The Formidable Panzer V “Panther” with 25 Photos

The German medium tank Panzerkampfwagen V was used by the Wehrmacht in the second half of World War II, from the summer of 1943 until the end of hostilities in Europe.

Called the Panther, it was also abbreviated as Pz.Kpfw. V. The Soviet as well as other Allied tank classifications ranked the Panther as a heavy tank, but the Germans listed it as a medium tank.

Serial production of the Panther ran from January 1943 to April 1945. In addition to the MAN developer company, other famous companies including Henschel and Demag Daimler-Benz were involved in the release of the Panther. In total, up to 136 organizations and manufacturers took part.

Hungary Panzer V Panther 2
Hungary Panzer V Panther 2

The Panther’s protection consisted of rolled armor plates of low and medium hardness with surface hardening. The thickness of the armor began at .4″ and could be as thick as 4.3,” and varied depending on the modification of the tank. The Panther’s crew consisted of five people.

Notably, based on the main modifications of the Panthers, automatic control systems for both command and repair vehicles were developed, which were widely used on virtually all fronts.

The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 Tanks.Photo Thorsten Hansen CC BY-ND 2.0
The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 Tanks.Photo Thorsten Hansen CC BY-ND 2.0

As its main weapon the Panther used a 75-mm KwK 42 tank gun with a barrel length of 70 calibers. Modifications A and D carried 79 rounds of ammunition, and modification G carried 82 rounds, which included subcaliber (Pzgr. 40/42), armor-piercing (Pzgr. 39/42) and high-explosive shells (Sprg. 42). Later modifications of the tank included two 7.92-mm MG 34 machine guns as auxiliary weapons.

The first 250 tanks used a Maybach HL 210 P30 carburetor engine which was V-shaped, had 12 cylinders, and was water-cooled. However, it was later replaced by the Maybach HL 230 P45 engine, which produced 700 horsepower, allowing a maximum speed of 28-30 miles per hour on highways.

The Maybach HL230 in Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum an upgraded version of the HL 210. By Bilderling CC BY-SA 3.0
The Maybach HL230 in Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum an upgraded version of the HL 210. By Bilderling CC BY-SA 3.0

The Panther’s debut at the front took place during the Battle of the Kursk Bulge on July 5, 1943, as part of the 39th Tank Regiment of the SS “Great Germany” division. In the first battles, Panthers performed well at medium ranges against Soviet tanks. However, this was not enough to stop the increased resistance of the Red Army troops. In total, from July 5, 1943, to April 10, 1945, 5,629 Panther tanks were lost in combat operations.

Military historian and engineer Mikhail Svirin praised the Panther: “Yes, the Panther was a strong and dangerous opponent and can be considered one of the most successful German tanks of the Second World War. But we should not forget that this tank was very expensive and difficult to manufacture and maintain.”

Panther ausf G with steel wheels
Panther ausf G with steel wheels

The last massive use of German tanks was during a counterattack in Hungary, near Lake Balaton. The Panthers also took part in battles in the Czech Republic and during the defense of Berlin. After the end of WWII, some trophy Panthers served in the armies of Hungary, Romania, France, and Czechoslovakia. Currently, surviving Panthers can be seen on display in many military museums.

Panther Ausf D 1944 and crew member
Panther Ausf D 1944 and crew member

 

Panther tank Ostpreussen 1944
Panther tank Ostpreussen 1944

 

German Panther G in Winter Camouflage 1944
German Panther G in Winter Camouflage 1944

 

Allied Troops next to a German Jagdpanther near Gheel-Velveeken 1944.
Allied Troops next to a German Jagdpanther near Gheel-Velveeken 1944.

 

Rome, 1944 – German panzers roll through the streets. Bundesarchiv – CC-BY SA 3.0
Rome, 1944 – German panzers roll through the streets. Bundesarchiv – CC-BY SA 3.0

 

 

German Panzer V tank in 1943
German Panzer V tank in 1943

 

Jagdpanther in Northern France.
Jagdpanther in Northern France.

 

Panther tank in mud
Panther tank in mud

 

Panther Ausf D tank number 914 1943
Panther Ausf D tank number 914 1943

 

Panther Cologne March 1945 Duel at the Cathedral
Panther Cologne March 1945 Duel at the Cathedral

 

Destroyed Panther Ausf. A number 112 of the Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Division 2 Hermann Göring. East Prussia February 1945
Destroyed Panther Ausf. A number 112 of the Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Division 2 Hermann Göring. East Prussia February 1945

 

Aschaffenburg Germany Panther Tank and Submarine Plant
Aschaffenburg Germany Panther Tank and Submarine Plant

 

Panther Ausf G tanks of 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg winter camo Alsace December 1944
Panther Ausf G tanks of 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg winter camo Alsace December 1944

 

Panzer V Panther Ausf D Medium Tank
Panzer V Panther Ausf D Medium Tank

 

Panther Ausf G in river
Panther Ausf G in river

 

Panzer III Panzer IV And In The Background Panther tank 1945
Panzer III Panzer IV And In The Background Panther tank 1945

 

Panther Ausf A of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking Bahntransport Summer 1944
Panther Ausf A of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking Bahntransport Summer 1944

 

Panther tank France 1944
Panther tank France 1944

 

Panther number 415
Panther number 415

 

Panther turret as a pillbox
Panther turret as a pillbox

Read another story from us: Masters of Armored Warfare – 6 Historic German Tanks

Panther in France.
Panther in France.