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Panzer IV/70(V)

German Reich (1944)
Tank Destroyer – 930 to 940 Built

The further development of the StuG series led to the introduction of the Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer. The Jagdpanzer IV was initially meant to be armed with the long 7.5 cm L/70 gun. As this gun was not available in sufficient numbers, as a temporary solution, the vehicle was armed with the shorter L/48 gun instead. In early 1944, the production of the long gun was finally increased and it could be used for this purpose. This would lead to the introduction of a slightly modified Jagdpanzer IV which was renamed Panzer IV/70(V). Production started in August 1944 and, by March 1945, some 930 to 940 vehicles were built.

Panzer IV/70 (V). Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

The Development

The introduction of the Jagdpanzer IV into service provided the German Army with an effective anti-tank vehicle that had a small silhouette, was well-protected, and had a good gun. Work on such a vehicle was initiated by Waffenamt (Eng. Army Weapon’s Office) in September 1942. Initially designated Sturmgeschütze Neue Art (Eng. New Type Assault Gun), the new vehicle was to be armed with the 7.5 cm KwK L/70 gun and protected with 100 mm frontal and 40 to 50 mm of side armor. It was intended to have the lowest possible height, a top speed of 25 km/h, 500 mm ground clearance, and a weight of up to 26 tonnes. It is somewhat ironic that this vehicle, initially intended as a replacement for the StuG III, ended up being hijacked by the Panzer branch.

However, the initial plans to use the 7.5 cm L/70 gun could not be fulfilled, as its production was limited and reserved for the Panther tank program. While the short-barrelled Jagdpanzer IV was slowly entering production in January 1944, a meeting was held to discuss the use of the larger gun. For this reason, one prototype was to be built and tested to establish the feasibility of the concept once enough guns were available.

The prototype of this new vehicle was completed in early April 1944. It was, in essence, just a modified Jagdpanzer IV (chassis number 320162) armed with the long gun. Of course, some internal structural changes had to be made in order to fit the larger gun. The new vehicle was presented to Hitler on 20th April 1944. Hitler was impressed and insisted on a monthly production order of 800 such vehicles. The Waffenamt was slightly more realistic and issued a production quota of 2020 vehicles (both the L/48 and L/70 versions) to be completed by the end of April 1945, closer to 160 vehicles per month.

The first prototype of the vehicle that would later be known as Panzer IV/70(V). Source:


Throughout its development and service life, the new tank hunter received several different designations. This was nothing unusual by German standards. The initial designation for it was Sturmgeschütz auf Pz.Kpfw.IV. This name derived from its original purpose as a replacement vehicle for the StuG III. On Hitler’s own personal insistence, this vehicle was to be renamed to Panzer IV lang (V). The V stood for the manufacturer, Vogtlandische Maschinenfabrik AG (Vomag), while the word lang (Eng. Long) referred to the L/70 gun. This order was issued on 18th July 1944.

In October 1944, this designation was slightly changed to Panzer IV lang (V) mit 7.5 cm PaK 42 L/70. Starting from November 1944, it was referred to as Panzer IV/70(V) – Panzerwagen 604/10 (V) mit 7.5 cm PaK 42 L/70. Lastly, in January 1945, the term Jagdpanzer was once again used. The full designation was Jagdpanzer IV lang (V) (Sd.Kfz.162). To avoid confusion with the previous model and to be consistent with most sources, this article will refer to the vehicle as the Panzer IV/70(V).

This vehicle is also known by the nickname ‘Guderian Ente’ (Eng. Guderian’s Duck) given to it by its crews. This is often described as being related to its slower speed and reduced mobility in the sources. According to W. J. Spielberger (Military Vehicle Prints), this nickname was translated as ‘Guderian’s Hoax’ and is related to his refusal to accept this project. The word Ente in German (and in some other languages) can refer to as false news, hence Spielberger’s interpretation of this term.


Given that Vomag was already involved in the Jagdpanzer IV’s production, it was logical that this company would produce the new Panzer IV/70 (V). Production plans were quite ambitious, especially taking into account that this occurred in late 1944, when the Allied bombing campaign had slowly grinded down the German industry to literal dust. The lack of resources and a logistical collapse were also notorious during this late part of the war. Many newly built vehicles never reached the front. Nevertheless, despite all the hardship, Vomag managed to keep up with the planned production, as can be seen in the following production table from T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle (Panzer Tracts No.9-2 Jagdpanzer IV).

The month of production Planned production quota Actual production numbers
August 60 57
September 90 41
October 100 104
November 150 178
December 180 180
January 200 185
February 160 135
March 180 50
Total 1,120 930

Up to March 1945, the production numbers were often reached and sometimes even exceeded the planned quotas. Production dropped in March 1945 before ultimately stopping. That month, Vomag’s facilities were completely devastated by an Allied bombing raid. Given the chaotic state of Germany at that time, there was no time nor resources to restart production. While the production could not be restarted, there were some 30 hulls and 10 superstructures left available. Some of these were completed likely in April and issued for frontline use. It is possible that at least 10 more vehicles were completed.
In July 1944, Adolf Hitler insisted that production of the Panzer IV was to be terminated in February 1945 at the latest. Instead, the companies that were initially involved in the Panzer IV production were to focus on the Panzer IV/70 tank hunter. Given the insufficient production numbers of tanks such as the Panther and the Tiger II, the Panzer IV could simply not be phased out. This order was never implemented in reality.


The Panzer IV/70(V) inherited the Jagdpanzer IV’s overall design. In essence, it was the same vehicle with better armament. Still, some modifications were necessary in order to fit the larger gun, while other changes were implemented in order to reduce production costs or to reduce the usage for materials that were in short supply. The Panzer IV/70(V) was built using chassis taken from Panzer IV Ausf.H and Panzer IV Ausf.J tanks.

The Panzer IV Ausf.H and J chassis served as the base for this new vehicle. Source:


The overall hull design was mostly unchanged from its predecessor. Some minor modifications were introduced during the production run. For example, the air intake vents on the brake inspection hatches were replaced with simple handles. They had become unnecessary, as the Germans had added ducts that extracted the smoke to the ventilation ports of the engine compartment. Their locking mechanism was also altered slightly. Another small modification was adding a vertical towing bracket which was welded to the rear part of the hull. This was a late introduction, first appearing in December 1944.

This vehicle uses early brake inspection hatches with ventilation ports on them. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag
It is difficult to find a proper photograph that shows in more detail the Panzer IV/70(V)’s front hull, especially the brake inspection hatches. In this photograph, the soldier on the left actually holds the handle from the left brake inspection hatch. Source: T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle Panzer Tracts No.9-2 Jagdpanzer IV
Drawing of brake inspection hatches. The larger one to the right (number 3) is the original Panzer IV hatch. The remaining two were used on the Jagdpanzer IV and Panzer IV/70. The air intake vents (number 2) would be replaced with a simple handle (number 1). Source: J. Ledwoch. Panzer IV/70 (V)

Suspension and Running Gear

Given the added extra weight of the gun and armor, the Panzer IV/70(V)’s suspension became overburdened and thus prone to breakdowns. The rubber rims on the two front wheels wore out quickly. In addition, steering the vehicle on the uneven ground became problematic.

The problem with the suspension was already an issue with the slightly lighter Jagdpanzer IV, but became a serious problem for the later vehicle. One of the earliest attempts to resolve this issue was a proposal to move the road wheels’ positions to the front by 10 cm. It was hoped that this would shift the center of gravity a bit. This idea was flawed from the start, as the front road wheels were already too close to the drive sprocket. It would also necessitate huge changes to the hull design. In turn, this would cause delays in production, and thus it was never implemented.

The only real attempt that gave some positive results regarding the overburden suspension was the introduction of steel-tired road wheels. The two front road wheels were replaced with this new model. In addition, lighter tracks were to replace the ones in use. Both of these measures were introduced starting in September 1944. Of course, the older vehicles were at some point likewise provided with these reinforced wheels to help cope with the added weight.

The number of return rollers would be reduced to three. In addition, these were made of steel due to the lack of rubber. Lastly, different types of idlers were used depending on the availability of spare parts.

The first-built vehicles were not provided with steel-tired road wheels and had the standard four-return roller configuration. Being nose heavy, the first suspension boogie was under huge pressure. This led to quicker wear of the rubber rims. Source:
Despite the introduction of the steel-tired road wheels, not all vehicles received these. This particular vehicle does not have them but has three return rollers. Source:
This vehicle has two steel-tired road wheels. One of them appears to be damaged. Source:


The engine compartment received no major modifications. It was still powered by the Maybach HL 120 TRM which produced 265 hp @ 2,600 rpm. Given the increase in weight from 24 to 25.8 tonnes, the overall drive performance dropped significantly. The maximum speed was reduced from 40 km/h to 35 km/h. The cross-country speed remained the same, at around 15-18 km/h. While this decrease in maximum speed does not appear as much at the first glance, the Panzer IV/7(V) became difficult to steer and the added weight caused huge stress on the engine itself. With a fuel load of some 470 liters, the operational range was 210 km.

The cylindrical exhaust muffler was replaced with two upright-positioned Flammentoeter (English: flame exhaust mufflers). These were implemented on vehicles produced starting from November 1944. Chain links were attached to the cooling air intake and flap so that they could be manually opened or closed depending on the need.

A good illustration of the changes implemented to the engine exhaust mufflers. Initially, a standard cylindrical exhaust muffler was used. This would be replaced with flame exhaust mufflers. Lastly, their cover was slightly modified during production. Also, note the added vertical towing bracket on the last illustration. Source: И. Мощанский, И. Переяславцев Tank Destroyer Pz.IV/70V)

The Superstructure

The upper superstructure design was mostly the same, except for one major difference which is not obvious and somewhat illogical. The superstructure’s top, despite the use of a larger gun which would require more working space inside the vehicle, was actually lowered by some 30 mm. While not a huge difference, the reason why this was implemented is unknown.

Besides that, other minor improvements were also introduced, mostly near the end of the war. Some vehicles received rain channels which were positioned under the commander and the loader’s hatches. The Panzer IV/70(V) was meant to receive a jib boom crane installation. This required adding five sockets that needed to be welded to its top superstructure. This crane would provide the crews with a means to easily remove heavier components, such as the engine. This was rarely added to the vehicles and appears to be mainly present on vehicles produced near the end of the war.

The design of the sliding gun sight cover was also slightly changed to make it easier to build. Initially, it consisted of two curved single-piece sliding rods. These would be replaced with sliding rods that consisted of many smaller parts.

Some vehicles had spare track link holders added to the sides of the superstructure. It is not clear if these were introduced during production or added by some of the crews as an improvisation.

A good view of the Panzer IV/70(V)’s upper superstructure. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag
Given its late introduction, pictures of the Panzer IV/70(V) with the jib boom crane installation are hard to come by. Here is a picture of a StuG IV with a jib boom crane. In essence, the installation on the Panzer IV/70(V) would be quite similar if not the same as here. Source: Walter J. Spielberger Sturmgeschütz and its Variants
The leading gun sight cover was also modified. To the left was the one used initially. It would be replaced with a new design that incorporated many segmented parts (on the right). Source: И. Мощанский, И. Переяславцев Tank Destroyer Pz.IV/70V)
Some vehicles had spare track link holders added to the sides of the superstructure. Source: И. Мощанский, И. Переяславцев Tank Destroyer Pz.IV/70V)
Another such example with slightly shortened spare track link holders. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

Armor and Protection

The Panzer IV/70(V)’s armor was the same as on its predecessor. It was well protected, with thick and well-angled armor plates. For the lower hull, the upper front armor plate was 80 mm thick at a 45° angle and the lower plate was 50 mm at a 55° angle. The side armor was 30 mm thick, the rear 20 mm, and the bottom 10 mm. The hull crew compartment had 20 mm of bottom armor.

The upper superstructure frontal armor was 80 mm at a 50° angle, the sides were 40 mm at a 30° angle, the rear armor was 30 mm, and the top was 20 mm. The engine compartment design and armor were unchanged from the Panzer IV, with 20 mm all around and 10 mm of top armor.

The 80 mm of front armor was introduced on the Jagdpanzer IV series in May 1944. The later version incorporated a larger gun which led to an increase in weight. Thus, in August 1944, it was proposed to once again use weaker 60 mm thick frontal armor. Even Hitler agreed that the superstructure frontal armor needed to be reduced in thickness in order to save some weight. For unknown reasons, this decision was never implemented.

The Panzer IV/70(V) was initially provided with Zimmerit anti-magnetic coating, but after September 1944, its use was abandoned. Additional 5 mm thick armor plates were also provided for extra protection of the engine compartment’s sides. The Panzer IV/70 (V) could be equipped with additional 5 mm thick armor plates (Schürzen) covering the sides of the vehicle. They served mainly to protect against Soviet anti-tank rifles. In rarer cases, at the end of the war, these were replaced with Thoma Schürtzen wire mesh. While these were lighter and provided the same level of protection, their use was delayed due to problems with production.

The 5 mm thick armor plates (Schürzen) cover the side of the vehicle. They served mainly to protect against Soviet anti-tank rifles. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

The crews of some vehicles often added all kinds of improvised armor. These were often reused spare parts, such as tracks and road wheels. Some of the crews added concrete to the front armor plates. The effectiveness of this improvised armor was dubious at best, but these improvised up-armoring jobs were relatively common on other German vehicles, such as the StuG III series.

The crew of this vehicle added concrete on the front superstructure armor. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag


The Panzer IV/70(V) was rearmed with the stronger 7.5 cm PaK 42 L/70 (sometimes referred to as 7.5 cm StuK 42 L/70) gun. The position of the gun was unchanged, as it was placed slightly off-center to the right. Given that it was a much larger gun with stronger recoil forces, some structural changes were needed. For example, the gun mantlet was redesigned in order to save weight. In addition, a hydro-pneumatic equilibrator was installed on the right side of the gun. To provide better gun balance, an iron counterweight was added at the end of the recoil guard. Despite being a considerably longer gun and using stronger rounds, the recoil was only 42 cm. The total weight of the gun itself was 2.2 tonnes. Surprisingly, no ventilation fan was present in the crew compartment. Instead, an air blast mechanism was meant to blow fumes created after firing the gun out the barrel.

Given the longer length of the gun barrel, an external travel lock had to be provided. Its purpose was to help stabilize the gun during traveling. This in turn would help avoid damaging or even misaligning the gun sight. When connected to the travel lock, the gun was raised up at a 13° angle. This was necessary in order to avoid accidentally hitting the ground when driving on uneven ground. While this seems unlikely to happen, the Panzer IV/70(V)’s lower height and longer barrel meant that this was a real possibility. The prototype was initially not provided with a travel lock, but it quickly became apparent that such a device would be needed. In order to free the gun, the gun operator only had to elevate the gun a bit and the travel lock would fall down. This allowed for a quick combat response but also avoided the need for a crew member to exit the vehicle in order to do it manually. The shape of the travel lock was changed during production. Initially, these had a large opening in them. Later built travel locks did not have this opening.

The Panzer IV/70(V)s initially did not have a gun travel lock. Source:
Given the long barrel, the use of a travel lock was required. In order to free the gun, the gun operator only had to elevate the gun a bit and the travel lock would fall down. Source:
A Panzer IV/70 with the later introduced travel lock. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

The elevation of the main gun was –6° to +15° and the traverse was 24°. Here it is important to note that these numbers differ greatly in the sources. These particular numbers were taken from T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle (Panzer Tracts No.9-2 Jagdpanzer IV). A muzzle brake would not be added to the gun, as it would create a lot of dust during firing and also increase the cost of construction slightly. Some guns had threaded ends on the barrel for the installation of a muzzle brake. As this was a labor-intensive task, most were likely not provided with such a feature.

The 7.5 cm StuK 42 L/70 could fire a few different types of rounds, including armor-piercing (PzGr 39/42 or 40/42), high-explosive (SpGr 42), and armor-piercing tungsten rounds. While the latter had superb anti-armor penetration power, due to the scarcity of tungsten, these rounds were rarely employed.

Distance: 500 m 1 km 2 km
Standard Armor-piercing round 124 mm 111 mm 89 mm
Armor-piercing tungsten round 174 mm 149 mm n/a

Thanks to this firepower, this gun could effectively engage most Allied tanks up to the war’s end. The maximum firing range of the high-explosive rounds was 5.1 km, while the armor-piercing range was 3 km.

T-38-85 IS-2 M4 Cromwell Churchill
Front 2000 m 800 m 2800 m 3400 m 2000 m
Side 3500 m 2000 m 3500 m 3500 m 3000 m
Rear 3300 m 1000 m 3500 m 3500 m 2000 m
The 7.5 cm PaK 42 L/70 Armor penetration (maximum range) table against enemy tanks. Source: T.L. Jentz (Germany’s Panther Tank)

The ammunition load consisted of 55 rounds, but this would be increased to 60. Usually, around 34 were armor-piercing, while the remaining 21 were high-explosive. This could differ depending on the combat need or availability of ammunition.
The 7.5 cm PaK 42 L/70 gun used a Sfl.Z.F.1a gun sight which had a magnification of x5 and a field of view of 8°. On some vehicles, the gunner sight was encased into protective covers. Starting from November 1944, one-third of the produced Panzer IV/70(V) were meant to receive the SF 14 Z scissor periscope. In addition, these were also to incorporate the use of an Entfernungs-Messer 0.9 m (Eng. Range finder). Three small connecting points were welded around the commander’s hatch for the installation of this range finder. Due to delays with the delivery of such equipment, the first vehicles mounting this were supplied in March 1945.

A good view of the Panzer IV/70(V) commander and gunner’s periscopes. In addition, notice the three connecting points, with one in front and two to the rear of the commander’s hatch. These were to be used to mount the range finder but were introduced too late to see any real service. Source:

As a secondary weapon, the MG 42 machine gun was retained. The ammunition load for it consisted of 1,950 rounds. In addition, at least one 9 mm submachine gun MP 40 or a later 7.92 mm MP 44 assault rifle was carried inside for crew protection.

Some vehicles were equipped with the Rundumfeuer machine gun mount that was operated from inside the vehicle. This mount provided an all-around firing arc. In addition, the operator did not have to expose himself to fire when he was using the machine gun. However, he still needed to go outside to manually load the machine gun. While this installation was tested on the prototype, it did not see wide use on the Panzer IV/70(V).

The first prototype did receive the Rundumfeuer machine gun mount, but its use appears to have been limited on the later production vehicles. Source:
A destroyed vehicle that was provided with the Rundumfeuer machine gun mount. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

The Panzer IV/70(V) was also equipped with the Nahverteidigungswaffe (Eng. close defense grenade launcher), with some 40 rounds of ammunition (high explosive and smoke rounds), placed on the vehicle’s top. Due to the general lack of resources though, not all vehicles were provided with this weapon. In such cases, the Nahverteidigungswaffe’s opening hole was closed off with a round plate.

The Nahverteidigungswaffe’s firing port was located on the left of the commander’s hatch. When not provided (which was often the case), the opening was simply hidden by an armored cover. Source: Digital Collection of Armin Freitag

For defense against infantry that got too close, an unusual weapon attachment named Vorsatz P was provided. This was a curved muzzle attachment for the MP 43/44 assault rifles. With this curved barrel, the loader (who was to be equipped with this weapon attachment) could engage enemy infantry from inside the vehicle without exposing himself. The Vorsatz P barrel was angled at 90°. For installation on armored vehicles, such as the Panzer IV/70(V), a small ball mount was developed. It was to be attached to the top superstructure hatches. For combat use, the assault rifles were to be attached to this ball mount vertically, pointing up. With the extended curved barrel, the maximum firing range was around 15 m. Despite its odd appearance, the system actually worked. This weapon system was introduced too late and was only issued in limited numbers in 1945.

The Vorsatz P curved muzzle attachment for the MP 43/44.


The crew number and position remained unchanged. It consisted of the commander, the gunner, the loader/radio operator, and the driver. The loader’s position was to the left while the remaining three crew members were placed opposite him.

Organization and Distribution to Units

In July 1944, Hitler came up with the idea of using smaller mobile armored formations. Their purpose would be to act as a quick response to enemy attacks. These were the so-called Panzer Brigaden (Eng. Tank Brigades). They were to consist of three 11-vehicle-strong Panther companies and one 11-strong Panzer IV/70(V) company. In addition, they were to be protected by at least 4 anti-aircraft vehicles. Guderian was against the formation of such small units, as they diverted vital resources of men and materiel that were desperately needed by the Panzer Divisions. Regardless, Hitler persisted and some 10 such units were to be formed. A few additional brigades were equipped mainly with Panzer IVs.

The first units to be equipped with a Panzer IV/70(V) company were the 105th and 106th Panzer Brigades in August 1944. A month later, five more such units were formed. These were the 107th, 108th, 109th, 110th, and the Führer Grenadier Brigade. The whole Brigade concept was quickly abandoned and, by November 1944, nearly all such units were absorbed by the existing Panzer Divisions.

Besides these short-lived brigades, the Panzer IV/70(V)s were issued to 10-vehicle strong Panzerjäger Kompanie (Eng. Anti-tank company). Other units, such as the Panzer Grenadier Divisions and schwere Panzerjäger Abteilungen (Eng. Heavy anti-tank battalions) were to be slightly stronger, at 14 vehicles. It is worth pointing out that not all units received these in the prescribed number strength. There were often variations in the delivered number of vehicles Besides forming new units, the Panzer IV/70 (V) was also issued as a replacement vehicle to existing formations.

A destroyed vehicle from the Führer Grenadier Brigade lost in January 1945 on the Western Front. Despite most of these brigades being disbanded, the Führer Grenadier Brigade was one of few that did not share this fate. Source: И. Мощанский, И. Переяславцев Tank Destroyer Pz.IV/70V)

The 24th and 116th Panzer Divisions each received 10 vehicles during September and October 1944. As the Eastern Front came under pressure from the Soviets, more Panzer IV/70(V)s were rushed there. The 7th, 13th, and 17th Panzer Divisions each received 21 vehicles, while the 24th Panzer Division received 19 vehicles.

At the start of 1945, the quick collapse of all fronts meant that the Panzer IV/70(V) was issued to frontline units without much training. The numbers allocated to different units were also dependent on the available vehicles. For example, the 563rd Heavy Anti-Tank Battalion received 31 vehicles in January 1945. It was probably the strongest single unit supplied with this vehicle. On the other hand, others were less lucky, receiving only 10 vehicles, such as the 510th Anti-Tank Battalion in February 1945.

After March 1945, the situation became even more chaotic. Any form of organization was discarded, and instead, vehicles were sent to various units as they arrived at the front. For example, in late March and early April 1945, the Panzer Lehr Division received 12, 114th Panzer Division 5, and the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division 21 vehicles. Even some assault gun brigades received Panzer IV/70(V)s during this period. These units finally received the vehicle that was initially designed for them way back in 1942.

The same month, out of desperation, the Germans tried to mobilize some 711 armored vehicles that were used for training. While this seems like a huge number, most of these vehicles were either obsolete older equipment or had been stored and not operational. At least two Panzer IV/70(V)s were used in this manner. One of them was likely the first prototype built.

In Combat

The Panzer IV/70(V)’s late production start meant that it took some time to actually deliver these vehicles to the frontlines. Crew training was also an important part, as it also required much-needed time. The German logistical infrastructure had been ravaged by Allied bombing runs. As the Allies liberated France, it was possible to build new air bases closer to Germany itself. Roads and railroads were under constant threat of enemy air attacks. This meant that vital supply transportation lines were often targeted. Transportation of new vehicles to the frontline became dangerous and, in many cases, they failed to reach their destinations.

Ardennes Offensive and the End of the War in Western Europe

The Panzer IV/70(V) began to reach frontline units in significant numbers only at the end of 1944 and the start of 1945. The first vehicles were concentrated for the German Ardennes offensive in late 1944. At that time, the Germans mustered some 210 vehicles of this type. An additional 90 were to be used as reinforcements and replacements. The precise numbers of Panzer IV/70(V)s used during the Ardennes offensive differ between sources. The previously mentioned number is according to T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle (Panzer Tracts No.9-2 Jagdpanzer IV), while K. Mucha and G. Parada (Jagdpanzer IV) give a much smaller number of 135 vehicles.

A well-recorded action where the Panzer IV/70(V) saw combat action was during the battles around the Belgian Krinkelt-Rocherath villages at the end of 1944. This was part of a German attack spearheaded by elements from the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. This Division’s 12th SS Panzerjäger Abteilung had Panzer IV/70(V)s in its inventory. The attack was also accompanied by infantry support from the SS Panzergreandier Regiment 25. It is worth mentioning that, by this point of the war, the German soldiers were mostly inexperienced and poorly trained.

As the Germans advanced, they threatened to surround two Allied infantry divisions. In order to prevent this, the 9th Infantry Regiment, together with various elements from the retreating Allied soldiers were gathered to form a defense line at the Krinkelt-Rocherath villages and the Lausdell crossroads. Interestingly, the commander of the 9th Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel William Dawes McKinley, favored the use of bazookas over towed 57 mm anti-tank guns. Both struggled to do damage to the front armor of some of the better German armored vehicles. Still, a team armed with bazookas could be effective, especially from concealed positions.

German infantry, supported by two Panzer IV/70(V) companies, attacked the Allied positions on 17th December 1944. The defenders did not have any armor support at this point, but they laid a huge number of mines. Several Panzer IV/70(V)s from the 2nd Company led the attack, supported by small Panzergrenadier infantry groups, some of them hiding on the Panzer IV/70(V)’s engine decks. The remaining infantry followed up from behind.

Illustrated map of the fighting that took place during the battle for Krinkelt-Rocherath (to the left) and Lausdell crossroads (to the right) Source: S. Zaloga Bazooka Vs. Panzers Battle for the Bulge

Once the German vehicles were spotted, they were immediately bombarded by American artillery. One vehicle was destroyed by an artillery hit, and two were immobilized by mines. Two more were destroyed by the Allied’s bazooka teams. Later that day, despite heavy losses and pressure from the Allies’ artillery, the Germans made another attack. They were supported by the fire of one immobilized Panzer IV/70(V). This vehicle would be destroyed with thermite grenades and a fuel canister. At least one more was destroyed in this attack.

At the same time as the attack on the Lausdell crossroads was carried out, the Germans also attacked the Allied’s positions at the Krinkelt-Rocherath villages. At least three Panzer IV/70(V)s led the attack and managed to penetrate into the villages. The M4 tanks sent against the Germans were quickly taken out. There was heavy fighting that lasted the whole day, but the Germans withdrew the next morning, expecting reinforcements and supplies. On the 18th, the Germans attacked again, this time advancing with Panther tanks in the direction of Rocherath. Two leading Panthers would be taken out, blocking the road to the village, forcing the remaining vehicles to try to go around them. Around one hour later, one Panzer IV/70(V) came to the place where the two Panthers were lost. This vehicle was quickly taken out by bazooka fire.

The precise losses suffered by both sides are not well documented. The defenders lost some 11 tanks, 2 M10 tank destroyers, and a large number of anti-tank guns. The Allies reported the destruction of over 40 German armored vehicles, including 5 Tigers. These reports were not correct, as no Tiger was used during this battle. In addition, the precise number of destroyed German vehicles was likely less than mentioned above, as many vehicles would be recovered.

Interestingly, the Allies used a captured Panzer IV/70(V) during the winter of 1944/45 to test the effectiveness of bazookas. While the front armor proved impervious, the sides and the rear were vulnerable to this weapon.

The two Panthers taken out near Rocherath, which blocked the entrance to the village. Just behind them is the destroyed Panzer IV/70. The two Allied soldiers are standing on it. Source: S. Zaloga Bazooka Vs. Panzers Battle for the Bulge
The captured Panzer IV/70(V) was used for testing the bazooka’s effectiveness against armor. The hits were marked with chalk numbers. Its thick and angled frontal armor proved to be immune to bazooka rockets. Source: S. Zaloga Bazooka Vs. Panzers Battle for the Bulge

At the end of December 1944, some Panzer IV/70(V)s participated in the last large German offensive in the West, Operation Northwind. The operation ended in another German failure by late January 1945, further depleting the strength of its armored units.

After the last offensive against the Western Allies, the German armored formations in this part of Europe were dangerously depleted. There were only six surviving anti-tank battalions equipped with Panzer IV/70 vehicles. By mid-March, the Germans had only 77 Panzer IV/70s vehicles on this front, with only 33 operational. This number likely included both the Vomag and Alkett versions.

An abandoned Panzer IV/70 vehicle was captured by the Allied Forces near Bremen in April 1945. Interestingly, this vehicle only has one steel roadwheel. Source W. J. Spielberger Military Vehicle Prints

Eastern Front

The Panzer IV/70(V) also saw heavy action on the Eastern Front. For example, on 16th March 1945, at the Oder River near Stettin, in north Poland, a platoon leader of the 6th Company from the 9th Panzer Regiment noted the following:

“ … About 900 hours, we learned that Ivan had positioned many tanks ready to attack in front of our infantry’s defensive positions. After signaling the Abteilung and Regiment by radio, we learned from an infantry messenger that the rest of our Kompanie and Abteilung must already be advancing. Their progress was delayed by the plowed up terrain caused by the heavy artillery barrage. At exactly 1100 hours, the artillery fire stopped. It was still deadly all around us. Then, from the deep holes and machinegun nests, signal flares were fired – Enemy attack! The first Russian T-34-85 and SU-85 rolled into the field of view of our Jagdpanzers which were in defiladed positions. Quickly, flashes appeared from hits on two of the forward T-34s, then they started were smoking. Thereafter, a further five to eight enemy tanks quickly appeared beside and behind these. They burnt just as fast. So it went for most of the other enemy tanks that continued to appear in advancing tank squadrons. Every shot from our gun was now a hit. Our knowledgeable and experienced gunners, who were the oldest corporals and sergeants in the Abteilung, could hardly miss their targets. After about a 30 minute fight, a strong formation of T-34s attempted to bypass the right flank of our position. We had fired almost all of our ammunition when behind and beside us additional guns opened fire. The rest of the Abteilung had arrived and supported our bitter defensive battle against the overwhelming Red tank formations.’’

Unfortunately, the report does not mention the precise Soviet armor losses, but these were possibly heavy. The report was meant to highlight the effectiveness and experience of the German gunners. This may somewhat be misleading, as the number of experienced German gunners and crews by the end of the war was greatly reduced due to attrition. The majority would be replaced with inexperienced and poorly trained crew members. Not surprisingly, their performance would be greatly diminished. In any case, the particular Panzer IV/70(V) mentioned in the report would be immobilized by a hit from a T-34-85 to the rear.
Another example would be the 563rd Heavy Anti-Tank Battalion, which saw extensive combat action against the advancing Soviet forces in early 1945. This unit was in the process of reorganization and was supplied with one Jagdpanther company and two Panzer IV/70(V) companies. The total combat strength was 18 Jagdpanther and 24 Panzer IV/70(V). The crew of these vehicles had been previously used as standard infantry and were quite exhausted from heavy fighting with the Soviets. As there was no time for recuperation, on 21st January 1945, they advanced toward the enemy. The unit reached Wormditt that day, where heavy fighting with the enemy occurred. Thanks to their superior firepower and experience, the German vehicles managed to inflict severe losses to the enemy. During a period of 10 days, some 58 enemy tanks were reported destroyed. The Germans only lost one Jagdpanther and four Panzer IV/70(V)s. The remaining vehicles had to be blown up to prevent being captured due to a lack of fuel or spare parts.

The IV SS-Panzer Corps, which engaged the Soviets in a desperate attempt to reach the besieged Budapest, had in its inventory some 55 Jagdpanzer IV and Panzer IV/70(V) tank destroyers. Some would also see service at the last major German armored offensive in the East at Lake Balaton during March 1945. By mid-March, the German Army on this front had some 357 vehicles in its inventory, of which 189 were operational.

Abandoned Panzer IV/70(V) somewhere in Hungary during early 1945. Source:
Panzer IV/70(V) from the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend retreating after the Battle of Lake Balaton during March 1945. Source: H. Meyer The 12th SS The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division: Volume Two
Some Panzer IV/70(V)s participated in the fighting around and in Budapest in early 1945. Source: И. Мощанский, И. Переяславцев Tank Destroyer Pz.IV/70V)


The Panzer IV/70(V) saw limited use in this part of Europe. Newly produced vehicles were rushed to either the Eastern or Western Fronts. The hilly terrain in Northern Italy would likely have led to overheating and transmission problems. Thus, by April 1945, only three such vehicles were present on this front.

Jagdpanzer IV Versions

Panzer IV/70(V) Befehlswagen

An unknown number of Panzer IV/70(V)s were modified to be used as Befehlswagen (Eng. command vehicles). These vehicles had additional radio equipment installed, namely the FuG 8 30 radio station (30 W power) with an operational range of 80 km. The extra equipment was positioned behind the loader and was to be operated by an extra crew member. The Befehlswagen would also use a Sternantenne (English: star radio antenna) which was 1.4 m long and located on the left side of the engine compartment.

Other Users

After the war, some surviving Panzer IV/70s would see service with a few different armies.


The Bulgarians, who were allied to the Germans, switched sides in late 1944. They joined the Soviet Union in the fight against Germany. In March 1945, the Bulgarian armored force was supplemented with one captured Panzer IV/70(V) (chassis number 320662) supplied by the Soviets. In Bulgarian service, this vehicle was known under the Maybach T-IV designation. This vehicle still exists to this day and can be seen at the National Museum of Military History in Sofia.

National Museum of Military History, Sofia, Bulgaria. Source:


An unknown numbers of captured Panzer IV/70(V)s were supplied to the Romanian Army by the Soviet Union (possibly after the war). In Romanian service, they were known under the TAs T-4 designation. The TAs was an abbreviation for Tun de Asalt (Eng. Assault Gun) and T-4 was the Romanian designation for the Panzer IV.

A Romanian Panzer IV/70(V) seen during a military parade held in May 1948. Source: Trupele Blindate din Armata Română 1919-1947


Around five to six vehicles (both L/48 and L/70 armed versions) were given to Syria in 1950 by the French, although, depending on the sources, it is possible that the Soviets actually supplied them. During combat with Israeli forces in 1967 during the Six-Day War, one Jagdpanzer IV was lost when it was hit by a tank round. The remaining were withdrawn from the front and probably stored in reserve. These Jagdpanzer IVs were still listed in the Syrian Army inventory during 1990-1991. What became of them is, unfortunately, not currently known.

Surviving Vehicles

At least several Panzer IV/70(V) vehicles are known to have survived the war. They can be seen in museums around the world. The National Armor and Cavalry Museum Fort Benning in the US has one vehicle. Another US vehicle can be seen at the Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground. One can be seen at the Bulgarian National Museum of Military History in the capital, Sofia. Another vehicle is located at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. The well-known military museum at Kubinka also has one vehicle in its collection.

Surviving Panzer IV/70(V) at the National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning, in the US. Source:
Another Panzer IV/70(V) located at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Source:
Panzer IV/70(V) at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa. Source: Wikipedia
Another example can be seen at the Kubinka Museum near Moscow. Source: Wikipedia


The Panzer IV/70(V) was the final result of the German attempts to create a new and better-armed assault gun to replace the StuG III. Ironically, some Sturmartillarie units only received these vehicles near the end of the war. The Panzer IV/70(V) would remain primarily a dedicated anti-tank vehicle. It possessed strong armament, was well protected, and was a small target. On paper, it met nearly all the requirements that were often associated with an effective anti-tank vehicle for Second World War standards at least. But it was far from perfect, as the added weight led to the chassis being overburdened, which resulted in reduced maximum speed, reliability, and mobility issues.

Despite being produced in relatively large numbers (for German standards), not all of these ever reach the frontline units. The German logistic supply lines were all but destroyed by the end of 1944. The Panzer IV/70(V)s were not concentrated in numbers but instead given in smaller groups to fill the gaps created on the fronts. Thus, their effectiveness was greatly reduced. By late 1944, there was a general lack of panzers, so the Germans were forced to use the Jagdpanzers as replacement vehicles instead. The Panzer IV/70(V) suffered losses, as it was often used in the role of panzer, a role for which it was not suited nor designed for. But, as there were no other solutions, something was better than nothing.

In the end, the Panzer IV/70 (V) was a sound design that exploited the old Panzer IV chassis that was reaching the end of its development limits. Its effectiveness was hampered due to its late introduction in the war, when it could do little to change the final outcome.

Late-type Panzer IV/70(V) based on the Panzer IV Ausf.H, 13th Panzer Division, Hungary, January 1945.
Early type Panzer IV/70(V) in winter camouflage, Hungary, possibly January 1945.
Panzer IV/70(V), late version, 1st SS Panzer Division, Hungary, 1945.
Panzer IV/70(V), late version, 13th Panzer Division, Hungary, January 1945.
Dimensions (L-W-H) 8.5. x 3.17 x 1.85 m
Total weight, battle-ready 25.8 tonnes
Crew 4 (driver, commander, gunner, loader)
Propulsion Maybach HL 120 TRM, 265 hp @ 2,800 rpm
Speed 35 km/h 15-18 km/h (cross-country)
Operational range 210 km, 130 km (cross-country)
Traverse 12° right and 12° left
Elevation -6° to +15°
Armament 7.5 cm (2.95 in) PaK 42 L/70 (55-60 rounds)
7.9 mm (0.31 in) MG 42, 1200 rounds
Armor Front 80 mm, sides 40 mm, rear 30 mm and top 20 mm


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6 replies on “Panzer IV/70(V)”

Very nice updated article, thx for the work! But why you guys still use outdated Infos about surviving tanks? Aberdeen P.G. have no German armor for (10?)years now, they are all in other museums.

Guderian Ente: To my knowledge the tank earned its nickname because of its way to move. The long barrel caused pitching movements similar to the shambling walk of ducks.
The word “Ente” in German can mean “false news” as in “Zeitungsente”. This lead to Spielberger’s interpretation as “Guderian’s Hoax”.
The meaning “urine bottle” is seldom used outside the medical community. I don’t think, that the German “Landser” would use the word “Ente” with this intention.

Thanks for poiting this out. I corrected the article in this regard.

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