|This page is about the German medium tank Panther D. For other versions, see Panzer V Panther (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 D (Panther D) (Sd.Kfz. Index: Sd.Kfz. 171) is the first production variant of the iconic Panzerkampfwagen V Panther medium tank family. M.A.N. produced the first production series Panther D variant tank in January 1943. The initial VK 3002 (M) prototype was improved in several ways, including increasing the hull upper front armour plate thickness from 60 mm to 80 mm and inclined at 55 degrees. Due to the angle of the hull upper front armour plate, an enemy shell firing directly at the Panther from a head-on position would have to penetrate roughly 140 mm of armour plate. On the other hand, despite having a thicker hull upper front armour plate of 100 mm, the Tiger I tank only possessed 100 mm of effective armour. This is primarily because Tiger I's hull upper front armour plate is placed perpendicular to the shell impact angle. The inclusion of Panzerschürzen (side shirt armour) is another improvement. To protect the visible 40 mm chassis side armour between the top of the track and below the pannier, the German designers incorporated protective skirt armour constructed of 5 mm soft steel to protect against close-range penetration by Soviet anti-tank weaponry.
Introduced in the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41, the Panther D is the next generation of medium tanks that formally superseded the Panzer IV medium tank family in the latter stages of World War II. Due to its massive, sloped upper front armour plate, the Panther D can easily knock out any opponent tank with its ranks while staying immune to most enemy return fire. However, since the turret is still rotated by hand, the traverse speed is slow, and close-range confrontations with adversaries in towns are not encouraged. Despite its large size in comparison to other tanks in its class, the Panther D is remarkably mobile and can reach the majority of strategic zones early in the battle.
Survivability and 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 (29-31°)||16 mm|
|Turret|| 100 mm (11-12°) Turret front
60-100 (7-80°) + 10 mm Gun mantlet
|45 mm (0-25°)||45 mm (20-30°)||16 mm|
|Cupola||80 mm||80 mm||80 mm||16 mm|
- Suspension wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick. The interleaved suspension wheels means that there are places where it will be a cumulative 20 + 20 mm extra armour.
- Belly armour is 16 mm thick.
- A 30 mm RHA plate separates the engine compartment from the crew compartment.
- 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.
- The gun mantlet ring around the gun barrel is 300 mm thick.
- Add-on armour adds tracks around the turret side and rear.
- Never try to angle the Panther, its side is too vulnerable, especially above the tracks
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
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)||No|
- Turret and large sides empty: 31 (+48) shells
|7.92 mm MG34|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Panther has a much stronger front glacis armour than its heavy tank companion Tiger I, with ~140 mm effective thickness with sloping compared to the Tiger's 100 mm armour. However, only the frontal glacis is nigh impenetrable, the side armour and turret are very vulnerable and care must be taken to keep this safe.
One method is to exploit the Panther's long gun range with distance. Fight from a long distance from 800 m to 2,000 m away. At this range, the enemy's gun shells will lose most of their penetrative potential compared to the Panther's gun and will (hopefully) not be able to penetrate the Panther's weak point on the turret, plus you have the benefit of their lower aim accuracy due to distance. Of course, this scenario is very unlikely given the more close-oriented maps and games in War Thunder, so let's get to the alternative tactic...
In a more close-range tactic, stay with your allies. Allies will help you by covering your weak points on your sides. If you advance too far from your allies, the likelihood of your tank ending in a fiery ammunition explosion increases exponentially. Even in a close-range battle, try to maintain distance between you and the enemy tank to prevent them from easily flanking you and keep a range advantage to keep your weak points as hard to hit as possible. The slow turret traverse will also be a lower drawback at a longer range as you will not need to turn your turret as much to aim at different targets. Stay near the rear of the line while more mobile and aggressive allies charge forward and attract the enemy's attention so you can get the jump on them.
Pros and cons
- Excellent cannon has a range of ammo for any type of enemy: great stock APCBC for common targets and HE for light vehicles
- Large ammo capacity allows polyvalent ammo loadouts
- Great accuracy and velocity allows easy long-range sniping.
- Heavily armoured frontal hull is immune to most guns at its battle rating, e.g. the 85 mm D-5T or 76 mm M1
- Fast top speed, good hull traverse. Can get to positions in time
- Adequate gun depression of -8° adapts most terrains well
- Has a wide range of effective camouflage to unlock. Suitable for almost every terrain/map
- Gun mantlet tends to sometimes absorb shells
- Gun mantlet is only 100 mm thick, a huge and well-known weak spot to shoot at
- Very poor turret traverse making it hard to respond to flankers or to get the gun on target. For close-quarter combat, great situational awareness and fast reaction is required which isn't beginner friendly
- Side ammo racks are prone to detonation when hit
- Terrible reverse speed, not enough to get out of bad situations
- Weak side armour gets penetrated easily by Soviet APHEBC shells (e.g. BR-365A, BR-471). Cannot angle too much
- Lower glacis penetrations often start fires or break the transmission, leaving the tank immobile and vulnerable
- High profile for a medium tank makes it harder to hide
- Thin roof armour is vulnerable to M2 Brownings which are widely seen on American planes
- Although heavily armoured, its hull can easily get penetrated frontally by Soviet 122 mm guns (IS-2, etc.), resulting in a knock-out out with a single shot
- The small calibre of the gun means the main APCBC shell has rather small amounts of explosive filler, resulting in it often being unable to one shot enemies
- The curved gun mantlet is a shot trap: it will deflect rounds into the weak hull roof 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, though only possess a mediocre HE shell.
The Ausf. D variant was the first variant designed for the Panther, easily distinguishable by its drum-shaped commander cupola. The Ausf. D can also be distinguished by a unique machine gun port with a shape of a vertical "letterbox" flap from where the machine gun was fired (this was replaced by a standard ball mount in later variants). The Ausf. D also had the initial turret curved gun mantlet that was introduced to the Panther, though there were faults with the design as explained below. 842 Panther Ausf. D was produced from January to September 1943.
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, lack of ventilation to the engine due to waterproofing, 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.
This combat vehicle was developed by the company MAN in 1941 and 1942 and was intended to become the Wehrmacht's primary tank. According to German classification, the Panther was considered a medium tank.
After the outbreak of war with the Soviet Union, German troops encountered the new Soviet T-34 and KV tanks, which were superior to all of the Wehrmacht's available models.
After examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet tanks, German engineers added sloping armour and a new chassis with large rollers and wide treads to the project.
In the spring of 1942, MAN's prototype was approved and entered military service. This combat vehicle embodied the spirit of German tank construction: a front-mounted transmission compartment, rear engine compartment, and an individual, staggered torsion suspension designed by the engineer G. Kniepkamp. The tank's main armament was a 75 mm 7,5 cm KwK 42 L/70 tank gun produced by the company Rheinmetall-Borsig, with a long 70-calibre barrel.
The main advantage of this weapon was its high muzzle velocity, which gave it high accuracy and good penetration power. Its ability to knock tanks out was better than that of the majority of Soviet, American, and British tank guns. In this way, it even surpassed the famous 8,8 cm KwK 36 installed on the Tiger I.
Full-scale production of the tank began in January 1943. By September 1943, the companies Daimler-Benz AG, Henschel, and MAN had produced 850 Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. D tanks.
The vehicle's combat debut was the Battle of Kursk, where the variant exhibited low technical reliability. For this reason, the tank's losses were very high. Hasty development and adoption of tanks featuring a new design contributed to numerous minor flaws.
- 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
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|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|