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.
|Ausf. E||Ausf. H||Ausf. L||Ausf. N|
|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 (max)||30 mm||- mm|
|Armour (range)||- mm||30-70 mm|
|Speed (max)||40 km/h|
|Engine||Maybach HL 120 TRM|
|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)|