Panzer V Panther Ausf A

Germany-flagGerman heavy medium Panther tank.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

Panther tanks under fire

Two Panther Ausf A under fire on the Russian Front.

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Panzer V Panther Ausf A (SdKfz 171)
German heavy medium tank.


After a study had been made of the Russian T-34 , Hitler ordered the development of a similar vehicle. Production of the Panzer V Panther Ausf D was to start in December 1942, with 250 to be built by 12 May 1943, the time for the summer offensive.
The Ausf A was the second series of the Panther production. The basic design remained the same as the Ausf D, the difference being a series of modifications to improve performance.

The important changes on the Panther Ausf A were the introduction of the new cupola for the commander and strengthened running gear. The number of wheel-rim bolts was doubled to prevent failures. Several modifications were made to the drive-train to improve reliability. Engine exhaust cooling was modified. The hull design remained unchanged, but a new ball-mount was designed to replace the letter-box flap MG port. These ball-mounts were fitted to a proportion of Ausf A from August 1943, and were fitted to all Ausf A from late 1943.
The turret had many modifications. In addition to the new cupola, an episcope for the loader was provided on the right side of turret roof. The small ammunition-loading hatch on the left side was eliminated, and during the production run, the turret side pistol ports were eliminated in favour of the roof-mounted Nahverteidigungswaffe (close-defence weapon). The TZF12 binocular telescope was gradually replaced by the monocular TZF12a during the Ausf A production.

When the Panther Ausf A was first introduced, it saw service in Russia and Italy. Most of the Panther detachments deployed to meet the Allied invasion of France in mid 1944 were equipped with Panther Ausf A, and many of them were still in service at the end of the war.

After WW2 the US Army calculated that it had cost five M4 Sherman to destroy one Panzer V Panther tank.

For comparison, average number of hits to knock out each type of tank:

Western Europe 1944-45
Tank Type Average number of hits Average number of penetrations
Tiger I 4.2 2.6
Panzer V Panther 2.55 1.9
M4 Sherman 1.63 1.55
Panzer IV 1.2 1.2

Users: Germany, Romania (for all variants).

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Animated 3D model of Panther Ausf A Command tank

Specifications for Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf A Panther (SdKfz 171)

Panther tank Panzer V Ausf A Specification
Type medium tank
Engine Maybach HL 230 P30 gasoline engine with 700 hp
Gearbox 7 forward, 1 reverse
Crew 5
Turret crew 3 (with 360° Commanders cupola)
Length 8.86 m
Width 3.42 m
Height 2.98 m
Weight 44.8 tons
Maximum speed 29 mph
Cross-country speed 15 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 miles 724 litres on road, 1,078 litres cross-country
Fuel 730 litres
Road radius 100 miles
Cross-country radius 60 miles
Vertical obstacle 0.90 m
Trench crossing 1.90 m
Fording depth 1.70 m
Turning circle 10 m
Climbing power 35 °
Panther tank Panzer V Ausf A mm angle
Turret front 110 mm 11 °
Turret side 45 mm 25 °
Turret rear 45 mm 25 °
Turret top 16 mm 84-90 °
Upper hull front 80 mm 55 °
Upper hull side 40 mm 40 °
Upper hull rear
Hull top 16 mm 90°
Lower hull front 60 mm 55 °
Lower hull side 40 mm 0 °
Lower hull rear 40 mm 30 °
Hull bottom 16-30 mm 90 °
Gun mantlet 100 mm round
Armament and Equipment
Panther tank Panzer V Ausf A Specification
Main armament 7.5 cm KwK42 L/70
Rounds 79
Traverse 360° (hydraulic)
Elevation -8° to +18°
Muzzle velocity Pzgr 925 m/s
Muzzle velocity Pzgr40 (available only in limited numbers) 1,120 m/s
Shell weight Pzgr 6.80 kg
Shell weight Pzgr40 4.75 kg
Secondary armament one 7.92mm MG34 coaxially to gun, one 7.92mm MG34 in front hull (traverse 5°left to 5°right, elevation -10° to +15°); together 5,100 rounds
Radio FuG5 (2.5 milesrange)
Telescopic sight TZF12a (2.5 miles aiming)
Penetration mm at 30° armour plates of 7.5cm KwK42 L/70
Range Pzgr Pzgr40 (just limited numbers)
Penetration 100 meters 138 mm 194 mm
Penetration 500 meters 124 mm 174 mm
Penetration 1,000 meters 111 mm 149 mm
Penetration 1,500 meters 99 mm 127 mm
Penetration 2,000 meters 89 mm 106 mm
Panther tank Panzer V Ausf A data
Production from August 1943 to May 1944
Combat delivery immediately after production delivery
Price per tank RM 129,100 (early models) = ~$ 58,095 = ~£ 12,308
Total production figure 2,000
Service statistics of all Panzer V variants
Year Available Production Losses
before 1939
1943 1,768 525
1944 1,084 (1.1.) 3,749 2,297
1945 1,982 (1.1.) 459 (Jan-Mar) 237 (Jan)
Total 5,976 3,059

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