The Full Wiki

Panther tank: Map

Advertisements
  
  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



The Panther ( ) was a tank fielded by Nazi Germany in World War II that served from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the T-34, and to replace the Panzer III and IV, though it served along with them as well as the heavier Tiger tanks until the end of the war. The Panther's excellent combination of firepower, mobility, and protection served as a benchmark for other nations' late war and immediate post-war tank designs and it is frequently regarded as the best tank design of World War II.

Until 1944, it was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther and had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171.' On 27, February 1944, Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral V be deleted from the designation.

The Panther tank was a compromise of various requirements. While sharing essentially the same engine as the Tiger I tank, it had better frontal armor and firepower, and was lighter overall and thus faster, and could handle rough terrain better than the Tigers. The tradeoff was weaker side armor, and so the Panther would prove to be deadly in open country and shooting from long range, but vulnerable to close-quarters combat.

The Panther was also far cheaper to produce than the Tiger tanks, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV, as its design came to fruition at the same time that the Reich Ministry of Armament and War Production was making great efforts to ramp up war production. Key parts of the Panther tank, such as its armor, transmission, and final drive, were compromises made specifically to improve production rates and address Germany's war shortages, whereas other parts such as its highly compact engine and its complex suspension system remained with their elegant but complicated engineering. The result would be that Panther tank production would be far higher than what was possible for the Tiger tanks, but would not be much higher than what had been accomplished with the Panzer IV. At the same time, the simplified final drive became the single major cause of breakdowns of the Panther tank, and was a problem that was never corrected.

The Panther tank arrived in 1943 at a crucial phase in World War II for Germany. Rushed into combat at the Battle of Kurskmarker before its teething problems were corrected, the Panther tank would thereafter only be fighting outnumbered in Germany's steady retreat against the Allies for the remainder of World War II. Its success as a battlefield weapon was thus hampered by Germany's generally declining position in this war, with the loss of airpower protection by the Luftwaffe, the loss of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of tank crews. Nevertheless, the Panther tank demanded respect from the Allies, and its combat capabilities led directly to the introduction of heavier Allied tanks such as the IS-2 and the M26 Pershing into the war.

Development and production

Design

The Panther was a direct response to the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks. First encountered on 23 June, 1941, the T-34 outclassed the existing Panzer III and IV. At the insistence of General Heinz Guderian, a special Panzerkommision was dispatched to the Eastern Front to assess the Soviet tanks. Among the features of the Soviet tank considered most significant were the sloping armor, which gave much improved shot deflection and also increased the effective armor thickness against penetration, the wide track, which improved mobility over soft ground, and the 76.2 mm gun, which had good armor penetration and fired an effective high-explosive round. Daimler-Benz (DB) and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG (MAN) were given the task of designing a new thirty to thirty-five-ton tank, designated VK30.02, by April 1942 (apparently in time to be shown to Hitler for his birthday).
The DB design was a direct homage to the T-34. It resembled the T-34 hull and turret form. DB's design used a leaf spring suspension whereas the T-34 used coil springs. The DB turret was smaller than that of the MAN design and had a smaller turret ring which was the result of the narrower hull required by the leaf spring suspension which lay outside of hull. The main advantages of the leaf springs over a torsion bar suspension were a lower hull silhouette and a simpler shock dampening design. Like the T34, the DB design had a rear drive sprocket. Unlike the T-34, the DB design had a three-man turret crew: commander, gunner, and loader. But as the planned L/70 75 mm gun was much longer and heavier than the T-34's, mounting it in the Daimler-Benz turret was difficult. Plans to reduce the turret crew to two men to stem this problem were eventually dropped.

The MAN design embodied more conventional German thinking with the transmission and drive sprocket in the front and a turret placed centrally on the hull. It had a gasoline engine and eight torsion-bar suspension axles per side. Because of the torsion bar suspension and the drive shaft running under the turret basket, the MAN Panther was higher and had a wider hull than the DB design. The slightly earlier, Henschel designed Tiger I heavy tank's use of a "slack-track" Christie-style pattern of large road wheels with no return rollers for the upper run of track, and with the main road wheels being overlapping and interleaved in layout, were design concepts broadly repeated with the MAN design for the Panther.

The two designs were reviewed over a period from January 1942 through March 1942. Reichminister Todt, and later, his replacement Albert Speer, both recommended the DB design to Hitler because of its several advantages over the initial MAN design. However, at the final submission, MAN improved their design, having learned from the DB proposal, and a review by a special commission appointed by Hitler in May 1942 ended up selecting the MAN design. Hitler approved this decision after reviewing it overnight. One of the principal reasons given for this decision was that the MAN design used an existing turret designed by Rheinmetall-Borsig while the DB design would have required a brand new turret to be designed and produced, substantially delaying the commencement of production.

Production

The MAN design also had better fording ability, easier gun servicing and higher mobility due to better suspension, wider tracks, and a bigger fuel tank. A mild steel prototype was produced by September 1942 and, after testing at Kummersdorf, was officially accepted. It was put into immediate production. The start of production was delayed, however, mainly because there were too few specialized machine tools needed for the machining of the hull. Finished tanks were produced in December and suffered from reliability problems as a result of this haste. The demand for this tank was so high that the manufacturing was soon expanded beyond MAN to include Daimler-Benz, Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover (MNH) and Henschel & Sohn in Kassel.

The initial production target was 250 tanks per month at MAN. This was increased to 600 per month in January 1943. Despite determined efforts, this figure was never reached due to disruption by Allied bombing, manufacturing bottlenecks, and other difficulties. Production in 1943 averaged 148 per month. In 1944, it averaged 315 a month (3,777 having been built that year), peaking with 380 in July and ending around the end of March 1945, with at least 6,000 built in total. Strength peaked on 1 September, 1944 at 2,304 tanks, but that same month a record number of 692 tanks were reported lost

Allied bombing was first directed at the common chokepoint for both Panther and Tiger production - the Maybach engine plant, which was bombed the night of April 27–28, 1944. Production was shut down for five months, but a second plant had already been planned, the Auto-Union plant at Siegmar, and this came online in May 1944. Targeting of Panther factories began with a bombing raid on the DB plant on August 6, 1944, and again on the night of August 23-24, 1944. MAN was struck on September 10, October 3, and October 19, 1944, and then again on January 3 and February 20–21, 1945. MNH was not attacked until March 14 and March 28, 1945.

In addition to interfering with tank production goals, the bombing forced a steep drop in the production of spare parts. Spare parts as a percentage of tank production dropped from 25–30 percent in 1943, to 8 percent in the fall of 1944. This only compounded the problems with reliability and numbers of operational Panthers as tanks in the field had to be cannibalized for parts.

Production figures

250 px


The Panther was the third most produced German armored fighting vehicle.

Production by type
Model Number Date Notes
Prototype 2 11/42 Designated V1 and V2
Ausf. D 842 1/43 to 9/43
Ausf. A 2,192 8/43 to 6/44 Sometimes called Ausf. A2
Ausf. G 2,953 3/44 to 4/45
Befehlspanzer Panther 329 5/43 to 2/45 Converted
Beobachtungspanzer Panther 41 44 to 45 Converted
Bergepanther 347 43 to 45


Panther production in 1944 by manufacturer
Manufacturer % of total
Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (M.A.N.) 35%
Daimler-Benz 31%
Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover 31%
Other 3%


Cost

One source has cited the cost of a Panther tank as 117,100 Reichmarks (RM). This compared with 82,500 RM for the StuG III, 96,163 RM for the Panzer III, 103,462 RM for the Panzer IV, and 250,800 RM for the Tiger I. These cost figures did not include the cost of the armament and radio. In terms of Reichmarks per ton, therefore, the Panther tank was one of the most cost-effective of the German AFV's of World War II. However, these cost figures should be understood in the context of the time period in which the various AFVs were first designed, as the Germans increasingly strove for designs and production methods that would allow for higher production rates, and thus steadily reduced the cost of their AFVs. For example, another source has cited the total cost of the early production Tiger I in 1942–1943 to be as high as 800,000 RM. The process of streamlining the production of German AFVs first began after Albert Speer became Reichminister in early 1943 and steadily accelerated through 1944; production of the Panther tank thus coincided with this period of increased manufacturing efficiency. German AFV manufacturers at the start of World War II utilized only heavily labor-intensive and costly manufacturing methods unsuitable for the needs of mass production; even with streamlined production methods, Germany never approached the efficiency of Allied manufacturing during World War II.

Design characteristics

The Panther had a five man crew
The weight of the production model was increased to 45 metric tons from the original plans for a 35 ton tank. Hitler had personally reviewed the final designs and insisted on an increase in the thickness of the frontal armor - the front glacis plate was increased from to and the turret front plate was increased from 80mm to .

The Panther was rushed into combat before all of its teething problems were corrected. Reliability was considerably improved over time, and the Panther did prove to be a very effective fighting vehicle; however, some design flaws, such as its weak final drive units, were never corrected due to various shortages in German war production.

The crew was made up of five members: driver, radio operator (who also fired the bow machine gun), gunner, loader, and commander.

Engine

The first 250 Panthers were powered by a Maybach HL 210 P30 engine, V-12 gasoline engine which delivered 650 metric hp at 3000 rpm and had three simple air filters.

Starting in May 1943, the Panthers were built using the 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)/3000 rpm, 23.1 litre Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 gasoline engine. The light alloy block used in the HL 210 was replaced by a cast iron block to save aluminum. Two multistage "cyclone" air filters were used to automate some of the dust removal process.

The HL 230 P30 engine was a very compact design which kept the space between the cylinder walls to a minimum. The crankshaft was composed of seven discs, each with an outer race of roller bearings, and a crankshaft pin between each disc. To reduce the length of the engine further, by one half a cylinder diameter, the two banks of 6 cylinders of the V-12 were not offset - the center points of the connecting rods of each cylinder pair in the "V" where they joined the crankshaft pin were thus at the same spot rather than offset; to accommodate this arrangement, one connecting rod in the pair of cylinders was forked and fit around the other "solid" connecting rod at the crankshaft pin. (A more typical "V" engine would have had offset cylinder banks and each pair of connecting rods would have fit simply side by side on the crankshaft pin). This compact arrangement with the connecting rods was the source of considerable teething problems early on. Blown head gaskets were another problem which was corrected with improved seals in September 1943. Improved bearings were introduced in November 1943 to replace the faulty ones that had failed frequently. An engine governor was also added in November 1943 that reduced the maximum engine speed to 2500 rpm. An eighth crankshaft bearing was added beginning in January 1944 to help reduce motor failures.

The engine compartment space was designed to be watertight so that the Panther could be submersed and cross waterways. The result was that the engine compartment was poorly ventilated and prone to overheating. The fuel connectors in the early models were non-insulated, leading to leakage of fuel fumes into the engine compartment. This led to many engine fires in the early Panthers. Additional ventilation was added to draw off these gasses, which improved but did not completely solve the problem of engine fires. Other measures taken to reduce this problem included improving the coolant circulation inside the motor and adding a reinforced membrane spring to the fuel pump. The Panther had a solid firewall separating the engine compartment and the fighting compartment to keep engine fires from spreading to the crew.

The engine became more reliable over time. A French assessment of their stock of captured Panthers in 1947 concluded that the engine had an average life of and maximum life of .

Suspension

Interleaved wheels on a Panther
The suspension consisted of front drive sprockets, rear idlers and eight double-interleaved rubber-rimmed steel road wheels on each side, suspended on a dual torsion bar suspension. The dual torsion bar system, designed by Professor Ernst Lehr, allowed for a wide travel stroke and rapid oscillations and high reliability, thus allowing for relatively high speed travel by this heavy tank over undulating terrain. However, the extra space required for the bars running across the length of the bottom of the hull, below the turret basket, increased the overall height of the tank and also prevented an escape hatch in the hull bottom. When damaged by mines, the torsion bars often required a welding torch for removal.

The Panther's suspension was complicated to manufacture and the interleaved system made replacing inner road wheels time consuming. The interleaved wheels also had a tendency to become clogged with mud and rocks and ice and could freeze solid overnight in the harsh winter weather of the Eastern Front. Shell damage could cause the road wheels to jam together and become extremely difficult to separate. Interleaved wheels had long been standard on all German half-tracks. The extra wheels did provide better flotation and stability and also provided more armor protection for the thin hull sides than smaller wheels or non-interleaved wheel systems, but the complexity meant that no other country ever adopted this design for their tanks. In September 1944, and again in March/April 1945, M.A.N. built a limited number of Panther tanks with steel roadwheels originally designed for the Tiger II and late series Tiger I tanks. The reasons for this change are unclear and could have been either a shortage of rubber or an attempt to reduce roadwheel failure.

From November 1944 through February 1945, a conversion process began to use sleeve bearings in the Panther tank, as there was a shortage of ball bearings. The sleeve bearings were primarily used in the running gear; plans were made also to convert the transmission to sleeve bearings but were not carried out as production of Panther tanks came to an end.

Steering and Transmission

Repair of the transmission of a Panther
Steering was accomplished through a seven-speed AK 7-200 synchromesh gearbox, designed by Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen, and a MAN single radius steering system, operated by steering levers. Each gear had a fixed radius of turning, ranging from five meters for 1st gear up to 80 meters for 7th gear. The driver was expected to judge the sharpness of a turn ahead of time and shift into the appropriate gear to turn the tank. The driver could also engage the brakes on one side to force a sharper turn. This manual steering was a much simplified design compared to the more sophisticated dual radius hydraulically controlled steering system of the Tiger tanks.

The AK 7-200 transmission was also capable of pivot turns, but this method of turning could accelerate failures of the final drive.

Throughout its career, the weakest parts in the Panther were its final drive units. The problems of the Panther's final drives were from a combination of factors. The original MAN proposal had called for the Panther to have an epicyclic/planetary (hollow spur) gear system in the final drive, similar to that used in the Tiger I. However, Germany at the time suffered from a shortage of gear-cutting machine tools and, unlike the Tiger tanks, the Panther was intended to be produced in large numbers. To achieve the goal of higher production rates, numerous simplifications were made to the Panther's design and manufacturing. This process was aggressively pushed forward, sometimes against the wishes of designers and army officers, by the Chief Director of Armament and War Production, Karl-Otto Saur, who worked under (and later succeeded, in April 1945) Reichminister Albert Speer. And so the Panther's final drive was changed to a double spur system. Although much simpler to produce, the double spur gears had inherently higher internal impact and stress loads, making them prone to failure under the high torque requirements of the heavy Panther tank. In contrast, both the Tiger II and the US M4 Sherman tank had double helical (herringbone) gears in their final drives, a system that reduced internal stress loads and was less complex than epicyclic/planetary gears.

Germany's wartime shortage of key alloying agents for making high strength steels also meant that to reach the desired high production rates a more readily available lower quality steel had to be substituted in the production of the double spur gears. Compounding these problems was the fact that the final drive's housing and gear mountings were too weak, because of the type of steel used and/or because of the tight space allotted for the final drive; the gear mountings thus deformed easily under the high torque and stress loads, pushing the gears out of alignment and resulting in failure. The final drives of the Panther tank were so weak that their average fatigue life was only 150 km. In Normandy, about half of the abandoned Panther tanks were found by the French to have broken final drives.

Plans were made to replace the final drive, either with a version of the original epicyclic/planetary gears planned by MAN, or with the final drive of the Tiger II. These plans were intertwined with the planning for the Panther II, and like the Panther II, never came to fruition. It was estimated that building the epicyclic/planetary gear final drive would have required 2.2 times more machining work, and this would have affected the manufacturing output.

The mechanical unreliability of the Panther, a characteristic shared with the Tiger tanks, meant that long road marches would result in a significant number of losses due to breakdowns, and so the German Army had to ship the tanks by rail as close to the battlefield as possible.

Armor

Armor layout
Initial production Panthers had a face-hardened glacis plate (the main front hull armor piece), but as armor-piercing capped rounds became the standard in all armies (thus defeating the benefits of face-hardening, which caused uncapped rounds to shatter), this requirement was deleted on March 30, 1943. By August 1943, Panthers were being built only with a homogeneous steel glacis plate. The Panther front hull had 80 mm of armor sloped back at 55 degrees from the vertical, welded but also interlocked for strength. The combination of a steep slope and thick armor meant that few Allied or Soviet weapons could penetrate this part of the tank.

The armor for the side hull and superstructure (the side sponsons) was much thinner (40–50 mm thick). The thinner side armor was necessary to keep the tank's overall weight within reasonable bounds, but it made the Panther vulnerable to attacks from the side by most Allied and Soviet tank and anti-tank guns. German tactical doctrine for the use of the Panther thus emphasized the importance of flank protection. Five millimeter thick skirt armor, Schürzen, intended to provide protection for the lower side hull from Soviet anti-tank rifle fire was fitted on the hull side. Zimmerit coating against magnetic mines started to be applied at the factory on late Ausf D models beginning in September 1943 ; an order for field units to apply Zimmerit to older versions of the Panther was issued in November 1943. In September 1944, orders to stop all application of Zimmerit were issued, based on rumors that hits on the Zimmerit had caused vehicle fires.

The rear hull top armor was only 16 mm thick, and had two radiator fans and four air intake louvres over the engine compartment that were vulnerable to strafing by aircraft.

Panther crews were aware of the weak side armor and made unauthorized augmentations by hanging track links or spare roadwheels onto the turret and/or the hull sides.

As the war progressed, Germany was forced to reduce or no longer use certain critical alloy materials in the production of armor plate, such as nickel, tungsten, molybdenum, and manganese; this did result in lower impact resistance levels compared to earlier armor. Manganese from mines in the Ukraine ceased when the German Army lost control of this territory in February 1944. Allied bombers struck the Knabe mine in Norway and stopped a key source of molybdenum; other supplies from Finland and Japan were also cut off. The loss of molybdenum, and its replacement with other substitutes to maintain hardness, as well as a general loss of quality control resulted in an increased brittleness in German armor plate, which developed a tendency to fracture when struck with a shell. Testing by U.S. Army officers in August 1944 in Isigny, France on three Panther tanks showed catastrophic cracking of the armor plate on two of the Panthers

Armament

The main gun was a 7.5 cm Rheinmetall-Borsig KwK 42 with 79 rounds (82 on Ausf. G) with semi-automatic shell ejection. The main gun used three different types of ammunition, APCBC-HE (Pzgr. 39/42), HE (Sprgr. 42) and APCR (Pzgr. 40/42), the last of which was usually in short supply. While it was of only average caliber for its time, the Panther's gun was one of the most powerful tank guns of WWII, due to the large propellant charge and the long barrel, which gave it a very high muzzle velocity and excellent armor-piercing qualities. The flat trajectory also made hitting targets much easier, since accuracy was less sensitive to range. The Panther's 75 mm gun had more penetrating power than the main gun of the Tiger I heavy tank, the 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56, although the larger 88 mm projectile might inflict more damage if it did penetrate.

The tank typically had two MG 34 machine guns of a specific version designed for use in armored combat vehicles featuring an armored barrel sleeve. An MG 34 machine gun was located co-axially with the main gun on the gun mantlet; an identical MG 34 was located on the glacis plate and fired by the radio operator. Initial Ausf. D and early Ausf. A models used a "letterbox" flap opening, through which the machine gun was fired. In later Ausf A and all Ausf G models (starting in late November-early December 1943), a ball mount in the glacis plate with a K.Z.F.2 machine gun sight was installed for the hull machine gun.

Turret

Panther with regular mantlet.
Panther with flattened lower ('chin') mantlet


The front of the turret was a curved 100 mm thick cast armor mantlet. Its transverse-cylindrical shape meant that it was more likely to deflect shells, but the lower section created a shot trap. If a non-penetrating hit bounced downwards off its lower section, it could penetrate the thin forward hull roof armor, and plunge down into the front hull compartment. Penetrations of this nature could have catastrophic results since the compartment housed the driver and radio operator sitting along both sides of the massive gearbox and steering unit; more importantly four magazines containing main gun ammunition were located between the driver/radio operator seats and the turret, directly underneath the gun mantlet when the turret was facing forward. For the Ausf D and Ausf A models, a total of 27 rounds were stored in these magazines, which was reduced to 18 rounds for the Ausf G model. From September 1944, a slightly redesigned mantlet with a flattened and much thicker lower "chin" design started to be fitted to Panther Ausf G models, the chin being intended to prevent such deflections. Conversion to the "chin" design was gradual however, and Panthers continued to be produced to the end of the war with the rounded gun mantlet.

The Panther's gun mantlet could not be penetrated by either the M4's 75 mm gun nor the T-34s 85 mm gun but could be penetrated by well-aimed shots at 100 m by the M4's 76 mm gun, at 500 m by the Soviet A-19 122 mm gun on the IS-2 and at over 2500 yards (2286 m) by the British 17-pounder using APDS-ammunition. The side turret armor of was also vulnerable to penetration at long range by almost all Allied tank guns including the M4's 75 mm gun which could punch through at 1500 m. These were the main reasons for continued work on a redesigned Panther turret, the Schmalturm, discussed later.

The Ausf A model introduced a new cast armor commander's cupola, replacing the more difficult to manufacture forged cupola. It featured a steel hoop to which a third MG 34 or either the coaxial or the bow machine gun could be mounted for use in the anti-aircraft role, though it was rare for this to be used in actual combat situations.

The first Panthers, the Ausf D model, had a hydraulic motor that could traverse the turret at a maximum rate of 360 degrees in 60 seconds independent of engine speed. This slow traverse speed was improved in the Ausf A model with a hydraulic traverse that varied with engine speed, with a maximum rate of 360 degrees in 15 seconds if the engine was running at 3000 rpm. With the engine at 1000 rpm, the maximum traverse speed was 360 degrees in 46 seconds. A hand traverse was usually needed by the Panther gunner to fine tune the aim. This complicated arrangement of the turret traverse mechanism was a weakness, as traversing the Panther's turret rapidly onto a target required close coordination between the gunner and driver (to rev up the engine to maximum speed). By comparison, the M4 Sherman turret traversed at up to 360 degrees in 15 seconds and was independent of engine speed, which gave it an advantage over the Panther in close-quarters combat..

Ammunition Storage



The locations for ammunition storage for the main 75 mm gun were a weak point of the Panther. No ammunition for the Panther was stored inside the turret, a positive given the weak side turret armor. However, a significant amount of ammunition was stored in the sponsons. In the Ausf D and A models, 18 rounds were stored next to the turret on each side, for a total of 36 rounds. In the Ausf G, which had deeper sponsons, 24 rounds were stored on each side of the turret, for a total of 48 rounds. In all models, 4 rounds were also stored in the left sponson between the driver and the turret. An additional 36 rounds were stored inside the hull of the Ausf D and A models - 27 in the forward hull compartment directly underneath the mantlet. In the Ausf G, the hull ammunition storage was reduced to 27 rounds total, with 18 rounds in the forward hull compartment. For all models, 3 rounds were kept under the turntable of the turret.

The loader was stationed in the right side of the turret. With the turret facing forward, he had access only to the right sponson and hull ammunition, and so these served as the main ready-ammunition bins.

The thin side armor could be penetrated at combat ranges by many Allied tank guns, and this meant that the Panther was vulnerable to catastrophic ammunition fires ("brewing up") if hit from the sides.

Combat use



180px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-H26258,_Panzer_V_"Panther".jpg" style='width:180px' alt="" />
Panther Ausf.
Ds on rail cars in April/May 1943.


The Panther was intended to supplement the Panzer IV and replace the Panzer III medium tanks. Each German Panzer (armored) division had two tank battalions; the intent was to equip one battalion in each division with Panthers, retaining the lighter, older, but still useful Panzer IV in the other battalion. Starting in January 1943, Panthers were sent out to units for training.

Eastern Front

The first production Panther tanks were plagued with mechanical problems. The engine was dangerously prone to overheating and suffered from connecting rod or bearing failures. Gasoline leaks from the fuel pump or carburettor, as well as motor oil leaks from gaskets easily produced fires in the engine compartment; several Panthers were destroyed in such fires. Transmission and final drive breakdowns were the most common and difficult to repair. A large list of other problems were detected in these early Panthers and so from April through May 1943. All Panthers were shipped to Falkensee and Nuernburg for a major rebuilding program. This did not correct all of the problems, so a second program was started at Grafenwoehr and Erlangen in June 1943.

The Panther tank was seen as a necessary component of the upcoming Operation Zitadellemarker, and the attack was delayed several times because of the mechanical problems of the Panthers, with the eventual start date of the battle only six days after the last of the Panthers had been delivered to the front. This resulted in major problems in the Panther units during the Battle of Kurskmarker as tactical training on the unit level, coordination by radio, and driver training were all seriously deficient.

It was not until the period of June 23–29 that a total of 200 rebuilt Panthers were finally issued to Panther Regiment von Lauchert of the XLVIII Panzer Corps (4 Panzer Army). Two of the Panthers were immediately lost due to motor fires upon disembarking from the trains.

By July 5, 1943, when the Battle of Kurskmarker started, there were only 184 operational Panthers. Within two days, the number of operational Panthers had dropped to 40. On July 17, 1943 after Hitler had ordered a stop to the German offensive, Gen. Heinz Guderian sent in the following preliminary assessment of the Panthers:

A later Oberquartiermeister report (generated every ten days) of the inventory of Panthers on July 20, 1943 showed 41 Panthers as operational, 85 as repairable, 16 severely damaged and needing repair in Germany, 56 burnt out (due to enemy action), and 2 that had been destroyed by motor fires.

However, before the Germans ended their offensive at Kursk, the Soviets began their counteroffensive, and succeeded in pushing the Germans back into a steady retreat. Thus, an Oberquartiermeister report on August 11, 1943 showed that the numbers of total writeoffs in Panthers swelled to 156, with only 9 operational Panthers. The German Army was forced into a fighting retreat and increasingly lost Panthers in combat as well as from abandoning and destroying damaged vehicles.

The Panther demonstrated its capacity to destroy any Soviet AFV from long distance during the Battle of Kursk, and had a very high overall kill ratio. However, it comprised less than seven percent of the estimated 2,400–2,700 total AFVs deployed by the Germans in this battle, and its effectiveness was limited by its mechanical problems and the in-depth layered defense system of the Soviets at Kursk. Its greatest historical role in the battle may have been a highly negative one - its contribution to the decisions to delay the original start of Operation Zitadellemarker for a total of two months, time which the Soviets used to build up an enormous concentration of minefields, anti-tank guns, trenches, and artillery defenses.

After the losses of the Battle of Kursk, the German Army went into a permanent state of retreat against the Red Army. The numbers of Panthers were slowly re-built on the Eastern Front, and the percentage of operational Panthers increased as its reliability was improved. In March 1944, Guderian reported of the Panther: "Almost all the bugs have been worked out", although many Panther units continued to report significant mechanical problems, especially with the final drive. The greatly outnumbered Panthers came to be used as mobile reserves to fight off major attacks.

The highest total number of Panthers listed as operational in the Eastern Front was achieved in September 1944, when some 522 Panthers were listed as operational out of a total of 728. Throughout the rest of the war, Germany continued to keep the great majority of Panther forces on the Eastern Front, where the situation progressively worsened for the Germans. The last recorded status of Panther forces, on March 15, 1945, listed 740 Panthers on the Eastern Front with 361 operational. By this time the Red Army had entered East Prussia and was advancing through Poland.

Western Front - France

At the time of the invasion of Normandy, there were initially only two Panther-equipped Panzer regiments in the Western Front, with a total of 156 Panthers between them. From June through August 1944, an additional seven Panther regiments were sent into France, reaching a maximum strength of 432 in a status report dated July 30, 1944.

The majority of German panzer forces, six and a half divisions, were drawn into the British Second Army sector in the open country around Caen; the numerous battles became collectively known as the Battle of Caenmarker. US forces in the meantime, facing one and a half German panzer divisions, mainly the Panzer Lehr Division, struggled in the heavy, low-lying bocage terrain west of Caen. Against the M4 Shermans of the Allied tank forces during this time, the Panther tank proved to be most effective when fighting in open country and shooting at long range - its combination of superior armor and firepower allowed it to engage at distances from which the Shermans could not respond.. However, the Panther struggled in the bocage country of Normandy and was vulnerable to side and close-in attacks in the built-up areas of cities and small towns. The commander of the PanzerLehr Division, Gen. Fritz Bayerlein made these comments about the weaknesses of the Panther tank in the fighting in Normandy:

Through September and October, a series of new Panzer-Brigades equipped with Panther tanks were sent into France to try to stop the Allied advance with counterattacks. This culminated in the Battle of Arracourtmarker (September 18–29, 1944), in which the mostly Panther-equipped German forces suffered heavy losses fighting against the 4th Armored Division of Patton's 3rd Army, which were still primarily equipped with 75 mm M4 Sherman tanks and yet came away from the battle with only a few losses. The Panther units were newly formed, poorly trained, and tactically disorganized; most units ended up stumbling into ambush situations against seasoned U.S. tank crews.

Western Front - Ardennes Offensive

A status report on December 15, 1944 listed an all time high of 471 Panthers assigned to the Western Front, with 336 operational (71 percent). This was one day before the start of the Battle of the Bulge; 400 of the tanks assigned to the Western Front were in units sent into the offensive.

The Panther once again demonstrated its prowess in open country, where it could shoot its victims at long range with near-impunity, and its vulnerability in the close-in fighting of the small towns of the Ardennes, where there were heavy losses. A status report on January 15, 1945 showed only 97 operational Panthers left in the units involved in the operation, out of 282 still in their possession. Losses were 198 Panthers listed as total write-offs.

The Operation Greif commando mission included five Panthers assigned to Panzerbrigade 150 disguised to look like M10 Tank Destroyers by welding on additional plates, applying US-style camouflage paint and markings. This was carried out as part of a larger operation that involved soldiers disguised as Americans and other activities. The disguised Panthers were detected and destroyed.

In February 1945, eight Panzer divisions with a total of 271 Panthers were transferred from the West to the Eastern Front. Only five Panther battalions remained in the west.

One of the top German Panther commanders was SS-Oberscharführer Ernst Barkmann of the 2nd SS-Panzer Regiment "Das Reich". By the end of the war, he had some 80 tank kills claimed.

Fortification

Pantherturm fortification in Italy, mid 1944.
From 1943, Panther turrets were mounted in fixed fortifications, some were normal production models, but most were made specifically for the task, with additional roof armour to withstand artillery. Two types of turret emplacements were used; (Pantherturm III - Betonsockel — concrete base) and (Pantherturm I - Stahluntersatz — steel sub-base). They housed ammunition storage and fighting compartment along with crew quarters. A total of 182 of these were installed in the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall and West Wallmarker, 48 in the Gothic Line and Hitler Line, 36 on the Eastern Front, and 2 for training and experimentation, for a total of 268 installations by March 1945. They proved to be costly to attack, and difficult to destroy.

Panther battalion organization

Composition of a panzer battalion equipped with 96 Panther tanks, 1943. Two panzer battalions would comprise the panzer regiment of a panzer division.

180px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-711-0427-04,_Oberst_Karl_Lorenz_vor_Panzer_V_"Panther".jpg" style='width:180px' alt="" />


  • Battalion Command (composed of Communication and Reconnaissance platoons)
  • Communication Platoon - 3 × Befehlswagen Panther SdKfz.267/268
  • Reconnaissance Platoon - 5 × Panther
  • 1st Company - 22 × Panther
    • Company Command - 2 × Panther
      • 1st Platoon - 5 × Panther
      • 2nd Platoon - 5 × Panther
      • 3rd Platoon - 5 × Panther
      • 4th Platoon - 5 × Panther
  • 2nd Company - 22 × Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • 3rd Company - 22 × Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • 4th Company - 22 × Panther (composed as 1st Company)
  • Service Platoon - 2 × Bergepanther SdKfz.179


From 1943 to 1945, many modifications were made to unit organization by reducing both number of companies and platoons due to the war situation.

The Allied response

Soviet

The importance of the tank on the Eastern Front led to an arms race between the Germans and Soviets to produce AFVs with ever greater armor and firepower. The Tiger I and Panther tanks were German responses to encountering the T-34 in 1941. Soviet firing tests against a captured Tiger in April 1943 showed that the T-34s 76 mm gun could not penetrate the front of the Tiger I at all, and the side only at very close range. An existing Soviet 85 mm antiaircraft gun, the 52-K, was found to be very effective against the frontal armor of the Tiger I, and so a derivative of the 52-K 85 mm gun was developed for the T-34. The Soviets thus had already embarked on the 85 mm gun upgrade path before encountering the Panther tank at the Battle of Kurskmarker.

After much development work, the first T-34-85 tanks entered combat in March 1944. The production version of the T-34s new 85 mm gun proved to be ineffective against the Panther's frontal armor, meaning the Soviet tank had to flank the Panther to destroy it, while the Panther's main gun could penetrate the T-34 at long range from any angle. Although the T-34-85 tank was not quite the equal of the Panther, it was much better than the 76.2 mm-armed versions and made up for its quality shortcomings by being produced in greater quantities than the Panther. New self-propelled anti-tank vehicles based on the T-34 hull, such as the SU-85 and SU-100, were also developed. A German Army study dated October 5, 1944 showed that the Panther could easily penetrate the turret of the T-34-85 from the front at ranges up to 2000 m, and the frontal hull armor at 300 m, whereas from the front, the T-34-85 could only penetrate the non-mantlet part of the Panther turret at 500 m. From the side, the two were nearly equivalent as both tanks could penetrate the other from long range.

The Battle of Kurskmarker convinced the Soviets of the need for even greater firepower. A Soviet analysis of the battle in August 1943 showed that a Corps artillery piece, the A-19 122 mm gun, had done well against the German AFVs in that battle, and so development work on the 122 mm equipped IS-2 began in the fall of 1943. Soviet tests of the IS-2 versus the Panther included one shot that penetrated the Panther from the front armor through the back armor. German testing showed that the 122 mm gun could not penetrate the glacis plate of the Panther at all, but it could penetrate the front turret/mantlet of the Panther at ranges up to 1500 m. The Panther's 75 mm gun could penetrate the front of the IS-2s turret at 800 m and the hull nose at 1000 m. From the side, the Panther was more vulnerable than the IS-2. Thus the two tanks, while nearly identical in weight, had quite different combat strengths and weaknesses. The Panther carried much more ammunition and had a faster firing cycle than the IS-2, which was a lower and more compact design; the IS-2s A-19 122 mm gun used a two piece ammunition which slowed its firing cycle.

American and British

The Western Allies' response was inconsistent. The Panther was not employed against the western Allies until early 1944 at Anziomarker, where Panthers were employed in small numbers. Until shortly before D-Day, the Panther was thought to be another heavy tank that would not be built in large numbers. However, just before D-Day, Allied intelligence investigated Panther production, and using a statistical analysis of the road wheels on two captured tanks, estimated that Panther production for February 1944 was 270, thus indicating that it would be found in much larger numbers than had previously been anticipated. In the planning for the Battle of Normandy, the US Army expected to face a handful of German heavy tanks alongside large numbers of Panzer IVs, and thus had little time to prepare to face the Panther. Instead, almost half the German tanks in Normandy were Panthers, whose frontal armor could not be penetrated by the 75 mm guns of the US M4 Sherman.

The British were more astute in their recognition of the increasing armor strength of German tanks, and had by the time of the Normandy invasion started a program to mount the excellent 17-pounder anti-tank gun on some of their M4 Shermans (Sherman Firefly). British and Commonwealth tank units in Normandy were initially equipped at the rate of 1 Firefly to 3 Shermans or Cromwells. This increased until by the end of the war, half of the British Shermans were Fireflies. The 17-pounder had slightly more punch at long range than the Panther's 75 mm gun.

The US armor doctrine at the time was dominated by the head of Army Ground Forces, Gen. Lesley McNair, an artilleryman by trade, who believed that tanks should concentrate on infantry support and exploitation roles, and avoid enemy tanks, leaving them to be dealt with by the tank destroyer force, which were a mix of towed anti-tank guns and lightly armored AFVs with open top turrets with 3-inch (M-10 tank destroyer), 76 mm (M18 Hellcat) or later, 90 mm (M36 tank destroyer) guns. This doctrine led to a lack of urgency in the US Army to upgrade the armor and firepower of the M4 Sherman tank, which had previously done well against the most common German armor - Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs - in Africa and Italy. As with the Soviets, the German adoption of thicker armor and the 7.5 cm KwK 40 in their standard AFVs prompted the U.S. Army to develop the more powerful 76mm version of the M4 Sherman tank in April 1944. Development of a heavier tank, the M26 Pershing, was delayed mainly by McNair's insistence on "battle need" and emphasis on producing only reliable, well-tested weapons, a reflection of America's 3,000 mile supply line to Europe.

U.S. awareness of the inadequacies of their tanks grew only slowly. All U.S. M4 Shermans that landed in Normandy in June 1944 had the 75mm gun. The 75 mm M4 gun could not penetrate the Panther from the front at all, although it could penetrate various parts of the Panther from the side at ranges from 400 m to 2600 m. The 76 mm gun could also not penetrate the front hull armor of the Panther, but could penetrate the Panther turret mantlet at very close range. In August 1944, the HVAP (high velocity armor-piercing) 76 mm round was introduced to improve the performance of the 76 mm M4 Shermans. With a tungsten core, this round could still not penetrate the Panther glacis plate, but could punch through the Panther mantlet at 800 to 1000 yards, instead of the usual 100 yards for the normal 76 mm round. However, tungsten production shortages meant that this round was always in short supply, with only a few rounds available per tank, and some M4 Sherman units never received any.

The 90 mm M36 tank destroyer was introduced in September 1944; the 90 mm round also proved to have difficulty penetrating the Panther's glacis plate, and it was not until an HVAP version of the round was developed that it could effectively penetrate it from combat range. It was very effective against the Panther's front turret and from the side, however.

The high U.S. tank losses in the Battle of the Bulge against a force largely of Panther tanks brought about a clamor for better armor and firepower. At General Eisenhower's request, only 76 mm M4 Shermans were shipped to Europe for the remainder of the war. Small numbers of the M26 Pershing were also rushed into combat in late February 1945. A dramatic newsreel film was recorded by a U.S. Signal Corps cameraman of an M26 stalking and then blowing up a Panther in the city of Cologne, after the Panther had knocked out two M4 Shermans.

Production of Panther tanks and other German tanks dropped off sharply after January 1945, and eight of the Panther regiments still on the Western Front were transferred to the Eastern Front in February 1945. The result was that for the rest of the war during 1945, the greatest threats to the tanks of the Western Allies were no longer German tanks, but infantry anti-tank weapons such as the Panzerschrek and Panzerfaust, and infantry anti-tank guns such as the ubiquitous 7.5 cm Pak 40, and mobile anti-tank guns such as the Marder, StuG III, StuG IV, and Jagdpanzer. A German Army status report dated March 15, 1945 showed only 117 Panthers, only 49 of which were operational, left in the entire Western Front).

Further development

Panther II

Panther II on display at Patton Cavalry and Armor Museum, Fort Knox, KY.
The turret on display was not originally fitted to this hull and was installed later.
The early impetus for upgrading the Panther came from the concern of Hitler and others that the Panther lacked sufficient armor. Hitler had already insisted on an increase in armor to the Panther once, early in its design process in 1942. Discussions involving Hitler in January 1943 called for a Panther tank with further increased armor, initially referred to as Panther 2 (it became the Panther II after April 1943). This upgrade increased the glacis plate to , the side armor to , and the top armor to . Production of the Panther 2 was slated to begin in September 1943.

In a meeting on February 10, 1943, further design changes were proposed - including changes to the steering gears and final drives. Another meeting on February 17, 1943 focused on sharing and standardizing parts between the next Tiger tank and the Panther 2, such as the transmission, roadwheels, and running gear. Additional meetings in February began to outline the various components for the Panther 2, including use of the 88 mm L/71 KwK 43 gun. In March 1943, MAN indicated that the first Panther 2 prototype would be completed by August 1943.

A number of engines were under consideration for use in the Panther II, among them the new Maybach HL 234 fuel-injected engine (900 hp operated by an 8-speed hydraulic transmission).

Thus, plans to replace the original Panther design with the Panther II were already underway before the first Panther had even seen combat.

From May to June 1943, further work on the Panther II ceased at the various manufacturers gearing up to produce the tank as the focus was shifted to expanding production of the original Panther tank. It is not clear if there was ever an official cancellation of the Panther II - this may have been because the Panther II upgrade pathway was started originally at the insistence of Hitler. The direction that the Panther II design was headed would not have been consistent with Germany's need for a mass-produced tank, which was the goal of the Reich Ministry of Armament and War Production.

One Panther II chassis was completed and eventually captured by the U.S.; it is now on display at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox. An Ausf G turret is mounted on this chassis.

Panther Ausf. F

After the Panther II project died, a more limited upgrade of the Panther was planned, centered around a re-designed turret. The Ausf F variant was slated for production in April 1945, but the war ended these plans.

The earliest known redesign of the Panther turret was dated November 7, 1943 and featured a narrow gun mantlet behind a thick turret front plate. Another design drawing by Rheinmettall dated March 1, 1944 reduced the width of the turret front even further; this was the Turm-Panther (Schmale Blende) (Panther with narrow gun mantlet).

Several experimental Schmalturm were built in 1944 with modified versions of the 75mm KwK 42 L/70, which were given the designation of KwK 44/1. A few were captured and shipped back to the U.S. and Britain. One is on display at the Bovington Tank Museummarker

Model of Panther Ausf.
F with proposed Schmalturm


The Schmalturm had a much narrower front face of armor sloped at 20 degrees; side turret armor was increased to from ; roof turret armor increased to from ; and a bell shaped gun mantlet similar to that of the Tiger II was used. This increased armor protection also had a slight weight saving due to the overall smaller size of the turret.

The Panther Ausf F would have had the Schmalturm, with its better ballistic protection, and an extended front hull roof which was slightly thicker. The Ausf F's Schmalturm was to have a built-in stereoscopic rangefinder and lower weight than the original Panther turrets. A number of Ausf F hulls were built at Daimler-Benz and Ruhrstahl-Hattingen steelworks; however there is no evidence that any completed Ausf F saw service before the end of the war.

Proposals to equip the Schmalturm with the 88mm KwK 43 L/71 were made from January through March 1945. These would have likely equipped future German tanks but none were built, as the war ended.

E-50

The E series of tanks — E-25, E-50, E-75, E-100 (the numbers designated their weight class) - was proposed to further streamline production with an even greater sharing of common parts and simplification of design. In this scheme, the Panther tank would have evolved into the E-50. A conical spring system was proposed to replace the complex and costly dual torsion bar system. The Schmalturm would have been used, likely with a variant of the 88 mm L/71 gun.

Derived vehicles

Bergepanther on display at Saumur armour museum
  • Jagdpanther - heavy tank destroyer with the 88 mm L/71
  • Befehlspanzer Panther - command tank with additional radio equipment
  • Beobachtungspanzer Panther - observation tank for artillery spotters; dummy gun; armed with only two MG 34
  • Bergepanther - armored recovery vehicle


Postwar and foreign use

Although a technologically sophisticated vehicle for its time, the Panther's design had only a very limited influence on postwar tank development. The Panther was (arguably) an early precursor to the modern Main Battle Tank, but apart from this debatable distinction only the French postwar AMX 50 tank prototype was directly and significantly influenced by it. While the AMX 50 never actually entered series production, the French did produce a modified version of the Panther's 75 mm KwK 42 L/70 gun, as the 75 mm DEFA and CN75-50 gun. This gun equipped the first iteration of the AMX 13 light tank as well as the EBR armored car, and was also used by the Israeli M50 Super Sherman.

The Panther itself also saw some limited use outside the German military, both before and after 1945.

During the war, the Red Army employed a number of captured Panthers. These were repainted with prominent Soviet emblems and tactical markings to avoid friendly fire incidents. The Red Army still used a few Panthers as late as spring 1945.

During March-April 1945 Bulgaria received 15 Panthers of various makes (D. A and G's) from captured and overhauled Soviet stocks, they only saw limited (training) service use. They were dug down, with automotive components removed, as pillboxes along the Bulgarian-Turkish border as early as the late 40's. The final fate of these pillbox Panthers is unknown but sources indicate that they were replaced and scrapped sometime during the 1950's.

One captured vehicle (nicknamed "Cuckoo") also saw service with the British Coldstream Guards for some time.

Japan reportedly bought a single Panther Ausf. D for reverse engineering purposes in 1943. However the tank apparently never actually made it to Japan. The Panther's sloped armour and turret design nevertheless did influence the design of Japans last wartime tank prototypes; the medium Type 4 Chi-To and heavy Type 5 Chi-Ri.

After the war, Francemarker was able to recover enough operable vehicles and components to equip the French Army's 503e Régiment de Chars de Combat with a force of fifty Panthers. These remained in service until about 1950, by which time they had all been replaced by French-built ARL 44 heavy tanks.

In 1946, Swedenmarker sent a delegation to France to examine surviving specimens of German military vehicles. During their visit, the delegates found a few surviving Panthers and had one shipped to Sweden for further testing and evaluation. Testing continued until 1961. The tank is currently on display in the Deutsches Panzermuseummarker in Munstermarker.

Surviving vehicles

In working order.


Not running, more or less complete.
  • Wilhelmina park, Bredamarker, The Netherlands. The only known complete surviving Ausf. D. This tank was donated by the Polish 1st Armored Division after liberating Breda. It was restored in 2004–2005 for static display by Kevin Wheatcroft in exchange for automotive components.
  • Panzermuseum Thun, Thunmarker, Switzerland. Advertised as an Ausf. D/G hybrid, with a D hull and G turret. There are many questions surrounding this vehicle. The turret has a replacement sheet metal mantlet, vaguely resembling a late Ausf. G mantlet, with no ports for gunners sight or coaxial MG. The pistol port on the turret rear indicates an Ausf. A or early Ausf G. The hull with the "letterbox" MG slot indicates an Ausf. D or early Ausf. A. The turret and hull numbers could help identify the correct model designation for the hybrid but neither of the numbers have been made public.
  • Kevin Wheatcroft, private collector, UK. One being restored. Early Ausf. A (DEMAG production). Two more to follow, one Ausf. A and one Ausf. A converted to a D.
  • Canadian War Museummarker. In January 2008 a partially restored Panther Ausf. A was put on display. It had been donated to the museum from CFB Bordenmarker, which acquired it following V-E celebrations in May 1945. It had spent two years in restoration prior to being put on public display.
  • Rex & Rod Cadman Collection, UK. Ausf. A
  • US Army Ordnance Museum. Ausf. A
  • Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museummarker, Sinsheim, Germany. Ausf. A
  • Musée des Blindésmarker, Saumur, France. Ausf. A
  • Musée des Blindés, Saumur, France. Ausf. A
  • Mourmelon-le-Grandmarker, France. Ausf. A
  • Musée des Blindés, Saumur, France. Ausf. G
  • Bovington Tank Museummarker, UK. Ausf. G. Completed after the war in the Panther factory under supervision by UK REME engineers, used for tests.
  • Houffalizemarker in the Ardennes region of Belgium. A Panther Ausf. G can be found in the village. It fell into the river during the Battle of the Bulge and was later retrieved as a memorial.
  • US Army Ordnance Museum. An Ausf. G with one of two surviving turrets with the flattened lower ('chin') mantlet
  • National War and Resistance Museum, Overloon, Netherlands. Ausf. G
  • General George Patton Museummarker, Fort Knox, KY, USA. Ausf. G
  • General George Patton Museummarker, Fort Knox, KY, USA. Panther II chassis with a late Ausf. G turret, the second surviving turret with the flattened lower ('chin') mantlet. Restored with many components from the Ausf. G in the Museum collection.


Wrecks.
  • Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museummarker, Sinsheim, Germany. Ausf. A
  • August 1944 Museum, Falaise, France. Ausf. A
  • Kevin Wheatcroft, private collector, UK. Ausf. A. Will be restored. All components needed are already sourced or remanufactured.
  • Kevin Wheatcroft, private collector, UK. Ausf. A. Will be restored to an Ausf. D. All components needed are already sourced or remanufactured.
  • Grandmenil, Belgium. Ausf. G
  • Celles, Houyetmarker, Belgium. Ausf. G


Detailed specifications

  • Crew: 5
Dimensions
  • Length
    • including gun: 8.66 m
    • hull only: 6.87 m
  • Width:
    • hull: 3.27 m,
    • with skirt plates: 3.42 m
  • Height: 2.99 m
  • Combat weight:
    • Ausf. D 43.0 t
    • Ausf. A 45.5 tonnes
    • Ausf. G 44.8 t (46.58 t with steel road wheels)
Performance
  • Road speed: 55 km/h at 3,000 rpm (46 km/h at 2,500 rpm)
  • Road range: 200 km


Suspension and tracks
  • type: dual torsion-bar
  • Shock absorbers: on 2nd and 7th swing arms on either side
  • Track type: Kgs 64/660/150 dual center guide
  • Track width: 660 mm
  • Ground contact length: 3.92 m
  • Track links: 86
  • Ground pressure: 0.88 kg/cm²


Obstacle crossing
  • Vertical obstacle: 0.9 m
  • Trench crossing : 1.9 m
  • Fording: 1.7 m


Engine and transmission
  • Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12, four-stroke internal combustion
  • Displacement: 23.095 litres
  • Compression ratio: 6.8:1
  • Fuel: gasoline, 74 octane
  • Power: 700 PS at 3,000 rpm, 600 PS at 2,500 rpm
  • Fuel consumption (road): 3.5 l/km
  • Fuel capacity: 720 litres
  • Transmission: ZF AK 7-200 synchromesh manual
  • Gears: 7 forward, 1 reverse
  • Steering: MAN single-radius clutch-brake
  • Main clutch: Fichtel & Sachs LAG 3/70H
  • Steering ratio: 1:1.5


Armament
  • Main gun: 7.5 cm Kwk 42 L/70
    • Breech: semiautomatic
    • Traverse: 360°, 24°/second
    • Elevation: +18°/-8°
    • Rounds carried: 79; Ausf. G: 82
  • Primary gun sight: Leitz TZF 12; Ausf. A and G: TZF 12a
    • Magnification: 2.5×/5×
    • Field of view: 28°/14°
  • Radio equipment
    • Fu 5 transmitter/receiver
    • Fu 2 receiver
Armor:
    • Hull front, lower: 60 mm at 35°; upper: 80 mm at 35°
    • Hull side, lower: 40 mm at 90°; upper: 40 mm at 50°; Ausf. G: 50 mm at 60°
    • Hull rear: 40 mm at 60°
    • Turret front: 80 mm at 78°; Ausf. A: 110 mm at 78°; Ausf. G: 100 mm at 80°
    • Turret side: 45 mm at 65°
    • Turret rear: 45 mm at 65°
    • Turret, top: 15 mm at 5°; Ausf. G: 30 mm at 5°
    • Gun mantlet: 120 mm rounded


All angles from horizontal

Notes

  1. Hart 2003, pp. 41–43.
  2. Zaloga 1994, p.16.
  3. Forczyk 2007, p. 4
  4. Doyle and Jentz 1997, p. 4
  5. Jentz 1995, p 16–18.
  6. Jentz 1996, p. 284
  7. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt p. 182
  8. Jentz 1995, p. 121
  9. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 13–14
  10. Ruggles and Brodie 1947, pp. 72–91.
  11. Zetterling 2000, pp. 61, 64–65, 70–71. Referencing: Pawlas, Karl R. Datenblatter fur Heeres-Waffen, Fahrzeuge und Gerat, (in German), Publizistisches Archiv fur Militar- und Waffenwesen, Nurnberg, 1976, pp. 143, 148, 150.
  12. Spielberger 1993, p. 23
  13. Frankson 2000, p. 70
  14. Wilbeck 2004, p. 30, 224. Original source referenced by Wilbeck: Heinz Guderian, Generalinspektur der Panzertruppen, Tiger Fibel, D656/27, written by Josef von Glatter-Goetz (n.p., 1943), p. 91
  15. Healy 2008, p. 135–148
  16. Jentz 1995, pp. 17–18, 86
  17. Jentz 1995 p. 23. Some sources state that only a pre-production run of 20 Panthers used the HL 210 engine (Spielberger 1993 p. 27)
  18. Jentz 1995, p. 36
  19. Spielberger 1993, pp. 36–52
  20. Spielberger 1993, pp. 36–38
  21. Jentz 1995, pp. 61–62
  22. Spielberger 1993, p. 52
  23. Jentz 1995, p. 62
  24. Spielberger 1993, p. 161
  25. Spielberger 1993, pp. 22, 61, 122, 156
  26. Spielberger 1993, p. 72
  27. Green 2000, p. 80
  28. Jentz 1995, p. 96
  29. Spielberger 1993, pp. 145–146
  30. Jentz 1995, pp. 23, 33–34
  31. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 30
  32. Jentz 2000, pp. 13, 32, 35
  33. Spielberger 1993, pp. 22–23
  34. Jentz 1997, Germany's Tiger Tanks - VK45.02 to Tiger II p. 27
  35. photo of M4 final drive, with double helical gearing
  36. Spielberger 1993, p. 57
  37. Spielberger 1993, p. 60
  38. Spielberger 1993, p. 118
  39. Forczyk 2007, p. 33
  40. Jentz 1995 p.29
  41. Jentz 1995, pp. 127–129 Wa Pruef 1 penetration range tests Oct. 5, 1944, and British Dept. Tank Design study May 24, 1944
  42. Jentz 1995, p. 132
  43. Jentz 1995, p. 45
  44. Jentz 1995 p. 47
  45. Jentz 1995, p. 93
  46. Jentz 1995, pp. 55, 108, 147
  47. Jentz 1995, pp. 47, 82. photos of modified Panthers pp. 150–151
  48. Spielberger 1993, p. 82
  49. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt pp. 178, 182
  50. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 13
  51. Jentz 1995, pp. 127–129; Jentz 1997 Germany's Tiger Tanks - Tiger I and Tiger II: Combat Tactics pp. 13–14; comparison of penetration range data between the Panther and Tiger I
  52. Zetterling 2000, p. 61
  53. Jentz 1995, p. 26
  54. Jentz 1995, p. 64
  55. Doyle and Jentz 1997, p. 9
  56. Jentz 1995, p. 124
  57. Jentz 1995, pp. 56–57
  58. Jentz 1995, pp. 57, 60, 126
  59. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 28
  60. Jentz 1995, pp. 88, 124
  61. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 34
  62. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs. Sherman p. 22
  63. Jentz 1995, p. 130–132
  64. Jentz 1995, p. 134
  65. Healy 2008, p. 170
  66. Healy 2008, pp. 161–165
  67. Healy 2008, pp. 64–72
  68. Jentz 1995 p. 139–142
  69. Jentz 1995, pp. 142–144
  70. Jentz 1995, p. 143
  71. Jentz 1995, pp. 147–152
  72. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt p. 193
  73. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt pp. 177–178
  74. Jentz 1995, pp. 150–152
  75. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt p. 184–193
  76. Jentz 1995, p. 152
  77. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman pp. 47–66
  78. Jentz 1995, p. 152–153
  79. Jentz 1995, pp. 152–153
  80. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs Sherman p. 38
  81. Doyle and Jentz 1997, pp. 20–22.
  82. Jentz 1996, pp. 58–61
  83. http://www.battlefield.ru/content/view/87/43/lang,en/
  84. Healy 2008, p. 167–171
  85. Healy 2008, p. 167–172
  86. Jentz 1995, p. 128
  87. http://www.battlefield.ru/content/view/49/50/lang,en/
  88. Healy 2008, p. 171
  89. After war records from ministry of Albert Speer revealed that this was accurate, production having been 276 tanks.
  90. Ruggles and Brodie, pp. 82–83; discussed further at German tank problem
  91. Zaloga 2008, Panther vs. Sherman p. 28
  92. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt pp. 43–48, 72–77, 115–116, 120–125
  93. Jentz 1995, p. 127
  94. Zaloga 2008 Armored Thunderbolt p. 194–195
  95. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt p. 218
  96. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbot pp. 268–269, 287–290
  97. Zaloga 2008, Armored Thunderbolt p. 289; photo of the same burnt out Panther tank, taken days later, in front of the Grand Cathedral of Cologne. YouTube video of this newsreel film: [1]
  98. Jentz 1995, p. 153
  99. Jentz 1995, pp. 50–55
  100. Spielberger 1993, pp. 169–174
  101. Jentz 1995, pp. 103–108
  102. Jentz 1995 p. 103-113
  103. Jentz 1995, pp. 103–115
  104. Spielberger 1993, 156–158
  105. Zaloga 2007
  106. German invasion, Ottawa Citizen
  107. Sd Kfz 171 Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf G Bovington Tank Museum


References



External links




Embed code:
Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message