Panzerkampfwagen V Panther ausf G

Panzerkampfwagen V Panther ausf A (SdKfz 171) on the move. The Panther ausf A debuted in August 1943. The ausf A corrected many of the faults of the ausf D model, such as correcting problems with the engine, transmission adding a hull-mounted MG34 7.92 (.31 caliber) machine gun for defense against infantry and an additional MG34 on an anti-aircraft mount on the commander's cupola. This brought the number of machine guns in the Panther to three. The ausf A was immediately effective on the battlefields of the Eastern Front, and the Soviet T-34 with a 76mm (3 inch) main gun couldn't penetrate it. The Soviets immediately introduced the T-34/85, which couldn't compete at long ranges with the Panther, but was built in overwhelming numbers. The Allies confronted the first Panther variant, the ausf D, at Anzio in limited numbers. Planning for the landing in Normandy, they expected limited numbers of heavy Tiger and Panther tanks.To their surprise Panthers made up half of the German tank strength; Allied losses skyrocketed to 37% of operational M4 Sherman medium tanks. The British countered the Panther with the Sherman Firefly, a standard American-built M4 medium tank with a 17-pounder 76.2mm high-velocity gun fitted in the turret. But the Fireflies lacked the Panther's frontal 80mm armor. The Americans' M10 Wolverine 76mm tank destroyers were unable to stop a Panther in a frontal hit, having to attack from behind for a shot to the weaker engine compartment. Later the M10 was upgunned with the 90mm (3.54 inch) M3 gun, derived from an anti-aircraft weapon, as the M36 Jackson. Both the Wolverine and the Jackson suffered from a lack of armor and an open top that exposed the crew to shellfire and the elements. The Panther ausf A was replaced by the ausf G model, which did away with the driver's vision hatch and added improved armor to delete a shot trap in the turret mantlet that, when fire glanced off, sometimes hit the crew compartment. 2,950 Panther ausf Gs were built between March 1944 and the end of the war. Reichskanzler (Reichchancellor) Adolf Hitler ordered the "Panzerkampfwagen V" designation dropped on February 27, 1944.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, January 1, 1944
Soviet Union