Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J (5cm KwK39 L/60)

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J (5cm KwK39 L/60) was produced after Hitler insisted on the use of a longer gun in the Panzer III. Despite his having issued this order after the fall of France, the initial production run of the Ausf J used the 5cm KwK L/42 introduced on earlier models of the Panzer III. Hitler is said to have seen these short barrelled Panzer IIIs during a parade and insisted on use of the longer gun.

Other than the change of gun the two versions of the Ausf J were identical. The larger shells fired by the L/60 meant that the number carried went down from 99 to 84. A number of the older machines were converted to carry the new gun.

The Ausf J (5cm KwK39 L/60) performed well against British and American tanks in North Africa, but was less successful against Soviet T-34s and KV-1s, which carried a 7.62mm gun. Even the long 5cm gun was becoming ineffective against thicker enemy armour, but despite efforts to mount a 7.5cm gun on the Panzer III, two more versions (the Ausf L and Ausf M) would be produced with the long 5cm gun.

Names
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J
Sd Kfz 141/1
8 Serie Zugführerwagen/ 8 Serie ZW

Stats
Number produced: 1,067
Produced: December 1941-July 1942
Length: 6.28m/ 20ft 7in
Hull Width: 2.95m/ 9ft 8in
Height: 2.50m/ 8ft 2in
Crew: 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
Weight: 21.5 tons
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM
Max Speed: 40km/hr/ 24mph
Max Range: 155km/ 96 miles
Armament: One 5cm KwK39 L/60, plus one 7.92mm MG 34 in turret and one in front of superstructure

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

10mm/ 0.4in

Superstructure

50mm/ 2 in

30mm/ 1.2in

50mm/ 2 in

17mm/ 0.66in

Hull

50mm/ 2 in

30mm/ 1.2in

50mm/ 2 in

16mm/ 0.62in

Gun mantlet

50mm/ 2 in

 

 

 

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 (24 April 2008), Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J (5cm KwK39 L/60), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_III_ausf_J_60.html

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