About the German Panther Type G Steel Wheel Version
of its many advanced and innovative features, the World War II German
Panzerkampfwagen V, known as the "Panther" tank, is still considered by
many ordnance experts as a weaponry masterpiece. The development of the
Panther came about due to the successes generated by the Russian T-34,
which has become a serious threat to the German forces during the mid
part of the conflict. Mass production of the Panther began during the
spring of 1943, and with its sophisticated mechanics and powerful Type
42 L70, 70mm main gun, the Panther tank demonstrated its formidable
strength during front line action shortly after its introduction.
Several improvements were suggested following its initial employment,
resulting in the Panther Type G, which began to appear in spring 1944.
Major improvements consisted of additional side armor slope angles and
simplified assembly refinements for mass production. The powerplant of
the Type G Panther was a Maybach HL230-P30, V-12 cylinder, watercooled
engine producing 700 horsepower. In order to further enhance
productivity and compensate for the lack of raw materials, a handful of
trial production Panthers were mounted with steelwheels for testing
pruposes. These were steel rimmed wheels replacing the conventional
rubber rims, and were insulated from the hubs by two rubber rings
clamped between disc-shaped pressings. The steel-wheeled Panther Type
G's were very rarely seen during combat.