PANTHER II gallery

Although plans to build the Panther II tank began even before the Panther D entered service, the need to counteract the new Soviet tanks led to maximum effort in the manufacture of Panther D. In this way, the Panther II was relegated to the background and finally did not enter production. However, MAN worked on its development and finished a single chassis, but no turret.
MAN received permission to make two experimental prototypes (Versuchs-Fahrgestell) and after different meetings some requirements of the new Panther II were clear. Transmission and running gear would be the same as projected for the Tiger II heavy tank. It would be composed of seven all-steel roadwheels, overlapping and not interleaved as the original Panther‘s system. With this new arrangement, the huge problems with the previous complex “Schachtellaufwerk” system would be avoided.
During design, installation of Tiger II ‘s 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 gun was evaluated, but finally it was rejected to continue with the same original Panther ‘s 75 mm gun. Also considered was the use of a new more powerful engine, either the 900 hp Maybach HL-234 fuel-injected engine, or the GT-101 turboshaft powerplant. This last model was a gas turbine engine derived from the BMW-003 aviation engine, of only 450 kg of weight and 1,150 hp output.
In March or April 1945, Panther II prototype was presented. Finally it consisted of a Panther ausf G turret installed in a new, heavier and more protected chassis. The new Panther II reached 55 tons in weight, two less than Tiger tank. A reinforced AK 7-200 gearbox was also installed and the drivetrain mounted single torsion bars instead of the double torsion bars of Panther tanks.
The only finished Panther II was captured by American troops and sent to Aberdeen for testing. It was finally donated to Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where it was restored in the early 1970s and where it can now be seen. This picture is from the mid-70s, when once a year the Panther II “came back to life” and made an exhibition during the 4th of July’s celebrations. Unfortunately for fans, now remains in static exhibition all the time, as it is feared that this unique jewel can suffer irreparable damage.

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