Military Intelligence Report – W.D.G.S.
Military Attaché London – Report R-4255-45 – August 1 1945
21st Army Group, Technical Intelligence Report #12.
Reference Source Control # AGF 10; Examination of a semi-official provisional manual on this vehicle and interrogation of a German Engineer indicate that the Germans had developed a Mark V Panther ‘OP’ Tank (Panzer Beobachtungs Wagen Panther) based on the Mark V Panther Model D. This vehicle was reportedly equipped with a dummy 75-MM gun and gun shield on the right on which was mounted an MG-34 machine gun in a ball mounting. All-round traverse of the turret was provided and a crew of four was carried. Instruments mounted in the vehicle included a 125-CM base range-finder, an elaborate automatic plotting board, azimuth indicators, a retractable turret observation periscope and a commander’s periscope. By means of these instruments original gun range and azimuth, as well as subsequent corrections based on observation of fire, could be measured and transmitted to tanks, self-propelled and field guns in communications with the OP Tank.
Although no reports have been received regarding the use of this Panther Observation Post Tank by the Germans, Panther commander’s tanks mounting the 75-MM (7.5 cm Kw K 42) were encountered in action almost everywhere in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
The attached report includes photographs showing fire control instrument and internal stowage arrangements, in the Mark V Panther Observation Post Tank. This report will be of special interest to O.C.O Detroit, the Armored Vehicle Branch of the Army Ground Force, Ordnance Research and Development Service, Armored Board and the Foreign Materiel Branch of Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The following information on a German Mark V Panter Beobachtungs Wagen Panther is taken partly from an undated semi-official provisional manual on the vehicle published by Rheinmetall-Börsig and partly from a preliminary interrogation of Heer Seligman of the firm Anchütz of Kiel. The vehicle described is based on the earliest type Panther (Model D). It is equipped with a dummy 75-MM gun and mantlet, but has an MG-34 to the right of the dummy gun in a ball mounting in the turret front plate. The turret can be traversed through 360° and is fitted with six electrically fired smoke projectors as on the early Panthers.
The crew appears to consist of four men (commander, observer, W/T operator and driver). It is possible that a second W/T operator is loaded in the offsite front of the vehicle, though this is not considered to be likely. The MG-34 machine gun is presumed operated by the W/T operator or the observer.
So far as is known, this is the first detailed information to be received on the Panther Observation Post Tank though Panthers commander’s mounting 75-MM (7.5 cm Kw. K42) have been encountered in action and mentioned in official German documents. The German document describing the OP tank is mainly of interest in that it includes some photographs showing fire control instruments and internal stowage arrangements. The quality of the reproduction is poor, but the best available at the time. The instruments in this vehicle can measure original gun range and line as well as switches and corrections based on observation of fall of shot for transmission to tank, CS.P or field guns in communication with the OP tank.
The dummy main armament and mantlet are constructed of welded sheet metal. The gun is bolted to the mantlet which is bolted to the front of the turret. The mantlet only extends across about one third of the turret front. The MG-34 is mounted in a ball mounting in the turret front plate to the right of the dummy main armament. It is sighted by means of a standard Machine Gun 1934, sighting telescope KZF-42 (magnification x 1.8). The Machine Gun ca be traversed 5° left and right and has a maximum depression of -10° and elevation of +15°. A Machine Pistol 40 is carried loose in the vehicle, together with one signal piston.
The vehicle is equipped with the following optical instruments :  a 1.25-M base range finder (EM 1.25-M);  a turret observation periscope TBF-2 (Turmbeobachtungsfernrohr) and a spare;  a commander’s periscope TSR-1 and one spare;  a scissors telescope;  an MG sight KFZ-2 and one spare.
(a) The rangefinder EM 1.25-M is located at the front of the turret and there are vision slots on either side of the turret front plate for the instrument. Three slots can be closed by hinged cover plates from within the turret. The rangefinder is bolted to plates welded to the turret rood plate.
There is armor protection behind the vision slots in the turret front plate which can be dismantled when the rangefinder has to be installed or removed. The graticules on the rangefinder can be illuminated for use during the night. The rangefinder is made by the Zeiss Company.
(b) The turret observation periscope TBF-2 is mounted in the center of the turret in a ball mounting in the roof plate. It can be raised or lowered through 14.5′ (36.83-CM). When it is in the lowered position the opening in the roof above the periscope can be closed by a hinged cover plate. It can be traversed through 360°
Two adjusting screws to the front and left of the periscope enable it to be tilted through 10°. The periscope can be clamped in any required position.
(c) A TSR-1 or a scissors telescope is mounted in an adjustable bracket at the front of the commender’s cupola.
(a) Azimuth indicators
Both the commander and the observer are provided with azimuth indicators to show the amount the turret is traversed off the center line of the hull. The commander’s is of the normal tank pattern. The indicator provided for the observer is located in the front of the turret just below the center of the rangefinder. It has two dials. The left hand dial has an inner scale graduated in clock hours from 1 to 12 and the outer scale graduated in hundreds of mils from 1 to 64. This dial is used for obtaining a rough reading only. A more precise reading can be obtained by using the right hand dial which has an outer scale graduated in mils from 0 to 100 and an inner correction disc used for concentrating the fire of a number of different on one point. Presumably when a target is sighted, the turret is traversed until the commander is able to lay on the target with the aid of the sighting vane on the cupola. The observer should by then be able to pick out the target and lay accurately.
(b) Plotting Board – Blockstelle O
An elaborate automatic plotting board made by the firm Anschüz of Kiel is installed in the turret just in front of the commander’s cupola. It is provided with a shockproof mounting consisting of silent bloc type bushes.
The following information was obtained by interrogation of Herr Seligman who is writing a paper explaining the working of the various instruments with which he was concerned.
A full report on the Blockstelle will therefore be published later. The Blockstelle is still in the development stage and has not yet been tried out in action.
It is primarily and artillery instrument but can be used in Armored Fighting Vehicles ans is intended for use in countries where maps are not available or are inadequate for artillery purposes. The Blockstelle is used to give initial range and line to the pivot gun and to give corrections based on observation of fall of shot.
The instrument is used for T.O.B. shoots, the distance OB being measured by the Observation Post Panther actually traveling from B to O, the distance OT by the rangefinder. The German Army requirement was for an equipment able to deal with OB distances up to 12.000 meters in any direction.
There is no description of the wireless equipment in the German document. Photographs indicate that one Fu Sprech f and one medium ware receiver (MWEe) are carried together with ‘intercomn’ equipment, (presumably for the Fu Sprech f). The Fu Sprech equipment consist of a sender and receiver for R/T only and includes a loud speaker. The MWEe appears to be a new type of medium ware receiver.
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