what were the panther tank flaw?

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aurelien wolff
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what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by aurelien wolff » 07 May 2019 13:26

Beside the transmission breaking of course.

critical mass
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by critical mass » 07 May 2019 19:58

Too much fuel consumption.
The Pz4J had more than twice the range...

L/24Stug
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by L/24Stug » 08 May 2019 19:26

Panther had too much hull height. That means a lot of extra weight compared with hulls less tall (like modern MBT). You need to increase the size of frontal, side and rear plates to cover such big hull.
A hull with reduced height earn some tons of armor, reducing transmission and engine strain and fuel requeriments. Also it would be a smaller target.

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Gorque
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Gorque » 10 May 2019 00:10

Interesting...so why was the hull so tall? Crew comfort? Torsion bars?

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peeved
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by peeved » 10 May 2019 04:57

Drive shaft below the turret was one contributing factor.

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Avalancheon » 11 Jun 2019 12:32

L/24Stug wrote:
08 May 2019 19:26
Panther had too much hull height. That means a lot of extra weight compared with hulls less tall (like modern MBT). You need to increase the size of frontal, side and rear plates to cover such big hull.
A hull with reduced height earn some tons of armor, reducing transmission and engine strain and fuel requeriments. Also it would be a smaller target.
The tall hull is due to the fact that the Panther used a front mounted transmission. (A rather stupid design choice) It is much taller than the T-44 tank, which used a rear mounted transmission.

Image

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Grzesio
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Grzesio » 11 Jun 2019 13:43

(A rather stupid design choice)
So it would be interesting to find out, why tank designers all over the world were so stupid for decades... :)

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Avalancheon » 16 Jun 2019 08:48

Grzesio wrote:
11 Jun 2019 13:43
So it would be interesting to find out, why tank designers all over the world were so stupid for decades... :)
What benefits are there to a front mounted transmission, other than increased crew protection?


But to answer the OPs question. The Panthers main flaw was its thin side armor, which allowed it to be destroyed at considerable range even by the Sherman and T-34 (whose guns were approaching obsolescence). Contrary to popular belief, though, it wasn't vulnerable to Soviet anti-tank rifles. Only the hull above the tracks could be pierced, and these were covered by skirt armor.

Its final drives were another major problem. They were built for a tank that was 10 tons lighter than the Panthers ended up being. As a result, they needed to be replaced after roughly 800 km or so, and the crew was required to refrain from using neutral steering.

When first introduced, the Panthers had problems with their carburetors and fuel lines that caused the engine compartment to burst into flames. This was part of the reason why their combat debut at Kursk was a disaster. (This was eventually fixed, though)

The hydraulic motor that moved the turret needed 45-30 seconds to traverse 360 degrees. It was so underpowered that it couldn't turn the turret at all if the tank was going up a steep incline.

In general, the Panthers were quite unreliable, and difficult to repair. Swapping out the final drives was a headache, as was repairing the road wheels. Interleaved road wheels and torsion bar suspension provided excellent stability, but were hard to maintain.

They also had some ergonomic problems, as well. The turret controls for the gunner were fairly bad, the crew visibility was mediocre, and the layout of the ammunition bins was poor. (Its ergonomics were better than the Tiger, however)

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Grzesio
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Grzesio » 17 Jun 2019 09:46

What benefits are there to a front mounted transmission, other than increased crew protection?
It's far more complex, I'm afraid. Tanks with rear mounted transmission were being built from the very beginning (Renault FT and its clones for example), but this layout did not gain much popularity until 1940s. Increased protection is a very illusive feature of a front drive, no-one could take seriously, I think. There obviously had to be some strong advantages (e.g. weight distribution, gearbox operation?), making designers to build higher, heavier and more complex tanks, just to have he transmission in front.
I recall a book describing design guidelines for the E series tanks - the rear mounted transmission was preferred (as it was more compact, well protected, there was no space lost in the fighting compartment for the transmission, finally thick frontal armour could be used still preserving good balance of the tank), but it was noted, front transmission is better from the technical point of view. I just wonder, what was this "technical point of view"... And e.g. E 100 eventually had a front transmission...

critical mass
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by critical mass » 28 Jun 2019 10:16

among other things: the front drive provided better traction and more robust directional controll. It had some advantages when step climbing, too.

critical mass
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by critical mass » 28 Jun 2019 10:20

Avalancheon wrote:
11 Jun 2019 12:32
L/24Stug wrote:
08 May 2019 19:26
Panther had too much hull height. That means a lot of extra weight compared with hulls less tall (like modern MBT). You need to increase the size of frontal, side and rear plates to cover such big hull.
A hull with reduced height earn some tons of armor, reducing transmission and engine strain and fuel requeriments. Also it would be a smaller target.
The tall hull is due to the fact that the Panther used a front mounted transmission. (A rather stupid design choice) It is much taller than the T-44 tank, which used a rear mounted transmission.

Image
Yet this version of the T44 was grossly inferior in armor vis a vis compared to the PANTHER shown. It was frontally vulnerable to the PANTHERs guns out to considerable range (turret and glacis) to the PANTHERs gun while the latter was frontally relatively safe to the T44´s 85mm gun. Only the T44A from 1945, with a different hull configuration and increased frontal armor thickness was it´s equal in that regard.

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Sheldrake
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Jun 2019 10:38

The ORS study into tank losses suggests that the armour layout with disproportionate heavy frontal armour was flawed. There was no evidence from tanks KO'd in Normandy that tanks were disproportionately engaged from the frontal arc.

This is interesting because that finding was largely ignored post war and the Panther layout was widely copied.

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Gorque
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Gorque » 28 Jun 2019 13:28

Wasn't the Panther designed for the conditions on the Eastern Front?

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 28 Jun 2019 16:42

Grzesio wrote:
17 Jun 2019 09:46
What benefits are there to a front mounted transmission, other than increased crew protection?
It's far more complex, I'm afraid. Tanks with rear mounted transmission were being built from the very beginning (Renault FT and its clones for example), but this layout did not gain much popularity until 1940s. Increased protection is a very illusive feature of a front drive, no-one could take seriously, I think. There obviously had to be some strong advantages (e.g. weight distribution, gearbox operation?), making designers to build higher, heavier and more complex tanks, just to have he transmission in front.
I recall a book describing design guidelines for the E series tanks - the rear mounted transmission was preferred (as it was more compact, well protected, there was no space lost in the fighting compartment for the transmission, finally thick frontal armour could be used still preserving good balance of the tank), but it was noted, front transmission is better from the technical point of view. I just wonder, what was this "technical point of view"... And e.g. E 100 eventually had a front transmission...
The most obivious problem with a rear mounted transmission is you need complex linkages that run from the driver's position to the transmission for gear change, clutch operation, braking, and steering. All of that adds a lot of 'slop' into these operations for the driver. That is, if changing gears is stiff and difficult, trying to do so using a linkage with any looseness in it is only going to make this harder to accomplish. You can't feel the gears and can't really exert extra force on the shift mechanism like you could if you were doing it right next to you.

The US took the obvious and best solution to that problem when they went to rear drive tanks. They installed automatic transmissions. That eliminated the clutch and need for manual gear changes simplifying the braking and steering. Likewise, they tended to go to hydraulics for these later operations eliminating the mechanical linkages that were problematic.

But, in WW 2, this wasn't an option for any of the combatants. Also, putting the transmission in the rear other than the mechanical issues, didn't solve stupid design by any measure. The British had rear drive on most of their tanks but that doesn't change that most of their designs were poor combat vehicles.

I would also say that the height issue is overblown. I doubt that a few centimeters of extra height is that problematic to a design. While smaller does keep the volume and weight down some, it brings other issues such as gun depression, gun clearance over the hull and hull crew positions (some Soviet tanks like the later T 62 can't traverse the turret when the driver's hatch is open as a safety measure for example).

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Michael Kenny » 28 Jun 2019 17:18

T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 Jun 2019 16:42


I would also say that the height issue is overblown.
Tank size comparison ... (1).-verth.jpg
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