Panzer IV was one of the most important tanks of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Introduce

Designed by German engineers as a medium tank, the Panzer IV was the most numerous German tank and the second-most numerous German armored fighting vehicle of the Second World War, with some 8,500 built. It became the backbone of the German Army’s Panzerdivisions.

It was present on all fronts, and its modifications over the years ensured its service throughout the war. Although it was in the medium tank category, the Panzer IV was the most advanced and most capable machine of the German Army before the introduction of the infamous Tiger in 1942.

Panzer IV
Panzer IV

Design

The Panzer IV was modified and improved nine times throughout its production, so it remained relevant in use throughout the war.  Depending on the modification of the tank, the mass was from 18.4 to 25 tons.

Despite this, the overall layout and appearance of the Panzer IV never changed. The engine was located in the rear of the vehicle, connected to a drive shaft which itself was attached to the transmission in the front.

The tank required a crew of five men, with the driver and radio operator, who doubled as the hull machine gunner, seated at the front-left and front-right, respectively. In the turret, the tank commander sat beneath his roof hatch, while the gunner was situated to the left of the gun breech and the loader to the right.

One unique feature of the Panzer IV was the asymmetrical hull to connect the turret raze to the transmission, allow the turret to be traversed faster. To accomplish this, the turret was offset 6.50 cm to the left and the engine 15 cm to the right.

Armament

The Panzer IV mounted a 75-mm gun and two machine guns. The first Panzer IV went into active service in 1939 with a short-barreled gun and were extremely successful until confronted by Soviet T-34 tanks in late 1941. To cope with this threat, the Panzer IV was given thicker armour and refitted with a long-barreled, high-velocity gun that could better penetrate the T-34’s armour. The improved Panzer IV could engage the T-34 on nearly equal terms and was superior to the U.S. Sherman tank in many respects.

The tanks were additionally equipped with two 7.92-mm MG-34 machine guns. They carried enough ammunition for 87 75mm shots, as well as 3,150 rounds for the machine guns.

Specifications

(Source: Wikipedia)

Mass25.0 tonnes (27.6 short tons; 24.6 long tons)
Length5.92 metres (19 ft 5 in)
7.02 metres (23 ft 0 in) gun forward
Width2.88 m (9 ft 5 in)
Height2.68 m (8 ft 10 in)
Crew5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator/bow machine-gunner)
ArmorHull front: 80 mm (3.1 in)
Hull side (upper and lower): 30 mm (1.2 in)
Hull rear (upper and lower): 20 mm (0.79 in)
Hull roof and floor: 10 mm (0.39 in)
Schürzen: 5 mm (0.20 in) to 8 mm (0.31 in)
Turret front: 50 mm (2.0 in)
Turret side and rear: 30 mm (1.2 in)
Turret roof: 10 mm (0.39 in)
Main
armament
7.5 cm (2.95 in) KwK 40 L/48 main gun (87 rounds)
Secondary
armament
2 × 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns (3,150 rounds)
EngineMaybach HL120 TRM 12-cylinder gasoline engine
300 PS (296 hp, 220 kW)
Power/weight12 PS (8.8 kW) / tonne
Transmission(Synchromesh ZF SSG 77) 6 forward and 1 reverse ratios
SuspensionLeaf spring
Fuel capacity470 l (120 US gal)
Operational
range
200 km (120 mi)
Maximum speed38 to 42 km/h (24 to 26 mph) maximum, 25 km/h (16 mph) max sustained road speed 16 km/h (9.9 mph) off road

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