Panhard 178

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Ar fr panhard-178.jpg
automitrailleuse de découverte mle 1935
Type Armored Scout Car
Armament Main gun: canon de 25mm S.A. mle 1935
Coax MG: mitrailleuse de 7,5mm mle 1931
Crew 3 (Driver, Commander, Gunner)
Weight 8,300kg
Top Speed 72km/h
Main Gun Optics
Designation  ?
Magnification  ?
Field of View  ?

This reliable armored car was the standard reconnaissance vehicle for the French Army, generally assigned with a battalion of motorcycle infantry to help augment any of the scouting and communication tasks that an infantry division would require. Also known as the AMD mle 1935, it was a powerful and advanced vehicle for its time, with fore and aft-facing drivers, a rear-mounted engine, and the 25mm SA mle 35, a very-high-velocity anti-tank gun which was effective against most German armor of the early war. Unfortunately, like most of the armoured cars of this time, it was somewhat underpowered.

It also lacked independent suspension and, inexplicably for a reconnaissance platform, only command vehicles were equipped with radios. Nevertheless, they performed admirably in the field; when the Germans captured about 190 of these vehicles at the fall of France, they didn’t hesitate to re-equip them with German guns and radios and pack them off for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

Game Play

Panhards are excellent scout and reconnaissance vehicles, if a little difficult to control at high speeds (as all of these vehicles are when driven across undulating terrain at higher speeds than they probably would have been by real drivers). Try to avoid steep hills, or to approach them obliquely (at a crossing angle) as 105 hp isn’t much power when pushing an eight-ton vehicle up a steep grade. The semi-automatic 25mm SA 35 is a capable gun for its small caliber, but ambushing should be done carefully with targets only engaged if there is a reasonable chance of success and a clear exit route available. You do not have enough armor to stand and fight, so make sure when you shoot you either kill the target (ideal) or escape before it can kill you (less ideal). Like all armored cars, you just can’t afford to get into a shooting match with anything bigger than a rifle.

A Panny (as it is nicknamed in game) is good for recon patrol because it is quiet and unobtrusive. It can sneak around fairly easily. When setting up an ambush, remember that your whip antennas are very distinctive. Be sure there is high cover behind you to cover their silhouette or conceal them from easy observation. A pair of Panhards, working ambush together in tandem along a resupply route, are extremely hard to counter, and can cut off a town completely if they are smart, cautious, and know how to conceal themselves. After they kill, smart commanders will move quickly to another set-up to avoid retribution from angry enemy tanks, bombers, or sappers.

The 25mm SA 35 gun does not come with HE ammo, at such a small caliber it’s debatable whether HE would be worthwhile given its small size and inconsequential blast effects. While the gun is effective despite its small caliber - it has a high muzzle velocity - you’ll still need to attempt to set up rear and flank shots. Most German armor, with the exception of the PzKpfw II Ausf. C and SdKfZ 232 and other pre-war vintage armored fighting vehicles, will have frontal armour too thick to penetrate for even a high-velocity gun like this one. It is still just a 25mm gun.