PzKpfw. IV

I'll have the bacon cheesburger please

War horse

The venerable Panzer 4 is what the M4 Sherman was for the allies: the main war horse. While the Panzer 1 and 2 were, from the start, intended for training and experiments, the Panzer 3 and 4 were designed as the backbone of an armoured force. The idea was to have the smaller, faster Panzer 3 fight other tanks, while the larger, heavier (and slower) Panzer 4 would travel with and support the infantry. This was a good idea - on paper. It is now accepted wisdom that a tank gun should be able to shoot both anti-tank as explosive rounds. Back then, however, different guns or vehicles were used for each task. The Char B1b and M3 Lee, for example, had a separate AP and HE guns; the one in the turret and the other in the bow. While good on paper, this actually produces a heavy, inflexible vehicle. Which is why, later on, the Panzer 4 was massively upgunned to a 7,5cm KWK 40 L48. That was by all means an excellent gun, capable of firing both types of ammo.

Now, to be honest, I don't like the Panzer 4 that much. I'm not sure why, maybe the rear sprocket looks weird, maybe it's the exhaust vents... It's a good vehicle and I know that, but even if I had the dosh I'd buy a Panzer 3 instead. Much... dunno, cuter I guess. I'd paint a Hello Kitty on it, too. Additional fun fact: there's a couple of Panzer 4's in Israel, at the Yad La-Shiryon museum in Latrun. Those were captured when the Syrians used them in the 1967 Six Day War. Quite a good 'track' record for such an old machine.

PzKpfw IV ausf. D

PzKpfw IV ausf. D
  • Bazeilles, Sedan, France
  • May 12th, 1940
  • "32", 2. PR, 10. PD

Sedan is like the linchpin of Franco-German relations: any army going either way will pass this city. When the Germans tried sneak in behind the Allied advance, Sedan had to be taken quickly. It was, thanks to an extremely agressive infantry platoon and some very demoralised Frenchmen.

Rubarth saves the day

PzKpfw IV ausf. E

PzKpfw IV ausf. D
  • Sint Lenaarts, Belgium
  • May 15th, 1940
  • XVI PC 9.PD PR33 "402"

To draw the Allied troops north, the Germans faked a second Schlieffenplan while sneaking from in behind. That diversion rolled through the village I grew up in; it's on the road from Rotterdam to Antwerp so it got attacked too. That is to say, the collecive village memory is of one Stuka bombing the local brigde and some stomping German boots.

PzKpfw IV ausf. F

PzKpfw IV ausf. F
  • El Alamein, Egypt
  • July 2nd, 1942
  • '215', 5. PzReg, 21. PzDiv

There were actually two battles of El Alamein. The second one, we all know because the British won. The first battle involved a badly coordinated British counterattack, a sandstorm and some excellent FlaK-guns. Bottom line - the UK lost this round and then, Bernard Montgomery entered the ring.

PzKpfw IV ausf. H

PzKpfw IV ausf. H
  • Abbey "des Ardennes", Franqueville, France
  • June 7th, 1944
  • 2. Abt., 12. SS PzDiv "Hitlerjugend"

This Hitlerjugend-panzer hid among the trees of an abbey near Franqueville, Normandy. From there, it ambushed and shot up a bunch of Canadian M4s.

< PzKpfw III PzKpfw V >