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Why did the panther not replace the panzer IV?

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by DLE, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. DLE

    DLE New Member

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    Hi,

    I learned the other day that the panther was categorized by the germans as a medium tank (I had always assumed it was a light-ish heavy tank by their standards). This led me to the question in the title: since the panther fulfilled the same role, was faster (I believe but am not sure), had a better main gun and armor and was only marginally more expensive why was the panzer IV still produced in large quantities by the end of the war? Was it only a matter of not going through the cost and lull in production that a change in the factories would've caused or is there an advantage to the IV over the panther I don't know of?

    I know the panther had big issues during its first deployments (specially kursk), did those play a part in the germans keeping the panzer IV?
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I don't think the Panther could be produced at some of the facilities that the Pz IV could. Then the Germans were experiencing some pretty significant production and material shortfalls by the time the Panther entered production.
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yeah, as lwd points out, the Panther, given several years, would have eventually phased out the IV. But, with the Russians in the east and Amer-Brit forces closing in on the west, there was no way they could shut down entire production lines, retool and start fresh. The same might be said of the G43 and STG rifles, improved small arms, but again, no breathing space to make the major productions shifts that such a change would have required.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It does not take much thought to see why the Germans kept the Panzer IV in production.

    In a nutshell...The Germans simply could not afford to cease production of the Panzer IV in favor of the Panther. The monthly tank production shortfall was considered to great a risk to take, as the factories that were producing the Panzer IV were converted over to producing the Panther.

    How long would it take to convert the Panzer IV factories over to Panther tanks? 6 months(Jan 44-June 44) and you have lost 1,852 Panzer IVs, and have to rely on 1,921 Panthers. Meanwhile the Russians alone, during the same 6 months, have produced 6,952 T-34/76s & /85s.

    Then, you have to figure in lead in time while the converted factories ramp up to their full potential, which would probably be another 3-5 months were Panther production would be deficient.

    Then you also have to ask yourself, how would this Panther conversion affect the output of the StuGs and Jagdpanzers...
     
  6. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    In addition to the production aspect. The pz4 had advantages over the Panther. It was much lighter and able to go over bridges that Panthers couldn't. Also it was a much more reliable and fuel efficient design. The gun was still very effective for the majority of targets it would face.
    For all it's prowess the Panther, even at the end of the war, was not at an all around great tank. It had short legs a fragile power train and was very difficult to work on.
    Having said that it was the best tank in the world for what the Germans needed which was basically mobile pillboxes.
     
  7. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    The Mk 4 Panzer was a very good tank. The Germans could produce more of them and it used less fuel. It was perfectly adequate to use at least on the western front in tank to tank fighting, where the Sherman and various other American and British tanks made up the bulk of the armor. The Germans wasted too many resources on very large weapons as it is, without being able to produce them in large quantities. Quantity is a quality all it's own in large scale warfare. Having a lot of good tanks in many situations is better than having a few great ones. Think of all the 88mm guns the Germans could have produced had they used their finite resources for them rather than blue water battleships, super heavy tanks, and huge artillery pieces that were not very efficient.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The long barrel 75mm version of pzkw IV was pretty good for Action compared to Panther I think. And Numbers here mean alot, too.
    We Finns had several Stugs, some T-34's and a KV1 in Tali-Ihantala and that worked well for us even in some attack situations.
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The Panther was built mainly by firms which had been previously been building Panzer IIIs.

    PzIV construction continued uninterrupted to provide the numbers the Germans needed (as others have noted, PzIV remained a fair match for most Allied tanks), while PzIII manufacturers switched to either Panthers or StuG IIIs, roughly half and half (StuG already comprised about 20% of Pz III production).
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  10. The_Human_Oddity

    The_Human_Oddity New Member

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    It takes time to switch the factory lines to produce another vehicle and the Pz.Kpfw.V was an expensive piece of equipment. The Pz.Kpfw.IV was seen as 'good enough', along with the StuG and StuH series and other tank destroyers, and with the dire situation that Germany was in by the time the 'Panther' was introduced in mid-1943, it would have probably done more harm than good by switching their production lines (which become especially true after D-Day in 1944).
     

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