||PanzerKampfwagen V Panther Ausf. G
||Medium Battle Tank
| Nation of Origin:
||34 mph (55 km/h)
||110 miles (177 km)
||44.8 tons (45.5 metric tons)
| Primary Armament:
||One 75mm KwK 42 L/70 main gun with 75 rounds
| Secondary Armament:
||Two MG34 machine guns (coaxial and hull)
One cupola-mounted MG42 AA machine gun (optional)
4,500 rounds of 7.92mm ammunition
||80mm sloped frontal hull armor
||Five (driver, radioman, gunner, loader, commander)
For its time, the Panther tank was the most badass vehicle on the face of the planet. It outclassed anything that the Allies could field and spent the better part of the period between 1943 and 1945 blowing the shit out of anything that it came across.
The Panzer V project was undertaken during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. The German blitzkrieg had been incredibly successful in France due to the fact that their tanks were far superior to anything the French and British could scrape together and throw against them. Well when the Panzer IIIs and IVs started facing Soviet-made T-34 tanks during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the German high command realized the need for a new medium tank that could be more effective in the field against the heavily-armored T-34s.
Well of course the Germans went completely over-the-top with it and designed the Panzer V Panther. The Panther was intended to be the ultimate medium tank, and it was designed well enough, but the initial models had a miserable showing because of fucking Hitler and his typical M.O. of completely bungling the entire situation by pretending he was a military genius when he was actually just a pretentious petulant child.
Hitler rushed production of the tanks so that they would be ready for the Battle of Kursk on the Eastern Front. Well the Germans managed to roll them out on time, but they hadn't been perfected and many tanks broke down or caught fire on their way out to the front because Hitler was a fucking assclown who couldn't lead his country out of a wet paper bag if you gave him an industrial-grade set of wet paper bag openers and directions on how to use them. On top of the technical issues they faced, the first batch of Panther tanks also weren't fitted with hull machine guns, so the few that actually managed to make it to the front lines at Kursk without catching fire were blown up by Russian infantrymen who basically walked up to the front of the tanks and threw hand grenades inside. Without a machine gun, the tankers could do nothing but watch themselves get fucking incinerated inside a Fascist George Foreman grill.
Well the Germans finally got their shit together after that disaster and put out several far more effective models of the Panzer V, which were used extensively throughout the Eastern front as well as in the Normandy and Ardennes campaigns in the West. The Panthers kicked ass, wasting any Allied tanks that they came across with their heavy 75mm cannons that could penetrate over 120mm of 30-degree plate armor from over 1,000 yards away. The common ratio used by most Allied tankers was that it would take five Sherman or Churchill tanks to defeat one Panther, since the Allied guns were too weak to penetrate the Panther's frontal armor. They would have to get two tanks to "distract it" (read: "get blown up by it") while two or three others swung around behind and tried to pierce the weaker side or rear armor before the Panther could get around to smoking them.
Many people point to the Panzer VI Tiger as being the supreme German tank of WWII, but the Tiger actually sucks compared to the Panther. Sure, the Tiger had a larger 88mm main gun and heavier armor, but what's the point since the 75mm was actually fired at a higer velocity and was plenty strong enough to destroy any Allied vehicle, while the lighter armor still prevented the Panther from getting blown up all the time. Plus, the Panther was lighter, faster and more maneuverable than the Tiger. It had a better range, was more fuel efficient and also was far less likely to break down, get stuck in the mud, or spontaneously combust than the often-troubled Tigers. In fact, when Joachim Peiper was outfitting his SS units for their attempted breakthrough in the Ardennes forest, he ordered that all Tiger tanks in his SS regiment be scrapped and replaced with the more resilient Panthers.
The Russian tank soldiers envied the Panzer Vs as well, and would often just repaint captured or abandoned German Panthers so they could use them instead of their own T-34s. The Soviet Union actually even translated the entire German Panther Operation Manual into Russian so that Soviet troops could use captured vehicles because the Panthers were awesome and every other tank from WWII sucked compared to them.
The Panthers were virtually unstoppable when they faced Allied mechanized or armored divisions. Fortunately for everyone in the world (except for the Nazis), they eventually succumbed to overwhelming Allied air superiority, for while they were unstoppable on the ground they were also easy, slow-moving targets for dive bombers and other such aircraft. Up until their final defeat though, they were unmatched in their ability to kick the asses of Allied forces and keep on rolling.