A German Panzer V «Panther» Ausf. G in Houffalize, 22 km northeast of Bastogne. This tank of the 116th Panzer Division was recovered from the Ourthe river in 1948 where it had been resting in the water since the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The vehicle originally carried the turret number 111.
Matchbox 1:76 scale Panzerkampfwagen Panther Ausf. G airbrushed in a three-colour camouflage pattern. The German Panther tank was a medium tank developed in response to the Soviet T-34 medium tanks which had caused the Wehrmacht so much grief in 1941. The first two design proposals for the Panther medium tank were submitted by Mercedes and MAN in April 1942 for evaluation. The MAN proposal was accepted in Mai 1942, and a prototype was tested at the Heereswaffenamt facilities Kummersdorf in September. Because of the high demand for the new medium tank, the Panther was rushed into production and the first vehicles took the field in December of 1942. Not surprisingly, the early production models suffered from a number of serious mechanical problems which caused many breakdowns and vehicle losses.
Of the 250 Panther tanks rushed to the front in time for the Battle of Kursk (Operation Citadel), 4 – 20 July 1943, more than 80 percent were defective by the end of the first day of battle, because engines had overheated and caught fire, or transmissions failed. These problems were eventually solved, and the Panther tank became the best medium tank design of World War Two. Captured and requisitioned Panther tanks continued to serve in the French army until the 1950s, and the French AMX-13 light tank, designed in 1952, was equipped with a licensed version of the German 75 mm Panther tank gun manufactured by DEFA. It is interesting to note that the long 75 mm Panther tank gun offered much better armour penetration than then short 88 mm Tiger I tank gun.
Captured Panther tanks were very popular with Soviet tank crews, who received them as rewards for extraordinary achievements in combat and attempted to keep them operational as long as possible. Even the Pantherfibel manual was translated into Russian. In response to the Panther, the Soviet army quickly deployed upgunned T-34/85 medium tanks, as well as SU-85 and SU-100 tank destroyers.
Available Scale Model Kits
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:72 Hasegawa MT9
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G with steel wheels (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:72 Hasegawa MT37
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:72 ESCI 8363
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:72 Revell 03109
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:76 Airfix 01302
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:76 Matchbox 40073
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 1:76 Nitto
- Ausf. D, Conversion Kit, 1:76 Vac-U-Cast C-106
- Pz.Beob.Wg., Conversion Kit, 1:76 Vac-U-Cast C-109
- 3.7 cm Pz.FlaK, Conversion Kit, 1:76 Vac-U-Cast C-120
- Ausf. G (Sperber) Conversion, with Zielgerät ZG 1221 IR Spotlight
- Pz.Kpfw. V, Panther Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171), 15 mm Forged in Battle P-52
- Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf. G, Sonderkraftfahrzeug 171
- Type: Medium Tank
- Engine: Maybach HL 230 P 45, 12-cylinder, 23000 cc, with 700 hp
- Speed: 46 km/h on roads, 24 km/h cross-country
- Fuel Capacity: 720 l
- Cruising Range: 177 km on roads, 89 km cross-country
- Length: 8860 mm
- Width: 3430 mm
- Height: 3100 mm
- Weight: 45500 kg
- Armament: 75 mm L.70 KwK 42,
7.92 mm hull, turret, and AA machine guns
- Armour Penetration at 0–100 m
- 170 mm using A.P. (Pz.Gr. 39)
- 210 mm using A.P. (Pz.Gr. 42)
- 239 mm using A.P.C.R. (Pz.Gr. 40)
- 298 mm using A.P.D.S. (Pz.Gr. 44)
- Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader, Radio Operator
- Production: March 1944 – April 1945 (2953 units)
- German Army, March 1944 – April 1945
- Soviet Army, 1943–1945
- French Army, 1945–1950
The Panther tank was needed to replace the obsolete Panzer III medium tank, which had already been relegated to the support role. When the Panther appeared in sufficient numbers, it was used to equip one of the two tank battalions of the German armoured divisions, while the second tank battalion operated the still useful Panzer IV medium tanks. By June 1944, approximately half of the German army tank strength consisted of Panther medium tanks.