|This article, Panther, is currently under renovation.|
|Panzer V Panther
- "Panther 1, Immobilized!"
- ―Koume Akaboshi
The Panther (official designation until 1944: Panzerkampfwagen V Panther, official designation: Panzerkampfwagen Panther, ordnance designation: Sd.Kfz. 171) was a German medium tank that saw extensive service in the second half of World War II.
Work on a replacement tank for the Panzer III and Panzer IV already began in 1938. This new series of tanks were designated as the VK 20.01. The letters ‘VK’ are an abbreviation for ‘Vollketten’ (fully tracked), the 20 followed for the weight class in tons, and the 01 for the first model in the series.
The first contract for a detailed design was given to Daimler-Benz. In October 1939, Daimler-Benz began to design their own tank after receiving permission to prepare designs without outside interference.
At the begininng of the war in September 1939, the firm of Krupp embarked on designing an improved Pz. Kpfw. IV. This project was cancelled in May 1940 and Krupp began detailed designs on a new tank in the 20 ton class.
Due to engineers at both Daimler-Benz and Krupp favoring leaf spring suspension and being opposed to torsion bar suspension the firm of MAN (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg – Machine Works of Augsburg and Nürnberg) was pulled into the competition to design a new tank in the 20 ton class with torsion bar suspension.
By November 1941, designs for new tanks in the 20 ton class had almost been completed.
During operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, that started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, German forces would come to encounter two new Soviet tanks, the medium T-34 and the heavy KV-1, for the first time. A special Panzerkommission was sent to the front in order to obtain first hand knowledge and to study captured examples. In December 1941, the decision was made to abandon the previous designs and create new tanks in the 30 ton class.
As Krupp was dropped from the competition leaving both Daimler-Benz and MAN to come up with proposal for the new tank. In March 1942 the politicians decided in favor of the proposal by Daimler-Benz. However, a special comission which had been formed to review both designs ruled in favor of the proposal by MAN in May 1942. That same month Hitler agreed with the recommendation and the Panther design from MAN was selected for series production.
Daimler-Benz’s design, VK 30.01 (D), sported a well-sloped low hull, permitted by the usage of the well-proven, although “old school” solution with leaf spring suspension combined with large diameter double roadwheels and no return rollers. This would give the tank a rather low silhouette and narrow hull, the benefit of this being that the tank would stay close to its intendid weight. At the same time, this also put a considerable restriction the size of the turret ring diameter, which in turn limited the size of the turret. Like on the T-34, the drive sprockets were at the rear and the turret was placed forward. The engine was a diesel. Even with a three-man turret, the internal space was cramped, and mounting of the planned long barelled gun proved very difficult.
On the other hand, the design by MAN, VK 30.02 (M), was more of a conventional design, with the transmission and drive sprockets at the front, and a gasoline engine at the rear. This allowed for a larger, roomier turret to be mounted in the center of the vehicle. The double torsion bar suspension required more internal space, resulting in a larger hull. For the suspension, MAN took inspiration from Henschel’s Tiger I design, with pairs of large diameter interleaved wheels and wide tracks the tank would enjoy a lower ground pressure, better traction and mobility.
In July 1941, Waffen Prüfungsamt 6, in an attempt to achieve battlefield superiority, contracted the firm of Rheinmetall-Borsig with the task of designing a new high-performance gun that could penetrate the armour of the new Russian tanks, specifically to be able to penetrate 140 mm at 1000 meter range. The first design was a gun L/60 calibres in lenght, which was undergoing testfiring in early 1942 in which it was noted that its performance was barely sufficient and as a result WaPruf 6 issued a requirement for an L/70 calibre lenght gun.
Rheinmetall was also contracted to design a new turret for this gun. It should be pointed out the vehicle this turret was orginially being designed for was at that time not the Panther, but the Tiger. At that time, the 88 mm KwK 36 L/56 was not matching the penetrating power of the 75 mm KwK 42 L/70 so after the first 100 Tiger from Henschel and Porsche, subsequent production would switch to the KwK 42 gun.
A change in the 88 mm rounds filler cavity did provide the KwK 36 eventually with the same and better penetrating capabilities, after which the Tiger Ausf. H2 was canceled and the Tiger Ausf. H1 kept in production. Rheinmetall's turret design for the Tiger Ausf. H2 was subsequently changed to be used on the VK 30.0X designs.
When the decision was taken to go ahead with the design from MAN, series production would start at the MAN factory in November 1942. To increase deliveries of the new tank Daimler-Benz, Maschinenfabrik-Niedersachsen-Hanover (MNH) and Henschel became involved.
The first production model was designated as the Ausf. D, the reason for this contradiction remains unknown. Over the course of its production run all of the modifications made to the Ausf. D by DEMAG were incorperated. By September 1943, some 850 exampels of the Ausf. D had been completed.
The combat debut of the Panther during Operation Zitadelle proved to be a major dissapointment for the German Army. During the first few days of fighting, the number of operational tanks had dropped considerably. Contributing to these heavy losses was the lack of proper training for the units operating the new tank, poor tactical usage of the tank by commanders, heavy in-depth Russian minefields, powerfull anti-tank defencess, and the tank being an untested design with numerous mechanical deficiencies at this stage.
During and after the failed offensive at Kursk, production of the Panther would continue at an ever increasing output. Known faults could only be corrected at the factory, and over time most of the problems with the tank were eliminated. By 1944, the Panther had developed from the fault-ridden tank of the Panzerwaffe to a formiddable battle tank much appreciated by its crews.
When the production of the Ausf. A began in August 1943 one of the few recognizable changes was the shape of the turret which had been simplefied for ease of manufacture. Other changes included a lower, more ballistically resistant, cast-steel cupola with seven hooded periscopes arranged around its exterior circumference. Another change was a ball-type mounting for the bow MG 34. As production began to ramp up the number of Panthers in the field began to show a considerable increase. By July 1944, some 2200 Panther Ausf. A had been completed.
Production would once again switch to an improved model in March 1944 with the introduction of the Ausf. G which would remain in production until the end of the war. While the turret remained unchanged to that of the Ausf. A, this new model would use a newly improived chassis that incorperated production simplifications as wel las lessons learned from the cancelled Panther II. The Ausf. G chassis was uparmored in some areas and thinned in other areas to maintain the vehicles weight. Captured German indicated that almost 3000 Panther Ausf. G tanks made it across the assembly lines before production ceased, making it the most numerous model of the Panther build.
Key external spotting features for the Ausf. G tank chassis included, large tapering superstructure plates on the sides of the vehicle's hull, wehich replaced the two-piece hull superstructure plates of the previous models. On the glacis plate, the driver's direct-vision visor port and his two overhead fixed periscopes, were done away with and replaced with a single overhead 360-degree rotating and tilting periscope. A newly designed and reinforced mantlet, called a 'chin' due to the pronounced chin on its bottom portion was introduced in September 1944. However, this conversion was gradual and resulted in many Panthers still being assembeld with the rounded mantlet through to the end of the war.
The outcome of the war was decided by industrial might which gave both the Western Allies and the Soviets the ability to produce the vast amounts of equipment and material to wage a global war, and would result in the final encirclement of the Third Reich from three sides from 1944 onwards. The increasingly fast loss of the initiative and strategic capability to react made all offensive ambitions of the Wehrmacht impossble. Forced to defend, this meant that the Panzerwaffe with potent machines such as the Panther ultimately lost the tactical and operational advantage.
Despite most design flaws were rectified by late 1943 and the spring of 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.
To what extent the Panther with its undeniable quality influenced post-war tank design is difficult to judge. Even with its capabilities acknowledged, elsewhere each nation went its own way to reach and eventually exceed the parameters. This became apparent with tanks like the Centurion, the M26 Pershing, and the T-44.
After the war Romania received 13 Panther tanks from the USSR and were given the designation T-V (T-5) however these tanks were in very bad condition and only remained operational until 1950.
Bulgaria also received 15 Panthers from the USSR and those tanks had their automotive parts removed and were used as pillboxes along the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
France would make use of a small company-sized unit of 20 odd or so Panthers after the war which were used by the 501e RCC and would later be transferred to the 4e Escadron, 503e RCC somewhere in 1951.
Girls und Panzer
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded six Panthers Ausf.G (one commanded by Koume Akaboshi) during the tournament finals match against Ooarai Girls Academy. At the beginning of the match they are seen to fire from the forest at Ooarai, during the ensuing pursuit they still bombard Ooarai tanks while one get detracked by the ambushed Turtle Team. During the hill battle one get destroyed by the StuG, when Ooarai get stuck at the river while the other tanks advanced one Panther stayed behind to take care of the sneaky Hetzer and finally regroup with the others. During the final stage of the battle, two Panthers teamed up with a Tiger II too destroy the annoying Duck Team while the three others took pursuit of Ooarai's flag tank, one get destroyed after Leopon Team isolated Kuromorimine flag tank and was soon after destroyed by the combined fire of two Panthers and the rest of Kuromorimine's main force.
Kuromorimine Girls Academy comes with a two Panthers Ausf.G commanded by Koume Akaboshi and Emi Kojima to help Ooarai against All-Stars University Team, they were assigned to Sunflower Platoon commanded by Maho. Once they took position on the hill to give supporting fire to the two other team, but their role was short lived as the two tanks were destroyed by the Karl-Gerät 040's artillery strike.
Little Army 2
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded five Panthers Ausf.G during the Commemorative Cup second round match against Bellwall Academy. At the beginning of the match three Panthers splits from the main groups, one teamed-up with the Jagdpanther, two teamed up with the Jagdpanzer IV and the two remaining ones stayed with the Tiger II, Elefant and Jagdtiger. After Erika's group been caught in ambush, one Panther was destroyed by Bellwall tanks and the other return fire on Bellwall tanks. One of the Panther from Jagdpanzer IV group fell victim of Bellwall scout and was shot down emerging from a corner by the Tiger. Once Erika realize Bellwall tactics she sent the three Panthers with the Jagdpanther for Bellwall's flag tank, during the search one get its tracks snapped by the Panzer II opening a breach in Kuromorimine's perimeter, the two last Panthers didn't any role left until the end of the match.
During a Kuromorimine training match, ten Panthers Ausf.G were fielded, five on each teams (Erika's and Miho's). During the match, at least one of Miho's Panther was destroyed by Erika's Tiger II. During another training Erika destroyed White Team's flag tank Panther.
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded four Panthers Ausf.G (one commanded by Koume Akaboshi and another by Bauer) during a practice match against Jatkosota High School. During the match, Koume's Panther took pursuit alongside Erika's Tiger II and Miho's Tiger of Jatkosota BT Squad, while on the other side the rest of KMM's force were isolated when a dam was destroyed, Bauer's Panther narrowly escape the flood but was quickly destroyed, trapping two Panthers with the flag tank. On their side the trio were lured to Jatkosota's T-28 and then harassed by the said tank and a BT-5, the Panther was finally destroyed by the T-28. The two others managed to survive exchanging a fierce fire with their opponent eventually scoring some hits.
Gekkan Senshado Magazine
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded four Panthers Ausf.G during the tournament first round match against Chi-Ha-Tan Academy. It is likely that they unleashed hell on Chi-Ha-Tan tanks when they charged.
Yogurt Academy fielded two hybrid Panthers Ausf.D/G during the tournament first round match against Waffle Academy. It is unknown how they performed during the match but they maybe destroyed several Waffle tanks.
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded four Panthers Ausf.G during the tournament quarter-finals match against Jatkosota High School. It is unknown if they manage to destroy any of Jatkosota but two of them were destroyed, one by the BT-42 and another by the BT Squad.
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded eight Panthers Ausf.G during the tournament semi-finals match against St. Gloriana Girls College. At least three of them were destroyed by Matildas while they might have destroyed two of them. The rest might have destroyed the rest of St. Gloriana's tanks while the Churchill was destroyed by the Tiger.
BC Freedom High School is said to possesses some Panthers Ausf.G.
Kuromorimine Girls Academy fielded at least four Panthers Ausf.G during the Winter Continuous Track Cup first round match against Maginot Girls' Academy. They are seen unleashing a fierce fire barrage on Maginot tanks probably destroying them.
- Opposingly to other German tanks, the Panther models didn't follow alphabetical order perhaps due to an administrative error. In order Ausf.D, Ausf.A, Ausf.G and the planned Ausf.F.
- All-Stars University Team's Panthers paint in pink is maybe a reference to the Pink Panther.
- Main article: Panther/Gallery
|Light Tanks and Tankettes||7TP • AMR-35 • BT-42 • Crusader • CV.33 • FT-17 • Harry Hopkins • M22 Locust • M24 Chaffee • Mark VI • Panzer II • Panzer 38(t) • R35 • T-60 • T-70 • Tetrarch • TK Tankette • Type 94 Tankette • Type 95 Ha-Go • Type 97 Te-Ke|
|Medium Tanks||Centurion • M3 Lee • M4 Sherman • M13/40 • Matilda II • P26/40 • Panzer III • Panzer IV • Panzer V "Panther" • Sentinel • SOMUA S35 • T-34 • T-44 • Type 89B • Type 3 Chi-Nu • Type 97 Chi-Ha|
|Heavy Tanks||ARL 44 • B1 Bis • Black Prince • Churchill • IS-2 • KV-1 • KV-2 • M26 Pershing • Mark IV • Neubaufahrzeug • Panzer VI "Tiger" • Panzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II" • Panzer VIII "Maus" • VK45.01 Porsche Tiger|
|Tank Destroyers||Elefant • Hetzer • ISU-152 • Jagdpanzer IV • Jagdpanther • Jagdtiger • Mareșal • Semovente da 75/18 • StuG III • T28 Super-Heavy Tank|
|Self-Propelled Artillery||Karl-Gerät 040|
|Main Battle Tank||Type 10|