Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
PanzerModeler
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Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by PanzerModeler » 21 Nov 2022 06:56

I went through my kit stash for something different to build, and came across a 1/72 Beobachtungspanzer Panther kit...

Now, to me, this whole design appears to be a waste and a mistake. A waste of a perfectly good Panther hull and turret to make something that's essentially unarmed, and a mistake to fit it with a dummy gun so different from the real thing that it looks completely wrong and fake.

So this leads me to another question and this is admittedly something of a "what if", but what if they decided to give it an actually functional main gun of some kind?

How much room could have been found in the turret? Could it have had a working 7.5cm KwK40 fitted and still have enough room to work as a Beobachtungspanzer?

If not a KwK40, then could something even smaller like a 5cm KwK39 fit? By the time the Panther was fielded, obviously the 5cm L/60 wouldn't really be a suitable weapon but it would be better than nothing at all.

fox3-6
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by fox3-6 » 23 Nov 2022 06:37

Hello,

Very interesting topic and unfortunately i can't add much but maybe just a few thoughts...

From the gun perspective, I think alot of it depends on what equipment exactly is in the vehicle to be used for artillery observation, because that would probably determine if there is room for a gun (and it's ammunition).

Reading around, it sounds like the gun was left out in order to provide room for a map table in the turret for the observer and other instruments for artillery sighting.. plus the mgs and some additional radios in there. Maybe that was the limiting factor.

How cool would it be to see a "cutaway" model of this tank with a map board inside and artillery observers using it 8-) of course that is probably harder than it sounds, and i have no skill with building models like that haha

SIS 5
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by SIS 5 » 23 Nov 2022 11:11

Hi Panzermodeler,

very interesting thoughts. I think the German OKH realized this mistake. Only a few Panthers of the model D were modified into "Panzerbeobachtungswagen Panther", but not vehicles of the later models G and A.
Maybe interesting for You this pic of the Beobachtungspanzer out of the booklet "Die deutschen Panzer 1926 - 1945" by F. M von Senger und Etterlin. There is only the information, that there were observation and scissor telescopes in the turret of this tank.

Regards

Bert
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Darek Piotrowski
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by Darek Piotrowski » 23 Nov 2022 12:51

SIS 5 wrote:
23 Nov 2022 11:11
Only a few Panthers of the model D were modified into "Panzerbeobachtungswagen Panther"
Where does this information come from? So far I was convinced that there was only one model of the chassis with a wooden model of the turret (as in the picture). I am not aware of several Panther D converted to Pantherbeobachtungspanzer. Are there any other pictures of these Pantherbeobachtungspanzer?

Best regards Darek

SIS 5
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by SIS 5 » 23 Nov 2022 18:25

Hi Darek,

this information is out of the referred booklet "Die deutschen Panzer 1926 - 1945" and also to find in the Waffen-Arsenal Band 83 "Die Panther-Familie" by Horst Scheibert. Here the drawing of this tank by Hilary Louis Doyle.

Regards

Bert
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by Darek Piotrowski » 23 Nov 2022 18:59

But there are no photos to prove this fact?

Darek

Denniss
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by Denniss » 23 Nov 2022 19:59

just way outdated information in these old books
Per Panzer Tracts 11-1 there was just a prototype turret mounted on an Ausf. D chassis but no production ever occurred

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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by Darek Piotrowski » 23 Nov 2022 20:17

Well, it seemed to me that there was only one mock-up.

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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by arminfreitag » 23 Nov 2022 20:19

Hi all
according to Panzer Tracts 11-1 Rheinmetall was assigned the contract to develop a turret
for a Panzerbeobachtungswagen on a Panther chassis. There were several variations considered.
One design called Entwurf 3 (3rd proposal) was an altered Panther turret with a 5 cm KWK 39/1 in a
Topfblende. In March 43 Waffenamt approved development of a different design with a dummy gun.
The turret was not a turret manufactured for a Panther Ausf. D. It was an original design with
few components borrowed from other Panther turret designs.
It was not a wooden mock up, one single Versuchsturm with a flat turret front 100 mm thick
was mounted on a Phanther Ausf. D chassis originally produced between July and September 1943.
The Turm was equipped with a range finder EM 1.25 m, mounted inside across the turret front with
vision slots cut into the front plate. There were also a TBF 2 observation periscope, a TSR 1 spotting
periscope, a SF 14Z scissors periscope and a KZF 2 telescopic gun sight. An elaborate automatic
Blockstelle 0 plotting board was installed in the turret in front of the commander's cupola. Three
radio sets were mounted in the Panzerbeobachtungswagen, a FuG 8, a FuG 4 and a FuG f.

Attached are two pictures allegedly showing the interior of the Turm. I cannot remember where I found
them in the Internet.

Regards
Armin
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by PanzerModeler » 24 Nov 2022 06:47

I should have said, I was under the impression that they only made one and didn't proceed past a single prototype.

Interesting to get some shots of the interior there, and also the info about a suggestion to mount the 5cm KWK39.

My thinking about this was that a completely disarmed vehicle would be a potential liability, where as one with even only the old 7.5cm KwK40 should be able at least to contribute to its own defense. Even if this would be a limited capacity for self protection it would seem to make sense of you're going to use a Panther hull for this vehicle.

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brano
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by brano » 24 Nov 2022 20:50

Thomas L. Jentz, Hilary L. Doyle - Panzer Tracts no.20-2 Paper panzers (Aufkaerungs-, Beobachtuns-, and Flak-Panzers, rok vydania 2002, ISBN 0-9708407-7-2
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brano
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by brano » 24 Nov 2022 20:51

Prototype Beo Panther with interior pics:
https://www.valka.cz/topic/view/39398

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Sheldrake
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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Nov 2022 12:42

PanzerModeler wrote:
21 Nov 2022 06:56
I went through my kit stash for something different to build, and came across a 1/72 Beobachtungspanzer Panther kit...

Now, to me, this whole design appears to be a waste and a mistake. A waste of a perfectly good Panther hull and turret to make something that's essentially unarmed, and a mistake to fit it with a dummy gun so different from the real thing that it looks completely wrong and fake.

So this leads me to another question and this is admittedly something of a "what if", but what if they decided to give it an actually functional main gun of some kind?

How much room could have been found in the turret? Could it have had a working 7.5cm KwK40 fitted and still have enough room to work as a Beobachtungspanzer?

If not a KwK40, then could something even smaller like a 5cm KwK39 fit? By the time the Panther was fielded, obviously the 5cm L/60 wouldn't really be a suitable weapon but it would be better than nothing at all.
A retired Artillery OP Officer writes....

I served for three years in the 1980s as an FOO in an SP artillery regiment supporting armoured and mechanized infantry. We did not have OP tanks but were mounted in standard versions of the British APC - the FV 432. I also had a Ferret Scout Car as a second vehicle. When I joined my first regiment in 1980 this unit had four Centurion OP RA tanks, but by 1983 these had gone from BAOR. These were pretty much standard Cents and retained their main armament. (and the Gunners sometimes beat the Armour in tank gunnery. The Cent was a good tank). I never worked from a specialised vehicle. We had no artillerry optics - apart from chinagraph marks on the vision blocks or using binos to estimate azimuths. I once was shown a German mortar OP vehicle which had been converted from Jagdpanzer Kanone 90mm by removing the gun. This had a periscope with graticules and would have been far better than my Fv432. The Fv 432 was replaced by the Warrior IFV. After my time FOOs supporting mechanized battlegroups received the FV514 Mechanized Artillery Observation Vehicle, which was a Warrior with the Rarden cannon replaced by a dummy.

FOOs can work from a standard gun tank, but it isn't their proper job. The FOO is a prized asset in a combined arms battle. The Gunner OP is the supported arms link to all sorts of indirect firepower that solves problems that infantry and tanks find hard to solve on their own. Nor are artillerymen trained to work as tank crew, except under exceptional circumstances.

The map table is probably more important for the Battery Commander than the FOO. It may have been even more important if the observer was expected to calculate firing data, which needs to be done on a 1:25,000 map to be accurate.

It makes sense to develop a version of the standard medium tank as an OP vehicle. There is little point in giving the FOO a vehicle which cannot keep up with the supported arm, or is mechanically unreliable. Hence the British using M4 Shermans and Cromwells as OP tanks. Some were specialist command vehicles with dummy guns. Others were gun tanks.
Image
This much reproduced photograph of BC K battery's 'X' Sherman shows that this variant was valued. As far as I understand, the establishment for an SP regiment such as 5 RHA had an M3 Half track as a BC's vehicle. The supported arm was mainly equipped with Cromwell tanks. Not sure where BC K Battery found his Sherman command vehicle, but he chose to go to war in one.

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Re: Beobachtungspanzer Panther

Post by arminfreitag » 25 Nov 2022 19:00

Hi brano
thank you for the link. Some very interesting pictures.

Regards
Armin

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