Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf A

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The Panther I Ausf A was the second production version of the Panther medium tank, and was very similar to late production Ausf Ds. No good reason can be found for the order of model letters used on the Panther. Most of the changes made to the Ausf A were designed to improve the poor reliability of the early Panthers. Amongst these changes were the introduction of a stronger running gear and drive train and better cooling for the engine exhausts. The number of bolts holding the wheels together was also increased

Panzer V Panther Ausf A knocked out in Normandy
Panzer V Panther Ausf A knocked out in Normandy

The most visible change was to the commander’s cupola, where the simple drum cupola of the Ausf D was replaced with a hemispherical (curved top) cupola, with armoured covers for seven periscopes around the top. A ring to carry an anti-aircraft machinegun was carried above the periscopes. The turret also featured an improved traversing mechanism, which could operate at two different speeds.

The second visible change on the Ausf A was the introduction of a ball mounted machine gun in the hull front. The mounting itself was protected by a circular bulge on the front of the armour.

Production of the Ausf D merged into that of the Ausf A, with many of the changes associated the Ausf A actually introduced on late production Ausf Ds, while others were not immediately introduced – the new cupola can be found on late Ausf Ds, while the machine gun ball mount was not present on all Ausf As until later in 1943.

The Ausf A began to reach the eastern front soon after the battle of Kursk. It operated alongside the Ausf D and later Ausf G in every theatre of the war. It dominated the Panzer forces in the middle of 1944, and most of the Panther detachments in Normandy were equipped with this model.  

Panzer V Panther Ausf A in Cologne
Panzer V Panther Ausf A in Cologne

Names
Panzerkampfwagen V Aust A (Sd Kfz 171)
Panther I
VK 3002

Stats
Number produced:  2,000
Produced: August 1943-May 1944
Length: 8.86mm
Hull Width: 44.8mm
Height: 2.98mm
Crew: 5
Weight: 44.8 tons
Engine: Maybach HL230P30
Max Speed: 46 km/hr
Max Range:  200km
Main Gun: One 7.5cm KwK42 L/70
Secondary Armament: Two 7.92mm MG34

Armour

 

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Superstructure

100mm

45mm

45mm

16mm

Hull – upper

80mm

40mm

 

16mm

Hull – lower

60mm

40mm

40mm

16-30mm

Gun mantlet

100mm

 

 

 

Panther Medium Tank, 1942-45, Stephen A. Hart, Osprey New Vanguard 67. This look at what was probably the best German tank of the Second World War concentrates on the technical development of the Panther. The text is divided into chapters on each of the major versions of the Panther, looking at their development, production, deployment and combat career. As a result the text flows well, and each new development is placed properly in its context. [see more] cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 September 2008), Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf A , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panther_ausf_A.html

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