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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's 5/ZW; Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf F; PzKpfw III Ausf F medium tank

Photos

Either a PzKpfw III Ausf F or PzKpfw III Ausf G with the Afrika Korps in 1941.
German PzKpfw III Ausf F or PzKpfw III Ausf G
Imperial War Museum

Design

Was basically the same as the PzKpfw III Ausf E.

The PzKpfw III Ausf F was the first main production model of the PzKpfw III series.

Improvements to the covers on the air intakes (bow near headlights), improved brake system, and additional position lights were fitted. Armed with 37mm but later changed to 50 mm KwK 38 L/42 (approximately 100 were built). From August 1940 to 1942 most of the remaining tanks were converted to the 50 mm main gun and had additional 30 mm armor plates added to the bow and superstructure.

Turret

Some turrets had additional storage added to the back of the turret.

Hull

On the hull were five smoke generators that were remotely controlled from the turret.

Suspension

The design changed so that there were only six road wheels used.

Production

The PzKpfw III series production figures.

  • Chassis Numbers: 61001 - 65000

Usage

The PzKpfw III Ausf Fs were issued to the Panzer divisions starting in late 1939 and early 1940. Some were still being used by the 116th Panzer division in June 1944 in Normandy.

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf F
Crew Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator
5
Radio FuG5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 44,753 lb,
19,500 kg
19.2 tons, 19.5 tons, 19.8 tons, 20.3 tons
Length 17' 8", 17' 4.5"
5.38 m, 5.41 m
Height 7' 11.75", 8' 0.5"
2.435 m, 2.44 m, 2.45 m
Width 9' 7", 9' 9", 10.9"
2.91 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 0.38 m, 0.385 m
Ground contact length 2.86 m
Ground pressure 14.1 psi
0.99 (kg/cm2), 0.92 (kg/cm2)
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 37 mm KwK 36 L/45
1: 37 mm KwK L/45
1: 37 mm
1: 37 mm KwK
1: 37 mm L/46.5
1: 37 mm KwK L/46.5
Later models: 1: 50 mm KwK 39 L/42
Secondary  
MG 2: 7.92 mm MG
3: MGs
3: 7.92 mm MG34
MG - coaxial 2: 7.92 mm MG34
1: 7.92 mm MG34
MG - hull 1: 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 37: 131 Pzgr & Sprgr, 120, 121
50: 99
Secondary  
MG 3,750, 4,500, 4,500 Patr SmK
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 30
Hull Front, Upper 30
30@9°
Hull Front, Lower 30@20°, 30@21°
Hull Sides, Upper 30
30@0° , 30@90°
Hull Sides, Lower 30@0°, 30@90°
Hull Rear 20
21@10° & 29°
Hull Top 16 , 17@0°, 17@77°-90°
Hull Bottom 12, 15
16@0°, 16@90°
Turret Front 30
30@15°
Mantlet: 30 round
Turret Sides 30
30@25°
Turret Rear 30
30@12°, 30@0°-21°
Turret Top 10, 12
12@83°-90°
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 120 TR
Maybach HL 120 TRM
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 300, 300@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Maybach Variorex
SGR 328.145, 10 forward, 1 reverse.
10 forward, 4 reverse.
Maybach SRG 328145 Variotex pre-selector, 10 forward, 1 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 320 liters
Use per 100 km of road: 183 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hand
Speed - Road 24.8 mph, 24.9 mph
40 kph, 67 kph
Speed - Cross Country 18 kph
Range - Road 102.5 miles, 109 miles
165 km, 175 km
Range - Cross Country 95 km, 100 km
Turning radius 5.8 m
Elevation limits -10° to +10°
-10° to +20°
Fording depth 2' 8"
0.8 m
Trench crossing 8' 6", 7' 6"
2.3 m
Vertical obstacle 2'
0.60 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Torsion bar
Wheels each side 6x2, 6
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 14"
0.36 m, 0.38 m
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 2.49 m

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  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. AFV #2: Panzerkampfwagen III, Walter Spielberger
  6. Panzers At War, Michael and Gladys Green, 2005
  7. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  8. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  9. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site