Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M was the second of two interim versions of the Panzer III produced while attempts to fit a larger gun to the tank were under way. It was virtually identical to the Ausf L, with the same 5cm KwK39 L/60 gun and extra 20mm spaced armour on the superstructure front and mantlet, but with the addition of fording equipment, which allowed it to wade through four or five feet of water.

This was achieved by providing watertight covers for every opening below the turret, including the normal air inlets for the engine. While the tank was crossing water air for the engine was provided via the turret.

In June 1942 the short 7.5cm KwK L/24 previously used in the Panzer IV was fitted in a Panzer III, producing the Ausf N. The success of this version meant that the order for the Ausf M was modified. The original order for 1,000 Ausf Ms was soon cut down to 775. Of these 250 were completed as ordered, 213 as Ausf Ns, 100 were set aside for use as flame panzers, 165 were used as the basis for StuG IIIs and 47 never completed.

The Ausf M was used to replaced front line losses, taking part in the battle of Kursk and the defence of Sicily, although by then its 5cm gun was of little use in tank-vs-tank fighting.

Names
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M
Sd Kfz 141/1

Stats
Number produced: 250
Produced: October 1942-February 1943
Length: 6.41m/ 21ft
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

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 April 2008), Title, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_III_ausf_M.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies