When the Pz. Kw. 6 (Tiger) became standard, the
Pz. Kw. 5 (Panther) was still in an experimental stage.
Now that the Panther has joined the German tank series
as a standard model, a general description of this newest
"land battleship" can be made available to U.S. military
personnel. Much of the data presented here comes
from Russian sources, inasmuch as the Pz. Kw. 5 has
thus far been used only on the Eastern Front.
The Panther (see fig. 1) is a fast, heavy, well-armored
vehicle. It mounts a long 75-mm gun.
Weighing 45 tons, the new tank appears to be of a
type intermediate between the 22-ton Pz. Kw. 4 and
the 56-ton Pz. Kw. 6. The Panther has a speed of
about 31 miles per hour. It corresponds roughly to
our General Sherman, which the Germans have always
The following table of information regarding the
Pz. Kw. 5 will be of interest:
|Weight _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
|Width _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||11 ft 8 in (same as the Pz. Kw. 6).|
|Length _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||22 ft 8 in (1/2 ft longer than the Pz. Kw. 6).|
|Clearance _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||1 ft 8 in (3.9 in more than the Pz. Kw. 6).|
|Motor _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||gasoline, 640 hp, in rear of tank (the gas tanks are on each side of the motor).|
|Cooling system _ _ _ _||
|Ignition _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
|Caterpillar section _ _ _||
||drive sprockets at front, rear idlers; 8 double rubber-tired bogie wheels, 33.5 in in diameter, on either side; torsion suspension system; hydraulic shock absorbers inside tank; metal caterpillar tread 25.6 in wide.|
|Armor _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||front of turret and cannon shield, 3.94 in; upper front plate, 3.45 in, 57 angle of slope; lower front plate, 2.95 in, 53 angle of slope.|
|Armament _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||75-mm gun, long barrel; one 7.92-mm machine gun (MG 42).|
|Ammunition _ _ _ _ _ _||
||75 rounds (AP and HE).|
|Maximum speed _ _ _ _||
||approx 31 mph.|
|Range _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
||approx 105 mi.|
|Crew _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _||
It is believed that the 75-mm gun is the Kw. K. This
tank gun is a straight-bore weapon with a muzzle brake,
and has an over-all length of 18 feet 2 inches.
|Figure 1.—New German Heavy Tank: the Pz. Kw. 5 Panther Tank.|
Although equipped with the same motor as the
Tiger, the Panther has lighter armor and armament.
For this reason it is capable of higher speed and
greater maneuverability. The Panther is also
provided with additional armor plate, 4- to 6-mm thick,
(not shown in fig. 1) along the side, just above the
suspension wheels and the sloping side armor plate.
When a flexible tube with a float is attached to the
air intake, the Panther has no difficulty in fording
fairly deep streams. There is a special fitting in the
top of the tank for attaching this tube.
Like the Pz. Kw. 6's, the Pz. Kw. 5's are organized
into separate tank battalions. During the summer of
1943, the Germans used many of these new tanks on
the Russian front.
Although the Russians have found the Pz. Kw. 5 more
maneuverable than the Pz. Kw. 6, they are convinced
that the new tank is more easily knocked out. Fire
from all types of rifles and machine guns directed
against the peep holes, periscopes, and the base of the
turret and gun shield will blind or jam the parts,
the Russians say. High explosives and armor-piercing
shells of 54-mm (2.12 inches) caliber, or higher
are effective against the turret at ranges of 875 yards
or less. Large-caliber artillery and self-propelled cannon
can put the Panther out of action at ordinary
distances for effective fire. The vertical and sloping
plates can be penetrated by armor-piercing shells of
45-mm (1.78 inches) caliber, or higher. Incendiary
armor-piercing shells are said to be especially
effective, not only against the gasoline tanks, but against
the ammunition, which is located just to the rear of
The additional armor plate above the suspension
wheels is provided to reduce the penetration of
hollow-charge shells. According to the Russians, it is
ineffective; antitank grenades, antitank mines, and
Molotov cocktails are reported to be effective against
the weak top and bottom plates and the cooling and
ventilating openings on top of the tank, just above the
However, it should definitely be stated that the
Pz. Kw. 5 is a formidable weapon—a distinct asset of
the German Army.
1. With certain alterations the Pz. Kw. 6 may weigh as much as 62 tons.
For an illustrated discussion of the Pz. Kw. 6, see Intelligence Bulletin,
Vol. I, No. 10, pp. 19-23.
2. Kampfwagenkanone—tank gun.