Panther II

The Panther II was developed during 1943 as a potential replacement for the Panther I, but never progressed beyond the prototype stage. Work on improving the Panther began in the summer of 1942, when concerns first arose that the Panther armour was not thick enough for use on the Eastern Front. Efforts to add 20mm of extra armour to the Panther I failed, and so at a meeting in February 1943 it was decided to develop the new Panther II.

Work on the Panther II had to satisfy two main requirements. First, as many parts a possible were to be used by both the Panther II and Tiger II. Amongst the shared elements were the road wheels, single torsion bar suspension, main drive and steering units. This was to ease production of both the tank and spare parts. The second requirement for the Panther II was that it should carry much heavier armour than the Panther.

Work on the Panther II began after the meeting of February 1943, and in March MAN stated that they could have a prototype ready by August, but after that the project quickly lose importance, presumably as the more reliable versions of the Panther began to make their mark. The use of armoured side skirts to provide extra protection also reduced the need for the Panther II.

It is not clear what combination of turret and gun would have been used on the Panther II – indeed the final decision was probably never made. Amongst the options were narrow turrets similar to those designed for the Panther I Ausf F, carrying the same 77mm gun, or modified Tiger II turrets armed with the 88mm gun.

One prototype of the fuselage was completed, and is now at Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armour at Fort Knox. This prototype was completed with the turret from a Panther I Ausf G by the Americans. The basic hull of the prototype is very similar to that of the standard Panther. The eight interweaved road wheels of the Panther were replaced by seven alternating all-metal road wheels, as used on the Tiger II (four outer and three inner).

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]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 September 2008), Panther II , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panther_II.html

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