PANTHER D gallery 2

Panther D suffered from mechanical failures due to the urgency in its design and the rush to put it into service to counteract the Soviet armored supremacy. With an excellent gun, good protection and a more than acceptable mobility, it was soon a fearsome rival for any allied vehicle. As with the Tiger tank, it was usually necessary 4 or 5 allied tanks to destroy a Panther, and this, at the cost of losing several tanks in this effort.
In the summer of 1943 appeared a derivative from the Panther D, an artillery observer’s vehicle designed as “Panzerbeobachtungswagen Panther” or “Pz Beob Wg Panther (Sd.Kfz.172)“. The 75mm gun was replaced by a dummy gun and two openings were made in the front of the turret to install a stereoscopic rangefinder. The only weapon was a ball mounted 7.92mm MG-34 on the frontal plate of the turret.This vehicle was designed to direct artillery fire from advanced positions providing a good protection to the observers and only 41 vehicles were built and distributed among the self-propelled Artillery Battallions.
The main task was to make effective counterbattery fire on artillery positions, pinpoint targets and correct own fire once the attack has started. The Pz Beob Wg Panther carried two reconnaissance periscopes and an integrated observation system, but the task was not simple, since sometimes it was very complicated to know in which position the vehicle itself was before starting the observation, for this matter it had the “TBF-2 Turmbeobachstungfernrohr” device and to carry out the observation under cover it had the “TSR-1 Sehstab” system or a conventional scissors type periscope.
The command version of the Panther D was designated as “Panzerbefehlswagen” or “Pz Bef Wg Panther (Sd.Kfz.267)“. These vehicles had more powerful radio equipment, such as Fu.8 of 70 km range, and special antennas. Around 10% of the Panthers built were command tanks, although any Panther could be converted into a command tank with minor modifications if necessary.

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