PANTHER II gallery

Although the plans to build the Panther II began even before the Panther entered service, the need to counteract the new Soviet tanks led to maximum effort in the manufacture of the Panther. In this way, the Panther II was relegated to the background and finally did not enter production although MAN worked on its development and finished a single chassis, but no turret.
MAN received the permission to make two experimental prototypes (Versuchs-Fahrgestell) and after different meetings some requirements of the new Panther II were clear. The transmission and running gear would be the same as that projected for the Tiger II and 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 its design, the 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 75mm gun. Also considered was the installation of a new more powerful engine, either the 900 hp Maybach HL-234 fuel-injected engine, or the GT-101 turboshaft powerplant, 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 of 1945 the Panther II prototype was presented, which 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 the 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 the Panther.
The only finished Panther II was captured by American troops and sent to Aberdeen for testing. It was finally donated to the 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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