Panzerkampfwagen IV


Panzerkampfwagen IV
Sd. Kfz. 161 – Ausf. A-F (1937-1942)
Sd. Kfz. 161/1 – Ausf. F2/G (1942-1943)
Sd. Kfz. 161/2 – Ausf. G-J (1943-1945)

Panzer IV Ausf D
Panzer IV Ausf D

PzKpfw IV Ausf D from 5th company of 2nd Panzer Division
in Semois on May 12th of 1940.

 

Panzerkampfwagen IV was the main German tank of World War II, in action from September 1st of 1939 to May 9th of 1945.  Its long combat service was result of its excellent design and upgradeability allowing it to meet the changing requirements of the battlefield.   It was present on all fronts, where German army fought from France to Russia and from Norway to Libya.     

The idea of the tank with all of the characteristics later incorporated in the development of Panzerkampfwagen IV was originally laid down in the early 1930 by Heinz Guderian. In 1934/35, Adolf Hitler ordered Krupp and Rheinmetall-Borsig (and MAN) to develop BW (Begleitwagen) vehicle. Specifications required overall weight to be 18 ton, top speed of 35km/h and 75mm gun as main armament. All companies produced prototypes, which in 1935/36 were tested under various conditions. Rheinmetall-Borsig BW – VK2001(Rh) used Neubaufahrzeug‘s modified running gear, while Krupp’s BW – VK2001(K) and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg AG’s VK2002(MAN) both used MAN’s newly designed running gear. MAN designed new interleaved suspension system but it was not accepted. Krupp concentrated on the development of the turret while MAN worked on the running gear – VK 2001(MAN). All vehicles had similar characteristics but after extensive tests Krupp’s design – VK 2001(K) was selected to enter full-scale production.

Rheinmetall-Borsig's Prototype.
Rheinmetall-Borsig's Prototype.

VK 2001(Rh) – Rheinmetall-Borsig’s Prototype.

In 1935, Krupp after receiving order to produce its design, modified it by incorporating best features of existing designs. After further tests, Krupp was ready to start the production of Panzer IV Ausf A (Versuchkraftfahrzeug 622). The new vehicle featured suspension system composed of drive sprocket, idler and 8 road-wheels on each side of the hull that were paired together in 4 assemblies on each side of the hull. The assemblies were attached to longitudinal twin quarter-elliptic leaf springs bolted to the hull.Above the road-wheels were 4 (reduced to 3 in Ausf J) return rollers on each side of the hull. The vehicle was operated by five men crew composed of commander, gunner and loader in the turret and driver along with machine gunner / radio-operator in the front part of the hull. The communication between the crew was by the use of the intercom.First Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf A was built in October of 1937 by Krupp-Gruson and its production ended in March of 1938 with total of 35 produced. Ausf As were production / development prototypes and 5 were used for further testing while 30 saw combat service until 1941. In April of 1938, Ausf B was produced by Krupp-Gruson and until September of 1938, 42 were produced. Ausf Bs entered service in 1938 and served until late 1943. It featured modified turret and new one-piece front hull plate.

Ausf A was powered by Maybach HL 108 TR, 12 cylinder engine with total power of 300hp with ZF SRG75 5-speed transmission, while Ausf B was powered by Maybach HL 120 TR, 12 cylinder engine with total power of 300hp with ZF SSG75 6-speed transmission. In October of 1938, further development of PzKpfw IV evolved into Ausf C and until August of 1939, 134 produced by Krupp-Gruson. Some Ausf Cs remained in service until 1943. Late Ausf C models were powered by newer Maybach HL 120 TRM, 12 cylinder engine with total power of 300hp. This engine became a standard powerplant for all of the later models of Panzerkampfwagen IV series.

Panzer IV Ausf A
Panzer IV Ausf A

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf A.

Overall early models (Ausf A/B/C) were development models and were mostly used for testing / training purposes while some were used in combat. In October of 1939, next variant Ausf D was produced by Krupp-Gruson and it was produced until May of 1941 with total of 229 produced. Panzer IV Ausf D was truly the first production model and remained in service until 1944. It featured new front hull plate design (as Ausf A) and new external gun mantlet.

In September of 1940, 233 of Panzerkampfwagen IV’s next variant Ausf E were produced by Krupp-Gruson until April of 1941. Ausf E was the first of Panzerkampfwagen IV fitted with turret mounted storage bins (Gepack Kasten).Very common were the canister/storage racks mounted at the rear of the hull.It featured new design driver’s visor, drive sprocket and commander’s cupola.

Hungarian Panzer IV
Hungarian Panzer IV

Hungarian Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F(F1).
Photo provided by Dmitry Pyatakhin.

From mid 1937 to late 1940, attempts were made by Krupp and Daimler-Benz to standardize the production of Panzerkampfwagen III and Panzerkampfwagen IV (from Ausf C to Ausf E) and one prototype based on Panzer IV Ausf E with new large roadwheels and FAMO suspension was produced – PzKpfw IV Ausf E mit Schachtellaufwerk.

From April of 1941 to March of 1942, 487 of another variant Ausf F1(F) were producedby Krupp-Gruson along with Vomag and Nibelungenwerke. Ausf F1 was the last of Panzerkampfwagen IVs based on the short version chassis and armed with 75mm L/24 gun. In March of 1942, 25 of Ausf F1s were later converted to Ausf F2s. Ausf F also featured new turret design, drive sprocket and idler. Ausf F was also fitted with 400mm wide tracks instead of old 360mm wide one.Overall, Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf A to F1 were designated Sd.Kfz.161 and were all armed with short 75mm KwK 37 L/24 gun.

North Africa
North Africa

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F2 in North Africa.

In March of 1942, next variant Ausf F2 was produced, followed by Ausf G in May.Current research shows that in reality designation Ausf F2 was not used whendescribing Ausf F armed with 75mm L/43 gun and instead tanks known as Ausf F2 were in fact early Ausf G tanks.Ausf F2 and Ausf G variants were based on the long version PzKpfw IV chassis and were armed with newer 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun (that was able to compete with Soviet T-34s armed with 76.2mm gun). When encountered in North Africa, British nicknamed Ausf F2 (early Ausf G) – "Mark IV Special", since it was superior to any American or British tank at the time. The installation of the new gun increased the overall weight of the tank and reduced its speed.Both Ausf F(F1) and Ausf F2 were identical except for their armament.Ausf F2′s new 75mm L/43 gun was mounted with single baffle muzzle brake.

Panzer IV Ausf F2
Panzer IV Ausf F2

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Special) Ausf F2
Panzer Grenadier Division "Grossdeutschland", Eastern Front, Summer of 1942.

Panzerkampfwagen IVs, which were sent to North Africa (1941-43), were equipped with additional tropical filters (Tp) and improved ventilation system. Only 200 Ausf F2s (including 25 converted Ausf F1s) and 1275 Ausf G were produced by Krupp-Gruson, Vomag and Nibelungenwerke. Both variants were designated Sd.Kfz.161/1. Since March of 1943, additional 412 Ausf Gs were produced armed with newer 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun and were designated Sd.Kfz.161/2. Ausf G’s new 75mm gun was mounted with double baffle muzzle brakeLate models Ausf Gs were fitted with steel armor skirts and resembled early models of Ausf H. Ausf G featured new simplified design turret mounted with smoke grenade launchers.

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H entered production in April of 1943 as the ninth variant of Panzerkampfwagen IV tank family (9 Serie BW). This medium tank received a designation of Sd.Kfz.161/2. Production took place until July of 1944 and Ausf H reached the largest production figures of any Panzerkampfwagen IV model with 3774 produced by Krupp-Gruson AG in Magdeburg, Vomag AG in Plauen and Nibelungenwerke AG in St.Valentin. The last company produced the most of Ausf H tanks until it switched production to the next and final variant Ausf J. Chassis numbers for Ausf H were 84401 to approx.89540.

In December of 1942, Krupp was ordered to redesign future Ausf H model to have sloped front and side armor. The project was cancelled in February of 1943 due to increase in weight to 28tons that required additional modifications and instead Ausf H based on original hull was to be produced. New Ausf H was basically a late model Ausf G with six-speed Zahnradfabrik ZF SSG76 transmission. All Ausf H were armed with 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun and two MG 34 machine guns with 87 75mm and 3150 7.92mm rounds. The gun sight was T.Z.F.5f. The crew of five consisting of commander, gunner, loader, radio-operator and driver operated the vehicle. Radio equipment was made up of Fu 2 and Fu 5 as well as intercom. The power plant was 12-cylinder water-cooled Maybach HL 120 TRM gasoline engine producing 265hp at 2600rpm. The during the production in June of 1943, the front armor was increased from 50mm with additional 30mm plate to basic 80mm on the front hull and superstructure. The weight of Ausf H was 25 tons, while that of Ausf G was 23.6 tons. Maximum road speed was 38km/h, while average road speed was 25km/h. Further modifications, included deletion of side superstructure visor ports in June of 1943, followed by application of Zimmerit paste starting in September of 1943 and modifications to the suspension (idler and return rollers) in September-November of 1943. Also modified were air filters and introduced were new commander’s cupola and anti-aircraft MG 34 cupola mount (Fliegerbeschussgerat). Vehicles were also fitted with side armor skirts (both hull – 5mm and turret – 8mm) – Schurzen. In addition to new modifications, numerous changes made to Ausf G were also applied to Ausf H. As in any other case, older parts were also used in repairs and rebuilds creating non-standard vehicles.

PzKpfw IV Ausf J
PzKpfw IV Ausf J

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H tanks were issued to Panzer Regiments in Panzer Divisions and were used in that role to the end of the war. On June 6th of 1944, majority of Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks present in France were Ausf H.

In June of 1944, Ausf J, the final variant of Panzerkampfwagen IV tank family entered production as a replacement for Ausf H (10 Serie BW). Its production did not cease until March 1945 with 2970 produced solely by Nibelungenwerke and in small number by Vomag. This medium tank received a designation of Sd.Kfz.161/2. Chassis numbers for Ausf J were approx.86394 to 86573 and unknown to approx.89541.

Left: Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J of 111th Panzer Brigade, 2111th Panzer Abteilung, Staff Company, Lorraine, France in September of 1944.

Ausf J was produced in mind to simplify the production by simplifying the design of Ausf H. In general, all characteristics of Ausf H were retained including weight, speed, mechanical components and armament. The first component deleted was the electric turret drive with auxiliary generator set, which resulted that the turret had to be traversed manually by hand. Its place was to be taken by 200-litre fuel tank after the production started in July of 1944. This increased the fuel capacity to 680 litres, increasing the combat range to over 300km. It is interesting to point out that German designers decided to increase the fuel capacity at the time when German Armed Forces faced serious fuel shortage problems. Problems were encountered with new fuel tanks and installations started in September of 1944. As the production continued, more modifications were made including: deletion of turret visor and pistol ports, installation of Pilze 2-ton crane mount sockets, introduction of Flammentoeter mufflers, conversion from plate Schurzen to wire-mesh Thoma type, reduction to 3 return rollers per side, installation of Naehverteidigungswaffe close defence system and ceasing application of Zimmerit paste. In addition to new modifications, numerous changes made to Ausf G and H were also applied to Ausf J.

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J tanks just like Ausf H were issued to Panzer Regiments in Panzer Divisions and were used in that role to the end of the war.

Ausf H and/or J tank turrets were also used on armoured trains including Panzerjager-Triebwagen 51, 52 and 53 anti-tank rail cars.  Some cars were equipped with a single turret, while in 1944, armored car with two turrets was produced in small numbers.  In 1945, some battle damaged Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks without their running gear were placed on rail flat cars and used as part of armored trains on the Oder front. 

From March to September of 1944, some 80 Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H and 17 Ausf J were converted to Panzerbefehlswagen (IV) mit 7.5cm KwK L/48 medium command tanks. The vehicle received additional radio equipment – Fu 5 and Fu 7 (for communication with Luftwaffe) or Fu 8 (for communication with ground units). Vehicles received a designation Sd.Kfz.267 if equipped with Fu 8 and Sd.Kfz.268 if with Fu 7. In all versions, loader served as a second radio-operator. Plans were made to outfit all Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks with additional antennas so that they could be easily converted into command vehicles by the troops in the field. They were issued to panzer units equipped with Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks.

From July of 1944 to March of 1945, other 90 Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J tanks were converted to Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV medium observation tanks. They received additional radio equipment to communicate with Hummel batteries. Also additional, optic equipment in a form of periscope for the commander.

The interesting fact is that in 1938, work began on the vehicles, which were to replace newly introduced Panzerkampfwagen III and Panzerkampfwagen IV.In 1939, Krupp was awarded contract for a new tank, which was to replace Panzerkampfwagen IV – VK 2001 (IV). New design attempted to utilize components of existing and plannedvehicles. Development continued and in 1939, VK 2001 (IV), became VK 2001 (BW) and eventually BW 40, only to be stopped in mid-1940. Krupp continued development with VK 2001(K) armed with 50mm KwK L/42 gun. At the same time, MAN and Daimler-Benz began work on their designs – VK 2002(M) and later VK 2401(M). This resulted in VK 2301(K), which utilized the basic design by Krupp with mechanical components developed by MAN. The new series evolved into light VK 2001(K) and heavier VK 2002(K) and VK 2301(K). Work on all new vehicles was stopped in December of 1941 and all efforts were focused on the development of a heavier tank – Panther.

Panzer IV Ausf E
Panzer IV Ausf E

Brand new Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf E.

Only 211 Panzerkampfwagen IV (Ausf A/B/C) were produced as of September 30th of 1939, but right away they became the workhorses of Panzer Divisions. Conceived by General Heinz Guderian (1930 – Medium Tank design / Begleitwagen – escort vehicle) himself as a heavy support tank for Panzerkampfwagen III units, the Panzerkampfwagen IV’s production was slow but when it appeared it soon proved to be a formidable weapon. Panzerkampfwagen IV’s development was partially based on lessons learned from Panzerkampfwagen III and other previous projects. Modifications were carried over the years (such as the design of the hull), updating the vehicle to the needs of the front and many were modified by their crews during service.

Since mid 1943, Panzerkampfwagen IVs were mounted with Schurzen (side and turret skirts). Older variants which returned for repairs were up-armored, rearmed and updatedto standards at the time, creating completely non-standard variants. Others were given to NSKK (National Socialist Vehicle Corps) for training purposes along with small number fitted with plow/dozer blades.

During early stages of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Panzerkampfwagen IVs were equipped with single-axle trailers carrying two barrels of fuel in order to increase their radius of operation. Since the Fall of 1942, Panzer IVs serving in Russia, were equipped with wider "winter tracks" (Winterketten) and since the Spring of 1944, with even wider "eastern tracks" (Ostketten).

During the Normandy campaign in the Caen area, some late model PzKpfw IVs (e.g. 21st Panzer Division) were dug in only with their turrets showing. Such obstacles were hard to detect and destroy, while they took heavy took on the approaching Allied armor.

Gun Type:

Soviet 76.2mm F-34 L/41.5

German 75mm KwK 40 L/48

American 75mm M3 L/37.5

Weight (kg):

1155

750

405.4

Ammunition:

OF-350

HE

BR-350A

AP

BR-354P

AP Subcaliber

SprGr 39

HE

PzGr 39

AP

PzGr 40

AP Subcaliber

M 48

HE

M72

AP

Weight (kg):

6.23

6.50

3.05

5.72

6.80

4.10

6.67

6.32

Muzzle Velocity (m/s):

680

662

950

590

790

1060

464

619

Penetration at 90 degrees (mm):

500m

-

71

100

-

114

143

-

66

1000m

-

51

51

-

85

97

-

60

2000m

-

40

-

-

64

-

-

50

One of the most interesting conversions was Panzerkampfwagen IV als Tauchpanzer – submersible tank especially prepared for the never realized invasion of England (Operation Seelowe/Sealion). From July to October of 1940, 42 Ausf Ds were converted into submersible tanks able to travel on the bottom of body of water at the depths of 6 to 15 meters. Along with Ausf D tanks, 160 Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf F/G/H and 8 Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf E were converted as well. They saw limited service with the 18th Panzer Division’s 18th Panzer Regiment in June of 1941 in the invasion of Soviet Union.

Panzer IV Ausf H
Panzer IV Ausf H

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H with armor skirts.
(Late Production Model)

Panzerkampfwagen IV also became a base for special purpose vehicles.From February to May of 1940, 20 Ausf C/Ds were converted by Krupp to bridge layers – Bruckenleger IVb. 16 vehicles were mounted with bridging equipment by Magirus and 4 by Krupp. They saw service in Belgium and France in 1940 with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 10th Panzer Division. In late 1940, most were converted back to regular battle tanks.In January of 1941, Krupp completed 4 newer Bruckenleger IVc bridge layers. They saw service in 1941 in Russia with 3rd Panzer Division.

At the same time Infanterie Sturmsteg auf PzKpfw IV (Bruckenleger IV s / Sturmstegpanzer) – infantry assault (56m long) bridge mounted on Panzer IV Ausf C was produced. Only 4 were made and saw service in France in 1940 and in Russia in 1941 with 3rd Panzer Division. The bridging equipment worked in a similar fashion as firefighting equipment.Also single Panzer IV Ausf C was fitted with experimental mine rollers but it did not enter production.

Bruckenleger IVc
Bruckenleger IVc

Bruckenleger IVc with bridging equipment by Krupp.

Panzerkampfwagen IV was also converted to Bergepanzer IV (recovery vehicle) and from October to December of 1944 (or even March of 1945), some 36 were manufactured by rebuilding various battle damaged models. Another interesting conversion based on Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F’s chassis and components was Panzerfahre – lightly armored amphibious ferry with only 2 prototypes tested in mid 1942.  Panzerfahre was to be able to operate in combat conditions on both land and in the water as a supply / recovery / transport vehicle. It was to be the replacement for the unarmored Landwasserschlepper (LWS) Land-Water-Tractor, which was also produced in limited numbers.

In preparation for the planned Invasion of Malta in March of 1942, 12 PzKpfw IVs with 80mm frontal plate were requested and produced.

Panzerkampfwagen IV’s chassis/components became a base for many conversions and prototypes such as the Heuschrecke – Waffentrager (weapon carrier) series, Nashorn, Hummel and many other.

Later in the war, Germany’s fuel shortages forced them to adopt various means to test vehicles after completion and to train new crews. Some vehicles were powered by bottled (liquid) gas while other by wood burning generators. None of those vehicles were used in combat and were only used to train new panzer crews. Plans were also made that since June of 1945, Panzer IVs would be powered by Tatra 103, 12 cylinder, and air-cooled diesel engine. During the war, designers continued working on the development of new running-gear for Panzer IV, but changes never took place.

PzKpfw IV Ausf H
PzKpfw IV Ausf H

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H
mounted with Soviet T-34′s tracks for additional protection.

Planners also tried to improve Panzerkampfwagen IV’s fire power by mounting two 75mm (Rucklauflos Kanone 43) recoilless rifles together with 20/30mm (30mm MK 103) automatic target indicator gun in a modified turret. Although this very modern project never reached a production stage and ended up as a wooden prototype. Trials were carried by experimentally mounting Panzer IV with various guns such as 50mm KwK 39/Pak 38 L/60 (Ausf D) in 1941/42 or 75mm KwK 42 L/70 (Ausf F2 or H). In November of 1944, interesting concept was proposed by Krupp to mount Panzer IV Ausf H with Panther Ausf F‘s new narrow turret (mounted with 75mm KwK 42 or 44/1 L/70 gun), but it was rejected since it would overburden the chassis. In addition, in 1944, Krupp designed simplified six sided turret (Vereinfachter Turm fuer PzKpfw IV) with cupola and three simple hatches but it was not approved.

It was also planned to arm Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf C/D/E with four 280mm or 300mm rocket projectors mounted in a special turret, which replaced the standard one. Turret consisted of forward mounted cabin with machine gun and rear mounted hydraulically operated launching frame. Single prototype was produced and tested although full-scale production did not take place. It was designated as Raketenwerfer auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV.

PzKpfw IV Ausf H with Panther Ausf F's new narrow turret
PzKpfw IV Ausf H with Panther Ausf F's new narrow turret

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H with Panther Ausf F’s new narrow turret.

In January of 1944, concept of creating a hybrid Panzerkampfwagen based on a standard chassis using components of Panzerkampfwagen III and IV was brought back to the drawings boards. New vehicle was designated as Panzerkampfwagen auf Einheitsfahrgestell III/IV Ausf A – standard chassis. Mechanical components came from both PzKpfw III and IV, suspension used PzKpfw IV components but was composed of six roadwheels paired on leaf springs, improved sloped armor, while turret used was to be the one from PzKpfw IV Ausf J. The new chassis was also to be a base for leichter Panzer Jaeger – Panzer IV Lang (E), which used the superstructure of Jagdpanzer IV armed with75mm PaK 42 L/70 gun. Decision to start production at Krupp-Gruson in February of 1945 was made in June of 1944, but entire project was cancelled in July of 1944 with theexception of Panzer Jaeger mit L/70.

In 1943, it was to decided to stop the production of Panzerkampfwagen IV in the fall of 1944, and since it served as base for numerous conversions, replacement was planned.In June 1943, Guderian envisioned new vehicle – Mehrzweckpanzer (multipurpose tank) to be used as a reconnaissance tank, artillery observation tank, anti-aircraft tank, light tankdestroyer, light selfpropelled carriage as well as other specialized vehicles. New vehicle was to be designed by Krupp and was designated as VK 2801. Plans were made thatthe production of this 28 ton new vehicle was to start in April of 1945, but in October of 1943, entire project was cancelled and production of Panzerkampfwagen IV continued.In June of 1943, Krupp proposed Mehrzweckpanzer mit Vierling 2cm VK 2801 anti-aircraft tank armed with quad 20mm Flak guns, but it also remained only a project.

Soviet PzKpfw IV Ausf H
Soviet PzKpfw IV Ausf H

Captured Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H in service with the Red Army.
Photo provided by Dmitry Pyatakhin.

Panzerkampfwagen IV Main VariantsPanzerkampfwagen IV (Short – Kurz) Sd.Kfz.161 – October 1937-March 1942

  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf A – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf B – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf C – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf D – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf E – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,
  • Panzerkampfwagen Ausf F1 – 75mm KwK 37 L/24,

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Long – Lang) Sd.Kfz.161/1 – March 1942-March 1943

  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F2 – 75mm KwK 40 L/43,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G – 75mm KwK 40 L/43 (early),

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Long – Lang) Sd.Kfz.161/2 – March 1943-March 1945

  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G – 75mm KwK 40 L/48 (late),
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H – 75mm KwK 40 L/48
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J – 75mm KwK 40 L/48
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J – Panzerbefehlswagen / Panzerbeobachtungswagen – Command Tank / Observation Tank

Panzerkampfwagen IV in Action !On February 7th of 1944, few remaining Panzer IV tanks from the 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking" spearheaded the attempt to breakout from the Cherkassy Pocket against largely superior Soviet force. During the breakout, SS-Untersturmfuehrer Kurt Schumacher commanded two Panzer IVs, which counterattacked a Soviet tank company destroying in the process some 8 T-34 tanks.On the next day, Schumacher alone engaged another Soviet tank company and during both actions destroyed some 21 Soviet AFVs.For his achievement, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross.

On the afternoon of June 11th of 1944, the 8th Company of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment (12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend")counterattacked the attempt by Canadian 6th Armored Regiment (along with support units) to capture the area of Le Mesnil-Patry. The 12th SS Panzer Regiment commanded by SS-Obersturmfuehrer Hans Siegel destroyed some 37 Shermans, while losing 2 Panzer IVs and forcing Canadians to retreat.

SS-Unterscharfuehrer Willy Kretzschmar, who commanded Panzer IV of the 5th Company of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment (12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend") destroyed some 15 Allied tanks during the Normandy battles, including the heavy fighting at Caen area. Models Ausf A to E were produced exclusively by Krupp, while all the later models with exceptions of Ausf J produced by Nibelungenwerke, were produced by Krupp, Nibelungenwerke and Vomag.From October of 1937 to May of 1945, approximately 8600 Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks (armed with long and short barrel guns) were produced (10 different variants). Panzerkampfwagen IV became the main tank of the German Panzertruppen in World War II and fought on every front. It was regarded with high respect by its crews and the enemies.

Panzer IV Ausf D with 75mm L/43
Panzer IV Ausf D with 75mm L/43

Upgraded Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf D
mounted with 75mm L/43 gun and additional armor plates. This photo shows vehicle in Bovington Tank Museum.

During the war, Panzer IV was exported and used by Hungarian (52), Romanian (100), Bulgarian (46), Finnish (15), Spanish (20) and Croatian armored formations. In 1943, small number of Ausf G tanks was sold to Turkey.From 1941 to 1943, Russians captured large numbers of PzKpfw III, Sturmgeschutz III and PzKpfw IV. Some were pressed into temporary service (e.g. being used as "Trojan Horses" or as "bait") , while some were converted to assault guns designated SU-76i and SG-122A.

"It is suggested to the Red Army to use such German tanks as StuG III and Pz IV due to their relability and availability of spare parts. The new German Panther and Tiger can be used until they broken down without trying to repair them. They have bad engines, transmission and suspension." – Department of Weaponry of the Red Army, late 1944.

After 1945, some were still in use by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Finland, Egypt, Spain, Syria, Jordan and Turkey (20-22?) as late as 1967.

In 1949/50, Finns converted their Panzer IV(s) into (unsuccessful) mineclearing vehicles and from 1951 until September of 1962, used them for training purposes.

In 1950/60s, number of Panzer IV Ausf H sold to Syria by USSR, France, Czechoslovakia and Spain (17) was still used by Syrian Army during Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1966/1967.

Syrian PzKpfw IV Ausf H at Latrun
Syrian PzKpfw IV Ausf H at Latrun

Syrians supposedly sold few of their PzKpfw IVs to Cubans before the overthrow of Batista by Castro in 1958, but it is unconfirmed. Few of Syrian PzKpfw IVs were captured by Israelis at the Golan Heights (dug in as bunkers) and one is on display at the Museum of Armored Forces at Latrun, Israel.

Left: Syrian PzKpfw IV Ausf H at Latrun.

Panzerkampfwagen IV was the most numerous German tank of World War II, but its production in comparison to the Soviet T-34 or American M4 Sherman was very limited. The main drawback of Panzerkampfwagen IV was its not well sloped armor along with overall low speed for its size, but eventhough it proved to be a versatile and reliable tank.

Since the beginning of the war, Panzerkampfwagen IV became tactically the most important German tank of World War II that saw service until 1967.

Syrian Panzerkampfwagen IV in USA

PzKpfw IV Ausf H
PzKpfw IV Ausf H

It is believed that this Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H/J (hybrid) was captured by the Russian Mongols of the Red Army in Czechoslovakia and then it was eventually sold to Syria by Czechoslovakia. In 1967, it was captured by the Israelis at the Golan Heights and eventually put on display in the museum in Latrum along with Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G and other PzKpfw IV Ausf H. It was then traded to the Mattituck American Armoured Museum on Long Island for an other vehicle (Stuart) in the museum’s collection.

Picture and information provided by Steve Gabrielli.

Specifications

Model: Ausf D
(up-armored)
Ausf G
Weight: 20000kg 23500kg
Crew: 5 men 5 men
Engine: Maybach HL 120 TRM / 12-cylinder / 300hp Maybach HL 120 TRM / 12-cylinder / 300hp
Speed: Road: 40km/h / Cross-Country: 20km/h Road: 40km/h / Cross-Country: 20km/h
Range: Road: 200km / Cross-Country: 130km Road: 210km / Cross-Country: 130km
Fuel Capacity: 470 litres 470 litres
Lenght: 5.92m (w/o the gun)
5.92m (with the gun)
6.63m (with the gun)
Width: 2.84m 2.88m w/o Schurzen
3.33m with Schurzen
Height: 2.68m 2.68m
Armament: 75mm KwK 37 L/24
2 x 7.92mm MG34
(1 x MG – hull)
(1 x MG – coax)
75mm KwK 40 L/43
2 x 7.92mm MG34
(1 x MG – hull)
(1 x MG – coax)
Ammo: 75mm – 80 rounds
7.92mm – 2700 rounds
75mm – 87 rounds
7.92mm – 2250 rounds
Armor (mm/angle): Front Turret: 30/10
Front Upper Hull: 30/7
Front Lower Hull: 30/12
Side Turret: 20/25
Side Upper Hull: 20/0
Side Lower Hull: 20/0
Rear Turret: 20/0
Rear Upper Hull: 20/9
Rear Lower Hull: 20/10
Turret Top / Bottom: 10/83
Upper Hull Top / Bottom: 12/84
Lower Hull Top / Bottom: 10/90
Gun Mantlet: 35/0
Front Turret: 50/11
Front Upper Hull: 50 or 50+30/10
Front Lower Hull: 50 or 50+30/12
Side Turret: 30/26
Side Upper Hull: 30/0
Side Lower Hull: 30/0
Rear Turret: 30/10
Rear Upper Hull: 20/12
Rear Lower Hull: 20/9
Turret Top / Bottom: 10/83
Upper Hull Top / Bottom: 12/85
Lower Hull Top / Bottom: 10/90
Gun Mantlet: 50/0

 

75mm KwK 40 L/43
Penetration of Armor Plate at 30 degrees from Vertical.
Ammunition: 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
Panzergranate 39 98mm 91mm 82mm 72mm 63mm
Panzergranate 40 126mm 108mm 87mm 69mm 0mm
 
 
Pzgr.39 (APCBC) – Armor Piercing Composite Ballistic Cap
Pzgr.40 (APCR) – Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (Tungsten Core)

 

75mm KwK 40 L/48
Penetration of Armor Plate at 30 degrees from Vertical.
Ammunition: 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
Panzergranate 39 106mm 96mm 85mm 74mm 64mm
Panzergranate 40 143mm 120mm 97mm 77mm 0mm
 
 
Pzgr.39 (APCBC) – Armor Piercing Composite Ballistic Cap
Pzgr.40 (APCR) – Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (Tungsten Core)

Conversions
Flakpanzers (Air Defense): 

 

 

  • Mobelwagen- Sd. Kfz. 161/3,
  • Wirbelwind,
  • Ostwind,
    Panzerjagers/Sturmpanzers (Tank Destroyers and Assault Guns):
  • Hornisse/Nashorn – Sd.Kfz. 164,
  • Hummel – Sd. Kfz. 165,
  • Jagdpanzer IV – Sd. Kfz. 162 / 162/1,
  • Sturmgeschutz IV – Sd. Kfz. 163 / 167,
  • Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar – Sd. Kfz. 166,
    Prototypes/Projects:
  • Geschutzwagen IV (Sd. Kfz. 165/1) – 105mm L/28 howitzer carrier,
  • Geschutzwagen IV (Sd. Kfz. 165/1) – 75mm Pak 39 L/48 gun carrier,
  • Geschutzwagen IV – 105mm L/28 howitzer carrier – (Rh) prototype,
  • Heuschrecke 10 / Gw IVb – 105mm L/28 – 3 prototypes built,
  • Panzerjager 105 – 105mm K18 L/52 gun – 2 prototypes built,
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV mit hydrostatischen Antrieb,
  • Ostwind II,
  • Zerstorer 45,
  • Kugelblitz,
  • Panzer IV with 2 x 75mm rifles and 20/30mm target gun (planned),
  • PzKpfw IV Ausf C/D/E mounted with rocket projectors (experimental),
  • PzKpfw IV Ausf F2/H mit 75mm KwK 42 L/70 (experimental),
  • PzKpfw IV Ausf D mit 50mm KwK 39 L/60 (experimental),
  • Panzer IV Ausf H with Schmalturm turret (project),
  • Sturmpanzer IV – 305mm Morser M 16 carrier (planned),
  • PzKpfw IV Ausf C mit Minenrollern – PzKpfw IV with mine roller,
    Other:
  • Panzerbefehlswagen IV Ausf H/J – command tank,
  • Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV Ausf J – observation vehicle,
  • Munitionspanzerwagen IV – ammunition carrier,
  • Panzer IV Ausf D (75mm L/24 gun) – submersible tank,
  • Bruckenleger IV – bridging vehicle Ausf C/D,
  • Infanterie Sturmsteg auf PzKpfw IV – assault bridge,
  • Panzerfahre – amphibious armored ferry,
  • Munitionsschlepper fur Karlgerat – Ausf D/F – ammo carrier,
  • Bergepanzer IV – recovery vehicle,
  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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