Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Why a PzKpfw III & IV ?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why a PzKpfw III & IV ?

    Along the lines of my earlier post "Concentrating on a sinle tank," I often wondered why the Germans pursued both the PzKpfw III and IV. To me they are not significantly dissimilar - looks, weight, dimensions, etc. Again, it would have saved on maintaining an inventory of replacement parts. Concentrating on the PzKpfw IV would have made good sense to me.
    Any thoughts on this?

  • #2
    Bigger gun

    That would be my thought,when the PIII was the main tank of the time, Pz IV was the close support tank for the infrantry early on. Once the Germans realized they had to up-gun their tanks, Pz IIIs could'nt handle the 7.5 long gun, like the Pz IV could. It would'nt physically fit in the Pz IIIs turret, while the Pz IV could!

    Cheers

    Comment


    • #3
      Panzer IV was designed as a support tank, providing HE support with it's 7.5cm Gun.
      Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

      History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
      Lazarus Long

      Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
      David Bowie

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PzKfwBob View Post
        Panzer IV was designed as a support tank, providing HE support with it's 7.5cm Gun.
        Understood, but it could have served the other purpose served by the Panzer III...in the interest of simplicity, cost, etc. There's no reason that the Panzer IV could not have served "as the main battle tank." It certainly could accommodate the KwK's of the time!

        Comment


        • #5
          You are correct, and later in the War Panzer IV really did fill that MBT role (amongst other roles) by its ability to adapt and be upgraded without much strain on its basic design.

          However, it's birth and that of the other panzers of the early war were driven by a doctrine of specialization to fit the Blitzkrieg concept. So in the beginning (besides captured kit) German designed Panzers were conceived to fit certain roles. Recce, Breakthrough, and Support, (not the exact terms). As early as Poland, these concepts were found to be faulty, and changes in mounted firepower, armour and roles started. One of the main reasons for German success was radio comms and solid tactics to go with them. Not the early designs themselves.

          One must keep in mind, that up to Invasion of Poland, large-scale use of armoured forces were only theories. It is also the reason other countries had such varied types of Armour. They all had their theories for there use as well; I mean how else do you explain the Russian Land Battleships as an example.
          Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

          History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
          Lazarus Long

          Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
          David Bowie

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tom D View Post
            Understood, but it could have served the other purpose served by the Panzer III...in the interest of simplicity, cost, etc. There's no reason that the Panzer IV could not have served "as the main battle tank." It certainly could accommodate the KwK's of the time!
            The Pzkw IV were not armored to take on enemy tanks as they were originally designed as infantry support tanks intended to follow the breakthrough of the Pzkw III which were more evenly armored to combat enemy tanks and AT guns from the flanks and rear. The ability of the Pzkw IV to carry a more potent gun later was due to the initial requirement of a large caliber HE round for infantry support.
            Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

            Prayers.

            BoRG

            http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by salinator View Post
              The Pzkw IV were not armored to take on enemy tanks as they were originally designed as infantry support tanks intended to follow the breakthrough of the Pzkw III which were more evenly armored to combat enemy tanks and AT guns from the flanks and rear. The ability of the Pzkw IV to carry a more potent gun later was due to the initial requirement of a large caliber HE round for infantry support.
              OK, for armor comparison purposes, let's compare the PzKpfw III Ausf D with the PzKpfw IV Ausf B, as both were built in 1938 and saw service in Poland. (source: Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, pages 60 and 90, respectively). First number is armor thickness and second is angle of slope.

              Turret


              (Front) III: 15/15 , IV: 30/10; (Side) III: 15/25, IV: 15/25; (Rear) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0


              Gun Mantlet
              III: 15/round, IV: 30/round

              Superstructure

              (Front) III: 15/10, IV: 30/7; (Side) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0; (Rear) III: 15/10, IV: 15/10

              Hull

              (Front) III: 15/20, IV: 30/12; (Side) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0; (Rear) III: 15/33, IV: 15/10

              So, by these values, it would appear that the IV is better armored than the III, and with a KwK could very well serve as a break through tank.

              Comment


              • #8
                Pz IV was not designed to support infantry but rather to support the Pz III against enemy AT guns. The Pz III had too small of a gun with comparitively little HE ability, the Pz IV was to use its 75mm HE shot to defeat the anti-tank defenses from ranges beyond which the AT guns of the day could strike back. Even if the Pz III had been equipped with the originally planned 50mm gun the HE ability was still less than what was required,...enter the Pz IV.

                The Pz battalions were organised:

                Two command tanks (Pz IIIs) plus one recce platoon (5 Pz IIs) - 7 tanks
                Three companies of Pz IIIs (17 tanks) each with a recce platoon (5 Pz IIs) - 22 x 3 tanks
                One company of Pz IVs (14 tanks) plus one recce platoon (5 Pz IIs) - 19 tanks

                Total of 25 Pz II, 53 Pz III and 14 Pz IV - 92 tanks (on paper)

                Note that the Pz IV is part of the panzer battalion and not assigned to the motorised infantry battalions (who have towed infantry guns and mortars) nor was the Mk IV detached to serve with the infantry divisions. It was never intended as an infantry support tank along the lines of the French, British or Russian armies.
                Last edited by The Purist; 10 Oct 07, 13:18.
                The Purist

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Understood, purist. However, if you read my original post that started this, it's more of a "what if" type post. An exercise in some common sense....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why second guess the Germans? They developed a doctrine and then built the weapons they believed were required to put the doctrine into practice. Considering the smaller size of the turret ring of the Pz III, it is not really that surprising that the Germans believed they needed the larger and heavier Pz IV.
                    The Purist

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No argument, purist.... I was just imagining that someone with some "smarts" or "insight" could see an advantage of concentrating on just one tank, inasmuch as they are/were physically similar...preferably the Pz IV.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom D View Post
                        Along the lines of my earlier post "Concentrating on a sinle tank," I often wondered why the Germans pursued both the PzKpfw III and IV. To me they are not significantly dissimilar - looks, weight, dimensions, etc. Again, it would have saved on maintaining an inventory of replacement parts. Concentrating on the PzKpfw IV would have made good sense to me.
                        Any thoughts on this?
                        I think Tom we've answered your questions, bottom-line is at conception different types and classes were thought essential to the doctrine of that time frame. This made good sense to the Generals as well. No matter your minds eye view Panzer III and IV were two completely different beasts.
                        Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

                        History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
                        Lazarus Long

                        Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
                        David Bowie

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Tom D

                          Might it be that Germany really thought that it would be a shorter war, rather than a longer one, would'nt need to concentrate on one design? I mean that if the Germans thought the war would go as long as it did, they just might have concentrated on one tank design to crank out the numbers. But if they "picked" the wrong type........

                          Now on the opposite end here, if the Germans thought it might be longer, they put together a couple of options for tank designs and started from there.

                          The best way to describe my thoughts here is not keeping all your eggs in one basket, if something happened to prolong the war, they had options for upgrades, but lost the numbers idea. I think we know about the Germans idea of mass production, at least early on.

                          Thoughts, or am I just crazy here?

                          Cheers

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Might it be that Germany really thought that it would be a shorter war, rather than a longer one, wouldn’t need to concentrate on one design? I mean that if the Germans thought the war would go as long as it did, they just might have concentrated on one tank design to crank out the numbers. But if they "picked" the wrong type........
                            The Blitzkrieg Strategy that the Wehrmacht intended to use drove the original concepts. Producing a single jack-of-all-trades panzer never would have entered anybodies mind no matter the length of the war envisioned. Even by wars end when the idea of the Entwicklung (Standard) Series was started and put to the drawing boards, it was only to standardize some parts; there was still the mindset to build multiple types, which would have still complicated production.

                            Now on the opposite end here, if the Germans thought it might be longer, they put together a couple of options for tank designs and started from there.
                            If I understand your meaning here, they did and came up with Panther and the Tiger.

                            The best way to describe my thoughts here is not keeping all your eggs in one basket, if something happened to prolong the war; they had options for upgrades, but lost the numbers idea. I think we know about the Germans idea of mass production, at least early on.

                            Thoughts, or am I just crazy here?
                            Well, for one thing the Germans didn't even go to a war footing with industry until much later. IIRC, it would have been next to impossible for the Germans to retool for a mass production panzer. You are not crazy BTW, its just way things were for the Reich, and Hitler never envisioned how much the world would take up arms against him and his ilk.
                            Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

                            History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
                            Lazarus Long

                            Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
                            David Bowie

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tom D View Post
                              OK, for armor comparison purposes, let's compare the PzKpfw III Ausf D with the PzKpfw IV Ausf B, as both were built in 1938 and saw service in Poland. (source: Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, pages 60 and 90, respectively). First number is armor thickness and second is angle of slope.

                              Turret


                              (Front) III: 15/15 , IV: 30/10; (Side) III: 15/25, IV: 15/25; (Rear) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0


                              Gun Mantlet
                              III: 15/round, IV: 30/round

                              Superstructure

                              (Front) III: 15/10, IV: 30/7; (Side) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0; (Rear) III: 15/10, IV: 15/10

                              Hull

                              (Front) III: 15/20, IV: 30/12; (Side) III: 15/0, IV: 15/0; (Rear) III: 15/33, IV: 15/10

                              So, by these values, it would appear that the IV is better armored than the III, and with a KwK could very well serve as a break through tank.
                              This gives a very misleading comparison. Only 30 PzKpfw III Ausf D were built and this model is not truly representative. The first PzKpfw III model to go into extended production was the Ausf. E, and some of these saw service in the Polish campaign. Further, taking PzKpfw III Ausf E/F/G and their contemporary PzKpfw IV models, the Panzer 3 was overall the better armoured of the two vehicles during most of the early 'Blitzkrieg' campaigns (1940-41). This reflected the differences in their intended roles, as others have already indicated here.

                              Of course, the PzKpfw IV was capable of being more heavily armoured and later, particularly when its role began to change, it most certainly was.
                              "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                              Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X