Panzer V Panther Medium Tank
A Panther Heavy Tank with Panzer Elite markings
|Role||Heavy Main Battle Tank|
(for 2 units)
|Upkeep per Minute||-18.81|
|Prereq.||Panzer Elite Headquarters: Activate Panther Battlegroup|
|Produced By||None; Called in from the field.|
|Primary armament||7.5 cm KwK 42 Anti-Tank Cannon|
|Secondary armament||2x 7.92mm MG42 Machine Gun|
|Max. Speed||5.5 m/s|
- See also Panther.
The Panzer V Panther Medium Tank, or Panther Tank, is a medium main-line battle tank fielded by the Panzer Elite in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Bearing heavy armor, a powerful anti-tank cannon, and several anti-infantry defensive weapons, this is one of the most powerful single vehicles in the game. Two are called together using the Panther Battle Group Command Ability, and represent the epitome of the Panzer Elite combat capability. Obtaining a Panther for the Panzer Elite is more complicated, and thus usually comes later in the game, than the Wehrmacht Panther tank, because of the several steps the Panzer Elite must go through to obtain the ability Panther Battle Group (see below). Beyond that, the Panzer Elite and Wehrmacht Panther tank are the same (except for the different ways they have to obtain veterancy).
Like their Wehrmacht allies, the Panzer Elite can field Panther Tanks, forming the solid iron core of their battle operations. These hulking tanks are extremely resilient, pack a powerful punch, and can plow through the battlefield unimpeded. The Panther Tank provides the ultimate offensive force used in Panzer Elite assaults.
Acquiring a Panther Tank is considerably complicated for this faction. To do so the Panzer Elite player must first construct three separate base structures, and purchase a single Global Upgrade from each of them:
- Kampfgruppe Kompanie: Kampfgruppe Kompanie Upgrade
- Panzer-Jäger Kommand: Jager-Kommand Upgrade
- Panzer-Support Kommand: Support-Kommand Upgrade
Once purchased, these upgrades unlock yet another Global Upgrade, this time at the Panzer Elite Headquarters. This Global Upgrade is called Activate Panther Battlegroup. Purchasing this upgrade will unlock a new Command Ability for the Panzer Elites, called Panther Battle Group.
The Panther Battle Group ability costs 1,000, 24 to activate. It will summon two Panther Tanks to the battlefield, and they will automatically drive to the designated rally point. It is only possible to purchase two Panther Tanks at a time.
The total cost to acquire the Panther Battle Group ability, including the cost of a Panzer Grenadiers squad, the required base structures and the Global Upgrades (but not including the cost of actually using the ability), is 1,665, 220. This high cost is meant to ensure that the Panzer Elite player does not receive these tanks too early in the battle. It also means that for the majority of combat, the Panzer Elite player needs to rely on his fleet of powerful but fragile vehicles, the strongest of which would probably be the Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank. This also means that the Panzer Elite player needs to strive to field the Panthers as soon as possible if he cannot effectively hold the enemy back without them.
Panther Tanks are as powerful as they sound. Their heavy armor is twice as strong as that of an M4 Sherman, and almost as strong as an M26 Pershing, rendering them difficult to kill with anything other than dedicated anti-tank weaponry. The Panther's own gun is a very powerful anti-tank cannon, and can easily go through the front armor of a Sherman tank, and about 4-5 shots are all that's needed to destroy one. Although not as well-clad as a Tiger or King Tiger, Panthers can nonetheless stand up to all Allied tanks in face-to-face combat with at the very least a good chance of winning.
Panther Tanks have a unique benefit from Veterancy, as it will add a gunner for the turret-top MG42 Light Machine Gun, and eventually will clad the sides of the tank in extra Armor Skirts. Both these additions make the Panther much less vulnerable to enemy infantry trying to sneak up behind it. In any case, the tank's gun has enough range and accuracy to snipe enemy infantry, but is slow to reload and thus can't deal with infantry up-close on its own. With proper anti-infantry support, however, this tank is vulnerable only to the most powerful Anti-Tank weapons.
The Panther Heavy Tank's primary weapon is a 7.5 cm (75mm) KwK 42 Anti-Tank Cannon, one of the best tank-mounted cannons fielded by the Germans during World War II. It is used for destroying enemy tanks, and will do so with ease.
Additionally, the tank has no less than three separate MG42 Light Machine Guns mounted in various positions: one in the front of the hull, another mounted co-axially with the main cannon, and a third on a pintle at the roof of the turret. The third MG42 is left unmanned until the vehicle can gain some Veterancy. These three weapons are designed to suppress and/or kill infantry.
7.5 cm KwK 42 Anti-Tank Cannon Edit
The KwK 42 is a very powerful anti-tank cannon. Its power rivals that of actual Tank Destroyer cannons, like the British 17 Pounder AT Gun or the Panzer Elite's own PaK 40 (on the Marder III Tank Hunter).
Each shell fired by this gun delivers 165 points of damage to the target. The blast point is normal, so the target doesn't need to be hit dead-on to suffer any of it. Fortunately, the KwK 42 is extremely accurate, having a 100% accuracy rating at anywhere up to 35 meters (sight-range). The cannon's maximum range is an impressive 50 meters, second only to the Sherman Firefly's 55 meters (as far as tank cannons go, anyway). At this range the KwK 42 has an accuracy rating of 95% - not bad at all.
As far as Penetration goes, the KwK 42 has no problem getting through an M4 Sherman's front armor. Essentially, the only Allied tank capable of deflecting KwK 42 shells is the M26 Pershing, the Allied equivalent to the Panther. When firing at a vehicle's rear, the KwK has no problem going through any armor in the game. Note however that most buildings receive only 50% of the damage output.
The reloading delay between shots is unfortunately quite large, and is quite frankly the only real "flaw" in the KwK 42: A basic Panther can only fire once every 7 seconds. This can only be rectified with Veterancy bonuses.
Note that the high accuracy of this cannon also allows it to hit Infantry with alarming precision. It has a 60% chance of sniping a basic infantryman at a distance up to 35 meters. Unfortunately, due to the small blast radius and slow reloading times, fighting infantry is not what this cannon does best, to put it mildly.
7.92mm MG42 Machine Gun Edit
The Panther Tank is equipped with no less than three 7.92mm MG42 Light Machine Guns. These weapons are standard-issue in the Axis forces, though each has a slightly different set of statistics based on how it is installed on a unit.
Initially, only two of these MG42s are active: one mounted at the front-right side of the hull, the other mounted coaxially to the gun's main cannon. Both of these weapons are fairly standard for vehicle-mounted MG42s, having low damage and low accuracy. Their primary purpose is to suppress enemy infantry, and are unlikely to kill enemies very often.
The third MG42 is visible on a pintle mount at the very top of the turret. However, it is unmanned when the vehicle is created, and thus will not automatically fire. A crewmember for this gun will be automatically added once the vehicle reached Veterancy level 2. This weapon is more accurate than the others, especially at infantry-engagement range (20–25 meters). Unfortunately it is slightly weaker than the other weapons, and causes only a tiny amount of Suppression per bullet. It is meant primarily to kill infantry, and can also do damage to very light vehicles.
- This MG42 is mounted next to the Panther's main cannon. As such, it will engage targets directly in front of the cannon - usually whatever the cannon is firing at.
- This MG42 is mounted at the front of the hull. It will only engage targets directly in front of the vehicle. You must turn the vehicle in order to engage other targets with this weapon.
- Added at veterancy level 2. This weapon is mounted at the top of the turret, and can swing independently to engage targets at any direction around the vehicle.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Panther Tank can attain 3 levels of Veterancy, by accumulating experience points from the killing of enemy units. As it gains levels, its performance will increase proportionally.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Panther Tank uses the Panzer Elite Shared Veterancy system to accumulate Veterancy points. In this system, units share experience from their kills with each other, within a certain radius.
Each kill the Panther Tank makes will grant it 100% of the experience value of the killed unit.
In addition, it will pass 50% of that value to any Panzer Elite units within 35 meters of itself.
Vicariously, the Panther Tank receives 50% of the experience value of kills made by other Panzer Elite units within 35 meters.
Every time the Panther Tank gains a level, you'll be asked to choose which Veterancy Upgrade you wish to apply to it - either a Defensive bonus or an Offensive bonus, but not both. You can choose a different bonus at each Veterancy level, if you want.
The bonuses described below are specific to each level. Due to the way they are applied on top of each other, when computed together (see below) they may or may not add up as you may expect.
When these bonuses are computed together with each other as well as the unit's basic statistics, the results at each level are as follows:
* Click the button at the top-right corner to view the entire table.
Selecting Veterancy bonuses for the Panther Tank is tricky, because it can benefit greatly from both Offensive and Defensive sets. A more durable Panther can survive longer in the face of other tanks and Anti-Tank weapons, making it better for engaging enemies while other units move to flank. An offensively-upgraded Panther can dispatch enemies faster on its own, requiring less support but remaining more vulnerable to anti-tank weaponry and artillery.
As with all other Panzer Elite vehicles, it's recommended to at least take the first level in Defensive bonuses, as this upgrade gives a larger benefit than others. You can then choose the remaining bonuses as you see fit.
Among all Panzer Elite units, the use of the Panther Tank is pretty much the most straightforward. It's a heavy vehicle, with a heavy weapon, and has only one real purpose: to engage and destroy the enemy in brutal face-to-face combat. When a pair of Panther Tanks are called in to the battle, it signals the start of a massive assault on the enemy, usually involving every vehicle in Panzer Elite disposal.
The more interesting aspect of Panther Tank use, of course, is the types of units selected to escort it and maneuver together with it. A proper mix of units can create a nigh-unstoppable force, with the Panther as the "fundament" of the attack and every other unit working to support it.
Recommended Support UnitsEdit
Although a Panther possesses elevated attributes across the board, it is not invincible and will eventually succumb to overwhelming enemy opposition. The proper assignment of support units to fight alongside the Panther can mean the difference between a destructive but short-lived assault and a decisive punch to subdue the enemy.
Supporting units for the Panther can be divided into three main categories:
- Anti-infantry protection
- Anti-tank flankers
- Repair and recovery
The anti-infantry protection team is possibly the most important. These are meant to keep enemy infantry units away from the Panther, to stop them firing anti-tank rockets or bombs at the heavy tank.
Panzer Grenadiers are usually your best bet for this, especially when armed with MP44 Sturmgewehrs. Walking behind the tank, they must react whenever enemy infantry are attempting to come near, by enveloping the tank and/or flanking and destroying the enemy units. Light Armored Cars are also quite good for this task, though they themselves are also vulnerable to anti-tank launchers. Panzer IV Infantry Support Tanks are also quite useful, though they take up many valuable Population Cap points that are required to field the Panthers and the rest of the support fleet.
For anti-tank flanking, fast units with powerful guns are often best, including both the Light AT Halftracks and Marder III Tank Hunters. Most enemy units will be too busy concentrating their firepower on the Panther to be able to stop these units from flanking. Note that Marders are sometimes better used when parked behind the Panther, shelling enemy targets that come into view from a safe distance using their long-range guns. Tank Buster Heavy Infantry also have a good chance of flanking, especially when driven to their positions by Infantry Halftracks.
Finally, repair and recovery should be handled by a Bergetiger. It is the only Panzer Elite unit with a fast-enough repair rate to fix a damaged Panther within a reasonable amount of time. It can even do so in combat, by driving behind the Panther and repairing it constantly, though this exposes both units to an artillery strike. If the Panther is destroyed, the Bergetiger must immediately recover it if possible, using the rest of the support units as shields while it does so. Do not let the enemy crush or destroy the wreck! You can also use Panzer Grenadiers to repair the vehicle, but this is much slower, especially if you haven't yet purchased the Kampfgruppe Kompanie: Advanced Repair Global Upgrade.
Being heavily-armored, the Panther is really not vulnerable to any weapon. However, specialized anti-tank weaponry will still subdue it with time. In particular, British 17 Pounder AT Guns and Sherman Fireflies are the most dangerous, since they can reliably pierce its front armor. The M26 Pershing is another danger, considered the Panther's counterpart. In face-to-face combat, either one could be destroyed first.
Mines and artillery are another danger. If you have mine-detecting units, always run them at the front of the advance to prevent the Panther from being immobilized by a hidden minefield. Artillery is less of a danger to this tank than to a Tiger or King Tiger, since it moves significantly faster (especially with Defensive Veterancy bonuses) and can easily get away from the blast zone. Still, a hit on the tank's hind quarters can knock out the engine as with any other tank.
As long as you keep the Panther Tank well-supported, it should be very difficult to destroy. React quickly to whatever the enemy throws at you, repair the tank as you advance, and you should be able to ram straight through the enemy's defensive lines and hit them where it hurts.
When without orders:
When under fire: