Panther Tank Vulnerability

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Richard Stone
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Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 31 Mar 2020 01:31

The attached report 'Destruction Of German Armor by 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion ’ was prepared by the Battalion in 1945. It describes the unit’s action during 1944 Ardennes Offensive at battles of Rocherath, Krinkelt and Wertzfeld, Belgium. The original report can be viewed on the website 'tank destroyer.net'.

The report describes multiple Panther and Pz. Mark IV casualties with information about what part of the tank was hit and by what type of round. The 644th was equipped with M-10 tank Destroyers using the 3” gun.

The number of rounds that penetrated each Panther may be of use to the researchers who frequent this forum.

The abbreviation ‘BDF’ stands for ‘base detonating fuse’.
644th_TD_Destruction_of_German_Armor_Dec_17-19_1944-6_pages.pdf
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critical mass
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by critical mass » 31 Mar 2020 14:31

Thanks for posting. These sort of primary data are usually the best to work with, much appreciated.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Mar 2020 15:06

Thank you. The M10 is an underrated equipment.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Mar 2020 16:22

Excellent. Somewhere I may have the overlay that accompanied this report. I'll try to track it down.
"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

Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 01 Apr 2020 21:58

The attached report ‘Lessons Learned On Mk V Tanks’ was prepared by the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion in July 1944. It describes the unit’s action against MK V tanks in June and July 1944 during the early fighting in Normandy France.

The 899th was equipped with M-10 Tank Destroyers using the 3” gun.

One interesting item in this report is the large fracture of a Panther turret that occurred when it was hit by a 3” HE shell. The fracture indicates brittle fracture of the turret side plate occurred from the HE shell impact and detonation.
899th-Lessons_Lrnd-6_pg.pdf
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critical mass
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by critical mass » 02 Apr 2020 11:38

Thank You very much again!

For whats worth, in absence of photographic evidence, its not possible to determine the presence of brittle fracture. I caution against these sort of generalizations. german RHA is heat treated to 1st ductile brittle transition for specific reasons. HE has a hard time to defeat armor plate in ductile forms. it goes by the way of least resistence, attacking the shear resistence.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Michael Kenny » 02 Apr 2020 14:15

There wrecks are pretty well photographed and it would be easy to put it all together. As I can only do 'blurry photos' I will give this one a miss

critical mass
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by critical mass » 02 Apr 2020 15:31

From my experience, its often not sufficient to interprete wrecks for such specific questions. For example, how does one guard against structural causes when examining cracks as installed in vehicle armor plate?

a brittle plate failure is well defined on the micro level by presence pf predominantly crystalline fracture. However, it is also always conditioned to a temperature. All steels are exhibiting brittle fracture at low enough temperature. So it might be more accurate to discuss brittleness in relation to the tmperature, where ductile brittle transition takes place. On the macro level, its more difficult to assess, and then, it also does not follow that an auto correlation exists allowing to associate inferior resistance of ballistic protection to brittle failure modes.

That does, however, not exclude the real possibility of brittle plate events. Such has to be reckoned with in the cool ambient temperatures of dec.1944 with the rather lean e22 steels, if heat treatment wasnt closely followed.

Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 06 Apr 2020 21:17

The two attached reports were taken from the January and March 1945 issues of the US Army 'Tank Destroyer Information Letter’. This publication was a monthly report that discussed tank destroyer combat and equipment.

The first attachment is the translation of a 1944 German Army document that discusses the significant effect of a new US shell on Panther tanks. I believe this shell to be the 76 mm and 3” HVAP.

The second attachment is short report that discusses the ability of M-10 Tank Destroyer 3” gun when firing HVAP to penetrate the Panther glacis plate.

These M-10 Tank Destroyers belonged to the 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The Mk V assault gun mentioned in the may be a Jagpanther but I need to leave this item to others to confirm.

This encounter appears to have occurred on 19 February near Berdorf, Luxembourg based on the 803rd's February After Action Report.
TnkDstryInfoLettr-January 1945.png
TnkDstryInfoLettr-January 1945.png
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Yoozername
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Yoozername » 07 Apr 2020 19:42

Interesting ammunition data. I would guess the Panther penetrated at 1000 yards was through the turret front or mantlet.

That isn't a lot of hvap, for an army, for a month.

You wouldn't happen to be the guy that invented body armor, would you?

Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 10 Apr 2020 23:59

The attached report discusses the destructive effect of the US 2.36” bazooka on a Panther tank. The report was prepared by the US 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion in December 1944.
776th-Bazooka_test_on_Mk_V_Panzer.pdf
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Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 11 Apr 2020 22:18

The attached report discusses the destructive effect of the US 57 mm anti-tank gun (British 6-pounder) on a Panther tank. The report was prepared by the US 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion in December 1944.

One interesting part of this report is the difference in the gun placement methods used by the anti-tank elements of infantry division and the dedicated anti-tank battalions.
776th-57mm_AT_gun_vs._en_armor_3_pg.pdf
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Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 12 Apr 2020 20:25

The attached short report discusses US tank destroyer methods and tactics to combat the Panther tank. The report includes an illustration showing which areas of the Panther should be targeted by various tank destroyer weapons. The report was prepared by the 1st Tank Destroyer Brigade in 1944 and was based on combat reports by Allied Tank Destroyers operating in the Northwest Europe and Italian theaters.

Note that the illustration Item ‘G’ shows the 3”, 76 mm and 90 mm standard armor piercing (AP) rounds when fired at close range have the potential to penetrate the Panther glacis plate. This infers the penetration occurred on several occasions but the potential for this is limited by classifying it as ‘possibly vulnerable’.

The same illustration Item ‘G’ shows the 3”, 76 mm and 90 mm HVAP armor piercing rounds have a greater potential to penetrate the glacis but this cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances.
TnkDstryInfoLettr-December1944-Panther-1.png
TnkDstryInfoLettr-December1944-Panther-2.png
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Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 18 Apr 2020 19:53

The attached report ‘Effect Of 90 mm Gun On Enemy Tanks’ discusses the initial results of 90mm anti-tank gun fire on Mk V Panther and Mk VI Tiger Tanks. The report was written by the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion in December 1944 after the unit had been re-equipped with the M-36 Tank Destroyer. At that time period the 628th was attached to the 5th Armored Division and was fighting in Germany.

The 90 mm ammunition used during these combat events appears to be the initial design APC type and not the later design HVAP or APC types.
628thTnkDestryBttln-90mm Gun Effect.pdf
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Richard Stone
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Re: Panther Tank Vulnerability

Post by Richard Stone » 24 Apr 2020 20:50

The attached report is the translation of a 1944 German Army document that discusses performance and operation issues with the Panther tank.

The report was taken from the November 1944 issue of the US Army 'Tank Destroyer Information Letter’.
TnkDestyLetr-Nov 1944 - Panther.png
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