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Air cleaners on Panzer III

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  • Air cleaners on Panzer III

    Is anyone able to inform me where the air cleaners were mounted on the Panzer III? I'm particularly interested to know if they were mounted externally, or were more exposed than the Pz.II and Pz.IV.

    The reason I ask is that in the Middle East during 1941 the Pz.III had particular problems with air filters, and I'm wondering if their location had any affect on this.

    Thanks in advance.....
    "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
    - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

  • #2
    Well, all three of my Tamiya Pz III 1/35 scale had the air intakes on the top of the engine deck, the filters would have been below these. The various photos and drawing also show them up top.

    I doubt their location had much do with the clogging of filters and the engine damage. The filters were simply too week for the desert. Rommel lost nearly 85% of his armour in his first advance from El Agheila to Tobruk but only three were due to combat (the British lost only ten to combat in their retreat).

    Like the need for desert tires on trucks, once better filters arrived the number of runners went up.

    <<Ended up shooting all three models with a pellet gun after my nephews found them in a box in my folks basement when I left for the military . . >>
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Don Juan View Post
      Is anyone able to inform me where the air cleaners were mounted on the Panzer III? I'm particularly interested to know if they were mounted externally, or were more exposed than the Pz.II and Pz.IV.

      The reason I ask is that in the Middle East during 1941 the Pz.III had particular problems with air filters, and I'm wondering if their location had any affect on this.
      The airfilters were located in the engine compartment, drawing air from the outside via two open-topped louvres on the sides of the engine compartment.

      Modification for use in North Africa and other hot locations included cutting extra holes in the hatches over the engine compartment. The holes were protected with armoured covers. The speed of the cooling fans were increased. In August 1941, the air-intake system was changed, allowing the crew to switch the engine air-intake between the fighting compartment and the engine compartment. The cause for this change is not stated but possibly the air taken from the fighting compartment was less dusty than that being forced through the engine compartment by the cooling fans.

      The Panzer IV seems to have had this feature from the start, which may explain any difference between the performance of the two tanks in the desert, initially.

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      • #4
        Thanks Gents,

        It sounds like the modification was to reduce the amount of sand going into the engine. When the tank was moving forwards, sand would have been driven backwards in the general area of the engine, and sucked into the air intakes if they were mounted on the engine deck.

        If the air intake was switched to the fighting compartment, the air here would have been considerably less dusty.
        "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
        - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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