Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Panther tank (Panzerkampfwagen V Panther)

The Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther" (Sd.Kfz. 171) was a German medium battle tank in WWII.


1 Development
2 series production
3 Technical description
3.1 drive and drive
3.2 Armament
4 use
4.1 Ostfront
4.2 Italien
4.3 Westfront
4.4 Well-known battle in Cologne
4.5 After the war
5 hindsight
6 Varianten / by design
7 Specifications

Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther"
Driving maker Panther Ausf G of the Army Technical Study Collection Koblenz
Main Features
Crew                                  5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
Long                                  8.86 m (incl
Width                                3,43 m
Height                               2,95–3,10 m
Mass                                 43–45,5 t
Armor and armament
Plating                             15–120 mm
Main armament               7.5-cm KwK 42 L/70
Secondary armament     2 × 7.92 mm MG 34
Drive                                Maybach HL 230 P30 515 kW (700 PS)
Suspension                    Torsion bar
Top speed                       46 km / h
Power / weight                15.4 to 16.3 hp / t
Range                            170 km (road)

On 22 June 1941 the Wehrmacht, the invasion of the Soviet Union . This year, the usual standard were tanks the Panzer IIIand IV . The panther was developed after the shock of the occurrence of the Soviet T-34 , against the Panzer III and IV had with their small caliber or kurzrohrigen main weapons only on dangerous short distances a chance to shoot. The German tanks could then often only due to their greater tactical mobility, caused by claiming the equipment of each vehicle with radios.

According to studies of captured T-34, it was decided to build an equivalent tank. Development orders were both Daimler-Benzand at MAN . Following the tender two prototypes have been developed, the Daimler Benz VK.30.01 (DB) and the VK.30.02 MAN (MAN) . The proposal of the Daimler-Benz to be strongly reminded of the T-34, while the MAN design a new independent design based on German experiences and requirements was. A special committee to select the model to be produced suggested the design of MAN for the following reasons:
  • The Tower of Daimler-Benz was incomplete and not ready for production before December 1942 as well as the turret ring diameter 5 cm narrower than the Rheinmetall MAN tower for the model so that the DB Panther was not available tower.
  • The drive of the MAN Panthers had the better weapons platform.
  • The engine room of the insular MAN Panthers allowed underwater driving without lengthy preparations.
  • Increased radius of the MAN Panthers.

For these reasons and because of the already present first experimental results of the MAN design was chosen for production. The most striking feature was the first time in a German tank sloping sides. These were not a result of the investigations of the T-34, but it had already been testing with sloping armor were carried out. However, only on the drawing of a direct predecessor Panther construction VK 20.02 (M), 25 November 1941, which was created in response to reports from the eastern front of the successful Soviet tanks to recognize the armor angles and shapes of the later Panther.
Once the decision for the MAN model was made, the first order of 200 vehicles at Daimler-Benz has been canceled.

Repetitive Manufacturing

After the decision in favor of the VK 30.02 MAN future as Panzerkampfwagen V Panther fell, met on 4 June 1942 in Nuremberg, representatives of those four plants, which should start in the series production. For the final assembly were provided:

  • MAN , Work Nuremberg
  • Daimler-Benz , working Berlin Marienfelde
  • Henschel & Sohn , Kassel
  • Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen (MNH) , Hannover

A small number of the Model A made ​​Demag in Duisburg . Henschel & Sohn resigned after the end of the Ausf D from a manufacturer.Although the production schedule for the end of 1942 provided for the start of production, prior to January 1943 could not be delivered Panther. Since then, the production began with four vehicles in January, 18 in February and 59 in March rather slowly. In August 1943, the Daimler-Benz plant in Berlin-Marienfelde and MAN in Nuremberg- Gibitzenhof were damaged by bombing, dropped from the monthly output temporarily. Both works were attacked again by August several times until September 1944. The MNH was in the air raids on Hannover introduced only in March 1945. With the occupation of the works in April 1945, ceased production.

Overall, the manufacturer produced approximately 6000 Panther, of which 2953 of the Ausf G, 2192 the Model A and 842 of the Ausf D. With 2030 pieces produced the most MAN, just ahead of Daimler-Benz (1929 units) and the MNH (1856 piece). Henschel & Sohn with 130 and the Demag with 50 units produced were only marginally involved.

Production numbers of the Panzer V Panther

Technical Description

Drive and drive

The drive of the Panther Ausf D consisted of the Maybach 12-cylinder high-performance HL 210 P30 engine, which at 3000 rpm yielded / min 650 hp. In the engine compartment was an automatic Halon fire extinguishing system installed, with the carbon-chlorine-bromine (bromochlorodifluoromethane worked). The 7-speed gearbox AK7-200 transferred the power to the front drive wheels. So on a top road speed of 55 km / h was possible. After 250 units built, the new HL 230 P30 engine was for propulsion. This rendered at 3000 rev / min 700 hp, which rendered any faster, but better acceleration. From November 1943 to the life extension of the engine's maximum speed is limited to 2500 rpm rev /, resulting in a lower maximum speed of about 45 km / h.

The Panthers had on each page 16 dish-shaped rubber bandaged wheels of 86 inches in diameter, which were arranged as eight nested double wheels, with four pairs with the "deep" side outward and four pairs with the "deep" side inwards at the ends the wheel hubs were attached. The inner wheels have a lock ring, which was designed as a stop ring against the chain guide teeth.

Which deals with the 66 centimeters wide tracks resulting and for good off-road capability necessary low specific ground pressure of 0.85 kg / cm ² was already so good that this even in the 1950s when most of the new main battle tank designs better not lay. Along with several other determining factors resulted in the former, in an international comparison, far superior off-road capability of the Panthers.


All three versions of the Panthers were equipped with the 7.5-cm KwK 42 L/70 main armament. For those in the tower 79 (models A and D) or 82 (Ausf G) were included projectiles.The recommended charge consisted of 50 percent of tank shells 39/42 and 50 percent of high-explosive shells . These few tank shells were 40/42 with a tungsten core.

Was targeted with the binocular tower riflescope 12, which was built parallel to the cannon. The measured accuracy of the tank shell 39/42 was at a distance of 500 meters to target a hit probability of 100 percent. These values ​​deteriorated at 1500 meters (72 percent) and 3000 meters (18 percent). As they have reached the target practice, was the factual accuracy of the battlefield generally poor and depended on many factors.

The pivoting speed of the tower of the version A depended upon the speed of the motor. During the November 1943 to 2500 rev / min speed throttled the tower could be turned in 18 seconds at 360 degrees. Fell out of the drive, a manual tilt of the tower was possible.

Ammunition and penetrating power of the 7.5-cm KwK 42 L/70
Nomenclature of ammunition
Tank shell 39/42
Tank shell 40/42
Bullet weight
6,8 kg
4,75 kg
Muzzle Velocity
935 m/s
1120 m/s
Penetration performance
100 meters
138 mm
194 mm
500 meters
124 mm
174 mm
1000 meters
111 mm
149 mm
1500 meters
99 mm
127 mm
2000 meters
89 mm
106 mm

When the tank shell 40/42 it was a subcaliber armor piercing bullet from tungsten carbide with tracer that due to lack of tungsten only in small amounts, or often not at their disposal. She had, in contrast to tank shell 39/42 no explosive charge.


From January 1943, the Wehrmacht Panzer divisions, which were equipped with the panther. The ultimate aim was planned in each tank regiment of the armored divisions of the Army and Waffen-SS incorporate a Panther Division. The war strength of 10 proof January 1943 provided for an equipment with 96 panthers. Three of which were in the platoon, five in the recon platoon and 22 in each of the four tank companies available. Add a Panzerwerkstattzug came for the entire department, the five heavy tractors 18 t , two Bergepanther for towing of heavy tank and a Strabokran equipped. On 1 April 1944 decreased the planned features of the tank companies on 17 Panther. As the recon platoon accounted for quite a department had only 71 Panther. On 1 November 1944 were still war-footing evidence in force granted each tank company only 14 or 10 Panther, so that the entire department was only half as strong as the 1943rd Was used as school aid on 1 July 1944, the panther brooch by the Inspector General of Armoured Troops Heinz Guderian published. She was like the tiger brooch provided with numerous illustrations and comic-like in style booklet written largely in some rhyming verses.

Eastern Front

The first use of the panther was in the Battle of Kursk in the south of the eastern front. Under the command of the 4th Panzer Army, the Panzer divisions were combined to form 51 and 52 Armoured Regiment 39 with a total of 200 panthers. Already being unloaded before the attack began, two panthers completely burned out due to engine fires. After the Panthers on 5 July 1943 as part of the offensivePanzergrenadierdivision Greater Germany had begun, were on 10 July only ten Panther ready. Of which 23 were total failures for enemy hits, 56 were damaged by mines or hits and 44 had mechanical failures. Until 20 July 56 panthers had been totally destroyed. It turned out that the frontal armor of the Panther by the T 34/85 could be difficult to beat. The Panther could even destroy every Soviet tanks and over again. His side and rear armor but could already be beat for distances over 3000 meters. Only when the IS 2 1944 appeared on the front, the panther was also endangered all over again. The mechanical reliability soon reached the same level as the Panzer IV, after initial improvements were incorporated into the series production.

In short order now fully equipped with panthers departments were transferred to the Eastern Front. Most of them were experienced in combat units, who moved to retrain on the new tanks in the home and a few weeks later returned to their tribe divisions. The number of existing Panther on the Eastern Front now increased from 173 on 31 August 1943 291 (30 November) at the 328th (29 February 1944) at 31 May 1944 728 panthers, a new peak was reached, which was first broken in March 1945 with the 740th In the meantime, the stock 600 to 700 panthers was relatively constant.


The only unit that fought in Italy with panthers, was the I. Battalion of the Panzer Regiment 4, which arrived as a separate army troops in February 1944 with 76 pieces. In the fight against the Allied advance north they suffered losses, but they were always balanced, so that an average thickness using 20 to 30 panthers remained until April 1945.

Western Front

On 6 June 1944, the Allied forces in the Normandy landings, the army led to the end of July, six armored divisions with Panther departments to the front. To 27 July were 131 Panthers lost. A British study of 82 captured panthers showed that 36 were destroyed by armor-piercing ammunition, seven by artillery, eight by Allied aircraft and 18 by self-destruction due to unknown causes. The main opponents on the British side were the Cromwell and Churchill that the panther from the front could not be dangerous. From the side, they were able to penetrate the armor at 1500 meters. In the U.S. M4 Sherman , it looked the same. The Sherman Firefly with the larger 76-millimeter cannon could penetrate the front turret armor, but had to come near to a distance of 700 meters to the Panthers. He could destroy any Allied tank between 1000 and 2000 meters from the front. From the side, were even if he met, distances up to 3500 meters are possible. Due to the crisis, on the Western Front in August showed a further nine Panther departments were moved to the front. Seven of which came in newly formed armored brigades, each with only 36 panthers used. Before the start of the Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944), the army moved again strong armored forces to the western front, including 400 Panther. Overall, on the western front at no time more than 471 panthers in combat units were present. Lows of August 1944 were under 50 and from January 1945, when the number of available panther fell below 220.

Known battle in Cologne

On 6 March 1945 against 14 clock time took place in Cologne, a tank duel between a Panzerkampfwagen Panther Tank Brigade 106 and an M26 Pershing of the third Armored Division , which was filmed by the U.S. war correspondent Jim Bates is one of the most famous photographs of World War II. The panther was standing right on the Domvorplatz of the Cologne Cathedral , on a corner at the end of the road comedy. After taking a M4 Sherman had destroyed a M26 was commissioned to turn the Panthers. Jim Bates went into a nearby building and filmed with the following battle. From the crossroads of Marzellenstraße hit the M26 the right pan below the tower of the Panthers, who then caught fire. After that three crew members escaped from the tank, which was then hit by two more shots of the M26.The other two members of the crew died. The fugitives managed to escape under the fire of U.S. infantry weapons, burned down during the Panthers. The wreck was later a popular photo object.

After the war

The panther was rated G and in its execution by the Allies after the war as "the best medium tanks" all parties to the conflict. The French forces upgraded immediately after the war from multiple units with captured panthers until a suitable successor could be procured. The cannon of the Panthers after the war in France for the light tank AMX-13 continues to produce.
The British were 1945-1946 for experimental purposes at the company in Hanover MNH still assemble nine and twelve Panther Jagdpanther from remnants.

The later improved production series of the Panther (version A and G) were the T-34 , which had been the main decisive factor for the development of the Panthers, both technically and in the combat value superior. Although some error on Panther to the end of production could not be resolved, such as a weak side countershaft (reduction gear behind the driving wheels at the front), which as a simple spur gear instead of a complex planetary gear was executed outweighed the advantages.
Advantages of the Panthers were his very strong cannon, a high rate of fire , and his strong armor on the front page. The Panther was a superimposed steering gear fitted, which allowed him a very good maneuverability even at low speeds. In terms of performance of the springs and dampers of the Panther is considered a forerunner of later tanks after the Second World War. He is considered the first modern German tanks.
Weaknesses of the Panthers were inadequate performance of hydrostatic tower pivot system (for example, could the tower with stronger inclination of the tank turned only with the manual drive is) and his weak side armor, so he possible in association with other types of tanks ( Panzer IV was used). Also be complicated box drive caused a failure, especially in the Soviet Union - the viscid mud sat down between the wheels and could freeze overnight. It is reported that motors a life span of 1000 to 1500 km, and drive chains from 1500 to 3000 km, and the pages countershaft 150 to 1500 km had.
The repair of the special panther high performance torsion bar suspension with its three different torsion bar designs and box drive could be extremely costly for damages because had alongside the affected rocker arms also the "neighboring" wheels and interior fixtures, for the exchange of a particular torsion bar design also opposed rollers to be dismantled .

Variants / projects

From September 1944 the vehicles, isolated at first, at the factory for receiving an infrared -equipped vehicles and the target device FG 1250 on the commander's cupola. Together with a 60-cm IR illuminators "owl" on armored Series 251/20 at night with fog-free weather should have a range of 600 m have been possible. With the small headlights on the tower visibility to 150 meters were possible.  The looking with the head out of the hatch commander was the gunner with the help of the target device, the lateral direction by tapping the left and right shoulder with his foot and the vertical direction for the pretend gun with a display mechanism. Despite short-term preparations for a general equipment with the device (for example, in the production company MNH in Hanover) , there was until the end of the war only a few missions.

By other manufacturers during the Second World War alternatives to the water-cooled gasoline engines were ( Maybach HL searched 230) of the Panthers, the Austrian Saurer Werke AG , for example, developed an air-cooled two-stroke diesel engine. The resulting increased soil temperature required for better heat dissipation another soil reinforcement.

Based on the armored car V following cars were built:

  • Panzerbefehlswagen Panther, more radio equipment and less cannons
  • Jagdpanther (Sd.Kfz. 173) with the 8.8-cm PaK 43 L/71
  • Bergepanzer Panther ( Bergepanther ) (Sd.Kfz. 179)

Planned nor were the following versions or variants of Panthers:

  • Panther armored observation car, only with MG armament, canon dummy (prototype)
  • Flakpanzer Coelian (Panther tank for 3.7-inch and 5.5-inch twin gun turret in new air defense)
  • Panther Ausf F (Panther with a new "narrow tower." Several of these towers were captured by the Americans in the 1945th your optical rangefinders were considered revolutionary.)
  • Panther tank destroyer (Panther tank with casemates structure similar to that of the Jagdpanther, and 12.8 cm gun from Jagdtiger )
  • Panther 2 (temporarily planned successor to the Panthers)


Specifications of the designs of the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther
Type D
Model A
Version G
Januar bis September 1943
August 1943 to June 1944
March 1944 to April 1945
MNH, Henschel & Sohn, Daimler-Benz, MAN
MNH, Daimler-Benz, MAN, Demag
MNH, Daimler-Benz, MAN
Chassis numbers
151000–160000, 210255–211000
210001–210254, 211001–214000
120301– ?, 124301– ?, 214001– ?
5 (commander, gunner, loader, radio operator, driver)
43 t
45,5 t
44,8 t
Tower weight
7,5 t
7,57 t
7,5 t
8,86 m
3,43 m
3,1 m
2,95 m
3,1 m
2,61 m
Chain width
66 cm
Chain support
3,92 m

Main armament
7.5-cm KwK 42 L/70
Secondary armament
2 × 7,92-mm- MG 34
KWK: 79
MG: 4200
KWK: =
MG: =
KWK: 82
MG: =
Gauge length (gun)
226 cm
Pipe overhang
198 cm

Tower bezel (curved)
120 mm
Front tower (78 ° inclination)
80 mm
110 mm
100 mm (80 ° inclination)
Tower sites (65 °)
45 mm
Turret rear (62 °)
45 mm
Turret roof (2 to 7 ° C)
15 mm
30 mm
Wannenbug (35 °)
60 mm
Driver front (35 °)
80 mm
When side (below 90 ° above 50 °)
40 mm
= bottom, top 50 mm (60 ° inclination)
When Heck (60 °)
40 mm
When the bottom (0 °)
20+13 mm

Maybach HL 230 P30, Zwölfzylinder - Ottomotor ( V-Motor , 60 ° Bankwinkel ), Wasserkühlung
vier Registervergaser , aus vier Doppel- Fallstromvergasern realisiert
do Zylinderbank Ein Bosch- Magnetzünder , Trockensumpfschmierung , Ölinhalt 28 liters
23 l
a maximum of 700 hp at 3000 1/min, continuous power 600 hp at 2500 1/min
Power / weight
16.3 hp / t
15.4 hp / t
15.6 hp / t
Maximum road
55 km / h (46 km / h at continuous power)
Maximum terrain
24 km / h
Fuel storage
730 liters
Driving range
169 km (road), 85 km (road)
177 km (road), 89 km (road)
Ground clearance
56 cm
Climbing ability
91 cm
up to 35 °
170 cm
surpassable grave width
191 cm