Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party then known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP (German Workers' Party). ... Hitler's "rise" can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month.

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Two Bosch Tarnlampe headlights with black out covers were fixed onto the armor of the front glacis plate, one above each track guard. Starting in July 1943 only one was installed on the left side of the glacis plate.

The tank’s suspension system consisted of a front drive sprocket wheel that powered the track, a rear idler wheel and eight large double-interleaved rubber-rimmed steel road wheels on either side of the chassis.

Many tanks during World War Two had suspension units bolted onto the outside of the tank hull. When they were damaged by mines they were easily replaced with a new one. The Panther’s suspension system was not as easily to repair. When the torsion bars were damaged it sometimes needed a welder’s torch to cut them out.

The large interleaved road wheels caused problems for the crew when they had to replace a damaged internal wheel. They had to unbolt several wheels to get at the broken one. This was time consuming. Ice, mud and rocks could clog the interleaved wheels. In the severe winter weather on the Eastern Front they could freeze solid overnight.

These problems were considered acceptable because the dual torsion bar system allowed for relatively high-speed travel for such a heavy vehicle over undulating terrain. The extra wheels did provide better flotation and stability by allowing wider tracks to be fitted, and they also provided more armour protection for the tank’s hull sides. Each road wheel had sixteen bolts around the rim. This was increased to twenty-four rim bolt road wheels in later production models of the Ausf.D.

Its wide tracks and large interleaved road wheels resulted in lower ground pressure. This helped it traverse waterlogged, or deep-snow covered rough terrain, providing better traction and mobility.

The Panther Tank’s track was a ‘Trockenbolzen-Scharnierkette’ (dry single-pin track). There were 87 track links per side kept together with a dry ungreased metal rod. It had a cap on the inside section and a split ring in a groove on the outside. The track was in contact with the ground for a length of 3.92 m. The tracks gave the tank a ground pressure reading of 0.88 kp/cm² on the Panther Ausf.D and Ausf.A and 0.89 kp/cm² on the Panther Ausf.G, which was good for such a large heavy vehicle. A complete length of track weighed 2,050 kg.

The track was called Kgs 64/660/150. The number 660 means the width of the tracks (660 mm). The number 150 is the ‘chain pitch’ (150 mm). The chain pitch was the distance between one drive sprocket tooth to the next. The letter ‘K’ was an abbreviation for ‘Schnelllauffähige Kette für Kraftfahrzeuge’ (fast running track for motor vehicles – unlike agricultural tractors). The letter ‘g’ was the code for ‘Stahlguß aller Legierungen’ (steel castings of all alloys) and the letter ‘s’ was short for ‘schwimmende Bolzen’ (swimming/rotating bolt).
Because of reported problems of tanks slipping the track link was redesigned. Starting in July 1943 new track links were cast with six chevrons on each track face.

A Maybach HL 210 P30 petrol V12 water-cooled 650 hp engine was installed in the first 250 Ausf.D tanks. This was later replaced with the more powerful Maybach HL 230 petrol V12 water-cooled 700 hp engine. The HL 230 engine’s crankcase and block were made of grey cast iron and the cylinder heads from cast iron.

Transmission (gearbox)
It was fitted with a ZF A.K.7/200 transmission, which was produced by the German ZF Friedrichshafen engineering company. The letters ‘ZF’ are an abbreviation for the German word “Zahnradfabrik” which translates to gear factory. It had seven forward gears and one reverse. The following is the official recommended maximum road speed for each gear: 1st gear 4.1 km/h; 2nd gear 8.2 km/h; 3rd gear 13.1 km/h; 4th gear 20.4 km/h; 5th gear 29.5 km/h; 6th gear 41.6 km/hr and 7th gear 54.9 km/h. The tank could be drive in reverse gear at a maximum road speed of 4 km/h.

On early Panther turrets there was a circular side communication hatch. It could be used for loading shells and throwing out used shell casings. The commander’s cupola was drum shaped and had six viewing ports of 90 mm thick bullet proof glass. There was a circular escape hatch at the rear of the turret with a handle above it. Starting on 1 August 1943 an anti-aircraft machine gun mount was added to the cupola.

There were three pistol ports in the sides of the turret armour: one on each side and one at the rear. The circular cover at the front of the turret roof was to protect the gun gasses exhaust fan. There were two brackets at the front of the turret attached to the roof, one on either side, to mount Nebelwurfgerät smoke grenade dischargers.

Starting in June 1943 they were no longer fitted. A Tiger tank crew battlefield report, dated February 1943, recorded the self-ignition of nebelkerzen smoke rounds inside the Nebelwurfgerät smoke grenade discharger, when hit by small arms fire. Wind conditions were calm and this resulted in a fog around the tank, incapacitating the crew, as well as restricting vision of potential threats and targets.

At the same time a rain guard was welded over the top of the two binocular gun sight apertures on the gun mantel and a gun laying vane was welded onto the turret roof in front of the commander’s cupola. Later production turrets had semi-circular rain guards welded above each pistol port opening, communication hatch and escape hatch.

The Panther tank had a five-man crew. The turret was large enough for three people: the commander, gunner, and loader. The driver sat on the left-hand side of the tank chassis at the front and next to him on the right-hand side was the hull machine gunner who also operated the radio.

The Panther tank was fitted with a FuG 5 radio and an intercom system. The prefix FuG is an abbreviation for ‘Funkgerät’ meaning ‘radio device’. The Funkgerät 5 radio was a high-band HF/low-band VHF transceiver. It operated in the 27,000 to 33,3000 kHz (27-33.3 MHz) frequency range with a transmit power of 10 Watts. This equipment provided for 125 radio channels at 50 kHz channel spacing. It was fitted in many German tanks and in other vehicles. The FuG 5 was designed to be used for tank-to-tank communication within platoons and companies. It had a range of approximately 2 km to 3 km when using the AM voice frequency and 3 km to 4 km when using CW (continuous wave) frequency.

If the Panther tank was used by a company commander a second radio was fitted called a Funkgerät 2 (FuG 2). This radio was a high-band HF/low-band VHF receiver (not a transmitter). It operated in the 27,000 to 33,3000 kHz (27-33.3 MHz) range. The FuG 2 was never used on its own but as an additional receiver. It allowed tank commanders to listen on one frequency while transmitting and receiving on the FuG 5. It used the same band as the FuG 5 radio set. This meant that the commander could listen to the regimental command net while talking to other tanks at the same time. This radio receiver could listen into a total of 125 channels, at 50 kHz channel steps in the 27.0 to 33.3 MHz range.

When the first batch of Panthers left the factory they were painted Dunkelgrau dark grey. In February 1943 all factories were instructed to paint all German armoured fighting vehicles Dunkelgelb, a dark sandy yellow. Each individual Panzer unit then applied its own individual camouflage pattern. They were issued with Olivegruen olive-green and Rotbraun reddy-brown paint. In the winter a covering of white wash was applied to the tanks.

Panther Ausf.D specifications
Dimensions (L-W-H) 8.86 m x 3.27 m x 2.99 m
(29ft 1in x 10ft 9in x 9ft 10in)
Total weight, battle ready 44.8 tonnes
Main Armament Main: 7.5 cm Kw.K.42 L/70, 82 rounds
Secondary Armament 2x 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns
Armor 16 to 80 mm (Turret front 100-110 mm)
Crew 5 (commander, driver, gunner, loader, radioman/machine gunner)
Propulsion Maybach HL 210 (or 230) V12 water cooled 650hp gasoline/petrol engine
Transmission ZF AK 7-200 7-forward/1-reverse gearbox
Suspensions Double torsion bars and interleaved wheels
Max Road Speed 55 km/h (34 mph)
Operational range 200 km (124 miles)
Production 842 approx.

Invasion of Poland 1939

Above: Invasion of Poland Aug 1939

Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany in 1934 the old Kaiser was forced out and the Nazi's took complete power. The slow arament build up began the Germans even visited Britain to see how we built tanks and deployed them in the field. But Germany had a better was of using tanks along with Troops and Aircraft and we were soon to see it in Poland on Sept. 1st 1939 .....Blitzkrieg!

Before the world knew it was too late they had invaded Poland with the Largest and most up to date Army in the World at that time.

Mephisto – (Shown above in captured) is the rarest tank in the world. After 70 years is on exhibition in Queensland the First World War German tank Mephisto has arrived at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to celebrate the First Wold War

A7V German W Mem

Moving Maphisto

The recovery of Mephisto in France began a long history of movement for this only remaining example of a German First World War Tank.

In July 1918 the abandoned tank was dragged back to allied lines from near Villers-Bretonneux. From there it was sent to Australia via Vaux, Dunkirk and London, the war trophy arriving at Norman Wharf, Brisbane, in June 1919. In August it was towed from there to the Queensland Museum on Gregory Terrace by two Brisbane City Council steamrollers. The tank remained on display outside the old museum building for more than 60 years where it was a familiar icon.

In 1986, Mephisto was relocated to the South Bank campus of the Queensland Museum. It resided in a purpose built climate controlled space in the Dinosaur Garden until the floods of 2011.

Since then Mephisto has made the journey north of Brisbane to a facility where it underwent conservation and in early 2013 was moved once again to The Workshops Rail Museum.

From July 2015 to June 2017, Mephisto was on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Mephisto will move to its permanent home in the Anzac Legacy Gallery at Queensland Museum South Bank and be on display when it opens in late 2018.

Visit Canberra web page below.

Below: Mephiso being off loaded at Norman Wharf Brisbane Australia.

Mephisto Cam A
Mephisto Cam B

Below is a copy of Wotan a 'Sturmpanzerwagen' A7V mostly fabricated from wood and metal it's unfortunate that a German Museum does not have its own real WW1 tank, this replicar is shown at the Deutsches Museum in Munster, Germany.

Wotan Copy Deutschesches Panzer at Munster
German PUMA D Com PERI
German PUMA E Gun Sight Muss

Left: Troop Compartment
Centre: PERI sight for the commander.
Right: Gunners sight with MUSS Sensor.
Below: Puma MK30-2/ABM Gun.

German PUMA F Gun

Now back to the WW2 GermanTank developement

Panzer 4

Panzer IV  b

The Panzer IV (4) was designed quickly as a stop gap Medium tank (Panzerkampwagen IV) to facilitate the Panzer III wihich was becoming outdated first seen in the Desert campaigns although it was used briefly to run the BEF out of France but not a lot was known about it.

Known by the German tankers as Big, Weak and Uncomfortable.

Similar to the case of the Pz.Kpfw. III, in the beginning, the British had limited knowledge about the Pz.Kpfw.I V. They knew by hearsay that the tank was heavier than the Pz.Kpfw. III. In intelligence reports, it was called a medium tank, while the Pz.Kpfw. III was classified as a medium-light tank.

It is worth mentioning that British tankers encountered the Pz.Kpfw. IV in 1940 in France, however, due to a rapid defeat of the Expeditionary Force, they had no possibility to get a sample for a study. The British didn’t even have accurate information on its armour plating and ammunition load. Nonetheless, they issued a drawing with its image and on December 16, 1940, they sent it to the armoured school.

Panzer IV  a

The Pz.Kpfw. IV first appeared in North Africa in the spring of 1941. Although as stated briefly seen in France as they ran the BEF out, (British Expeditionary Force).

Formed on February 19, the Afrika Korps had two units: 15th Panzer Division and 5. Leichte Division. They went into battle by the end of March, totalling, among other tanks, only 49 Pz.Kpfw. IV, which were numerically inferior to the Pz.Kpfw. III.

The British got their first trophy pretty quickly: in early May, they could inspect an abandoned Pz.Kpfw.IV and get some information about it.

It was shipped back to the UK but the ship was attacked and the tank was fire damaged but the crews managed to save it for later inspection.

The tank front hull and turret armour were 30 mm, and its side armour was 20 mm. The armour of its command pod was also 20 mm, its base and its engine compartment roof were covered by a 10 mm armoured plate. The front hull was shielded with an additional 30 mm plate, while its sides were partially shielded with 20 mm plates. Its turret was not shielded.

The tank armament consisted of a 75-mm cannon and presumably of two 7.91 mm Spandau LMG, its ammunition load counted 83 explosive fragmentation projectiles. The quality of the tank armour plating was estimated as very low, even worse than that of Czech tanks, but it was assumed that other vehicles could have better armour plating. It was noted that the Boys anti-tank rifle penetrated 25 mm of German armour at a distance of 450 yards (410 m) in combat conditions, which made the tank sides very vulnerable, despite partial shielding. As its welds were very weak too, they could crack even under fire of light weapons.

Its maximum estimated speed was 37 km/h. According to the calculations of British experts, the Pz.Kpfw.IV could overcome a 3.2 meters wide anti-tank ditch and climb a 68 cm high obstacle. The trophy tank fuel distance was estimated to be 120 km, though, according to the British, this characteristic could be overstated.

Panther sloping armor

Single Click on Images to Expand

Zimmerite paste shown above in colour was rippled to increase the distance to the tank’s surface.
Thus counter acting the magnetic nature of the mine.

German records indicated that Zimmerit consisted of 40% Barium Sulphate, 25% Polyvinyl Acetate, 15% Ochre pigment, 10% Zinc Sulphide and 10% sawdust.

under construction