Light, medium & heavy tanks, armored cars
Around 90,000 armored vehicles by May 1945
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.B (Sd.Kfz.182) Tiger II
- Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E (Sd.Kfz.181) Tiger I
- Panzer III Ausf.D-N
- Panzer V Panther
- Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. A (Sd.Kfz. 141)
- Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 141)
- Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. C
- Panzerkampfwagen Panther Ausf.F (Sd.Kfz.171)
- Panzer IV Ausf.F1-H
- Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. A
- Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. B & C
- Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D
- Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. E
- Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. J
- Panzer I
- Panzer II
- Panzer II Ausf.G (VK 9.01)
- Panzerkampfwagen 17R/18R 730(f)
- Panzerkampfwagen 35(t)
- Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf.A
- Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf.B-S
- 38cm RW61 auf Sturmmörser Tiger ‘Sturmtiger’
- Sturmgeschütz III
- Sturmgeschütz IV für 7.5 cm Sturmkanone 40 (Sd.Kfz. 167)
- Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär
- 10.5cm K. gepanzerte Selbstfahrlafette IVa – Dicker Max
- 4,7 cm PaK (t) (Sfl) auf Pz.Kpfw.I (Sd.Kfz.101) ohne Turm, Panzerjäger I
- 7.5 cm PaK 40 auf Sfl. Lorraine Schlepper ‘Marder I’ (Sd.KFz.135)
- 7.5cm Pak 40 auf Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO)
- 7.62 cm PaK 36(r) auf Fgst. PzKpfw.II(F) (Sfl.) (Sd.Kfz. 132) ‘Marder II’
- 8.8 cm PaK 43/1 auf Fgst.Pz.Kpfw III und IV (Sf) Sd.Kfz. 164 “Nashorn”
- Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer)
- Jagdpanzer IV
- Panzer IV/70 (A)
- Panzer IV/70 (V)
- Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm PaK 36(r) (Sd.Kfz. 139) Marder III
- Panzerjäger Tiger (P) 8.8 cm Pak 43/2 L/71 “Ferdinand/Elefant” Sd.Kfz. 184
- Pz.Kpfw.II als Sfl. mit 7.5 cm PaK 40 ‘Marder II’ (Sd.KFz.131)
- Sd.Kfz.186 Jagdtiger
- 10.5cm leFH 16 (Sf.) auf Geschützwagen FCM 36(f)
- 10.5cm leFH 16 auf Geschützwagen Mk.VI(e)
- 10.5cm leFH 18 (Sf.) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f)
- 10.5cm leFH 18/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen IVb
- 10.5cm leFH 18/3 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen B2(f)
- 10.5cm leFH 18/40 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f)
- 15 cm sFH 13/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f)
- 15cm s.I.G 33/2 (Sf) auf Jagdpanzer 38(t)
- 15cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. B “Bison”
- 15cm sIG 33 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf)
- Hummel 15cm SPG
- Hummel-Wespe 10.5cm SPG
- 3.7 cm Flak 43 in Keksdose-Turm auf Pz.Kpfw.III Fahrgestell
- Flakpanzer 38(t) auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) Ausf.M (Sd.Kfz.140)
- Flakpanzer IV (2cm Flak 38 Vierling) ‘Wirbelwind’
- Flakpanzer IV (3.7cm Flak 43) “Möbelwagen”
- Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV 3.7 cm Flak 43 “Ostwind”
- Maschinengewehrkraftwagen (Kfz. 13) and Funkkraftwagen (Kfz. 14)
- Sd.Kfz.231 8-rad
- Sd.Kfz.234 Puma
- Sd.Kfz.263 6-rad
- 10.5cm leFH 18/40/2 L/28 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen III/IV
- 10.5cm leFH 18/6 auf Waffenträger IVb
- 15/17 cm Sturmgeschütz auf E100 Fahrgestell
- 15/17 cm Sturmgeschütz auf Mausfahrzeug
- 3.7 cm Flakzwilling auf Panther Fahrgestell “341”
- 30.5 cm L/16 auf Sfl. Bär
- Borgward Light Tank
- Demag D II ‘Liliput’
- E100 (Entwicklung 100)
- Gefechtsaufklärer Leopard (VK16.02)
- German Tank-based Railway Guns
- Grille 17/21 Self-Propelled Guns
- Höchammer all-terrain one-man tank
- Leichte Flakpanzer IV 3 cm “Kugelblitz”
- Mahlkuch Armored Cover
- Maus 1-man KleinpanzerKampfwagen
- Maus II
- Panzer II Ausf. H & Ausf. M (VK9.03)
- Panzer IV mit Hydrostatischem Antrieb
- Panzer Sfl. Ic.
- Panzerselbstfahrlafette 1a 5 cm PaK 38 auf Gepanzerter Munitionsschlepper
- Panzerspähwagen II Ausführung Škoda
- Projekt NM
- Pz.Kpfw. Panther With 8.8 cm Gun Design Proposals
- Räder-Raupen-Kampfwagen M28 (Landsverk 5)
- Raupenschlepper Ost Artillery SPG
- Schwerer-Flammpanzer auf Jagdtiger (Flammanlage auf Jagdtiger)
- Schwerer-Flammpanzer auf Tiger I (Flammanlage auf Tiger I – ‘Flammpanzer VI’’)
- Škoda T-25
- Sturmgeschütz III prototypes
- Tiger-Maus, Krupp 170-130 tonne Panzer ‘Maeuschen’
- Tigerjäger Design B
- VK30.01(D) and VK30.02(M) – Panther Prototypes
- Waffenträger Panthers – Heuschrecke, Grille, Skorpion
- 12.2cm FK(r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f)
- 15cm sIG 33 L/11 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf.H (Sf)
- 8cm Schwerer Granatwefer 34 auf Panzerspähwagen AMR 35(f)
- Beutespähwagen BA-10M mit 2cm KwK 30 L/55
- Ersatz M10s – Panthers in Disguise
- Infanterie PzKpfw MK II 748(e) “Oswald”
- Leichter Raupenschlepper Famo
- Panzer I Turm auf Lorraine Schlepper(f)
- Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f) mit T-26 Turm
- Panzerkampfwagen KV-1B 756(r) (KV-1 with 7.5cm KwK 40)
- Sd.Kfz.250 mit 5 cm PaK 38
German-related tactic articles
- Effectiveness of Tactical Air Strikes in World War II – “Tank busting”
- Esigenza C3 – The Italian Invasion of Malta
- Greyhound vs. Tiger at St. Vith
- The fighting of 2 Panzer Division, Normandy, 17 June – 7 July 1944
- The Soviet 21st Tank Brigade’s Assault On Kalinin
- The Soviet Counter-Attack at Verba
German-related tech articles
Aftermath of the Versailles treaty
During WW1, after the initial shock, the Germans paid little attention to the idea of tanks in trench warfare. They mostly relied on special infantry units to perform breakthroughs, like the famous Sturmtruppen. It was thought that tanks were too vulnerable1. However, after the successes of isolated British tanks, which made their way into German lines, they first began to consider an appropriate response, and then a tank of their own. The A7V, a mobile fortress, was their only successful attempt in this direction, and only a handful were produced until the armistice. Several light tanks were also considered, but none reached production in time. In 1919, the drastic Versailles treaty imposed severe limitations on military personal and material, and it also forbade tank construction. Only a handful armored cars were retained for police duties.
Later on, in 1933, maneuvers incorporated “dummy tanks”, until the industry would be ready to work on the first indigenous model. Many models were developed in Sweden or the Soviet Union, earning some much valued experience. In 1934, the first Panzerkampfwagen I was issued to the Wehrmacht, with the ordnance (Waffenamt) designation Sd.Kfz. 101. Two years later, the German tank force was augmented by the Panzer II and the first Panzer IIIs. There were capable against the armored vehicles of neighboring powers, like Czechoslovakia and Poland, but not against those of France, and even less against the USSR.
Panzer development (1936-45)
Tanks available prior to the Campaign of France (1940)
The Panzer I and II were considered transitional models, designed for training and to prepare the industry for future, more advanced, vehicles. Despite this, they were forced into combat, mostly as scout vehicles. The Panzer II remained in service for quite a long time. But the real game changer was the Panzer III. After a long elaboration, both technical and theoretical, this first true German medium tank entered mass production quite late, with the Ausf. E/F versions in 1939. Until the Ausf. L upgrade, all mounted the same 37 mm (1.46 in) main gun, completely inefficient against the well armored medium tanks of the Allies, and the armor was quite weak. But these drawback were compensated by many other qualities, including reliability, speed, a radio and a three-man turret.
The Panzer III, after armor and gun upgrades, formed the bulk of the Wehrmacht, until late 1942. By then, another model became available in great numbers, the Panzer IV. Conceived by Guderian and developed in 1936 as a support medium tank (Begleitwagen), it was available in limited quantities during the battle of France, but formed a large part of the Wehrmacht in the summer of 1941, during Operation Barbarossa. It borrowed many components from the Panzer III, but mounted a 75 mm (2.95 in) howitzer intended to deal against fortified positions. In this Wehrmacht duo, the Panzer III was intended to deal with other tanks, while the Panzer IV provided infantry support. But as the limitations of the former became evident, the latter was quickly upgraded with long-barrel, high velocity AT guns. This model became the mainstay of the German armor until 1945.
Operation Barbarossa: The Eastern Front (1941-42)
When German officers received alarming reports of Soviet “invincible tanks”, investigation followed on some captured KV-1s and T-34s. For the first time, an unpleasant feeling of inferiority spread through the Wehrmacht, especially after the merciless winter of December 1941-February 1942. Under the insistence of Hitler and Eastern Front generals, two new design were quickly put on the drawing board. The Panzer V, also called the Panther, and the Tiger, or Panzer VI were meant as an answer to the shortcomings of their predecessors. Both were equipped with excellent guns. The Tiger’s KwK 36 was an adapted anti-aircraft gun, with ultra-high velocity, excellent range and new specially crafted armor-piercing and hollow-charge shells, notably the costly tungsten rounds. Both tanks first appeared after a year and a half development, and they were ready in time for the battle of Kursk, in July 1943. They gave cold sweats to the Russian tank crews, as well as the Allies later, in Italy and France.
Both the Tiger and the Panther were, on paper, some of the best designs in the world when they came into service. However, both of them suffered from serious teething problems due to them being rushed into production and to the front lines. The Panther became the second most produced German tank of the war, but neither of these vehicles was produced to the numbers reached by the Allied tanks. While this is generally attributed to a German “quality is better than quantity” thinking, it was actually due to a long list of factors, ranging from demographics, war bombing, the way the German industry was set up and German military thinking.
Costs speak for themselves. While a Panther was only a little more costly than a Panzer III (117,000 RM vs 91,000 RM) the Tiger was twice as costly (250,000-300,000 RM). The very early series, still incorporating uniquely designed parts and accumulated development costs, were probably up to eight times more costly than the average StuG. But, with parts commonality and simplification, new modular production methods, and a huge, expendable forced labor force (from concentration camps), a significant numbers of each model was built until the end of the war. If the Panther was the most cost-effective German AFV, and perhaps the most effective tank of WW2, the Tiger made such an impression, that it quickly shaped its own legend, besides any propaganda effort. For its time, it was a hardened steel mobile bunker, equipped with one of the most awe-inspiring guns of the war, the German anti-aircraft 88 mm (3.46 in). The before feared T-34 and many Allied tanks, including the M4 Sherman, were now easy targets from up to three miles away. With limited availability, this machine was only given to young, highly motivated crews.
The Tiger had serious tendencies to breakdown, was slow and had a limited range due to very high consumption figures. The complicated drivetrain was difficult to repair, as were the tracks. Moreso, Tigers disabled and abandoned were often lost for good, as towing was difficult. However, the large tracks were an advantage on soft grounds (snow and mud), lowering ground pressure. In fact both tanks incorporated a great deal of wartime learnt improvements.
Turretless Panzers: A misjudged success story
Both the Panzer III and IV were quite expensive, and new mass-producible, cheaper variants for infantry support and tank-hunting were sought. The most expensive part of these models, the turret, was replaced by a new, lowered hull, in the StuG III and IV, and their tank-hunter equivalents. Ultimately, with versions equipped with the 75 mm (2.95 in) short-barrel howitzer or AT guns like the Pak 40, the StuGs formed a growing part of the AFV production by 1943, and were the unsung metal heroes, the jacks-of-all-trade of the Wehrmacht. More robust, more difficult to hit, easier to repair, they added their numerical advantage, with no sacrifice to quality. The average cost of the StuG III was 80,000 RM, compared to 95,000 for a regular Panzer III. With 9400 StuG IIIs, 1200 StuH IIIs and 1100 StuG IVs, more were built than any other German tank or SPG of the war. Some StuGs were used extensively as tank-hunters, and proved more lethal even than the Tiger, with some 20,000 kills credited to these small hunters. They simply used shorter range and ambush tactics, enabled by their lower silhouette, easy to camouflage.
Panzerjägers: Hunting spirit
As soon as the fall of Poland, German planners thought of converting existing platform in order to mount heavier ordnance than the regular 37 mm (1.46 in) PaK 36, especially to deal with the well protected French and British tanks during the upcoming campaigns. At this point, they looked upon the excellent Czech AT 47 mm gun (1.85 in), already available in quantity, and mounted it on the Panzer I chassis. Soon after, the elderly Panzer II chassis was chosen to carry the 7.5 cm (2.95 in) PaK, as the Marder II, as did some captured French models (Marder I). The Czech 38(t) provided two other variants, Marder III and the famous Jagdpanzer 38(t) (ubiquitously and incorrectly known as the Hetzer). The Panzer IV chassis allowed the construction of a low-profile turretless vehicle using the StuG recipe, armed with with a long barrel high velocity PaK 39, the Jagdpanzer IV. Attempts to use the deadly 88 mm (3.46 in) gave birth to several other variants.
The Nashorn (also called Hornisse), was an adaptation of the Panzer IV chassis with said gun. The later stages of the war gave birth to more advanced vehicles, like the Jagdpanther, Elefant, and Jagdtiger. The latter, only produced in small numbers, was equipped with the most awesome piece of anti-tank artillery ever carried during the war, a 128 mm (5 in) gun. The tank itself, weighing nearly 72 tons, had a high consumption, suffered a lot of breakdowns, and was tactically difficult to move, as it was forbidden from crossing many bridges.
Later Panzers and the defensive war (1944-45)
Numbers alone were not enough during WWII. In face of odds rarely encountered by an army, of ten to one numerical inferiority on almost every front in 1944-45, the Germans slowly gave way until the end, while exacting heavy tolls on the Allies. But the ultimate defeat was quickened thanks to a near total air superiority and new Allied tank-hunters. The British 6-pdr gun proved lethal against the Axis war machines, and was subsequently employed by many US and British tank destroyers. The Soviets were able to field many SU-85s and SU-100s in 1943, also equipped with an adapted, former AA gun. The next generation tanks, the T-34/85, IS-1 and IS-2, also came en masse in 1944. Thus, some some real killing power was added to the numerical advantage on Soviet side.
Despite the lack of resources required to produce even the Tigers, Hitler insisted for more gargantuan models. As soon as 1943, a replacement for the Panzer VI was designed. An even more impressive heavy tank, the Tiger II or Königstiger. This nearly 70 tons monster incorporated some features from the Panther and an even more powerful and lethal gun. As the engines were still not up to the task, mobility was, once again, an issue. Plus, these new tanks were even more costly, and the Allied bombardment campaign began to take its toll. As the future in the east looked bleaker, Hitler and his generals looked west. The plan was simple and daring. All available Panzer VIs, one of Hitler’s cherished “Wunderwaffe”, were supposed to be gathered in a single Panzer division, the spearhead of a new unstoppable force. The objective was to pierce the weakest point of the US sector defensive line, in the Ardennes, in Belgium, and once again achieve the 1940 masterstroke, a rush to the sea, ultimately cutting off the supplies of the Allied forces. The ultimate goal was, in Hitler’s mind, to negotiate, in favorable terms, a separate peace with the western powers, and to concentrate all efforts on the Eastern front.
The Panzer VII was named the “Löwe”, a 76-90 ton heavy tank, of which none were built. The project was cancelled. Another Hitler “Wunderwaffe” was a super-heavy tank named at first “Mammuth”, but then, by derision, “Maus”. Weighing close to 200 tons, powered by a gargantuan diesel and sporting a monstrous 128 mm (5 in) gun, this was the ultimate Wagnerian war machine. However, with long-lasting trials, relatively weak performance, and many problems to cope with, like huge consumption, slow speed, weak maneuvering capabilities and ultra-high cost, the entire project was cancelled in 1944. Other even more impressive giants never hopped of the drawing board, like the P1000 “Ratte”, also known as the “Landkreuzer”. This gigantic “land cruiser” was, on paper, propelled by two U-Boat diesel engines, and armed with a naval battleship turret, firing two 280 mm (11 in) guns, with a 128 mm turret and quite an impressive array of AA artillery. It was a late rebirth of the very early tank concepts of tanks, inspired by H.G. Wells’ novel.
Another project was the E 100, supposedly a lighter and faster version of the “Maus”, but, weighin 140 tons, it was still unrealistic in 1944. A single prototype was captured by the British before reaching completion. But the all-category champion was the P-1500 “Monster”, a 1500 ton gun carriage fielding no less than the Schwerer Gustav, able to fire a 800 mm (31.5 in) shell at 39 km. A big waste of resources was used to forge the superhuman, oversized tracks (more or less similar to those used later by NASA Saturn V pod carrier), which were all that remained of it.
Featured AT guns
From 1933 to 1945, the Wehrmacht took delivery to tens of thousands of antitank guns, from the puny standard 37 mm to the legendary 8.8 cm Pak 43 extrapolated from the AA gun.
PAK-36: 12,000 were built of this light standard infantry AT gun which was the ordnance main issue. Infamously called “door-knocker device” in the 1940 campaign because of its poor perforlances against heavily-armored allied tanks, it was sufficient against lighter armoured vehicle and stayed into service to the last day of the war, recycled to fire shaped-charges like the Stielgränat 41.
The wartime German arsenal comprised in all 15 models registered, like the unusual 2.8 cm sPzB 41, the very common 7.5 cm Pak 40, or the
fearful 8.8 cm Pak 43.
-2.8 cm sPzB 41: Basically a super-high velocity tapering barrel gun of “real” 20mm caliber. Despite this small caliber, it could launch a projectile 4,500 feet per second (1,400 m/s) at 500m, capable of piercing 52 to 69 mm of hardened steel inclined at 70° at 100m. About 2,797 were built by Mauser. It was a development of the experimental Gerlich’s coned-bore barrel 7 mm anti-tank rifle.
-4.2 cm Pak 41: Basically an airborne version of the regular Pak 36, but using the same squeeze bore principle as described above for a real final caliber of 28 mm. Only 313 were delivered. They could defeat 87 mm of straight armour at 500m.
-4.7 cm Pak 38(t): Captured Czech AT gun, which famously equipped the Panzerjäger I during the French campaign and catpured R35 tanks. Also called 4,7cm KPÚV vz. 38 originally production resumed in 1940 by Skoda Works, and its 775 m/s (2,542 ft/s) muzzle velocity gave the ability to defeat 60 mm of hardened steel (2.4 in) @ 1,200 metres (1,300 yd).
-4.7 cm Pak 181(f): Captured french AT gun originally called 47 mm APX anti-tank gun which also equipped the Char B1 and S35. It had a 855 m/s (2,805 ft/s) muzzle velocity.
-7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 97/38: Captured French AT gun (the venerable 1898 “soixante-quinze”) was declined as an AT gun with pneumatic tires and tailored shield. Originally 4500 Canon de 75 Mle 1897/33s were in service in WW2 in France alone, and it was also the main dual-purpose gun of the Polish Army. The Germans have these modified by a new muzzle brake and mounted on a 5 cm Pak 38 carriage, then sent to the Eastern front. But they lacked modern AP shells and had a low muzzle velocity. The unmodified ones were named in German service 7.5 cm Pak 97/38(f).
-5 cm Pak 38: Early standard German AT gun (9500+) produced by Rheinmetall until 1945. Best results obtained with Panzergranate 40 APCR shots with a hard tungsten core. Muzzle velocity 550-1,130 m/s (1,804-3,707 ft/s), 3000 yards range.
-7.5 cm Pak 40: German standard WW2 AT Gun, more than 20,000 built until 1945. Effective at 1,800 metres (5,906 ft) in direct fire, with the APCR round muzzle velocity was 933 m/s, it could penetrate 154 mm of straight hardened steel at 500m. Rounds in use were the PzGr. 39, PzGr. 40 and PzGr. 38 HL/B (HE shell). Was used also by Finland and Hungary.
-7.5 cm Pak 41: Krupp Semi-experimental (150 built until 1943) and using the Gerlich principle: Real diameter was 55mm. With the AP round muzzle velocity was 1,230 m/s (4,035 ft/s), and it was effective at 2200 yards. It could penetrate 172 mm @30° at 500m.
-7.5 cm Pak 42: Also used on the Panther (Kwk 42). Can use the Panzergranate 39/42 (Pzgr. 39/42), Panzergranate 40 (Hk) (Pzgr. 40/42) and Sprenggranate 42 (Sprgr. 42) (HE). Best performances with the Pzgr. 40/42 (APCR) reaching 1,130 m/s (3,700 ft/s), penetrating 234 at 500m. Prod?
-7.62 cm Pak 36(r): Captured Soviet gun, about 560 converted. These 76-mm divisional guns model 1936 (F-22) were originally designed as field gun but with AT capabilities in mind. Best performances were obtained with the German-built 7.62 cm Pzgr.40, which can penetrate 158mm of 60° hardened steel at 500m and more.
-8 cm PAW 600: Semi-experimental high-low pressure gun firing hollow charges, developed by Rheinmetall. 260 Built 1943-44. Could fire at 520 m/s (1,706 ft/s) and 700m effective range and armor penetration was 140mm of vertical armor with a common shaped-charge 8 cm W Gr Patr H1 4462.
-8.8 cm Pak 43:
AT adaptation by Krupp and Rheintemall of the legendary anti-aircraft 88mm gun. Produced to about 2,100 until 1945. Use a tailored carriage of the cruciform quad mount. Effective at 2000m and more in almost flat trajecories it could fire indirectly at 15,000m. Could fire the versatile Pzgr. 39/43 APCBC-HE (can penetrate 185 mm at 500m) or the Pzgr. 40/43 APCR (penetration 217mm at 500m, up to 153 mm at 2000m with almost 50% first hit capability.
-12.8 cm Pak 44: Most massive AT gun in use by the Werhmacht, produced by Krupp to just 51 unit until 1945. Variation of the type used on the Jagdtiger. Can fire about the same ammunitions and figures similar to the 8.8 cm Pak 43 but long range results were better. It was capable to penetrate 230 millimetres (9.1 in) 30° at 1000 m. Used a quad (two axles), two-legged mount.
-Recoiless guns: 7.5 cm LG 40, 10.5 cm LG 40 and 10.5 cm LG 42. The latter had a muzzle velocity of 195 m/s (640 ft/s) or 335 m/s (1,099 ft/s) depending on the projectiles. These were light, portable guns for airborne units, best used against infantry as penetration power was rather poor.
-FLAK guns used in casual AT role: 2 cm Flak 30/38/Flakvierling 2 cm Gebirgsflak 38 3.7 cm Flak 18/36/37/43 5 cm Flak 41 8.8 cm Flak
18/36/37/41 10.5 cm FlaK 38 12.8 cm FlaK 40. The 88 was famously deployed in France by Rommel to stop the rampaging British Mathilda at Amiens and in several other occasions in North Africa and the Eastern Front.
Tank guns in use were the 2 cm KwK 30 (like on the panzer II), Czech 3,7cm ÚV vz. 38 (used on the Panzer 38(t), 5 cm KwK 38 5 cm, KwK 39 7.5 cm, KwK 37 7.5 cm, KwK 40 7.5 cm, KwK 42 8.8 cm and KwK 36 8.8 cm KwK 43 used from the Panzer III to the Panzer VII Königstiger.
The Panzer II was a provisional, stopgap model, which was mostly used as a scout tank during the war. Late models, like the “Luchs” (Ausf. L), shared nothing but the name with the previous versions.
– Panzer I (1934)
1493 built. Two MG 34 machine-guns. The main variants were the Ausf. A and B, and the wartime variants C and F were built in limited numbers. Four variants emerged, a command tank, a SPH (sIG 33 Bison), an AA tank (Flakpanzer I) and a tank-hunter (Panzerjäger I).
– Panzer II (1935)
1856 built. One 20 mm (0.79 in) autocannon, one MG 34. It consisted of a preseries, the Ausf. A/B/C main variants, while the wartime variants F and L (Luchs) were built in small numbers. The J was heavily armored. Many derivatives emerged, including a tank-hunter (Marder II), a gun motor carriage (Wespe), a howitzer heavy motor carriage (sIG-33 Bison) and a flame-thrower version (Flamingo).
The Panzer III was, until 1942, the mainstay of the German armor. However, because it was unable to house bigger, longer barrel guns, it was replaced by the Panzer IV as the German main battle tank. Production of models based on its chassis flourished, notably with the StuGs series. In this photo, New Zealand prisoners pass near a Panzer III command version of the 2.Pz.Div. in Greece, near Pandelejmon, April, 16, 1941.
– Panzer III (1936)
5774 built, One 37 mm (1.46 in), 50 mm (1.97 in) or 75 mm (2.95 in) gun and three MG 34s. Ausf A to N variants, plus command tanks, special versions and derivatives (StuG III, tank hunters and howitzer motor carriages).
– Panzer IV (1936)
8800 built, One 75 mm (2.95 in) short barrel howitzer or long-barrel gun, and two MG 34s. Ausf A to J variants, plus Brummbär (Sturmpanzer) heavy gun carriage, Jagdpanzer IV tank-hunter, StuG IV and Wirbelwind AA version.
– Panzer V Panther (1942)
6000+ built, One 75 mm (2.95 in) KwK 42 L/70 gun, two MG-34s. Ausf. D, A and G variants. Tank hunter derivative (Jagdpanther).
A Panzer VI Tiger of the 101st Abteilung in Northern France, late 1944. The Tiger was probably the most feared machine in the German arsenal. Its armor ranged from 100 to 120 mm (3.93-4.72 in) and the velocity and range of the 88 mm (3.46 in) gun gave its crew immense confidence in combat. Allied tanks were seen as sitting ducks. Some of its commanders became aces, like the famous Michael Wittman.
– Panzer VI Tiger (1942)
1347 built, One 88 mm (3.46 in) KwK 36, two MG 42s. Ausf H and E variants.
– Panzer VI Ausf. B Königstiger (1943)
492 built, One 88 mm (3.46 in) gun, two MG 42s. Jagdtiger tank-hunter derivative.
Durchsbruchswagen II or Prototype DW 2, as delivered with the Krupp Turm (1940).
Prototype VK 36.01 chassis, Kummersdorf testing ground, fall 1941.
Prototype VK 45.01 (1942), Porsche Tiger prototype.
The only Porsche Tiger in active service with Abt.653, Ukraine, June 1944.
Super heavy tanks
– Panzer VIII Maus (1944)
2 built (prototypes) One 128 mm (5.03 in) and one 75 mm (2.95 in) gun. Cancelled.
– P.1000 Ratte (1942)
Project of a “landkreuzer” of 1000 tons, cancelled.
Tank destroyers (Panzerjäger)
The awesome Jagdtiger. Only a handful of these beasts were ever produced, and their weight made them near-impractical. Engine limitations led to a lot of breakdowns. But when in place, their protection, firepower and range were unrivaled until the end of the war – Credits: Wikipedia.
– Panzejäger I (1940)
202 built, based on Panzer I wit one 47 mm (1.85 in) gun.
– Marder I (1942)
– Sd.Kfz. 132 Marder II (1942-43)
201 built or converted, based on the Panzer II Ausf. D/E. 76.2 mm (3 in) PaK 36(r) gun.
– Sd.Kfz. 131 Marder II (1943-45)
651 built or converted, based on the Panzer II Ausf. A/B/C and F. One 75 mm (2.95 in) PaK 40 gun.
– Marder III (1942-43)
363 built, based on the Czech 38(t) chassis. One 75 mm (2.95 in) PaK 40 gun.
One of the three variants of the Marder III, based on the excellent Panzer 38(t) chassis manufactured by BMM (Skoda). The Ausf.M was built on one of the later chassis, sharing the front engine configuration with the Grille Ausf.M. Like the other Marder IIIs, it was armed by the standard 7,5 cm Pak 40, and not with the Russian Soviet 76.2 mm field gun of the first Marders. This gun was found able to penetrate the armor of the T-34 and KV-1 at that time. The gun was mounted in a rear casemate, with its own shield for added protection. It was emerging from a large opening in the frontal armor for better traverse. It also had a lower profile, and was also the most largely produced, with 942 vehicles from May 1943 to May 1944.
– Sturmgeschütz IV (1942-44)
1139 built, based on the Panzer IV chassis. One 75 mm (2.95 in) PaK 40 gun.
– Jagdpanzer IV (1943-45)
2000 built, based on the Panzer IV chassis. One 75 mm (2.95 in) PaK 42 gun.
– Jagdpanzer 38(t) (1944-45)
2827 built, based on the Czech 38(t) chassis. One 75 mm (2.95 in) gun.
– Nashorn (1943-44)
473 built, based on Panzer III/IV chassis. One 88 mm (3.46 in) gun.
– Elefant (1943)
91 built, based on the rejected Porsche Tiger chassis. One 88 mm (3.46 in) gun.
– Jagdpanther (1944-45)
415 built, based on the Panzer V Panther chassis. One 88 mm (3.46 in) gun.
– Jagdtiger (1944-45)
88 built, based on the Panzer VI Königstiger chassis. One 128 mm (5 in) gun.
– Sturer Emil (1942-43)
2 built, based on a Henschel chassis with a 128 mm (5 in) gun.
Gun motor carriages
38 built, based on Panzer I. One 155 mm (6.1 in) howitzer.
Also incorectly known as the Sturmpanzer II or Bison II. 12 built, based on the Panzer II.
– Sd.Kfz.124 Wespe (1941-42)
682 built, based on the Panzer II. One sIG 33 155 mm (6.1 in) howitzer.
– StuIG 33B (1941)
24 built (Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B), based on the Panzer III. One 155 mm (6.1 in) howitzer.
– StuG III (1942-45)
9408 built, based on the Panzer III, with a 75 mm (2.95 in) gun.
– StuH 42 (1942-44)
1211 built (Sturmhaubitze 42) , based on the Panzer III, with a 105 mm (4.13 in) howitzer.
306 built, based on the Panzer IV, with a 150 mm (5.9 in) StuH 43 howitzer.
– Sturmtiger (1943-44)
19 built (Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61), based on the Tiger, with a 380 mm (15 in) rocket launcher.
Karl mortar (1940-42)
7 built. The epitome of the self-propelled gun during the war, only seven units of this gargantuan self-propelled siege mortar were built between 1940 and 1942, but its development goes back to 1937. Originally, Rheinmetall proposed a super-heavy howitzer to attack the Maginot Line. It was decided to make it self-propelled in January 1937, using very long, large tracks and a Daimler-Benz MB 503A gasoline or Daimler-Benz MB 507C diesel engine, which supplied between 4 and 4.8 hp/ton depending on the model. All seven were almost tailor-made and weighed around 120-125 tons, armed with a 600 mm (24 in) howitzer. Each shell weighted almost a ton and was given a 500 kg warhead. Mobility was limited, and it relied on a trailer and crane for ammo. It could also be disassembled and loaded on a special train for long distance transport.
– P1500 Monster (1944)
Paper project only, a self-propelled gun intended to carry the huge 800 mm (31.5 in) “Dora”.
Armored scouts & transports
– Kübelwagen (1940-45)
50,435 built. Famous VW off-road car.
20,000 built. Derivative VW amphibious car.
– Sd.Kfz. 221-223 series (1935-44)
3340 built. Leichter Panzerspähwagen (4 wheels).
– Sd.Kfz. 231 6-rad series (1934-40)
200 built. Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (Heavy armored scout – 6 wheels).
1200 built. Schwerer Panzerspähwagen (Heavy armored scout – 8 wheels).
– Sd.Kfz. 247 Panzerbefehlswagen (1937-45)
68 built. 4/6 wheeled armored command car.
– Sd.Kfz. 250 (1941-45)
13,000 built. Armored half-tracks.
15,252 built. Main German APC of the war.
– Sd.Kfz. 254 (1938-40)
140 built. Armored wheel/track hybrid artillery observation vehicle.
SdKfz 254 in Poland, September 1939
SdKfz 254 in North Africa, 1941
–Flakpanzer I (1941)
25 built. This rare conversion appeared in 1941, after it became apparent that towed Flak guns were unable to protect moving Panzer columns. This was a conversion of the obsolete Panzer I Ausf B chassis with a 2 cm FlaK 38 L/112.5. 25 were converted by Stowever and used by the 614th Motorized Flak Battalion in Romania.
-Flakpanzer 38(t) Gepard (1943)
141 built. This derivative of the prolific Czech Panzer 38(T) was armed with a 20 mm (0.79 in) Flak 38. The Waffenamt designation was Flakpanzer 38(t) auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) Ausf.M (SdKfz 140), or Flakpanzer 38(t) Gepard. Given organically, after early 1944, to the AA platoons of each Panzerbatallion.
250 built by Deutsche Eisenwerke until 1945. Based on the Panzer IV (Flakpanzer IV), armed with a 3.7 cm FlaK 43 L/89 in an open platform.
87 to 105 built by Ostbau Werke in Silesia (diverging sources). Quad 20 mm Flakvierling 38 in an open turret based on the Panzer IV chassis.
43-44 built. Similar model by the same manufacturer, but armed with a single 3.7 cm FlaK 43 L/89.
2-6 built The Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz was armed with a fully enclosed turret with Zwillingsflak 30mm MK 103 twin anti-aircraft guns. Only a handful were built at the end of the war.
Sd.Kfz.263 of Nachr.Abt.37 (Mot.), 1st Panzerdivision, Poland, September 1939
Sd.Kfz.263 Funkspähwagen, Deutsches Afrikakorps, 1941
Sd.Kfz.263, 2nd Division “das Reich”, Eastern Front, 1941
Sd.Kfz.263, 79th signal battalion (mot.) 4th Panzerdivision, Bielorussia 1943.
Sd.Kfz.263 “Rona”, Warsaw, 1944.
Grille Ausf.H, 9th Kompanie, 113th Panzergrenadier Regiment, Russia, 1943.
Sd.Kfz.138/1 Grille Ausf.H, 9th Kompanie, Panzergrenadier Regiment 2, 2nd Panzerdivision, Normandy, summer 1944.
Grille Ausf.H of the Panzergrenadier Regiment 9/67 or 26, 26th Panzerdivision, Italy, 1944.
Grille Ausf.H, Panzergrenadier Regiment 901, Russia, 1944.
15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33/1 auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) (Sf) Ausf.K (Sd.Kfz. 138/1).
Grille Ausf.K, unknown unit, Russia, 1944.
Grille Ausf.K, East Prussia, 1945.
Munitionspanzer 38(t) (sf) Ausf.K (Sd.Kfz.138/1), Germany, May 1945.
Wespe from the 2nd Panzerartillerie Regiment, Russia, June 1944 – HD picture.
Wespe from the 146th Panzer Artillerie Regiment, PanzerLehr Regiment, Normandy, summer 1944.
Wespe from the 1st Abteilung, Panzerartillerie regiment, 8th Panzerdivision, Ukraine, summer 1944.
Wespe from an unidentified unit, Italy, summer 1944.
Wespe from an unidentified Abteilung, perhaps part of the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, Anzio, January 22, 1944.
Wespe of an unidentified unit, Hungary, March 1945.
Munitionschlepper auf Wespe, Fallschrimpanzerdivision Hermann Göring, East Prussia, winter 1944-45.
Flakpanzer I, Eastern Front, Flak Abteilung 614, 1941.
Same unit and location, winter 1941-42.
Sd.Kfz.231 6-rad from the third PanzerDivision, Neuropinn, May 1936. Click to see an earlier model from the VIth Armeekorps.
Unidentified Sd.Kfz.231 6 rad during the Anschluss, 1938.
Sd.Kfz.232 (fu) radio version in Poland, September 1939.
Ausf.A, France, May 1940. The long Waffenamt designation was “Schwerer geländegängiger gepanzerter Personenkraftwagen (6 Rad) mit Fahrgestell des l gl.Lkw”.
Ausf.B, Ukraine, summer 1942. Long designation was “Schwerer geländegängiger gepanzerter Personenkraftwagen”
Supposedly an Ausf.B in Russia, fall 1942. The camouflage is based on one of the reconstitutions made.
Ausf.B, possibly used by the SS, Normandy, summer 1944.
Type 182 in France 1940
Kübelwagen in Russia 1942
Type 182 in North Africa, Afrika Korps 1941
Kübelwagen in Tunisia 1943
Kübelwagen in Russia 1943
Camouflaged Kübelwagen Normandy summer 1944
Kübelwagen with MG.34 mount, 1944
An Afrika Korps Schwimmwagen, Egypt, june 1942.
An eastern front schwimmwagen, Pripet marshes (Russia), august 1941.
A Wehrmacht Schwimmwagen in Normandy, june 1944, with the most current camouflage, with dark green and dark brown vermicels on a beige-brown basis.
One of the very first serial SdkFz 2, Germany, december 1940.
An Afrika korps kettenkrad, Libya, october 1942.
An eastern front Kettenkrad, Stalingrad, december 1942.
A SS Panzergrenadiere Kettenkrad, Normandy, june 1944.
The Panzerabwehrkanone model 36, standard infantry gun of the german army 1937-42.
Kettenkrad towing the Pak 36, 24th Infantry Division (army group center), Vitebsk sector, Russia, june 1942.
A PAK 36 with Stielgränat 41, Belgium (operation Wacht am Rhein), december 1944.
German Prime movers (half tracks)
German Panzer IV Tank – Tank Encyclopedia Support Shirt
Blitz into action with this Pzkpfw IV, aka Panzer 4 shirt! A portion of the proceeds from this purchase will support Tank Encyclopedia, a military history research project.
German King Tiger Tank – Tank Encyclopedia Support Shirt
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One towed artillery gun required a team of six horses and nine men. WW2 German engineers came up with the idea of mounting an artillery gun on top of a tank chassis. This new technology reduced the amount of resources required to deploy one artillery gun. Artillery self-propelled guns only needed a four or five man crew. They could also be made ready to fire more quickly. This book covers the development and use of this new weapon between 1939 and 1945. One type was successfully used in the invasion of France in May 1940. More were used on the Eastern Front against Soviet forces from 1941 until the end of the war in 1945.