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Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J

Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J

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Revision as of 13:12, 12 August 2011

PzKpfw III

Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. H
Germany Medium Tank Tier IV
Cost 182,500  Credits
Health 310 / 350 (new turret)
Weight/Load Limit 18.05/19.25t
Engine Power 320hp
Speed Limit 64km/h
Traverse Speed 40deg/s
Hull Armor 70/30/50mm
Turret Armor50/30/30mm
Damage 24-40HP
Penetration 26-43mm
Rate of Fire 30r/m
Accuracy 0.4m
Aim time 1.5s
Turret Traverse 53deg/s
Gun Traverse Arc gunTraverseArc
Gun Vertical Limits gunVerticalLimits
Ammo Capacity ammo
Chance of Fire 20%
View Range 380m
Signal Range 350m
Parent Contour-noImage.png
Child Contour-noImage.png
Values Are Stock // Top

The tier 4 PzKpfw III is one of the best scouts in the German tech tree, and challenges the Leopard. The PzIII has slightly more maneuverality than the Leopard, potentially more firepower, thicker (but unsloped) armor, and more matches against lower tier tanks. The PzKpfw III has two possible main guns to choose from, the howitzer-like 7.5cm and a higher penetration 5cm gun, each oriented towards differents battlefield.

The 7.5cm howitzer is able to damage higher tier tanks, but is not as effective against lower tier tanks as the 5cm gun. The main reasons for this are that the 7.5cm gun works best firing HE shells (thus giving it the ability to damage every tank) at a lower rate of fire and the 5cm gun best deals damage through AP shells at a higher rate. The 7.5cm deals more damage per shell, however the 5cm does more total damage per minute due to rate of fire.

Research along the PzKpfw III tree leads to the PzKpfw IV Medium Tank.


3.7 cm KwK 36 L/46.5
00001 000 1 000 Credits.png
0100 100(kg)
2 cm Flak 38 L/112
00003 160 3 160 Credits.png
0110 110(kg)
5 cm KwK 38 L/42
00006 970 6 970 Credits.png
0700 700(kg)
5 cm KwK 39 L/60
00008 570 8 570 Credits.png
0700 700(kg)
7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24
00010 450 10 450 Credits.png
0780 780(kg)

PzKpfw-III-Turm Ausf. E
0050 50/30/30(mm)
0053 53(d/s)
0380 380(m)
00002 290 2 290 Credits.png
2 200 2 200(kg)
PzKpfw-III-Turm Ausf. M
0070 70/30/30(mm)
0050 50(d/s)
0360 360(m)
00005 000 5 000 Credits.png
3 200 3 200(kg)

Maybach HL 108 TR
0320 320(h.p.)
020 20%
00009 460 9 460 Credits.png
0450 450(kg)
Maybach HL 120 TR
0350 350(h.p.)
020 20%
00010 430 10 430 Credits.png
0465 465(kg)
MMaybach HL 120 TRM
0440 440(h.p.)
020 20%
00013 940 13 940 Credits.png
0510 510(kg)

PzKpfw-III-ketten Ausf. J
19.25 19.25(t)
040 40(d/s)
00001 900 1 900 Credits.png
7 000 7 000(kg)
22.65 22.65(t)
045 45(d/s)
00004 650 4 650 Credits.png
7 000 7 000(kg)

FuG 5
0350 350(m)
000000630 630 Credits.png
0050 50(kg)
FuG 7
0470 470(m)
00008 160 8 160 Credits.png
0070 70(kg)
FuG 12
0810 810(m)
00043 200 43 200 Credits.png
0150 150(kg)

Historical Info

PzKpfw III Ausf M, display at Deutsches Panzermuseum

Following specifications laid down by Heinz Guderian in 1934, the Army Weapons Department drew up plans for a medium tank with a maximum weight of 24,000 kg and a top speed of 35 kilometers per hour (21.75 mph). It was intended to be the main tank of the German Panzer divisions, capable of engaging and destroying opposing tank forces. Daimler-Benz, Krupp, MAN, and Rheinmetall all produced prototypes. Testing of the prototypes took place in 1936 and 1937, leading to the Daimler-Benz design being chosen for production. The first model of the Panzer III, the Ausf. A, came off the assembly line in May 1937, while mass production of the Ausf. F version began in 1939. Much of the early development work on the Panzer III was a quest for a suitable suspension. Several varieties of leaf-spring suspensions were tried on Ausf. A through Ausf. D before the torsion-bar suspension of the Ausf. E was standardized. The Panzer III, along with the Soviet KV heavy tank, was one of the first tanks to use this suspension design.

A distinct feature of the Panzer III was its three-man turret. This meant the commander was not distracted with neither the loader's or gunner's tasks and could fully concentrate on maintaining situational awareness. Other tanks of the time did not have this capability, providing the Panzer III with a potential combat advantage.
PzKpfw III Panzerbefehlswagen (command tank) III ausf E or F somewhere in Greece 1940. Fitted with a 37 mm gun and two coaxial machine guns
For example, the French Somua S-35 had a one-man turret crew, while the original Soviet T-34 featured a two-men turret. Also, the Panzer III, as opposed to the Panzer IV, had no turret basket, merely a foot rest platform for the gunner.

The Panzer III was intended as the primary battle tank of the German forces. However, when it initially met KV and T-34 tanks, it proved to be inferior in both armor and gun power. To meet the growing need to counter these tanks, the Panzer III was up-gunned with a longer and more powerful 50-millimeter cannon and received more armor, although this failed to effectively address the problem caused by the KV tank-designs. As a result, production of self-propelled guns, as well as the up-gunning of the Panzer IV, was initiated.

In 1942, the final version of the Panzer III, the Ausf. N, was created with a 75-millimeter KwK 37 L/24 cannon: a low-velocity gun designed for anti-infantry and close-support work. For defensive purposes, the Ausf. N was equipped with HEAT ammunition which could penetrate 70 to 100 millimeters of armor, but these were strictly used for self-defense as this variant of the tank was not intended for an anti-tank role.

Starting with the Ausführung E., from December 1938 through February 1943, a total of 4,958 tanks and 321 commander's vehicles were produced.

Armour and Mobility


The Panzer III Ausf. A through C had 15 millimeters of homogeneous steel armor on all sides with 10 millimeters on the top and 5 millimeters on the bottom. This was quickly determined to be insufficient, and was upgraded to 30 millimeters on the front, sides, and rear in the Ausf. D, E, F, and G models, with the H model having a second 30-millimeter layer of face-hardened steel applied to the front and rear hull. The Ausf. J model had a solid 50-millimeter (1.97 in) plate on the front and rear, while the Ausf. J¹, L, and M models had an additional layer of 20 millimeters (0.79 in) of armor on the front hull and turret. This additional frontal armor gave the Panzer III frontal protection from most British and Soviet anti-tank guns at all but close ranges. The sides were still vulnerable to many enemy weapons, including anti-tank rifles at close ranges. The Panzer III Ausf. A through C were powered by a 250 horsepower (183.87 kW) 12-cylinder Maybach HL 108 TR engine, giving a top speed of 32 kilometers per hour (19.88 mph), and a range of 150 kilometers (93.21 mi). All later models were powered by the 300 horsepower (220.65 kW) 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM engine. Top speed varied, depending on the transmission and weight, but was around 40 kilometers per-hour. The range was generally around 155 kilometers.


PzKpfw III Ausf M somewhere in southern USSR 1943. Note the armor skirts on the sides and turret.

The Panzer III was intended to fight other tanks: in the initial design stage, a 50-millimeter cannon was specified. However, the infantry at the time were being equipped with the 37-millimeter PaK 36, and it was thought that in the interest of standardization, the tanks should carry the same armament. As a compromise, the turret ring was made large enough to accommodate a 50-millimeter cannon, should a future upgrade be required. This single decision would later assure the Panzer III a prolonged life in the German army. The Ausf. A to early Ausf. F were equipped with a 3.7 cm KwK 36 L/46.5, which proved adequate during the campaigns of 1939 and 1940. The later Ausf. F to Ausf. J were upgraded with the 5 cm KwK 38 L/42, and the Ausf. J to M with the longer 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 cannon in response to increasingly better armed and armored opponents. By 1942, the Panzer IV was becoming Germany's main medium tank because of its better upgrade potential. The Panzer III remained in production as a close support vehicle. The Ausf. N model mounted a low-velocity 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 cannon: the same used by the early Panzer IV Ausf. A to Ausf. F models. These guns had originally been fitted to older Panzer IV Ausf A to F1 models, and had been placed into storage when those tanks had also been up-armed to longer versions of the 75mm gun. All early models up to and including the Ausf. F had two 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns mounted coaxially with the main gun, and a similar weapon in a hull mount. Models from the Ausf. G and later had a single coaxial MG34 and the hull MG34.

Combat history

PzKpfw III ausf g(tp) during the North African campaign.jpg

The Panzer III was extensively used in the campaigns against Poland, France, the Soviet Union, and in North Africa, while a handful were still in use in Normandy and at Arnhem in 1944.

In the Polish and French campaigns, the Panzer III formed a small part of the German armored forces. Only a few hundred Ausf. A through Fs were available in these campaigns: most armed with the 37-millimeter gun. They were the best medium tanks available to the Germans and outclassed most of their opponents such as the Polish 7TP and French R-35 and H-35 light tanks.

PzKpfw III Ausf G captured by the British in North Africa (1941).jpg

Prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Panzer III was numerically the most important German tank. At this time, the majority of the available tanks had the 50 millimeter KwK 38 L/42 cannon, which also equipped the majority of the tanks in North Africa. Initially, the Panzer IIIs were outclassed and outnumbered by Soviet T-34 and KV tanks. However, the most numerous Soviet tanks were the T-26 and BT tanks. This, along with superior German tactical skill, crew training, and the good ergonomics of the Panzer III, all contributed to a rough 6:1 favorable kill-ratio for German tanks of all types in 1941. With the appearance of T-34 and KV tanks, re-arming the Panzer III with a longer, more powerful 50-millimeter cannon was prioritized. The T-34 was generally invulnerable in frontal engagements with the Panzer III until the 50 mm KwK 39 L/60 gun was introduced on the Panzer III Ausf. J¹ in the spring of 1942.

This could penetrate the T-34 frontally at ranges under 500 metres. Against the KV, it was a threat if armed with special high-velocity tungsten rounds. In addition, to counter anti-tank rifles, in 1943 the Ausf. L version began the use of spaced armour skirts around the turret and on the hull sides. However, due to the introduction of the up-gunned and up-armoured Panzer IV, the Panzer III was, after the Battle of Kursk, relegated to secondary roles and replaced as the main German medium tank by the Panzer IV and the Panther.

The Panzer III chassis was the basis for the turretless Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun, one of the most successful self-propelled guns of the war, and the single most-produced German armored fighting vehicle design of World War II.

By the end of the war, the Pz.III had almost no frontline use and many had been returned to the factories for conversion into StuG assault guns: in high demand due to the defensive warfare style adopted by the German Army by then.

German Tanks
Light Tanks Leichttraktor  • Pz.Kpfw. 35 (t)  • Pz.Kpfw. 38H 735 (f)  • Pz.Kpfw. I  • Pz.Kpfw. II  • Pz.Kpfw. 38 (t)  • Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf. C  • Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. G • Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J  • Pz.Kpfw. II Luchs  • Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. A  • T-15  • Pz.Kpfw. 38 (t) n.A.  • VK 16.02 Leopard  • VK 28.01  • Aufklärungspanzer Panther
Medium Tanks Pz.Kpfw. S35 739 (f)  • VK 20.01 (D)  • Pz.Kpfw. III  • Pz.Kpfw. III/IV  • Pz.Kpfw. IV  • T-25  • Pz.Kpfw. IV Hydraulic  • VK 30.01 (D)  • VK 30.01 (P)  • VK 30.02 (M)  • Pz.Kpfw. IV Schmalturm  • Pz.Kpfw. V/IV  • Pz.Kpfw. V/IV Alpha  • VK 30.02 (D)  • Pz.Kpfw. V Panther  • Panther/M10  • Indien-Panzer  • Panther II  • Leopard prototyp A  • E-50  • Leopard 1  • E-50 Ausf. M
Heavy Tanks Pz.Kpfw. B2 740 (f)  • Durchbruchswagen 2  • VK 30.01 (H)  • VK 36.01 (H)  • Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger  • Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger (P)  • Löwe  • Pz.Kpfw. Tiger II  • VK 45.02 (P) Ausf. A  • E-75  • VK 45.02 (P) Ausf. B  • E-100  • Maus
Tank Destroyers Panzerjäger I  • Marder II  • Hetzer  • Marder 38T  • StuG III  • Pz.Sfl. IVc  • Dicker Max  • JagdPz IV  • Nashorn  • E-25  • Jagdpanther  • Pz.Sfl. V  • 8,8 cm PaK 43 Jagdtiger  • Ferdinand  • Jagdpanther II  • Rhm.-Borsig Waffenträger  • Jagdtiger  • Waffenträger auf Pz. IV  • JagdPz E-100  • Waffenträger auf E 100
Self-Propelled Guns G.Pz. Mk. VI (e)  • Sturmpanzer I Bison  • Wespe  • Sturmpanzer II  • Pz.Sfl. IVb  • Grille  • Hummel  • G.W. Panther  • G.W. Tiger (P)  • G.W. Tiger  • G.W. E 100

Medium Tanks
USA II T2 Medium Tank  • III M2 Medium Tank  • IV T6 Medium  • IV M3 Lee  • V M4 Improved  Gold  • V M4A2E4 Sherman  Gold  • V M4A1 Sherman  • V Ram II  Gold  • VI M4A3E8 Fury  Gold  • VI M4A3E8 Thunderbolt VII  Gold  • VI M4A3E8 Sherman  • VI M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo  • VII T26E3 Eagle 7  Gold  • VII T20  • VII T23E3  Gold  • VIII T25 Pilot Number 1  Gold  • VIII TL-1 LPC  Gold  • VIII T77  Gold  • VIII M46 Patton KR  Gold  • VIII M26 Pershing  • VIII T26E4 SuperPershing  Gold  • VIII T69  • VIII T95E2  Gold  • IX M46 Patton  • X M48A5 Patton  • X M60  Gold  • X T95E6  Gold
UK I Vickers Medium Mk. I  • II Vickers Medium Mk. II  • III Vickers Medium Mk. III  • IV Matilda  • IV Grant  • IV AC 1 Sentinel  Gold  • V Cavalier  • V Valiant  Gold  • V Sherman III  • V Matilda Black Prince  Gold  • VI Sherman Firefly  • VI Cromwell  • VI AC 4 Experimental  Gold  • VI Cromwell B  Gold  • VI Sherman VC Firefly  Gold  • VII Comet  • VIII Centurion Mk. I  • VIII FV4202  Gold  • VIII Chieftain/T95  Gold  • VIII Centurion Mk. 5/1 RAAC  Gold  • VIII Chimera  Gold  • IX Centurion Mk. 7/1  • X Centurion Action X
Germany III Großtraktor - Krupp  Gold  • III Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. A  • III Pz.Kpfw. S35 739 (f)  Gold  • IV Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J  • IV Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. D  • IV VK 20.01 (D)  • V Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. K  Gold  • V Turán III prototípus  Gold  • V Pz.Kpfw. III/IV  • V Pz.Kpfw. IV hydrostat.  Gold  • V Pz.Kpfw. V/IV  Gold  • V Pz.Kpfw. V/IV Alpha  Gold  • V Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H  • V Pz.Kpfw. T 25  Gold  • V VK 30.01 (H)  • VI Pz.Kpfw. IV Schmalturm  Gold  • VI VK 30.01 (D)  • VI VK 30.02 (M)  • VII Panther/M10  Gold  • VII Panther  • VII VK 30.02 (D)  • VIII Panther mit 8,8 cm L/71  Gold  • VIII Panzer 58  Gold  • VIII Schwarzpanzer 58  Gold  • VIII Panzer 58 Mutz  Gold  • VIII M48A2 Räumpanzer  Gold  • VIII Indien-Panzer  • VIII Panther II  • IX E 50  • IX T 55A  Gold  • IX Kampfpanzer 50 t  Gold  • IX Leopard Prototyp A  • X E 50 Ausf. M  • X Leopard 1
France III D2  • III Somua S35  • IV SARL 42  • V Renault G1  • VI Bretagne Panther  Gold  • VIII Bat.-Châtillon Bourrasque  Gold  • VIII Lorraine 40 t  Gold  • VIII AMX Chasseur de chars  Gold  • VIII M4A1 Revalorisé  Gold  • IX AMX 30 1er prototype  • IX Char Futur 4  Gold  • IX Bat.-Châtillon 25 t AP  • X Bat.-Châtillon 25 t  • X AMX 30 B
USSR III T-29  Gold  • IV A-32  Gold  • IV T-28E with F-30  Gold  • IV T-28  • V Matilda IV  Gold  • V T-34 shielded  Gold  • V T-34  • VI A-43  • VI T-34-85M  Gold  • VI T-34-85 Rudy  Gold  • VI Loza's M4-A2 Sherman  Gold  • VI T-34-85  • VII A-44  • VII KV-13  • VII T-43  • VII T-44-122  Gold  • VIII Object 416  • VIII T-54 first prototype  Gold  • VIII T-44-100 (B)  Gold  • VIII T-44-100 (K)  Gold  • VIII T-44-100 (R)  Gold  • VIII T-44-100 (U)  Gold  • VIII STG  Gold  • VIII STG Guard  Gold  • VIII T-44  • IX Object 430 Version II  • IX Object 430  • IX T-54  • X Object 140  • X Object 907  Gold  • X T-22 medium  Gold  • X K-91  • X Object 430U  • X T-62A
China V Type T-34  • VI Type 58  • VII T-34-1  • VIII Type 59  Gold  • VIII T-34-2  • VIII T-34-3  Gold  • VIII 59-Patton  Gold  • VIII Type 59 G  Gold  • IX WZ-120  • X 121  • X 121B  Gold
Japan II Chi-Ni  • II Type 89 I-Go/Chi-Ro  • IV Type 1 Chi-He  • V Type 3 Chi-Nu  • V Type 3 Chi-Nu Kai  Gold  • VI Type 4 Chi-To  • VII Type 5 Chi-Ri  • VIII STA-1  • VIII STA-2  Gold  • IX Type 61  • X STB-1
Czechoslovakia IV ST vz. 39  • V Škoda T 24  • VI Škoda T 40  Gold  • VI Škoda T 25  • VII Konštrukta T-34/100  • VIII TVP VTU Koncept  • VIII Škoda T 27  Gold  • IX Škoda T 50  • X TVP T 50/51
Sweden IV Lago  • V Strv m/42  • VI Strv m/42-57 Alt A.2  Gold  • VI Strv 74  • VII Leo  • VIII Strv 81  Gold  • VIII Primo Victoria  Gold  • VIII Lansen C  Gold  • VIII UDES 14 Alt 5  • IX UDES 16  • X UDES 15/16
Poland V 25TP KSUST II  • V DS PZInż  • VI Pudel  Gold  • VI 40TP Habicha  • VI T-34-85 Rudy  Gold  • VI B.U.G.I.  • VII CS-44  • VIII CS-52  Gold  • VIII CS-53  • IX CS-59  • X CS-63