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Panzer PzKpfw Mk IV

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                                                                                    Panzer Mk  IV History

Origins
The first orders for a design that was to become the PzKpfw IV were issued in 1934. Three firms built prototypes, but the Krupp submission, which was designated VK2001, was given the production contract in 1936. As things turned out the final production version was a combination of features from both the Krupp and Rheinmetall designs. The project intention was disguised by the appellation of 'battalionsfuhrerswagen' (battalion commander vehicle), and production began in 1937 after extensive trials.


                                                                                                Models
PzKpfw IV Ausf A
It is a tribute to the sound basic design of the PzKpfw IV that the first production vehicle was essentially the same basic vehicle as the last tank to roll off the production line. Between 1937 and 1945 the PzKpfw IV was fitted with more powerful guns and thicker armour but the suspension and drive systems remained unchanged. 35 Ausf A tanks were built and all were fitted with the short 7.5 cm gun that made the PzKpfw IV one of the most heavily armed tanks of its day.


PzKpfw IV Ausf B
This model differed from the Ausf A in detail only for example the cupola was revised and the hull front was simplified.

PzKpfw IV Ausf C More small design changes were added to produce the Ausf C, the most prominent of which was the addition of a sleeve to protect the turret machine-gun. The engine was also changed.

PzKpfw IV Ausf D In 1940 the Ausf D was introduced which incorporated for the first time the sloped roof to the hull front roof. Other changes were made to the track and a more powerful engine was installed.

PzKpfw IV Ausf E This model was intended as an interim model only, pending the production of the Ausf F. Extra armour was fitted and many details intended for the Ausf F were incorporated.

PzKpfw IV Ausf F The Ausf F was intended to be the main production variant of the PzKpfw IV but it was soon overtaken by events as the short L/24 gun was replaxed by an L/43 version. With this change the PzKpfw IV was no longer a support tank for other forces but it became an excellent fighting tank and was used as such from 1941 onwards, superceding the PzKpfw III. Later this version was redesignated the F1 as an even better gun was installed.

PzKpfw IV Ausf F2 The early Ausf F model fitted with the short L/24 gun was later retrofitted with the longer L/43 version, and in time with the later L/48 weapon. It was used in large numbers and saw service on all fronts, including the Western Desert.

PzKpfw IV Ausf G This model was basically the same as the Ausf F2 but had thicker armour. The Ausf G was the first model to be fitted with 'Scheutzen' side armour.

PzKpfw IV Ausf H With the introduction of the Ausf H in 1943, the PzKpfw IV took on a new lease of life, for it was fitted with the potent 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/48. With this gun the PzKpfw IV was able to take on almost any tank, and was thus able to retain its placing in the panzer divisions. Changes to help in speeding production were made and 'scheutzen' were standard.

PzKpfw IV Ausf J The Ausf J was the last production model and appeared in 1944. By that time many raw materials and processes were difficult to obtain, and this was visible in the use of wire mesh 'scheutzen' in place of the usual steel plates. Many other changes had to be made to simplify the design but it remained basically unchanged from earlier models.

As the PzKpfw IV was produced in larger numbers than any other German tank it is not surprising that it was much used for many other tasks apart from that of battle tank. The listing below can only mention the more common tasks that the PzKpfw IV chassis had to perform.


                                                                                                Variants

As the PzKpfw IV was produced in larger numbers than any other German tank it is not suprising that it was much used for many other tasks apart from that of battle tank. The listing below can only mention the more common tasks that the PzKpfw IV chassis had to perform.

Jagdpanzer IV Ausf F One of the most successful of all the PzKpfw IV variants was the Jagdpanzer IV. This was a conversion of a standard PzKpfw IV chassis to take a low fighting compartment with well-sloped armour. Armament was the 7.5 cm StuK L/48. This version had the SdKfz number 162 but a later variant with an L/70 gun became the SdKfz 162/1. This later variant was more cumbersome than the version with the L/48 gun and was more difficult to handle, but it was pressed into service as 'it was the Fuhrer's will'. A later variant still was the 'Zwischenlosung' which was the addition of a Jagdpanzer IV superstructure mounted direct onto a PzKpfw IV chassis. In all its forms the Jagdpanzer IV was " a formidable opponent and an effective tank-killer.

Sturmgeschutz IV (SdKfz 163) In 1943 some spare capacity was found which was able to turn out PzKpfw IV chassis, and this was utilised for a time in a strange conversion in which StuG III superstructures were added to the PzKpfw IV chassis. The result was the StuG IV which served alongside the StuG III. Many of these vehicles carried extra concrete armour.

Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar (Grizzly Bear) The German experiences in such cities as Stalingrad and Leningrad convinced the Germans that they needed a specialised vehicle for street fighting. They added a heavily armoured compartment to a PzKpfw III chassis and armed it with a 15 cm L/12 gun the result was the Brummbar. Ausf F, G, H and J vehicles were used and the Brummbar was produced in some numbers with several variations.

Panzerjager III/IV Nashorn or Hornisse (Rhinocerous or Hornet) (SdKfz 164) In 1942 the need for a heavy anti-tank gun was desperate and a typical German improvisation emerged in the shape of a PzKpfw IV chassis with PzKpfw III drives, mounting an 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 gun. The result was high and rather awkward but it worked and was produced in some numbers pending better equipment.

Flakpanzer IV There were several variations of Flakpanzer IVs. One mounted a four-barrel 20 mm Flak-vierling 38 on an open platform, another the same gun in an enclosed turret, and two others mounted a single 3.7 cm Flak 43 gun again, one on an open platform and the other in a turret. These vehicles, known as the Mobelwagen (Furniture Van), Ost-wind (East Wind) and Wirbelwind (Whirlwind), were used to give some form of anti-aircraft defence to armoured units.

Geschtitzwagen III/IV Hummel (Bumble Bee) (SdKfz 165) This was another PzKpfw III/IV vehicle, this time used to mount the 15 cm schwere Panzerfeldhaubitze 18/1 field piece. First produced in 1942, the Hummel was manufactured in large numbers.
On the Russian front many old PzKpfw IV tanks had their turrets removed and replaced by a flat platform or truck platform. They were then used as supply vehicles. Some were used as engineer vehicles carrying bridging equipment, and others were used as armoured recovery vehicles.
 

Technical Specification

Mk IV Variations & Plans

Plans

Mk IV Ausf E Mk IV Ausf H MK IV D MK IV Flackpanzer
Specifications Ausf C Ausf F2 Ausf J
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Weight 20 Tons 23.6 Tons 25 Tons
Max Road Speed 40  kph / 24.8 mph 40  kph / 24.8 mph 38 kph / 23.6 mph
Road range 200  km / 124 miles 200  km / 124 miles 300  km / 186 miles
Cross Country Range  130 km / 80.7 miles  130 km / 80.7 miles  180 km / 111.5 miles
Length Overall 5,870  mm / 231 inches 6,630 mm / 261 inches 7,020 mm / 276 inches
Width 2,850  mm / 112 inches 2,880  mm / 113.4 inches 3,290 mm / 129.5 inches
Height 2,590  mm /  102 inches 2,680 mm /  105.5 inches 2,680 mm /  105.5 inches
Engine 300 Horse power 300 Horse power 300 Horse power
Track Width 380  mm /  15 inches 400 mm /  15.75 inches 560 mm /  22 inches
Wheel base 2,620 mm / 103 inches 2,620 mm / 103 inches 2,620 mm / 103 inches
Armament 1

1 x 7.5 cm L/24

1 x 7.5 cm L/24

1 x 7.5 cm L/24

Armament 2 2 x 7.92 mm MG 2 x 7.92 mm MG 2 x 7.92 mm MG
Ammunition Carried 1 80 x 7.5 cm 87 x 7.5 cm 87 x 7.5 cm
Ammunition Carried 2 2,700 x 7.92 mm 3,150 x 7.92 mm 3,150 x 7.92 mm
Bow Armour  30 mm / 1.18 inches  30 + 30 mm / 1.18 + 1.18 inches  80 mm / 3.15inches
Side Armour 14.5  mm / 0.57 inches 20 + 20  mm / 0.78 + 0.78 inches 30 + 5  mm / 1.18 + 0.2 inches
Roof & Floor Armour 11  mm /  0.43 inches 11  mm /  0.43 inches 16 mm /  0.63 inches
Turret Armour 30 mm / 1.18 inches 50 mm / 1.97 inches 50 mm / 1.97 inches
Crew 5 5 5