Please take your time and read the blog rules

Feb 26, 2013

Aufklärungspanzer Panther - tier 7 LT

Hello everyone,

yesterday it has been sort-of confirmed (well, confirmed again) by Storm that Wargaming has not abandoned the tier 7 light tank Aufklärungspanzer Panther idea. As an upgrade to the VK2801, it sort of fits - it's big, heavy and cumbersome. Let's have a look at this vehicle.


Not a lot is known about the recon Panther. It was a project from early 1942. W.Spielberger in his book "Panther and its variants" (Panther und seine Abarten) states:

"Also worth mentioning here is a recommendation by the Ministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion from 1942, calling for the Panther to be built as a recoinnaissance vehicle along with the planned Leopard combat recoinnaissance vehicle. The turret under consideration had originally been developed by Daimler-Benz for the 8-wheeled Panzerspähwagen ARK. With somewhat increased armor, it was to be used on both the Leopard and Panther recoinnaissance vehicles." 

So, as you can see, it was basically a Panther hull with the Leopard turret. It was to be armed with a new 50mm gun, using the KwK 39 L/60 barrel - the contract for development of this gun was awarded to Krupp and Rheinmetall in January 1942. First units were scheduled to be manufactured in October/November 1942, but the development never really continued, it stayed in the "that's a cool idea" phase, much like other German projects. And that's basically it. Not much else is known for sure. We can however look at the planned properties of this vehicle, based on the research.

What would be the point of even proposing such a massive vehicle. Books don't mention this specifically, but after consulting some people, who are big fans of the German vehicles, we came up with following conclusions:

- existing Panther plants, making a Panther based vehicle is cheaper than building a new plant just for that one tank
- the Panther hull was only marginally more expensive than the Panzer IV hull (note that by 1945, Panzer IV's were scheduled for phasing out and were to be replaced by the Panthers)
- the engines and drivetrains were already there also


Historically, the Panther belongs BEFORE the VK2801 (VK2801 was a later project), therefore we can theoretize it will be heavier (otherwise putting it on tier 7 instead of 6 makes no sense), which means the hull will most likely have the full armor of the Panther.

The turret is more interesting. Spielberger mentions a Leopard turret, while Hilary Doyle (in his Panzer Tracts 20-2) mentions several types of Leopard turrets. The most common variant is already in World of Tanks. Doyle mentions that the turret is very similiar to the Sd.Kfz.234/2 turret (a heavy armored car with a 50mm gun). The turret had 50mm frontal armor sloped at 20 degrees, the sides are 30mm thick at 30 degrees. It's quite possible the ingame AP will use this as a stock turret (quite sure in fact, because the Leopard turret is the most historical option) and the VK2801-ish turret as an upgrade. Second option is the Schmalturm (unlikely, this would make the Panther practically a clone of the medium one). Third option is the Beobachtungsturm (from the artillery vehicle, I'll get to that later).

The gun - all we know it was supposed to be a 50mm L/60 - Doyle uses the KwK 39/1 designation. Its (ingame) properties are unknown, but unlikely to differ from the KwK 39, because most of the work was focused on pressing it into the smaller turret. It's also unlikely that the vehicle will be armed only with a 50mm gun. I think that when we look at other tier 7 light tanks, we can expect the (unhistorical but necessery at this point) 75mm L/70 gun. Personally, I very much doubt the 88 will make an appearance, as this would require a massive turret (some sort of Schmalturm), making the vehicle basically a copy of the medium Panther. L/70 seems to be an acceptable compromise.

Engine - well, this is where the big difference will assumingly lie. I think we can assume the original stock engine to be the HL210/HL230 (650-750hp). The top engine - my guess would be the HL234. This 750hp (Spielberger states 850hp) engine was used in Panther II variant under the designation Gerät 544. Now, I am not sure it would fit into the AP, but we can definitely expect stronger engines than the ones of the medium Panther. Another option would be the MB507 (850hp) Panther variant, considered for Panther Ausf.G. A rather exotic option would be the GT 101 gas turbine (1150 horsepower).

How does it fit together, what can we expect ingame?

Please note that this part is a pure speculation. Basically, what we can expect would be a very heavy "light" tank, possibly a passive scout.

First, let's have a look at how the vehicle will move. Let's take the 8.3 (!) VK2801 as a comparison (because not everyone had the possibility to test the 8.4 one). The VK2801, in its top configuration, has roughly 26,1 hp per ton (this influences the acceleration a lot, but also the steering to some extent).

And what about the Aufklärungspanzer Panther? Let's say it'll have the Leopard turret, 50mm gun, a 750hp engine (eg. a somewhat stock variant).

Stock ingame Panther weights 44,9 tons. Let's say we remove the gun and the turret, that's 33,56 tons left. Next, we add the ingame weight of the 50mm L/60 and the Leopard turret, that's 37,26 tons. And as final touch, let's add the best radio (+80kg) and upgrade the engine to 750hp HL 230, that's another 80kg. So, total weight, 37,34 tons for 750hp, that's nearly exactly 20hp per ton

To compare: 

Aufklärungspanzer Panther - 20hp/ton
VK2801 (8.3) - 26,23hp/ton
Leopard (8.3) - cca 25hp/ton in its top configuration
AMX-13/75 - cca 20hp/ton in its top configuration
WZ-131 - cca 23,3hp/ton in its top configuration

Well, it seems like the Aufklärungspanzer Panther is not THAT bad, even though it sure looks big and heavy. If we upgrade the engine even more (HL234, 750kg, 870hp ingame), we'll get at 23,3hp/ton and that's really not terrible. A fun fact: if Wargaming decided to go wild and install the GT 101 jet turbine engine (450kg, 1150hp), we'd get whopping 31hp/ton.

What is NOT the Aufklärungspanzer Panther

There was one more proposal based on the Panther chassis, shown in Doyle's Panzer Tracts 20-2: the "Artillerie-Panzer-Beobachtungswagen Fahrgestell Panther". Basically it was an armored artillery spotter post based on the Panther hull - there were several turrets considered, including a modified regular Panther turret with a 50mm KwK 39/1 L/60 gun, or a special Beobachtungsturm (I mentioned in the turret section). Most turret options were however equipped with a mock-up wooden gun. The vehicle was equipped with very advanced series of optics, including a rangefinder, so it can be expected the viewrange of such a turret in WoT would be very high. This is how it looked:

And here a closeup of the turret

(photos uploaded by Vito_Von_Bang, EU forum, originally from Panzer Tracts 20-2)


Hard to tell, how will WG implement this vehicle. Could be a relatively decent tank, could be a disaster. Let's hope it's the first.


  1. First!!

    This Tank May Be Like The Valentine.. Pocket Heavy as i assume but lets be creative about the ideas and brainstorm it

  2. So we likely to have a more mobile stock Panther (with its size and fire power) as T7 light... in T10-11 battles...
    Atleast AMX13-75 is small, fast, and has auto loader with its relatively crap gun.
    Wz-131 is a little bigger, but way smaller than a Panther, and it has quite nice guns.

    I think the L/70 gun would be very weak for such big light tank... or it will need insane rof and maybe APCR shells as standard ammo. (or... something new "wunderwaffe" cannon straight from Ahnenerbe...)

  3. As usual, I am impressed of what you write. Gj, mate!

  4. Stigere11 i can imagine something like this :)
    (sry, dont know how clickable links are made here)
    22pcs drum, lets say 21 pcs, 7 rounds of 3 shells :) balanced reload time, penetration 130mm, dmg 70 (value of goldshells now) as standard ammo, with gold maybe 170+ pene

    1. Interesting gun... and we will have an other Luftwaffe cannon in 8.4 on lower tier lights.
      But... I think it would have horrible accuracy on long range (as every autocannons ingame) In close combat it would be nice, but the platform, the Panther chassis a little bit big for run and hit tactics... :/

      This cannon would be rather nice on VK2801... But who knows what mobility will it have (khm... keep) finally on the live server...

  5. Gasturbine? It will never happen, Anti-German-bias and all but it sure would make me try the tank.

    Reminds me of the Schneller Jagdpanzer SchkII Aureole.

    1. why not? it's huge and easy to hit and i think will not have a very superb cammo factor... so a massive speed and a long range gun can balance the problem :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Any form of a Panther-tank as a scout in WoT is just a big fail. To make it work (dont forget scout MM) it would need that Gasturbine and 420m viewrange - that is total BS in my opinion.

  8. "Torch on wheels" - I bet this will be the nick name for this tank ;)

  9. Interesting, I've got a Pz V/IV which is similar, except it has a Pz4 turret instead of an Leo's and, well, It *can* be a good heavy scout, it's got a reasonable view range, is quite fast (but takes a while to get up to speed) and can take a bit of damage (good HP + nice frontal slope). The down-sides are a turning circle similar to that of an oil tanker and absolutely no gun depression...
    I'm not sure how it would work as a passive scout as it's rather large and hard to hide and it's large turning circle makes it a bit useless for zipping about, hit-and-run style...

    P.S. It doesn't catch fire very often, in fact, none of my German tanks catch fire very often... Maybe I have special, non-russian bias German tanks, or maybe the bias doesn't exist...

  10. I do hope the devs decide to do something interesting and use the turbine engine...would totally make my month...

  11. I suppose that making a scout based on the Panther, besides standardisation, would have allowed for some extra protection- but it would also be much more logistically taxing due to fuel consumption, large size, and high weight compared to a typical scout.

    In WoT though, the Panther's armour is largely uselesss againt 160+ pen guns, as angling won't push its protection past ~150mm... not to mention that it can't just sit around, it needs to stay on the move.


  12. Oh great another cumbersome light tanks that can't even defend it's self. I can't wait to not go up the tree on this one. You guys can have this one back thank you.

  13. Light tank based on the Panther hull sounded bad to begin with. It won't meet tanks against which the armor is worth damn and is a big slow target.

    As a scout it might make a decent passive, if it is given crazy view range. I suspect your team would do better with a more flexible lower tier scout though. The higher tier ones need to be able to do more than just spot targets.

  14. About the gun, didn't they recently ( say that the 7.5 cm L/70 can't fit inside the VK2801's turret? If you're right about the turret then it would be impossible to fit it, unless they use a different turret.

    1. That's why I wrote 2801-ish. Let's say, some fictional (bigger) 2801-like turret. Anything apart from the Leopard turret is unhistorical anyway (unless they somehow use the Beobachtungsturm, which would make it a different vehicle) so what the hell, they can go nuts. Doyle also suggests they planned to use a modified Ausf.G turret for the BeobachtungsPanther, which could be easily armed with the 75mm L/70.

  15. General Guderian's memoirs do mention, briefly, a proposed scout version of the panther. If the Inspector of the Armored Forces knew about it, I presume that they were somewhat serious about the design, at least for a time.

    This thing is going to inflict hilarious ramming damage.

  16. Hmmm, this is quite fascinating. Like you say, it could turn out to be pretty decent or it could turn into a POS.

    At the very least, with a power-to-weight of 20hp/ton or more it'll have enough acceleration to throw that big hulking panther hull around, so it should be at least good for ramming things.

    As to the armament... if L70 is the top gun, that's somewhat worrisome. Hopefully they'll work a bit of game-design magic into it to balance it out. Giving it APCR as the credit ammunition would be a good start; that'd bring it up to competing fairly closely with the WZ-131's top 85mm. Would also be good to up the damage to at least 150 or so while they're at it, and maybe even tweak the aim time and on-the-move accuracy to be a little better.

    As long as the vehicle keeps a good power to weight (above 20) with a top config like that, it could be a pretty sweet tier 7 light. I could see it being a very good LT hunter-killer, able to ram pretty much any other light tank it finds for massive damage.

    Hopefully they give it some love in the aesthetics department too, to help differentiate it from the Panther visually. Extra radio antennas (as seen in the drawings above), maybe some additional baggage/gear and one of the slightly different iron-grey paint schemes (such as the Tiger II's blueish tint for example).

  17. Assuming it would have the GWPanther hull (which is way lighter than the normal hull), the hull would weigh about 26 tons. Add the VK2801 turret (unhistorical one!), which weighs 4 tons plus its gun and we have a weight about 32-33 tons with all modules and equipment thrown in.

    Take the 850hp engine and divide it by 33 tons. Depending on the final weight, it would be a HP/ton ratio of 25-26. Not taken into account are the tracks, which may have a variable terrain resistance, which, regardless of engine power, turns that tank either into a slug or into a racecar.

    Top speed is likely to be 60 km/h, since both GWP and PII have a top speed of 55 km/h. A higher top speed would be nice though.

    Armament is somewhat complicated. The konisch gun has the highest tier rating (8), but does not have to be the best gun available.
    It could use the long 75mm gun too, but it would need a serious ROF buff to keep it up with other tanks.

    A 128mm derp gun did not exist, so no big derp gun here.

    Taking an artistic license is pretty much needed to make that AwfulPanther viable enough..when it looks bad on paper, don't even think how it looks in practice!! Don't even start when it has the regular panther hull!! (at least I know why this project never took off beyond the conceptation stage)

    1. That would totally defeat the purpose of the vehicle. Remember, that FailPanther was projected so that there don't have to be new production lines built especially for the new hull. It was projected with a regular Panther hull and anything else is most likely just a fantasy.
      There are a more options for the turret and the gun too (Beobachtungsturm, some form of smaller Schmalturm etc.). As for the gun - 105mm is fine, but the top should be some sort of autocannon (there were numerous), not something that relies on gold shells.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.