German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery


Medium tank armed with 37 / 50 mm gun

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Panzer III was meant to become (together with Panzer IV) a backbone tank of the German Panzerwaffe. It was designed primarily to fight enemy tanks and other AFVs. Its development started in 1934. First prototypes were ready by the end of 1935 but in reality, the following four production versions (Ausf. A – D) were still more testing machines then final tanks. The design matured only with the fifth generation labeled Ausf. E which came to production in 1939.

The tank had five road wheels with torsion bars suspension. It was armed with 37 mm KwK 36 gun and two machine guns and powered by a 285 hp engine. Ausf. E was followed by very similar Ausf. F and Ausf. G. Panzer III Ausf. H, which came at the end of 1940, had a new 50 mm KwK 38 main gun. Next version was Ausf. J which had the main gun upgraded to even more powerful KwK 39. Ausf. L and M followed. The last Ausf. N version was armed with short barrel 75 mm KwK 37 gun.

Production of Panzer III ended in August 1943 with almost six thousand tanks. Production of its chassis however continued till the end of war as it was used for Stug III assault guns. There were lot of special purpose modifications of the basic Panzer III such as Tauchpanzer (amphibious tank), Flammpanzer (flamethrower tank), Bergepanzer III (recovery tank) and others. There were also several types of command tanks based on different versions of Panzer III.