While it’s the impressive Tiger tank that usually attracts the most awe, it was the Sd.Kfz.171 Panther that in the long run was a more important tank to Germany during WWII. This approximately 45-tonne medium tank represented a good balance of well-sloped armor protection, lethal firepower and able cross-country mobility, the design being inspired by the highly successful Russian T-34. Beginning in December 1942, a total of 842 Ausf.D examples were manufactured through till September 1943, at which time it was superceded by the improved Ausf.A. Its combat debut occurred during Operation Zitadelle in the titanic Battle of Kursk on the Eastern Front. Its 7.5cm KwK.42 L/70 cannon took a heavy toll on enemy armored vehicles whenever they were encountered. The Ausf.D is easily identified by the letterbox hatch opening for the glacis machine gun, pistol ports on the turret sides and a drum cupola.