Sunday, March 22, 2015

Panther Beobachtungswagen with 5cm Kw.k 39/1

Rheinmetall were awarded the contract for the design of an Armoured Artillery Observation vehicle based on the Panther chassis. This design dated November 1942 used a Kw.K39/1 in a modified Panther turret.

The command vehicle for Panther units was developed so as to be inconspicuous when in action. The additional radio was fitted by reducing the number of ammunition rounds carried for the 7.5cm gun. The FuG5 radio was located in the turret, and the FuG7 or FuG8, in the hull over the gearbox. A proportion of all versions of the Panther were produced as command tanks. In late 1944, a 'Beobachtungs Panzerwagen Panther' was converted from rebuilt Panther tanks. The main armament, the 7.5cm KwK, was removed and the front of the turret plated over. In the centre of this front plate were attached a dummy gun and mantlet, and to the right, a ball-mounted MG34 (traverse 5° left 5° right, elevation -10° + 15°). On the extremities of the new front plate, armoured flaps covered the openings for an EM 1.25m R (pz) stereoscopic range-finder. Additionally, the Beob pz Wg carried a Blockstelle 0 range-plotting table and other instruments for use with artillery observation.

Blockstelle 0

The Blockstelle is an instrument which can be fitted in any vehicle. Its purpose is to show the map coordinates of the vehicle at any point in its journey, provided that the map coordinates of the starting point have been set initially. If used in conjunction with a suitable director mounted on the vehicle, it will show the grid bearing to any target on which the director is layed, irrespective of the vehicles position; it will also show the range and bearing to this target from the starting point.

The Blockstelle consists essentially of a gyro-compass which maintains its orientation parallel to grid north and which operates a resolving mechanism driven from the road wheels of the vehicle. As a result, the vehicles movement is continuously and automatically resolved into easting and northing Cartesian components, which are added to the initial settings.

The Blockstelle occupies a space of roughly 20 x 18 x 12 in; it requires a 12-volt supply from the vehicle's electric system and flexible cable drives from the road wheels and from the director. Its limits are 10 kilometres east or north from the starting point.

It's a black box with a diner plate sized glass screen in the middle, the unit was mounted from the turret roof approximately 75-100 mm in front of the cupola (right in the commander's - operator's face that used it).

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