The Germans began a war with the USSR when the Wehrmacht still hadwas not in the arsenal of the medium-heavy tank "Panther". The production of this combat vehicle was deployed in Germany only towards the end of 1941. The Panther tank was produced in a mass series, at the Krupp factories in 1942-43. In total, about 6 thousand units were produced. As soon as the production of the "Panther" reached the planned level, these tanks began to appear on all European fronts. In 1943, two hundred Pantera tanks participated in the Battle of the Kursk Bulge, not counting the evacuation and commander's vehicles.
In the fall of 1941, the Germans realized how much for themthe T-34 tank of the Soviet Army is dangerous, they sounded the alarm and suspended the release of the tank, massively descended from the conveyor. Within four months, the "Panther" was perfected and thus a practically new 35-ton tank with the same name was developed. He was fired into the series. The tank "Panther" was created in opposition to the tank T-34. German designers in something even copied the Soviet T-34, the engine compartment and the main transmission line. But the similarity ended there. In addition, the German tanks worked on gasoline, and the Soviet tanks on diesel fuel.
In full combat equipment, the Panther tank weighed45 tons, it was too heavy car, but it was possible to reduce its weight only at the expense of armor, but it did not dare. All the armored plates of the tower have been tilted, for better reflection of direct hit shells. The length of the tank was 6860 mm, width 3280 mm, height 2990 and the distance from the ground to the hull, that is, the clearance is 565 mm. The cannon was almost two meters in length. Ammunition of the gun consisted of 81 armor-piercing shells, which allowed for a fairly long battle. In addition to the cannon, the Panther tank was armed with two machine guns.
The power plant of the tank consisted of 12cylinder 700-horsepower gasoline engine, with which the "Panther" was on the highway at a speed of about sixty miles per hour. The protection of the machine was composed of a shaped rolled armor with surface hardening. The tank body consisted of 40 mm armor, and the frontal part was 60 mm thick. The tower in the sides carried armor section of 45 mm, and the forehead of the tower and the mask of the gun - 110 mm. The running gear of the Panther stood the weight, and the maneuverability of the car was at a fairly good level. However, the crew of 5 people had to put up with the tightness in the combat compartment.
In early 1943, the Wehrmacht decidedmodernize the "Panther" taking into account the conditions of the Eastern Front. There was a tank "Panther 2", the processing touched mainly the protection of the tower, for which the armor was significantly strengthened. The frontal armor was 125 mm thick, and the cannon mask received 150 mm thick armor. "Panther 2" began to weigh 47 tons. The increase in weight was compensated by a new power plant, a Maybach engine with a capacity of 900 hp was installed on the tank. and an eight-speed transmission with hydraulics.
Replace and the gun, was installed 88 mm KVK,more rapid and has a high armor-piercing force. Also, the car was equipped with night vision devices and a telescopic range finder. The company Rheinmetall offered to install an air defense system with anti-aircraft guns on the tank. But at this stage the development of the new tank "Panther 2" stopped because of the difficult situation for the German command on all fronts. Although the German tank "Panther" in its original form continued to produce until the end of the war.