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Panzer V Panther Ausf A

German heavy medium Panther tank.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

Panther tanks under fire
Two Panther Ausf A under fire on the Russian Front.

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Panzer V Panther Ausf A (SdKfz 171)
German heavy medium tank.


After a study had been made of the Russian T-34 , Hitler ordered the development of a similar vehicle. Production of the Panzer V Panther Ausf D was to start in December 1942, with 250 to be built by 12 May 1943, the time for the summer offensive.
The Ausf A was the second series of the Panther production. The basic design remained the same as the Ausf D, the difference being a series of modifications to improve performance.

The important changes on the Panther Ausf A were the introduction of the new cupola for the commander and strengthened running gear. The number of wheel-rim bolts was doubled to prevent failures. Several modifications were made to the drive-train to improve reliability. Engine exhaust cooling was modified. The hull design remained unchanged, but a new ball-mount was designed to replace the letter-box flap MG port. These ball-mounts were fitted to a proportion of Ausf A starting in August 1943, and were fitted to all Ausf A starting in late 1943.
The turret had many modifications. In addition to the new cupola, a periscope for the loader was provided on the right side of turret roof. The small ammunition-loading hatch on the left side was eliminated, and during the production run, the turret side pistol ports were eliminated in favor of the roof-mounted Nahverteidigungswaffe (close-defense weapon). The TZF12 binocular telescope was gradually replaced by the monocular TZF12a during the Ausf A production.

When the Panther Ausf A was first introduced, it saw service in Russia and Italy. Most of the Panther detachments deployed to meet the Allied invasion of France in mid 1944 were equipped with Panther Ausf A, and many of them were still in service at the end of the war.

After WW2 the US Army calculated that it had cost five M4 Sherman to destroy one Panzer V Panther tank.

For comparison, average number of hits to knock out each type of tank:
Western Europe 1944-45:

Tank TypeAverage number of hitsAverage number of penetrations
Tiger I4.22.6
Panzer V Panther2.551.9
M4 Sherman1.631.55
Panzer IV1.21.2

The importance of good all round armor protection is also stressed by the analysis of hits and penetrations on different surfaces of Panther tanks from different weapons system on Normandy battlefields 1944:

WeaponSuper- structure FrontTurret Front or Gun MantletTurret SideSuper- structure or Hull SideTurret rearSuper- structure or Hull Rear
17-Pounder0 (2)1 (0)4 (1)9 (0)1 (0)3 (0)
3 inch M100 (1)0 (1)1 (1)5 (0)-1 (0)
75 mm0 (1)-1 (1)4 (1)--
6 Pounder APDS0 (3)1 (1)1 (0)3 (0)-1 (0)
6 Pounder ABCBC1 (0)-3 (1)2 (0)--
Total hits84142415
Penetration %13 %50 %71 %96 %100 %100 %

Users: Germany, Romania (for all variants).

Supremacy 1914

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Animated 3D model of Panther Ausf A Command tank

Specifications for Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf A Panther (SdKfz 171)


Panther tank Panzer V Ausf ASpecification
Typemedium tank
Engine Maybach HL 230 P30 gasoline engine with 700 hp
Gearbox 7 forward, 1 reverse
Turret crew 3 (with 360° Commanders cupola)
Length8.86 m
Width3.42 m
Height2.98 m
Weight44.8 tons
Maximum speed29 mph
Cross-country speed15 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 miles 724 litres on road, 1,078 litres cross-country
Fuel730 litres
Road radius100 miles
Cross-country radius60 miles
Vertical obstacle0.90 m
Trench crossing1.90 m
Fording depth1.70 m
Turning circle10 m
Climbing power35 °


Panther tank Panzer V Ausf Ammangle
Turret front110 mm11 °
Turret side45 mm25 °
Turret rear45 mm25 °
Turret top16 mm84-90 °
Upper hull front80 mm55 °
Upper hull side40 mm40 °
Upper hull rear--
Hull top16 mm90°
Lower hull front60 mm55 °
Lower hull side40 mm0 °
Lower hull rear40 mm30 °
Hull bottom16-30 mm90 °
Gun mantlet100 mmround

Armament and Equipment:

Panther tank Panzer V Ausf ASpecification
Main armament7.5 cm KwK42 L/70
Traverse 360° (hydraulic)
Elevation -8° to +18°
Muzzle velocity Pzgr 925 m/s
Muzzle velocity Pzgr40 (available only in limited numbers) 1,120 m/s
Shell weight Pzgr 6.80 kg
Shell weight Pzgr40 4.75 kg
Secondary armament one 7.92mm MG34 coaxially to gun, one 7.92mm MG34 in front hull (traverse 5°left to 5°right, elevation -10° to +15°); together 5,100 rounds
Radio FuG5 (2.5 milesrange)
Telescopic sight TZF12a (2.5 miles aiming)

Penetration mm at 30° armor plates of 7.5cm KwK42 L/70:

RangePzgrPzgr40 (just limited numbers)
Penetration 100 meters138 mm194 mm
Penetration 500 meters124 mm174 mm
Penetration 1,000 meters111 mm149 mm
Penetration 1,500 meters99 mm127 mm
Penetration 2,000 meters89 mm106 mm


Panther tank Panzer V Ausf Afigures
Production from August 1943 to May 1944
Combat delivery immediately after production delivery
Price per tank RM 129,100 (early models) = ~$ 58,095 = ~£ 12,308
Total production figure 2,000

Service statistics of all Panzer V variants:

before 1939---
1943- 1,768 525
1944 1,084 (1.1.)3,749 2,297
1945 1,982 (1.1.) 459 (Jan-Mar)237 (Jan)
Total- 5,9763,059

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