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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.1

Hitler ordered that the PzKpfw V Ausf D production be stopped in July 1943.8 The final PzKpfw V Ausf D rolled of Henschel's production line in September 1943.8 A total of 600 were produced.8

From February 1944, the remaining PzKpfw V Ausf Ds were retrofitted with Schürzen along the tops of the tracks.8 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.5

Turret

Pistol ports were in the side and rear of the turret as well as the cupola hatch.5 There were six vision slits in the drum shaped cupola.5

There were smoke dischargers on the side of the turret in early models.5

Production

Additional production information.

Variants

  • PzKpfw V Ausf D1: The first 20 produced had 21 liter motor.1 There was a bulge in the turret where the commander's cupola was.1 The front armor was 60 mm.1
  • PzKpfw V Ausf D2: Later models had the cupola moved back and more inward so that the bulge was eliminated.1 The armor was 80 mm.1 A 23 liter motor was installed.1 Had double baffle muzzle brake.5

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.8 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.8

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf D
Crew 44, 52,3,5,6,8,10,11
Radio FuG53
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 43 tons3,4,6,8,11, 43.32 tons10, 44.75 tons9, 44.8 tons2
45,690 kg11
Length w/gun 22.9'4, 22' 11", 29'8, 29' 0.8"6, 29' 1"5,9,10
7 m, 8.86 m2,3,6,8
Length w/o gun 22' 7"8,10
6.88 m8
Height 9' 8"6,8,10, 9' 9"5,9, 11.45'4
2.95 m3,6,8, 3.1 m2
Width 11' 3"5,6,8,9,10, 11.45'4, 11' 5"
3.4 m3, 3.43 m6,8, 3.44 m2, 3.5 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 10"5
0.56 m2
Ground contact length 3.91 m
Ground pressure 0.73 (kg/cm2)2
0.735 (kg/cm2)7
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 75 mm L/702,9
1: 75 mm KwK42 L/703,5,7,8,10,11
1: 75 mm4
Secondary  
MG 2: MG2,4
2: 7.92 mm MG6
2: 7.92 mm MG343
1: 7.92 mm MG 345
MG - coaxial MG10
MG - antiaircraft 7.92 mm MG349
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 792,3,5,6,8, 828
Secondary smoke grenades on either side of turret
MG 2,5005, 4,1046, 4,2008, 5,1002,3
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 15 - 804
Front: 80-1108
Side: 40-458
Rear: 40-458
Hull Front, Upper 60-802, 806,10, 80@55°3,5,7, 80@33°9, 80@35°8
Hull Front, Lower 60@55°7, 60@5°3, 80@35°8, 80@55°5
Hull Sides, Upper 402,14, 40@0°5, 40@40°3,5, 45@25°7, 40@90°8
Hull Sides, Lower 40@0°3,7, 40@90°8
Hull Rear 402, 40@30°3,5, 50@60°8
Hull Top 156, 15@90°5,7, 162, 16@90°3
Hull Bottom 15@90°7, 162, 16-30@90°3, 20+13@90°5
Turret Front 1002, 100@10°3, 100@12°7, 100@80°8, 110@10°5, 1206,10
Mantlet: 100@round3,7
Turret Sides 452, 45@25°3,5,7, 45@65°8
Turret Rear 452, 45@25°3,7, 45@28°5, 45@62°8
Turret Top 15@84.5°-90°7, 15@0-6°8, 15@83° & 88°5, 162, 16@83°-90°3
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach10, Maybach HL 210 P305,8, Maybach HL 230 P302,3,9
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-128
Capacity  
Net HP 642@3,000 rpm5, 6506,8,10, 700@3,000 rpm9
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Zahnradfabrik AK 7-200, 7 speed7
7 forward, 1 reverse.2,3
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline8
Octane  
Quantity

161 gallons8
730 liters2,8

Road consumption 100 km/432 liters
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hydraulic.3
Speed - Road 28 mph4,10,11, 28.6 mph6, 29 mph8, 34 mph5,9
45 kph11, 46 kph3,6,8, 55 kph2,7
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph5,8
24 kph8
Range - Road 105 miles5,6,10, 110 miles8, 124.3 miles11
169 km6, 177 km8, 200 km2,3,11
Range - Cross Country 52.8 miles6, 53 miles5, 55 miles8
85 km6, 89 km8, 100 km2
Turning radius 8.7 m2, 10 m
Elevation limits -8° to +18°3
Fording depth 4' 7"5
1.7 m, 1.9 m2, 1.91 m
Trench crossing 6' 3"5
Vertical obstacle 3'5
0.91 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion bar2
Wheels each side 8x22, 8 double interleaved wheels each side9
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 1.6"6, 2' 1.75"5
650 mm6, 660 mm2,7
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread Rubber2
Dished with solid rubber.9
Track centers/tread 8' 7"6, 8' 7 1/8"5
2.62 m6

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