German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
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MarkF617
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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by MarkF617 » 16 Sep 2018 21:58

For some reason some people just have to defend their favorite tank/plane/ship to the death. Michael Kenny simply pointed out that a survey of destroyed panthers showed that 75% of hits on these panthers penetrated and immediatly the defencive excuses poured out: The hits were to the side and rear, the hits were by 17 pounders and tank destroyers, and the tank was fighting against more than one opponent. Along with the excuses came statistics to prove that the Sherman was worse. So what? As far as I can see the original point was simply that the panther tank was nowhere near invulnerable not to start a pi$$ing contest to see who had the best tank. My own opinion is that like the earlt British tanks the panther was rushed into service too soon and similary suffered from mechanical problems. As the Vermans were mostly defending this wasn't as much a hinderance as it would have been if required to perform constant offencives as the allies did in NW Europe.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Cult Icon » 16 Sep 2018 22:06

The Panther in normandy was considered redundant by reports by 12.SS, 2.SS, Panzer Lehr and certainly other panzer divisions. The fighting there was close combat which negated the Panther's strengths in armor and gun.

The Panther was more effective in the open country on the Eastern Front where it could defensively snipe off armor from ambush positions from long range.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Sep 2018 22:17

Cult Icon wrote:
16 Sep 2018 22:06

..............................The fighting there was close combat which negated the Panther's strengths in armor and gun.
The Panther was more effective in the open country on the Eastern Front where it could defensively snipe off armor from ambush positions from long range.
In the UK we would call that the 'wrong type of snow' excuse.
Google it.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Cult Icon » 16 Sep 2018 22:38

Yeah the war didn't start and end in Normandy (June-August 1944...)

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Sep 2018 23:02

MarkF617 wrote:
16 Sep 2018 21:58
simply pointed out that a survey of destroyed panthers showed that 75% of hits on these panthers penetrated and immediately the defensive excuses poured out................ the original point was simply that the panther tank was nowhere near invulnerable......
Indeed. It would seem a simple sentence '75% of all hits on a Panther penetrated is about as welcome to some as garlic is at a Vampire convention.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by critical mass » 17 Sep 2018 14:38

The ORG study I referred to earlier gives an valid example of M4 and PANTHER casualties from a similar battlefield study.
The sample is therefore cross validated. Yes, 75% of all hits went through the PANTHER´s, which were knocked out and studied in this sample. This is not a bad figure, considering the hit distribution (sides primarely). Particularely if compared to the virtually complete absence of scoops in the 64 hits, which went through the 40 knocked out M4 tanks from the same sample with an astonishing 98%.

What´s more in here is that the M4 sample can be viewed as more repesentative than the PANTHER sample, it´s almost twice as large (40 vs 22 studied AFV) even though not too different from the pure number of hits counted. Further, if we assume that the hit distribution doesn´t materially change by the type of AFV studied (which is arguable, but within limits might be a reasonable preposition, considering that ranges were quite close for all cases studied here, also hinted at already by the ratio of penetrations in both, M4 and PANTHER samples), it shows that the hits on the M4 were primarely on sides and turret with only a negliable amount of hits suffered on front hull or rear plates. Notice that the low probability of front- and rear hull hits is repeated in the PANTHER sample, too, giving support to the preposition outlined above. The probability of the plate to resist an AP hit was negliable in the M4 in all aspects (there was only one turret hit not penetrating out of 64 AP hits), thus, the probability of the M4 sample to be representative is quite high, as there is not evidence in the data to support the idea that a lot of deflections from surviving vehicles not counted in the study can be expected in light of the extemerly low proposition of failures to penetrate.

Now look at the PANTHER. The first thing one should take notice of is that the distribution of hits is not similar to the M4 sample. Unexpectedly, the amount of turret hits is significantly lower than the amount of side hits. Also, the amount of penetrations and deflections is starkly different between side and turret hits. While side hits had negliable probability of penetration in the PANTHER, turret hits appear to have a quite reasonable probability of failure, considerably higher than the analogue M4 turret aspect offered.
A correspondence can be identified here between the lower than expected number of turret hits in the PANTHER sample (compared to the M4) and the higher degree of ballistic protection of the Panther turret (compared to the M4 turret sample). Thus, there is evidence in the data to support the idea that an unspecified number of scoops in surviving vehicles could not be counted by the study. It´s even possible with Bayesian inference to approach a quantiffication of the number of missing hits/scoops in the PANTHER sample but I don´t want to bore You guys here more than necessary.

Again, this is a valid sample because it is cross correlated and refers to AFV studied and lost at virtually the same operation and time. Therefore, it´s results only carry validity for the context of the sample. It cannot be compared with a sample of AFV studied from a different operation and context without also going into a fairly sophisticated degree of normalization, for which, after all I can judge, insufficient data is aviable.

The other study of hits on M4, Cromwell et al. MK pointed to is very interesting, but without the analogue PANTHER hit distribution from that specific context, one cannot compare it with the Normandy sample. It would be another, rather blunt apples to oranges attempt.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Sep 2018 16:05

critical mass wrote:
17 Sep 2018 15:33


What I found amazing to read here is that the US apparently reconditioned brewed up AFV back to service. This would never have been tolerated in Germany, as a burned out vehicle always had to be classified as total write off as soon as it was recognized as brewed up / burned out.
The 1945 report on British tank losses has some detail on what 'burned ' meant. The fact there was a fire was not always fatal and from the text it is obvious 'burned' tanks were repaired and returned to service.
This photo is of 4 Tigers captured when their train was stopped in August 1944. They were being shipped for homeland repair and in the first pic the middle Tiger has all the signs of a major fire. The suspension has completely collapsed and that only happens when it burns. Yet it was back-loaded?
Tigers-on-Train-f (25) ..jpg

This other Tiger on the same train also has signs of a major fire, The white patch on the hull/turret sides and the missing zim.


Tiger Braine on train.jpg
It seems the Germans did at least consider repairing burnt out tanks.
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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Sep 2018 17:18

critical mass wrote:
17 Sep 2018 15:33
What I found amazing to read here is that the US apparently reconditioned brewed up AFV back to service.
I am not sure that was a common occurrence. From the First Army sample, it was remarked in a couple of cases that tanks that burned were reconditioned, but in context it appears what was being referred to were fires in the engine compartment and not a propellant fire in the turret.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Sep 2018 17:28

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Sep 2018 17:18

I am not sure that was a common occurrence. From the First Army sample, it was remarked in a couple of cases that tanks that burned were reconditioned, but in context it appears what was being referred to were fires in the engine compartment and not a propellant fire in the turret.
That is much the same as the UK survey. The break 'fires' down into 3 classes and only the most severe are beyond repair. A burning Sherman conjures up photos of total conflagration with tank and crew burnt to a cinder but in reality this was only a portion of what was classed as 'burnt'.

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Juha » 17 Sep 2018 18:52

Ulater wrote:
17 Sep 2018 09:04
Yes, 17 pounder and 3-inch guns can penetrate 45 mm of armor...
But point is that even 37 mm M6 gun could penetrate Panther's side armour, so even light tanks and armoured cars could knock it out. Not so good for a 45 t tank, a size of Soviet IS-series heavy tanks. No wonder that Russians were surprised of the weakness of Panther's side armour and wondered how well it suited for offensive actions. Panther suited better for defensive fighting, Germans were usually tactically clever, also in the West, puting some Panthers with some infantry and some indirect fire support in well chosen position with excellent fields of fire and difficult to by-pass. Those were hard nuts to the Allies to overcome.

THE US FIRST ARMY TEST AT ISIGNY: 12-30 JULY, 1944
3) 37mm Gun, M6, Mounted on Light Tank, M5A1
APC, M51 will penetrate the sides and rear of the 'Panther' Tank at 600 yards...
5) 57mm Gun, M1
a) APC, M86 will penetrate the sides and rear of the 'Panther' Tank at 1500 yards...
6) 75mm Gun, M3, mounted on Medium Tank, M4
a) APC M61 will penetrate the sides and rear of the 'Panther' Tank up to 1500 yards. APC M61 at 200 yards will not penetrate the front armor of the 'Panther' Tank...

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by peeved » 17 Sep 2018 19:47

Michael Kenny wrote:
17 Sep 2018 16:05
critical mass wrote:
17 Sep 2018 15:33


What I found amazing to read here is that the US apparently reconditioned brewed up AFV back to service. This would never have been tolerated in Germany, as a burned out vehicle always had to be classified as total write off as soon as it was recognized as brewed up / burned out.
The 1945 report on British tank losses has some detail on what 'burned ' meant. The fact there was a fire was not always fatal and from the text it is obvious 'burned' tanks were repaired and returned to service.
This photo is of 4 Tigers captured when their train was stopped in August 1944. They were being shipped for homeland repair and in the first pic the middle Tiger has all the signs of a major fire. The suspension has completely collapsed and that only happens when it burns. Yet it was back-loaded? ...
This other Tiger on the same train also has signs of a major fire, The white patch on the hull/turret sides and the missing zim.
...
It seems the Germans did at least consider repairing burnt out tanks.
Given the fact that the German industry was short of steel (among many other raw materials) transporting burnt-out tanks "Heim ins Reich" for scrapping would seem the logical undertaking.

Markus

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 17 Sep 2018 22:36

Given the fact that the German industry was short of steel (among many other raw materials) transporting burnt-out tanks "Heim ins Reich" for scrapping would seem the logical undertaking.

Markus
Not only logical, factual....

https://panzerworld.com/homeland-armor-maintenance

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Yoozername » 17 Sep 2018 22:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Sep 2018 17:18
critical mass wrote:
17 Sep 2018 15:33
What I found amazing to read here is that the US apparently reconditioned brewed up AFV back to service.
I am not sure that was a common occurrence. From the First Army sample, it was remarked in a couple of cases that tanks that burned were reconditioned, but in context it appears what was being referred to were fires in the engine compartment and not a propellant fire in the turret.
I have never read of a sherman being repaired from a burn-out besides an extinguished (small) engine fire or small ammo fire that did not spread throughout the vehicle. Late war SOP for many armies was to fire at a AFV till it was a 'brew-up'. Especially if pulling back. The Germans certainly believed in demolition of AFV that could not pull back. In some cases, starting fires in the vehicle themselves or using special charges. perhaps explaining the burnt condition of the Tigers on the rail cars?

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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Sep 2018 22:59

Yoozername wrote:
17 Sep 2018 22:36
Given the fact that the German industry was short of steel (among many other raw materials) transporting burnt-out tanks "Heim ins Reich" for scrapping would seem the logical undertaking.

Markus
Not only logical, factual....

https://panzerworld.com/homeland-armor-maintenance
That just confirms my theory that burnt-out tanks were being sent back to Germany to see if they could be repaired rather than the claim burnt out tanks were simply scrapped. If simple scrap-collection was a priority there would not be so many German wrecks left lying around in Normandy workshops. 2 of the Tigers destroyed at Villers bocage had significant effort devoted to moving them west (away from Germany) to act as a flak-trap rather than putting them on a train and sending them back for recycling.
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 17 Sep 2018 23:14, edited 2 times in total.

Michael Kenny
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Re: German opinions on Panther tank or crew experience.

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Sep 2018 23:11

Yoozername wrote:
17 Sep 2018 22:55

The Germans certainly believed in demolition of AFV that could not pull back. In some cases, starting fires in the vehicle themselves or using special charges. perhaps explaining the burnt condition of the Tigers on the rail cars?
The demolition charges had fixed locations and thus a by-the-book self-demolished Tiger is easy to spot. Only tanks that could not be recovered would be demolished.
These two show clear standard demolition charge damage
SS 1`01 JJJJJ.jpg
Tiger Fontenay le Marmion . . n.jpg

Above is front & rear of the same Tiger
.
demolished0005.jpg
The 4 Tigers on the train have no such damage.
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