Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L was the first of two interim versions of the Panzer III produced while attempts to fit a larger gun to the tank were under way. By the start of 1942 the 5cm gun used on the most recent versions of the Panzer III was becoming ineffective against the thicker front armour on Soviet tanks, but an attempt to fit the turret of a Panzer IV with a 7.5cm gun to the Panzer III failed, and so a new order was placed for 1,100 Panzer III Ausf Ls. Eventually a way was found to mount the 7.5cm gun in the Panzer III turret, producing the Ausf N, ending production of the Ausf L.

Panzer III Ausf L
Panzer III Ausf L

The Ausf L saw an increase in frontal armour. 57mm thick armour was used on the front of the turret, while 20mm spaced armour (fixed so that there was a small gap between this and the main armour) was attached to the front of the superstructure and the mantlet.

The Ausf L was used to equip the Panzer regiments of the newly formed 1st (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler), 2nd (Das Reich) and 3rd (Tötenkopf) SS Panzergrenadier Divisions and the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland, and to fill gaps in the existing Panzer divisions.

Names
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L
Sd Kfz 141/1

Panzer III Ausf L in Tunisia
Panzer III Ausf L in Tunisia
Stats
Number produced: 653
Produced: June-December 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: 22.7 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

57mm/ 2.25in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

10mm/ 0.4in

Superstructure

50+20mm/ 2 in

30mm/ 1.2in

50mm/ 2 in

18mm/ 0.66in

Hull

50mm/ 2+0.8 in

30mm/ 1.2in

50mm/ 2 in

16mm/ 0.62in

Gun mantlet

50+20mm/ 2+0.8 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 L , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_III_ausf_L.html

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