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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Beobachtungspanzer Panther, SdKfz 268 (Pz Beob Wg); Befehlspanzer Panther, SdKfz 267 (Pz Bef Wg), SdKfz 167

Production

  • Beobachtungspanzer: 411
    • Converstions: late 1944 - early 19451
  • Befehlspanzer: 329
    • Conversions: May 1943 - February 1945

Variants

  • Beobachtungspanzer Panther, SdKfz 268 (Pz Beob Wg): Observation post vehicle.4 Dummy gun was installed and a ball mounted MG 34, which could be traversed 5° and elevated from -10° to +15°.1,4 Converted from rebuilt Panthers. Prototype was ready in the summer of 1943.1 Early vehicles retained its main armament.1 It mounted a stereoscopic range-finder in the turret, with the commander having 2 periscopes.1
    Was assigned to the battalion that had Wespes or Hummels in the armored artillery regiment.1
  • Befehlspanzer Panther, SdKfz 267 (Pz Bef Wg); SdKfz 167: Command vehicle with an extra external antennae on the turret roof and engine decking.2,4 Extra radio reduced rounds to 64. Fu 51 and a Fu 81 (divisional) or Fu 5 and Fu 7 (ground-to-air) were installed. The loader was also the second radio operator and had a receiver and transmitter next to him on the right side turret wall.
    The Ausf A and Ausf G models had the Fu 5 and Fu 8, whereas the earlier models had the Fu 5 and Fu 7.2 The antenna placed on the engine cover was for the Fu 7 or Fu 8.2
    Approximately 1 in 10 Panthers coming of the production line were the Befehlspanzer.1 Starting in July 1944 all Panthers were installed with brackets so that, in the field, antennae and radios could be added.1

Usage

The Befehlspanzers were used by staff officers, battalion commanders, and regimental commanders.4

The Beobachtungspanzers were used by the staff officers, observation officers, and commanders in self propelled artillery regiments.4

Specifications

  Pz Beob Wg, Pz Bef Wg
Crew 44, 53
Radio - SdKfz 267 Fu54, Fu84
Radio - SdKfz 268 Fu54, Fu84
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 44.5 tons3
Length 22' 7"4
8.86 m3
Height 2.98 m3
Width 11' 3"4
3.4 m3
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 10"4
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 75 mm KwK42 L/703
Secondary  
MG 2: 7.92 mm MG343,4
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 643,4
Secondary  
MG 4,5004
D, A: 5,1003
G: 4,8003
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper 80@55°3,4
Hull Front, Lower 60@55°3, 80@55°4
Hull Sides, Upper 40@40°3,4
G: 50@30°3
Hull Sides, Lower 40@0°3,4
Hull Rear 40@30°3,4
Hull Top 16@90°3, 15@904
G: 16-40@90°3
Hull Bottom 16-30@90°3, 20+13@90°4
Turret Front 100@10°3
Mantlet: 100 round3
Turret Sides 45@25°3
Turret Rear 45@25°3
Turret Top 16@83°-90°3
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL230P303
Maybach HL210P304
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 642@3,000 rpm4
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) AK 7-2004
7 forward, 1 reverse.3,4
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 34 mph4
46 kph3
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph4
Range - Road 105 miles4
200 km3
Range - Cross Country 53 miles4
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 4' 7"4
Trench crossing 6' 3"4
Vertical obstacle 3'4
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 1.75"4
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8' 7 1/8"4

Sources:

  1. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  2. The Panther Family, Horst Scheibert, 1990
  3. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  4. AFV #10: Panzerkampfwagen V Panther, Chris Ellis and Peter Chamberlain-
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site