Panzer III Ausf. H

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I would like to suggest the Panzer III Ausf. H
History:
In 1940 and 1941 about 286 Pz III Ausf. H were build, which were the first to directly have both the 5 cm KwK 38 L/42 and 30mm Add on hull armor, while the previous 2 versions were refitted with them.
The 30mm Add on armor was started in 1941 on Hitlers Demand, while the increase in weight was a accepted as a given disadvantage for more armor with the back armor beeing also increased for ballance.
While the weight increased to 21,6 ton, the tracks were also increased to the final 40cm wide tracks.
Further improvements torwards the reliability and production improvement was the usage of new Sprocket and idler wheels as well as the new SSG 77 gearbox.

The Pz III Ausf. H fought on all fronts in its year of use.
coming into action after the Battle of France in which all Panzer IIIs were of the type E, F and G still armed with the 3,7 cm KwK L/45 and only “a hand full” of Panzer IV armed with the L/24 were availabe a few for each Panzerdivision. Resulting that the Allied forces had better armored tanks opposed to the available guns, which required the greater use of alternative guns such as the 8,8 cm Flak, 7,5 cm FK 16 n.A., 7,5 cm FK 18 as well as the 10,5 cm LeFH 16 L/22 and 18 L/28. The drawbacks however didnt leave the Pz IIIs without a chance and it still shined with its other advantages such as 3 man turret, flexible tactics, speed and air supiority. Nonetheless overall 795 tanks were lost of all types, which highlighted the drawbacks of the Pz IIIs, the relatively thinn armor of 30mm all around and the insufficient penetration of the 3,7 cm gun. These were taken (relatively) care of with the introduction of the Ausf. H which recived bolt on hull armor front and back of additional 30mm and the 5 cm KwK 38 L/42 directly from the start and factory. This helped in the next major operation in a different location, Africa.

The war in Africa from 1941-1943 was an ambitious operation where the main versions of Pz III were the Ausf. G and H armored with bolt on armor and armed with the L/42 increased the effectiveness, however was not a “fix it all”. Cince fall of 1940 the italian side with Greece and later Egypt didnt look all that good. However with exception to the heavyer tanks such as the Matilda II and stronger AT guns such as the 6 pounder it showed its strength in the open spaces of the desert against the cruser tanks and 2 pounder guns until the later better versions emerged.

In game it would be a mixture of playstyle of the Ausf. F an J, having the same armor as the Ausf. F, but with 60mm Hull armor, giving it more survivability agianst american 37mm, british 40mm and russian 45mm guns, especially when angled, while also still retaining the mobility of the Pz III Ausf. J, however without the extra turret armor.
Cince it doesnt have extra turret armor, the H model could be given extra track turret armor, while the mostly identical (game play wise) Ausf. G could be placed at 1.7.

The while still in stock older parts of the G such as the Idler and sprocket wheel were used, the Ausf. H can be easily identified by the new 1 piece driver visor, Fahrersehklappe 30, instead of the 2 piece blocks.

Pictures: (Click to show)

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Stats:

Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 30 + 30 mm (12°) Front plate
25 mm (86°), 30 + 30 mm (52°) Front glacis
30 + 30 mm (23-69°) Lower glacis 30 mm 50 mm (14-46°) Top
30 + 30 mm (10-66°) Bottom 15 mm
Turret 30 mm (10-25°) Turret front
35 mm (12-62°) Gun mantlet + 20mm Tracks 30 mm (20-25°) 30 mm (12-15°) 10 mm
Cupola 50 + 30 mm (spherical) 10 mm

Speed:
AB 60 / 12 km/h
RB and SB 54 / 10 km/h

Number of gears:
6 forward
1 back

Weight: 21.6 t

Engine power:
AB 572 hp
RB and SB 300 hp

Gun:
5 cm KwK 38 L/42
-10° + 20° 360° at 14°/sec
99 rounds of
5 cm Pzgr 39 (APC) 2,05 kg 685 m/s 80mm/10m
5 cm Pzgr 40 (APCR) 0,9 kg 1050 m/s 116mm/10m
5 cm Sprgr. 38 (HE) 1,82 kg 450 m/s 217,6 g TNTa

Source:
Walter J. Spielberger: Panzer III und seine Abarten
Thomas Anderson: Panzer III
Panzerkampfwagen III. Der Panzer der Blitzkriege
Panzer Tracks about the Pz III

2 Likes

This would be cool, however; it’s armor and no change of the gun would make it go up in battle rating against heavier enemies that the gun can’t handle.

The Pz III Ausf. J is at 2.3 and it can fight well for itself, this tank may be 1.7-2.0 material, well within the limits of the gun.

1 Like