Zweda’s 1/35 Panther Ausf D


The Panther was a German medium tank deployed during World War II from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the Soviet T-34, and as a replacement for the Panzer III and Panzer IV. While never replacing the latter, it served alongside it and the heavier Tiger I until the end of the war. While the Panther is considered one of the best tanks of World War II due to its excellent firepower and protection, it was less impressive in terms of mobility, reliability, and cost.

It was developed by the company MAN in 1941 and 1942 and was intended to become the Wehrmacht’s primary tank. According to German classification, the Panther was considered a medium tank.
After the outbreak of war with the Soviet Union, German troops encountered the new Soviet T-34 and KV tanks, which were superior to all of the Wehrmacht’s available models.

After examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet tanks, German engineers added sloping armor and a new chassis with large rollers and wide treads to the project.

The delivery orders were rushed, asking for a first batch by December.However the specialized tooling for this new model was far from ready and designed in haste. The order for 1000 to be delivered in early 1943 proved over-optimistic.

The flaws of the Panther design was the weak final drive, which became the reason for many mechanical failures, and the turret mantlet design, which created a shot trap exploited by many Allied tankers to destroy it by deflecting the shell into the weak top armor of the Panther.

The Panther was first issued to the Eastern Front, arming the 51st and 52nd Tank Battalions, which presented many mechanical problems of the Panther. Despite these issues, the Panther was deemed critical in the Battle of Kursk in Operation Citadel, Hitler delayed the operation in order for sufficient amount of Panthers to reach the front. 200 Panthers were ready in June 1943, but its combat debut was quite embarrassing due to existing mechanical issues, two were lost to motor fires after disembarking from trains.

The V12 Maybach HL 210 P30 Engine was compact, with a seven disc crankshaft, and the two series of cylinders were not offset. However, this tight connecting rods space caused teething problems, like blown head gaskets, and the bearings failed early on.

It’s pros was, it was very fast,and had excellent long-range capabilities.The Panther soon proved itself as a defensive weapon during the Soviet offensives that followed the battle of Kursk. Here its thick armour and powerful gun made it a very effective weapon, and it would be in this role, during the two years of defensive battles that followed Kursk, that the Panther would earn its reputation.



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