Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. J, K (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. J, K (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Model J—The principal differences between Model J and earlier models are:

1. Increased thickness of basic armor plate on certain front and rear plates from 30 mm to 50 mm and the addition of spaced armor on the front of the gun mantlet and the front plate of the superstructure.

2. Hydraulically operated steering in the earlier models has been replaced by mechanical steering. As previously reported, the complicated Maybach Variorex ten-speed gear was abandoned in Model H in favor of a manual six-speed and reverse gear box.

3. Wider tracks—15 inches instead of 14 1/8 inches. The heavier track necessitated a change in the spacing of the return rollers. Front and rear rollers are now mounted directly over the Luvax shock absorbers and prevent the track fouling the latter.

4. The tail plate has been modified to give better protection to the rear air outlet; it also allows the smoke device to be mounted inside the plate.

5. One or two mild steel bars, welded at each end, are fixed across the middle of the nose plate. The track shoes are placed behind the bars and are held in position by the bridge of the shoe.

6. The mounting of the 5.0 cm Kw. K. 39 (long gun) was incorporated in the latest of the Model J tanks.

The most prominent recognition points of this model are: the mounting of the hull machine gun is of prominent ball type; the driver’s visor consists of a single hinged piece of armor instead of two separate plates; the front sprocket and rear idler are similar to those in Model H; particularly squat turret, pear-shaped with circular cupola well set to the rear.

Model K—Same as Model J. This model mounted the 5.0 cm long gun (Kw. K. 39).

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         22 tons
Length 17 ft., 9 ins.
Width 9 ft., 8 ins.
Height 8 ft., 3 ins.
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 8 ft., 2 1/2 ins.
Ground contact 9 ft., 4 1/2 ins.
Width of track 15 ins.
Pitch of track 4 3/4 ins.
Track links 90
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action:
     Roads 100 miles
     Cross-country 60 miles
Speed:
     Road 28 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor:
     Front plate 50 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament 5.0 cm Kw. K. 39
2 MG’s
Ammunition 5.0 cm gun—75 rds.
Engine Maybach HL 120 TRM, V-12, 320 hp.
Transmission Manual, 6 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 24

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