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The Panzer V Panther tank was a medium tank fielded by the German Wehrmacht in 1943. It was fielded during the heat of World War II in 1943 to counter the Soviet T-34. The T-34 and KV-1 had proven to be two Russian tanks that the Wehrmacht had had difficulty defeating since the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The Panther was thus built as an answer mainly to the T-34 medium tank. It supplemented the Panzer IV tank (in fact, it was supposed to replace the Panzer IV but was never produced in enough numbers to accomplish this) and also served alongside the Tiger I and Tiger II tanks. It made good use of slopped armor which proved itself much to the Germans dismay by the T-34's in the Russian steppes. It had excellent firepower, mobility and firepower and is often regarded as the best all around tank of World War II. Despite initial problems, the Panther was able to prove itself in later variants (such as Ausf. A and Ausf. G) as a superior Panzer to most Allied tanks. It was used on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. One famous incident involving the Panther was the so-called 'Barkmann's Corner' incident, where Waffen-SS commander Ernst Barkmann defeated nine Shermans by himself in a Panther tank on the Western Front in 1944.
One notable variant was the PzKpfW. V Ausf. F or Panther II, which used a Schmalturm and was equipped with a 88mm cannon. However, this variant was not mass-produced, and is another example of a "too little, too late" concept of Nazi Germany.
As with other chassis developed by Germany during WWII, the PzKpfW. V chassis was used as a platform for various other platforms. These include:
Bergepanther: A Panther chassis mounted with a crane to service inoperable vehicles and remove them from the battlefield.
Kugelblitz: A Panther chassis with a turret featuring two 20mm AA cannons, developed very late in the war (like the Panther II).
Specifications[edit | edit source]
- Model: Ausf A
- Weight: 45.5 ton.
- Garrison: 5 men
- Engine: Maybach HL 230 P 30/12 cylinder (700 hp)
- Speed: 46 km / h. (Road) and 24 km / h (off road)
- Range: 177 km (highway)
- Length: 8.86 m (with pipe)
- Width: 3.43 m
- Height: 3.10 m
- Main Armament: 1x KwK 42 L-70 75mm
- Secondary armament: 2 machine guns of 7.92 mm MG34/ MG34 anti-aircraft machine gun in the turret (optional)
- Ammunition: 79 rounds of 75mm
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