Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf B

The Panzer III Ausf B was the second development version of the Panzer III, and like the first was produced during 1937. The biggest changes were made to the suspension system. This time there were eight small road wheels per side, connected in pairs. The suspension was provided by a pair of long leaf springs, with a pair of road wheels at each end. The number of return rollers was also increased, to three on each time. This suspension system was no more successful than that used on the Ausf A.

Other changes were relatively minor. The commander’s cupola was replaced by the design used on the Panzer IV Ausf A and the engine exhaust and driver’s vision ports were modified.

During 1937-38 five of the fifteen Panzer III Ausf Bs were used to develop the StuG assault gun, which would be produced in much larger numbers than the Panzer III itself. The remaining Ausf Bs joined the Panzer regiments, seeing active service in Poland in 1939. Like the Ausf A they were withdrawn in February 1940 because of their poor suspension and thin armour, and transferred to training units.  

Names
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf B
Sd Kfz 141
2 Serie Zugführerwagen/ 2 Serie ZW

Stats
Number produced: 15
Produced: 1937
Hull Length: 5.67m/ 18ft 7in
Hull Width: 2.81m/ 9ft 3in
Height: 2.39m/ 7ft 10in
Crew: 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
Weight: 15.9 tons
Engine: Maybach HL108TR V-12
Max Speed: 40km/hr/ 24mph
Max Range: 165km/ 102 miles
Armament: One 3.7cm KwK L/46.5, plus two 7.92mm MG 34 in turret and one in front of superstructure

Armour


Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

10mm/ .4in

Superstructure

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

10mm/ .4in

Hull

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

15mm/ .6in

5mm/ .2in

Gun mantlet

15mm/ .6in

 

 

 

Panzerkampfwagen III Medium Tank 1936-44, Bryan Perrett. A good introduction for anyone interesting in the Panzer III, this book covers the development of the tank, the structure of the German panzer forces, and its military career, which saw the Panzer III go from being the Third Reich's main battle tank to being under-gunned and under-armoured [see more]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 April 2008), Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf B, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_III_ausf_B.html

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