Originally Posted by MarkV
Well he was there and ought to know.
I'm not sure whether you are really that obtuse or just that naive
Where "was" Burkhart Müller-Hillebrand actually when this took place?
From October 1942 to February 1943, he was a Lt. Colonel in the officers reserve in Berlin. Starting February 1943, he was in France, commanding the staff assembling the remnants of the 16. Panzerdivision, destroyed at Stalingrad. In March, he was commanding Panzerregiment 24 as it was being rebuilt after being destroyed at Stalingrad. He stayed with this regiment until January 1944.
In other words, Burkhart Müller-Hillebrand was nowhere near the place where decisions about Panthers were made and had nothing to do with the units, factories or anything else dealing with Panther production in winter, spring and summer of 1943.
Burkhart Müller-Hillebrand was captured by the British in 1945, transferred to the US Army in 1947 and then in 1948 became a member of the "Operational History (German) Section der Historical Division der United States Army" in Germany. The people who worked in the historical section had access to some primary material, but would also have to draw on their own experience and whetever they've picked up along the way. They did not have the anywhere near the means available for historians today.
And in this study, the comments about the Panther are just given as an example in a text about the supply of spareparts. Obviously, they did not go to great lenghts in finding the details of the rebuild operations as it was not the main point of the study.
Just above the statement about Panthers, there is a claim that almost all Tigers comitted to the Eastern Front in the autumn of 1942 were "lost or deadlined" due the lack of spares. A breif look at the statistics for s.Pz.Abt. 502 make that statement seem equally dubiuos.
That does not necessarily mean that the whole text is useless as a source, my guess is that it is probably correct when it comes to the organization of German tank maintenance, but the examples, the details and the analysis of causes and effects may suffer from the way and conditions under which the study was made.
Another thing worth considering, when reading these materials, is that they were written at a time when the former Wehrmacht officers were doing their damnedest to dissociate themselves from any responsibility regarding the failure of the Wehrmacht in WWII. Blaming Hitler, the Party, the homefront, arms production and whatnot was not uncommon when explaining the defeat. I doubt any German general at this time would conclude: "We suck at war - lets go home and make Volkswagens...."