war weapons control act. Why the sudden change? I am sure there are talks around town of the crazy old guy with a tank. So they decided to wait almost 30 years before going in an seizing it?

I hope the tank goes to a museum. A shame that this collector will be charged as a criminal when he hasn’t hurt anyone.

It took the police 9 hours to remove the tank from the cellar.

The story was posted on The Telegraph.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Ben Warren

    Wouldn’t that be surreal to be lost in a blizzard or shoveling half a meter of snow out of your driveway, and all of a sudden a freakin’ Panther tank comes clankity-clank-clank right past you?

    I hope the tank goes to a good home. If a book came out on its journey from the factory to some guy’s basement, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

    • Mazryonh

      What if the tank had a snow plow and started clearing away snow? Did WWII-era tanks ever come with snow plows?

      • Michael Mabey

        The Sherman had a bulldozer attachment

        • iksnilol

          Plowing snow or your annoying neighbours house, what’s the difference?

        • Mazryonh

          Hmm, that got me thinking if someone somewhere has one of those with a Mine Plough. If that someone tried to remove snow with it they’re tear up the dirt everywhere.

      • Douglas Self

        Virtually any tracked vehicle can be fitted with a dozer blade. Some would be better than others at performing engineering tasks. It wouldn’t surprise me if in “Dubya-Dubya Two, Da Big One” that tank battalions didn’t improvise a snow plow on a few Shermans to clear snow. Of course these beasts would be the first vehicles to be targeted by some intrepid panzerjagers.

      • Douglas Self

        The Shermans were fitted with everything from dozer blades to snow plows to various mine-clearing devices (chain flails, rollers), and even a prow designed to cut hedges made from landing craft obstacles salvaged from the Normandy beaches. With 33 tons of steel, 400 to 450 horses, and a top speed of 26 mph, there wasn’t much a Sherman couldn’t clear or ‘nudge’. Even its combat capabilities have been wrongly maligned in light of actual combat performance. That’s why I vote the top tank of WW2 for how it helped to achieve victory.

        • Secundius

          The German Nickname for the Sherman was “the Anvil”, because of it’s Simplicity and Sturdy Construction. A Typical German Tank Required a Major Overhaul after every 100-hours of Use…

          • Douglas Self

            Interesting anecdote! I hadn’t yet heard of this term but it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve heard that the Heer rewarded soldiers that captured an intact Sherman with a month’s leave.

            Interesting ALSO that the lend-lease Shermans (affectionately called “EmCha” for the transliteration of “M4” into the Cyrillic alphabet) sent to the Soviet Union (IDK if they were all diesel-engined but since the T-34, KV series, and later JS were, it would make sense) were issued to their so-called “Guards” armored divisions, whom naturally would get the cream of the crop.

          • Secundius

            I don’t now why Anyone would Stick Their Neck’s Out For a Soviet T-34? With exception of the Transmission and the Christie Suspension System, the Tank was was a “Piece of SH|T”. Even the Screw Fittings were Manufactured with Higher Quality Steel than the Tank Itself Was…

    • SP mclaughlin

      I think the story is that he towed out his neighbors’ stuck vehicles back in a 70’s blizzard.

    • Glock Guy

      As would I.

    • jimpeel

      The “good home” would be back from where it was taken.

    • jcitizen

      The National Guard use to do just that, as I was considered one of a list of critical personnel that kept the natural gas pumping to heat the homes in a blizzard disaster. My neighbors didn’t appreciate having their plates fall off the shelves as the tracks came to pick me up! HA!

    • André Philipps

      Being lost in a blizzard or shoveling half a meter of snow out of your driveway in Schleswig-Holstein would be plenty surreal all on its own. Up there it’s basically considered a new ice age when you get twenty centimetres over night.

  • USMC03Vet

    Somebody probably reported the tank held anti rapeugee views and thus German officials are taking swift action. They can’t just allow views like that from citizens, let alone tanks.

    • A.F.

      No that story is old. Why it got reported now in The telegraph and here I have no clue.

      • USMC03Vet

        It was a joke anyway. :[

  • Hank

    If the weapons capabilities of the tank were truly inoperable, he may have recourse. Good luck.

  • datimes

    There are a lot of collectors in the US who would gladly buy this vehicle.

    • micmac80

      guy is a milionare and no doubt knows the tanks value

      • jcitizen

        You didn’t use to have to be a millionaire to own a tank. I almost bought an M24 Chaffee for $750 from a scrap yard, until the yard master thought better of it, and realized what he had. I still had an operational 90mm gun, and I intended to get that registered and legal. Which was easier to do back then. Every once and a while, you’ll find a deal on an armored vehicle of some sort – fair warning though – shipping cost is a bi**ch!

  • Alex D.

    2015 called. They want their news back.

    • cs

      I’m pretty sure the TFB already blogged this some time last year.

  • LG

    Panzer means “shell or nut.” Any armored vehicle is a “panzer”. Verstehen Sie.

    • sauerquint

      Care to translate ‘pedant’ auf deutsch?

      • LG

        “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Individuals interested in firearms and armamnet in general deride those not so enlightened or leaning with their lack of knowledge and improper use of technical terms, i.e. clip for magazine. It is amazing how only we Americans pride ourselves in the improper use of our native tongue or other languages.

        • iksnilol

          Yet you yourself pride yourself in the improper use of “Panzer”.

          It’s like the German version of Inception.

        • jcitizen

          I definitely pride myself in my local colloquialism. I’m a “Murkin”

    • Tierlieb

      There is this fun thing when some foreigner learns a bit of German and then thinks they got it all figured out. No problem about it, except when they think they need to be be smug towards others.

      So here it is: “Panzer” has more than one meaning in German, surprise! And the second meaning, which is “tank”, not “armoured verhicle”. Linguistically speaking, the second meaning uses the first as pars pro toto.

      And, like all modern languages, sub-sets of German use terms differently. The German Bundeswehr has a view on what is a “Panzer” (noun) opposed to what is just “gepanzert” (adjective) and differentiates clearly.

      Leopard II (Kampfpanzer), Fuchs (Radpanzer) and even Fennek (Spähpanzer) are “Panzer”. But the Dingo is a “gepanzertes Fahrzeug”, not a “Panzer”. So, no to every armoured vehicle being a Panzer.

      The reverse is interesting, too: A “Stryker Armoured Vehicle” would translate to “Stryker gepanzertes Fahrzeug”, but is classified as a “Panzer” (since it is similar to the Luchs and Fuchs).

      • Phil Hsueh

        To be exact, the tank in question in this article is a Panzerkampwagen V Panther. So panzer is really just short for Panzerkampwagen, the designation used for all German tanks during WW II. Besides, the word tank was first used by the British as a code name for their first tank because they didn’t want to leak out that they had developed an armored vehicle, so they chose a mundane word, tank, for a name and it’s stuck.

        • jcitizen

          Somehow I think the word tank would have been coined no matter what. Those early junkers sure looked like a “tank’!

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    So now whats he supposed to do when his villa gets broken into? Use the torpedo?

    • micmac80

      Still plenty of machine guns left in the cellar and tank is comming back with a fat paychek from the state for the damages

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Kinda funny they were like “Machine gun, mortar, torpedo, AA gun, tank……..Tank? You crossed the line mister.”

        • Mike Lashewitz

          A tank he probably did not have rounds for.

          • CountryBoy

            Or the gun was disabled, as is done with the tanks outside VFW posts and other veterans’ facilities.

          • Phil Hsueh

            Not necessarily, it’s perfectly legal in the US to own a fully functioning tank, I think it’s just a Destructive Device tax stamp or something like it. I’ve seen several videos of people firing their personal cannons, tanks, and tank destroyers but they generally only fire solid rounds due to cost and (I think) regulations/laws governing those kinds of things.

          • Rick Locker

            This was in Germany.

          • Phil Hsueh

            I know that, but he was referring to VFW and other veteran’s facilities so I thought he was talking about state side where it is legal to own a fully functioning tank.

          • Rick Locker

            Oh, sorry for the mistake. Don’t know much about what happens state-side considering I’m not even American. I’m just a guy that likes old guns.

          • 191145

            Me too ! I am American and like modern firearms also.

          • jcitizen

            If you own a museum, you can get around almost any BATF regulation, and even parts of the 1968 Omnibus act that prohibited such things as owning a battleship, or having an aircraft with weapons hangers on them. Just make it a museum, and all is hunky dory!

          • Douglas Self

            I’m sure even Donald Trump would blanch at the cost of owning and MAINTAINING a vintage BB, especially considering it’s scrap value.

          • Secundius

            William I. “Bill” Koch, of the Koch Brother’s Fame. Owns a “Private” Tank Staging Area, of Privately Own Vintage Tanks near Paonia, Colorado, called the Bear Creek Ranch…

          • jcitizen

            The last armored vehicle I saw for sale was a few years ago, at $4500, and was an experimental M113. The parts for those things, and almost any US armored vehicle are so numerous and cheap, that it could be maintained for years. Buying an inventory of spare parts is very important – the first thing to run out will be the tracks – as they are the most repaired item. I suppose they could easily be recreated by casting in the future, but like a lot of farmers I know, who used them for tractors, you amass as many as you can while they are still cheap. If steel ever gets worth enough – many of those may be lost to history.

          • JohnnyCuredents

            Yeah, and they did put Angela Merkel, the Destroyer of the West, in power. That proves they are capable of just about any lunacy, I guess.

          • Douglas Self

            Angela Metkel…hmpf. Otto von Bismarck wouldn’t be too happy with her.

          • LiberalFascist

            Yes machine guns tanks artillery pieces are all legal to own in the US a background check and 200.00 tax stamp and you can LEGALLY own a functional class 3 weapon

          • jimpeel

            A de-milled tank is not a class III weapon. It is a vehicle in the eyes of the law.

          • jcitizen

            Post May ’86 are still prohibited in the machine gun definition, but if not, it can be registered if local agents decide to apply for it. It is easier to register a previously unknown weapon if it has a US serial number on it, than it is to do the paperwork on destroying it. They keep promising an amnesty period, but only local events like that have happened, that I’m aware of. The law does allow for it, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen. Many rights groups have been pressuring the BATFE for an amnesty period, as promised when the law was passed.

          • Thinker398

            each live round requires a tax stamp for cartridge type munitions – fully functional tank are exceedingly rare as a result

          • Douglas Self

            In most cases the main weapon has its barrel plugged with concrete to ‘de-militarize’ it. It’s possible to get a permit to have the tank’s cannon be functional for purposes of firing ‘smoke’ rounds (e.g. they give off a puff of smoke to simulate live firing).

            If somehow you got a hold of some live ordnance like HEAT, HE, or APDS, and you’re found out, the ATF will likely want to have a little unfriendly chat with you.

          • jcitizen

            I doubt the BATFE would consider concrete a “demil” material. Most of the time they want the breech welded completely shut. but I’ve seen museums get away with have totally functional weapon system. All you have to do is become a museum to make the Feds happy, State law might get in the way though. Also a Class 2 destructive device SOT can build a new breech out of parts, and call it a new weapon, and get it registered that way. I remember when Numrich Arms was a great place to go for WW1 howitzers of the 155 mm type. Parts are not considered a weapon, until it is assembled into a functional breech assembly. Any industrial strength shop can machine a breech out of solid steel – it may not have the tensile strength to take an original load, or the tempering may not fit mil-spec. but it might be good enough for blanks and low power loads. Even where I’ve seen original breeches rebuilt, the owners are very careful not to fire original loads in them. Most of that HE ammo is and was a pain to register – as each is considered a destructive device separate from the cannon., Believe it or not, 40mm grenade launchers with newly made non- mil spec explosive rounds are gaining popularity now. I’m not sure if the ammo is registered as a lot – or as a separate piece for each round, but I see more of them for sale now.

          • Mike Lashewitz

            So much for my idea of stealing one of those bad boys . . . (Smirk)

            I love the movie “Tank”….

          • jcitizen

            That move was supposed to be an example of a legally register destructive device, and issued machineguns could be owned by in individual. Which there were existent before May 1986. As far as I know, newly discovered destructive devices still have a chance to be registered if not reported stolen by a military branch, and have a US serial number that can be found in the data base. The gun is more likely to be legalized than the ammunition – they will just flat destroy that. Oddly enough, I used to turn destructive devices found off Ft. Riley to the BATF office in Wichita, rather than back to the post from which it came. It is quite common to find “lost” explosives and other weapons that came off Army bases. I was full time AGR at the time, and was authorized to transfer found weapons from police departments to the BATF offices. I was rather amused they simply stored them in a closet. This is why I wasn’t surprised when FBI investigators couldn’t understand how all the blasting caps got in the Federal Murrah building in the Oklahoma bombing incident, as they new Tim McVey didn’t put them there.

          • Mike Lashewitz

            Yeah they found a lot of things that were not supposed to be there. Many supposedly manufactured in Israel.

          • jcitizen

            An eye witness retired FBI agent told a group of us that he found what was left of high explosive Energa rifle grenades in the rubble, if I remember correctly, they may have been rockets, but he had the pictures to prove his point. We were gob smacked that never came out in the news media – but this guy showed us his FBI identification and service documents proving he was a former FBI agent – so he was ready to refute any doubting Thomas in the room.

        • iksnilol

          Kinda hard to violate traffic regulations with either a mortar or a torpedo 😛

        • Linz

          No licence plate, no registration fee paid & no third party insurance.

          • Rooftop Voter

            Methinks if he went Hybrid, they would let it slide.

          • Cattoo

            No tracks to roll on.

      • Mike Lashewitz

        Naww now that he is a “criminal” they took everything including the meat cleaver..

  • LG

    He is better prepared than the current Bundeswehr for Eastern, Russian, difficulties. He may be questioned, but I would advise against making him mad!

    • Billy Jack

      I thought it was a story about downsizing the Bundeswehr.

    • Evan

      Bundeswehr has Leopard IIs. This guy had a Panther with a presumably non-working gun.

  • Anomanom

    Probably someone finally realized that the guy *actually* had a tank in his basement and it wasn’t just the country version of an urban legend.

    “You know, Old so-and-so has got a tank from the war sat up in his basement”

    “Come on Klaus, that’s stupid, you cant have a tank in your house”
    “No, really my cousin saw him driving it about in the blizzard of ’78”
    “It was probably a snow plough then”

    • Tierlieb

      Talking about that, about three years ago I saw someone use a Bandvagn 206 (I think) to tow trucks over an ice-covered autobahn bridge here in Germany.

      On a more serious note, this story wasn’t about someone finally believing an urban legend, but about a well-known fact (he had articles written about his tank in 1985, Bundeswehr personell came by to fix it) about a guy who had not hurt anyone in 40 years or so.

      This might be a case of some SJW in the right position thinking “something needs to be done” or, since the guy involved is a millionaire with a lot of influence in his area, a simple political move by someone feeling left out.

  • Silverado

    It doesn’t look to have the tracks installed on it. How does it move if it’s missing it’s tracks??

  • Martin törefeldt

    How on earth did he get the tank into the basement in the first place?

    • schizuki

      He parked it on the first floor.

    • Navy Davy

      Big door!

    • jcitizen

      Funny thing about Germans. My cousin had to build a cow barn in his basement to avoid the super strict code laws in that country, that practically choke of all design principles that make any innovation possible. He loves his upstairs apartment, and he says he can’t smell the cows at all! HA!

  • mosinman

    i think that’s a Panther A

  • micmac80

    Story is quite old ,Guy brought the tank hulk from a scrap yard in UK in 60’s (it was not a 1943 vintage but one of 6 Panthers made after the war for UK from parts in the factory),and had to export it from UK and import to then West Germany and army personel helped rebuild it to working order.Tank was then also declared as non war issue . Thing got out again as the owner was raided in a sting operation that was hunting for nazi stolen artwork and then for whatever reason thing got blown out of all proportion. Guy will get it back along with fat paycheck from the state for the damages suffered.

    • Nicholas C

      Hope that is true.

    • codfilet

      I remember reading about that tank when it was found in “Wheels and Tracks” back in the ’70s-they also had an article on it later when the German owner was restoring it-not exactly a secret when it was featured on the front and back cover of an international magazine! I figured with this recent trouble that someone was trying to force him to donate it to a museum.

  • FrenchKiss

    Are you serious?!?!?!? This story is NINE MONTHS OLD.

  • A.F.

    You and The Telegraph are month if not already a year behind. That tank was discovered in 2015. It was either summer or spring.

    I think the trial against the owner has already taken place, but not sure right now.

  • John Thayer

    Google search revealed that the tank is a “Panther”.

  • Tom Currie

    It probably just now dawned on someone that an ORIGINAL Pzkw just might still have working machine guns and live ammo on board.

  • me ohmy

    guess it offended a muslim migrant..

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Typical leftist reaction. What they don’t know will not hurt you.

  • Old Vet

    This story reminded me of one they found a few years ago in a stream. It had been abandoned mid-stream since the war, I believe. I think it was headed for restoration, but can’t remember where.

    • LiberalFascist

      It went into a collection in California it has been fully restored and is running. Owner had huge collection but died before it was finished. Google panther tank in California to get the guys name and location of museum

    • LiberalFascist

      Kevin wheatcroft in UK also has a functioning Panther. Restoration of panther you mention was on History Channel tank restoration show

  • CountryBoy

    Why doesn’t the tank have its treads on?

    I’d never let my tank go outside looking like that! How gauche!

    Seriously, it appears they’ve pulled the tank out on its bogey wheels, which can’t be good for it.

  • Sam Pensive

    hey no problems with potholes with a tank in the driveway.

  • CupAJoe

    I’d keep a tank in my basement too, but since i live in an apartment, it will have to be a Hank Pym special.

  • valorius

    Governments and cops suck.

  • Zebra Dun

    “Ach Du Freakin’ Lieber Himmel Franz!”
    How did you get that Panzer down inside that basement in the first place?

  • Zebra Dun

    Then again there is a garage in the middle of a sleepy Ga. Town that used to have an M-113 siting in the yard.
    It was going to a war memorial and was waiting for the room.

  • Silver Bullet

    I think the police and the authorities have much bigger worries than to go out and steal some old man’s toys. Why arent they spending that time chasing ISIS terrorists in Germany or at the very least, searching for the 1000 pounds of missing dirty bomb grade radioactive material? When ISIS starts hitting them up they are going to be sorry this old guy wont be able to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Germans.
    Misapplied time, money, resources.
    After all, any alleged crime committed here should also involve all the town’s LE for doing nothing all these years. They are just as ‘guilty’ as anyone for furthering the ‘crime’ by not reporting it or taking action.
    If this is such a priority in Germany, they should create a NAZI style force to go and search everyone’s homes for contraband. There would be so many citizens criminalized and so many deadly artifacts discovered, it would probably take a jail the size of the city of Nuremberg to house them all.This is just crazy.

  • Austin

    They should give him an award! Do you know how much maintenance is required to keep a tank functional?

  • Core

    My uncle’s friend had a old APC with a. 50cal mounted on top. He went out to his sand pit one fine 4th of July and the ensuing sounds scared the tourists and transplants so bad that after fifty years they decided it was some sort of danger and issued an order to remove the gun from the turret. Damn tourists.. If I was in charge we would be doing operational readiness exercise annually with it.

  • DustCovered6

    And you’re just now seeing this? You guys need to up your news feed or something, this is an old story.

  • jimpeel

    Old news from mid 2015. The damage he says happened had to be from dragging it out without the tracks; which the po-po likely had no ability to reinstall. That would have taken a modicum of brain power.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Tothe

    No victim? No crime.

  • desert

    Took the police 9 hours to get it out? They were smart enough to ask him how he got it out to tool around town? I guess if German Police are so freaking stupid as to let muslims take them over, I shouldn’t be suprised!

  • nick

    ahhh…no big deal…
    this is one of the ones I look after, out for some exercise 🙂
    ….Canada can be so backwards with its firearms laws at times…. AR–15’s better make those restricted …. fully functional Armored Fighting Vehicle?? …who cares …. have all you want
    (details on this…Ex Belgian CVRT Scorpion, L-23 76mm main gun, fast…powered by a Jag 4.2)

    • jcitizen

      That one was probably a better tank that the US Sheridan, that 155mm gun was sure awesome though. It is too bad they’ve made air deliverable tanks obsolete!

      • Secundius

        That’s essentially what the M1128 Stryker with 4.133-inch (105x454mmR/52-caliber) M68 Artillery Gun was. A Light-Weight 8×8 Wheeled Tank-Destroyer/Support Gun. Problem was that the Armor Protection Surrounding the Gun Breech was Vulnerable to Small-Arms Fire. That’s why out of ~4,900 Built, ONLY 149 were M1128’s and 3 of those were Put-Out of Action. And Never Repaired…

        • jcitizen

          I think I read that none of them got air delivered either – the 105 made the thing pretty unstable too, if I remember my reading at the time.

  • nick

    and Alex,
    if you are ever up this way….lets do a “run and gun’ with one of the collection of AFV’s we have !
    we’d have to use the semi only .30 co-ax though

  • Secundius

    The 70-year old “Gentleman” that Lived in the Villa, WAS and STILL is a Military Memorabilia Collector. Who Just Happened to Collect It WHILE the War Around Him, WAS “STILL” GOING ON. It “DOES” have a Certain “Uniqueness” About It, Doesn’t It…

  • valorius

    Living in Killadelphia, i would not mind a Panzer for my daily commute. Damn carjackers.