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Does the Panther need reassessing?

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  • Does the Panther need reassessing?

    Does it?

    Well maybe it seems pointless, but going by the "allied" info I have found
    things might be somewhat flawed.
    Some details make me raize my eyebrows:

    Frequent engine fires, carburation problem.
    This does not sound right at any one time.
    Begs the quesion if they at the FVPE test centre at Chertsey would have been bothered to get things right before starting a test programme.
    OK they did not have the manuals, but ...... expertise.......?

    The geared steering system was deemed pants.
    However questioning German POWs it turned out that the German drivers did not use this option but had reverted to skid steering.

    What does stick out like a sore thumb is that the final drive problem was never really sorted, contrary to what some have us believe. ~ 150 km!
    But even with the latter issue, could the Panther driver prolonged the life by very careful handling of the machine?

    There are other issues that were discovered on "testing" Panters.
    Like I hinted at before. I think that the test programmes were flawed not in as much as in the way the vehicles were assessed.
    More likle the vehicles under test did not seem to have been in an ordinary state of maintenance/repair.

    Was the Panther other than on the aspects of having decent armour protection and a good gun just a maintenance nightmare on tracks?

    Ed.
    The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

  • #2
    Any good book on the tank will adress all that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by stug43 View Post
      Any good book on the tank will adress all that.
      d'you reckon? Thus on what I have read is true the Panther is an overrated entity? Makes me wonder why the Germans persisted.

      mfG

      Ed.
      The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Why they persisted?!
        "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

        Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

        Comment


        • #5
          Frequent engine fires, carburation problem.
          This does not sound right at any one time.
          Begs the quesion if they at the FVPE test centre at Chertsey would have been bothered to get things right before starting a test programme.
          OK they did not have the manuals, but ...... expertise.......?

          The geared steering system was deemed pants.
          However questioning German POWs it turned out that the German drivers did not use this option but had reverted to skid steering.

          What does stick out like a sore thumb is that the final drive problem was never really sorted, contrary to what some have us believe. ~ 150 km!
          But even with the latter issue, could the Panther driver prolonged the life by very careful handling of the machine?

          There are other issues that were discovered on "testing" Panters.
          Like I hinted at before. I think that the test programmes were flawed not in as much as in the way the vehicles were assessed.
          More likle the vehicles under test did not seem to have been in an ordinary state of maintenance/repair.

          Was the Panther other than on the aspects of having decent armour protection and a good gun just a maintenance nightmare on tracks?
          Well... The tank debuted in July of 1943 and had a career of 22 months with the Wehrmacht. When you consider that there were serious issues with time, proper materials and production demand and how these effected the original design in the form of short cuts it would seem that it was a wasted effort. The tank's engine fire issues were solved for the most part pretty early and the final drive was a derivation from the original design for reasons above and would have been rectified in the Panther II.

          I think the Panther would have been supportable with the level of maintenance/repair units that the Allies had, but considering the anemic support that the Germans could offer it would appear pretty clearly that the Germans should have stuck with the PZ IV H or a PZ III/IV hybrid.
          I do however think its a mistake in perspective to compare the Panther with the Sherman/T34/Cromwell, etc. with some sort of "all things being equal" set of metrics. I've often heard the argument that the role of a tank is far more than tank to tank etc... That argument is true in a general sense, especially for Allied tanks. That argument is not true in the specific case of the Panther, a tank designed and specifically suited to fight other tanks. The German Army's needs in 1943 called for a tank suited for defensive purposes that could offset the imbalance of Allied material superiority, specifially the numbers of Soviet tanks.
          The Panther failed in this, but I would say it came close looking at the machine in a technical sense. Was it worth it? No, but its potential was very great and seems to be what the Germans were chasing for those 22 months.
          "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
          -Omar Bradley
          "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
          -Anonymous US Army logistician

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Javaman View Post
            Well... The tank debuted in July of 1943 and had a career of 22 months with the Wehrmacht. When you consider that there were serious issues with time, proper materials and production demand and how these effected the original design in the form of short cuts it would seem that it was a wasted effort. The tank's engine fire issues were solved for the most part pretty early and the final drive was a derivation from the original design for reasons above and would have been rectified in the Panther II.

            I think the Panther would have been supportable with the level of maintenance/repair units that the Allies had, but considering the anemic support that the Germans could offer it would appear pretty clearly that the Germans should have stuck with the PZ IV H or a PZ III/IV hybrid.
            I do however think its a mistake in perspective to compare the Panther with the Sherman/T34/Cromwell, etc. with some sort of "all things being equal" set of metrics. I've often heard the argument that the role of a tank is far more than tank to tank etc... That argument is true in a general sense, especially for Allied tanks. That argument is not true in the specific case of the Panther, a tank designed and specifically suited to fight other tanks. The German Army's needs in 1943 called for a tank suited for defensive purposes that could offset the imbalance of Allied material superiority, specifially the numbers of Soviet tanks.
            The Panther failed in this, but I would say it came close looking at the machine in a technical sense. Was it worth it? No, but its potential was very great and seems to be what the Germans were chasing for those 22 months.
            Agreed.

            Real problem wasnt in tank than in German capabilities.

            That Germans were winning that tank would become beast in my opinion...

            Panther was best for destroying tanks but in the start it has issues so mostly of them were destroyed by their own crews.
            "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

            Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

            Comment


            • #7
              There are problems with the design. First, little thought was put into ease of maintenance. Any major repairs like an engine or transmission change required as much as a week or more in the shop. Just lubricating the tank took forever. Although MAN had grouped the grease zircs there were like a hundred or more in several bunches inside the vehicle under the turret basket and other less than easily accessable spots.
              The interleaved suspension gives a better ride but is another maintenance hassle.
              Had these things been addressed, along with other maintainability issues, some of the Panther's flaws in reliability might have been overlooked in terms of seriousness.

              Comment


              • #8
                First, little thought was put into ease of maintenance.
                I've seen this assertion many times but I remain skeptical for several reasons. German tank readiness rates vary throughout the war, but oddly enough the rates among different models in the same theatre/same period are usually very similiar.
                This leads me to believe that readiness has more to do with the length of the logistical chain and proximity to necessary parts and POL than design flaws. For an extreme test of that I would like to see the readiness rates of Kubelwagons compared to Panthers on various fronts in mid-44. I would speculate that the strength of German logistical support is more to blame for breakdowns than the design or even manufacture of the vehicle. Along that same line of thinking I doubt the T34 or Sherman would have a readiness rate that would be that much better if at all under identical circumstances. The Germans fielded thousands of vehicles on the 38t chassis, but I doubt that their readiness rates were ever as good as the Sherman even though it is a simpler and easier to maintain vehicle.

                Any major repairs like an engine or transmission change required as much as a week or more in the shop. Just lubricating the tank took forever.
                Again, I remain skeptical. It's been repeated so many times but I've never seen a technical manual showing service/repair hours required and how that's calculated. I'd like to see something along the lines of a Maintenance Allocation Chart that defines the service and its requirements. According to the current MAC for a Humvee it takes 23 man hours to replace a small V8 engine. These man hours are calculated assuming a lighted, heated shop, electricity and air hoses with PROPERLY trained mechanics. If you start playing with any of those assumptions the time increases.
                So in the case of the Panther is it the tank that is the problem or the underlying doctrine of the logistical support? Now if you throw in Allied air supremecy, strategic bombing's impact on manufacturing and supply? I honestly don't think that in the 22 month career that the Panther had with the Wehrmacht that there was enough time to fully evaluate the design's true potential.
                "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                -Omar Bradley
                "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                -Anonymous US Army logistician

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't think it really needs to be reassessed. There is a great deal of information out there on the tank already, in my opinion more than enough to make accurate determinations of the vehicle's true capabilities. Many posters here seem to know a great deal about it, certinaly more than I do. We'll never be able to stop the Hitler, er um, that is to say the History Channel from airing nonsense about WWII gear, especially German tanks, but there is never the less good info to be found. I think it can reasonably be assessed as a design with an outstanding main gun for when it was introduced, adequate armor, good mobility, but poor reliability. It was a product of trade offs, like all tanks are, and had it worked reliably it should have balanced those trade offs quite well. Like many WWII tanks it featured some improvements over its service life, but was still steadily becomming less effective, relatively speaking, as better allied or soviet tanks were fielded.

                  A very good tank, not without it's flaws (some pretty serious), that overall served the German cause well. Not a wonder weapon, but a fine vehicle when running properly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Does the Panther need reassessing?
                    No, I don't think so but I haven't seen an honest debate or conversation that discusses its support structure in the field. To include;

                    -Field maintenance units (number, quality, proficiency/effectiveness)
                    -Effectiveness of support system (level and proximity of spare part stock, ease of acquisition, level of fuel support, effectiveness of tactical fuelers, etc). German tactical support doctrine.
                    -Effectiveness of supporting elements of the combined arms team.

                    Perhaps this is what we should discuss relative to the Soviets and Western Allies in order to judge the Panther correctly?


                    Definition of the MAC-

                    "Thus, the MAC identifies and authorizes specific maintenance functions (e.g., inspect, test, replace, repair, etc.) for each maintenance level to be performed. The MAC is arranged in functional group code (FGC) sequence or in top-down, breakdown sequence in the logical order of disassembly which is also used by the Repair Parts and Special Tools List (RPSTL) in its order of assembly/subassembly listings. Also, the MAC establishes a time standard for each authorized maintenance function as a functional group entry, lists the tools and test equipment required for each maintenance function to the various maintenance levels, and contains supplemental instructions and explanatory notes for a particular maintenance function.
                    "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                    -Omar Bradley
                    "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                    -Anonymous US Army logistician

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                      I've seen this assertion many times but I remain skeptical for several reasons. German tank readiness rates vary throughout the war, but oddly enough the rates among different models in the same theatre/same period are usually very similiar.
                      This leads me to believe that readiness has more to do with the length of the logistical chain and proximity to necessary parts and POL than design flaws. For an extreme test of that I would like to see the readiness rates of Kubelwagons compared to Panthers on various fronts in mid-44. I would speculate that the strength of German logistical support is more to blame for breakdowns than the design or even manufacture of the vehicle. Along that same line of thinking I doubt the T34 or Sherman would have a readiness rate that would be that much better if at all under identical circumstances. The Germans fielded thousands of vehicles on the 38t chassis, but I doubt that their readiness rates were ever as good as the Sherman even though it is a simpler and easier to maintain vehicle.



                      Again, I remain skeptical. It's been repeated so many times but I've never seen a technical manual showing service/repair hours required and how that's calculated. I'd like to see something along the lines of a Maintenance Allocation Chart that defines the service and its requirements. According to the current MAC for a Humvee it takes 23 man hours to replace a small V8 engine. These man hours are calculated assuming a lighted, heated shop, electricity and air hoses with PROPERLY trained mechanics. If you start playing with any of those assumptions the time increases.
                      So in the case of the Panther is it the tank that is the problem or the underlying doctrine of the logistical support? Now if you throw in Allied air supremecy, strategic bombing's impact on manufacturing and supply? I honestly don't think that in the 22 month career that the Panther had with the Wehrmacht that there was enough time to fully evaluate the design's true potential.

                      And dont forget artillery support and spotting . You got the point .
                      "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

                      Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                        I've seen this assertion many times but I remain skeptical for several reasons. German tank readiness rates vary throughout the war, but oddly enough the rates among different models in the same theatre/same period are usually very similiar.
                        This leads me to believe that readiness has more to do with the length of the logistical chain and proximity to necessary parts and POL than design flaws. For an extreme test of that I would like to see the readiness rates of Kubelwagons compared to Panthers on various fronts in mid-44. I would speculate that the strength of German logistical support is more to blame for breakdowns than the design or even manufacture of the vehicle. Along that same line of thinking I doubt the T34 or Sherman would have a readiness rate that would be that much better if at all under identical circumstances. The Germans fielded thousands of vehicles on the 38t chassis, but I doubt that their readiness rates were ever as good as the Sherman even though it is a simpler and easier to maintain vehicle.



                        Again, I remain skeptical. It's been repeated so many times but I've never seen a technical manual showing service/repair hours required and how that's calculated. I'd like to see something along the lines of a Maintenance Allocation Chart that defines the service and its requirements. According to the current MAC for a Humvee it takes 23 man hours to replace a small V8 engine. These man hours are calculated assuming a lighted, heated shop, electricity and air hoses with PROPERLY trained mechanics. If you start playing with any of those assumptions the time increases.
                        So in the case of the Panther is it the tank that is the problem or the underlying doctrine of the logistical support? Now if you throw in Allied air supremecy, strategic bombing's impact on manufacturing and supply? I honestly don't think that in the 22 month career that the Panther had with the Wehrmacht that there was enough time to fully evaluate the design's true potential.
                        As for time of an engine replacement in the field on a Panther that would have been around 8 Hrs with an 8 man crew. A complete gun replacement would take some 4 Hrs with 8 man crew. Now for gearbox and drive replacement that would take a little longer. As iiasc the turret has to come off.
                        Apparently the roadwheels were also prone to damage not only for the aspect of the rubber tyre running off the rim. The latter of which was addressed by increasing the number of bolts holding the rim. Maybe the Panther F was going to solve this problem by using steel resilient sprung road wheels. Now we can argue that the Panther was a child that needed lot of love and special attention. And naturally the Panther II would be al lot better. Really? Was it going to have an all new more powerful engine and new drive train and gearbox with all 7 fwd gears working and a better steering system, totally tested of course before sending the beast into action.

                        Why must not we compare the Panther's unreliability with the reliability of other products? From the east we have the product that shall not be named driven by Ivan the apprentice tractor driver. And from the West the not so mysterious product X diven by Hank a former trucker.
                        Now Hans from Dortmund has been told by engineers never to...... and never to....... and never to....... After all he is responsible for this quality product made in Germany. I would feel sorry for Hans had he not been so full of himself.

                        I fully agree that it would be a major advantage if we could have some more insight in the logistic support of armoured units of the participation nations in WW II. Were do we start?

                        Ed
                        Last edited by dutched; 30 Aug 12, 14:58.
                        The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why must not we compare the Panther's unreliability with the reliability of other products?
                          I never said that, did I? My point is a comparison of supporting elements with a look at supporting arms in relation to how that had an effect on the machines overall performance and readiness. Its not an attempt to be a Panther apologist if thats what your implying (alot of witch hunting on these boards). In an abstract sense, if I were in the arms market and looking to buy I would be looking at quite a few aspects of a weapons system. The logistical cost of maintaining and operating the system would require ACCURATE figures as a means of comparison to other weapons systems. In addition would be the cost and capability of the tools, training and equipment of the logistical requirements as well.

                          If that type of analysis doesn't make sense to you, so be it. Don't post then.

                          We can compare readiness rates of different tanks and its been done more than a few times. Has anyone done an in depth analysis of German tank maintenance doctrine, units, equipment, personnel, etc. as compared to Allied? The Sherman was more reliable than the Panther, no doubt. The US logistical system, tank recovery, tank maintenance, etc. was considerably more effective as well. So to what degree is the Panther handicapped in a true comparison on the just the machines?

                          As for time of an engine replacement in the field on a Panther that would have been around 8 Hrs with an 8 man crew.
                          Based on? Do you have a reference or source?

                          A complete gun replacement would take some 4 Hrs with 8 man crew. Now for gearbox and drive replacement that would take a little longer
                          Reference?
                          "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                          -Omar Bradley
                          "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                          -Anonymous US Army logistician

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dutched View Post
                            Why must not we compare the Panther's unreliability with the reliability of other products? From the east we have the product that shall not be named driven by Ivan the apprentice tractor driver. And from the West the not so mysterious product X diven by Hank a former trucker.
                            Now Hans from Dortmund has been told by engineers never to...... and never to....... and never to....... After all he is responsible for this quality product made in Germany. I would feel sorry for Hans had he not been so full of himself.

                            Ed
                            I think one of the reasons there are so many misconceptions about WWII tanks, or other kit for that matter, is that they are compared to too many other products. In my opinion it is best to test their effectiveness against their mission and whether or not they accomplish it efficiently and effectively. Comparing a single, functional M4 against a single, functional Panther, for example, is a very poor way to evaluate the quality of the vehicle. Likewise, comparing Panther's reliability against that of T34 or M4 is not the best way to evaluate the tanks. Panther may not have been as reliable as either one, but if it was reliable enough to accomplish the mission then that was what mattered. Obviously comparing single attributes is inadequate in evaluation of the overall system in something as complicated as a medium tank, so the vehicles should be looked at as a whole. How well could the whole tank accomplish it's assigned mission? It is in this realm where vehicles earn their money or not, not how big their gun is compared to X, how thick their armor is compared to Y, or how reliable their transmission is compared to Z.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey im Hans`s son!

                              Yes Panther was designed for different job than T-34 and Sherman...

                              You cant always compare allied stuff to axis stuff because Germany and Allies werent in same position.

                              Allies needed a huge ammount of bombers,Germans needed fighters...so maybe are German fighters superior in some ways because Germans cared mostly about them...

                              Germans needed a defensive tank what can destroy enemy tanks at big range and Panther was a perfect weapon for that, but because of some suicidal attacks,sending tank unprepared,short time,allied bombing,resources etc...Panther never fully showed its potential...same case with Heinkel 177 Grief...
                              "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

                              Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

                              Comment

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