The history of the origin of the medium-heavy Panther tank

The legendary German medium-heavy tank ” Panther “in our online store is dedicated to the model of designer men’s clothing: men’s longsleeve “Panther”.

PzKpfw V or in other words “Panther”(it.), according to specialists on tank technology since the II World war, was the best German tank this time. Being significantly better on many criteria compared to similar equipment of the allies of the Soviet Union – “Sherman”, “Churchill” and “Cromwell”, he competed for the title of best tank in the world with the main rival T-34/85. Possessing advanced technical characteristics at the time, this German medium-heavy tank almost always won battles with allied tanks. Whether he could defeat the sixth or seventh tank of the enemy, with whom he had to fight very often in battle, is another question. From the very beginning, the Panther was designed as a tank, which was to effectively resist the prevailing in the East of the t-34 battles. This problem was solved. In World war II, the amount of equipment often determined the success of battles and, despite the advantages of the Panther, the numerical advantage was always on the side of the T-34. The Panther was an excellent tank, but with a very complex design. This is explained by the fact that the car was prepared for production in a hurry, so at first, in terms of technical perfection, it is seriously inferior, including the Soviet “thirty-four”.

History of Panther

began in 1938, when part of The office of the armed land forces (Heereswaffenamt) 6th Department of improvement and testing of weapons, responsible for the development of tanks,issued specifications for the machines that were to replace the Panzerkampfwagen III and IV. The specialist of this Department Ernest Knipkamp formulated the requirements for the new car: it had to have large support rollers, torsion bar suspension (aka rod suspension), the engine of modern design, reinforced semi-automatic transmission (to change gear, the mechanic just need to remove his foot from the “gas”. P / a transmission creates optimal conditions for the engine while driving, which prolongs service life and reduces fuel consumption, which is extremely important for the survivability of the tank) and a modern control system. The first contract for the tank in the 20-ton class was concluded with the company “Daimler-Benz AG” under the index VK2001. It was one of the first tanks in the world with the so-called chess positioning of rollers. The advantage of this system was a short contact area with the soil, which improved the handling of the machine.  Considerable weight of the tank was distributed on the support rollers of larger diameter. They had a longer service life and provided a soft ride when driving over rough terrain, reduced cart dragging, and tire life increased.

Project development

In may 1940, the German firm ” Krupp “(Krupp) presented a tank project under the index VK 2001 (K), which could be installed two modifications of the engine” Maybach”, which made production more flexible. In October, the 6th division signed a contract with Krupp for the construction of three VK 2001 (K). However, neither the concept of ” Daimler-Benz “nor”Krupp” did not provide for the use of torsion bar suspension, what is fundamentally insisted Knipkamp. Therefore, he turned to the firm MaschinenfabrikAugsburg-Nürnberg AG (MAN), which in late September 1940 made the layout scheme VK 2001 (M) with “chess” support rollers, the advantages of which we wrote above, and the torsion bar suspension. As a result, the 6th division signed a contract with MAN to develop the project of an improved version of the tank VK 2002 (M). Taking into account the effectiveness of the inclined armor of Soviet tanks, man specialists in November 1941 redesigned the body VK 2002 (M), making the armor inclined. However, events on the Eastern front have shown that the PzKpfw IV is completely inferior to the T-34 and must be urgently replaced. Some front-line officers in Germany offered to simply copy the T-34. It is believed that this idea was abandoned for racial reasons, were not able designers to stoop to copying weapons “inferior races”. This was not subsequently confirmed and the copying was abandoned for a number of other reasons. One of these reasons is that the T-34 was extremely uncomfortable for the crew of the tank, and Guderian paid great attention to this parameter, because this was a guarantee that the tankers (Panther crew 5 people) are not “processed” and less tired, and therefore better fought.

MAN and Daimler-Benz continued to work on the 30.5-ton tank project. 25 November 1941 both firms terminated with 6 St Department contracts on develop the tank with index VK 3002, he in the course amp; d was is named Panther .  “Daimler-Benz” supplied its prototype with a diesel engine, which greatly reduced the possibility of ignition of the tank, unlike the gasoline engine, in combat, the tank could move at a speed of up to 54 km/h and had excellent technical characteristics at the time. Hitler, having familiarized himself with the Daimler-Benz project, approved it and considered it a success. The concept MAN was prepared based on the experience of the T-34 and provided for inclined armor. However, the machine was too heavy and had a very high silhouette. Panther from MAN had a double torsion bar suspension for 8 staggered support rollers, transmission “tsanradfabrik AK 7/200” and clutch brake control mechanism, which was achieved by increasing the reliability of management and consistency of the brakes. Created by Hitler ad hoc Commission has favored tank firms MAN, she concluded, that have him less shortcomings and project has greater level of willingness to launch, than project Daimler’s.

Time at this stage of the war played a huge role for the German army. On 4 June 1942, the Fuhrer unexpectedly demanded that the thickness of the Panther’s frontal armor be further increased from 8 to 10 cm.the first prototype Panther (Das Chassis VI) without a turret was built in September 1942. Together with” twin ” (chassis V2), which was with tower, machines have shown good results on landfill in Burke, which over with 8 on 14 November 1942. Reichsminister Speer and the sixth division were so satisfied with the project that they issued the first order for 1,000 Panther Ausf tanks.D (this was the name of the first model put into production) MAN, “Daimler-Benz AG”, “Henschel” and MNH. When the Panther was adopted by the Wehrmacht, she received an identification N SDKFZ (Sonderkraftzeug – machine spec. appointments) 171. This same number persisted for modifications Ausführung D, A and G. Modification Panthers was standard for German tanks II Global. Control and transmission compartment was in the front, fighting compartment and turret-in the center, the engine compartment in the stern. The crew: driver-mechanic and gunner-radio operator were located in the front of the tank, gunner, loader, commander – in the tower.

The engine of the tank Panther

Especially want stop on describing motor Panther. It was located in the rear of the tank, on the sides of the engine – radiators and exhaust fans. The engine was built at the Maybachund Nordbau plant. Engines this firms were are good, but very are complex, and especially their powerful version of, which as times and were installed on Panthers. The 23 litre HL230 P30 is a short 12-cylinder water-cooled carburetor engine with 4 Solex carburettors and V-shaped cylinders. Engine weight 1.3 tons, located on a cast-iron block, power 700 HP at 3000 rpm. Panther developed a very high speed for the tank-46 km / h (highway) and 24 cross-country and off-road. The range of travel on the highway 170km, cross – country 89 km. a Very interesting fact – since June 1944, the side of the exhaust pipes at the plant began to weld the covers of steel, which were intended to hide the exhaust pipes, heated in the dark so that they became visible, thus unmasking the tank. The Maybach engine used a crankshaft on 8 bearings, barely fit in a small engine compartment. The motor, as we wrote earlier, was located in the rear of the tank and through the shaft, passing under the floor of the tower, connected with the gear box located in the turn between the driver and radio operator-gunner and airborne transmission, which was sent to the leading wheels of the cylinders on both sides.

The tank’s turret weighed 8120 kg and rotated 360 degrees in 15 seconds (after November 1944-18 seconds), which was very important for the tank’s survivability – the faster the turret rotated, the faster the crew could counterattack the enemy. By the way, from the factory-installed gun mask during combat armor-piercing shells of the enemy often bounced down and pierced the armor of the hull cover or fell into the vulnerable shoulder strap of the tower. In the autumn of 1944 on tank Ausf. G began to put an improved mask with a different shape, which did not have such shortcomings and shells from it flew to the side and up. The angle of inclination of the 75 mm long-barreled Panther gun was greater than that of the T-34 gun, giving the Panther an advantage during combat when firing from the “hull covered”position. Gun Panther KwK 42, had excellent for its time armor penetration. It pierced the frontal armor of the British ” Cromwell “at distances up to 2.4 km., and” Churchill ” up to 1.6 km. At the same time, the Panther tank itself was inaccessible to the guns of these formidable machines.

Number of issued by Panthers was given as 5500 units, but this it turned out little, for moreover, to its very change for war. The German Panther was a good and main battle tank of the German army. It combined tremendous firepower, excellent armor protection and mobility. She was far superior to most of her opponents, such as the Sherman and the T-34/76. Even in comparison with the armament of the newest allied tanks-M-26 “Pershing”, “Sherman” and T-34/85, the Panther gun with a high (935 m/s) initial velocity of the projectile could destroy enemy armor at long distances and allowed the tank to dominate the battle. So, given all of the above, we can be unanimous that Panther Ausf. it was the best tank of World war II, but with two significant reservations: first, it suffered from systematic technical problems, especially at first, which did not have the best effect on its combat effectiveness; second, German factories physically could not produce the Panther in large enough quantities to change the course of the war. Panthers appeared have Wehrmacht in July 1943 and fought until the end of the war in may 45 th. Their first battle the Panthers kept on the Eastern front, where he took part in a fierce battle. The latter – in the defense of Berlin, where the history of the famous tank ended in the form in which it was conceived by the creators in the spring of 1943.

The history of the German tank of the Second World war “Panther” inspired the designers of our online store to develop the eponymous model of men’s clothing. To see the description and photos of this model, as well as to buy it, please follow the link: men’s longsleeve with the Panther tank.