German off the assembly line Tanks Panther and Tiger in the courtyard of the Henschel factory
Towers of tanks "Panther" in the wagons at the railway station in Aschaffenburg (Aschaffenburg), broken by bombardment
In 1937, several companies were instructed to design a next, but heavier, battle tank model. Unlike other combat vehicles, things were moving slowly. Tanks Pz Kpfw III and IV so far satisfied the command of the Wehrmacht, but because for a long time it could not decide on the TTT to the new tank and changed those. task several times. Were built only a few prototypes, equipped with 75-millimeter short-barreled gun. However, in many respects, they were rather types of heavy tanks.
Slowness in the design disappeared immediately after the German attack on the Soviet Union, when German tanks on the battlefield met with KV and T-34. A month later, the company Rheinmetall took up the development of a powerful tank guns. At the suggestion of Guderian spec. The commission began to study captured Soviet cars. 20 November 41 of the year the commission reported on the design features of the T-34 tank, which had to be implemented in German tanks: oblique placement of armored armor plates, large diameter rollers, which provide stability during movement and so on. The Ministry of Weapons almost immediately instructed MAN and Daimler-Benz to create a prototype tank VK3002, which in many respects resembled a Soviet tank: combat weight - 35 thousand kg., Power density - 22 hp / t, speed - 55 km / h , armor - millimeter 60, long-barreled 75-mm gun. The task was conditionally called "Panther" ("Panther").
In May, the 42 of the year by the selection committee (the so-called “Panter Commission”) reviewed both projects. Daimler-Benz proposed a sample that even looked like T-34. The layout of the units was copied completely: the drive wheels and the engine compartment were located at the back. The large diameter 8 rollers were staggered, interlocked two by two and had leaf springs as the elastic element of the suspension. The tower was moved forward, the corps armor plates were installed at a large angle. Daimler-Benz even proposed to install a diesel engine instead of a gasoline engine, as well as use a hydraulic control system.
The sample, presented by MAN, had a rear engine and a front gear box. Suspension torsion bar, double, individual, the rollers were arranged in a checkerboard pattern. Between the engine compartment and the control compartment (transmission) there was a combat compartment. Therefore, the tower pushed back to the stern. It was installed 75-millimeter cannon with a barrel long (L / 70, 5250 mm).
The Daimler-Benz project was very good. Suspension elements - easier and cheaper to manufacture and further maintenance. A. Hitler was personally interested in the work on this machine and gave preference to this particular tank, but demanded to install a long-barreled gun. He then “hacked” the project, although the companies managed to issue an order for the production of 200 machines (the order was later canceled).
"Pantaromissiya" supported the project of the company MAN, and the first place, not seeing the advantages in the rear location of the transmission and engine. But the trump card - the tower of the company Daimler-Benz was needed a serious refinement. The finished tower of the company Reinmetall, the Daimler project did not save, because it did not dock with the hull. Thus, MAN won this competition and began building the first batch of cars.
The constructors of the Pz Kpfw V tank (the car was called “Panther” in everyday life and staff documents without mentioning the code much later - after 43) were P. Vibikke, chief engineer of the MAN tank department and G. Knipkamp, engineer from the management of testing and improvement weapons.
In September 42 of the year was ready in VK3002 metal and was subjected to rigorous testing. Tanks of the installation series appeared in November. The haste that was shown during the design and launch into production led to a large number of “childhood” diseases in Pz Kpfw V. The tank's mass exceeded the design one by 8 tons, so the specific power decreased. The 60 mm frontal armor was clearly weak, the frontal machine gun was missing. Before the release of the D-modification machine X in January of 43, these problems were solved: the thickness of the armor was brought to 80 millimeters, a machine gun was installed in the slot in the slot. Assembly lines for serial machines were established at the factories of Daimler-Benz, Demag, Henschel, MNH and others. And yet, “Panthers” in the first months of service failed more often from various failures, and not from the impact of the enemy.
In the second half of 43, vehicles of modification A appeared, having received a frontal machine gun mounted in a ball mount and a new commander's turret having armored periscope heads. Machines of modification G, produced from 44-th and until the end of the war, had a different angle of inclination of the hull side plates (instead of 50 ° - 60 °), increased mass and ammunition.
From the very beginning, the production of Panther had the highest priority. It was planned that the month will be built on 600 machines. However, the plan has never been fulfilled. Record release - 400 tanks - reached only in July 44 year. For comparison: already in the 42 year, more than a thousand T-34 were produced per month. A total of 5976 Pz Kpfw V was collected.
During the transition from modification to modification, the designers sought mainly to maximize the effectiveness of the weapon, as well as to provide convenience for the crew. A powerful 75 mm KwK42 tank gun was specially designed. Her armor-piercing shell pierced 140-mm armor plate mounted vertically from a distance of 1000 meters. The choice of a relatively small caliber provided a high rate of fire and allowed to increase the ammunition. Inspection instruments and high quality sights. This made it possible to fight the enemy at distances 1,5 — 2 km. The tower, which has a solid polik, was driven by a hydraulic actuator. By electric start increased shooting accuracy. The commander had at his disposal a turret with 7-th periscopic observation devices. To install an anti-aircraft machine gun on the turret there was a ring. The gas content of the fighting compartment was reduced with the help of a special device for blowing the barrel of a cannon with compressed air and suction of gases from the sleeve. The stern of the tower had a hatch for loading ammunition, changing the barrel and the emergency exit loader. On the left side there was a round flap, designed to eject spent cartridges.
The AK-7-200 mechanical transmission consisted of a three-disk main friction clutch for dry friction, a seven-speed gearbox (one reverse gear), a planetary rotation mechanism with double power supply, a disc brake and final drives. The transmission was hydraulically driven. The driver drove the tank using the steering wheel.
The propeller shaft from the motor to the gearbox was divided into three parts. The middle part was used to take power to the hydraulic pump of the turret's rotation mechanism. The load on the tracks was more evenly distributed due to the staggered arrangement of the rollers. The damaged tank could be easily towed. Since there were many skating rinks, it became possible to supply them with a thin rubber seal, which did not overheat during long-term movement. The combination of such a chassis and individual torsional suspension of the rollers provided this rather heavy car with good throughput and smoothness. However, during the cold season, the dirt was packed between the rinks, it froze and blocked them. During the retreat, the crews often abandoned their serviceable, however, immobilized tanks.
German tank Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf.G with the Sperber FG 1250 night vision device mounted on the commander's turret. Daimler-Benz Center Test Site
German tank Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf.A “Panther” and Sd.Kfz armored personnel carrier. 251 with carriages on the road. Second left near the tank - SS obershturmführer Karl Nicholas-Lek, commander of 8./SS-Panzerregiment 5 (8-I company of the 5-th SS tank regiment - a division of the Viking 5-SS). The outskirts of Warsaw
The tank successfully combined the hull form and rational angles of the armor plates. The hatch for the driver was carried out in the roof of the hull to increase the strength of the front sheet. From the second half of 43, the booking was reinforced by hanging on the sides of the screens. The tower and the body of the Panther, as well as other German self-propelled guns and tanks, were covered with special cement “zimemer”, which excluded the “sticking” of magnetic mines and grenades to them.
According to the overwhelming majority of experts, Pz Kpfw V is the best machine of the German Panzervaffe and one of the strongest tanks in the Second World War. He was a dangerous opponent in tank battles. Neither the Americans nor the British create a tank equivalent to the "Panther", could not.
With a large number of positive combat qualities, this machine remained at the production stage of low-tech, and during operation - difficult. For some sites had low technical reliability. For example, torsion bars often broke, and their replacement was very laborious. The onboard transmissions and drive wheels quickly failed due to general congestion. Until the end of the war, these shortcomings could not be completely eliminated.
As for Daimler-Benz, the company did not lose hope to create its own “Panther”. The designers in the first place took up the tower. She was given a narrowed shape and reduced the area of the frontal sheet. A wide rectangular mask with holes for a sight and a machine gun was replaced with a conical clutch. The turret, which had a 120-mm frontal, 60-mm onboard and 25-millimeter upper sheets, was equipped with a rangefinder. The rollers of the new tank had internal depreciation. Speed increased to 55 kilometers per hour. The remaining characteristics remain unchanged. We managed to build only one instance of the tank, known as modification F, - the Pz Kpfw “Panther II” was already being worked out under the 88-millimeter cannon.
On the only new “Panther” manufactured by MAN, the design mass in 48 tons was increased to 55 tons, although the gun and the tower remained the same. The tank received seven rollers on board, and single torsions replaced double ones.
On the basis of the tank Pz Kpfw V was released 339 Bergepanther Sd Kfz 179 (repair and recovery vehicles) combat weight 43 thousand kg. The crew consisted of five people. Initially, the machine was armed with 20-millimeter automatic cannon, and later - only two machine guns. The tower was replaced with a cargo platform with 80-mm armored sides intended for the transport of spare parts. The machine was equipped with a crane boom and a powerful winch.
German tankers on the tank "Panther" commander modification (Panzerbefehlswagen Panther). Externally, they differ from linear machines with two antennas mounted on the housing.
Tanks PzKpfw V "Panther" 130-th regiment of the tank training division of the Wehrmacht in Normandy. In the foreground - the muzzle brake of the gun of one of the "Panthers"
329 "Panther" were converted into commander tanks - they installed the second radio station mounted by reducing the ammunition to 64 shots. There was also a Pz Beob Wg "Panther" 41 machine for artillery observers. The tower, which had a wooden model instead of a cannon and a embrasure embedded, did not rotate. The range finder was located in the tower. Out of the armament, two machine guns were left: in the frontal part of the turret in a ball mount, and in the course one (similar to modification D).
"Panther" was considered as a base for a series of self-propelled guns with 105- and 150-millimeter howitzers, 30-millimeter paired in the tower and 88-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, 128-millimeter cannon and guides for firing rockets. It was also planned to create a reconnaissance tank having a shortened chassis and an assault tank having an 150-millimeter cannon. However, all this was not destined to come true.
Pz Kpfw "Panther" for the first time went to the Kursk Bulge as part of the Fifty-first and Fifty-second tank battalions of the Tenth Tank Brigade - 204 vehicles, including 7 command and 4 repair and recovery vehicles. Then they were used on all fronts.
Technical characteristics of medium tanks Pz Kpfw V "Panther" (Ausf D / Ausf G):
Year of manufacture 1943 / 1944;
Combat weight - 43000 kg / 45500 kg;
Crew - 5 man;
Housing length - 6880 mm / 6880 mm;
Length with a gun forward - 8860 mm / 8860 mm;
Width - 3400 mm / 3400 mm;
Height - mm 2950 / mm 2980;
The thickness of the armor plates of the frontal part of the body (angle of inclination to the vertical) - 80 mm (55 degrees);
The thickness of the armor plates of the hull sides (tilt angle to the vertical) - 40 mm (40 degrees) / 50 mm (30 degrees);
The thickness of the armor plates of the frontal part of the tower (angle of inclination to the vertical) - 100 mm (10 degrees) / 110 mm (11 degrees);
The thickness of the armor plates of the roof and bottom of the hull - 15 and 30 mm / 40 and 30 mm;
Brand gun - KwK42;
Caliber - 75 mm;
Barrel length 70 calibers;
Ammunition - 79 shots / 81 shots;
The number of machine guns - 2 pcs .;
Machine gun caliber - 7,92 mm;
Ammunition - 5100 ammo / 4800 ammo;
Type and make of engine - "Maybach" HL230P30;
Power - 650 l. S./700 l. with.;
Maximum speed on the highway - 46 km / h;
Fuel stock - 730 l;
Cruising on the highway - 200 km;
The average ground pressure is 0,85 kg / cm2 / 0,88 kg / cm2.
The commander of the Great Germany tank regiment, Colonel Willy Langkate (second from left), is talking to the crew next to the Pz.Kpfw tank. V "Panther". Willy Langkeith, the future commander of the Kurmark division, was awarded the Knight's Cross with oak leaves. South Ukraine, May-June 1944
German tanks PzKpfw V "Panther" in the area of Orel
Tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther" from the 31-th tank regiment of the 5-th tank division of the Wehrmacht in Goldap. Gołdap is one of the first settlements of East Prussia taken by the 20.10.1944 Red Army. But as a result of a counterstrike, the Germans managed to repel the city.
German panzergrenadery and tanks Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther" on the march in Lower Silesia
Soviet tank T-44-122 and German tank PzKpfw V "Panther" on comparative tests. Photos from the archive of the Kharkov Engineering Design Bureau named after A.A. Morozova
Tanks Pz.Kpfw. V “Panther” of the 3 th SS Panzer Regiment (SS Pz.Rgt. 3) of the 3 Tankopren SS Panzer Grenadier Division, shot down by Soviet artillery south of the city of Pultusk (Poland). Captured by the troops of the 1 of the Belarusian Front
German tanks Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther", destroyed by Soviet troops near the Ukrainian village
Moment of hitting a grenade from a bazooka grenade launcher (M1 Bazooka) in an average German tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther"
German tank Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf.G "Panther" from the tank division "Feldkhernhelle", abandoned in the unsuccessful breakthrough of the Germans from the blocked Budapest. The number of the Soviet trophy team "132". Suburb of Budapest
Soviet trophy men mark a padded German tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther". Lake Balaton District
The defective German tanks Pz.Kpfw.V "Panther" from the 10 "Panterbrigade" (tank regiment of von Lauchert) abandoned under Prokhorovka
Tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther" Ausf. G, who was third in the column, stands aft in the direction of column movement. Disabled by three hits 100-mm projectiles in the mask gun. The number of the Soviet trophy team "76". Column of German armored vehicles, destroyed from ambush by Soviet artillery on the border of Hungary and Austria, near the town of Detritz
Soviet soldiers inspect the German tank Pz.Kpfw captured in the city of Uman. V Ausf. A “Panther” three days after the liberation of the city from the 10 invaders March 1944
Captured serviceable tanks Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther" (according to some data from the 10-th Panther Brigade). The tanks were captured at the emergency vehicles assembly point (SPAM) on the outskirts of Belgorod. The long-range tank with the tactical number 732 was delivered to Kubinka for testing.
Soviet children playing abandoned German tank Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. D "Panther" in Kharkov
Trophy German tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther" from the 366 th SAP (self-propelled artillery regiment). 3-th Ukrainian Front. Hungary, March 1945 of the year
Trophy German equipment at an exhibition in the Gorky Central Culture and Exhibition Complex in Moscow in the autumn of 1945. In the foreground is the heavy German tank Pz.Kpfw VI Ausf.B “The Royal Tiger”, the turret armor of which is pierced with 57-mm anti-tank ZiS-2 anti-tank cannon, followed by two heavy tanks Pz.Kpfw VI Ausf. E "Tiger" different editions, followed by Pz.Kpfw V "Panther" and other armored vehicles. In the left lane are two anti-tank SAU "Marder", German BTR, SAU StuG III, SAU "Vespe" and other armored vehicles
A company of captured German tanks Pz.Kpfw. V “Panther” of Guard Lieutenant Sotnikov east of Prague (not the Czech capital, but a suburb of Warsaw)
German tank Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. G "Panther" in the Bulgarian army. The soldiers are characterized by typical Italian-style Bulgarian bushes, and the officer (with a gun, arms akimbo) has a no less characteristic Bulgarian cap. This picture can be dated even 1945 — 1946 over the years (it all depends on how long the Bulgarians had German equipment in service after the war ended). At the end of the same 1940-s Bulgarian army (as well as the armies of other countries of the socialist camp), dressed in the form of the Soviet sample