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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's 4/ZW; Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf E; PzKpfw III Ausf E medium tank

Design

The PzKpfw III Ausf E was the last of the pre-production series.1,4,7

These were still on troop trial on September 1, 1939. A few had the 50 mm L/42 gun installed with covers on air intakes.

Turret

Early models had the pre-production turrets that had two machine guns coaxially. New improvements were a two part visor for the driver, and the single door in the side of the turret was replaced by a double door with vision slots and pistol ports.7

Suspension

The suspension was redesigned with six independent bogie road wheels, suspended from torsion bars. New suspension with individually supported road wheels.6,7

Transmission

Had a new transmission and more powerful engine.1,7 The transmission was rather complicated but it was intended to make gear changing easier. The 9th and 10th gears were overdrive.

Production

The PzKpfw III series production figures.

  • Chassis Numbers: 60401 - 604417

Usage

98 of the PzKpfw III Ausf Es were used in Poland, and 350 in France.1,5

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf E
Crew Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator5
52,3,5
Radio FuG53
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 42,769 lb5
> 19 tons8, 19.5 tons2,3, 20 tons4, 21 tons6
19,400 kg5
Length 17' 8"4, 17.6'6, 17.7'5
5.38 m2,3,6, 5.4 m5
Height 8'8,9,12
2.4 m5 2.44 m2,3,6
Width 9' 6"9,12, 9' 7"4
2.9 m5, 2.91 m2,3,6
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.38 m2
Ground contact length 2.86 m
Ground pressure 13.5 psi5
0.92 (kg/cm2)2, 0.97 (kg/cm2)5
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 37 mm KwK 36 L/45
37 mm L/46.52
37 mm KwK L/46.53
50 mm (late vehicles).4
50 mm KwK 39 L/425
Secondary  
MG 3: MGs2
3: 7.92 MG343
MG - coaxial 2: 7.92 mm MG344,5
MG - hull 1: 7.92 mm MG344,5
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 131 Pzgr & Sprgr3, 1212
Secondary  
MG 4,5002, 4,500 Patr SmK3
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 308, 30 - 905
Turret: 306
Hull: 306
Superstructure: 306
Hull Front, Upper 302
30@9°3
Hull Front, Lower 30@21°3
Hull Sides, Upper 302
30@0°3
Hull Sides, Lower 30@0°3
Hull Rear 202
21@10°3 & 29°3
Hull Top 162
17@77°-90°3
Hull Bottom 12, 152
16@90°3
Turret Front 302
30@15°3
Mantlet: 30 round
Turret Sides 302
30@25°3
Turret Rear 302
30@0°-21°3
Turret Top 102
12@83°-90°3
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 120 TR1,3,4,7
Maybach HL 120 TRM2,5
Maybach6
Bore / stroke  
Cooling water5
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP 3008,12, 3201
300@3,000 rpm5
Power to weight ratio 15.7 hp/ton5
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Maybach Variorex4,7
ZF SSG 76, 10 forward, 1 reverse.2
10 forward, 4 reverse.3,6
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline5,6
Octane  
Quantity 320 liters2
Use per 100 km of road: 183 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand.4,5002, 4,500 Patr SmK3
Speed - Road 24.5 mph6, 25 mph5
40 kph3,5,6, 67 kph2
Speed - Cross Country 11 mph5
18 kph5
Range - Road 102.5 miles6, 109 miles5
165 km2,3,12, 175 km5
Range - Cross Country 95 km2
Turning radius 5.8 m
Elevation limits -10° to +20°4,5002, 4,500 Patr SmK3
Fording depth 2' 8"
0.8 m2
Trench crossing 8' 6", 7' 6"5
2.3 m5
Vertical obstacle 2'
0.60 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion bar1,6
Transverse torsion bar4,7
Wheels each side 6x22,12
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 14"
0.38 m2
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 2.49 m

Sources:

  1. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  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 World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  5. Battle Winning Tanks, Aircraft & Warships of World War II, David Miller, 2000
  6. Panzers At War, Michael and Gladys Green, 2005
  7. AFV #2: Panzerkampfwagen III, Walter Spielberger
  8. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site