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Shortly before D-Day, Allied intelligence reported that large numbers of Panthers were being used in the panzer divisions, and an attempt was made to investigate Panther production. Using a statistical analysis of the serial numbers on the road wheels on two captured tanks, U.S. intelligence estimated Panther production for February 1944 to be 270 units, much greater than what had been anticipated. This estimate was very accurate, especially compared to previous methods, as German records after the war showed production of Panthers for the month of February 1944 was 276. This indicated that the Panther would be encountered in much larger numbers than had previously been thought. In the planning for the Battle of Normandy, the U.S. Army expected to face a handful of German heavy tanks alongside large numbers of Panzer IVs. At this point, it was too late to prepare to face the Panther. As it turned out, 38% of the German tanks in Normandy were Panthers, whose frontal armour could not be penetrated by the 75 mm guns of the US M4 Sherman.
The earliest known redesign of the turret was dated 7 November 1943 and featured a narrow gun mantlet behind a 120 mm (4.7 in) thick turret front plate. Another design drawing by Rheinmetall dated 1 March 1944 reduced the width of the turret front even further; this was the Turm-Panther (Schmale Blende) (Panther with narrow gun mantlet). Several experimental Schmaltürme (literally: "narrow turrets") were built in 1944 with modified versions of the production Panther's 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 standard gun, which were given the designation of KwK 44/1. A few were captured and shipped back to the U.S. and Britain. One badly damaged turret is on display at the Bovington Tank Museum. It had been used as a post-war range target until its historical significance was recognised. 2b1af7f3a8