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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf D; PzKpfw V Ausf D; Panther; SdKfz 171 medium tank

Design

First main production models.

Hitler ordered that the PzKpfw V Ausf D production be stopped in July 1943. The final PzKpfw V Ausf D rolled of Henschel's production line in September 1943. A total of 600 were produced.

From February 1944, the remaining PzKpfw V Ausf Ds were retrofitted with Schürzen along the tops of the tracks. These were sometimes known as the D2.

One piece hull plates, with all joins, stepped, mortised, and welded. Empty-round ejection hatches in turret side, vertical slit in glacis plate for hull MG (similar to a mailbox flap) to fire through.

Fighting Compartment

The radio operator had an armored vertical oriented flap to see directly out in front of him and he could place the MG34 through the opening to fire.

Turret

Pistol ports were in the side and rear of the turret as well as the cupola hatch. There were six vision slits in the drum shaped cupola.

There were smoke dischargers on the side of the turret in early models.

Production

Additional production information.

Variants

  • PzKpfw V Ausf D1: The first 20 produced had 21 liter motor. There was a bulge in the turret where the commander's cupola was. The front armor was 60 mm.
  • PzKpfw V Ausf D2: Later models had the cupola moved back and more inward so that the bulge was eliminated. The armor was 80 mm. A 23 liter motor was installed. Had double baffle muzzle brake.

Usage

Kursk

Vehicles were issued in February 1943 but were recalled in April 1943 for major modifications. In May 1943 the 51st & 52nd Panzerabteilungen received the Panthers and these first saw action at Kursk. The rest of the production were primarily issued to the already mentioned units as well as the 23rd & 26th Panzerabteilungen, and the Panzer regiments Das Reich and Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf D
Crew 4, 5
Radio FuG5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 43 tons, 43.32 tons, 44.75 tons, 44.8 tons
45,690 kg
Length w/gun 22.9', 22' 11", 29', 29' 0.8", 29' 1"
7 m, 8.86 m
Length w/o gun 22' 7"
6.88 m
Height 9' 8", 9' 9", 11.45'
2.95 m, 3.1 m
Width 11' 3", 11.45', 11' 5"
3.4 m, 3.43 m, 3.44 m, 3.5 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 10"
0.56 m
Ground contact length 3.91 m
Ground pressure 0.73 (kg/cm2)
0.735 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 75 mm L/70,
1: 75 mm KwK42 L/70
1: 75 mm
Secondary  
MG 2: MG
2: 7.92 mm MG
2: 7.92 mm MG34
1: 7.92 mm MG 34
MG - coaxial MG
MG - antiaircraft 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 79, 82
Secondary smoke grenades on either side of turret
MG 2,500, 4,104, 4,200, 5,100
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 15 - 80
Front: 80-110
Side: 40-45
Rear: 40-45
Hull Front, Upper 60-80, 80, 80@55°, 80@33°, 80@35°
Hull Front, Lower 60@55°, 60@5°, 80@35°, 80@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 40, 40@0°, 40@40°, 45@25°, 40@90°
Hull Sides, Lower 40@0°, 40@90°
Hull Rear 40, 40@30°, 50@60°
Hull Top 15, 15@90°, 16, 16@90°
Hull Bottom 15@90°, 16, 16-30@90°, 20+13@90°
Turret Front 100, 100@10°, 100@12°, 100@80°, 110@10°, 120
Mantlet: 100@round
Turret Sides 45, 45@25°, 45@65°
Turret Rear 45, 45@25°, 45@28°, 45@62°
Turret Top 15@84.5°-90°, 15@0-6°, 15@83° & 88°, 16, 16@83°-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach, Maybach HL 210 P30, Maybach HL 230 P30
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 642@3,000 rpm, 650, 700@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Zahnradfabrik AK 7-200, 7 speed
7 forward, 1 reverse.
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity

161 gallons
730 liters

Road consumption 100 km/432 liters
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hydraulic.
Speed - Road 28 mph, 28.6 mph, 29 mph, 34 mph
45 kph, 46 kph, 55 kph
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph
24 kph
Range - Road 105 miles, 110 miles, 124.3 miles
169 km, 177 km, 200 km
Range - Cross Country 52.8 miles, 53 miles, 55 miles
85 km, 89 km, 100 km
Turning radius 8.7 m, 10 m
Elevation limits -8° to +18°
Fording depth 4' 7"
1.7 m, 1.9 m, 1.91 m
Trench crossing 6' 3"
Vertical obstacle 3'
0.91 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion bar
Wheels each side 8x2, 8 double interleaved wheels each side
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 1.6", 2' 1.75"
650 mm, 660 mm
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread Rubber
Dished with solid rubber.
Track centers/tread 8' 7", 8' 7 1/8"
2.62 m

Sources:

  1. The Panther Family, Horst Scheibert, 1990
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. AFV #10: Panzerkampfwagen V Panther, Chris Ellis and Peter Chamberlain
  6. Airfix Magazine Guide #8 German Tanks of World War 2, Terry Gande and Peter Chamberlain, 1975
  7. Panther Variants 1942-1945, Hilary Doyle and Tom Jentz, 1997
  8. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  9. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  10. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  11. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site