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CokeSpray

[wiki:contest] PzKpfw III Ausf. M

Hi there,before we start off,I'd like to thank you for taking interest in reading this article about the PzKpfw III Ausf. M. The main focus of this article will be the Panzer III Ausf. M,however the Ausf. L might also be mentioned,as these two vehicles are very similar to each other and share many features.

I hope you enjoy and let's get started!

 

 

PzKpfw III Ausf. M

 

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Development & Historical Background of the Panzer III

 

The Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw;eng. armored fighting vehicle) III was a medium tank designed by Daimler-Benz following specifications given by Heinz Guderian to develop a medium tank which would weigh 24 tonnes and have a top speed of around 35 km/h. Four companies made prototypes;Daimler-BenzKruppMAN, and Rheinmetall.Testing of these took place in 1936 and 1937, leading to the Daimler-Benz design being chosen for production. The first model of the Panzer III, the Ausfuhrung A. (Ausf. A), came off the assembly line in May 1937.

The Panzer III saw first combat use in the invasion of Poland where it would take part in the "Blitzkrieg". Panzer IIIs remained Germany's main battle tank up until it saw combat against the T-34. Then,the Panzer IV was fitted with a 7,5cm cannon and it took over the role of main battle tank in the Panzer divisons and the Panzer III was used more in the Infantry support role. 

There were many attempts to modernize and improve the Panzer III. Proof of that we can see in the many variants that were produced from 1939-1943. In total (including prototype variants) there was around 5700 Panzer IIIs built across 14 variants. The tank served in the German army throughout WW2, from 1939-1945 and saw combat in almost all theaters of war.

 

About the PzKpfw III Ausf. L and M

 

The Panzer III L & M Variants were "upgraded" versions of the Panzer III Ausf. J (most produced Pz III). The first upgrade,the Ausf. L had standardized the use of the 50mm KwK 39 L/60 cannon. This gun was a powerful weapon at close range and had relatively little bullet drop due to the high velocity of the round being fire. Apart from that,it also featured a 20mm stand-off plate bolted on both the front of the hull and turret,which increased it's thickness from 50mm to 70mm. The tank was powered by the 300 PS (221 kW), 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM engine and could reach speeds of up to 50 km/h. In the summer of 1943, before the Battle of Kursk, the Panzer III L was equipped with 5 mm Schurtzen side skirts around the hull and turret to protect it from anti-tank and hollow-charge projectiles and the tank was redesignated to Panzer III Ausf. M. The addition of Shurtzen to the tank's hull and turret was the most significant change to the tank. There were also some minor changes like the removal of escape hatches on the sides of the tank's hull with lead to increased ammunition quantity (from 84 to 98 shells) and the removal of smoke generator which were located in the back of the tank were replaced with 6 mortars which could launch 90 mm NbK smoke grenades.

 

The Panzer III Ausf. M In-game

 

             

Specifications

           

  •   Cost: 77000 SL (Silver Lions) & 18000 RP (Research Points) 

 

  • Armor Specifications - Hull:

​                                                Front: 70mm (Plate Included) Side: 35mm (Shutzen Included) Rear: 50mm

 

                                               Turret:

                                         

                                                Front: 70mm (Plate Included) Side & Rear: 35mm (Shutzen Included) 

 

  •  Mobility - Engine Power: 300 HP at 3000 RPM

                                 Max Speed: 53 km/h

                       

                          Max Inclination: 35 degrees

 

  • Firepower - Armament: 50mm KwK 39 L/60 cannon (Ammo: 92)

                                                  1x7.92 MG 34 coax. Machine gun (Ammo: 3750)

                            

                    Turret Rotation Speed: 14°/s

 

                    Vertical Guidance: Depression: -10°

                                                    Elevation: 20°

 

                          Reload time: 4s (Untrained crew)

 

                       Ammunition types available in-game:

  • PzGr 39 (APC; Armor Piercing Capped) - Good for most enemy vehicles you come up against. Has tendency to ricochet due to having a blunt shell top.
  • PzGr 40/1 (APCR; Armor Piercing Composite Rigid) A high velocity high penetrating shell,can penetrate almost all vehicles the Panzer III faces,however,the shell has no explosive filling,so there won't be a lot of damage done if you score a penetrating hit.
  • PzGr 40 (APCR; Armor Piercing Composite Rigid) Same can be said about this round as for the previous one,only that this one travels at a slightly higher velocity then the 40/1 and has some extra penetration power.
  • Sprgr. (HE;High-Explosive) Useless against armored vehicles. Can be used to destroy AA,AI Artilery,AA Trucks (Gaz,sdkfz 6/2 etc.). 

 

 

Tactics,Tips,Advantages & Disadvantages of the Panzer III Ausf. M

 

After countless hours spent and battles fought in this little beast of a tank,which is commonly referred to as "The Little Tiger" or "The Tiger's Little Brother" I will share my experience with you and try to teach you how to become a good and efficient Panzer III driver,so let's get to it!

 

1. Advantages & Disadvantages

 

           Advantages

  • A fast and mobile tank
  • Good armor protection
  • Highly accurate and reliable cannon
  • Good penetration
  • Small target
  • Good protection against HEAT and some AP shells
  • Strong armor on Commander's cupola (100mm)

 

         Disadvantages

  • Has trouble going against KV-1
  • Cannon is not suited for Long distance engagements
  • Has Weakspots in Front Armor ( lower glaces,driver's viewport,MG port)
  • Commander's cupola is a large target (although it is well armored)
  • Sometimes runs out of ammunition due to high rate of fire
  • No sloped armor

 

 

2. Best (General) Usage

 

If there is 1 thing I've learnt with this tank,it's that it is a very versatile tank. It has a very good balance between armor,firepower and mobility. This tank can lead frontal assaults,but certainly not alone. You will achieve better results if you flank your enemy,this tank does a great job at it. That's when the mobility and shear rate of fire comes in handy. However,if you can't flank the enemy and are forced to engage the enemy head on,don't worry too much,this tank will server you well even in that situation. It has a good front armor thickness (70 mm) at it's also spaced,which offers increased protection from HEAT rounds and some AP shells You have a excellent rate of fire,so make sure to prevent the enemy from firing back at you by knocking out his gunner,cannon breech or even cannon barrel by shooting him in the turret. After you have successfully accomplished this,go on and just cover the enemy vehicle in fire. Still,don't think that after all of this,that the Panzer III is a good tank for pushing,it's not. If you can work together with some squad mates and work together then you can attempt to push,but as I said earlier,applying flanking maneuvers will work best for this tank.      

 

3. Engaging The Enemy and Combat behavior

  

 Always remember that your tank has a powerful cannon (especially deadly at close/medium ranges) with a good rate of fire. You may not always knock out your opponent in one blow,so try prioritizing on what to aim first. 

Here is what I usually prioritize when attacking a (superior) enemy:

  1. Turret - The turret contains some vital crew members and modules. If you score a successive penetration,you are most likely going to kill the loader,gunner,commander and knock out/damage the following modules: cannon breech,Ammo rack,horizontal and vertical turret drive. By knocking out any these crew members and modules with your first fired shot,you greatly decrease the time it will take you to destroy the enemy tank and take no/minimum damage in return.
  2. If the enemy hasn't died yet,you might want to focus on shooting at the enemy's weakspots and known areas of vital/fragile modules (e.g. Ammo rack,fuel tank.) The rear part of every tank is the most lightly armored one,so you may want to focus fire there and maybe score a penetration to the engine block/transmission.
  3. If your opponent is still standing,the best thing you can do to finish him of is to get up close and personal. After all the damage you have done to him he has to be very crippled and he's barely operating. However,never underestimate your enemy and always approach your enemy with caution,no matter how much damage you have inflicted to him. Anyway,get up close and personal and land shots wherever they can penetrate and do most damage.

A few last Tips and Advices 

 

Your cannon won't have trouble penetrating your enemies up to ranges of 500 m. After that you might want to use APCR ammunition. However,there is one tough nut to crack at your battle rating,that tough nut is the KV tanks. They have strong armor all around their tank and your gun will have trouble penetrating it even from ranges of 200-300m. For KV tanks it is recommended to use APCR ammunition and to shoot them in their turret cheeks,driver viewport,and MG port. You can also try to penetrate the gun mantlet,but you will certainly need to use APCR ammunition there. So watch out for KV tanks and engage them wisely!

 

Tip 1: Use your tank's mobility - You have a good gun,that's true,but don't let that encourage you to camp on one spot on the map and wait for enemies to come to you. Be proactive and move around the map,your tank has the capabilities to do that. As we mentioned a few times above applying flanking tactics is the most effective way to use this tank.

 

Tip 2: Spaced armor and Shurtzen - You may fool yourself into believing that those 5mm plates on the sides of your tank's hull and turret are useless and that they just add dead weight to your tank. That's not true at all. Their main purpose is to absorb HEAT shells and prematurely activate the fuse on some AP rounds. They are definitely a useful component of your tank.

 

Tip 3: Angling your armor -  Despite the fact that you have a sufficient armor thickness and spaced armor to protect you from HEAT shells you can always find yourself in the situation when you are just too close to the enemy and armor thickness isn't your advantage anymore. In this case it's best to angle your armor at around a 45-60 degree angle to maximize your effective armor thickness and increase chances of the enemy shell ricocheting. Here's a good picture to illustrate that;

[spoiler]

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[/spoiler]

 

Tip 4: If possible,try to cover your lower glaces -  You have a very exposed lower glaces and if you take a hit there,you are most likely going to have a knocked out transmission,a fire burning and a dead driver. So whenever possible,try to use natural cover like rocks and obstacles to protect your lower glaces.

 

Tip 5: You can carry as much ammo as you want! - That's right,if you are unsure of your shooting skills,or just like to shoot at everything that moves,you can bring all the ammo you can carry in the Panzer III Ausf. M. The ammo is stored in a safe location in the lower part of the tank,so ammo rack hits are uncommon.

 

All in all I would say that the Panzer III Ausf. M and L are very fun to play with and are certainly worth getting! They are a good way to grind to the next vehicle in the line,the first German heavy tank,the Tiger 1 (Press to view my article on the Tiger 1). Apart from being fun to play with,they are very good tanks all in all and they are,at least in my opinion,the best balance of firepower,mobility and armor in the German tree,at least in low tiers! I would recommend the Panzer III line of German tanks to every new player in War Thunder,it offers a huge variety in play style and can suit pretty much everyone and it will serve as a good training vehicle to get used to the late tier German mediums.

 

I sincerely hope you found this article helpful,interesting and I hope it will help you become a better tanker (at least in the Panzer III). Once again,thanks for stopping by,reading the article and showing your support!

 

Fly/drive safe and I'll meet you on the War Thunder skies and battlefields! :salute:  

Edited by CokeSpray
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EDIT: Removed list of potential enemies you may face in a random battle as it's subject to change.

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You are welcome to list potential adversaries and how to defeat them. However stating that this is a 3.0 tanks is discouraged since a tanks BR can change at any moment.

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You are welcome to list potential adversaries and how to defeat them. However stating that this is a 3.0 tanks is discouraged since a tanks BR can change at any moment.

Agreed. And hence new vehicles are being added every major patch,I think it's rather unnecessary to have it. Also,does this entry require any editing as far as format?

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