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Panzerkampfwagen IV Tank



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In 1934 the Heereswaffenamt issued a specification for a tank armed with a large calibre gun to fulfil a support role for the lighter tank design which was to become the PzKpfw III. Rheinmetall-Borsig AG completed a wooden mock-up by the end of the year and their first prototype went for trials in 1935. Both MAN of Augsburg and Friedrich Krupp AG of Essen submitted their proposals in 1935 and after intensive trials of all the prototypes the Krupp design was accepted in 1936.
The development and construction of prototypes took place at Essen whilst the production line was established at Krupp-Grusonwerke AG in Magdeburg. Thirty-five of the first production vehicles, the Ausf A (1/BW), appeared in 1936 and 1937. They were distinguished from later models by having a stepped front plate with the driver’s position being some 20cm ahead of that of the radio operator. The radio operator was also the hull machine-gunner and had an MG 34 fitted in a simple ball gimbal mount.
The Ausf A had a number of features that were changed in later models. Both the driver and radio operator had hull top hatches in two sections with signal ports in the rear sections. The driver had a simple hinged armour plate covering the glass vision block in his front plate. The glacis plate had a large, flush, transmission access hatch screwed in place and was also fitted with two protruding brake access hatches. The engine was the 300hp Maybach HL 108TR linked to a ZF 5-speed SFG75 manual transmission.
The turret was fitted with electrical traverse powered from an auxiliary generator driven by a DKW two-cylinder engine. A small cylindrical silencer for this was fitted above the larger one for the main engine on the rear plate. The main armament was carried in an internal mantlet with an unarmoured coaxial machine-gun. The turret front plate had two hinged vision port flaps and two vision ports were also provided in the forward turret sides. Further back from these on either side were large single-piece access doors. The commander had a simple ‘dustbin’ cupola with twin hatches at the back of the turret, protruding into the rear plate. In front of it was fitted a small rectangular ventilation flap.
The Ausf B was the second series of the PzKpfw IV and forty-two were produced during 1937 and 1938. The frontal armour was now a single straight 30mm plate, and the front machine-gun mount was replaced by a vision port. The driver’s visor had a double shutter as used on the PzKpfw III Ausf E. The hull top hatches were single pieces and the turret side hatches had pistol ports added. The pistol ports in the turret rear plate were covered with round flaps and the square visor flaps in the turret front were replaced with octagonal ones. The Ausf B also saw the introduction of the ZF 6-speed SSG76 gearbox, and a new cupola identical to that fitted on the PzKpfw III Ausf D.
A new engine, the Maybach HL120TRM, was introduced on the Ausf C, as was 30mm armour on the turret front. This model was externally identical to the Ausf B apart from being fitted with an armoured sleeve for the coaxial machine-gun.

Ausf D

The Ausf D (serial numbers 80501 - 80750) reverted to a stepped front plate similar to that of the Ausf A but with a circular machine-pistol port in the centre. The ball-mounted MG was fitted in a new mount with a rectangular external frame (Kugelblende 30) as introduced on the PzKpfw III Ausf E. This model saw the introduction of an external mantlet that often carried a wishbone shaped frame for deflecting the radio antenna away from the gun as the turret traversed. The air intake grills on either side of the engine compartment were simplified, having one horizontal cross-bar in place of the three of earlier models.
A new track was fitted which was the same width as before, 38cm, but had higher guide teeth and so could not be used on earlier models. Photographic evidence indicates that there was also a change in the roadwheels at about this time. Previous models had roadwheels with smooth hubs but models from Ausf D onwards could be distinguished by having hubs fitted with six recessed bolts. Ausf D and E could be fitted with either type of roadwheel, and sometimes both types can be seen on the same vehicle. Early production vehicles were fitted with limit stops on the front and last roadwheel positions but late production ones had them fitted to every station. Late production models were also fitted with new engine covers with louvered air intakes for the cooling fans.
The Ausf D was refitted with additional armour from 1940, initially as a field modification. Later this was done as a factory improvement to vehicles being repaired, in which case they had the two signal port flaps and the ventilator flap on the turret roof plated over, and a fan ventilator was fitted instead. Armour plates 30mm thick were bolted about 8cm in front of the hull machine-gun position, and sometimes also in front of the driver. Additional armour was also bolted onto the superstructure sides and appliqué armour was welded onto the nose plate. From August 1942 Hitler ordered that all PzKpfw IV’s returned for factory rebuild were to be rearmed with the long-barrelled 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43 gun.

Model Id:
172
Manufacture:Krupp-Gruson Werk AG, Magdeburg, Germany (Sole manufacturer 1938-9)


1) Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Britain

Number of Photos:
9
Sample Photo from Album Number 213

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Unique ID: 213
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name: “PIPA” painted in yellow on hull front.
Other Identification: Painted in the colour scheme and markings of a tank taking part in the initial Blitzkrieg operations of the Second World War.

This Panzer IV was dug up in 1987 (along with a Hetzer tank destroyer) during a construction project at Rose Barracks, near Vilseck in Germany (source: Geoff Walden). It is believed that they had lain there since they were buried at the end of the Second World War.

Ausf E

The Ausf E had the appliqué armour of the Ausf D except that the plate in front of the driver’s position was mounted slightly differently. It was bent forward at its lower edge where it was fixed to the glacis plate. A new driver’s visor (Fahrersehklappe 30) was fitted identical to that of the PzKpfw III Ausf G. The nose plate armour was increased to 50mm but 20mm appliqué armour was still bolted to the superstructure sides. The brake access hatches in the glacis plate were now larger, single-piece and mounted flush, and fitted with single rather than double hinges.
The turret was extensively redesigned with most of the vision ports and flaps being better armoured. A new cupola was fitted, identical with that of the PzKpfw III Ausf G. The back of the turret was made from a single plate to simplify manufacture where previously the top of the plate was cut away and a second vertical plate continued the line of the cupola. On the turret roof the right-hand signal port was omitted and the rectangular ventilator flap was replaced by an electric extractor fan.
Late production Ausf D and E vehicles were refitted with the 40cm wide track of the Ausf F when it became available, along with the new design of drive sprocket, and sometimes the new rear idler as well.

Ausf F

The Ausf F began entering service in the spring of 1941 and a total of 393 was built during 1940 and 1941. Its main distinguishing feature was the re-adoption of the simpler straight front plate of the Ausf B. It had 50mm hull, mantlet and turret frontal armour, while the hull sides were single 30mm plates, leading to an overall increase in weight. To prevent an unacceptable increase in ground pressure the track width was increased from 38cm to 40cm. New wider drive sprockets and seven-spoke idler wheels were fitted, though older vehicles with the new track used their original sprockets and idlers along with spacer rings. The new tracks had the sole and outer webs of each shoe slotted for the fitting of ice cleats.
A Kugelblende 50 MG mount for the hull gunner and a Fahrersehklappe 50 visor for the driver were fitted. They were designed to fit the new 50mm front plate and were identical to those introduced on the PzKpfw III Ausf J. The hinged maintenance hatches in the glacis plate now incorporated air intake apertures protected by cast cowls. A shorter exhaust silencer was fitted on the rear hull plate, alongside a separate small silencer for the turret traverse motor. The single access doors on the turret were replaced with double doors as fitted on the PzKpfw III Ausf G.
The German invasion of Russia in June 1941 led to a reappraisal of German tank design when it was discovered that both the PzKpfw III and IV were outclassed by the Russian T-34 and KV-1. In November of the same year the Ordnance Department issued a contract to Krupp and Rheinmetall-Borsig to jointly develop a replacement for the short-barrelled 7.5cm PzKpfw IV gun. From March 1942 mass production was ordered of a new longer-barrelled 7.5cm gun, 43 calibres long, with a greatly increased muzzle velocity. This new weapon was incorporated in the PzKpfw IV and made it a match for the T-34 in firepower, though it was still below par in armour. Vehicles so armed also made a name for themselves against the British in the Western Desert, where they became known as “Mark IV Specials”.
Vehicles armed with the new 7.5cm KwK L/43 (serial numbers 82394 to 83700) were designated Ausf F2. To avoid confusion Ausf Fs armed with the 7.5cm KwK L/24 were redesignated Ausf F1 (serial numbers 82001 to 82393).
The Ausf F2 was externally identical to the F1 apart from the longer gun. This had a more angular recuperator housing than the L/24, and this housing was fitted with a flat front plate. All F2 guns were fitted with a spherical single-baffle muzzle brake, though some late-production Ausf F’s appear to have been fitted with Ausf G turrets.

Model Id:
175
Manufacture:Krupp-Gruson Werk AG, Magdeburg, Germany (Primary manufacturer 1941-2)
Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Additional manufacturer)
Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Additional manufacturer)


2) Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, USA

Number of Photos:
4
Sample Photo from Album Number 158

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Unique ID: 158
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This PzKpfw IV was transferred to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Ausf G

The Ausf G was distinguished from the Ausf F2 by its double-baffle muzzle brake, and a number of detail changes to the turret. The two vision ports on the forward sides of the turret were eliminated, as was the loader’s observation port on the right side of the turret front. The driver’s and hull machine-gunner’s hatches also had their signal ports removed. Late Ausf Gs were fitted with smoke grenade launchers on either side of the turret front, and saw the introduction of Bosch AFV headlights on one or both front wings.
Toward the end of the production run a number of Ausf H features were introduced, including one-piece cupola hatches, 8mm spaced armour skirts and 30mm appliqué armour on the hull front plate and nose. Some were even rebuilt with hull Schürzen and the longer KwK 40 L/48 gun. All Ausf Gs can, however, be distinguished by the retention of the folding antenna mounted on the right of the hull, level with the turret front. Late production Ausf Gs appear to have been fitted with a circular bullet splash shield around the cupola.

Model Id:
176
Manufacture:Krupp-Gruson Werk AG, Magdeburg, Germany (Primary manufacturer 1942-3)
Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Additional manufacturer)
Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Additional manufacturer)


3) Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Foreign Vehicles, Kubinka, Russia

Number of Photos:
6
Sample Photo from Album Number 160

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Unique ID: 160
Serial Number: “82937” – chassis number stamped inside hull under driver’s visor
“83293” – hull number stamped outside hull under bow MG mount
“82993” – turret number stamped into centre of roof.
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: “432” painted on turret sides and rear of turret stowage box, 23 PzDiv insignia painted on front mud flaps, German crosses painted on hull sides and rear. Painted overall in green and sand camouflage scheme.

This is an early production Ausf G; it was originally manufactured in October 1942 and is fitted with a KwK 40 L/43 that was also produced in 1942. It was originally part of 23 Panzer Division and was knocked out in January 1943. At about that time 23 PzDiv was part of LVII Korps, Armee Hollidt, Armeegrupp Don and was operating in the general areas of Mius and the Don. This tank was later repaired and used as a training vehicle until 1945. It was restored to running order in 2001, and later its main armament was returned to the correct position. It was used in the making of several movies from 1945 until 2008, the most recent shooting taking place from the autumn of 2007 to the summer of 2008. During this time it was repainted twice with poor quality paint. It also received internal and external damage, and was left in a poor, dirty condition. From the autumn of 2008 to the end of 2009 the tank was repaired by Kubinka volunteers and some missing interior and exterior parts were fabricated and installed. From January 2010 it was cleaned up and the old layers of paint were removed, then it was repainted in the markings and camouflage scheme of an Ausf G of 201 Panzer Regiment, 23 Panzer Division, on the Mius front in July-August 1943. During the repainting its Russian headlamp was removed but will be reinstalled so the tank can be driven in the dark. It has been returned to display in the museum. (Source: Taranov, RTY).

Ausf H

The Ausf H appeared in the spring of 1943 and saw the introduction of the longer 7.5cm KwK 40 L/48. It had 80mm armour on the mantlet as standard, and 30mm appliqué armour fixed onto the 50mm front plate and nose. It would appear that early production vehicles had this armour bolted onto the front plate whereas later vehicles had it welded. The armour on the nose was nearly always welded in position, on early vehicles it appears to have been cut away around the towing brackets while on later vehicles it was a complete plate welded onto the nose plate and the towing brackets were bolted in position on top. All vehicles were fitted with permanent 8mm turret Schürzen armour and removable 5mm side skirts.
The ZF SSG 77 transmission from the PzKpfw III replaced the earlier ZF SSG 76 system and, despite the weight increase due to extra armour, kept the cross-country performance at an acceptable level. The commander’s cupola was now fitted with a single-piece hatch. Some vehicles were fitted with an anti-aircraft machine-gun fixed to the commander’s cupola and were given a coating of Zimmerit anti-magnetic-mine paste.
A lighter cast drive sprocket with open spokes was fitted. Late production models also had new U-section idler wheels and all-steel return rollers. The radio antenna on the Ausf H was fitted on the left rear corner of the engine compartment instead of the right hull side and since it no longer needed to fold down the trough for it was removed. Also eliminated from this model was the signal port in the turret roof.
All Ausf H’s appear to have been fitted with a circular bullet splash shield around the cupola. At least one captured example had angle iron welded in a “V” on the turret roof to protect the cupola. Ausf H vehicles had chassis numbers between 84401 and 91500.
During 1943 Spain received a number of Ausf H’s, followed by a further batch in 1949. These twenty vehicles remained in service until the 1960’s when seventeen of them were sold to Syria. Syria also acquired Ausf J’s from Czechoslovakia. These Syrian PzKpfw IV’s are believed to have seen service in the Six Day War of 1967. PzKpfw IV’s in Spanish service were characterised by the removal of the hull Schürzen, though the turret Schürzen was retained.

Model Id:
177
Manufacture:Krupp-Gruson Werk AG, Magdeburg, Germany (Primary manufacturer 1943-4)
Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Additional manufacturer)
Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Additional manufacturer)


4) Musée Août 1944, Falaise, France

Number of Photos:
2
Sample Photo from Album Number 162

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Unique ID: 162
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This Pz IV was originally at Saumur but is now at Falaise.

5) Panzermuseum, Thun, Switzerland

Number of Photos:
3
Sample Photo from Album Number 164

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Unique ID: 164
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: Number “734” painted on turret sides and rear (not seen in 1984).

The track on this Pz IV appears to be from a Panzer 61 tank, not a Centurion as previously stated.

6) Royal Tank Museum, Aqaba, Jordan

Number of Photos:
6
Sample Photo from Album Number 2170

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Unique ID: 2170
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: “524” and Wehrmacht crosses painted on sides and back of turret apron armour. Painted overall in a brown, green and sand camouflage scheme.

New Entry. The wreck of this tank was found on the Finnish/Russian border where it had lain since its destruction as a result of combat or self-destruction on abandonment by the crew. An explosion in its ammunition storage area had ripped through the interior of the tank, and when the tank was discovered its condition was described as ‘distressed’. It belongs to the Royal Jordanian Tank Museum, which has funded its restoration back into full running order. It has a hull date stamp of 1944. (Source: Bovington Museum News).
It was rescued by Stephen Lamonby who runs Plus Film Ltd, which provides authentic military vehicles for film companies. “It was discovered up near the Estonian-Russian border in very dense forest,” he said. “Getting it out was quite a problem. We had to cut down lots of trees.” (Source: WarAndPeaceShow).
When recovered from an army range it was in two pieces, split wide open, and took four years to restore. It was restored at A+S in Norfolk and is fitted with an FV432 engine (K60 power pack) and gearbox. (Source: HMVF). It took part in the Tankfest and War and Peace shows in June and July 2011 respectively.
The tank was purchased for £500k and was shipped to the Royal Jordan Tank Museum by Skill Express Freight, a member of the IFLN Network. It was shipped from Southampton in early November 2011 on board RoRo (roll on, roll off) vessel TARIFA on a standard export license. Operated by NMT Lines the vessel was discharged in the Port of Aqaba less than two weeks later. From entry into the Suez Canal the ship usually takes three days to get to Aqaba. To avoid dents and or scratches to the paintwork, special care had to be given to the tank in transit. The tank arrived at the port of embarkation on an ordinary low bed trailer and was driven onto the vessel under its own power. Customs clearance was carried out directly by the client King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) acting on behalf of the consignee, the Royal Jordan Tank Museum. (Source: IFLN).

Ausf J

The Ausf J was introduced in March 1944 and was the final model of the PzKpfw IV produced. The main change was that the electric turret-traversing gear was removed. It was replaced with an auxiliary fuel container, with a capacity of 200 litres, in order to increase range. The hand traversing mechanism was fitted with a second reduction gear to turn the turret when the vehicle was on a slope. The Ausf J can hence be distinguished from the Ausf H by the absence of the small silencer for the auxiliary engine beside the main engine silencer on the hull rear.
The vehicle’s wading capacity was increased to 1.2m. As with the late Ausf H, a new U-section idler was fitted on later production vehicles, along with all-steel return rollers. In order to save weight some late production vehicles were fitted with wire mesh Thoma Schürzen. The side vision ports for the driver and hull gunner were eliminated along with the vision devices and pistol ports in the turret doors. The number of return rollers was also reduced from four each side to three and in later vehicles the towing eyes were made from extensions of the hull sides.
It would appear that very late production vehicles were fitted with a simplified exhaust system consisting of two vertical silencers on the hull rear. This exhaust system was also seen on vehicles utilising the Ausf J chassis, such as the Panzer IV/70.

Model Id:
178
Manufacture:Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Sole manufacturer 1944-5)


7) Muzeum Orla Bialego, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Poland

Number of Photos:
5
Sample Photo from Album Number 449

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Unique ID: 449
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

New entry. This Panzer IV is badly wrecked, little more than an incomplete hull. It is an Ausf J, characterised by the late production sprockets and all-steel return rollers. It is unusual in having steel rimmed roadwheels in the first two positions on the right-hand side.

8) Auto und Technik Museum, Sinsheim, Germany

Number of Photos:
0
Sample Photo from Album Number 171

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Unique ID: 171
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This tank was transported from Saumur to Sinsheim in about the early 1990’s (source: R. Besecke).

9) Israeli Army Armour School, Latrun, Israel

Number of Photos:
3
Sample Photo from Album Number 178

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Unique ID: 178
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

Additional photographs available.

10) Israeli Army Armour School, Latrun, Israel

Number of Photos:
4
Sample Photo from Album Number 179

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Unique ID: 179
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

Additional photographs available.

Unknown Model



Model Id:
179
Manufacture:


11) Muzeum Orla Bialego, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Poland

Number of Photos:
4
Sample Photo from Album Number 450

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Unique ID: 450
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: Wreck.

New entry. This is a wrecked Panzer IV chassis. Little remains of the back half of the vehicle, and there is no superstructure or turret left above the main hull. The front is characteristic of a Panzer IV chassis, including the distinctive towing points, but further identification is difficult.

12) Muzeum Broni Pancernej, Centrum Szkolenia Wojsk Lądowych, Poland

Number of Photos:
0
Sample Photo from Album Number 2241

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Unique ID: 2241
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: