By mid-1944, the Panther was at its peak performance and widely regarded as the most formidable tank on the battlefield. Nevertheless, when the Panther debuted in the Battle of Kursk in July 1943, it was still not ready to go into combat.

The Panther tank was seen as a necessary component of Operation Citadel, and the attack was delayed several times because of their mechanical problems and to receive more Panthers, with the eventual start date of the battle only six days after the last Panthers had been delivered to the front. This resulted in major problems in Panther units during the Battle of Kursk, as tactical training at the unit level, coordination by radio, and driver training were all seriously deficient.

Its greatest historical role in the battle may have been a highly negative one—its contribution to the decisions to delay the original start of Operation Zitadelle for a total of two months, time which the Soviets used to build up an enormous concentration of minefields, anti-tank guns, trenches and artillery defences.

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

By 5 July, when the Battle of Kursk started, there were only 184 operational Panthers. Within two days, this had dropped to 40. On 17 July 1943, after Hitler had ordered a stop to the German offensive, Gen. Heinz Guderian sent in the following preliminary assessment of the Panthers:

"Due to enemy action and mechanical breakdowns, the combat strength sank rapidly during the first few days. By the evening of 10 July there were only 10 operational Panthers in the front line. 25 Panthers had been lost as total writeoffs (23 were hit and burnt and two had caught fire during the approach march). 100 Panthers were in need of repair (56 were damaged by hits and mines and 44 by mechanical breakdown). 60 percent of the mechanical breakdowns could be easily repaired. Approximately 40 Panthers had already been repaired and were on the way to the front. About 25 still had not been recovered by the repair service ... On the evening of 11 July, 38 Panthers were operational, 31 were total write-offs and 131 were in need of repair. A slow increase in the combat strength is observable. The large number of losses by hits (81 Panthers up to 10 July) attests to the heavy fighting."

 

Via

Via

Via

A later report on 20 July 1943 showed 41 Panthers as operational, 85 as repairable, 16 severely damaged and needing repair in Germany, 56 burnt out because of enemy action, and two destroyed by motor fires.

Via

Via

Via

Before the Germans ended their offensive at Kursk, the Soviets began their counteroffensive, and succeeded in pushing the Germans back into a steady retreat. Thus, a report on 11 August 1943 showed that the number of total write-offs in Panthers swelled to 156, with only 9 operational. The German Army was forced into a fighting retreat, and increasingly lost Panthers in combat as well as from abandoning and destroying damaged vehicles.

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

Via

The Panther demonstrated its capacity to destroy any Soviet armoured fighting vehicle from long distance during the Battle of Kursk, and had a very high overall kill ratio. It constituted less than seven percent of the estimated 2,400–2,700 total armoured fighting vehicles deployed by the Germans in this battle, and its effectiveness was limited by its mechanical problems and the in-depth layered defence system of the Soviets at Kursk. 

During Zitadelle the Panthers claimed 267 destroyed tanks.

Source: 

Internet | Wikipedia
1

WW2 Timeline: 

Nation in war: 

Language: 

5
Your rating: None (1 vote)