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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's 1/ZW; Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf A; SdKfz 141 medium tank

Design

Built by Daimler-Benz. In May 1937, five of the PzKpfw III Ausf As became available and another ten weren't completed until the end of 1937. Eight of them received the 37 mm gun.

Turret

The turret was built by Rheinmetall-Borsig.

Suspension

The suspension had five large double bogie wheels on coil springs.

The drive sprocket was in front and the idler in the rear with two return rollers.

Armament

Gun Ammo Type Weight ° Penetration
500 yards / 457 m 1,000 yards / 914 m
37 mm KwK L/45 AP   30 2.8"
70 mm
1"
31 mm

The coaxial machine guns followed the aim of the main armament.

The radioman operated the hull machine gun.

Production

  • PzKpfw III Ausf A: 15
    • Production:
      • ? - May 1937: 5
      • June 1937 - December 1937: 10
    • Manufacturer: Daimler-Benz
    • Chassis Numbers: 60101 - 60110

The PzKpfw III series production figures.

Usage

Tested in Poland, but withdrawn in February 1940.

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf A
Crew Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator
5
Radio FuG5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 33,069 lb, 33,824 lb, 33,951 lb
14.76 tons, 15 tons, 15.1 tons, 15.4 tons
Length 18' 6", 18' 8", 18.9'
5.69 m, 5.8 m
Height 7' 7", 7' 8", 7' 9"
2.34 m, 2.36 m
Width 9' 2", 9' 3", 9.3'
2.81 m, 2.82 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.35 m, 0.38 m
Ground contact length 2.86 m
Ground pressure 15.3 psi
0.67 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm KwK 36 L/45
37 mm L/46.5
37 mm KwK L/46.5
37 mm
37 mm KwK L/45
Secondary  
MG 3: MGs
3: 7.92 mm MG34
MG - coaxial 2: MG
2: 7.92 mm MG34
2: 7.92 mm MG
Mg - hull MG
7.92 mm MG34
7.92 mm MG
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 150 Pzgr & Sprgr, 121, 150
Secondary  
MG 4,500, 4,500 Patr SmK
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 5 - 14.5, 10 - 14.5, 14.5, 15
Front: 15
Side: 15
Turret: 15
Hull Front, Upper 14.5, 14.5@81
15@10°
Hull Front, Lower 14.5@69°, 15@20°
Hull Sides, Upper 14.5, 14.5@90°
15@0°
Hull Sides, Lower 15@0°
Hull Rear 14.5, 14.5@77-80°
15@0°
Hull Top 10
10@70-90°
Hull Bottom 5
5@90°
Turret Front 14.5@75°, 15
15@15°
Mantlet: 15 round
Turret Sides 14.5@65°, 14.5
15@25°
Turret Rear 14.5, 14.5@78°
15@0-21°
Turret Top 10, 10@0-7°
10@82-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach, Maybach HL 108 TR
Bore/stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 230
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse.
6 forward, 1 reverse.
ZF SFG 75, 5 forward, 1 reverse
5 speed
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical System  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 66 gallons, 79 gallons
300 liters
Use per 100 km of road: 200 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.
Speed - Road 20 mph, 21.7 mph
32 kph, 35 kph
Speed - Cross Country 12 mph
19 kph
Range - Road 93 miles, 103 miles
150 km, 165 km
Range - Cross Country 59 miles 94 miles, 102.5 miles
95 km
Turning Radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +20°
Fording depth 2' 8"
0.8 m
Trench crossing 8' 6", 7' 6"
2.6 m
Vertical obstacle 2'
0.60 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Coil springs
Wheels each side 5x2, 5
Return rollers each side 2
Tracks (Type)  
Length 11' 1"
Width 14"
0.36 m, 0.38 m
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 2.49 m

Sources:

  1. Panzers At War, Michael and Gladys Green, 2005
  2. Panzer Truppen The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942, Thomas L. Jentz, 1996
  3. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  4. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  5. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  6. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  7. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  8. AFV #2: Panzerkampfwagen III, Walter Spielberger
  9. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site