what were the panther tank flaw?

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Yoozername
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 22 Jul 2019 02:14

I guess the whole 'self-immolation' thing should be revisited... I have read some really nutty stuff online (Gardner?) about how fuel gets so hot, it suddenly self-ignites and explodes like a Starsky&Hutch TV show. Doesn't work that way. Fuel can overflow from carbs, leak from fuel lines, etc., but it will change from a liquid into a gas...and any spark or ignition source can make a fuel-air explosion, or just a flame out (overly rich).
page 127 Germany’s Panther Tank” by Thomas Jentz

——–

Notes on Panthers During Operation Citadel

Mechanical Deficiencies in the Chassis: Most mechanical failures were defective fuel pumps (20 in Panzer-Abteilung 54 by 8 July). Fuel collected on the floor due to fuel pump leaks and resulted in the total writeoff of three Panthers due to fires. When on the steep side slope, the Panther easily catches on fire. In most cases, the motor fires were extinguished by the crew or the automatic fire extinguisher system activated.
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)
It is actually possible that " Großdeutschland " misused the Panthers. Probably best discussed elsewhere.

Given the numbers actually damaged or destroyed by enemy action, the technical issues, while not acceptable, are not the majority. The oft-spouted 'self-immolation' is actually small.

http://panzer-elmito.org/index.html

Letter from Oberst Karl Decker (commander of the Panzer-Brigade 10) to the General of the Armored Troops Heinrich Eberbach in order to avoid responsibility for the poor results as well as the very high losses suffered by the Panzer-Brigade during "Zitadelle". Decker openly accuses Oberst Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz, commander of the Panzerregiment " Großdeutschland"and temporary commander of the Panzer-Brigade 10 during the warmer phase of the operations." Interesting, not to mention surprising, is the last sentence of the Oberst Decker in this letter, which betrays a total ignorance of the military situation it was going through. the Axis, or symbolizes a fatal indifference in front of the tragedy that was approaching.

The Panzer-Brigade has operated within the " Großdeutschland "; the second regiment has been the Panzer-Regiment " Großdeutschland"with 8 companies of Panzer IV and Panzer III 'long' as well as a company Tiger The regimental commander was Graf Strachwitz, the" armored lion "(" Panzer-Löwe") The cooperation with him has been very unpleasant, during the attack it has not been possible to communicate with him by radio and he has operated independently, and I have reached the point where I was ordered to appear before General von Knobelsdorff (commanding general of the XXXXVIII.Pz.Korps) to take responsibility for the non-functioning of the staff During this time Strachwitz assumed the direction of the brigade and used the Panther in a crazy way, with the results of continuous damage by mines as well, because in no time protection was offered to its flanks, Panther destroyed by its weak laterals.
Last paragraph....
Generally it can be said that, although it still has initial problems and that its engine is still too delicate, the Panther is a very good vehicle. Unlike the Tiger, it is not on all sides immune to the 7.5 cm antitank guns. His cannon is formidable. The regiment has destroyed 263 tanks so far, KW-I up to 3,000 meters and almost all of the T-34 at distances between 1,500 - 2,000 meters. I ask General Eberbach to notify me when I have received the report. Otherwise, everything is fine here, life here is very pleasant. If everything here is in order one can not give what happens in Sicily.
Proven?....I have plenty of oil leaks that just smoked.... exhaust headers leaking and spewing raw hot unburned fuel? Really?
Motor fires: motor fires also significantly decreased. the proven causes of motor fires at present are:

Oil leaks from the valve covers due to poor gaskets. The oil drops on the hot exhaust where it ignites.
In several cases, a heavy overflowing from the carburetors was noticed.The spark plugs became wet and didn’t fire. The unburnt fuel was then discharged to the exhaust header and leaked through the gaskets. This caused fire to spread on the outside of the motor.

bam
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by bam » 01 Aug 2019 00:10

Re the panther HE shell. Whether the panther tank had slightly less or the same HE filling compared to the Pz. IV is just to give example to The Main Point I was trying to make ,which is that the 46 ton heavy class panther tank has an HE shell no more powerful than an old medium tank half its weight (Pz. IV). That's a shocking fact. The panthers weight class contemporaries, the IS2 or Pershing, were lobbing hi-velocity HE shells of about 25kg and 10.5kg compared to its 5.75kg one. I.E. twice as much bang per buck.
The 122mm IS2 HE shell was a beast, it could gut a building with one shot, and could just knock turrets straight off opponents tanks. It had 3800g of HE filling, about 6X more than panther, launched at an eye watering 800m/s compared to panthers 700m/s. All from a tank that weighed less and had much better armor and profile.
75mm was about the bare minimum size of an effective HE shell, meaning the heavy panther had as much bang as a humble stummel or Chafee. That should be shocking.

Yoozername
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 01 Aug 2019 17:04

Can't give it up, huh? Sorry, but your argument has some thought-slip now. First it was 'the HE round was not bigger than a Panzer IV', now you want to compare it to a Pershing (barely a beta version raced to the front in small numbers in 1945), and a tank with a 122mm gun with two part ammunition? By your specious argument, the Tiger 88mm HE was a problem also?

The Panther's gun, which was designed in 1942, is clearly an anti-armor weapon first, and a anti-material weapon second. Largely considered one of the best tank guns of WWII. They did not even bother making a smoke round for it. Just two armor penetrating rounds, and a standard HE round. The weapon was a threat to these so-called 'contemporaries' you mention, right up to the end of the war. Not sure how many Pershings were running around in July 1943? But if you are so hard pressed to belabor this HE 'point', I guess that makes sense to you.

Most tanks that the Panther could be compared to, namely the 1942-mid 1944 versions, had 75-76.2mm guns. And comparable HE, or even smaller HE in the case of the US 3 inch/76mm weapons. The Soviets did put a 85mm weapon in a turret on the T34/85, but at the price of also putting ammunition in that same turret.

A 75-76mm HE round is clearly used in tanks and artillery in WWII in large numbers. Soviet guns and tanks in the tens of thousands, sherman tanks in the tens of thousands, light artillery and regimental guns, etc. Sorry, but you really picked a very odd thing to say was a Panther flaw. The Germans already had a 88mm AFV meant as a breakthrough tank.

bam
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by bam » 01 Aug 2019 20:03

Yeah, I think it's a flaw, and a largely overlooked one. Everyone loves to talk about its tank kills, but an MBT needs a good all round AP and HE capability. It needs both. The panthers gun was skewed towards being probably the best anti armour gun of its size. It is the panthers best asset. But when supporting infantry, HE is all important, and is actually the most fired type of tank shell. It's the bread and butter of tank work, but less glamorous.
I feel the panther was a hell of a big tank, with all that investment in materials, labour, support, just to bring a 75mm HE shell to the action. Its gun was more of a tank destroyer type weapon, suited more to a panzerjaeger than an MBT.
If I were fighting against fortified positions, dug in guns, or massed infantry, then I would choose the IS2 or Pershing over the panther, or added up another way, I'd choose to have a larger fleet of Pz. IVs that I could buy for the same price as a few panthers.
The tigers 88mm was a fine HE gun, I've no complaints.
Everyone seemed to get so fixated on the minutiae of my statement "panthers HE smaller than Pz. IVs" when all I was trying to do was criticise a 46 ton tank for having no more bang than the 25 ton tank, (but in an admittedly flippant manner; it's just I was tired of all the panther fandom). The debate I'm interested in is: was this the best choice gun for a large complex MBT? Comparing it to its peers, other 45 ton tanks, is valid.

bam
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by bam » 01 Aug 2019 20:08

My 2 cents is that I'd build panthers with the 88mmL56.
The anti armor effect is comparable. The actual 88 round is slightly smaller, so similar stowage. It's HE is twice as good. And you get compatible ammunition type to existing types, not introducing a new class of round.

Yoozername
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 02 Aug 2019 00:07

The 'Peers' of the panther are the T34/76 and KV-1. Both with 76mm weapons. That is, in July of 1943, and for the rest of that year for that matter, T34/Sherman/KV-1 and even weapons like the SU-76 and M10 TD had weapons in the 3 inch class.

But very few weapons in that class had the armor penetrating capability, save maybe the 17 pdr. which showed up later.

KWK 36 in a Panther? LOL! Actually, it was considered to put the KWK 42 in a Tiger! The Germans were not as graced with what the future would hold, and they were very wary of enemy vehicles with increased armor. The Panther gun was the right choice. It far out-ranged the Tiger I gun.

In any case, yes, you have a very little known theory going there. I am sure once everyone realizes how stupendously insightful it is, you will break the internet.

Ulater
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Ulater » 02 Aug 2019 00:09

bam wrote:
01 Aug 2019 00:10
Re the panther HE shell. Whether the panther tank had slightly less or the same HE filling compared to the Pz. IV is just to give example to The Main Point I was trying to make ,which is that the 46 ton heavy class panther tank has an HE shell no more powerful than an old medium tank half its weight (Pz. IV). That's a shocking fact. The panthers weight class contemporaries, the IS2 or Pershing, were lobbing hi-velocity HE shells of about 25kg and 10.5kg compared to its 5.75kg one. I.E. twice as much bang per buck.
The 122mm IS2 HE shell was a beast, it could gut a building with one shot, and could just knock turrets straight off opponents tanks. It had 3800g of HE filling, about 6X more than panther, launched at an eye watering 800m/s compared to panthers 700m/s. All from a tank that weighed less and had much better armor and profile.
75mm was about the bare minimum size of an effective HE shell, meaning the heavy panther had as much bang as a humble stummel or Chafee. That should be shocking.
What is shocking to me is to have a designated 46 ton breakthrough tank with an ammunition stowage of 28 rounds, as opposed to a 45 ton tank that can carry 79-82 rounds with a space for another 40 which can fire 2-3 75 mm rounds for every one 122 mm round fired. And as I said before, trying to compare HE-shells based on their size only doesnt appear to be the right approach.

Avalancheon
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Avalancheon » 02 Aug 2019 03:38

Yoozername wrote:
01 Aug 2019 17:04
Can't give it up, huh? Sorry, but your argument has some thought-slip now. First it was 'the HE round was not bigger than a Panzer IV', now you want to compare it to a Pershing (barely a beta version raced to the front in small numbers in 1945), and a tank with a 122mm gun with two part ammunition? By your specious argument, the Tiger 88mm HE was a problem also.
Its a very overworked attempt to justify his belief that the 75mm HE was inadequate. He ignores all the negatives of the IS-2s 122mm gun and only looks at the positives. Bam writes the kindof essay that would find credit with junior high school students.
Ulater wrote:
02 Aug 2019 00:09
What is shocking to me is to have a designated 46 ton breakthrough tank with an ammunition stowage of 28 rounds, as opposed to a 45 ton tank that can carry 79-82 rounds with a space for another 40 which can fire 2-3 75 mm rounds for every one 122 mm round fired. And as I said before, trying to compare HE-shells based on their size only doesnt appear to be the right approach.
When you've got two vehicles of roughly similar weight and volume, and a major difference in gun caliber, there is going to be a tradeoff between shell size and shell capacity. The Panther and IS-2 were at opposite ends of the spectrum in this regard. The Soviets and the Germans were each forced to accept a compromise. Granted, the IS-2 was a bit more at the extreme end of that (with only 28 rounds of ammo).

Avalancheon
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Avalancheon » 02 Aug 2019 03:50

In terms of a (credible) discussion of the Panther tanks flaws, one should also pay attention to the aspect of armor quality. Particularly in the late war period, from 1944 onward.

Most of the posters on this forum are aware of the fact that steel mills were having difficulty maintaining quality control at that time. Many of their armor plates were suffering from temper embrittlement. A brief overview of these issues can be read here: viewtopic.php?t=118212

The earliest evidence of brittle armor were mentioned in the report, PzKpfw V Panther: Preliminary Report on Armour Quality and Vulnerability. (Sadly, there are no online copys available)

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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 02 Aug 2019 04:56

I believe the increase of hull armor, said to be from a Hitler directive, to be one of the worst decisions as far as fielding the tank. 60mm sloped at 35 degrees would give plenty of protection, from reasonable ranges, and not over-stress the tank's development. Increasing the hull armor to 80mm did not seem to factor in that the turret armor was then the inferior protection, and that it would stress the driving components substantially.

Most of the threats of 1943 would either be met by 60 mm hull armor, or allow a SOP, just like many other AFV, to keep a distance that allows protection, yet allows you to destroy the enemy. Something the KWK 42 could do.

Hitler did query wHether they could have diesel engines, even as crazily as 1945!

Peasant
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Peasant » 02 Aug 2019 15:09

Yoozername wrote:
01 Aug 2019 17:04
Can't give it up, huh? Sorry, but your argument has some thought-slip now. First it was 'the HE round was not bigger than a Panzer IV', now you want to compare it to a Pershing (barely a beta version raced to the front in small numbers in 1945), and a tank with a 122mm gun with two part ammunition? By your specious argument, the Tiger 88mm HE was a problem also?

The Panther's gun, which was designed in 1942, is clearly an anti-armor weapon first, and a anti-material weapon second. Largely considered one of the best tank guns of WWII. They did not even bother making a smoke round for it. Just two armor penetrating rounds, and a standard HE round. The weapon was a threat to these so-called 'contemporaries' you mention, right up to the end of the war. Not sure how many Pershings were running around in July 1943? But if you are so hard pressed to belabor this HE 'point', I guess that makes sense to you.

Most tanks that the Panther could be compared to, namely the 1942-mid 1944 versions, had 75-76.2mm guns. And comparable HE, or even smaller HE in the case of the US 3 inch/76mm weapons. The Soviets did put a 85mm weapon in a turret on the T34/85, but at the price of also putting ammunition in that same turret.

A 75-76mm HE round is clearly used in tanks and artillery in WWII in large numbers. Soviet guns and tanks in the tens of thousands, sherman tanks in the tens of thousands, light artillery and regimental guns, etc. Sorry, but you really picked a very odd thing to say was a Panther flaw. The Germans already had a 88mm AFV meant as a breakthrough tank.
One could use the same argument against yours. If the vast majority of targets the Panther would be facing had armor thickness against which the KwK 42 was clearly an overkill wouldn't it be a better idea to sacrifice some of the anti-armor capability for superior HE load, proper for a 40 ton vehicle?
Ulater wrote:
02 Aug 2019 00:09
What is shocking to me is to have a designated 46 ton breakthrough tank with an ammunition stowage of 28 rounds, as opposed to a 45 ton tank that can carry 79-82 rounds with a space for another 40 which can fire 2-3 75 mm rounds for every one 122 mm round fired. And as I said before, trying to compare HE-shells based on their size only doesnt appear to be the right approach.
Hi, Ulater, long time no see.
I would argue that the limited ammo capacity was less of an issue for JS-2 since it was not a medium tank, like Panther, but a breakthrough tank with different goals on the battlefield. Clearly the trade-off of rate of fire for higher explosive capacity per shot was worth it for such vehicle, as demonstrated by the choice of large caliber guns for other AFV designed for similar purposes, like SU-152 and Brummbar, M4A3(105) to name a few.
Avalancheon wrote:
02 Aug 2019 03:50
The earliest evidence of brittle armor were mentioned in the report, PzKpfw V Panther: Preliminary Report on Armour Quality and Vulnerability. (Sadly, there are no online copys available)
Here you go: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a954952.pdf
Personally, I find it disingenuous to bring up the manufacturing quality in the discussion of a tank's design. Therefore, I wont say anything more on the matter.

Yoozername
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 02 Aug 2019 19:43

One could use the same argument against yours. If the vast majority of targets the Panther would be facing had armor thickness against which the KwK 42 was clearly an overkill wouldn't it be a better idea to sacrifice some of the anti-armor capability for superior HE load, proper for a 40 ton vehicle?
I would have to believe that the 'logical assumption' that there is a 'proper' HE for a 40 ton vehicle? Just because bam says so does not make it true. Also, you seem to assume the designers in 1942 knew everything about the future. The gun was designed to a specification.

if anything was clearly positive about the Panthers from the start, it was the performance of the gun.

Avalancheon
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Avalancheon » 03 Aug 2019 01:54

Peasant wrote:
02 Aug 2019 15:09
Avalancheon wrote:
02 Aug 2019 03:50
The earliest evidence of brittle armor were mentioned in the report, PzKpfw V Panther: Preliminary Report on Armour Quality and Vulnerability. (Sadly, there are no online copys available)
Here you go: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a954952.pdf
Personally, I find it disingenuous to bring up the manufacturing quality in the discussion of a tank's design. Therefore, I wont say anything more on the matter.
Those are not the same reports.

Peasant
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Peasant » 04 Aug 2019 14:38

Avalancheon wrote:
03 Aug 2019 01:54

Those are not the same reports.
My bad. Then, I have no idea of what document you were talking about.
Yoozername wrote:
02 Aug 2019 19:43
I would have to believe that the 'logical assumption' that there is a 'proper' HE for a 40 ton vehicle? Just because bam says so does not make it true. Also, you seem to assume the designers in 1942 knew everything about the future. The gun was designed to a specification.

if anything was clearly positive about the Panthers from the start, it was the performance of the gun.
Maybe the designers didn't but we do, otherwise this entire thread would've been pointless. We know that every medium tank designed after the war in the 40-50 ton range had a bigger gun than the 75mm. I'm assuming a great deal of planning went into them so the choice of a larger caliber gun for these vehicles is justified.
If the Panther remained a 30ton tank, like M4A3E8 Sherman, it's gun, or even the shorter one from the prototype, would've been appropriate.

Yoozername
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Re: what were the panther tank flaw?

Post by Yoozername » 05 Aug 2019 01:21

Look up 'specious argument'.

I also want to clarify the other backwards statement that the JS-2 had a big HE lobber. The tank was a development that reacted to the new Tiger I and Panther tanks and Ferdinand SPG. In other words, just as the Panther's gun was a reaction to the mass of T34s and KV-1s that gave them trouble, as well as deal with future threats.. the Soviets went for a gun they thought could tackle the big German tanks. They took the approach that bigger bores gave better results. The Germans had better projectiles, and used higher velocities. The Germans had limited intel before the war, after the start of hostilities, they were really in the dark. I don't agree that you know better.

The KWK 42 was designed primarily as a antitank weapon. It was actually a threat to almost any armor till the end of the war.

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