Light tank destroyer
German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery
Marder III (marten) was a stop-gap solution for the eastern front where German army faced surprising number and quality of Soviet tanks. Soldiers needed a powerful self-propelled anti-tank gun which could be delivered fast and in significant quantities. The development started in the Alkett company at the end of 1941. To speed it up as much as possible, the engineers decided to simply combine elements already in existence.
Marder III was therefore based on chassis of Panzer 38(t) and armed with a trophy ex-soviet 76,2 mm gun F-22. This weapon had been adapted for standard German 75 mm ammunition and pushed into service as PaK 36(r). The first prototype of new tank destroyer was ready in January 1942. The fighting compartment was open from the top and back and partly also from sides. Serial production started in April 1942. This version of Marder III weighted 10,6 tons and was manned by 4 soldiers.
Second generation of Marder III was introduced in June 1942. It was based on newer chassis called Ausf. H and armed with 75 mm anti-tank gun PaK 40. It had a mass of 10,8 tons and was produced between November 1942 and May 1943. This version was called Marder III Ausf. H. The third and last generation of Marder III was labeled Ausf. M. It had a new chassis with engine moved from rear to the center. The fighting compartment was therefore shifted to the back. The main weapon remained 75 mm Pak 40. This latest version was called Marder III Ausf. M.