PzKpfw. III

I'll have the bacon cheesburger please

A good little tank

The Panzer III is a pretty little tank, and a very good one. Yes, it had a smaller gun than the similar Somua S35. And no, it wasn’t as massive as TOG-2. But it had the right idea: a three-man turret, good radio sets and torsion bar suspension.
Well-designed and adaptable, it was used mainly in the beginning of the war. The tank played an important role in the invasion of Poland, the battle for France, the North-African theatre and Operation Barbarossa. Later in the war it served mainly as support vehicle, carrying the old Panzer IV's 7,5cm gun.
If I could choose one single tank to park on my driveway, this would be it.

PzKpfw III ausf. E

PzKpfw III ausf. E
  • Ochota, Warsaw, Poland
  • September 8th, 1939
  • PR. 35, PD. 4

Fall Weiss was not the armoured rollercoaster people sometimes imagine it to be. Ask Hauptfeldwebel Ziegler - he was kicked straight back out of Warsaw by the defending Poles.

Read Ziegler's story

PzBfw III ausf. E

PzBfw III ausf. E
  • Heinenoord bridge, near Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • May 13th, 1940
  • 1. Abt, 33. PR, 9. PD

Not a lot happened in the Netherlands, during the war. So the things that did happen are taken Very Seriously indeed. At this bridge, Dutch and German soldiers shot at each other. Then, the entire country suddenly surrendered.

Read on...

PzKpfw III ausf. E

PzKpfw III ausf. E
  • Chateau de Quesnoy, Quesnoy-sur-Airaines, Frankrijk
  • May 25th, 1940
  • 25. PR "Mondschein", 7. PD

The French sometimes used colonial troops and in this case, it's Germans versus Nigerians. The black soldiers proved quite tough. As usual, the German armour just drove on and let their infantry deal with the problem.

PzKpfw III ausf. J (Kurz)

PzKpfw III ausf. J
  • Rostov on Don, Russia, USSR
  • 22 november 1941
  • 13. PD, 1.PzArmee, AG Süd

By novermber 1941, Fall Barbarossa was grinding to a halt because supplies were running out. The Germans just managed to take Rostov on the Don but were soon kicked out again. This was their first serious defeat in the east.

PzKpfw III ausf. J (Lang)

PzKpfw III ausf. J
  • near Charkov, Russia
  • March 30th, 1943
  • "4L1", 2e LPzK, 4e Co, IIe Abt, 1e PzReg, 1e SS PzDiv "LSSAH"

This is Michael Wittmann's little tank. He really wanted to command a Tiger but instead, he was given a Panzer III and sent off as a screening force. He was actually quite talented as a commander and quickly got his own platoon.

PzKpfw III ausf. L

PzKpfw III ausf. L
  • Agropoli, Italie
  • September 9th, 1943
  • 1e Co, 2e PzReg, 16e PzDiv, LXXVI Korps

This Panzer was driven by Hauptmann Friedrich-August Graf von Brühl. He fought in a large delaying action after the Allies landed at Taranto in Italy. After the war, he joined the newly formed Heer and went on as a major.

PzKpfw III ausf. M

PzKpfw III ausf. M
  • near Koersk, Russia, USSR
  • July 1943
  • 23e PzReg, 2e PzDiv

Around the time of Kursk the venerable Panzer III was getting quite old. Its 5cm KWK 38 L42 was just about scratching the T34s and KVs sent against it. The Wehrmacht was slowly replacing them with Panthers, even though there were never enough of those to go around.

PzKpfw III ausf. N

PzKpfw III ausf. N
  • Tebourba, Tunesie
  • December 3rd, 1943
  • "21", 2e Zug, 1e Co, sPzAbt 501

The new Tiger tanks were assigned to heavy tank regiments. For support, they were paired with Panzer IIIs equipped with the old Panzer IV gun. These were set upon the Vichy French who had been lightning fast in surrendering to the allies.

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