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At the beginning of the war, German armoured fighting vehicle manufacturers had employed labour-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.

The weight of the production model was increased to 45 tonnes from the original plans for a 35 tonne tank. Hitler was briefed thoroughly on the comparison between the MAN and DB designs in the report by Guderian's tank commission.

Armour protection appeared to be inadequate, while "the motor mounted on the rear appeared to him correct".

He agreed that the "decisive factor was the possibility of quickly getting the tank into production".

The Panther was rushed into combat before all of its teething problems had been corrected. Reliability was considerably improved over time, and the Panther proved to be a very effective fighting vehicle, [32] but some design flaws, such as its weak final drive units, were never corrected.

The crew had five members: driver, radio operator who also fired the bow machine gun , gunner, loader, and commander. The first Panthers were powered by a Maybach HL P30 V petrol engine, which delivered metric hp at 3, rpm and had three simple air filters.

To save aluminium, the light alloy block used in the HL was replaced by a cast iron block. Two multistage "cyclone" air filters were used to improve dust removal.

The HL P30 engine was a very compact tunnel crankcase design, and it kept the space between the cylinder walls to a minimum.

The crankshaft was composed of seven "discs" or main journals , each with an outer race of roller bearings , and a crankshaft pin between each disc.

To reduce the length of the engine by an inch or so, and reduce unbalanced rocking moment caused by a normal offset-Vee type engine , the two banks of 6 cylinders of the V were not offset — the "big ends" of the connecting rods of each cylinder pair in the "V" where they mated with the crankpin were thus at the same spot with respect to the engine block's length rather than offset; this required a "fork and blade " matched pair of connecting rods for each transversely oriented pair of cylinders.

Usually, "V"-form engines have their transversely paired cylinders' connecting rods' "big ends" simply placed side by side on the crankpin, with their transverse pairs of cylinders offset slightly to allow the connecting rod big ends to attach side by side while still being in the cylinder bore centerline.

This compact arrangement with the connecting rods was the source of considerable problems initially.

Improved bearings were introduced in November An eighth crankshaft bearing was added beginning in January to reduce motor failures.

The engine compartment was designed to be watertight so that the Panther could ford water obstacles; however, this made the engine compartment poorly ventilated and prone to overheating.

The fuel connectors in early Panthers were not insulated, leading to the leakage of fuel fumes into the engine compartment, which caused engine fires.

Additional ventilation was added to draw off these gases, which only partly solved the problem of engine fires. Engine reliability improved over time.

The suspension consisted of front drive sprockets, rear idlers and eight double-interleaved rubber-rimmed steel road wheels on each side — in the so-called Schachtellaufwerk design, 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 with high reliability, thus allowing for relatively high speed travel over undulating terrain.

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.

When damaged by mines, the torsion bars often required a welding torch for removal. The Panther's suspension was overengineered, and the Schachtellaufwerk interleaved road wheel system made replacing inner road wheels time-consuming though it could operate with missing or broken wheels.

The interleaved wheels also had a tendency to become clogged with mud, rocks and ice, and could freeze solid overnight in the harsh winter weather that followed the autumn rasputitsa mud season on the Eastern Front.

Shell damage could cause the road wheels to jam together and become difficult to separate. The extra wheels did provide better flotation and stability, and also provided more armour 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.

After a mileage of between km and km the tracks have great wear. In many cases the guide horns of the tracks bend outward or break. In 4 cases, the tracks had to be replaced when a whole series of reinforcement guide horns were broken.

Due to the constant operations as well as the shortage of spare parts, the bearing system has not been able to be maintained and repaired as it should.

E tanks. These steel-rimmed roadwheels were introduced from chassis number due to raw material shortages. From November through February , 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 also made to convert the transmission to sleeve bearings, but were not carried out due to the ending of Panther production.

Steering was accomplished through a seven-speed AK synchromesh gearbox, designed by Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen ZF , and a MAN single radius steering system, operated by steering levers.

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.

The AK transmission was also capable of pivot turns, but tests showed this was possible only when the ground resistance on both tracks was the same.

The overstressed transmission system resulted in the third gear being stripped prematurely in its service life.

This is sharply contrasted with accessing the Sherman transmission which only required the armor cover to be unbolted in the front. The Panther's main weakness was its final drive unit.

The problems stemmed from several factors. The original MAN proposal had called for the Panther to have an epicyclic gearing planetary system in the final drive, similar to that used in the Tiger I.

To achieve the goal of higher production rates, numerous simplifications were made to the design and its manufacture. 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, Reichminister Speer.

Consequently, the final drive was changed to a double spur system. Initial production Panthers had a face-hardened glacis plate the main front hull armour piece , but as armour-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 in March By August , Panthers were being built only with a homogeneous steel glacis plate.

The combination of moderately thick and well-sloped armour meant that heavy Allied weapons, such as the Soviet mm A , mm BS-3 and US 90 mm M3 [55] were needed to assure penetration of the upper glacis at all combat ranges.

The thinner side armour was necessary to reduce the weight, but it made the Panther vulnerable to hits from the side by all Allied tank and anti-tank guns.

German tactical doctrine for the use of the Panther emphasized the importance of flank protection.

Zimmerit coating against magnetic mines started to be applied at the factory on late Ausf D models beginning in September ; [58] an order for field units to apply Zimmerit to older versions of the Panther was issued in November As the war progressed, Germany was forced to reduce or eliminate critical alloying metals in the production of armour plate, such as nickel, tungsten and molybdenum; this resulted in lower impact resistance levels compared to earlier armour.

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 armour plate, which developed a tendency to fracture when struck with a shell.

Testing by U. Army officers in August in Isigny, France showed catastrophic cracking of the armour plate on two out of three Panthers examined.

The main gun was a Rheinmetall-Borsig 7. While it was of a calibre common on Allied tanks, the Panther's gun was the most powerful of World War II, due to the large propellant charge and the long barrel, which gave it a very high muzzle velocity and excellent armour-piercing qualities — among Allied tank guns of similar caliber, none had equivalent muzzle energy.

The flat trajectory and accuracy of the full bore ammunition also made hitting targets much easier, since accuracy was less sensitive to errors in range estimation and increased the chance of hitting a moving target.

The tank typically had two MG 34 armoured fighting vehicle variant machine guns featuring an armoured 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 enclosing its underlying thin, vertical arrowslit -like aperture, through which the machine gun was fired.

A and all Ausf. G models starting in late November-early December , a ball mount in the glacis plate with a K. D were equipped with the Nebelwurfgerät with the later Ausf.

A and Ausf. G receiving the Nahverteidigungswaffe. 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 armour, and plunge down into the front hull compartment.

From September , 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, and Panthers continued to be produced to the end of the war with the rounded gun mantlet.

The Ausf A model introduced a new cast armour commander's cupola, replacing the 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.

The first Panthers Ausf D had a hydraulic motor that could traverse the turret at a maximum rate of one complete revolution per minute, independent of engine speed.

This was improved in the Ausf A model with a hydraulic traverse powered by the engine; one full turn took 46 seconds at an engine speed of 1, rpm but only 15 seconds if the engine was running at 3, rpm.

By comparison, the M4 Sherman's electrically or electro-hydraulically traversed turret rotated at up to degrees in 15 seconds and was independent of engine speed, which gave it an advantage over the Panther in close-quarters combat.

Ammunition storage for the main gun was a weak point. All the ammunition for the main armament was stored in the hull, with a significant amount 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, four 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, three 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, [79] and so these served as the main ready-ammunition bins.

The Panther had 5 crew members, the commander, gunner, loader, driver and radio operator. The commander, loader and gunner were in the turret, While the driver and radio operator were in the hull of the vehicle.

The driver sat always on the front-left side of the tank and next to him was the tank's machine gunner whose job it was to operate the radio.

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.

Petrol leaks from the fuel pump or carburettor , as well as motor oil leaks from gaskets, produced fires in the engine compartment; which resulted in the total writeoff of three Panthers due to fires.

A large list of other problems were detected in these early Panthers, and so from April through May all Panthers were shipped to Falkensee and Nürnberg 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 Reliability improved with the Ausf.

The Panther tank was seen as a necessary component of Operation Citadel , and the attack was delayed several times because of their mechanical problems and to receive more Panthers, with the eventual start date of the battle only six days after the last Panthers had been delivered to the front.

This resulted in major problems in Panther units during the Battle of Kursk , as tactical training at the unit level, coordination by radio, and driver training were all seriously deficient.

Two were immediately lost due to motor fires on disembarking from the trains. Within two days, this had dropped to Heinz Guderian sent in the following preliminary assessment of the Panthers:.

Due to enemy action and mechanical breakdowns, the combat strength sank rapidly during the first few days. By the evening of 10 July there were only 10 operational Panthers in the front line.

Approximately 40 Panthers had already been repaired and were on the way to the front. About 25 still had not been recovered by the repair service On the evening of 11 July, 38 Panthers were operational, 31 were total write-offs and were in need of repair.

A slow increase in the combat strength is observable. The large number of losses by hits 81 Panthers up to 10 July attests to the heavy fighting.

During Zitadelle the Panthers claimed destroyed tanks. A later report on 20 July showed 41 Panthers as operational, 85 as repairable, 16 severely damaged and needing repair in Germany, 56 burnt out because of enemy action, and two destroyed by motor fires.

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, a report on 11 August showed that the number of total write-offs in Panthers swelled to , with only 9 operational.

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 armoured fighting vehicle from long distance during the Battle of Kursk, and had a very high overall kill ratio.

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 Citadelle 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 defences.

The numbers of Panthers were slowly built up again on the Eastern Front, and the operational percentage increased as reliability improved.

In March Guderian reported: "Almost all the bugs have been worked out", although many units continued to report significant mechanical problems, especially with the final drive.

The highest total number of operational Panthers on the Eastern Front was achieved in September , when some were listed as operational out of a total of 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 them.

The last recorded status, on 15 March , listed on the Eastern Front, of which were operational. In August Panthers were deployed during the Warsaw Uprising as mobile artillery and troop support.

Most of the Germans in the camp were killed; the insurgents had lost two people and liberated almost people.

After several days the captured tanks were immobilized due to the lack of fuel and batteries and were set ablaze to prevent them from being recaptured.

In February during the Lower Silesian offensive operation , one captured ex-German "Panther" tank with an experienced crew from 4th Tank Corps under the command of the Hero of the Soviet Union Lt.

Ageev was used in a reconnaissance mission. At dusk, the tank passed through the forest, attacked from the flank and destroyed three enemy "Panther" tanks, but then, during the retreat to Soviet positions, it was hit by enemy artillery and damaged.

After the battle the tank was written off due to lack of spare parts and maintenance problems. At the time of the invasion of Normandy in June , there were initially only two Panther-equipped Panzer regiments in the Western Front, with a total of Panthers between them.

From June through August , an additional seven Panther regiments were sent into France, reaching a maximum strength of in a status report dated 30 July The majority of the German tank forces in Normandy — six and a half divisions — were drawn into fighting the Anglo-Canadian forces of the 21st Army Group around the town of Caen.

The numerous operations undertaken to secure the town became collectively known as the Battle of Caen. While there were areas of heavy wooded bocage around Caen, most of the terrain was open fields which allowed the Panther to engage the attacking enemy armour at long range — its combination of superior armour and firepower allowed it to engage at distances from which the Shermans could not respond.

The British had begun converting regular M4 Shermans to carry the pounder gun nicknamed Firefly prior to the D-Day landings. While limited numbers meant that during Normandy usually not more than one Sherman in each troop of four tanks was a Firefly variant, the lethality of the gun against German armour made them priority targets for German gunners.

In the meantime, U. Like the Sherman. Fritz Bayerlein , reported on the difficulties experienced by the Panther tank in the fighting in Normandy:.

The Sherman because of its maneuverability and height was good Long gun barrel and width of tank reduce maneuverability in village and forest fighting.

It is very front-heavy and therefore quickly wears out the front final drives, made of low-grade steel. High silhouette. Very sensitive power-train requiring well-trained drivers.

Weak side armor; tank top vulnerable to fighter-bombers. Fuel lines of porous material that allow gasoline fumes to escape into the tank interior causing a grave fire hazard.

Absence of vision slits makes defense against close attack impossible. Bayerlein still appreciated the Panther's virtues when used in the right conditions, writing "An ideal vehicle for tank battles and infantry support.

The best tank in existence for its weight". Through September and October, a series of new Panzerbrigades equipped with Panther tanks were sent into France to try to stop the Allied advance with counter-attacks.

The Panther units were newly formed, poorly trained and tactically disorganized; most units ended up stumbling into ambushes against seasoned U.

A status report on 15 December listed an all-time high of Panthers assigned to the Western Front, with operational 71 percent. This was one day before the start of the Battle of the Bulge ; 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 hit its targets at long range with near-impunity, and its vulnerability in the close-in fighting of the small towns of the Ardennes, where they suffered heavy losses.

Total writeoffs were listed as The Operation Greif commando mission included five Panthers assigned to Panzerbrigade , disguised to look like M10 Tank Destroyers by welding on additional plates, applying US-style camouflage paint and markings.

The disguised Panthers were detected and destroyed. In February , eight Panzer divisions with a total of Panthers were transferred from the West to the Eastern Front.

Only five Panther battalions remained in the west. By the end of the war, he had some 80 tank kills claimed.

Historian Steven Zaloga observed that the Panther's performance in the Ardennes operation against American M4 Shermans was disappointing for a vehicle of its technical specifications, given the Panther boasted superior armor and armament to the Sherman.

Zaloga argues that this was down to the fact that at this point in the war, the quality of German tank crews had fallen and most Panther crews were inexperienced with minimal training.

The lack of training exacerbated the Panther's technical weaknesses poor power train durability and a lack of fuel and spare parts , resulting in many Panthers breaking down which were unable to be salvaged.

Thus while a Panther was superior to a Sherman in the hands of an experienced crew, inadequate training, coupled with Sherman numerical superiority, resulted in a poor combat performance for the vehicle during the offensive.

From , 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 fire.

They housed ammunition storage and fighting compartment along with crew quarters. A total of of these were installed in the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall and Siegfried Line Westwall , 48 in the Gothic Line and Hitler Line , 36 on the Eastern Front , and two for training and experimentation, for a total of installations by March They proved to be costly to attack, and difficult to destroy.

From 3 August , the new Panzer-Division 44 organisation called for a Panzer division to consist of one Panzer regiment with two Panzer battalions — one of 96 Panzer IVs and one of 96 Panthers.

Actual strengths tended to differ, and became far lower after losses. The first Panthers saw combat at Kursk in summer , revealing reliability issues beyond that typically expected for a new weapon system.

This was improved through ; the Panther's operational rate went from 16 percent at the end of July to 37 percent by December An improved version, the Panther Ausf.

A , entered production in August This received improvements from the Panther Ausf. D , including a better turret with a new commander's cupola and increased turret traverse speed.

More improvements began to have an effect on the combat-ready rate of the tanks deployed on the Eastern Front, which increased from 37 percent in February, to 50 percent in April, and 78 percent by the end of May General Heinz Guderian reported on 5 March The frontline reports said service life of the tank's engine had increased up from to 1,km [ to miles].

Plus, the same Panther tank-equipped units reported that failures regarding final drive, transmission and steering gears were within a suitable range.

From 6 March to 15 April , the 1. Four of their seven Panthers was still combat ready without any transmission or engine failure.

On 22 April , the same battalion reported how a good driver and commander can improve reliability:. The vehicle was still totally operational.

All items were in great condition but the tracks. The consumption of the engine has been 10ltr per km.

The vehicle was still operating with its first engine and transmission. After that report from the units, the Inspector General of Armored Troops acknowledged this in a report, at The report confirms the opinion that thanks to the continuous improvement of its components, the life of the Panther tank has increased.

The average lifespan of a Panther can now be roughly equal to that of a Panzer IV with around 1, - 2, kilometers between two major repair and maintenance processes.

Even so, in several cases, at approximately km, the gear has broken down and the boxes have had to be replaced. An example of Panther reliability appeared in the June edition of Nachrichtenblatt der Panzertruppen Armoured Troops Bulletin , from a Panther-recovery tank driver's report:.

Unteroffizier Krause of a Panther workshop platoon has driven his Panther recovery tank — Chassis No. About 1,km of this was made towing another Panther tank.

The vehicle and engine are still in great condition and operational. The Panther is inclined to catch fire quickly. The lifetime of the Panther's engines to km is much higher than the Panther's final drives.

A solution to the final drive teething is immediately needed. In September and October , a number of modifications were fitted into the final drives as countermeasures to the reported problems including worn gear teeth, parts, bearings, and insufficient lubrication.

After much development work, the first T tanks entered combat in March A Wa Pruef 1 report dated 5 October estimated that when set at a degree angle the T's upper glacis could be penetrated by the Panther's 7.

The Battle of Kursk convinced the Soviets of the need for even greater firepower. Standard doctrine for purpose-built anti-tank guns of the period universally relied on small, dense solid projectiles propelled to high velocities, optimized for punching through armor.

However, the mm HE shell would easily blow off the turret, drive sprocket and tread of the heaviest German tank even if it could not penetrate its armour [] [].

The SU was produced in large numbers throughout , with the first SUs being issued to new heavy mechanized gun regiments raised in May It mounted a mm gun-howitzer on the chassis of a KV-1S heavy tank.

Because of its adopted role as an impromptu heavy tank destroyer , capable of knocking out the heaviest German armoured vehicles— Tiger and Panther tanks, and Elefant tank destroyers—it was nicknamed ' Zveroboy' "Beast Slayer".

The mm HE round produced a massive blast that did not rely on velocity for its effectiveness, making them effective against any German tank, including the Panther, Tiger and Elefant.

Early , the SU tank destroyer saw extensive service, when Soviet forces defeated the German Operation Frühlingserwachen offensive at Lake Balaton.

The Western Allies were aware of the Panther and had access to technical details through the Soviets, but there was a difference in the American and British camps as to the significance of the tank.

After taking two years to catch up with German tank design in Africa, the British were wary of falling behind yet again.

They had developed the excellent pounder anti-tank gun , but did not yet have a vehicle in service that could fit this large gun into its turret.

For its part, the U. Army did not believe that the Panther would be a significant problem, and did not foresee their armoured forces having to fight pitched engagements against large numbers of Panthers.

The Panther was not seen in combat by the Western Allies until early at Anzio in Italy, where Panthers were employed in small numbers.

Until just before D-Day 6 June , the Panther was thought to be another heavy tank that would not be built in large numbers.

Shortly before D-Day, Allied intelligence reported that large numbers of Panthers were being used in the panzer divisions, and an attempt was made to investigate Panther production.

Using a statistical analysis of the serial numbers on the road wheels on two captured tanks, U. This estimate was very accurate, especially compared to previous methods, as German records after the war showed production of Panthers for the month of February was This indicated that the Panther would be encountered in much larger numbers than had previously been thought.

Army expected to face a handful of German heavy tanks alongside large numbers of Panzer IVs. At this point, it was too late to prepare to face the Panther.

The British were more astute in their recognition of the danger posed by the increasing armour strength of German tanks. Work on a more powerful anti-tank gun had started in , and the tanks to use it in When these programmes were delayed, a stop-gap solution was found.

The pdr could through modifications be fitted to a Sherman, and orders for this Sherman Firefly were placed in By the time of the Normandy invasion, Sherman Fireflies were available to the Commonwealth armoured divisions.

The British lobbied for American production lines to be modified to produce Fireflies, but these suggestions were declined by the U.

Army, in part due to the poor performance of British tank designs in North Africa. British and Commonwealth tank units in Normandy were initially equipped at the rate of one Firefly in a troop with three Shermans or Cromwells.

This ratio increased until, by the end of the war, half of the British Shermans were Fireflies. At the time, U.

Lesley McNair. An artilleryman by trade, he 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 was a mix of towed anti-tank guns and lightly armoured fighting vehicles with open top turrets with 3-inch This doctrine led to a lack of urgency in the U.

As with the Soviets, the German adoption of thicker armour and the 7. The recommendation of a limited proportion of tanks carrying a 90mm gun is not concurred in for the following reasons: The M4 tank has been hailed widely as the best tank of the battlefield today.

There can be no basis for the T26 tank other than the conception of a tank-vs. Both British and American battle experience has demonstrated that the antitank gun in suitable numbers is the master of the tank.

There has been no indication that the 76mm antitank gun is inadequate against German Mark VI tank. All U. Tungsten production shortages meant that this round was always in short supply, with only a few available per tank, and some M4 Sherman units never received any.

Whereas Sherman tanks used a high flash powder, making it easier for German tankers to spot them, German tanks used a low flash powder, making it harder for Allied crews to spot them.

A US corporal stated:. I saw where some MkV tanks crossed a muddy field without sinking the tracks over five inches, where we in the M4 started across the same field the same day and bogged down.

It was very effective against the Panther's front turret and side. The high U. Small numbers of the M26 Pershing were also rushed into combat in late February 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.

The production of Panther tanks and other German tanks dropped off sharply after January , and eight of the Panther regiments still on the Western Front were transferred to the Eastern Front in February The result was that, for the rest of the war during , the greatest threats to the tanks of the Western Allies were no longer German tanks, but infantry anti-tank weapons, such as the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust , infantry anti-tank guns, such as the ubiquitous 7.

The Jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas and so Panthers in the New World are the most dominant predators within their environments.

Those found in Africa and Asia however are occasionally preyed upon by other large carnivores such as Lions and Hyenas , but the most common predator and biggest threat to all Panthers is people.

Not only have these rare animals been hunted by people throughout much of their natural range but they have also been subjected to drastic habitat loss particularly in the form of deforestation for both growing Human settlements and to make way for agriculture.

Population numbers of large Cats are declining all around the world and when they are being pushed into smaller and smaller pockets of their native habitats , Panthers are becoming even rarer than they already were.

Although technically only black Leopards and Jaguars are generally considered to be the only true Panthers by science, the term is also used to describe a number of other dark coated Cats by locals in their native habitats including Cougars , Tigers , Pumas , Lynxes and Bobcats.

The Black Panther is seen to be one of the most intelligent and ferocious predators in America so the image of a Panther is widely used as a logo or as a mascot for sports teams.

Some Panthers are actually able to swim, although not those that are Leopards , as Jaguars are known to have a real love of water. Not only do these individuals prefer flooded forests but they spend a remarkable amount of time swimming, playing and hunting in the cooling water.

The world's Big Cats have been hunted by people as both trophies and for their fur particularly over the past couple of centuries.

This caused enormous declines in population numbers of both Leopards and Jaguars with them having actually completely disappeared from some areas of their historic range.

Panthers have also been subjected to severe habitat degradation throughout much of Asia , Africa and America which means that these elusive predators are now even rarer.

They are very rarely seen by people who are only really ever aware of a Panther's presence by their tracks left on the ground and scratch marks on trees.

They are in fact so sneaky that Panthers are often referred to as 'the ghost of the forest'. Although the Panther is not considered to be a species itself by science, both Leopards and Jaguars are becoming increasingly vulnerable throughout much of their natural range and are listed as Threatened species by the IUCN.

However, due to the fact that two gene carrying individuals must mate to produce a Black Panther and the chances of this are decreasing with habitat loss, many wildlife experts consider these animals to be endangered all around the world.

The age when the mother stops providing milk for her young. Share This Article. Related Animals Bobcat About double the size of a domestic cat! Cat First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Cougar Largest feline in North America. Jaguar The largest feline on the American continent! Leopard Spends much of the time high in the trees!

Tiger The largest feline in the world! About Panthers, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov ] 2. David W. Panther Facts, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov ] 7.

Kingdom : Five groups that classify all living things. Phylum : A group of animals within the animal kingdom. Class : A group of animals within a pylum.

Order : A group of animals within a class. Family : A group of animals within an order. Genus : A group of animals within a family.

Scientific Name : The name of the animal in science. Common Name : Most widely used name for this species. Other Name s : Different names for this animal.

Group : The domestic group such as cat or dog. Number Of Species : The total number of recorded species. Location : The place where something is found.

Habitat : The specific area where the animal lives. Colour : The colour of the animal's coat or markings. Skin Type : The protective layer of the animal.

Size L : How long L or tall H the animal is. Weight : The measurement of how heavy the animal is. Top Speed : The fastest recorded speed of the animal.

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The report confirms the opinion that thanks to the continuous improvement of its components, the life of the Panther tank has increased.

The average lifespan of a Panther can now be roughly equal to that of a Panzer IV with around 1, - 2, kilometers between two major repair and maintenance processes.

Even so, in several cases, at approximately km, the gear has broken down and the boxes have had to be replaced. An example of Panther reliability appeared in the June edition of Nachrichtenblatt der Panzertruppen Armoured Troops Bulletin , from a Panther-recovery tank driver's report:.

Unteroffizier Krause of a Panther workshop platoon has driven his Panther recovery tank — Chassis No. About 1,km of this was made towing another Panther tank.

The vehicle and engine are still in great condition and operational. The Panther is inclined to catch fire quickly. The lifetime of the Panther's engines to km is much higher than the Panther's final drives.

A solution to the final drive teething is immediately needed. In September and October , a number of modifications were fitted into the final drives as countermeasures to the reported problems including worn gear teeth, parts, bearings, and insufficient lubrication.

After much development work, the first T tanks entered combat in March A Wa Pruef 1 report dated 5 October estimated that when set at a degree angle the T's upper glacis could be penetrated by the Panther's 7.

The Battle of Kursk convinced the Soviets of the need for even greater firepower. Standard doctrine for purpose-built anti-tank guns of the period universally relied on small, dense solid projectiles propelled to high velocities, optimized for punching through armor.

However, the mm HE shell would easily blow off the turret, drive sprocket and tread of the heaviest German tank even if it could not penetrate its armour [] [].

The SU was produced in large numbers throughout , with the first SUs being issued to new heavy mechanized gun regiments raised in May It mounted a mm gun-howitzer on the chassis of a KV-1S heavy tank.

Because of its adopted role as an impromptu heavy tank destroyer , capable of knocking out the heaviest German armoured vehicles— Tiger and Panther tanks, and Elefant tank destroyers—it was nicknamed ' Zveroboy' "Beast Slayer".

The mm HE round produced a massive blast that did not rely on velocity for its effectiveness, making them effective against any German tank, including the Panther, Tiger and Elefant.

Early , the SU tank destroyer saw extensive service, when Soviet forces defeated the German Operation Frühlingserwachen offensive at Lake Balaton.

The Western Allies were aware of the Panther and had access to technical details through the Soviets, but there was a difference in the American and British camps as to the significance of the tank.

After taking two years to catch up with German tank design in Africa, the British were wary of falling behind yet again. They had developed the excellent pounder anti-tank gun , but did not yet have a vehicle in service that could fit this large gun into its turret.

For its part, the U. Army did not believe that the Panther would be a significant problem, and did not foresee their armoured forces having to fight pitched engagements against large numbers of Panthers.

The Panther was not seen in combat by the Western Allies until early at Anzio in Italy, where Panthers were employed in small numbers. Until just before D-Day 6 June , the Panther was thought to be another heavy tank that would not be built in large numbers.

Shortly before D-Day, Allied intelligence reported that large numbers of Panthers were being used in the panzer divisions, and an attempt was made to investigate Panther production.

Using a statistical analysis of the serial numbers on the road wheels on two captured tanks, U. This estimate was very accurate, especially compared to previous methods, as German records after the war showed production of Panthers for the month of February was This indicated that the Panther would be encountered in much larger numbers than had previously been thought.

Army expected to face a handful of German heavy tanks alongside large numbers of Panzer IVs. At this point, it was too late to prepare to face the Panther.

The British were more astute in their recognition of the danger posed by the increasing armour strength of German tanks. Work on a more powerful anti-tank gun had started in , and the tanks to use it in When these programmes were delayed, a stop-gap solution was found.

The pdr could through modifications be fitted to a Sherman, and orders for this Sherman Firefly were placed in By the time of the Normandy invasion, Sherman Fireflies were available to the Commonwealth armoured divisions.

The British lobbied for American production lines to be modified to produce Fireflies, but these suggestions were declined by the U.

Army, in part due to the poor performance of British tank designs in North Africa. British and Commonwealth tank units in Normandy were initially equipped at the rate of one Firefly in a troop with three Shermans or Cromwells.

This ratio increased until, by the end of the war, half of the British Shermans were Fireflies. At the time, U. Lesley McNair. An artilleryman by trade, he 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 was a mix of towed anti-tank guns and lightly armoured fighting vehicles with open top turrets with 3-inch This doctrine led to a lack of urgency in the U.

As with the Soviets, the German adoption of thicker armour and the 7. The recommendation of a limited proportion of tanks carrying a 90mm gun is not concurred in for the following reasons: The M4 tank has been hailed widely as the best tank of the battlefield today.

There can be no basis for the T26 tank other than the conception of a tank-vs. Both British and American battle experience has demonstrated that the antitank gun in suitable numbers is the master of the tank.

There has been no indication that the 76mm antitank gun is inadequate against German Mark VI tank. All U. Tungsten production shortages meant that this round was always in short supply, with only a few available per tank, and some M4 Sherman units never received any.

Whereas Sherman tanks used a high flash powder, making it easier for German tankers to spot them, German tanks used a low flash powder, making it harder for Allied crews to spot them.

A US corporal stated:. I saw where some MkV tanks crossed a muddy field without sinking the tracks over five inches, where we in the M4 started across the same field the same day and bogged down.

It was very effective against the Panther's front turret and side. The high U. Small numbers of the M26 Pershing were also rushed into combat in late February 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.

The production of Panther tanks and other German tanks dropped off sharply after January , and eight of the Panther regiments still on the Western Front were transferred to the Eastern Front in February The result was that, for the rest of the war during , the greatest threats to the tanks of the Western Allies were no longer German tanks, but infantry anti-tank weapons, such as the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust , infantry anti-tank guns, such as the ubiquitous 7.

A German Army status report dated 15 March showed Panthers left in the entire Western Front, of which only 49 were operational.

The early impetus for upgrading the Panther came from the concern of Hitler and others that it lacked sufficient armour. Hitler had already insisted on an increase in its armour once, early in its design process in Discussions involving Hitler in January called for further increased armour; initially referred to as Panther 2 it became the Panther II after April Production of the Panther 2 was slated to begin in September On 10 February , Dr.

Wiebecke chief design engineer for M. Total weight would increase to more than 50 metric tons. Additional meetings in February began to outline the various components, including a suggestion to adopt the King Tiger's hard-hitting 8.

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

But from May to June , work on the Panther II ceased as the focus was shifted to expanding production of the original Panther tank.

It is not clear if there was ever an official cancellation — this may have been because the Panther II upgrade pathway was originally started at Hitler's insistence.

The direction that the 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. An Ausf G turret is mounted on this chassis.

After the Panther II project died, a more limited upgrade of the Panther was planned, centred around a re-designed turret.

The Ausf F variant was intended for production in April , but the end of war ended these plans. Another design drawing by Rheinmetall dated 1 March reduced the width of the turret front even further; this was the Turm-Panther Schmale Blende Panther with narrow gun mantlet.

A few were captured and shipped back to the U. One badly damaged turret is on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.

It had been used as a post-war range target until its historical significance was recognised. This increased armour 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 — using twin matching armored blisters, one on each turret side, much like the Americans' post-war M47 Patton tank — and lower weight than the original turrets.

A number of Ausf F hulls were built at Daimler-Benz and Ruhrstahl-Hattingen steelworks; there is no evidence that any completed Ausf F saw service before the end of the war.

Proposals to equip the Schmalturm with the 8. These would have likely equipped future German tanks but none were built, as the war ended.

The E series of experimental tanks — E, E, E, E, E 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 been replaced by the E A Belleville washer -based, hull sidemount suspension 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 8. Although a technologically sophisticated vehicle, the Panther's design had a very limited influence on postwar tank development.

The French postwar AMX 50 tank prototype was indirectly influenced by it through the Entwicklung series , but never entered series production.

It is claimed that the Panther was arguably a forebear to the modern main battle tank. The Panther itself also saw some limited use outside the German military, both before and after 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.

Panzer IVs and StuGs, on the other hand, were so numerous in terms of spare parts and easy to repair that they could be used over a much longer period in combat conditions.

During March—April , Bulgaria received 15 Panthers of various makes D, A, and G variants 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 s.

The final fate of these pillbox Panthers is unknown, but sources indicate that they were replaced and scrapped in the s. They were initially used by the 1st Armoured Brigade, but in the equipment was ceded to the Soviet-organized " Tudor Vladimirescu Division ", which was transformed from a volunteer infantry division into an armoured one.

The Panther tank was officially known as T-V T-5 in the army inventory. These tanks were in poor condition and remained in service until about , by which time the Romanian Army had received T tanks.

All of the tanks were scrapped by One captured vehicle named "Cuckoo" also saw service with the British Coldstream Guards for some time.

Germany sold Japan a single Panther along with a Tiger in September ; by the time it was ready in , it was impossible to ship due to Allied naval interdiction.

In , Sweden 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, which continued until The tank is on display in the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Munster.

These remained in service until they were replaced by French-built ARL 44 heavy tanks. A complete Panther and a complete Jagdpanther produced this way are now at the Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset, with brass plates on them, explaining their history.

Panthers, already with bush camouflage attached, being transported by rail to the front in France. Panther with full Schürzen spaced armour attached, intended to supplement the side armour above the roadwheels.

Panther with Schürzen partially attached. They were difficult to maintain in place when travelling through heavy brush. Road gantry Strabokran , which was indispensable to maintain the Panther tank in the field.

Panther that was captured by French 2nd Armored Division in Sept. Originally from the th Panzer Brigade. On display at Musee des Blindes, Saumur, France.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. German medium tank of WWII. Type of Medium tank. Panther Ausf.

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Tanks portal Military of Germany portal. This calculation was derived from firing tables "Pz. Beschusstafel" created against the KV Stackpole Books.

Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle Panzer Tracts No. Panzer Tracts. Panther Medium Tank Osprey Publishing Ltd. Overmatch Press. Schiffer Military History.

Panther vs. T Ukraine Kursk A Statistical Analysis. Retrieved 30 January Referencing: Pawlas, Karl R. Germany's Panther Tank.

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. Some sources state that only a pre-production run of 20 Panthers used the HL engine Spielberger p. Tank Archives.

Retrieved 27 August Panther vs Sherman: Battle of the Bulge Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 23 November The 7.

By contrast the 7. Sherman p. Retrieved 26 September IS-2 Heavy Tanks Osprey Publishing. Retrieved 11 August Archived from the original on 2 January Retrieved 3 November Archived from the original on 15 February IS-2 Heavy Tank Retrieved 23 January Retrieved 6 November Paul: Zenith Press, p.

Jagdpanther vs SU Eastern Front Gen I. Exhibit No. Chief of staff AGF. November The Quest for Combat Supremacy.

Sherman: Battle of the Bulge Archived from the original on 5 June Japanese Tanks World of Tanks. Retrieved 21 November Surviving Panzers website.

Retrieved 17 March Police in northern Germany have seized a World War Two tank which was being kept in a pensioner's cellar.

The Panther tank was removed from the year-old's house in the town of Heikendorf, along with a variety of other military equipment, including a torpedo and an anti-aircraft gun, Der Tagesspiegel website reports.

The Telegraph. German soldiers grappled for nine hours with an unusual task: trying to remove a Second World War tank found in the cellar of a villa The army was called in to try to remove the vintage Panther tank, and struggled for nine hours to tow it out using two modern recovery tanks designed to haul damaged battle tanks off the field.

Jentz p. Spielberger p. F by Thomas Jentz p. Doyle, Hilary; Jentz, Tom Panther Variants London: Osprey. Forczyk, Robert Panther Vs T Ukraine Reading: Osprey Publishing.

Frankson, Anders Green, Michael Zenith Press. Panther: Germany's quest for combat dominance. Hart, Stephen Osprey Publishing UK. Healy, Mark History Press.

Jentz, Thomas Atglen: Schiffer Pub. Germany's Tiger Tanks - VK Germany's Tiger Tanks - D. Ruggles, Richard ; Brodie, Henry March Journal of the American Statistical Association.

American Statistical Association. Rust, Ken C Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers. Trupele Blindate din Armata Romana Bucuresti: Editura Oscar Print.

Speer, Albert Inside the Third Reich. Ishi Press. Spielberger, Walter West Chester: Schiffer Publishing.

Wilbeck, Christopher Aberjona Press. Zaloga, Steven London: Arms and Armour Press. T Medium Tank Soviet Tanks of the Great Patriotic War.

Concord Publications. Armored Thunderbolt. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole. Oxford: Osprey Publishing UK. Zetterling, Niklas Kursk a statistical analysis.

London: Frank Cass. Archived from the original on 11 August Retrieved 24 June Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Panzers at War. German armoured fighting vehicles of World War II.

Bufla Wespe Maultier Sd. Kfz 13 Sd. German armored fighting vehicle production during World War II. Namespaces Article Talk.

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Wikimedia Commons. Panthers are natively found on three of the world's continents, with their location depending on whether or not it is a black Leopard or a Black Jaguar.

There are 30 different subspecies of Leopard found across both Asia and sub-Saharan Africa , and with the once large natural range of the Jaguar stretching throughout Central and South America and even into parts of the USA, the Panther has become an incredibly adaptable animal that is found in a variety of different habitats.

Although they are most commonly found in tropical and deciduous forests, the Panther can also be found inhabiting both marsh and swampland, along with grasslands and even more hostile areas such as deserts and mountains.

Along with a number of the world's largest felines, the Panther is becoming rarer in the wild primarily due to habitat loss in the form of deforestation.

The Panther is an incredibly intelligent and agile animal that is very seldom seen by people in the wild as they are generally very quiet and cautious animals.

Their dark brown fur camouflages the Panther both into the surrounding forest and makes them almost invisible in the darkness of night.

The Panther is a solitary animal that leads a nocturnal lifestyle , spending much of the daylight hours resting safely high in the trees.

Like both the Leopard and the Jaguar , Panthers are incredible climbers and they not only rest in the trees but they are also able to keep a watchful eye out for prey without being spotted.

The Panther is an incredibly powerful and fearless animal that is feared by many due to the fact that they are also very aggressive.

The Panther is very territorial particularly males whose home ranges overlap those of a number of females and they are threatened by another male.

Although there are only two different species of Big Cat that are considered to be Panthers, Leopards and Jaguars are actually very closely related despite living in separate parts of the world.

Black Leopards and Jaguars often occur in the same litter as spotted cubs with the female usually giving birth to between 2 and 4 cubs after a gestation period of around 3 months it is a simple recessive gene that makes a cub black and one that is carried by both parents.

Panther cubs are born blind and do not open their eyes until they are nearly two weeks old. They are incredibly vulnerable to predators , particularly when left by their mother who must hunt for their food.

By the time they are a few months old Panther cubs begin to accompany her in search of prey and often won't leave her until they are nearly 2 years old and have established a territory for themselves.

The Panther is a carnivorous animal and one of the most feared and powerful predators throughout its natural environment. Hunting under the cover of night, the Panther's dark fur makes it almost impossible to spot meaning that it can move through the jungle completely unseen.

Although the majority of their hunting is actually done on the ground, they are also known to hunt from trees meaning that they can ambush their prey from above.

The exact diet of the Panther is dependent on where in the world it lives although medium to large sized herbivores comprise the bulk of the diet of many large Cats.

Animals including Deer , Warthogs , Wild Boar , Tapir and Antelope are all hunted by Panthers, along with smaller species like Birds and Rabbits when larger prey is scarce.

The Jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas and so Panthers in the New World are the most dominant predators within their environments.

Those found in Africa and Asia however are occasionally preyed upon by other large carnivores such as Lions and Hyenas , but the most common predator and biggest threat to all Panthers is people.

Not only have these rare animals been hunted by people throughout much of their natural range but they have also been subjected to drastic habitat loss particularly in the form of deforestation for both growing Human settlements and to make way for agriculture.

Population numbers of large Cats are declining all around the world and when they are being pushed into smaller and smaller pockets of their native habitats , Panthers are becoming even rarer than they already were.

Although technically only black Leopards and Jaguars are generally considered to be the only true Panthers by science, the term is also used to describe a number of other dark coated Cats by locals in their native habitats including Cougars , Tigers , Pumas , Lynxes and Bobcats.

The Black Panther is seen to be one of the most intelligent and ferocious predators in America so the image of a Panther is widely used as a logo or as a mascot for sports teams.

Some Panthers are actually able to swim, although not those that are Leopards , as Jaguars are known to have a real love of water.

Not only do these individuals prefer flooded forests but they spend a remarkable amount of time swimming, playing and hunting in the cooling water.

The world's Big Cats have been hunted by people as both trophies and for their fur particularly over the past couple of centuries.

This caused enormous declines in population numbers of both Leopards and Jaguars with them having actually completely disappeared from some areas of their historic range.

Panthers have also been subjected to severe habitat degradation throughout much of Asia , Africa and America which means that these elusive predators are now even rarer.

They are very rarely seen by people who are only really ever aware of a Panther's presence by their tracks left on the ground and scratch marks on trees.

They are in fact so sneaky that Panthers are often referred to as 'the ghost of the forest'. Although the Panther is not considered to be a species itself by science, both Leopards and Jaguars are becoming increasingly vulnerable throughout much of their natural range and are listed as Threatened species by the IUCN.

However, due to the fact that two gene carrying individuals must mate to produce a Black Panther and the chances of this are decreasing with habitat loss, many wildlife experts consider these animals to be endangered all around the world.

The age when the mother stops providing milk for her young. Share This Article. Related Animals Bobcat About double the size of a domestic cat!

Cat First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians! Cougar Largest feline in North America. Jaguar The largest feline on the American continent!

Leopard Spends much of the time high in the trees! Tiger The largest feline in the world! About Panthers, Available at: [Accessed at: 10 Nov ] 2.

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