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, in exchange for losing several tanks in the fight.
In summer 1943 appeared a derivative from 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. 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. Usually the task was not simple, because sometimes it was very complicated to know the exact position the vehicle itself was. For this matter it had the “TBF-2 Turmbeobachstungfernrohr” device and the “TSR-1 Sehstab” system or a conventional scissors type periscope to carry out the observation under cover.
The command variant of Panther D was designated as “Panzerbefehlswagen” or “Pz Bef Wg Panther (Sd.Kfz.267)“. These vehicles had a more powerful radio equipment, such as Fu.8 of 70 km range, and special antennas. Around 10% of all Panthers were command tanks, although any Panther could be converted into a command tank with minor modifications if necessary.

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