Panther tank keeps original weight

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by wiking85, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What if the Panther tank kept its original design weight of 35 tons, keeping the 75mm L70 gun, but having less armor. Would it have been more mechanically reliable and good to go in early 1943, instead of mechanically deficient and basically unusable by July 1943? Could Kursk have been launched sooner if the Panther was ready by May 1943?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther_tank
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    15 tons. Original Panzer III specification weight.
    18 tons. Original Panzer IV specification weight.

    30 tons. 1937 specification weight for German heavy tank.
    36 tons. 1938 specification weight for German heavy tank.
    .....55 ton Tiger I was vehicle placed into production during fall 1942.

    30 to 35 tons. Original specification weight for Panther tank.

    There's a pattern here. Every German tank larger then Panzer II ended up weighing about 50% more then specification weight. Germany had competent engineers so the reasons must be political.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Something seems a bit off with that quote. The 75 ton Tiger went into service about year after the 45-48 ton Panther, so the Panther could hardly be "developed" in response to the Heavy Tiger II (King, Royal, whatever) tank.

    AS for making a 30-35 ton tank with the 75mm L70 gun "German Style" ?

    Only if the armor has the resistance of pie crust. The gun is a big one and needs a large turret (and turret ring) if the gun is to have full elevation and depression ( and be loaded at the elevation limits). The Germans used front drive sprockets and required the drive shaft to run on top of the torsion bars requiring extra height in the hull.

    Steel weighs 40lbs per sq ft 1inch thick. So taking a piece 8 feet wide and 6 feet high and and 20mm thick ( roughly 80% of an inch) is about 1540lbs. Roughly the the difference between a 60mm and 80mm glacis plate on the Panther ?? Better dimensions welcome.

    Pulling 10 tons of armor OUT of the Panther requires either very thin armor OR a much smaller tank to begin with.
     
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  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Hardly. Don't blame politics for engineering realities.

    In some cases the original specification weight limit corresponded with a certain class of bridging equipment. Trouble was you couldn't make a workable tank within the weight limits ( or at least a very good one.)

    The MK II was a pretty poor tank, even for it's time. It's just that much of it's opposition was even worse in other ways.

    If you want a 5 man crew the tank needs a certain volume which dictates a certain weight IF the makers keep the specified armor thickness.

    SO you have a choice, build a tank that works in combat ( and 15-30mm armor on the early MK IIIs and MK IVs just worked[/I) and is over weight or build a tank that meets the weight limit and can barely keep out rifle bullets. If that is what you call "politics" ?
     
  5. Mobius

    Mobius Member

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    Might be current events. There might be a war going on and need trumped theory.
     
  6. dobbie

    dobbie Member

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    The Panther might have been able to maintain its original design weight, but something would have to give. Smaller/lighter drivetrain. Lighter armor could in addition have been a way to go with greater angularity so an anti tank projectile still has "more armor" to penetrate due to the increased angle.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree if "current events" includes the massive naval Z plan approved during January 1939. You can build a lot of tanks with the steel historically allocated to construction of German dreadnoughts and heavy cruisers.
     
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  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    While the Naval Z plan is a pet bugaboo of yours the size and number of ships have got nothing to do with wither a tank design meets the original specification weight or not.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the original Panther was designed with 60mm frontal armour and with 75mm L/60 gun. Both would have been enough for 1943 - early 44 at least.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A tank with 'all rear' powerpack/powertrain layout should save both on length and height, and that means less weight with same protection. The examples of 'compact tank - big gun - decent armor' being T-34-85, T-44 and M-26. Or, eventually, for 'all front' layout, Merkava-style, also present in some li
    Going for 'all rear' or 'all front' layouts would dictate giving up on current German design practice, however.
     
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  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Moving turret forward would be a problem for WWII era German tanks as most had a relatively long main gun. However putting engine and transmission in front might work.
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The tanks I've listed have also featured long barrels at front, there was not much of sticking the muzzle in the ground incidents associated with them. Not even with SU-85 or SU-100, with barrels/muzzles protruding even more at front.

    Where can one read that prototype weighted 35 tons?
     
  14. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #14 wiking85, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
    Wikipedia with the quote I gave in the OP?

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerkampfwagen_V_Panther
     
  15. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Moving turret forward was a no-go unless you move the track drive to the rear. You need some space for a driver there, also too much weight on the forward suspension.
    BTW there must be a reason why even modern tanks have the turret in a center location.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Well put.

    If we consider the turret overhangs too, then yes, turret is at center. The turret ring, however, is not at a central location.

    m1 chall.JPG
    http://data.primeportal.net/m1_iraqp/rob_m1_broken/Iraq_046.jpg

    The Leo 2, Challenger and M1 are transported with barrels pointed backwards, in order to cut the overall length.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/M1_Abrams_loaded_on_a_C-5_Galaxy.jpg

    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/a-tank-transporter-hauling-a-challenger-andrew-chittock.jpg

    Well, if you point me to the single sentence where it says that Panther's prototype weighted 35 tons, I'm buying a beer :)
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Modern tanks weighing over 40 tons don't need to worry as much about long cannon placing too much weight on forward suspension but it was a serious issue for small tanks such as Panzer III and Panzer IV. I suspect it wouldn't be a problem for Panther lite weighing 35 to 40 tons but it's understandable German tank designers would be cautious as they had no experience with tanks that large.

    Easy solution.
    Early model Panther lite which should begin production during 1942 get the same cannon and Krupp built turret which historically armed Panzer IVG. Then experiment with a new turret and 7.5cm/70 cannon. Even if the new turret / cannon combination doesn't work you still have an excellent WWII era tank, far superior to Panzer IVG.
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The idea of a Panther lite is a fabrication with little basis in reality.

    In order to loose 10 long tons of weight (roughly 10 metric tons) you need to loose 560 sq ft of armor 25.4mm (one inch) thick. Now do you even HAVE 560 sq ft of armor on a Panther? The belly plate is about 99 sq ft. each side is about 85 sq feet or about 270 sq ft for the bottom and sides. Front, Back, top deck and Turret?????

    Since one source gives the top deck armor as 15mm you can't cut anything there, floor armor is 20+13mm?? 20 in the front ant 13 in the rear or 33 total? either cut nothing or have 8mm belly armor. sides of hull and rear are 40mm thick, cut to 15mm????
    Cut 45mm turret sides to 20mm thick?

    I hope you get the idea. Hitler may get the blame for a lot of things and rightly so but this looks like somebody ( or group of some somebodies) is trying to shift the blame. There is no way on this Earth that adding 20mm of armor to the Front alone of the Panther tank added any more than 2700-2800lbs to the tank if that much. 20mm of armor is about 32lbs per square foot.

    You either design for the 7.5cm/70 cannon or you don't. it is not a drop in replacement for the smaller gun. You need a bigger turret ring for one thing.
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #19 tomo pauk, Nov 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
    Fine post. People tend to forget that Panther was a big tank, being long, wide and high (higher?) as KV-85. It was not offering a thicker armor.

    BTW, an even easier solution, Dave - build the JgdPz-IV/70 :)
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    As I wrote earlier, IIRC the new gun was initially L/60 but because of its penetration power was a little lower than what was wanted it was modified to L/70 gun, so a bit longer and heavier barrel and probably some mods also to the rear end to rebalance the gun.
     
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