Plastic Soldier Company Panther

The KF51 is based on the hull of the Leopard 2A4; thus, It has a conventional layout for an MBT with the driver at the front, the fighting compartment/turret in the middle, and the powerpack at the rear. The driver is seated in the front right of the hull and is provided with a single-piece hatch above their position in the roof of the glacis plate. A separate crew station can be provided in the left front of the hull for either a dedicated systems operator or a unit commander. Colour cameras for the driver are installed in the centre of the front and rear of the hull. Should the KF51 enter production a new hull would be designed by Rheinmetall.

The Leopard 2A4’s running gear consists of seven dual-tyred rubber roadwheels and four rubber-tyred offset track return rollers on each side, with the idler at the front and the drive sprocket at the rear. The roadwheels are supported by torsion bar suspension with advanced friction dampers. The first, second, third, sixth, and seventh roadwheels feature advanced friction dampers and hydraulic bump stops to dampen oscillations, with the fourth and fifth fitted with solid bump stops. The KF51 is fitted with an 82-link Defence Service Tracks 570F track of 635 mm width with rubber-bushed end connectors on each side.
In February 2023, Rheinmetall revealed they are in talks with Ukraine to export the KF51. Company CEO Armin Papperger said the first delivery could be in 15 to 18 months and suggests a factory in the country could be possible. Rheinmetall believes a plant in Ukraine can be built for around €200 million which could produce up to 400 Panther tanks annually; it would also need to be protected against air attack from the ongoing 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Experts have questioned this plan for unrealistically high production rates and insufficient investment for what is essentially still a concept weapon. Further developments under consideration for the vehicle including measures to make it more environmentally friendly during peacetime operations, the installation of a more powerful and more efficient powerpack, the integration of AI into the fire control system to enable automated target detection and identification, mounting an unmanned turret on the vehicle, and the creation of an unmanned version of the Panther. Efforts to make the vehicle more environmentally friendly could result in an alternative hull being developed for the Panther. The Panther has a combat weight of 59 tonnes making it lighter than most Western MBTs developed prior to 2022. The powerpack, tracks and most of the running gear of the vehicle are also believed to have been derived from those of the Leopard 2A4. This Leopard 2A4 powerpack consists of an MTU MB 873 Ka-501 water-cooled V12 diesel engine producing 1,479 hp at 2,600 rpm, this coupled to a Renk HSWL 354 four-speed automatic transmission. The Panther’s maximum speed has not been disclosed but it has a maximum range of 500 km.

The KF51 is based on the hull of the Leopard 2A4. A new turret is to be mounted on the Leopard 2; the main gun is an autoloaded 130 mm calibre. On 5 December 2022 Rheinmetall announced that it plans to mainly target existing Leopard 2 operators with the KF51.Rheinmetall began the development of major subsystems related to the Panther in 2016, with system-level design commencing in 2018. The Panther has been developed as a private venture by Rheinmetall to demonstrate by 2026 the potential for increasing the lethality, mobility, survivability, and networking capabilities of MBTs without incurring a significant increase in weight. To reduce the weight of the Leopard 2A4 platform on which the development vehicle is based, Rheinmetall prioritised active over passive protection.The secondary armament consists of a coaxially mounted 12.7 mm machine gun. A remote operated weapon station (RWS) can be mounted on the rear of the turret roof to provide close-in defence and a counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) capability. An option for this is the Rheinmetall ’Natter’, which can be armed with a 7.62 mm gun that can be elevated from −15˚ to +85˚. When thus armed, it can carry 2,500 ready rounds. The KF51 can be equipped with the HERO 120 loitering munition system.

The KF51 Panther is stated to have three layers of protection: passive, reactive and active. The innermost layer consists of all-welded steel armour covered by passive armour modules. The second layer comprises sensor-based reactive armour, while the final layer consists of Rheinmetall’s Active Defence System (ADS) Active Protection System (APS) that Rheinmetall claims is capable of protecting against kinetic energy (KE) projectiles and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). It is possible to mount the ADS on both the hull and the turret.Where the design of the KF51 departs from that of the preceding generation of Western MBTs is by the introduction of a new two-person turret fitted with an autoloaded main gun. The rear of the turret houses the magazines for the main gun’s automatic loader and pods for loitering munitions if these have been equipped. There are housings for cameras on all four corners of the turret and in the middle of each side of the turret.

The Panther KF51 is a German main battle tank (MBT) that is under development by Rheinmetall Landsysteme (part of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division). It was unveiled publicly at the Eurosatory defence exhibition on 13 June 2022. KF is short for ”Kettenfahrzeug”, the German word for ”tracked vehicle”.The gun is fed by an autoloader that consists of two revolving drum magazines with a capacity of ten rounds each. During a test firing in April 2022, the Rh-130 mounted on a test rig was able to fire three rounds in 16 seconds, though this included the time to perform safety checks. Two hatches are located in the turret sides to allow the autoloader’s magazines to be replenished within five minutes. An option is available to carry an additional 10 rounds on the back of the vehicle outside of the hull and turret.

The Panther is fitted with eight Rheinmetall Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY) smoke grenade launchers mounted in staggered rows of two behind the central camera housing on each side of the turret. It is possible to integrate sensors into the Panther that can detect the launch signature of ATGMs and unguided anti-tank rockets before cueing the vehicle’s crew towards the threat or launching appropriate countermeasures. The Panther can be fitted with Rheinmetall’s Top Attack Protection System (TAPS). This comprises a hard-kill element in which the coverage of the ADS is extended to the roof of the platform to protect against both ATGMs and unguided anti-tank rockets launched at high elevations, as well as a soft-kill element that aims to protect against threats such as loitering munitions.The primary armament of the KF51 is a stabilised Rheinmetall Rh-130 L/51 130 mm smoothbore gun that can be elevated from −9˚ to +20˚. Rheinmetall claims that this is capable of delivering between 18 and 20 megajoules (13,000,000 and 15,000,000 foot-pounds force) (20MJ=4.8kgTNT) of energy onto a target and that it has a 50% longer effective range than Rheinmetall 120 mm tank guns. The Rh-130 can fire armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) ammunition, programmable air burst high explosive (HE) and practice projectiles.

The Panther II was to be fitted with a new turret, the Turm Panther 2 (schmale Blendenausführung). For a long time, it was assumed that the Schmalturm was designed for the Panther II, but we now know this isn’t true. The Schmalturm was designed after the Panther II was cancelled.
The ’Panther II, a German tank design of the Second World War, was based on the design of the Panther tank. It had slightly thicker armour than the Panther and adopted some standardised components from the Tiger II tank design. The Panther II did not progress beyond prototypes and did not enter production.On 10 February 1943, Dr. Wiebecke (chief design engineer for M.A.N.) suggested thoroughly redesigning the Panther II and incorporating Tiger II components such as the steering gear, final drives, the suspension system and turret based on Eastern Front experiences. The total weight would have increased to more than 50 tonnes. Another meeting on 17 February 1943 focused on sharing and standardising parts between the Tiger II and the Panther II, such as the transmission, all-steel 80 centimetre diameter road-wheels that only overlapped (as on the Tiger II) and not interleaved (as the original ’Schachtellaufwerk’ road-wheel system used) and running gear.

A number of engines were under consideration, among them the new Maybach HL234 fuel-injection engine (900 hp operated by an 8-speed hydraulic transmission) and the BMW 003 aviation turbojet-derived, GT 101 turboshaft powerplant, planned to be of 1,150 shaft horsepower output and weighing only 450 kg (992 lb) without its transmission, only 38% of the weight of the Panther’s standard Maybach HL230 V-12 gasoline fueled piston engine. The engine would have given the Panther II an increased 200 hp, which would have made it faster than its predecessor, though it was heavier.
The Panther II required five crew members to operate, its turret accommodated three crew members, the commander, gunner, and loader whilst the driver and radio operator sat in the hull, in an arrangement identical to the Panther I.One prototype hull was completed and captured by US forces. It was taken to Aberdeen Proving Ground, and then later moved to the Patton museum. A Panther Ausf. G turret was placed on the Panther II hull as a placeholder. In 2010, The Panther II hull was moved to the National Armor and Cavalry Museum at Ft. Moore, GA for display.

The early motivation for improving the Panther tank came from the concern of Adolf Hitler and others who believed that it lacked sufficient armour. Hitler had already insisted on an increase in its armour once, early in the design of the original Panther in 1942. Discussions involving Hitler in January 1943 called for further increased armour; initially referred to as Panther 2, it was known as the Panther II after April 1943.
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 1943 a final meeting was held at M.A.N where it was decided that production of the Panther II would cease, and work would focus on the Panther I. 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.This upgrade to the Panther tank increased the thickness of the glacis plate from 80 mm (3.1 in) to 100 mm (3.9 in), the side hull armour from 40 mm (1.6 in) to 60 mm (2.4 in), and decreased the armour on the top hull from 40 mm (1.6 in) to 30 mm (1.2 in). Production of the Panther II was slated to begin in September 1943.The 120mm main gun (calibre length 55) together with the improved optronics make for the exceptional combat capabilities of the Leopard 2. Thanks to its ability to fire programmable ammunition, it can react to an extremely wide variety of threat scenarios.The running gear and power pack have been optimised and reinforced for better stability and ideal power transmission in comparison with earlier variants.From non-lethal protection systems to 40 and 76mm launcher systems all the way to stabilised, remote-controlled weapon stations with 20mm automatic cannons, the crew has a wide range of escalation levels at its disposal for self-protection.

From the innovative, hydropneumatic and decoupled running gear of the PUMA to the time-tested, continuously refined running gear of the LEOPARD 2: KMW’s tracked vehicles are also highly mobile and reliable, even on the toughest terrain.

The LEOPARD 2 A7+ owes its outstanding performance capability to an ideal combination of protection, mobility, manoeuvrability and fire power. The optimal manoeuvrability of the LEOPARD 2 is based on the unique symbiosis of vehicle crew and cutting-edge German-made technology. The continuous refinement of the primary and secondary defence protects the crew and the machine itself from the latest types of ammunition and threats.
The armed forces of 19 nations rely upon the LEOPARD’s versatile superiority. All vehicles were supplied by KMW. With over 3,500 units, this is a rate which is unparalleled worldwide. Moreover, many international customers have planned and designed supply concepts, further developments and modification projects collectively using the LEO User Club. Reference customers for the LEOPARD family include Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and many more.

KMW ist Europas führender Anbieter von Vor-Ort-Serviceleistungen für militärische Fahrzeuge, Trainingsanlagen und Simulatoren. Ob im Heimatland oder während Auslandseinsätzen – der Service von KMW bietet Ersatzteilversorgung, Instandsetzung und Wartung und stellt so die maximale Verfügbarkeit der Einsatzfahrzeuge sicher.
From the compact transport wonder to the highly mobile artillery cannon on eight wheels: KMW offers wheeled vehicles for a wide range of different missions. The MUNGO can transport up to ten fully equipped soldiers and can still fit into the CH-53 cargo helicopter. The DINGO HD is the newest version of the versatile DINGO family. And the BOXER is unparalleled in its modularity and flexibility.KNDS (KMW+NEXTER Defense Systems) is the result of the associa- tion of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter, two of the leading European manufacturers of military land systems based in Germany and France. Thanks to its high power output, the LEOPARD 2 moves with great speed even on rough terrain. Its manoeuvrability, proven fire power and high degree of protection enable it to complete the most demanding of missions. Our holistic corporate philosophy encompasses the principles of action concerning quality, environmental, health & safety and energy management which serve as guidelines for the company.

What is the rarest tank ever?
They saw limited service on the Western Front in 1918, and today only one survives – number 506, “Mephisto”.
In addition to heavily armoured vehicles, KMW also manufactures individual components and subsystems such as cable harnesses, printed circuit boards and electrical equipment.Training with realistic simulation from individual soldier to battalion level in the core areas of driving training, gunnery, combat and tactics training as well as maintenance training. Appropriate and customer- oriented training programs for all KMW products and products of our partners, providing knowledge of operation and/ or maintenance tasks for crews and maintenance personnel, as well as for instructors as train-the-trainer courses.The LEOPARD 2 A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Bundeswehr. With it, the Bundeswehr gains the world’s most advanced main battle tank with expanded command capabilities. The LEOPARD 2 A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Bundeswehr. The system components optimised to protect the vehicle crew proved themselves in deployment in Afghanistan with our NATO partner Canada. After 70 years of exhibition in Queensland the First World War German tank Mephisto has arrived at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Memorial has collaborated with the Queensland Museum to display Mephisto outside Brisbane for the first time since it was transported from Europe after the end of the First World War.Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is a new initiative designed to record the locations and photographs of every publicly accessible memorial across Australia.

Mephisto fought its first ever battle at St Quentin on 21 March 1918. Its second operation came at Villers-Bretonneux on 24 April 1918. In that attack it became stranded in a shell crater, and was eventually recovered from the battlefield by men of the AIF and their British comrades. It was moved to the training ground of the British 5th Brigade, Tank Corps, at Vaux-en-Amiénois and later to Poulainville (near the city of Amiens) until early October 1918. During this time countless allied soldiers left their marks on the vehicle, and the armour became littered with names, quotes, drawings, and paintings. The most prominent piece of art applied was a counterpart to the German demon: a large, crown-wearing British lion, its right paw resting on an A7V tank.
These newly invented war machines were hot, noisy, and cramped. The German models held much larger crews than the British, with anywhere between 18 and 26 men on board. The driver and commander sat above the tank’s engine, wearing asbestos-impregnated suits to protect themselves from the heat, while others preferred to sit atop the tank when not in action to escape the fumes and discomfort of the interior. Despite the tank’s protective armour, each hit sent tiny particles of hot metal flying off the inside walls and onto the men’s faces. In battle the machines lurched through shell holes and trenches, and the men inside were thrown around mercilessly. Visibility was difficult through the small vision slits in the sides and front, and the tanks stopped regularly for the officer in charge to reorient himself. Despite these problems, the value of the armoured machines was such that they were prized by all sides – the British through ongoing development and production, and the Germans through the salvage and reuse of broken British tanks taken from the battlefield.Our collection contains a wealth of material to help you research and find your connection with the wartime experiences of the brave men and women who served in Australia’s military forces.

Of Germany’s A7V Sturmpanzerwagen, only 20 were ever built for use in war. They saw limited service on the Western Front in 1918, and today only one survives – number 506, “Mephisto”.
Brought to Australia in 1919 as a war trophy, Mephisto has been housed at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane ever since. The machine was so heavy that a special crane had to be erected on the wharf to unload it. On its way to the museum the tank’s caterpillar tracks gouged the road, and its sides damaged several buildings as it was dragged around corners. It was initially placed in the grounds of the museum, and the inscriptions and paintings adorning its sides were badly weathered and faded by exposure to the elements, while parts of the tank were pried off by members of the public. Mephisto’s current paint scheme was applied by the Queensland Museum in 1988.Eighteen of the original 20 A7Vs produced by Germany survived the war more or less intact. However, most were scrapped in the years immediately following the Armistice. Mephisto is the world’s only remaining example.

Your generous donation will be used to ensure the memory of our Defence Forces and what they have done for us, and what they continue to do for our freedom remains – today and into the future.Tanks were one of the First World War’s major technological innovations. They were first developed by the British, and were later taken up by France. The Germans began developing their own tanks after the British first deployed theirs during the battle of the Somme in 1916. Tank 506 was painted with the figure of Mephistopheles, the red, smiling Faustian demon, on the upper front left armour plate. Cheekily tucked under the demon’s arm was a rhomboid-shaped British tank. The original skull-and-crossbones was overpainted with a single cross pattée, or German cross. This same black and white cross was repeated prominently on both sides of the tank, giving it unique identity within the small tank unit. It was named Mephisto, in honour of its fiery decoration. The A7V was German-designed, and number 506 was part of the first German army tank detachment. Like most of the tanks in this unit, it bore a white skull-and-crossbones on the front armour plating beneath the main gun. Most of the German tanks were given names like “Siegfried”, “Wotan”, and “Gretchen”. Their crews often added their own decoration, painting over the standard field grey finish or the previous crew’s decoration.The Australian War Memorial is open for visitors as we work to expand our galleries. All visitors require a free timed ticket to enter the Memorial Galleries and attend the Last Post Ceremony.

Who made the Panther in ww2?
Daimler-Benz Panther tankPanzerkampfwagen V PantherDesigned1942ManufacturerMAN, Daimler-Benz, MNHUnit cost117,100 ℛ︁ℳ︁ (Without weapons, optics, or radio) 143,912 ℛ︁ℳ︁ (combat ready) 2,000 Man hoursProduced1943–1945 (1946- 9 postwar for the British Army)
The armour for the side hull and superstructure (the side sponsons) was much thinner (40–50 mm (1.6–2.0 in)). 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 and German engineers tried to eradicate the issue by designing the Panther II. Although the 2nd Panther was almost past the design process, it was ultimately scrapped after 5 mm (0.20 in) thick spaced armour or armoured skirts, known as Schürzen were added. intended to provide protection for the lower side hull from Soviet anti-tank rifles such as the PTRS-41, the armour 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 false rumours that hits on the Zimmerit had caused vehicle fires.Panther crews were aware of the weak side armour and made augmentations by hanging track links or spare roadwheels onto the turret and/or the hull sides. The rear hull top armour was only 16 mm (0.63 in) thick, and had two radiator fans and four air intake louvres over the engine compartment that were vulnerable to strafing by aircraft. 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. Germany suffered from a shortage of gear-cutting machine tools and for mass-production numerous simplifications were made to the design and its manufacture, sometimes against the wishes of designers and army officers. Consequently, the final drive was changed to a double spur system; although simpler to produce, the double spur gears had higher loads, making them prone to failure. The two designs were reviewed from January to March 1942. Reichsminister Fritz Todt, and later, his replacement Albert Speer, both recommended the DB design to Hitler because of its advantages over the initial MAN design. At the final submission, MAN refined its design, having learned from the DB proposal apparently through a leak by a former employee in the Wa Prüf 6, senior engineer Heinrich Ernst Kniepkamp and others. On 5 March 1942, Albert Speer reported that Hitler considered the Daimler-Benz design to be superior to MAN’s design. A review by a special commission appointed by Hitler in May 1942 selected 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 and engine to be designed and produced, delaying the commencement of production. This time-saving measure compromised the subsequent development of the design.

The earliest known redesign of the turret was dated 7 November 1943 and featured a narrow gun mantlet behind a 120 mm (4.7 in) thick turret front plate. Another design drawing by Rheinmetall dated 1 March 1944 reduced the width of the turret front even further; this was the Turm-Panther (Schmale Blende) (Panther with narrow gun mantlet). Several experimental Schmaltürme (literally: ”narrow turrets”) were built in 1944 with modified versions of the production Panther’s 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 standard gun, which were given the designation of KwK 44/1. A few were captured and shipped back to the U.S. and Britain. 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.
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. It constituted less than seven percent of the estimated 2,400–2,700 total armoured fighting vehicles deployed by the Germans in this battle, and its effectiveness was limited by its mechanical problems and the in-depth layered defence 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 Citadel 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.Germany sold Japan a single Panther along with a Tiger in September 1943; by the time it was ready in 1944, it was impossible to ship due to Allied naval interdiction.

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 1943, 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.
After much development work, the first T-34-85 tanks entered combat in March 1944. The production version of the T-34’s new 85 mm gun had to be aimed at the Panther’s turret front and mantlet to penetrate, while the Panther’s main gun could penetrate the T-34’s glacis from 800 m (870 yd) at 30 degrees. Although the T-34-85 tank was not quite the equal of the Panther in the anti-tank role, it was much better than the 76.2 mm-armed versions and made up for it with proven reliability, more effective fragmentation shells, and production in greater quantities. New tank destroyers based on the T-34 hull, such as the SU-85 and SU-100, were also developed. A Wa Prüf 1 report dated 5 October 1944 estimated that when set at a 30-degree angle the T-34-85’s upper glacis could be penetrated by the Panther’s 7.5 cm KwK 42 from 300 m (330 yd), the mantlet from 1,200 m (1,300 yd) and the turret front from 2,000 m (2,200 yd) while the T-34-85’s 85 mm ZiS-S-53 could penetrate the Panther’s frontal turret from 500 m (550 yd). From the side, the two were equivalent as both tanks could penetrate the other from ranges over 2,000 m (2,200 yd), further than any practical engagement distance.

The Panther had five 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 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.
A Wa Prüf 1 report states that when set at a 30-degree angle the glacis plate of the Panther could not be penetrated by the 122 mm D-25T AP shell, the lower glacis could be penetrated from 100 m (110 yd), the turret mantlet from 500 m (550 yd) and the turret front from 1,500 m (1,600 yd). The Panther’s 75 mm gun could penetrate the IS-2 model 1943’s mantlet from 400 m (440 yd), turret from 800 m (870 yd), and driver’s front plate from 600 m (660 yd). From the side, the Panther’s armour was penetrable by the 122 mm D-25T from over 3,500 m (3,800 yd). The Panther carried more ammunition and had a faster firing cycle: for every 1–1.5 shots of the IS-2, the Panther and Tiger could fire 3-4 times. With the addition of a semi-automatic drop breech over the previously manual screw, this breech modification increased the IS-2’s rate of fire to 3-4 rounds per minute.

In August 1944
Panthers were deployed during the Warsaw Uprising as mobile artillery and troop support. At least two of them were captured in the early days of the conflict and used in actions against the Germans, including the liberation of the Gęsiówka concentration camp on 5 August, when the soldiers of ”Wacek” platoon used the captured Panther (named ”Magda”) to destroy the bunkers and watchtowers of the camp. Most of the Germans in the camp were killed; the insurgents had lost two people and liberated almost 350 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.
After a mileage of between 1500 km and 1800km 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.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 1942. Discussions involving Hitler in January 1943 called for further increased armour; initially referred to as Panther 2 (it became the Panther II after April 1943). This upgrade increased the thickness of the glacis plate to 100 mm (3.9 in), the side armour to 60 mm (2.4 in), and the top armour to 30 mm (1.2 in). Production of the Panther 2 was slated to begin in September 1943. The naming of Panther production variants did not, unlike most German tanks, follow alphabetical order: the initial variant, Panther ”D” (Ausf. D), was followed by ”A” and ”G” variants. In the meantime, U.S. forces, facing one and a half German panzer divisions, mainly the Panzer Lehr Division, struggled in the heavy, low-lying bocage terrain west of Caen. Like the Sherman, 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 Panzer Lehr Division, Gen. Fritz Bayerlein, reported on the difficulties experienced by the Panther tank in the fighting in Normandy: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. Shermans, even though they were around 15 tons lighter than Panthers, had worse cross country mobility due to their narrower tracks. A US corporal stated:

Is the Panther a German tank?
The Panther is often believed to be the best German tank of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, they were surprised by the quantity and quality of Soviet armour. Hitler ordered that the T-34 be copied and the result was the Panther, which saw action for the first time at Kursk in 1943.
The HL 230 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-12 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 centreline. This compact arrangement with the connecting rods was the source of considerable problems initially. Blown head gaskets were another problem, which was corrected with improved seals in September 1943. Improved bearings were introduced in November 1943. An engine governor was also added in November 1943 that reduced the maximum engine speed to 2,500 rpm. An eighth crankshaft bearing was added beginning in January 1944 to reduce motor failures. The last ’production’ Panthers were produced at the factory by German staff just after the end of World War II under the supervision of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) using available components. 9 Panthers and 12 Jagdpanthers were produced and shipped back to Britain for post-war trials. 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. 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. Unlike captured Panzer IVs and StuGs, the Soviets generally only used Panthers and Tigers that had been captured intact and used them until they broke down, as they were too complex and difficult to transport for repair. 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.

What is Germany's best tank?
The Leopard 2 is one of the world’s leading battle tanks, used by the German Army for decades and by the militaries of more than a dozen other European nations, as well as by the armies of countries as far apart as Canada and Indonesia. It has seen service in conflicts in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Syria.
While the PzKpfw IV could still be used to advantage, the PzKpfw V [Panther] proved ill adapted to the terrain. The Sherman because of its maneuverability and height was good … [the Panther was] poorly suited for hedgerow terrain because of its width. 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.The first Panthers saw combat at Kursk in summer 1943, revealing reliability issues beyond that typically expected for a new weapon system. This was improved through 1943; the Panther’s operational rate went from 16 percent at the end of July 1943 to 37 percent by December 1943.

Since the Tiger had originally been designed to weigh fifty tons but as a result of Hitler’s demands had gone up to fifty seven tons, we decided to develop a new thirty ton tank whose very name, Panther, was to signify greater agility. Though light in weight, its motor was to be the same as the Tiger’s, which meant it could develop superior speed. But in the course of a year Hitler once again insisted on clapping so much armour on it, as well as larger guns, that it ultimately reached forty eight tons, the original weight of the Tiger.
In addition to interfering with tank production goals, the bombing forced a steep drop in the production of spare parts, which as a percentage of tank production dropped from 25–30 percent in 1943 to 8 percent in late 1944. This compounded the problems with reliability and with the numbers of operational Panthers, as tanks in the field had to be cannibalized for parts.

The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 medium tank and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV. Nevertheless, it served alongside the Panzer IV and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. The Panther was a compromise. While having essentially the same Maybach V12 petrol (690 hp) engine as the Tiger I, it had better gun penetration, was lighter and faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tiger I. The trade-off was weaker side armour, which made it vulnerable to flanking fire and a weaker high explosive shell. The Panther proved to be effective in open country and long-range engagements.Although it had excellent firepower, protection and mobility, its reliability was less impressive. The Panther was far cheaper to produce than the Tiger I. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armour, transmission, and final drive, were simplifications made to improve production rates and address raw material shortages. Despite this, the overall design has still been described by some as ”overengineered”.
It was not until 23–29 June 1943 that a total of 200 rebuilt Panthers were finally issued to Panther Regiment von Lauchert, of the XLVIII Panzer Corps (4 Panzer Army). Two were immediately lost due to motor fires on disembarking from the trains. By 5 July, when the Battle of Kursk started, there were only 184 operational Panthers. Within two days, this had dropped to 40. On 17 July 1943, after Hitler had ordered a stop to the German offensive, Gen. Heinz Guderian sent in the following preliminary assessment of the Panthers:

The MAN design embodied a more conventional configuration, with the transmission and drive sprocket in the front and a centrally mounted turret. It had a petrol 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 Henschel company’s design concepts for their Tiger I tank’s suspension/drive components, using its characteristic Schachtellaufwerk format – large, overlapping, interleaved road wheels with a ”slack-track” using no return rollers for the upper run of track, also features shared with almost all German military half-track designs since the late 1930s – were repeated with the MAN design for the Panther. These multiple large, rubber-rimmed steel wheels distributed ground pressure more evenly across the track. The MAN proposal also complemented Rheinmetall’s already designed turret modified from that of the VK 45.01 (H), and used a virtually identical Maybach V12 engine to the Tiger I heavy tank’s Maybach HL230 powerplant model.

In May 1946, Romania received 13 Panther tanks from the USSR. They were initially used by the 1st Armoured Brigade, but in 1947 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 1950, by which time the Romanian Army had received T-34-85 tanks. All of the tanks were scrapped by 1954. The tanks were different models: Ausf A, Ausf D, and Ausf G. They were shown to the public in 1948, during the 1 May parade in Bucharest, painted with Romanian markings. Until 1950, the T-V (T-5) was the heaviest tank available to the Romanian Army.At the time, U.S. armour doctrine was dominated by the head of Army Ground Forces, Gen. 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 (76.2 mm) (M10 tank destroyer), 76 mm (M18 Hellcat) or later, 90 mm (M36 tank destroyer) guns. This doctrine led to a lack of urgency in the U.S. Army to upgrade the armour and firepower of the M4 Sherman tank, which had previously done well against the most common German tanks – Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs – in Africa and Italy. As with the Soviets, the German adoption of thicker armour and the 7.5 cm KwK 40 in their standard armoured fighting vehicles prompted the U.S. Army to develop the more powerful 76 mm 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 mi (4,800 km) supply line to Europe.

”The frontline reports said service life of the tank’s engine had increased up from 700 to 1,000km [435 to 621 miles]. In addition, the same Panther tank-equipped unit reported that final drive breakdowns had ended and that transmission and steering gear failures were now within an acceptable range, which is damning with faint praise”
A later report on 20 July 1943 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.At the time of the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, 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 30 July 1944.

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 to attack US troops from the rear. The disguised Panthers were detected and destroyed.

What was the most feared tank in ww2?
Germany’s Tiger tank Germany’s Tiger tank, whether in the form of the Tiger I or later Tiger II (King Tiger), was the most feared tank of WWII.
After the losses of the Battle of Kursk, the German Army went into a permanent state of retreat from the Red Army. The numbers of Panthers were slowly built up again on the Eastern Front, and the operational percentage increased as reliability improved. In March 1944 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 greatly outnumbered Panthers came to be used as mobile reserves to fight off major attacks.A mild steel prototype of the MAN design 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, mainly because of a shortage of specialized machine tools needed for the machining of the hull. Finished tanks were produced in December and suffered from reliability problems as a result. The demand for this tank was so high that the manufacturing was soon expanded beyond MAN to include Daimler-Benz (Berlin-Marienfelde, former DMG plant), Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen Hanover (MNH, a subsidiary of Eisenwerk Wülfel/Hanomag) and the Tiger I’s original designer, Henschel & Sohn in Kassel.

Was the Panther 2 a real tank?
The Panther II tank, a German tank-design proposal of the Second World War, was based on the design of the Panther tank. It had slightly thicker armour than the Panther and adopted some standardised components from the Tiger II tank design. The Panther II did not progress beyond prototypes and did not enter production.
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 armoured 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.The main gun was a Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.5 cm KwK 42 (L/70) with semi-automatic shell ejection and a supply of 79 rounds (82 on Ausf. G). 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 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 calibre, none had equivalent muzzle energy. Only the British Sherman Firefly conversion’s Ordnance QF 17-pounder gun, of 3 inch (76.2mm) calibre, and a 55 calibre long (L/55) barrel, with its availability to fire APDS shot had more potential armour perforation power but was considerably less accurate owing to disturbances caused by the separation of shot and sabot and at a cost of less severe damage inside the target after perforation of the armour. 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 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 75mm HE round was inferior to the 88mm HE round used for infantry support, but was on par with most other 75mm HE rounds used by other tanks and assault guns.On January 23, 1945, a meeting was held by the Entwicklungskommission in which the project was handed over to Daimler-Benz. The turret ring of the Daimler-Benz Panther-Schmalturm-8.8 cm was enlarged by 100 mm, which increased the weight by 1 tonne. For the most part, however, the design was an 8.8 cm Kw.K.43 L/71 with repositioned trunnions in a mostly unchanged Schmalturm turret. By March 1945, Daimler-Benz was slated to produce a soft-steel prototype. At this time, Krupp returned to the project under a request from Colonel Crohn. They were given the task of developing a turret for the 8.8 cm, which was an adaption of their previous design. The design was approved on March 14, 1945, with production slated to begin in the last quarter of 1945.The 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 Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust, infantry anti-tank guns, such as the ubiquitous 7.5 cm Pak 40, and tank destroyers, such as the Marder, StuG III, StuG IV, and Jagdpanzer. A German Army status report dated 15 March 1945 showed 117 Panthers left in the entire Western Front, of which only 49 were operational. Two types of turret emplacements were used; (Pantherturm III – Betonsockel — concrete base) and (Pantherturm I – Stahluntersatz — steel sub-base). Some used normal production turrets, but most were reinforced with additional roof armour to withstand artillery fire. 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 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 268 installations by March 1945. They proved to be costly to attack, and difficult to destroy. The overstressed transmission system led to premature stripping of the third gear. This was compounded by alloy shortages which made gears more brittle and prone to failure. To reach the final drive for repair, the entire driver’s compartment and transmission had to be disassembled and lifted out.The IS-2 proved to have surprisingly good anti-tank capabilities due to the D-25T’s extremely heavy HE projectiles. 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 armour. However, the 122mm 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 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.
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 75 mm gun. The general purpose 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 to 2,600 m (440 to 2,840 yd). The 76 mm gun could also not penetrate the front hull armour of the Panther, but could penetrate the Panther turret mantlet at very close range. In August 1944, the HVAP (high velocity armour-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 730 to 910 m (800 to 1,000 yd), instead of the usual 91 m (100 yd) for the normal 76 mm round. 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.German industry made a number of modifications to the final drive units on the Panther Ausf. G in September and October 1944 to increase the durability of the unit. Jacques Littlefield, of the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, which restored a Panther Ausf. A, said ”we found that the alloy and gears used in their construction were as good as we could make them today. I suspect the main problem with the final drive was that they were designed for a much lighter version of the Panther…Once they started to up-armor the Panther, there was no room to beef up the final drives to handle the extra weight.

From 3 August 1944, 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 ”VK 30.02(DB)” design resembled the T-34 in its hull and turret and was also to be powered by a diesel engine. It was driven from the rear drive sprocket with the turret situated forward. The incorporation of a diesel engine promised increased operational range, reduced flammability and allowed for better use of petroleum reserves. Hitler himself considered a diesel engine imperative for the new tank. DB’s proposal used an external leaf spring suspension, in contrast to the MAN proposal of twin torsion bars. Wa Prüf 6’s opinion was that the leaf spring suspension was a disadvantage and that using torsion bars would allow greater internal hull width. It also opposed the rear drive because of the potential for track fouling. Daimler Benz still preferred the leaf springs over a torsion bar suspension as it resulted in a silhouette about 200 mm (7.9 in) shorter and rendered complex shock absorbers unnecessary. The employment of a rear drive provided additional crew space and also allowed for a better slope on the front hull, which was considered important in preventing penetration by armour-piercing shells.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”.

What is the rarest tank in WW2?
I would say the rarest tank of WW2 was Tiger P (VK 45.01 (P). Only 10 of them were ever produced. And another 90 of its unfinished hulls were converted into. Elefant tank destroyer was another rare WWII vehicle produced in a limited number of 91 tanks.
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. 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. Despite the risks of fire, the fighting compartment was relatively safe due to a solid firewall that separated it from the engine compartment.

The Schmalturm had a much narrower front face of 120 mm (4.7 in) armour sloped at 20 degrees; side turret armour was increased to 60 mm (2.4 in) from 45 mm (1.8 in); roof turret armour increased to 40 mm (1.6 in) from 16 mm (0.63 in); and a bell shaped gun mantlet similar to that of the Tiger II was used. This increased armour protection also had a slight weight saving due to the overall smaller size of the turret. The Schmalturm also addressed an inherent flaw with the earlier rounded mantlet in which incoming shots would ricochet off the lower half of the mantlet plate and go through the hull roof or into the turret ring.
Guderian commented on the reliability: ”From 6 March to 15 April 1944, the 1.Abteilung/Panzerregiment 2 (1st Battalion, 2nd Panzer Regiment) reported a distance of between 1500 km to 1800 km. Four of their seven Panthers was still combat ready without any transmission or engine failure.”

A Panther tank cost 117,100 Reichsmark (RM) to produce. This compares 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 figures did not include the cost of the armament and radio. Using slave labour on the production lines greatly reduced costs, but also greatly increased the risk of sabotage. French-army studies in 1947 found that many Panthers had been sabotaged during production. The Germans increasingly strove for production methods that would allow higher production rates and lower cost. By comparison the total cost of the early production Tiger I in 1942–1943 has been stated to be as high as 800,000 RM.
From 1943, Panther turrets were mounted in fixed fortifications known officially as Ringstände (the Allies called them ”Tobruks” because they were first encountered during the North African campaign).The first 250 Panthers were powered by a Maybach HL 210 P30 V-12 petrol engine, which delivered 650 metric hp at 3,000 rpm and had three simple air filters. Starting in May 1943, Panthers were built using the 700 metric horsepower (690 hp, 515 kW) at 3,000 rpm, 23.1 litre Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 petrol engine. To save aluminium, the light alloy block used in the HL 210 was replaced by a cast iron block. Two multistage ”cyclone” air filters were used to improve dust removal. Due to the use of low grade petrol, the engine power output was reduced. With a capacity of 730 litres (160 imperial gallons; 190 US gallons) of fuel, a fully fuelled Panther’s range was 260 km (160 mi) on surfaced roads and 100 km (62 mi) cross country.The process of streamlining the production of German armoured fighting vehicles first began after Speer became a Reichsminister in early 1942, and steadily accelerated through to 1944; the production of the Panther tank coincided with this period of increased manufacturing-efficiency. 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. This kept in mind, the battalion reported PzKpfw V Chassis No. 154338, Engine No. 8322046 reading 1,878km with driver Obergrefeiter Gablewski, 4.Kp/PzRgt 2. The vehicle was still totally operational. All items were in great condition but the tracks. The consumption of the engine has been 10ltr per 100km. The vehicle was still operating with its first engine and transmission. 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’s superior armour 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.Early 1945, the SU-100 tank destroyer saw extensive service, when Soviet forces defeated the German Operation Frühlingserwachen offensive at Lake Balaton. The SU-100 quickly proved itself to be able to penetrate around 125 mm (4.9 in) of vertical armour from a range of 2,000 m (1.2 mi) and the sloped 80 mm (3.1 in) front armour of the Panther from 1,500 m (0.93 mi).

The Panther tank, officially Panzerkampfwagen V Panther (abbreviated PzKpfw V) with ordnance inventory designation: Sd.Kfz. 171, is a German medium tank of World War II. It was used on the Eastern and Western Fronts from mid-1943 to the end of the war in May 1945.

In February 1945 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. N. I. 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.
On 28 June 1944, after the initial response to the Allied landings in Normandy, Guderian reported that: the Panzer IV, Panzer V Panther, and Panzer VI Tiger have proven to be successful. The Panther is inclined to catch fire quickly. The lifetime of the Panther’s engines (1400 to 1500 km) is much higher than the Panther’s final drives. A solution to the final drive teething is immediately neededOne Panther II chassis was completed and eventually captured by the U.S.; it was displayed at the Patton Museum in Fort Knox until 2010. It has since been moved to the National Armor and Cavalry Museum at Ft. Benning, GA. An Ausf G turret is mounted on this chassis.

Who made the German Panther?
Panther KF51TypeMain battle tankPlace of originGermanyProduction historyDesignerRheinmetall (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann)
On 10 February 1943, Dr. Wiebecke (chief design engineer for M.A.N.) suggested thoroughly redesigning the Panther II and incorporating Tiger components such as the steering gears, final drive, entire suspension and turret based on Eastern Front experience. Total weight would increase to more than 50 metric tons. Another meeting on 17 February 1943 focused on sharing and standardizing parts between the Tiger II tank and the Panther II, such as the transmission, all-steel eighty centimetre diameter roadwheels (only overlapping and not interleaved as the original Schachtellaufwerk roadwheel design used) and running gear. In March 1943, MAN indicated that the first prototype would be completed by August 1943. A number of engines were under consideration, among them the new Maybach HL 234 fuel-injected engine (900 hp operated by an 8-speed hydraulic transmission) and the BMW 003 aviation turbojet-derived, GT 101 turboshaft powerplant, planned to be of some 1,150 shaft horsepower output and weighing only some 450 kg (992 lb) without its transmission, only some 38% of the weight of the Panther’s standard Maybach HL230 V-12 gasoline fueled piston engine. 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. 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. An improved version, the Panther Ausf. A, entered production in August 1943. 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 1944.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.

In September 1944, and again in March/April 1945, MAN built a limited number of Panthers with overlapping, non-interleaved steel-rimmed 80 cm diameter roadwheels originally designed for Henschel’s Tiger II and late series Tiger I Ausf. E tanks. These steel-rimmed roadwheels were introduced from chassis number 121052 due to raw material shortages.
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.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 appears to be no fear on the part of our forces of the German Mark VI (Tiger) tank. There can be no basis for the T26 tank other than the conception of a tank-vs.-tank duel-which is believed to be unsound and unnecessary. 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.

The E series of experimental tanks — E-10, 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 been replaced by the E-50. 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 8.8 cm L/71 gun.
The Panther was rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943 despite numerous unresolved technical problems, leading to high losses due to mechanical failure. Most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and early 1944, though the bombing of production plants, increasing shortages of high-quality alloys for critical components, shortage of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of crews all impacted the tank’s effectiveness. Though officially classified as a medium tank, at 44.8 metric tons the Panther was closer in weight to contemporary foreign heavy tanks. The Panther’s weight caused logistical problems, such as an inability to cross certain bridges, otherwise the tank had a very high power-to-weight ratio which made it highly mobile.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. For this reason, the bearing system in the available tanks is in very poor condition and has sometimes caused track/suspension failures.

A report by Dr. Puschel of MAN said ”The main cause of these failures was fatigue of the compound intermediate gear due to the low-core strength of the material used and the absence of case hardening at the critical sections.” and ”the use of split ring dowels with only a few bolts to retain the main drive gear to its flange proved unsatisfactory. This difficulty was subsequently overcome by…fitting bolts.”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 write-off of three Panthers due to 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 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 1943. Reliability improved with the Ausf. A and later G of the Panther, with availability rates going from an average of 37% by end of 1943 to an average of 54% in 1944. By mid-1944, the Panther was at its peak performance and widely regarded as the most formidable tank on the battlefield. German general Hasso von Manteuffel considered the Panther Germany’s ”most satisfactory” tank, saying it ”would have been close to the ideal had it been possible to design with a lower silhouette.”

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. Interleaved wheels had long been standard on all German half-tracks. 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. The AK 7-200 transmission was capable of pivot turns but only when the ground resistance on both tracks was the same. This high-torque method of turning could cause failures of the final drive. The Panther combat readiness in autumn/winter 1943 was low, because of engine problems. A contemporary report said ”Until reaching the first preparation area, 50% of the vehicles were inoperative: 2/3 of them with engine breakdowns and 1/3 with and lateral transmission system.(Final drive)”The high U.S. tank losses in the Battle of the Bulge against a force largely of Panther tanks brought about a clamour for better armour and firepower. At General Eisenhower’s request, only 76 mm gun-armed 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.

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, and Panthers continued to be produced to the end of the war with the rounded gun mantlet.
10 Panthers lost by enemy action. 25 Panthers totally lost (23 due to enemy fire and subsequent fire, 2 due to fire during the march) 100 Panther in repair and maintenance services ( J-Dienste ). Of these: 56 with damage caused by shots and mines and 44 with technical problems. About 60% of technical problems have been minor breakdowns. Vehicles repaired and back to the area of operations: approximately 40 Panthers. The rest, approximately 25 Panthers, have not yet been registered by the repair and maintenance services.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 side.

During the development of the Schmalturm turret, Krupp proposed an up-gunned varriant using the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 and modifying the turret minimally. Several drawings were made. Krupp’s drawing Hln-130 shows that the gun was to be mounted 35 cm further forward than the 7.5 cm, with the gun carriage being 35 cm further back. This necessitated an extension to the turret. However, the gun still reduced internal space, making it harder to load. Krupp´s Hln-E142 drawing, called ´Pz.Kpfw. “Panther” mit 8.8 cm L/71 (Kw.K.43)´, dating back to November 17, 1944, shows that the 8.8 would have had depression/elevation angles of -8/15 and would have lengthened the tank to 9.25 meters long.
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.Steering was accomplished through a seven-speed AK 7-200 synchromesh gearbox from Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen (ZF), and a MAN single radius steering system, operated by steering levers. Each gear had a fixed radius of turning, ranging from 5 m (16 ft) for 1st gear up to 80 m (260 ft) 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 was a much simplified design compared to the Tiger tanks.

How many Panther tanks still exist?
There are just over a dozen Panthers currently on display in the world. The MVTF Panther is one of six in working order and the only one in the United States.
Powered turret traverse was provided by the variable speed Boehringer-Sturm L4 hydraulic motor, which was driven from the main engine by a secondary drive shaft, the same system as on the PzKpfw.VI Tiger. On early production versions of the Panther maximum turret traverse was limited to 6º/second, whilst on later versions a selectable high speed traverse gear was added. Thus the turret could be rotated 360 degrees at up to 6º/second in low gear independent of engine rpm (same as on early production versions), or up to 19º/second with the high speed setting and engine at 2000 rpm, and at over 36º/second at the maximum allowable engine speed of 3000 rpm. The direction and speed of traverse was controlled by the gunner through foot pedals, the speed of traverse corresponding to the level of depression the gunner applied to the foot pedal. This system allowed for very precise control of powered traverse, a light touch on the pedal resulting in a minimum traverse speed of 0.1 deg/sec (360 degrees in 60 min), unlike in most other tanks of the time (e.g. US M4 Sherman or Soviet T-34) this allowed for fine laying of the gun without the gunner needing to use his traverse handwheel. Engine reliability improved over time. The average service life expectancy without the need to dismount the engine from the tank was about 2000 km, or around 100 working hours. A French assessment in 1947 of their stock of captured Normandy Panther A tanks concluded that the engine had an average life of 1,000 km (620 mi) and maximum life of 1,500 km (930 mi). 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 1945, but the end of war ended these plans.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 also made to convert the transmission to sleeve bearings, but were not carried out due to the ending of Panther production.

What is Germany's most advanced tank?
LEOPARD 2 A7 +: LEOPARD 2 A7 +: The latest version of the world’s leading battle tank. The LEOPARD 2 A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Bundeswehr. With it, the Bundeswehr gains the world’s most advanced main battle tank with expanded command capabilities.
Unteroffizier Krause of a Panther workshop platoon has driven his Panther recovery tank – Chassis No. 212132 – 4,200km until 3 May 1944 without making any engine changes and without suffering any damage to the side reduction gears (Seitenvorgelege), gear change or clutch. Approximately 1000 km have been covered with a Panther tank in tow. The vehicle and engine are still in great condition and operational.

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