Tag Archive for 'PzKpfw III'

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 Hydraulically operated steering in the earlier models has been replaced by mechanical steering.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

Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. F, G, H (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. F, G, H (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Model F—This is the first tank of the series to mount a 5.0 cm Kw. K. electrically fired tank gun in place of the 3.7 cm Kw. K. and also the first to have a new type mantlet. This mantlet has a thick shield on the front which moves with the gun. A single machine gun is mounted coaxially on the right of the 5.0 cm gun and the hull machine gun is retained.

The hull consists of three separate subassemblies: (1) lower hull, (2) front superstructure carrying turret, and (3) rear superstructure covering the engine compartment. All units are of single skin welded construction.

The turret forms the roof of a spacious fighting compartment, being mounted over the middle part of the hull. It has no rotating platform, the commander and the gunner having seats suspended from and rotating with the turret. The loader apparently stands on the floor of the fighting compartment. The commander’s cupola is bolted to the roof of the turret on the center-line to the rear.

The suspension is the same as that used in Model E.

The engine is the Maybach V-12, gasoline, rated 320 hp. Its transmission is the synchromesh type with 10 speeds forward and 4 reverse. Its steering is of the epicyclic, clutch brake type with hydraulic control.

Model G—Identical in armament, mantlet, and mechanical components to Model F, the only difference being in the cupola, which is more squat and has all-around vision.

Model H—This model has additional 32 mm plates bolted on the front of the superstructure, on the upper and lower nose plates and on the tail plate. The outstanding recognition features of this model are its front sprocket which has six spokes, and its rear idler which is more open than the earlier type, though it has eight spokes. Wider tracks and narrower bogie wheels are also used.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         22 tons
Length 17 ft., 9 ins.
Width 9 ft., 7 ins.
Height 8 ft., 3 ins.
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 8 ft., 1 7/8 ins.
Ground contact (approx.) 10 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 14 1/8 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 30 + 32 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament 5.0 cm Kw. K.
2 MG’s
Ammunition
Engine Maybach, HL 120, V-12, 320 hp.
Transmission Synchromesh, 10 forward, 4 reverse, and 6 forward, 1 reverse.
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 23

Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. A, B, C, D, E (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. A, B, C, D, E (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Reports on the early development of the Pz. Kw. III do not agree. The following summary conforms to the best information available.

Model A—Weighed about 20 tons. Its suspension arrangement consisted of eight small bogie wheels each side on semi-elliptical, laminated springs, with three return rollers. Motivating power was generated by a Maybach V-12 gasoline engine rated 300 hp. Armament consisted of a 3.7 cm Kw. K., two light machine guns in the turret, and one light machine gun in the front plate of the superstructure. Armor consisted of 30 mm plate all around.

Model B—Same as Mode] A except for suspension which consisted of five medium size bogie wheels and two return rollers.

Model C—Principal change was the new type suspension which incorporated six bogie wheels and three return rollers, which became standard for the Pz. Kw. III tank. It is believed that torsion bar suspension evolved in this model.

Model D1—At this point in the development the previous models were given the nomenclature D1. Commander’s tanks are known to have been produced serially from this period on.

Model E—Represents the first model in which the definite Pz. Kw. III type has been crystallized. It embodies the improvements made in previous models. It carried the same armament (3.7 cm Kw. K.) and had a suspension arrangement of six bogie wheels sprung on torsion bars and three return rollers.

A self-propelled equipment known as the Sturmgeschütz has been developed from the Pz. Kw. III. It consists of the Pz. Kw. III chassis mounting a short-barreled 7.5 cm Kw. K. The chassis was later used to mount the 7.5 cm Kw. K. 40, long-barreled gun, and the 10.5 cm howitzer.

SPECIFICATIONS

(Model C)
Weight         21 tons
Length 17 ft., 9 ins.
Width 9 ft., 7 ins.
Height 8 ft., 3 ins.
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 8 ft., 1 7/8 ins.
Ground contact (approx.) 10 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 14 1/8 ins.
Pitch of track
Track links
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
Roads 100 miles
Cross-country 60 miles
Speed
Roads 28 m.p.h.
Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
Front plate 30 mm
Sides 30 mm
Armament 3.7 cm Kw. K.
3 MG’s
Ammunition
Engine Maybach V-12, 300 hp.
Transmission Synchromesh—10 speeds forward, 4 reverse.
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 22

Pz. Kpfw. III (Fl. W. 41): Flamethrower Tank

Pz. Kpfw. III (Fl. W. 41): Flamethrower Tank

The flame-throwing tank, put into service in 1942, consists of the standard Pz. Kpfw. III tank equipped with a flame projector instead of the usual tank gun. A machine gun is mounted coaxially in the turret and another is ball mounted in the front plate of the hull. Its road performance will approximate that of the Pz. Kpfw. III tank.

The flame tube, which looks like an ordinary cannon, contains 3 jets. The barrel behind the curved position of the armored shield is 134 cm long and at the flame end is 12 cm in diameter. Movement of the gun horizontally and vertically is controlled by two handwheels within reach of and to the left front of the tank commander. Propulsion of the liquid fuel for the flame thrower is achieved by means of a centrifugal pump driven by a small two-cylinder gasoline engine which is located in the engine compartment to the left of the tank motor. The fuel tanks are located beside the tank commander to the inside right and left side of the tank chassis.

SPECIFICATIONS

Approx. weight of vehicle in action         23.8 tons
Approx. weight of flame apparatus (with full tanks) 3,300 lb.
Approx. weight of flame apparatus (with empty tanks) 1,540 lb.
Number of flame fuel tanks 2
Capacity of flame fuel tanks 225 gals.
Approx. range (unignited) 55 yds.
Approx. range (ignited) 66 yds.
Maximum elevation of projector +20°
Maximum depression of projector -10°
Traverse of projector 360°
Approx. overhang of projector beyond front of chassis 1 ft., 7 1/2 ins.
Approx. overhang of projector beyond side of chassis 4 ft., 7 ins.
Fuel pressure produced by pump 240 lb./sq. in.
Type of pump motor Auto-Union ZW 1101 (DKW) with dynamo start
Type of pump Koebe
Performance of ZW 1101 motor 28 hp.
Approx. performance of pump 1.7 gals./sec.
Capacity of gasoline tank for pump motor 4 gals.
Capacity of mixer 2 gals.
Capacity of oil measure .08 gal.
Oil-gasoline mixture (used for pump motor) 1:25
Number of fire extinguishers (inside and outside) 5
Sparking plug for pump motor Bosch DM 225 T 1 or 175 T 1 or Beru 225 a1 or 190 a1
Sparking plug in projector Smitz-Kerze
Fording capacity 3 ft.
Batteries (2 vehicle batteries also used) 12 volts each
Low tension circuit 12 volts
High tension circuit for projector         up to 1,000 v. and 300 amps.

German: p. 30

Pz. Kpfw. III Aus. L, M, N, O (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks

Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. L, M, N, O (Sd. Kfz. 141): Medium Tanks: Panzer III

Model L—In this model the loader’s visor in the right of the gun mantlet has been omitted as well as the vision openings on each side of the turret in front of the access doors. Spaced armor is always fitted on the front of the superstructure and fittings for spaced armor are provided on the gun mantlet, but the curved spaced plate is not always fitted in the latter position. The long 5.0 cm Kw.K. 39 is balanced by a torsion bar. The torsion bar compensator is mounted on the roof of the turret and connected to the gun by means of a link. On the cupola of this model a metal framework is attached, probably to serve as a rest for the gun. In other respects Model L is identical to Model J. German markings on this tank indicate that it was prepared for tropical or desert use. Preparation consisted of slight changes in the air-cooling system and addition of deflectors on the rear of the tank to prevent the exhaust gases and cooling air from striking the ground.

Model M—This model is similar to Model L with the exception that it has no loading doors fitted on the side of the hull.

Models N, O—Reports indicate the existence of these models but no details are available.

A few Model L tanks and many Model M and N tanks now mount the 7.5 cm Kw.K., which is the short gun formerly fitted in the Pz. Kpfw. IV. Recent models of the Pz. Kpfw. III now in service mount, therefore, either the 5 cm long gun or the 7.5 cm short gun. When the latter gun is mounted, the spaced armor plate on the gun mantlet and the fittings for it are omitted altogether. The mantlet is one of the Pz. Kpfw. III type without loader’s visor, but the recoil gear casing and armored protecting sleeve in front of the mantlet are of the type provided on the Pz. Kpfw. IV. In a captured Model N mounting a short 7.5 cm Kw.K., the sighting telescope was a T.Z.F. 5b, which is the type used with this gun in the older Pz. Kpfw. IV’s, Stu. G. 7.5 cm K.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight         22 tons
Length 17 ft., 9 ins.
Width 9 ft., 8 ins.
Height 8 ft., 3 ins.
Ground clearance 14 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
     Roads 28 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 15 m.p.h.
Armor
     Front plate 50 + 20 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament 7.5 cm Kw.K.
2 MG 34′s
Ammunition 5.0 cm gun—78 rds.
MG’s—4950 rds.
Engine Maybach V-12, HL 120 TRM, 320 hp.
Transmission Manual operation, 6 speeds forward, 1 reverse.
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 25