Panther, officially designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther (Changed to Panzerkampfwagen Panther later), is a medium tank. Panther was the third most produced German tanks during WWII, only after Sturmgeschütz III and Panzer IV. The production cost of Panther was lower than Tiger I, only slightly more expensive than Panzer IV.
The Panther was designed to engage Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks, which outclassed Panzer III and IV on the Eastern Front. T34’s sloping armor which increases the effective armor thickness was adopted in the design of Panther. Panther's excellent combination of firepower, mobility, and armor protection made it one of the best tank designs of the Second World War (WWII).
Panther was in service from January, 1943, before the Battle of Kursk. Its excellent combat capabilities directly led to the introduction of heavier Allied tanks including the American M26 Pershing and the Soviet T-34-85, IS-2 into the war.
The main gun of Panther was 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 (Rheinmetall-Borsig), with semi-automatic shell ejection. It is one of the most powerful tank main guns of WWII.
Panther hull front armor is 80 mm thick. The hull side and rear armor is 40 mm (Panther G hull side armor is 50 mm).
Panther turret front armor is 80 mm (For Panther G, it is 100 mm). Panther turret side and rear armor is 45 mm. Panther turret top armor is 15 mm (For Panther G, it is 30 mm). Main gun mantlet armor is 120 mm.
Panther measures 6.87 m long (hull), 3.27 m wide (hull), and 2.99 m high. It weighs 43 tons. Panther G weighs 46.6 tons with steel road wheels. Panther tracks are 660 mm wide, with 86 links. Panther has eight rubber-rimmed steel road wheels on each side, installed on dual torsion bar suspensions.
The engine of Panther is the 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW) Maybach HL 230 P30 V-12 gasoline engine, the same engine as the Tiger I tank. Top speed of Panther can reach 55 km/hr. Panther carries 720 litres fuel. With fuel consumption at 3.5 litre/km, Panther’s operational range is 200 km.
Jagdpanther, a heavy tank destroyer, was derived from Panther.
(Heng Long 1/16 scale Panther RC tank model. Picture taken by TankArmy.com in Australia)
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