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Why Was the German Panther Tank the Most Influential Weapon of World War II - Research Paper Example

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Why Was the German Panther Tank the Most Influential Weapon of World War II

A host of factors such as low weight, appropriately placed armor, mechanical efficiency and a fitting gun allowed the Panther to perform exceptionally throughout the war. The success of the Panther can be gauged from the fact that it served as a strong model for post war tank development both in Allied and the Soviet circles. The development and the influence of the Panther during the Second World War are a strange tale in themselves. The Panther was originally planned out as a replacement for the previously manufactured Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks that had been deployed on the Eastern and Western fronts. The ragged histories of the Panzer III and Panzer IV during service meant that a new and more reliable replacement had to come through that was based on new technology (Hart). The Soviet tactics during the war concerning armored warfare was simple – the enemy was to be overwhelmed using numbers even if the quality of the armor was compromising. The T-34s were produced in huge numbers in order to overwhelm the Nazi armor. The tactics deployed by the Soviets were successful given that their superior numbers were nearly always able to overpower Nazi armor arrangements. The situation demanded that a lighter, more efficient and capable tank be deployed to the battle zone in order to deal with the superiority of Soviet armor numbers. Ironically when the Panther was deployed to the battlefield it proved to be a total failure. The first deployment of the Panthers was made to the Eastern front

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where the Russians were bashing through German lines through their armor. The newly deployed Panther tanks suffered from a host of mechanical problems. The initial deployment of tanks suffered huge losses at the hands of their crews who had to destroy tanks to prevent the enemy from taking control of them. For one thing the Panthers suffered from engine overheating issues along with common failures of the connecting rods as well as bearing failures. The fuel system was also compromised often making it dangerous to operate the Panther in combat. Since the engine ran on gasoline and leaks were common from both the fuel pump and carburetor so tank fires were a common occurrence. In a similar manner the transmissions along with the final drives often broke down on the Panther’s first lot making it difficult to rely on in the battlefield. The Panther was built to enhance the very reliability that it was only scantily offering. In order to deal with this situation, the German high command decided to undergo a major tank rebuilding program based on the problems detected in these early Panthers. Between the April and May of 1943 all of the early Panthers were moved over to Falkensee or Nurnberg for a large rebuilding effort to take place. This effort was able to rectify most but not all problems being faced by the Panthers. In order to deal with this situation, another major rebuilding program was ensued in June 1943. The second rebuilding effort was able to ensure that the Panthers would last not only through the war but for years to come (Jentz). The first major deployment of the Panthers came through for Operation Zitadelle which had been delayed time and again in anticipation of the incoming Panthers. Only six days after the final Panthers arrived, the Operation was set in motion by the German commanders. As soon as the Panthers were issued to the armored brigades, similar problems were experienced again. The 200 Panthers that had been delivered to the armored formations reduced to only 40 by July the seventh. However, only this time the Panthers’ numbers had not reduced due to mechanical issues but rather due to the fighting. The German General Heinz Guderian reported to Hitler that the heavy fighting had proved

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State your thesis; explain what your weapon is, which country / side of the war used this weapon, what influence it had during WWII, & WHY it was the most influential weapon used by any side during WWII…
Why Was the German Panther Tank the Most Influential Weapon of World War II
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