The tier 8 German premium medium tank Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 is a newer premium tank in World of Tanks and brings the German branch a much needed high tier medium premium tank. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 closely resembles its standard tier 8 variant the Panther II in both the gun it equips and its overall design. This is because it is essentially a Panther II’s top turret on the tier 7 Panther’s hull with 5mm less on the frontal upper glacis. Many will say that this is just a lazy attempt by the developers to squeeze money from people since it is pretty much a mash up of tanks we already have. On the other hand I don’t see it as a bad thing since the German medium branch needs a tier 8 premium tank and this potentially gives it a good option.
Does the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 fill this role and provide players with a tank that not only earns credits but also allows them to perform on par with other tier 8 mediums? I hope to answer this by breaking down the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 into key attributes, miscellaneous stats, and also tactics to use to determine whether it is a good buy for you.
The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 like its standard variant the Panther II equips the 8.8 cm Kw K. 43 L/71 as its weapon of choice. Unlike most premium tanks however the premium Panther actually has the better gun in this case over its standard counterpart in several areas, which for a premium tank is very unusual. The damage per shell is 240 for AP/APCR and 295 for HE shells and the penetration values are the same across both tanks. AP rounds have 203mm of penetration, APCR 237mm of penetration,and HE shells have only 44mm of penetration. With AP rounds having 203mm of penetration you won’t need the 237mm penetration APCR rounds that often since it is a minor(and expensive) upgrade. 203mm of penetration is plenty against most tanks you face either way since the premium Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has .32 accuracy compared to the .34 accuracy of the Panther II.
The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 also has a base 8.7 rounds per minute value compared to the slightly lower 8.22 rounds per minute of the standard Panther II. Going with the trend the premium Panther also has a 2.5 second aiming time compared to the slightly longer 2.7 second aiming time of the Panther II. To top things off the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has slightly worse values as far as dispersion(how large your aiming circle gets after shooting and moving turret) compared to the Panther II, but nothing substantial to be that noticeable.
As evident by the stats above the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has more firepower than its standard variant the Panther II. The premium Panther has a base damage per minute value of 2,088 compared to the Panther II’s value of 1,972.80. This edge is roughly a 6% increase in damage potential which is unusual for a premium tank since generally they have worse firepower than their standard counterpart if they share the same gun. Add on top the better accuracy and aiming time and the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 clearly is the winner in this area and for a tier 8 premium medium tank is great in the firepower department.
Mediums are usually not known for their armor but it does play a vital role since at tier 8 medium tanks still come into contact with tier 6/7 tanks that can struggle to penetrate even some medium tanks at tier 8. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 and Panther II have nearly identical turrets on paper but when you did deeper the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has some severe flaws compared to the Panther II. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 also has thinner hull armor compared to the Panther II and the only improvement is in the form of 5mm side skirts that the Panther II does not have. Below are two images showing the differences between the Panther 8.8 cm L/71 and the Panther II courtesy of gamemodels3d.
As you can see the premium Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has worse armor on its mantlet, commander’s hatch, behind the mantlet, and across the entire hull. The only “improvement” are the 5mm side skirts that will help against HEAT shells. The Panther II in the armor department wins by a huge margin and the premium Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 will be extremely vulnerable to tanks that normally the Panther II would be protected decently against.
Another difference between the two Panthers comes with the mobility of each vehicle. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 weighs less than the Panther II by a considerable margin. However, the premium Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 also has a weaker 600 horsepower engine compared to the 700 horsepower engine of the Panther II. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has a terrain resistance value on hard terrain of 0.6, 0.8 on average terrain, and 1.5 on poor terrain. This is considerably better than the 0.8 value on hard terrain, 1.0 average terrain, and 2.1 poor terrain values on the Panther II. The top speed of the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 is also only 46 km/h compared to the 55 km/h of the Panther II and its traverse speed is 2 km/h higher than the Panther II.
In the end the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has the better terrain resistance stats, but also has a weaker engine that despite it weighing less than the Panther II gives it a worse HP/T ratio. This means that the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 will perform better on poor terrain than the Panther II but will perform slightly worse in other situations.
Small miscellaneous attributes are often overlooked and can greatly change how a tank performs on the battlefield. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has worse gun depression and elevation than the Panther II. The Panther II has 8 degrees of gun depression across the entire hull aside from the rear where it only has 2 degrees. It also has 20 degrees of gun elevation compared to the 13 degrees of gun elevation on the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71. The Panther mit 8.8cm L/71 has 5 degrees of gun depression over most of the front hull, 7 degrees on the sides/edges of front hull, and 4 degrees over the rear of the tank. In this area the Panther II clearly has the better gun depression/elevation values which is huge.
View range on the Panther 8.8 cm L/71 is decent at 390m(same as Panther II) and the radio range is only 550m compared to the 710m possible on the Panther II. Not a huge deal but it can be significant if you have no nearby allies. Both tanks share the same matchmaking spread with them seeing up to tier 10 tanks which means this premium is not a limited matchmaking tank that only sees up to tier 9. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 surprisingly has a matchmaking weight of 48 points compared to the 40 point value for the Panther II. This means the tank is expected to outperform(and thus “cost” more) the Panther II.
The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 holds 56 pieces of ammunition which is a good amount to avoid running out of AP rounds and is only 4 less rounds than the Panther II can hold. The ammunition cost is also pretty low with AP/HE costing 252 credits and APCR being usually not used won’t come into factor like other tier 8 premiums that rely on premium ammunition. Finally both tanks have 1,500 health points when upgraded which is standard for a tier 8 tank.
In the miscellaneous attribute area the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 shows that it has some significant drawbacks compared to the standard Panther II. These differences do not break the tank but they do change how the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 performs compared to its standard variant.
Since the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 has poor armor compared to the Panther II and more closely resembles the tier 7 Panther it plays significantly different than its tier 8 peer. The Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 is more fragile against tier 6/7/8 tanks than the Panther II and cannot play as aggressively against them since they will inflict damage easier in return. Thus, the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 plays more as a secondary line/sniper like the tier 7 Panther due to its more accurate gun, good penetration, and poorer armor values.
Due to the gun depression issues over the front hull(5 degrees) it can be difficult to fight on hill terrain unless you keep in mind that you gain an extra 2 degrees(7 degrees in total) of gun depression by not pointing directly over your frontal hull. Your turret is still protected alright against poorly aimed shots but will not protect you against most tier 8 and above tanks. This forces you into a support role of firing at enemies while remaining hidden which can often be difficult to do. In this role you should start matches off by supporting your teammates that push ahead for map control and back them up from afar. Later on in the match you can use your higher HP to take more risks and to reinforce areas where your team needs you.
Overall the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 is a unique premium tank in that it has better firepower than its closest peer in its tier with the same top gun. However, it does pay the price of this privilege by sacrificing in the armor, mobility, and comfort areas that can often cause a tank to be difficult to play. On the bright side the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 makes a good amount of credits due to its good cheap AP round and tier 8 premium status. It also provides a much needed tier 8 premium medium tank for players with German medium tanks. While it does have its flaws it does hold up well overall despite these flaws due to its good firepower. The gun depression values and poor armor do make it difficult to play unless you are an experienced player and since it does see tier 10 tanks some might be turned off from buying the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71.
My opinion is that this tank is balanced well for a premium tank and the lack of limited matchmaking is not a huge negative factor since if it did have special matchmaking it would need to be be changed to perform worse than it does currently. If you need a German medium crew trainer and also need a tier 8 premium tank the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 is not a bad choice for your. However, if you do not fit in this criteria there are better performing tier 8 premium tanks that make equally the same amount of credits that will suit you better than the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71.