German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

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delete013
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German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by delete013 » 21 Aug 2018 12:04

Hello everyone,

the situation that led me to inquire in this forum is the following. On the internet there has been a lot of speculation over the ergonomy of Panzer V Panther tanks. Evaluations are based mostly on French and British after-war testing. I cannot find the original reports but a part of the supposed British part was posted here https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php? ... romLogin=1. And here https://worldoftanks.com/en/news/chieft ... -panthers/ there is commented article on French report.

Further a lot of talk is about supposed "poor" target acquisition and long time before target identification and first shot (speculated to be around 30 seconds). The consequence is the idea that allied tanks usually could fire first shot first.

Now there seem to be big differences between Panther's performance in tests made by Allies and combat reports by Germans so I do not trust these estimates so I am quite confused. The reports cite many critical flaws and where there is such an obvious flaw is out of my experience also certain information missing. Also nobody doubts the quality of these reports and the entire discussion tends to be quite biased towards one or other side.

I wonder could anyone provide me with some information on opinions of German crews or actual performance estimates with the focus on problems they had with the tank?

Thank you and best regards.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 26 Aug 2018 15:11

"Experience report regarding PzKpfw V In the battle around Proskurov and in the breakthrough by 1. PzArmee, the battalion was exclusively reliant on the help of the repairs unit, still short of sufficient spare parts. Between 6 March and 15 April 1944 the following experiences were made with the Panthers of I./ PzRgt 2:

A.) Engine HL 230 P30 In general the engines have a significantly longer life than the first series. Highest reading 1,700 to 1,800km on three of seven available tanks. Engine damage was the same in each case (bearings and connecting rods).

Engine fires These fires have also become significantly less. The causes now established for engine fires are:

1.) Oil lost from the filler cap as a result of faulty sealing. The oil dripped on the hot exhaust and ignited.
2.) In several cases the carburettors overflowed, the ignition plugs became wet and would not spark, the fuel
was expelled through the exhaust and leaked out between the seals as a result of which the fire spread outwards to the engine.

B.) Gears The gears also had a long life but in several cases 3rd gear became unworkable after about 1,500km so that the gearbox had to be exchanged. The reason for the damage may be found in the overworking of 3rd gear during the mud season. Because no opportunity existed to exchange the gearbox; three tanks continued in action for another 250km. The drivers had to shift from 2nd into 4th. The Cardan shaft became defective in several cases and had to be exchanged.

The heavy wear and tear to steering brakes may also be attributable to long journeys in the mud. On account of the relatively complexity of the steering mechanism and the short technical training, one has to assume that not all the drivers have a basic grasp of how the brakes work. As in most cases the tank remained operational with its steering problem, this would have affected the final-drive units and caused major wear and tear on the brakes.

C.) Final-drive units A very large percentage of tanks broke down through damage to these units. From 1 April 1944, a total of 13 out of 30 were exchanged, more left side than right. The system was not very tolerant of jerky steering movements in heavy terrain.


D.) Tracks and suspension After 1,500 to 1,800km, the tracks begin to show very heavy wear. In many cases the side bars are bent outward or break. In four cases the tracks had to be renewed because a row of side bars had broken off. Cause: Having been spent long periods in the field the tracks could not be checked and reconditioned as they should have been. The vehicle remained driveable until the defect deteriorated to the extent that it destroyed the track.

Although the life of the Panther has been lengthened significantly, an attempt must be made to avoid these high, sudden stresses which occur naturally in battle conditions:

1. Running the engine excessively especially going down a steep mountain road, and during fighting in heavy terrain.
2. Abrupt steering movements (cannot be avoided in battle).
3. Excessive stress on the Cardan shaft. Many kilometres without a breakdown is the hallmark of a good driver and commander. In that respect, the battalion mentions PzKpfw V Chassis No. 154338, Engine No. 8322046 reading 1,878km, driver Obergrefeiter Gablewski, 4. Kp/ PzRgt 2. The vehicle is still completely operational. With exception of track, all other items are still in very good condition. Engine oil consumption has been 10ltr per 100km. The tank is still running with its original engine and transmission.


June 1944 edition of Nachrichtenblatt der Panzertruppen:

Performance of a Panther-recovery tank driver. Unteroffizier Krause of a Panther workshop platoon has up to 3 May 1944 driven his Panther recovery tank – Chassis No. 212132 – 4,200km without an engine change or damage to the transmission, including the final drive units, gearbox and drive shaft. Approximately 1,000km of this was made towing a Panther tank. The vehicle and engine are still in excellent condition and continue to be operational.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 26 Aug 2018 15:39

"To the Chief of the Army General Staff Herrn General der Infanterie Zeitzler Enclosed herewith I am sending you five copies of reports on the operational experiences of PzRgt (Panther) von Lauchert and of heavy PzJgRgt 656 (Ferdinand and assault tanks) which I put together in connection with my visit to the frontline.

Signed Guderian.

Report on the operation of PzRgt (Panther) von Lauchert:

I.) Tactical Experience

The operational use of a new tank type does not free the leadership from the proven principles of tank warfare. This is especially the case with regard to the cooperation with other branches and of operations with formations of tanks.

The Inspector-General had formed a Panzer Brigade Staff for the Division Grossdeutschland reinforced by the Panther-Rgt in order to secure the more than 300 tanks of that division. As the result of personal friction this staff was not used initially for the operation. The leadership of the tanks suffered accordingly just as much as the cooperation with other branches did. Personal considerations should have no place if the fate of the Reich is at risk. It is wrong, where tanks are being deployed, to withdraw other strongpoint weapons just because Panthers are present. It is much more correct to build a clear and unmistakable additional strongpoint with other branches (artillery, pioneers, Luftwaffe, armoured personnel-carrier battallions) in order to combine with the Panthers for an effective penetration and rapid success with few losses. The attack must be carried forward quickly into the depths of the enemy’s defensive system in order to take out his artillery and secure the advance of the PzGren and infantry.

After the serious losses of the first few days those succeeding losses were relatively greater because the number of Panthers going into battle was very few (at that time only ten Panthers), and it was easier for the enemy to register successes, this all the more so because support for the Panthers from other branches was not sufficiently guaranteed.

The enemy defences using 7.62cm anti-tank and tank guns was only successful against the Panthers on their flanks. No penetration of the frontal armour was achieved. From this it must be inferred that attention must be given primarily to protecting the flanks of the Panther attack. All available other branches of service must be involved in this aim.

The Panther contingent must be spread broadly for the attack in order to prevent flanking of the main attack force. Under fire, individual vehicles are to turn to face the source. When crossing a deeply staggered, mined battlefield, in future a detachment of PzKp (Fkl) must be provided. Timely cooperation with pioneers must be obtained in any case. Materials for crossing swampy land are to be carried in a ready state in order to avoid stoppages during the course of the advance.

II.) Organization

The structure of the fighting staff echelon of the Panther regiment has been proven. In no case should the platoons, companies or battalions be weaker. The allocation of wheeled vehicles can be reduced especially because supplying all tanks is practically never necessary on account of the constant breakdowns.

III.) Training

The period for training has been too short. The drivers have not had the necessary practice. The technical personnel are not sufficiently trained, the gunlayers and commanders have not received the necessary tactical training. Because of the conversion work required at Grafenwöhr, exercises were only carried out at platoon strength. This lack of training has made itself very noticeable. A large percentage of the technical and also tactical failures are attributable to it.


IV.) State of the regiment


After seven days in action In the opening days a reduction in battle strength occurred as a result of enemy action and technical breakdowns.

On the evening of 10 July 1943 there were: Fighting the enemy 10 Panthers
Totally destroyed 25 Panthers (23 hit by enemy fire and burnt out, two caught fire during the advance.)
Work with repairs units and workshop 100 Panthers of which:- (56) with shell or mine damage (44) with
mechanical damage (Note: some 60 percent are light repairs.)
Repaired and advancing to open area c. 40 Panthers
Remainder c. 25 Panthers not yet reached by repairs service.

On the evening of 11 July 1943 there were: On active service 38 Panthers
Written off 37 Panthers
Under repair 131 Panthers


A gradual rise in the fighting strength is expected. The large number of Panthers out of action due to enemy fire (81 Panthers, up to 10 July 1943) is an indication of the heavy fighting. The deeply staggered, heavily mined main Russian battlefield was bound to lead to an above-average failure of tanks from artillery and mines. Even the PzKpfw IV and Tiger were not spared. The fact that the Panther appeared on the battlefield for the first time exposed it to general interest. Comparisons with the defects of other tank units was not made. Therefore operational commands and troops quickly drew the premature conclusion that: The Panther is no good!

In conclusion, it should be noted that the Panther did prove itself in action. That technical failures in large numbers were bound to appear in the early days had to be expected, since testing by the troops at the depots has not been carried out.


A later attachment to the report read:

Individual experiences regarding the Panther operation:

Weaponry:

The main gun: Hit and penetration is good. By 10 July 1943, 140 enemy tanks had been destroyed. The average range was 1,500m to 2,000m. A T-34 was even destroyed at 3,000m. As the result of anti-tank grenade hits on the barrels of our tanks some were put out of commission (interior bulging). The ability of the commander to observe the field was made difficult by smoke from the gun breech after the third round which made his eyes water (periscopes were not available!) Repairing damaged gun barrels with metal sleeving taken from other damaged vehicles cannot be achieved. Supply depot necessary.

Machine guns: These in general were very reliable. On some weapons expansion of the rifling caused blockages. Apparently the material is of poor quality. The metal in the belt feed bent easily.

Smoke candle launchers: These are not viable as they are quickly destroyed by enemy fire. The development of a workable method of making smoke must be expedited.

Armour:

All enemy anti-tank fire failed to penetrate the frontal armour of the PzKpfw V Panther. Fire from 7.62cm anti-tank and tank guns falling vertically on the cupola also failed to penetrate. However, the sides of the Panther were penetrated even at ranges over 1,000m. On the turret and also against the sloping and vertical hull sides, fire from 7.62cm anti-tank guns and tank guns went through; subsequently most Panthers so hit burst into flame, probably on account of the large amount of explosive in the shell.

Suggestion:

Reinforcement of the side armour, as soon as possible, during production. Also fitted as supplementary armour to newly delivered vehicles. In general, the Panther is not vulnerable to artillery fire, only by a direct hit on the roof of the fighting compartment by a 15cm (or heavier) shell will
force the armour into the interior. Light calibre hits on the cupola and roof armour had no effect.


Weak areas:

The plug covering the port for the Maschinenpistole (MP) was blown into the turret by a hit (probably 4.5cm) killing the gunloader and commander: The taper must be strengthened. It is feared that PaK hits against the lower part of the mantlet are deflected down and through the roof into the fighting compartment. The strengthening of the roof armour must be investigated.

Effect of mines:

Some 40 Panthers were put out of action in the opening days through enemy mines. As a rule only four to six track segments and two to four running wheels were damaged. On some vehicles the swing arms of the suspension were bent. In rare cases damage was caused to the drive sprocket. In another case, the ammunition stored under the turntable was ignited by a spark. The Panther burnt out. Protection must be found to stop this occuring again.

Conclusion:

Work must proceed with some urgency to create a workable means of clearing mines or rendering them harmless.

The turret:

Difficulties occur when closing the commander’s cupola when the vehicle is not level and also opening it when the vehicle is on fire. A better solution must be found in order to avoid fatalities. Also the hatches for the driver and wireless operator jammed in such a way that it was not possible for them escape. The vision visors have in general remained sound. Only in one case was it reported that a visor had bent. Absolutely essential is a wiper for the sighting telescope; withdrawing this during action is too time consuming. The gear oil for the turret turning mechanism and also the lubricant for the turret telescopes must be improved.

Technical defects in the engine compartment:

Most mechanical failures result from a defective fuel pump (from PzAbt 52 to 8 July; 20 cases), presumably there is a problem with the material. When these pumps leak, fuel gathers in the sump in the floor of the vehicle; in three cases this has resulted in the total loss of the tank. The Panther bursts into flame particularly easily when not level. In most cases the fire in the engine bay was contained when the automatic fire-extinguisher activated.

Engine failures:

At this time, the rate of engine breakdown is unacceptably large. Up to 8 July, 12 engines were reported as defective by PzAbt 52. After a number of days of operations the defects reduced, therefore it is being assumed that the engines had not been sufficiently run-in.

Transmission:

Serious problems have not occurred, the changes introduced at Grafenwöhr seem to have been successful. Up to 8 July only five transmission breakdowns were reported by PzAbt 52.

Conclusion:

The defects mentioned have been brought to the attention of the Reichminister for Armaments and Munitions and to the Weapons Office. Remedial measures have been promised.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 26 Aug 2018 16:40

"Memorandum on the PzKpfw V Panther In August 1943 the PzBrig staff identified ten basic tactical principles for the PzKpfw Panther:

1.) The Panther is not invulnerable. Flanks and rear are penetrated by fire from enemy 7.62cm anti-tank and tank guns.
2.) Protection of Panther flanks is always important. (Always make smoke)
3.) The Panther cannot drive across a minefield and expect no damage. Setting off mines renders it immobile, if even only for a short time.
4.) The great firepower of the Panther must not lead to an increase in distances and spaces in the platoon. In some circumstances this will complicate mutual support.
5.) The great effectiveness of the gun makes it possible to exchange of fire with enemy tanks at long range. A KV-1 can be destroyed at 3,400m, a T-34 at 1,500 to 2,000m.
6.) Battlefield and terrain reconnaissance are especially important. An attack should never be made without reconnaissance first. This must be frequently done by the crews on foot. (Covering fire must be provided)
7.) Even the Panther may alternate between receiving fire and moving. Rapid advances should be kept short to prevent the unit breaking up.
8.) If tanks are fighting alongside PzKpfw III and IV (e.g. breaking through enemy position) it is recommended to place the Panther with the long range at the front and the PzKpfw III and IV initially positioned so that they can protect the flanks or are also available to set off ‘in pursuit’ after the breakthrough. (PzKpfw III and IV – less weight, less fuel consumption).
9.) Panthers are less suitable for fighting in woodland than the PzKpfw III and IV. Ideally, they lead the fighting around villages from monitoring positions or enter large villages with grenadiers.
10.) The Panther is less suitable than the PzKpfw III and IV and self-propelled assault guns to support Panzer-grenadiers in mopping-up operations.
11.) The aim must always be to obtain a secure position at night for the Panthers, from where they can be easily moved out and moved.
12.) The heavy fuel consumption requires that before every operation the question must be asked as to whether it is worth the expenditure of fuel. (Panthers need double the fuel of the equivalent PzKpfw III, IV and StuG.)
13.) Economy with ammunition is especially important. Therefore gunnery training is vital.
14.) A Panther towing away an immobilized Panther is only permitted if the latter is receiving enemy fire in the field. A Panther requires five 18t towing tractors in open terrain, and two or three on hard-surfaced roads.
15.) Repairs by the workshop must be so arranged that as far as possible heavy spare parts can be brought up to the workshop location by rail.
16.) The Panther should only be used in conjunction with Panzer-grenadiers who have been trained to fight alongside tanks."


I have divided the individual reports to make it more clear.

Most of them are from a book "Panther" by Thomas Anderson.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 26 Aug 2018 19:50

Panzertruppen vol.2, Thomas L. Jentz. 114-115:

Having been sent to the front to determine the status of the II.Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 23 sent in with 96 Panthers, Oberstleutnant Mildebrath wrote the following report for the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen on 9 September 1943:

"In addition, other Panthers were diverted for combating Partisans, for reconnaissance, to liberate encircled artillery and infantry, and to guard against being blown up. In any case, an overview of all vehicles in the Abteilung was not possible.

As a result of much too small an allotment of only four Zugkraftwagen 18t, towing could occur only by sector or by using repaired Panthers. The number of operational Panthers could significantly increase if additional Zugkraftwagen 18t were issued. Most of the Panthers that had been used for towing were very heavily damaged (failure of the motor, final drives, drive shaft and hydraulic pump).

The Abteilung reported that the extraordinary capability of the main gun and armor were especially enjoyable. Fires in the Panthers did not occur after penetration by anti-tank rounds. Losses due to enemy action are only about 10 percent of the breakdowns.

Since the Abteilung was tactically employed attached to an Armee, close cooperation with an armored infantry or artillery unit for support was lacking. For a period, Major Fechner had fed and employed 200 leaderless infantry in his leaguer. The combat morale of our infantry has seriously declined due to the shortage of officers and supplies. Therefore, enemy attacks easily succeed when the Panthefs are pulled out for other tasks or for resupply.

The armor steel of the opponent was stated to be very much poorer. Possibly the troops were deceived by the outstanding effect of the 7.5 cm Kw.K.42 L/70 gun. In spite of the continuous action and retreat, the morale and capability of the Abteilung are excellent. Personnel losses are negligibly small, only three dead. As before, the troops are still excited about the tactical capabilities of the Panther, but deeply disappointed that the majority of the Panthers can't engage in combat due to a miserable motor and other mechanical weaknesses. They would gladly give up some speed, if automotive reliability could be gained.

Until the same automotive reliability as the Pz.Kpfw.III and IV is achieved, the Abteilung must be provided with extra repair parts, especially motors and final drives, and the necessary equipment and personnel to perform maintenance and repairs. Since the Abteilung consists of very good, older Panzertruppen and sufficient time was available for individual training, all problems can be traced to design andproduction mistakes. Training cannot be used as an excuse in any case. During the allotted time planned for training, 592 modifications were made to their Panthers, with almost no time left for unit tactical training in the Abteilung. Since the part of the Abteilung with the commander was rumored to be on the move or in action against an enemy force that had broken through farther to the west, direct contact could not be achieved due to the schedule.
To prevent their loss in the event that the enemyadvanced farther from the north, immediate employment of at least ten Zugkraftwagen 18t was requested from the Heeresgruppe for recovering broken down Panthers found on the main route."

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 26 Aug 2018 20:12

Thomas Anderson, Panther:

"In October/ November 1943, the SS-PzDiv Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler received a total of 96 Panthers. On 16 November 1943, the unit submitted a situation report which gives a good idea of the average operational readiness. After one week of operations, the stock of battleworthy Panthers had shrunk by some 65 percent.

Panther Abt Kuhlmann was unloaded between 7 and 8 November 1943 in the Shitomir-Berditschev-Kasatin area and on the orders of the general command of XXXXVIII PzKorps assembled on the night of 9 November in the area east of Berditschev. On 8 November 1943, the battalion was ordered to advance. Armoured thrusts were performed along the railway line from Kasatim-Koshanka to Fastov. Therefore in six days Panther Abt Kuhlmann, without any possibility of repairs, knocked out a total of 40 enemy tanks in continuous combat and covered 210km on the map. The Panther is considered by the whole battalion to be an outstanding tank.

Inventory of defects:

Seven total losses by hits to the flanks and rear, four drive shafts damaged, 38 engines damaged, one sprocket, five final-drive units, one magneto, one set of running gear, one ventilator motor, one turret turning mechanism and one oil cooler. Under repair: 22 Panthers more than six days, 32 less than six days. Panthers operational on 14 November 1943; 35. For the attack on Solovyevka on 15 November 1943, five total loss to enemy fire (not yet confirmed), and nine currently with mechanical damage.total loss to enemy fire (not yet confirmed), and nine currently with mechanical damage."

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by delete013 » 29 Aug 2018 15:24

Thanks a lot! This is great. I might return with some additional questions.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 31 Aug 2018 18:13

You are welcome, there are quite a lot more of these, so if you need any specific question asked, feel free to ask.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 02 Sep 2018 15:44

And regarding WO 291/1003, the section about Panther lists these "outstanding" features of the specimen they tested:

Good Features:

- Main armament loading times
- Driver's "opened-up" position
- Large hull hatches
- Empty-case bin and fumes extractor for the gun

Bad features:

- No loader's seat (position still deemed satisfactory)
- Position of gunner's and bow gunner's seats in relation to their controls.
- No adjustment for commander's seat
- Gunner's restricted vision
- Bad controls for turret traverse
- Handwheel handles too short
- Small ammounts of ammunition available at 2, 3 and 9 o' clock
- Position of clips on arms in pannier racks
- Gunner must move headset to sight.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 03 Sep 2018 03:13

I don't think I have ever read of an account of someone that served in Panzer IV first and then was in Panthers. My understanding is that the two Panther units at Kursk were mostly new recruits. There must have been some NCOs and Officers with experience, of course.

I have also read that the Germans would pull a Panzer III battalion off the line from a Panzer Division, and they would be transported back to train on the new Panthers. This, of course, would leave a void as the Panzer IIIs were handed over to another unit leaving the Panzer IV battalion as the sole tank unit in the division. I would assume the Panzer III gunners would certainly appreciate the KWK 42 weapon. And overall, it was a much different tank that would require extensive first line training. This differs greatly with something like the Soviet T34/85. These were delivered with an extra crewman, and the training was done at the front. Since the Soviets were pushing hard in the later half of 1943, Panther training, and Panther teething issues, must have created even more chaos during the retreats.

The Panther had power traverse while the Panzer III was hand-cranked. The Panther really had to have it's engine running to fully use the power traverse. Really an offensive tank as opposed to being a defensive tank. The Panzer IV did have the neat trick of having an auxiliary gas engine to run a dedicated generator for the electric motor traverse.

Much is written regarding the Panther's teething problems. Since they basically used the same motor as the Tiger tanks, and they had such issues with the fuel pumps and connecting rods, etc....wouldn't the Tiger Tanks have the same issues? Some say the strait-cut final drives were faulty, Tiger Tanks also have strait-cut gears also? It would have to be a metallurgy issue then.

Tiger battalions seemed to have proven people assigned to them. I just read 'Panzer Ace' the memoir by Von Rosen, one gets the impression that they were very competent servicemen. Units like the Panther Kursk battalions, or the Panther Brigades (one civilian described them passing by as tanks manned by children), may not have been the best fielding of this weapon system.

Panthers never really developed a big enough fleet given the slow ramp up of production, and the losses incurred. Something like maybe 800 or so on the eastern front later in 1944. I think the Germans would have been better off having 'heavy' tank divisions with just Panther tanks, and 'medium' tank divisions with Panzer IV along with jagdpanzer IV. Just from a tank retrieval/maintenance stand-point, the needs of the heavy Panther tanks needed more resources. The intent is to use the Panther Tank divisions as destroyers of enemy armored forces, especially breakthroughs.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Alejandro_ » 03 Sep 2018 21:42

My understanding is that the two Panther units at Kursk were mostly new recruits. There must have been some NCOs and Officers with experience, of course.


Many were from tank schools, but the nucleus was formed by personnel from 9 and 11 Panzer Division. There was not enough training, not beyond platoon (Zug) strength. Radios were not tested due to proximity of the frontline.
Much is written regarding the Panther's teething problems. Since they basically used the same motor as the Tiger tanks, and they had such issues with the fuel pumps and connecting rods, etc...
Final drive was different, which is why Panther II was supposed to incorporate mechanical components from Tiger, including the final drive and steering.

Engine had some issues: The compartment had issues and the deep fording requirements made it prone to overheating. Fuel pumps were also an issue. In any case, this was improved.
Tiger battalions seemed to have proven people assigned to them. I just read 'Panzer Ace' the memoir by Von Rosen, one gets the impression that they were very competent servicemen.
One of the reasons Tigers were assigned to independent battalions was that they required more maintenance than standard tanks at that moment (Panzer III/IV).

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 04 Sep 2018 23:55

What is suprising is that while reliability gets better partly due to upgrades and modifications to suspension, transmission and engine, factory fixes to final drives happened only in late 1944, yet breakdowns in final drives seem to gradually reduce too.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 05 Sep 2018 04:43

Yoozername wrote:
03 Sep 2018 03:13



Tiger battalions seemed to have proven people assigned to them. I just read 'Panzer Ace' the memoir by Von Rosen, one gets the impression that they were very competent servicemen.
My reading suggests that there was no 'special' system for allocating men to Tiger Units. Like every other Army they just got whoever was top of the list the day they applied for replacements. The photos of 503 Tigers waiting to cross the Seine show some very young crewmen.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 05 Sep 2018 05:52

Ulater wrote:
04 Sep 2018 23:55
What is suprising is that while reliability gets better partly due to upgrades and modifications to suspension, transmission and engine, factory fixes to final drives happened only in late 1944, yet breakdowns in final drives seem to gradually reduce too.
This could be because driver's became more adept at babying the vehicle and shifting through certain gears better. A feature like the neutral steering might be avoided under most circumstances.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 05 Sep 2018 06:46

Yoozername wrote:
05 Sep 2018 05:52

This could be because driver's became more adept at babying the vehicle and shifting through certain gears better.
Spielberger. Panther & Its Variants page 257

Date 23 January 1945.


Meeting of the Panzer Commision:


there continues to be serious complaints regarding final drive breakdowns in all vehicle types...................General Thomale explained that in such circumstances an orderly utilisation of tanks is simply impossible...........
200 breakdowns with the 38(t).........
Prior to the 1945 eastern offensive there have been 500 defective drives on the Pz IV, from the Panther 370 and from the Tiger roughly 100............the troops lose their confidence and in some situations abandon the whole vehicle just because of this problem

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