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M-26 Pershing & Panther Ausf A head to head

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by chromeboomerang, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Speed, maneuverability, forepower, ability to absorb punishment, reliability, hitting power, optics.
     
  2. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  5. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    That's quite a descreptancy, 20 to 30. Some say 34 mph for Panther.
     
  6. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It may well have to do with how the numbers are calculated note that 31 is about half way between 28 and 34 the two different speeds listed for the Panther based on when they were made. Also note that one source lists the Pershing's cross country speed as just over 5 while another list it as 18. May be terrain dependent? Is the Panther's speed road or cross country? I suspect road but didn't see it mentioned. Does the Panther have a sustained road speed? Ie would you be able to drive 100 miles in one?
     
  8. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    In mobility the Panther has a slight but not significant edge.
    Mechanically though, the Panther is a much poorer vehicle. The transmission is weak and frequently breaks. The engine is unrelaible and also prone to overheating and fires. The single pin steel track system has a life of only about 500 to 700 miles. The overlapped suspension and lack of return rollers makes the track / suspension system difficult to repair and also requires more maintenance.
    The M 26 uses the Ford GAA V 8. Possibly the most reliable tank engine of the war. The tranmission is well made. The tracks use double end connectors and are good for several thousand miles use. The suspension is basically the same one everybody adopted post war as the best design.
    The Panther also has slower turret traverse and because it is hydraulic final laying of the gun is usually done by hand. The M 26 is variable electric and also has gyro stablization of the gun. Like the Sherman the M 26 can usually get on target first and put a round down range accurately before any of the German tanks can.
    The M 26 also has a better armor layout. The sides and rear are thicker than on the Panther. This is a major design flaw in the Panther. Its relatively thin side and rear armor make it vulnerable to almost any antitank weapon.
    While the German 75/70 gun is a bit better as an antitank weapon than the US 90/50 the 90 throws a much more effective HE round. Since tanks fire far more HE than AP in combat (most of their targets are not other tanks) the M 26 comes out ahead here.
     
  9. razin

    razin Member

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    Alot of the Panthers performance figures are based on paper calculations with regard to speed ie calculated tractive effort etc.

    Hunnicutt has the Pershing figures as 25mph sustained 30mph burst, as for the 5.25mph cross country as quote in Wiki, the Ordnance did a tank race (hunnicutt Pershing page 109) on the Churchville cross country course and the Pershing (a T26E1) managed an average of 9.9mph for the 4.3mile circuit.

    It is hard to make a informed measurement of cross country speed as it depends on terrain. as T.A Gardner has already said the Panther track is poor and this is the major factor in general mobility the T66/T80 track on the Pershing is an early form of live track and has a greatly improved performance.

    Other than that a few other perameters Panther better turning circle, better wading depth, (more important for Germans as they had less support troops).

    The Pershing is a smaller target (silouette) by virtue of being almost a foot lower.

    Steve
     
  10. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    I guess it all comes down to "He who shoots first, usually wins." :)
     
  11. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    I believe many of the issues you mention gardner were the earlier models. The Ausf A is the one in question.


    Panther Ausf A was the most numerous variant during the Normandy campaign,


    In general, from August 1943 to May 1944, some 2,200 were produced by MAN, Daimler-Benz, Demag and Henschel.



    Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Sd. Kfz. 171
     
  12. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Maybach HL 230 P30 Motor Modifications


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Problems were experienced with blown head gaskets. As advised by Dr Ferdinand Porsche, this was corrected by installing copper rings pressed into grooves to seal the heads of Maybach HL 230 P30 motors starting with serial number 8321466 in September 1943. Other modifications were introduced at the same time including improoved coolant circulation inside the motor and a reinforced membrane spring installed in the fuel pump.

    In November 1943, starting with Maybach HL230 P30 motor number 8322575, the governor was already set at the factory for a maximum speed of 2500 rpm under full load and the motors were outfitted with a hand operated temperature control on the oil cooler.





    Overheating was overcome by fitting a second cooling pump and modifying the cooling distribution. Later Panthers proved very much more reliable than the vehicles involved in the Kursk debacle.

    PzKpfw V Panther
     
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  13. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    No, those problems were endemic to all models of the Panther. By the time the G model came out most of the engine fire problems had been solved....Most. But all models still included an alarm light warning the driver of an engine fire and included an automatic fire suppression system to put it out (of course this kills the engine too).

    The armor issue is never addressed. That is why you frequently see Panthers with lots of track hung on the turret side to give a bit more protection. The 45mm thinck side armor is vulnerable to even US 37mm guns at under 500 yards.

    The transmission is never changed or improved and is always a weak point in the vehicle. As an aside watch the disassembly of on on Tank Overhaul sometime. They point out the exact same things I am saying and said even before that program came out.
     
  14. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    I find it interesting that the Germans had such inadequate recovery and repair services for their Armor with half and more of their tanks abandoned during their retreat everywhere. I guess that it was too expensive in human capital to have larger and better equipped recovery and repair staffs.
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    As part of their "rationalization" program under Speer the production of unarmored half tracks ceased early in 1944 entirely. The only vehicles left in production in this category were the Wehrmachschleppers which were just coming into production and the Maultier conversion programs. This ended the heavy prime mover halftracks like the Sdkfz 7 or the recovery vehicle Sdkfz 18. While there were Bergepanzer III and Bergepanther available these were in short supply and mostly being made by conversion of returned wrecks to the factory.
    It doesn't help that the panzer units also lack mobile shop equipment and a good vehicle mounted crane. Yes, there were several light units mounted on trucks but nothing like the US 5 and 7 1/2 ton wreckers. The Germans had nothing like the oil field body truck the US had nor did they have many (these were a virtual rarety and generally only in the hands of civilian factory technicians in the field) mobile repair shop trucks.
    The main reason for the German's lack of these vehicles was simply that they could not produce them and, in some cases had not even considered their production to begin with.
    There was also a different philosophy within the German panzer units on recovery and repair. The German recovery vehicle was primarily meant for exactly that purpose. It was not meant to also act as a "road side assistance" vehicle. Instead, the German system was simply to drag the broken down tank back to a maintenance point where it would be repaired.
    The US system was to use recovery vehicles not just to tow broken down or knocked out vehicles off the battlefield but to have then assist broken down vehicles with light repairs and maintenance where they were. For this purpose the US ARV carried a range of common parts that might be necessary to fix a broken down vehicle. Wreckers likewise carried such parts. Both also carried metal cutting and welding equipment for repairs. The idea here was if the problem was something minor like a thrown track or a broken drive sprocket the problem was fixed on the spot.
     
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  16. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    M-26

    The most significant deficiency noted was the poor power-to-weight ratio due to the Ford engine. Although adequate for the 35 ton Sherman, it caused the M-26 to be grossly underpowered.

    M26 Pershing

    Panther could hit at 3000 yards & is known for having best optics in the world.
     
  17. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Mechanical reliability would seem to go to the Panther of 44 vintage. But then the Pershing was very new in 45 & didn't have the debug time the Panther did.


    2. Mechanical unreliability was a major problem, for example in the period 8th April 1951 to 8 June 1951, 31 M26 Pershings were lost due to mechanical failure out of a total strength of 88

    Pershing vs Sherman in Korea - The Dupuy Institute Forum
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Yes, the M26 was underpowered. This problem remained an issue all the way through the 60's for the US with their MBT's.

    As for the sights, there really isn't anything to choose. Both use a stadia reticle type sight. The Panther's is either 2.5x or 5x power depending on choice by the gunner. The higher power reduces the field width. These sights are largely dependent on the quality of the gunner for their accuracy.
    For example, the Germans credit the Panther with somewhere between a 28 and 8% accuracy rate at 3000 yards. But most tank on tank combat in WW 2 took place at far shorter ranges.

    The most important thing in tank to tank engagements is getting on target first. The first one on target nearly doubles their chances of survival even if they fail to knock the other vehicle out. In this respect the M26 has a big advantage. The US variable electric turret traverse systems coupled with the gyro stabilization allowed a well trained crew to easily get on target first over the less sophisticated German hydraulic traverse (speed dependent on engine rpm) and hand laying for fine aim. While this was much better than the Russians had, it was definitely inferior to the US system.
     
  19. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    No those problems were addressed & not endemic to all Panthers.


    Because of technical problems (especially with the gearbox, transmission and suspension, and engine fires) that were not fully solved until later

    Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Sd. Kfz. 171


    American tankers with T26 Pershings mounting 90s "flaunted" their guns' accuracy by plinking at German helmets at 2000 yards with APCBC solid shot.)

    German 88mm, reviewed by James Hood

    2000 yards is good, but not as good as the Panthers 3000.
     
  20. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Note transmission & gearbox comments below...


    Improvements were made as suggested by battle hardened crews, which led to the D version and substantially improved G version. These variants had among other things upgraded armor, improved transmission,

    ACADEMY 1/25 PzKpfw V Panther Medium Tank (Motorized): AC1338


    Note gearbox comment.

    In August 1943, after repairs and modifications to the gearbox and other systems, a new variant of Panther was produced-the Ausf A,


    Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Sd. Kfz. 171



    side armor the only thing not addressed til very late.
     

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