One of the newest tanks to arrive for tank crew is the Pz.Kpfw.V Ausf.D. Better known as the Panther-tank, this medium tank was designed to replace the Panzer III and IV tanks and to one-up the latest T-34 tanks being produced in the Soviet Union. I wanted to have a quick look at the newest tank in Tank Crew and offer a few insights as 1CGS wraps up development on this project.
One of the best of WWII… except
Germany developed a reputation during World War II for producing some of the best tanks in the world – at least on paper. The Panther was widely regarded at being one of the best tanks of the war with excellent firepower and mobility. In-fact it was power to weight that the Panther excelled at using the same engine as the heavier Tiger I tank but with less armor on the sides and more efficient armor at the front. A top speed of 55 km/h was possible in earlier models while late models were slower.
The 7.5 cm KwK 42 provides the primary firepower of the Panther while a pair of MG42 machine guns provide supporting firepower against soft targets and infantry. The KwK 42’s long barrel and large charge made it the most powerful tank gun of WWII with better penetration power than the 8.8 cm KwK 36 used on the Tiger – though slightly less explosive power.
The Panther was first used in combat at Kursk and so it’s a perfect inclusion in the Tank Crew line up. The Panther was rushed into combat for Kursk and the offensive was delayed until the Panther tanks could be brought to the front. Unfortunately for the German army, issues with the tank’s design were left unresolved because of the rush to field the new tank. Chronic problems with the engines and transmissions played havoc with frontline units.
When not encumbered by mechanical problems, the Panther proved to be adept at destroying Soviet tanks at long ranges with its powerful cannon and its high top speed gave it excellent field mobility.
High speed, low drag
The Panther in Tank Crew is yet another example of the extreme levels of detail that Digital Forms and 1C Game Studios has gone into to make these tanks a reality. Beautiful detailing capture the Panther tank in detail and the crew inside. The crew may not be the most lively you’ve seen in a video game but for a simulation focused on tank combat – I’ve never seen anything like it.
The Panther starts up quickly and very soon you’re rumbling along ready to take on hordes of enemy tanks. It’s quite possible to take on other tanks as the effective range of the KwK 42 is impressive. I was able to take out a KV-1 at 1.2 kilometers and I’m sure longer range sniper shots are possible.
For tank, the Panther is quick and over even terrain you can build up speed quick which means you can advance on the enemy easily or beat a hasty retreat when you need to.
Visibility is also, for a tank, quite good. Most of the positions have the ability to look outside through armored glass in more than one direction and the commander’s position has essentially a 360 degrees viewpoint. The tank has lots of luxuries compared to most of the others and that all contributes to clear reasons why the Panther was considered one of if not the best tank of the war (issues aside).
The Panther can take a hit or two and in one of my gameplay sessions was able to take a few hits at extreme ranges from a T-34. Anything more than that and it was a near instant end. Some have complained that the Panther can’t take much damage and that when it does – it explodes immediately. I haven’t experienced that yet but I’m curious if that’s an actual issue with the damage model or if its reflective of the Panther’s light side armor.
The Panther is one of the few tanks, next to the Tiger, that I as a relative newbie to the fine details of armored warfare was already aware of. It has that legendary reputation in the armored world and in a sim where the reliability issues aren’t really that much of an issue – it’s hard not to be impressed by how good this tank is.
It’s a fearsome opponent but perhaps one that can’t take a punch when its been outsmarted.
As usual, the details here are beautiful, the animations impressive, and the gameplay is becoming a lot of fun as I understand more and more about the nuances of armored warfare. More thoughts to come on Tank Crew as it pushes towards release.