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Pz Kpfw III

Description

The Pz Kpfw III first entered production in 1939, and remained in production until 1943 at which time more than 5 500 had been build.

Until the Pz Kpfw IV was equipped with the long 75 mm gun, it was Germany's primary tank-fighting tank. The Pz Kpfw III fared well in Poland and the west in 1940, and was by far the most common German tank in North Africa, where its gun and armour out-classed its main adversary, the Cruiser Tank Mk VI Crusader. It was no match for the Russian T-34-76, however, even after its gun was upgraded to the long 50 mm tank gun.

Even though the Pz Kpfw III was discontinued, its hull continued to be used for the successful Sturmgeschütz III and Sturmhaubitze assault guns, which remained in production until the end of the war. A flame thrower variant and a command variant was also build, and its hull was even used for the Soviet SU-76i tank destroyer, which mounted a 76.2 mm tank gun in a fixed superstructure.

Technical Details

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Crew
Crew
  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Radio operator
  • Driver
Physical Characteristics
Weight 19.5 t 21.6 t 21.3 t 23 t
Length 5.38 m 5.52 m 6.412 m 5.65 m
Width 2.91 m 2.95 m 2.97 m
Height 2.435 m 2.5 m 1.9 m
Armour
Armour (max) 30 mm - mm
Armour (range) - mm 30-70 mm
Performance
Speed (max) 40 km/h
Engine
Engine Maybach HL 120 TRM
Net h.p. 300
Cylinders 12
Displacement 11900 cc
Armament
Primary weapon 3,7 cm Kw K (L/45) (1) 5 cm Kw K 38 (L/42) (1) 5 cm Kw K 39 (L/60) (1) 7,5 cm Kw K (L/24) (1)
Secondary weapon 7,92 mm MG 34 (2)

Images

Drawing of a Pz Kpfw III
Drawing of a Pz Kpfw III
Pz Kpfw III Ausf. A
Pz Kpfw III Ausf. A
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Further Reading

Sources

  1. WINCHESTER, Jim. Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles of WWII : The World's Greatest Military Vehicles 1939-1945. Enderby : Silverdale Books, 2003. 320 p. ISBN 1 85605-753-4.
  2. SPIELBERGER, Walter J. Panzer III & Its Variants. Atglen, PA : Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1993. 167 p. ISBN: 0-88740-448-0.