Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
LiH
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Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by LiH » 06 Jun 2008 16:14

These are two interesting vehicles. The first one I know is a tiger(P),the second one I think it is Panther Ausf D1 with PzKpfw IV Ausf H turret. But just the day before yesterday someone told me that the second one is Panzer Ausf D1,which producing number is 20, he said that he know this from a book pubilished in Germany. Does anyone who know something about this vehicle or the book?Thanks!
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Ironmachine
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by Ironmachine » 06 Jun 2008 18:11

It is a Panther (there is some controversy about the version, either an Ausf. D1 or a Bergepanther) with PzKpfw IV Ausf H turret. You can learn more about it here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=24446
Also from http://www.achtungpanzer.com/pz4.htm#panther:
In late 1942, a small pre-production series of 20 tanks was ordered. This was the Null-Serie, or Zero Series. Those 20 tanks were designated Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausfuehrung A and were technically different from later Ausf A production models. All were lightly armored (with 60mm frontal armor) and armed with the early version of the 75mm KwK 42 L/70 gun. This gun had a single-chamber muzzle brake from the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun and was mounted in a turret that featured a drum cupola that bulged the turret on the left side. A 650hp Maybach HL 210 P 45 engine of 21 liters (1,280 cubic inches] displacement powered them. Interesting conversion was Ausf D1 (some sources state that it was an early model Bergepanther) fitted with bolted on PzKpfw IV Ausf H's turret (that could not be traversed), which served as a command tank of schwere Heeres Panzerjager Abteilung 653 on the Eastern Front in early/mid of 1944...
In December 1942, a new and improved model, designated Ausf D, was ready. In February 1943, 20 Ausf A tanks were re-designated Ausf D1. These Ausf D1 models were exclusively used as test vehicles and later for training.
In that same webpage you can see a photograph of the Ausf. D1.

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cbo
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by cbo » 09 Jun 2008 09:11

I wonder if anyone could clear up this "Panther Ausf. D1" business for me?

As I understand it, the argument is that there was a late 1942 pre-production of some 20 tanks with 60mm glacis armour, 7,5cm KwK 42 with ball-shaped muzzle brake and a turret with a bulge on the left side, accomodating the cupola. Then there is some rather muddled text on the achtungpanzer homepage, which suggest that these 20 tanks were originally Ausf. A, then re-labelled Ausf. D1. The following 250 tanks were also known as D1 while the last 600 D-series tanks were known as the D2. That even though the 250 additional D1 tanks had standard muzzle brake, standard turret and 80mm of frontal armour. In this case, the D1/D2 distinction is refering to the engine, where the first 20 + 250 D1 had the HL210 engine, the remaining 600 D2 had the HL230 engine.

- This is not something I've heard about outside the internet, even though there are apparently an article in the French Steel Masters magazine to that effect. So, any more sources on that issue (like Jentz or Spielberger)? Preferably someone pointing to primary sources.

- Why would they make 20 tanks with 60mm of glacis armour, when 80mm had apparently been decided on as early as May 1942, long before even the Panther prototypes had been made?

- All pictures of the alleged Panther Ausf. D1 shows the Versuchspanther V2 of which only one was made.

- The D1 & D2 designations seems to have been found only in one document (a parts list) from early 1943, at a time when it was necessary to make a distinction between those early Panther Ausf. D (with 80mm armour, production turret and standard muzzle brake) which were built with the clutch-brake steering system and those made with the single-radius steering system. It would seem that only 20-30 Panthers were made with the clutch-brake system before the single-radius system entered production in March 1943. At least 16 of these were rebuilt with the single-radius system in May 1943.

It would seem to me that the story about those 20 pre-production Ausf. D1 Panthers is in error, perhaps due to confusion about the switching of steering systems and the D1 & D2 designations used briefly to distinguish between them. And possibly mixed with a desire to make sense of the odd sequence of the Ausf. letters of the Panther series (D -> A -> G)

Anyway, can anyone clear this up?

cbo

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Ironmachine
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by Ironmachine » 09 Jun 2008 17:34

Well, for what it's worth, the Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II (P. Chamberlain and H. L. Doyle; Technical Editor : Thomas L. Jentz) had the following statement:
A decision had been made in the autumn of 1942 to increase the armour thickness of the upper hull front plate from 60mm to 80mm, but the first 20 Panthers produced by MAN still had 60mm frontal armour on the upper hull.

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cbo
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by cbo » 10 Jun 2008 08:13

Ironmachine wrote:Well, for what it's worth, the Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II (P. Chamberlain and H. L. Doyle; Technical Editor : Thomas L. Jentz) had the following statement:
A decision had been made in the autumn of 1942 to increase the armour thickness of the upper hull front plate from 60mm to 80mm, but the first 20 Panthers produced by MAN still had 60mm frontal armour on the upper hull.
Interesting.

I had a look in Senger und Etterlin: "Die Deutschen Panzer...." from 1968 which tells a story about the 20 first (production?) Panthers having 60mm of armour. An AFV-Profiles article by Ellis & Chamberlain from 1973 adds to the story by referring to these as originally being Ausf. A with 60mm of armour and all the features of the V2 prototype. Also, it is said that the HL230 engine was installed in the production Ausf. D models after the first 20 tanks had been made. That article also speculates on what would be the Ausf B and C models and refers to the early 1943 distinction between Ausf. D1 and D2 without specifying what that actually meant.

As I dont recall any references to pre-production Panthers with V2 prototype features or 60mm of armour by either Spielberger or Jentz in any recent works, I think it indicates that this is information is something carried over from older works on the Panther (the "Encyclopedia.." is an updated 1970ies publication), before German archives were really explored on the matter. Perhaps the source is faulty wartime intelligence?

cbo

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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by barbarossa28 » 10 Jun 2008 14:38

Hello,

I have found something in Jentz Panther book. There is a spare parts list from February 1943 where a Panther D1 and a D2 is mentioned. This document got into posession of the British secret service during war.
The only difference between D1 and D2 was the steering gear. D1 had the Kupplungslenkgetriebe (clutch steering gear) and the D2 had the Einradienlenkgetriebe (one radius steering gear).
At least 23 Panther were manufactured with the Kupplungslenkgetriebe due to production delay of the Einradienlenkgetriebe. But all of these vehicles got the Einradienlenkgetriebe bevore they were sent to combat.
So the differentiation between D1 and D2 was only temporary.
No series Panther had a 60mm frontal armour. All had 80mm. And I think V1 and V2 had 80mm frontal armour, too.

Regards, Holger.

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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by LiH » 13 Jun 2008 13:34

Thanks for all replies.Does the Ausf.D1 existed? I also want to know what is the second tank's name......

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cbo
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by cbo » 13 Jun 2008 17:12

LiH wrote:Thanks for all replies.Does the Ausf.D1 existed?
I'd go with Jentz and say that the Ausf. D1 was the production Panther Ausf. D with clutch-brake steering and the Ausf. D2 the production Panther Ausf. D with the geared steering system (i.e. single-radius steering). The designation thus only applied in the period when both systems were found in the Panther Ausf. D. That would be from February 1943 when it was decided to go with the geared system and until all the clutch-and-brake systems had been replaced, which would probably be around May 1943.

This also means that:

- There never were any Panther pre-production series of 20 vehicles
- There never were any Panther made with 60mm of frontal armour
- Only the Panther V2 prototype had the bulge on the side of the turret under the commanders cupola and the ball-shaped muzzle brake
- The introduction of the HL230 engine instead of the HL210 did not result in any changes in designation of the Panther Ausf. D
- There never was any Bergepanther based on the Ausf. D1. The first 12 Bergepanthers were drawn from MAN production in May/June 1943, long after the Ausf. D1 was produced and likely after the few D1s ever made had been converted to standard production Ausf. D with geared steering.

It seems likely, that the whole story about the D1 being a pre-production vehicle of different characteristics from the production vehicle is simply and old myth, something cobbled together back in the 1960ies when primary German sources on the issue had not yet been explored to any real extent.

cbo

LiH
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by LiH » 19 Jun 2008 12:42

Thanks. But...I still do not know the name of the second vehicle,may I call it Panther D with IVH turret?

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cbo
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Re: Is it a Panzer.Ausf.D1?

Post by cbo » 23 Jun 2008 09:14

LiH wrote:Thanks. But...I still do not know the name of the second vehicle,may I call it Panther D with IVH turret?
Considering that it was a one-off, knocked together at the sPzJgAbt 653 repairshop, I think you can call it whatever you like :wink:

I dont think it ever had any official name issued by any agency.

According to Münchs massive book on the history of the battalion, the vehicle was a Bergepanther. Makes sense, as the battalion did not have Panthers issued other than Bergepanther (they could of course have salvaged one, like they apparently salvaged the Panzer IV turret and and T34s). If it was indeed a Bergepanther, then it would have to have been one of the very early ones (12 Ausf. D complete by MAN in June 1943) without the large spade at the rear and without the winch, as the latter could probably not have been operated comfortably with the Panzer IV turret in place.

As for the Panzer IV turret, I'm not sure what it is, but it appears to have only one vision port in the front, which suggest that it was made sometime after April 1942. At also appears to have the one-piece hatch in the cupola, which was introduced in February 1943. Schürzen could of course have been fitted to any turret. So I'd say it is either an Ausf. G, H or J turret.

So, "sPzJgAbt 653 early Bergepanther with Panzer IV turret" would seem a fitting description. :wink:

cbo

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