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Apr 28, 2013

"Buff my tank!" - Panther

By Zarax

Hello and welcome to "Buff my tank!"

The "Buff my tank!" articles are meant as an historical way to look at some tanks considered underpowered in game and ways to improve their combat abilities discussed by the original german engineers.
Beware that while being sometimes ironic in tone, the article treats about both costs and benefits of every choice and it most likely will never be listened by WG as suggestion.

Today we will take a look at another popular german tank, the Panther.
A classic sniping medium, the Panther has often been object of complaints for being poor at closer ranges and having low agility.

Historically, the Panther was a proto-MBT, basically halfway between medium and heavy tanks.
Agile enough for fast tactical relocation, reasonably armored and with good firepower for its introduction, its main enemy was often the unpolished status of many components, rushed to the battlefield without being properly tested and resulting in many tanks being lost before contact with the enemy.

Of course that did not stop german engineers to keep improving on it and even bringing some wildly experimental technology on it, including but not limited to IR sights for night fighting.
Using Spielberger's "Panther & its variants" and "German Jet Engine and Gas Turbine Development 1930-1945", we will explore some solutions adopted or planned in order to push the Panther forwards to its very design limits.


On June 4th 1942, Hitler expressed doubts about the 80mm inclined armor and requested that all vertical front surfaces should be at least 100mm thick.
In February 1943 it was also proposed to increase the front glacis plate to 100mm thickness, which would have added approximately half ton of weight.
This would basically give the tank near Panther II protection levels and definitely make the tank unbalanced as tier VII medium as it would be better armored and more mobile than the Tiger.


The HL 230 engine was originally planned to be made from light weight alloys (alluminium?), so some engine weight could be shaved off in theory.
An hydro-dynamic transmission like that of the E-Series was also planned, increasing tank agility on soft terrain.

In December 1943 Daimler-Benz planned to use a MB-507 engine with 850HP on the Panther chassis.

In January 1945 the 850 HP Maybach HL 234 was planned to be mounted.

Those modifications would basically be the ones implemented in game for the Panther II, yet something even crazier was considered:

From 14 Semptember 1944 until February 1945 experimental development went into trying to fit a gas turbine the Panther's engine compartment.
The turbine development went into different stages from GT 101 to GT 103 and while successful into mounting the engine, fuel consumption  was about twice as the original engine, leading to putting fuel tanks in most free space in the tank.

This engine would provide an amazing 1150 HP but as it was bigger than the standard engines and took a lot more fuel storage, it would be balanced by an high fire risk, likely at least 50%.
This would make the tank even more of a glass cannon, meaning that exposing anything else other than the turret would mean a huge fire risk.
IMHO this last solution should have gone into the recon Panther in order to compensate for the hopelessy huge size as anyway light tanks have to rely on not being hit.

As a bonus, it would have its own unique engine sound:


The planned 75mm L/100 is already in WOT, however it's not the only gun improvement planned for the Panther.
In November 1944 the 88mm L/71 was planned to be installed in a Panther schmaulturm, although this was already in game when Panther was one tier higher.
Given that the long 88 was being redesigned for the task to improve shell handling, it would translate into a pretty low DPM in game.

A semi-automatic loader was also proposed and the prototype manufactured, which would have allowed a ROF of 40 RPM as long as the loader could keep the pace.
Now, this could be implemented as a new gun and balance as a 4 round drum loader or with some worsened soft stat, depending on developer mood.

In June 23 1944 a 15cm STUH 43 was proposed to be mounted in a standard Panther turret:

This would make the Panther an excellent troll tank although with likely huge reload times.
I'd personally see the SturmPanther as a TD, where it could be otherwise balanced.

IMHO the tank is balanced for its specialist role of sniper medium.
A slightly different gun choice could help the tank in the brawling role, however most upgrades would basically cross the tier balance, meaning it would have to give up somewhere else.


  1. Gas turbine? o.O
    If that thing was *anything* like the period turbojets that IIRC needed a major overhaul if not outright replacement after like what, half a dozen missions, it's not hard to see why nothing much ever came out of THAT idea... and let's not get started on how viable a mileage that retarded was given the supply situation. Ouch.

    1. Of course it would be a pretty unsuitable for production option, it just shows how much germans were willing to experiment.
      It was seriously considered mostly because the engine could work with lower quality fuels.

    2. Not too familiar with the details of the coal-to-fuel conversion process the Germans mostly got their stuff from, but I'm kinda guessing the production of said lower-grades wasn't going to be *twice* that of the highers which makes the economic logic a wee bit dodgy.

      Plus even if by some ~Ahnenerbe<3Magic~ alchemy that actually was the case it'd still be twice as much effort to get the necessary tonnage to the front lines (under the usual tender mercies of the Allied airfleets) plus that much more work to fill up the tanks once there, so I'm guessing that idea died a honourable death pretty quickly once someone talked to the planners a bit...

      Brownie points for bold idea though.

    3. Well, the idea was much simpler.
      A gas turbine Panther would have been able to use scavenged fuel from a wide variety of sources, which in 1945 would have been an advantage.

    4. That's... a merit, I guess. And certainly consistent in a sense given that the Reich had been operating under varying but increasing levels of "scavenger economy" since '41 at the latest.

      ...and now I can't but help imagine some poor schmuck standing next to a KO'd enemy tank with a long straw, a jerry can and a mint candy... :P

    5. You have no idea how close to reality that is...

    6. "Disgustingly", probably. Except the mint candies were likely in short supply as well. :x

    7. Def a nice way of buffing up the scout tank.. you can def compensate that with the lighter weight that also gives the turret (47t on the medium panther vs 41t on the scout panther, both full researched), so i think you wouldn't need to mess with extra weight, eand there's the fact that it would be a glass cannon (which, considering the tiers it gets into, is already)...

      now i wonder how agile it would be...

    8. about the gas turbine reliability: mind you the folowing points
      - i gues this gas tubine was likly a design wich was a bit more mature, thus a bit more reliable and longer lasting then the very first me262 powerplants.
      -conversion of engines: i dont know much about turbines and so on, but normal internal combustion engines from aircrafts were a lot more reliable due to lowering the speed covernor, taking away the turbo/superchargers and maybe eaven more like carburettors instead of fuel injection. The result of this is a powerplant with a lot less power then those in planes. this is actualy beneficial since there is a observation/law (like moores law for procesors) wich points out that engines with a lower output for a given engine size and technology will last a lot longer (eg: a car engine doesnt last as long as a truck engine, wich in turn doesnt last as long as a train or boat engine while using nearly the same layout and technology)
      - aircraft engines are overhauled long before any problem might arise, just to be on the safe side, as a aircraft engine stalling/breaking down in flight can be very disastrious, while on a tank (still not realy wanted)is less life treathening.

      If we take all this into acount, we are likly to have an engine with a life well past the 10hr the first me262 had. However, still not like the normal one on the panther (1000 km) And eaven then, take into consideration the panther engine was far from being a reliable long lasting engine.

    9. The key to gas turbines, is non-dynamicism. Steady state loads in everything with a slight margin for the expected performance band.

      On the Me-262 for instance, it was highly dangerous, especially at altitude to enter into a 'slipped' turn where bank angle was not compensated by rudder to keep the nose from drifting because the Jumo 004's inlets were rounded off to a bluff curve and thus ANY change in relative AOA meant all kinds of boundary flow knuckles (like the turbulence behind a rock in a rapids) being put into the inlet flow.

      These 'burbles' as they are called, meeting the front fan and various turbine stages behind it applied both torsional force and thermal effects as air is also the primary coolant, carrying away heat.

      You _do not_ want blades heating up differentially while being pounded by bunch of little leprechauns with ball peen hammers. They will come apart and take out have the stages behind them or worse, start to 'scrape' and tear through the case.

      Fire, mother, death stuff.

      That said, the flow on a Panther is apt to be rather normed, provided you have decent fuel injection from a feeder tank because a turbine needs a lot of it (more thermal issues).

      What is nice about a turbine is that it can turn a generator at a helluva rate, even through a geared reduction. And it does so _all the time_, meaning you can size your turbine to your expected load state and then run on **Batteries**.

      Which can turn motors which means that you have taken the drive shaft and transmission out of the tank and can now deal final-drive only.

      The M1 Abrams does things stupidly, largely because we don't have electric motors of a size sufficient to generate 1,500shp to push a 50-70 ton load class vehicle, even today.

      Take the dumbtastic out of the equation and a small tank, like an E-10 or E-25 should be able to run on motors like those on the Maus with bat of hell equivalency. And the _turbine_ can be kept small enough to charge feed just the batteries which are functionally acting as a capacitor stack rather than storage medium.

      The source for this would be the same technology base as electric torpedoes use. No Kriegsmarine in a bottled up Baltic = All Resources Shifted To Armor.

  2. Bad Zarax, all those children crying "buff the Panther" now will cry!

    1. Just STFU, wannabe agent provocateur!

  3. I would love to see the 15cm gun and the turbine engine, that would make the tank a huge troll tank :D

  4. In my opinion the only thing that panther need is a little more damage. Look the konish or the difference between 7,5 cm KwK 40 (L/43 or L/48) and the 7,5 cm KwK 42 L/70 it is 25 more damage. The difference between 7,5 cm KwK 42 L/70 and 7,5 cm KwK 45 L/100 have to be similar, maybe 15 more damage(totally of 150 damage). Or more RoF maybe 14 of RoF, i think the same for Panther/M10 it need more RoF like 15 or 16

  5. The 15cm would be a nice upgrade for the Aufkl Panther.

    1. Really trolltank. But like zarax say there is some chance to see a Sturmpanther as TD in the line of Sturmtiger, related with this, zarax can you make a possible branch of Sturm´s TDs that can appear in the wot?

    2. I have it ready for an article, Sturmpanther is the tier VIII.

    3. the line start in tier 6 with this tank?
      Then tier 7 Brummbar, tier 8 Sturmpanther, tier 9 "prototype" sturmtiger with 210 MM and finally tier 10 sturtiger with 380?

    4. I suggested something like that some time ago, but there are issues with that.

    5. I've got enough vehicles to start at tier III

    6. Well, Zarax, the main issue with (any such) branch is that everything from tier 5 to tier 8 will use the same gun, the 150mm StuH 43 (Brummbär, SIG33, Grille, various assault tank projects on 38t chassis) etc.

    7. That is the reason I did not yet publish the line.
      I'm trying to determine if it could be lessened by gun variants up to a certain extent as well as picking carefully from the artillery branch.

  6. About the autoloader: It didn't leave room for the loader.

    1. Do you have a source about this?
      Spielberger says it would be exhausting for the loader to keep up with the cassette loading but he does not mention any space issue.

      Remember it's not a drum loader we're talking about but rather a cassette system that acts a bit like a rifle clip, just gravity fed from the top.

    2. Sorry, wrong autoloader. If you're talking about the 7,5 cm KwK 44/2, then yes, there was enough room for it.

    3. Pretty sure the technical term for that kind of thing is "gravity hopper" (or that's what I've seen such called in other cases anyway) - I'm under the impression "cassette" implies some degree of "motorised" feed system.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Please don't feed your pet cow with funny smelling grass, it's bad for her health.

  8. The Panther is one really ugly tank when upgraded with the L/100 and vader turret.

  9. I really enjoy the 900 hp engine (nearly 1000 with premium consumabels!) on the recon panther. A 1150 hp engine with a high fire trade off (maybe 40%) and MASSIV exp costs sounds very intresting and would add the aufklärungs panther an even more unique feeling than it has at the moment.

    The 900 hp engine could instead be fitted into the panther. This would add additional 150 hp to the tank. Maybe a litle overüowerd. But who would mind if a german tank is op :)

    Tivann, EU

  10. If the Germans went so far to put a turbine engine in a Panther, why not just develop a modern steam engine for that Panther while at it?
    Steam engines can burn all kinds of fuels, they have great torch and produce power every rotation while a gasoline engine produces power every 4 rotations.

    This gives the Steam engine low rpm but high torch and instant power, it can also eliminate the need for transmission which would give more space in the tank.

    And here I thought Germans where genius and they didn't even bother looking at steam engines as an alternative...

    1. Steam engines like the ones in locomotives?
      I think you might want to explain it in more details.

    2. u must mean 4 stroke, wich means a power stroke every 2 rotations

  11. as long as the gun doesnt get a buff and is as powerful as the chinese topgun at tier 7 this panther will remain a joke and nowhere near historic, serb can fuck off and diaf with his troll comments about dont like it dont play it, windowlicking germanphobe

  12. The current WOT line approach is all played out. Not least because it places 1950-60 tanks up against theoreticals from the 1940s and then blitzes reality to make it -seem- like they are equivalent.

    They are not. Building on German war trophy patent theft, metallurgy improved a dozen times over in the intervening decade.

    It _should be_ T-34/85 and IS-1/2 up against Panther I/II/F and Tiger II or, at most, Einheits series vehicles against IS-3. So that the period lead remains more balanced between fewer, better tanks and many more, lower tech, vehicles. 'Tiering' doesn't act as a valid substitute, IMO.

    The better solution, if you want to go for multiple trees would be to pick a single, standard, variant and block out various stug/panzer/TD/flak capabilities for it, adding guns and gun lengths, as you go.

    This would allow WOT to keep up with the Jones' of other tank-sims by doing things like adding airpower while moving towards historical reality CAMPAIGNS by which 'everyone could play': Operation Barbarossa. As a heightened reality replay of the battle to take Russia, complete with campaign maps, thrust arrows and historically accurate places and names. Winning a medal is pointless if it doesn't buy you add bling to update your tank. But winning a _Campaign_ medal, that says you lived through the entirety of the Russian campaign 2014-3 (restart the campaigns several times per year) would be a HUGE improvement in terms of letting the players feel they really DID something.

    Like change the course of history. Or preserve it.

    Russia is a black hole of maybe 10-20 major regional cities and nothing but endless who-morsks dotting endless steppes, all the way to the Urals. Take the COGs and you find yourself in a logistics/manpower pit trying to hold them against an enemy who receives his entire supply from -other- cities, far in the East (Chelyabinsk for one).

    CUT THE RAILS between cities, as the principle transport arteries (limited road networks, all subject to horrible Russian mud and dust) and now those COGs starve out, same as you.

    Same as you. Now there's a problem. Because if you don't have a warm place to stay, when those -70` winter windstorms start turning horses into walking icicles, you are in a bad, bad, way. Which is how you need to integrate campaign play with an ant-vs.-grasshopper mindset. The grasshopper (Locust if you will) can range far and wide, ruining crops as it descends in swarms of thousands. But when winter comes, it's the ants who have built the stockpiled, underground, _heated_ lifeline to the spring.

    So of course a mix of ideas would apply: Locust other people's cities, kicking over their anthills as it were, while keeping them on the run, chasing you, at the same time you SEIZE AND HOLD just enough new ground to make progress in-campaign, to make sure that, come next spring, they haven't simply made good their losses with creeping resupply but lost ACTUAL terrain towards an endgame at whatever passes through the Urals make sense. Bonus points for taking the Murmansk, Leningrad, Archangelsk (easing your own resupply and cutting off the West), Moscow as The Capital and for keeping food coming out of the Ukraine and oil out of the Crimea with Stalingrad as the 'gateway city'.

    We need a bigger picture here. We need something like WOW with a PURPOSE, beyond simply fighting for points and upgrades.

  13. Some ideas on how/where to include further upgrades:

    1. Rockets vs. Guns.
    Work on the X-10 missile began, using private funds, in 1941. It was stopped because...'short war' and the difficulties of bringing new systems online in a Germany already strained by a fight much longer than it had predicted.

    Later, work was revived as good sources of Wolfram was lost and Chromium began to run short and with it, the option to make pfielgeschoss as high operating pressure squeeze bore improvements to MV disappeared.

    If we could 'win some in Russia' the Tungsten and certainly Chromium/Nickle option could reappear, leading to a conventional tank on tank game.

    But what if...

    You go with the Henschel or Ruhrstahl X-series (X-4 and X-7 explicitly) instead? X-7, aka the 'Rottekappchen' or Little Red Riding Hood, was a spin stabilized missile about two feet across and three feet long, weighing around a hundred pounds. Early versions were purely wire guided with a MACLOS operator driving them down range, much like the French, postwar, SS-11 from the Raketenpanzer Jaguar (neh E-25 revisioned).

    Later versions of the German X-7 missile changed the wingtip wire bobbins for an IR receiver under the 'Steinbock' (a form of gazelle) which made it possible to extend the range and make the weapon much more stable in early flight.

    Guidance now also shifting to use of the 'Pfeifenkopf' and 'Pinsel' (literally Pipehead and Pipecleaner [Brush], which are references to the shape of an IR lamp on a mast and the spinning cylindrical spiral scan mirror in front of it whose cutouts created a conical fan of pulsed IR light which gathered the missile to the center of the illuminator beam as it flew down range), essentially making the MACLOS into SACLOS.

    Finally, in a system called Zeilsuchgerate (Target Tracking Device) an ikonoscope, primitive TV tracker, allowed the missile to literally 'see what the operator pointed his tracking telescope at' and, using simple analogue voltage differentials, lock onto the contrast.

    Now, imagine your Einheits (Standardized) E-25 has a raketenpanzer mode with THESE options in it. So that, while you may only get 2-3 shots, out to about 500m with a 6-7 second time of flight. You also get a 20cm HEAT charge which blows the socks off any tank in the game.

    Fire your three, and then scuttle away to reload for about 3 minutes.

    "UNFAIR!" scream the players.

    No. Because, even though the -command link- uses IR homing, the missile itself still requires a human operator. And so, press a button, Whoomf! Smoke Candles (what we would now call Smoke Mortars, those clusters or lines of tubes on the sides of modern tank turrets, actually had their origins in WWII...).

    Which means that if you have a tank commander who _puts his pointy little head out of his turret_ to SCAN the environment, he can see the inbound and press the button.

    What it doesn't allow you to do is camp and snipe, a long range.

    Okay, that's enough of your time. If interested, please respond and I'll post more ideas for how to improve WOT.


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