German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Ulater
Member
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Mar 2015 19:36
Location: Slovakia

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 05 Sep 2018 22:34

"1.) PzBrig 112 was deployed southwest of Epinal against a breakthrough by US forces. The Panther Abt was withdrawn again, the GrenRgt and PzKpfw IV Abt remained in action near Epinal on 15 September.

2.) The Panther Abt in PzBrig 112 has practically been wiped out. It has only four operational Panthers. Another three need short-term repair, a command Panther will take longer. 34 Panthers are total losses. They had practically no mechanical defects in action. The exclusive cause of the total losses was air attacks by 16 to 20 fighter-bombers firing rocket projectiles and phosphorous shells from artillery at the rear. Crew losses are substantial. The commanding officer of the battalion is said to be seriously wounded, his adjutant dead. There was no point in retrieving the write-offs, they were either totally gutted by fire or torn apart by their own exploding ammunition. Among the 34 total losses is a command tank vehicle, the second PzBefWg (mentioned above as needing long-term repair) has hits on the turret. The workshop platoon of the PzAbt is fully operational as regards staff and materials. The recovery platoon still has three s ZgKw 18t and two Panther hulls. As the principal cause of the (defects), poor training of drivers is to blame. The battalion has received drivers who are operating a Panther for the first time. Tanks are being written-off for quite minor technical problems."

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 05 Sep 2018 22:41

https://panzerworld.com/panzer-brigades ... conclusion

A good read regarding the Panzer Brigades in the west. Given the need for support units that Panthers would need, they were a very bad idea.

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 06 Sep 2018 00:09

Post some pictures of these very young Tiger crewmen. And, what do you consider 'very young'?

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 2084
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Cult Icon » 06 Sep 2018 00:19

Yoozername wrote:
05 Sep 2018 22:41
https://panzerworld.com/panzer-brigades ... conclusion

A good read regarding the Panzer Brigades in the west. Given the need for support units that Panthers would need, they were a very bad idea.
The good books about it is "Hold the Westwall" (about a panzer brigade) and "Patton vs. the Panzers". After the Lorraine fiasco they were rolled into Panzer divisions as reinforcements. Unit history of 116.Pz and the 21.Pz cover this.

User avatar
Gorque
Member
Posts: 1117
Joined: 11 Feb 2009 18:20
Location: Clocktown

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Gorque » 06 Sep 2018 00:55

I still believe that the books "Zen and the Art of Tiger I Tank Maintenance" & "Zen and the Art of Panther Tank Maintenance" are the be-alls to end-alls on the subject for the smooth running "Large German Felines".

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 06 Sep 2018 02:11

Cult Icon wrote:
06 Sep 2018 00:19
Yoozername wrote:
05 Sep 2018 22:41
https://panzerworld.com/panzer-brigades ... conclusion

A good read regarding the Panzer Brigades in the west. Given the need for support units that Panthers would need, they were a very bad idea.
The good books about it is "Hold the Westwall" (about a panzer brigade) and "Patton vs. the Panzers". After the Lorraine fiasco they were rolled into Panzer divisions as reinforcements. Unit history of 116.Pz and the 21.Pz cover this.
I will check out...this preview is great.

https://www.amazon.com/Hold-Westwall-Se ... 0811710564

Ulater
Member
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Mar 2015 19:36
Location: Slovakia

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 08 Sep 2018 16:35

"The Allied invasion of 6 June 1944 found the individual companies of the “Hitlerjugend” Panther battalion billeted to villages around Le Neuborg, France and the battalion staff company in the town itself. On being ordered to the invasion front, the fastest way the leadership of the 12th ss Panzer Regiment could get its Panthers there was by driving them. The sixty-six tanks of this unit covered a distance of 140 kilometres to reach the Normandy combat zone, travelling from 6 to 8 June 1944 under incessant air attack. For a tank unit in the Second World War, this was a sizeable distance. A number of tanks would be expected to fall out, despite maintenance halts. The march of the battalion began at 1 p.m. on 6 June 1944 and evening found the companies in the following locations: The 1st Company had reached Berthouville, the 2nd was in Barsen, the 3rd was in Le Thiel-Nolent, and 4th Company had reached in St. Claire. The battalion staff company had reached Boissy. Late evening saw the battalion continue west via the route Thiberville- Orbec-Monnai-Gace. From there the march continued all day on 7 June 1944 via Trun-Falaise-Thury Harcourthen to Amaye in the Maizet district. Here the battalion was dispersed and waited for fuel on the night of 7–8 June 1944. It is noted at this point that a single Panther that had become separated from its company rejoined it ."

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 08 Sep 2018 22:30

I believe that is taken from this...? I would expect the Panthers to make that trip. They are probably new or very new issue and all well maintained and broken in. The drivers all had training.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6797
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Sep 2018 04:22

This link expands on the article.
This is page 3:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missing ... 2-s20.html

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 11 Sep 2018 21:20

Below is a report from the Panther I./Pz.Rgt.2 battalion. The division is positioned as follows:

You agree with the content of the report.

Due to the difficult and urgent situation at the front, as the transports were ready the battalion was gradually launched into combat by companies. Due to the very difficult and partly critical situation, the battalion has not been able to operate jointly in coordination with the Panzer-Grenadiers . A part of the battalion, even loose vehicles, after having carried out counterattacks, have had to return to the main line of combat to support the weak infantry. The division as well as the superior services, are aware that this type of operations contradict the principles of the use of tanks, although due to the situation this has not been avoided.

Despite the hasty and partly inadequate type of operations, as well as the harshness of the battles, where the battalion had to face against all types of tanks, against heavy assault guns and anti-tank and artillery units, the battalion has operated successfully.

The battalion has fulfilled the expectations put in its direction and its personnel. With its excellent barrel and good frontal armor, whenever it is used correctly, the Panther is superior to all types of enemy tanks.

The technical problems suffered have also suffered the Panzer III and Panzer IV.

Only the fact that the Panther burns very easily, is something that must necessarily be improved.

Below you can read the report of I./Pz.Rgt.2




Report on the experiences obtained in the operations between 9 and 19.10.1943

Tactical instruction
Due to the circumstances necessarily very short instruction with the tank has not had negative consequences. This has been the case because the units still have 50% of commanders and crews with experience in the Eastern Front. Within this group of old people, the new young people have been coupled in an extraordinarily effective way and have been able to alleviate their inexperience quickly. The many young drivers, partly very poorly educated, have met expectations and with great enthusiasm and independently have tried to keep their vehicles operational. The existence of experienced platoon leaders and commanders has been decisive in any case.

Previous technical training in the Reich
During the training courses, part of several weeks of duration, the drivers and tank mechanics have not been given what in their future functions they will need. For example, it has happened that soldiers with great attitude and disposition have been employed for several weeks in a single type of work, for example in the assembly of wheels, thus being impossible to obtain an overview of the function and design of the Pz. Kpfw. V. In many cases a course of less duration under an expert direction would have endowed these people with better and fundamental knowledge. The possibilities for this have existed in all the factories.

Technical defects in the automotive industry
Engine : The cylinder head gaskets burn. Breaks of connecting rods Breakage of axes of the oil pump.

Reduction gears : The special screws of the large gearwheels of the reduction gear break. The covers of the housings are released, they do not have weld points, reason why an oil loss takes place. Loss of oil also when loosening the fixing screws of the reduction gear with the side wall of the tank.

Drive of the fans : Failure of the upper bearing of the fan. Shortage of lubrication, even though the correct oil level is indicated. For this reason the drive is damaged, and often in parallel, the clutch of the fans.

Transverse transmission
Leakage in the simmering, probably due to a displacement of the main axis.

Intermediate gear
The bearing is pushed towards the motor side. The bearing support is torn off in the direction of the Teves pump ( Tevespumpe )

Technical defects in the turret
Compressor for the tube blowing system : Often problems with the lubrication of the clutch disc that seizes, which prevents the proper functioning of the tube blowing system.

Hydrostatic drive ( Böhringer Sturmölgetriebe ): Breakage of the drive shaft used to drive the hydrostatic gear before the minimum overload of the turret.

Turret Turning System : The molded ring, mounted on the turning system, does not support the pressure of the turret caused by a collision or firing. The ring breaks and the friction coupling fails and can not be adjusted.

Electrical safety contact : The axis of the safety electrical contact is often broken in the seat for the retaining ring.

Rejection system for MG bushes : At the slightest carelessness of the tank crew, the metal tube is rolled up and becomes unusable. The same happens with the metallic tube for the aspiration, from the container of pods to the fan.

Armor
The front shield of the Pz.Kpfw. V is very good. The projectiles of the caliber 7.62 cm penetrate frontally with less depth than perforating projectiles of 4.7 cm. Only one vehicle has been lost when it was hit in its frontal zone, in this case by a 15.2 cm artillery projectile, which produced a crack in the cockpit. The driver and radiotelegraphist were not injured. Practically all the vehicles of the battalion have been hit by projectiles of 7.62 cm in their frontal armor, without in any case the operability of the tank was limited. In one case the gun mantlet was completely penetrated by a 4.7 cm projectile fired by an anti-tank gun at a distance of approximately 30 meters, although without consequences for the crew. In clear contrast, the tank is very delicate by its sides. On one occasion, the lateral armor of the turret was completely perforated by a projectile of apparently smaller caliber: a hard core of approximately 1.5 cm completely perforated the armor. The tub of another tank was also completely perforated by a smaller caliber projectile. These casualties took place in urban combats or combats on land with a lot of vegetation, where there was no protection of the weak flanks. An artillery hit in the front area of ​​the lower front plate, burst all the welds to the middle of the vehicle as well as a piece of the upper front plate and the star-shaped side plate, lifting them several centimeters. This produced a crack to the rear of the side reduction gears.

The skirts ( Schürzen ) have met expectations. Its supports are too weak and its position impractical. Because they are at a distance of approximately 8 cm from the tank, the skirts are easily torn off by branches and small trees.

Bearing system and chain
There have been no breakdowns in the new bearing systems. Practically all the vehicles have suffered damages in their system of bearing produced by artillery impacts (fragmentation). Artillery and fragmentation grenades have bored one wheel completely, damaged three more wheels and split several chain links in half. Grenades of 4.7 and 7.62 cm perforate the chain without problems but do not immobilize the vehicle. In all cases these vehicles have been able to leave the battlefield. Fast gears over long distances overload the rubber rings, which are released from the wheel.

Armament
The benefits of the gun are exceptional and, starting from the proper supervision, the damages suffered have been minimal. A KW-I has been frontally destroyed at a distance of 600 meters; at a distance of 800 meters a 15.2 cm assault cannon has been destroyed. To combat close targets, especially when the turret's weapons are not available, it is absolutely necessary to reassemble the radioman's machine gun on a ball holder.
Impacts on the mantlet lead to the breaking of the prisms of the telescopic sights 12. The consumption of conversion objectives for the telescopic sight 12 is very high. A greater reserve is needed. A means is needed to avoid fogging. The wipes 'Klarinel' ( Klarineltücher) are often missing and hard to come by.

New Commander's Dome
The new turret for the commander has worked properly. Unfortunately he does not have the sting of marksmanship that has so far facilitated the work of the commander. The three front periscopes should be somewhat closer together. The observation through the periscopes has been good, but impossible with the binoculars. The periscopes of the driver and radiotelegraphist must be better sealed, since the rainwater penetrates and makes vision difficult. Impacts on the turret disable the periscopes of the dome. A greater reserve of periscopes is required.

Emergency firing mechanism
It would be convenient to move the emergency firing mechanism of the rotating floor of the turret to the side so that it could be operated by hand. On the floor of the turret this mechanism is too exposed.

Radio
The radio communication inside the tank as well as between the different vehicles has been good. In several vehicles short circuits have occurred in the slip rings, faults that have not always been repaired by raising the hydrostatic drive. The position where the communication box 20 is located ( Bordsprechkasten 20) is not correct and can be damaged very easily. It would be convenient to mount it next to the cover support, under the receiver I. The type 20 communication box produces a slight whistle. The nominal voltage of the capacitors is too low. Acoustic interferences produced by the gearbox after the 5. march are received by the microphone and hinder the communication. Proposal: Less sensitive microphones should be used. The consumption of tubes for the communication box 20 is very high, because each time the vehicle is reached they are broken. Getting the reserve tubes in the area of ​​operations is difficult. So far, 60 defective tubes had to be replaced. The fan on the charger causes interference on the radio.

Shortage of spare parts:
Especially boxes type 20, connectors between the collector ring and the box type 50, microphones Kmf-b.

In relation to the radio equipment of the command tank ( Panzerbefehlswagen ), the battalion is of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary to additionally incorporate an ultra-short wave Fu2. The lack of armored vehicles with radio (Panzer II or half-tracks vehicles) in units associated with the battalion and dependent on it, has been a great disadvantage.

Recovery
The recovery tugs ( Bergeschlepper ) have worked perfectly. In dry terrain, one is enough to recover a tank. In the worst of the muddy terrain, two tugs are enough to recover a tank. Up to this moment each tugboat has recovered a total of twenty tanks and covered a total distance of 600 km. The recovery tanks ( Bergepanzer ) are used by the battalion only outside the radius of action of the enemy fire, approximately up to the artillery positions. Based on the experiences of the battalion it would be convenient to operate with a total of 4 recovery tanks, even at the expense of giving up of 2 18-ton tractors ( 18t Zugmaschinen). The equipment of the recovery tanks with radio has worked very well as they can run during the fight. In dry terrain 2 tanks of recovery are enough to tow a tank, but in wet and muddy terrain 4 tugs are insufficient. The towing distances are of an average of 500 km.

When recovering the Panther it has been verified that the one for the tow necessary hook in U with bolt screwed, is too delicate. It would be advisable not to provide the bolt with a thread, because after the first trailer the bolt is deformed and the thread is unusable.

Sapper platoon ( Pionierzug )
In the difficult sector of the division and in order to combat enemy infantry as well as to eliminate resistance nests, the use of sappers transported in half-tracks vehicles has worked perfectly. A group of sappers achieved in only half an hour the capture of 300 prisoners. In the town of Melitopol and in the absence of other sappers, a group of battalion sappers was used with great success to demolish water towers as well as tall buildings.



Finally it can be commented that with the Pz.Kpfw. V The troop has an excellent vehicle, not only from an armament point of view, but also in relation to its maneuverability. Its availability is unfortunately limited due to the problems described above. So for example, the battalion was launched on 16.10 to attack with 31 vehicles. Despite not having traveled long distances, in only 7 hours a total of 12 vehicles suffered technical problems and were low for the rest of the fighting. The average availability of the battalion between 9.10 and the time this report is written is about 22 vehicles per day. Casualties among commanders, compared to the rest of the crew, are extremely high. Reasons:

Low :
Wounded: 3 officers and 8 NCOs and troop.
Dead: 2 officers and 11 non-commissioned officers and troops.

Victories :
They have been destroyed:
46 enemy tanks.
4 assault guns.
28 anti-tank guns.
15 infantry guns and grenade launchers.
26 anti-tank rifles.

Losses :
8 tanks lost. All by action of enemy fire. 6 completely burned and abandoned on the battlefield, 2 cannibalized in the field workshops.

User avatar
Gorque
Member
Posts: 1117
Joined: 11 Feb 2009 18:20
Location: Clocktown

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Gorque » 12 Sep 2018 00:19

Yoozername wrote:
11 Sep 2018 21:20
Below is a report from the Panther I./Pz.Rgt.2 battalion. The division is positioned as follows:

You agree with the content of the report.

......

Hi Yoozername:

Thank you for the posting of the report. I was wondering if you also have this report available in German as some words/terms do not seem to have translated well.

Best regards,

Gorque

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 12 Sep 2018 00:35

I have seen it in German, I just have the English translation in my notes. Google around and you can probably find it.

Ulater
Member
Posts: 238
Joined: 09 Mar 2015 19:36
Location: Slovakia

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Ulater » 12 Sep 2018 09:32

Ganz, A. Harding. Ghost Division: The 11th "Gespenster" Panzer Division and the German Armored Force in World War II (p. 266).


"The Pz. Werkstatt Kompanie of Pz.-Rgt.15 worked diligently to get the panzers combat-ready. The Panthers required major maintenance after 800 kilometers, but some of the original ones now had over 1,500 kilometers on their odometers."

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2373
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 12 Sep 2018 22:45

Report on the experiences of Pz.Rgt. (Panther) v. Lauchert
Tactical experiences
The use of a new tank model does not disconnect the command to act on the basis of old and effective principles of tank use. This is especially valid with regard to cooperation with other weapons as well as the use of closed armored formations.

For the division 'Gross-Deutschland', reinforced by the Panther-Reg. , and with the aim of assuring the command of its more than 300 tanks, the Inspector General had foreseen the organization of a headquarters for the armored brigade ( Pz.Brig.Stab). Due to personal quarrels this headquarters was not operational from the beginning. This has had negative effects on the command of the tanks as well as cooperation with other weapons. Personal considerations are totally out of place when the fate of the empire is at stake.

It is not right where tanks operate to withdraw other weapons just for the mere fact that the Panthers are already there.

The correct thing is to create an additional center of gravity formed by other weapons - artillery, sappers, air force, half-track vehicle battalions - to thus, together with the Panthers, achieve clear and rapid success at the cost of a minimum number of casualties .

The attack must quickly gain depth within the enemy defensive system in order to disconnect its artillery and thus ensure the advance of the motorized infantry ( Panzergrenadiere ) and the infantry.

After the high losses of the first days, the following losses increased in relation, since the number of Panther that entered into combat was very reduced (in part only 10 Panther), situation that facilitated the work of defense of the enemy. This fact has been intensified by the lack of Panther support for other weapons.

The enemy defense, formed by 7.62 cm PaK and KwK, has only been successful against the Panther in attacks on its wings. There have been no perforations of the front plate. It follows that the monitoring of the sides of the Panther attack is key .

With this end, all available weapons must be used .

The structure of the Panther formation during the attack must be very wide, in order to prevent attacks on the flanks of the attack center.

In case of being attacked, the vehicles must position themselves frontally to the enemy fire.

In the future and for attacks on a large-scale minefield, an armored company of radio- controlled tanks will be subordinated ( Pz.Kp.Fkl ).

In any case, the collaboration with the sappers must be ensured. There must be adequate material to overcome swampy terrain and thus prevent congestion during the attack phase.
Organization
The structure of the combat squads ( Kampfstaffeln ) of the Panther regiment has given good results. In no case should the platoons ( Züge ), companies ( Kompanien ) and the battalions ( Abteilungen ) be weakened . The provision of wheeled vehicles could be reduced because the supply of all tanks, due to the large number of casualties, is in practice unnecessary.
Instruction
The instruction period has been too short.

For this reason, drivers have not achieved sufficient driving practice. The technical staff has not been sufficiently trained, the gunners and the commanders have not received the necessary tactical training.

Due to the necessary transformation work in Grafenwöhr, only training at the level of the platoon ( Zug ) has been possible.

This lack of training has had serious repercussions.

This has been the reason for a large part of the technical breakdowns and tactical problems.
State of the regiment after 7 days of operations
During the first days our combat forces were reduced drastically due to the action of the enemy as well as casualties due to technical problems.

State on 10.07.1943 at nightfall:


10 operative Panther
25 Panther totally lost 23 by enemy action and subsequent fire, 2 by fire during the march
100 in the workshops and maintenance services ( J-Dienste ) 56 with damages produced by shots and mines and 44 with technical problems. Approximately 60% of the technical problems have been minor breakdowns.
Repaired vehicles and back to the area of ​​operations Approximately 40 Panther
Rest Approximately 25 Panther (not yet registered by the repair and maintenance services)

Been on 11.07.1943 at dusk:

38 Panther operatives
31 Panther totally lost
131 in the workshops and maintenance services

You can see a slow increase in combat strength.

The large number of Panther lost by enemy action (81 Panther to 10.7) are an indicator of the hardness of the fighting.

The very deeply structured and undermined main fighting area of ​​the Russians had to lead necessarily to a large number of casualties of material by the effect of shots and mines.

Neither the Panzer IV and Tiger have escaped this fate.

The fact that the Panther operated for the first time on the battlefields has placed it in the general spotlight. No comparisons have been made with the losses of other armored formations.

For this reason the military commanders and the troops have quickly arrived at the hasty conclusion: the Panther is useless!

In this sense, the following should be commented:

The Panther has operated successfully. At first, mass technical problems were expected, as no extensive tests in combination with the troop have been carried out previously.

The level of vehicles ready to operate is increasing.

Once the problems with the gasoline pumps have been corrected as well as with the engine, the losses due to technical problems will remain at a normal level.

The disproportionate high casualty figures per enemy action reflect the harshness of the fighting.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6797
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Sep 2018 18:21

Yoozername wrote:
12 Sep 2018 22:45


The structure of the Panther formation during the attack must be very wide, in order to prevent attacks on the flanks of the attack center.
In case of being attacked, the vehicles must position themselves frontally to the enemy fire..................
The disproportionate high casualty figures per enemy action reflect the harshness of the fighting.

Analysis Of German Tank Casualties In France 6 June to August 31 1944, Table V shows 75% of all hits on a Panther penetrated.

Return to “The Ron Klages Panzer & other vehicles Section”