|This page is about the German medium tank Panther A. For other versions, see Panther tank (Family). For other uses, see Panther (Disambiguation).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Panzerkampfwagen V Ausführung A (Panther A) (Sd.Kfz. Index: Sd.Kfz. 171) is the second production variant of the iconic Panzerkampfwagen V Panther medium tank family. Many Panther D characteristics, such as the small rectangular 'letterbox' hull machine gun opening, remained on the early production Panther A manufactured between July and December 1943. The Panther A turret has received significant modifications. For starters, the gun mantlet on the Panther A turret was larger than the one on the previous Panther D. The design of the cast turret side directly behind the gun mantlet was modified to a dish-shaped protrusion to fit the new gun mantlet. In addition, a new dome-shaped cast-armour commander's cupola was designed, and a ring was mounted on the commander's cupola to allow for the mounting of an anti-aircraft light machine gun. A single-speed turret power traverse system was also introduced, allowing Panther A to react to adversary tanks considerably faster than before. Finally, the German Army put a unique coating called Zimmerit on the tank's outside surface, anticipating that the Soviets and Allies would deploy magnetic mines to destroy the tank. The Zimmerit aims to minimize the effectiveness of magnets adhering to the metal hull.
Introduced in the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41, the Panther A was part of the next generation of medium tanks that officially superseded the Panzer IVs in World War II. The Panther A is widely regarded as one of the best medium tanks of World War II, combining mobility, protection, and firepower. After the Soviet T-34, it was one of the most influential tank designs and served as the foundation for many later medium tank designs in other countries. The turret traverse speed is much faster than the previous Panther D model, lowering reaction time to unexpected spotting of enemies at close quarters significantly. Players can also use the commander's cupola-mounted MG34 light machine gun as a deterrence to hostile low-flying aircraft.
Survivability and armour
The Panther A has excellent frontal armour, which can protect the crew from many of the kinetic shells found in this battle rating range (with the exception of chemical shells and large calibre kinetic shells). Panther A's survivability is excellent when played to its strengths in long-range engagement; avoid brawling with enemy tanks unless absolutely necessary. Although the turret cheek of all Panther medium tanks is a well-known weak spot, engaging the enemy from a mid- to long-distance can greatly mitigate this weakness because the enemy will struggle to effectively penetrate the weak spot as engagement distance increases. Furthermore, due to the unique curvature of the turret armour layout, the turret cheek can bounce many kinetic shells from the enemy as distance increases. Keep in mind that powerful kinetic shells like that of the 122 mm D-25 cannon and APDS shells from British and Swedish tanks will easily penetrate the frontal armour, necessitating greater caution when engaging such foes.
The Panther A armour is not very different from the Panther D, retaining the curved gun mantlet that could potentially bounce a kinetic round down into the vulnerable hull roof. While this phenomenon is relatively rare, the risk is present and should be considered when fighting any enemy even if they don't have a gun that can reliably penetrate the Panther's turret front armour.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Gun mantlet, Cupola)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides (Slope angle)||Rear (Slope angle)||Roof|
|Hull|| 80 mm (55°) Front glacis
60 mm (56°) Lower glacis
| 40 mm (40°) Top
40 + 5 mm Lower
|40 mm (29°)||16 mm|
|Turret|| 100 mm Turret front
65 -100 mm Gun mantlet
|45 mm||45 mm||16 mm|
|Cupola||80 mm||80 mm||80 mm||16 mm|
- Tracks and lower side of the hull are covered by 5 mm thick armour plate, protecting them from HEAT and HE shells.
- Rear parts of the upper side hull armour have tracks attached to it, adding additional 20 mm of armour.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The mobility of the Panther A is greatly improved over that of the previous Panther D, and it can be considered one of the best medium tanks in Germany's mid-BR range during WWII. The Panther A combines great mobility with excellent firepower thanks to its high top speed and neutral steering. However, mobility is still lacking when compared to its contemporary era tanks, particularly the Soviet T-34-85. Most Panther enemies, such as Sherman and T-34-85, will have no trouble firing the first shot when they come face-to-face with Panthers unexpectedly. Maps with lots of cover should be played with caution as US M18 light tanks frequently appear in unexpected areas of the map at the start of a match. Overall, the Panther A should be played as a fast medium tank, taking advantage of its excellent frontal armour while not overly relying on it to take hits, and engaging the enemy from a distance with its excellent cannon.
Modifications and economy
|75 mm KwK42||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|79||77 (+2)||71 (+8)||62 (+17)||53 (+26)||44 (+35)|
|35 (+44)||31 (+48)||16 (+63)||4 (+75)||1 (+78)||Yes|
- Turret and large sides empty: 31 (+48) shells.
|7.92 mm MG34|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
Playing as Panther A:
As with all other Panther-series medium tanks, it is best played in a supporting role or as a front-line offensive tank due to its agility. The cannon mounted is more than forgiving and powerful enough to destroy any potential target, so use it to an advantage; long-range shooting is effective as the muzzle velocity is extremely high, owing to the long-barreled 75 mm, the penetration values are more than capable of punching through any opposing armour, and the shell weight will, if the shell penetrates, consistently deal decent amounts of crew and module damage, if not immediately make the target on combat ineffective.
Because Panthers have relatively weak side armour that even 20 mm autocannons can penetrate it, most enemies would make it their goal to flank around and penetrate the Panther's side armour (it does not help that the Panther's target profile is much larger from the side compared to the front as well). The Panther A's significantly improve turret traverse speed makes it better able to counter this trick than the Panther D, but it can still struggle against enemies that are moving at high speed like Shermans and T-34-85 at close ranges.
As the Panther's suspension rocks violently during the start and stop of the tank movement, it is recommended to not drive too fast when enemies are expected to be close by in order to reduce the gun sway and gun sight stabilization.
Playing against Panther A:
Like when fighting the previous Panther D variant head-on, fight the Panther A by firing into the right turret cheek. This is one of its weak points and can also knock out the gunner to provide some breathing room for a follow-up shot. Keep in mind that as the range increases, the shell may bounce. At short ranges, high-velocity guns like the 17-pounder can penetrate the lower glacis, and any large calibre (100 mm and up) can penetrate the upper glacis. Any British tank equipped with APDS can easily penetrate the upper glacis.
Light tank: Light tanks can use their high speed to flank the Panther A tank, often more successfully than medium tanks due to their smaller profile and swift mobility. Most light tanks also carry sufficiently powerful cannons to penetrate the Panther A side armour from even a fair distance away as the Panther A's side armour is only 50 mm thick. Ensure that the Panther's firepower or mobility is taken out with the first shot, or else the Panther A would be able to quickly respond to a flanking threat by either their turret traverse or hull neutral steering turn to point directly at the light tank's position, protecting themselves while allowing them to handle the light tank threat.
Medium tank: The Panther series medium tanks' greatest strengths are long-range engagements with its high-velocity 75 mm cannon and thick frontal armour. Their mobility also allow the Panther tank to reach most places an up-tiered medium tank may not reach in time. Try to minimize this disadvantage by closing the combat distance to minimize the firepower and armour disparity. Take care to make use of all map terrain and cover in order to avoid getting into the Panther's gun sights. Closing the distance also enable better targeting of weak points like the turret cheeks that is only 100 mm thick to quickly incapacitate the Panther A's turret crew, allowing for an opportunity to advance as the gunner is being replaced by another crew member. Tanks like the M4 Shermans can take advantage of their gun stabilizers to quickly move up and briefly pause and take a well-aimed shot at the Panther weak point as they get closer to take out the Panther A without needing to flank all the way around. Tanks like the T-34-85 can often instantly take out the Panther A with one well-placed APCBC round into the side and letting the post-penetration damage devastate the interior, often taking out all the crew members or igniting the ammunition.
Heavy tank/tank destroyer: While heavy tanks are more well-armoured, caution is still needed as the Panther's high-velocity cannon can easily penetrate tanks like the IS-2 from a distance. Continue to approach the Panther A as one would with a medium tank, making the most of existing cover and terrain to avoid staying in the Panther's gun sights for very long. That said, heavy tanks and tank destroyers often have cannon armament more than able to penetrate the Panther's front armour without relying on weak points. With this attribute, heavy tanks and tank destroyers should take on the "Panther-destroyer" role by having allies attempt to expose the Panther tank in the open and keep it in placed for the heavy tank/tank destroyer to aim at the Panther tank and penetrate their armour with ease.
Pros and cons
- Excellent cannon has a range of ammo for any type of enemy: great stock AP for common targets (eg. T-34-85, M4 Sherman or even the M4A3E2), piercing APCR for early cold war tanks (e.g. M26, T-44, early Centurions) and HE for light vehicles. Great accuracy and velocity allows easy long-range sniping. Plenty of ammo capacity allows flexible ammo setups
- Heavily armoured frontal hull is immune to most guns at 5.7 like the 85 mm D-5T and 76 mm M1
- Almost 300% faster turret rotation than the previous D model. Is more responsive to flankers
- Fast top speed, good hull traverse. Can get to positions in time
- Engine has 50 more horsepower compared to the D variant, acceleration is noticeably faster and is on par, if not slightly faster, than T-34s
- Adequate gun depression of -8° adapts most terrains well
- Reasonably cheap repair cost
- Has a wide range of good-looking camouflage to unlock. Suitable for almost every terrain
- Gun mantlet is only 100 mm thick, a huge and well-known weak spot to shoot at
- Side ammo racks are prone to detonation when hit
- Terrible reverse speed of only -4 km/h, can get the player killed
- Weak side armour gets penetrated easily by Soviet APHEBC. Cannot angle too much
- Lower glacis often catches fire or breaks transmission when penetrated, leaving the tank immobile and vulnerable
- High profile for a medium tank makes it harder to hide
- Roof armour of 16 mm is vulnerable to M2 Brownings which are widely seen on American planes
- Although heavily armoured, it can still get frontally penetrated easily by a rather common heavy tank: IS-2
- Gun mantlet traps shots (shells may deflect into the hull roof weak armour)
The Panther development started as far back as 1938 as a replacement to the Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs. The program was called VK 20 and it called for a 20 ton tracked vehicle design by Krupp, Daimler-Benz, and MAN. Krupp dropped out when the requirements changed to 30 tones in 1941 when the German encounters the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks where the Panzer III and Panzer IV's performance have little effect due to its superior armour, mobility, and armament. The VK 20 was abandoned for the VK 30.02 in April 1942. Daimler-Benz design for this project looks similar to the T-34 with the turret far forward in the hull, plus the use of a diesel engine and external leaf spring suspension. MAN's design had a twin torsion bar, the interleaved suspension system (like the Tiger I) with the turret situated in the middle of the hull, plus had a petrol Maybach engine. Hitler was reported to believe that the DB design was superior to the MAN design, and in a review between January to March 1942, Fritz Todt and Albert Speer also recommended the DB design. Then MAN revised their design, and a special commission by Hitler decided on the MAN design in May 1942, to which Hitler approved after reviewing it. One of the reasons the MAN was approved was that its turret was already in production while the DB used a completely new design. However, despite being built for a 30-ton design, Hitler decided to increase the armour on the MAN design and the weight went from 30 tons to 45 tons.
The MAN design was made into a prototype in September 1942, when it was officially accepted after testing and named the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther. Where it remained so until 1944, where Hitler removed the V in the designation for the name Panther. Production started in December 1942, though the early models suffered from reliability issues. The production plants expanded from MAN to Daimler-Benz, MNH, and Henschel for increased output. Despite that, production was often delayed due to Allied air bombing, which targeted the Maybach engine plant and DB, MAN, and MNH tank factories. Nevertheless, the total number of Panther tanks produced was 6,706, making the Panther the third most produced armoured fighting vehicle in Germany behind the Panzer IV and the StuG III.
The MAN design for the Panther featured a heavily sloped armour design, with the front glacis plate being 80 mm thick (from the original 60 mm before the weight increase) and when sloped at 55 degrees, it was 140 mm effective in thickness. This made the Panther one of the best-armoured vehicle in World War II. The side armour of the Panther was way thinner at 40 mm that could be pierced very easily. Additional side armour in the form of Schürzen could be placed on the sides hanging to cover the suspension and hull side from being penetrated by Soviet anti-tank rifle fire. The Panther used the same engine as the Tiger I, the Mayback HL 210 P30 engine, and had a similar suspension system, the Schachtellaufwerk interleaved wheel system, which complicated maintenance issues. The tank used the formidable 7.5 cm Kwk 42 cannon, which could destroy most of the allied tanks in service, only possess a mediocre HE shell.
The Ausf. A variant was the second variant designed for the Panther, The old drum-shaped cupola on the Ausf. D had been replaced by a side-swinging hatch that didn't require the commander to expose himself to open or close the hatch. The Ausf. A introduced the standard ball mount for the assistant driver's machine gun, replacing the "letterbox" flap design on the Ausf. D. The Ausf. A also had the initial turret curved gun mantlet that was introduced to the Panther, though there were faults with the design as explained below. Other small improvements of the Ausf. A over the Ausf. D was improved reliability by ironing out several mechanical issues. 2,192 Panther Ausf. A was produced from August 1943 to June 1944.
The Panther's rushed development and commitment into battle caused the design to have many flaws inhibiting its full potential. The most prominent flaw that lasted throughout the war was the weak final drive due to using a double spur system that made it more prone to failure from the Panther's torque requirements, which is averaged at around 150 km before failing. The curved gun mantlet design had an unfortunate tendency to ricochet deflected rounds into the roof, it was, however, not fixed until a new gun mantlet design with a flat "chin" shape was introduced on the Panther G. The Schachtellaufwerk suspension system, like the Tiger, suffered from over-engineering and complicating maintenance of the tank. Smaller problems in the tank included not having a dedicated periscope for the gunner, maintenance-heavy, fuel-hungry, and deteriorating armour quality as metal alloys in Germany began to run out.
Despite its heavier weight and slightly complex design, the cost of each Panther tank was not very high in relative to tanks with a price at 117,100 Reichmarks, compared to the 103,462 RM of Panzer IVs and 250,800 RM of the Tiger I. This made the tank rather economic for its fighting purposes despite being over-engineered.
The Panther was first issued to the Eastern Front, arming the 51st and 52nd Tank Battalions. Their usage presented mechanical problems of the Panther, forcing many of the early Panthers to be returned for rebuilding. Despite these issues, the Panther was deemed critical in the Battle of Kursk in Operation Citadel, Hitler delayed the operation so more Panthers can reach the front. 200 Panthers were ready in June 1943, but its combat debut was disappointing. The Panthers, which arrived last minute before the operation started, meant that the crew serving the tanks had little time to train with the new tanks. Two tanks were lost to motor fires right after disembarking from the trains at the front lines. 184 were operational at the start of the operation on July 5, this dropped to 40 within two days. According to Heinz Guderian, five days into the offensive, only 10 operation Panthers were available with 25 completely lost, 100 in need of repairs, and 60 per cent of those mechanical breakdowns were easily repaired. Those that did work during the campaign were able to cause heavy casualties on the Soviet tank forces, but the Panther's lethality was mitigated by its low number available. When the operation turned and the Soviet counteroffensive pushed the Germans away from Kursk, the Panther loss rose to 156 on August 11, with many more lost as the Soviet kept gaining ground. Perhaps the Panther's biggest role in Operation Citadel was delaying the start of the operation by two months to allow the Soviet defences to be bolstered beyond the German's expectations, causing the failure of the offensive.
After the failure at Kursk, improvements on the Panther helped its reliability rate. By March 1944, Guderian reported that most of the Panther's flaws were ironed out, but the final drive and other mechanical issues were still a major issue to front-line units. The Panthers served the rest of the war as quick-reaction forces to fight off Allied offensives on both fronts. On the Eastern Front, some 700 Panthers were committed to the battle at all times, though the number of operational vehicles varies depending on the situation. The Panthers were also sent to suppress the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. Two were captured by the Polish forces, who used them against the German forces. The captured Panthers were used until they became immobilized and were destroyed to prevent recapture by the Germans.
On the Western Front, the Panthers began being present in large numbers after the Invasion of Normandy. 156 Panthers were initially present between two Panzer regiments, but this increased by seven regiments after the Allied invasion, boosting the strength to 432 tanks. The high number of Panther situated in France, mostly around Caen, and their performance against the Allied armour caused many Allied tankers to fear it as much as the Tiger tanks. However, the Panther's reliability problem was still evident as many Panthers were left abandoned by the crew when they broke down. The mechanical breakdown, partly from the flaws in the machine, can also be attributed to the poor crew training given, which showed by crew overburdening the transmission or lacking regular maintenance on the tank. The Allied assessment of the Panther was that its mobility on soft grounds was superior due to its wider tracks giving more flotation over the ground, and armour and firepower value was superior to anything they had, though it was inferior in the bocage terrain of France due to the constrained nature of the environment. The Panther participated in the famed Battle of Arracourt, where a total of 262 German tanks were committed to battle. The battle, against the mostly M4 Sherman, equipped 4th Armored Division, routed the Germans after they suffered heavy casualties, while the Allies only losing 32 armoured fighting vehicles, a testament on how crew training and tactical advantage have a big impact on tank warfare. The highest concentration of Panthers on the Western Front was 471 Panthers (336 operational) in the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge), where it showed its prowess in open terrain due to its superior gun. The Panthers also took place in Operation Grief, being disguised as M10 tank destroyers to trick American soldiers. All of these mocked up Panthers were destroyed in battle or scrapped after it. After the Ardennes Offensive, eight Panzer division with 271 Panthers were transferred to the Eastern Front to beat back the Soviet offensive. Only five Panther battalions, 96 Panthers for each battalion, remained on the Western Front to fight the Allies.
After the war, Panther still saw a use for some time in various countries. Bulgaria and Romania received Panthers from the Soviets as aid, which they used until the 1950s. France was the most notable user of the Panther tanks after World War II due to the large quantities of operable vehicles left behind by the Germans during the Normandy invasion. The French raised a regiment of 50 Panthers from 1944 to 1947, when they were replaced by the new ARL 44 tanks. The Panther also influenced the French AMX 50 tank design, and its gun was derived onto the AMX 13 light tank. In 1947, an evaluation was written by the French War Ministry on the Panthers which even made their own assessment of the Panther that pointed out most of the flaws of the Panthers, especially the mechanical failure and the deficiency of the armour later in the war due to alloy shortages.
In the fall of 1943, production of the Ausf.A variant of the Pz.Kpfw. V tank began. The Verstandigungsoeffnung hatch, which allowed for communication with infantry and for pistol fire from inside, was removed from the new turret. Vehicles of this variant were given the simpler monocular TZF-12А sight, as well as the commander's cupola used by the Tiger I tank. The hull's front plate was equipped with a traditional ball-mount directional machine gun instead of the inefficient letterbox flap gun used earlier. To strengthen the chassis, the road wheels received an increased number of bolts. The engine and transmission cooling systems were improved. A viewport was installed on the roof of the turret, along with a close-combat device (antipersonnel fragmentation grenade launchers). Tanks released at a later date had a modified exhaust system. Some Panther Ausf. A tanks were equipped with experimental infrared night vision devices. All of the tanks of this variant had their vertical surfaces coated with Zimmerit anti-magnetic paste.
From August 1943 to May 1944, about 2,000 of these tanks were released.
Beginning in 1943, the Red Army captured a small number of Panther tanks (of several variants). These tanks were then used by several of the USSR's armoured divisions, including, for example, Lieutenant Sotnikov's division. This tank was known as a dangerous enemy to Soviet tank forces, and captured vehicles were considered a thing of great luck. They were given to the most experienced and effective crews as recognition of their incredible merit. To keep the German tanks in good condition, Soviet tank divisions used captured German mechanics. In 1944, a technical manual for the Panther was published in Russian, for distribution to the crews.
- RideR2's Realistic gunsight (TZF4a, TZF 5a/b/d/e/f/f2, TZF 9b/b1/c/d, TZF 12/a) for Pzkpfw II, Pzkpfw III, Pzkpfw IV, Pzkpfw V, Pzkpfw VI
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|Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg Aktiengesellschaft (MAN AG)|
|Panther||VK 3002 (M) · Panther A · Ersatz M10 · Panther D · Panther F · Panther G · Panther II|
|Germany medium tanks|
|Pz.III||Pz.III B · Pz.III E · Pz.III F · Pz.III J · Pz.III J1 · Pz.III J1 TD · Pz.III L · Pz.III M · Pz.III N|
|Pz.IV||Pz.IV C · Pz.IV E · Pz.IV F1 · Pz.IV F2 · Pz.IV G · Pz.IV H · Pz.IV J · Pz.Bef.Wg.IV J|
|Pz.V||VK 3002 (M) · Panther A · Panther D · Panther F · Panther G · Ersatz M10 · Panther II|
|M48 upgrades||M48A2 G A2 · M48 Super|
|Leopard 1||Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard A1A1 (L/44) · Leopard 1A5 · C2A1 · Turm III|
|Leopard 2||PT-16/T14 mod. · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2AV|
|Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2 (PzBtl 123) · Leopard 2 PL · Leopard 2A5 · Leopard 2 PSO · Leopard 2A6|
|Trophies||▀M4 748 (a) · ▀T 34 747 (r)|
|Other||Nb.Fz. · KPz-70|
|USA||mKPz M47 G · M48A2 C|