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PzKpfw V Panther production series - why Ausf. D before Ausf. A?

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Fishmachine #1 Posted 09 January 2015 - 12:27 PM

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There's a thing that bothers me about production series of Panther tank - with german "ordnung" and virtually every other armored vehicle following the alphabetical order of production series, there's suddenly a change with Pz V.


There's the first production series - Ausf. D, then the second one - Ausf. A, then the third one Ausf. G.


Why the sudden disparity for this one particular tank?

Mad_F #2 Posted 21 October 2017 - 02:34 PM


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I don't know for certain, but here's my speculation:


PzKpfw V (Panther) was delayed by priority set on PzKpfw VI (Tiger I). So the "Ordnung" was already broken. You can see that in the armor:


Tiger I has classical square shape. Panther has angled armor. Angled armor has been introduced for Tiger II (aka King tiger)

Why is that?

Square shaped armor is easy to produce, allows for more inside space and the effect of angling the armor was known-to but underestimated-by German engineers. The USSR employed it with great success in T34, which gave Nazi-Germany a hard time for PzKpfw III + IV. The development of Panther was influenced by this. That's why it has angled armor.

However the Tiger I was the "safe-and-fast" solution: Its armor was thick enough to counter T34 without angling. So the development wouldn't have to go back some steps. The production facilities could start producing it with few refitting/retooling.

In contrast, the Panther's development was delayed, not only by prioritizing Tiger but also by figuring out, how angled armor influences the overall concept.

With the Tiger in the field, development of Panther could do some iterations before starting production. Hence the first model produced was "D".


I have no idea, why they started producing "A". Maybe they found one of the changes to be problematic, and used an earlier design?

Maybe it's just that different factories produced different models (note: even in war time production was carried out by competing companies) and started at different times.

Edited by Mad_F, 21 October 2017 - 02:35 PM.

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