Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf N

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The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf N was the final production version of the standard Panzer III, and the only version to be armed with the 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun. This gun had been used on early versions of the Panzer IV (from Ausf A to Ausf F1), and fired a more effective high explosive round than the long barrelled 5cm gun, as well as being able to fire a shaped-charge round.

The 700 Ausf Ns were all produced on the chassis of earlier versions. Three were based on the Ausf J, 447 on the Ausf L and 213 on the Ausf M while the remaining 37 were produced by converting existing tanks when they were due an overhaul.

The increased weight of the 7.5cm gun meant that the spaced armour on the gun mantlet had to be removed. The increased space required for the ammunition meant that tanks based on the Ausf L could carry 56 rounds while those based on the Ausf M could carry 64.

By 1943 the infantry had an effective anti-tank weapon, in the shape of the hand held projectors for hollow charge shells (most famously the Bazooka). From March 1943 the Ausf N was fitted with 5mm thick side skirts (Seitenschürzen). If a hollow charge hit these side skirts, it would be triggered, significantly reducing the threat to the main tank armour.

When first introduced the Panzer III Ausf N was issued to the new heavy tank companies, to provide close support for the Tiger tanks (at full strength one of these companies would contain ten Panzer III Ausf Ns and nine Tigers). They were also used by the Panzer regiments in the Panzer divisions, serving with the similarly armed Panzer IVs.

Names
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf N
Sd Kfz 141/2

Stats
Number produced: 633 plus 37 conversions
Produced: June 1942-August 1943
Length (based on Ausf L): 5.52m
Length (based on Ausf M): 5.65m
Hull Width: 2.95m/ 9ft 8in
Height: 2.50m/ 8ft 2in
Crew: 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
Weight: 23 tons
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM
Max Speed: 40km/hr/ 24mph
Max Range: 155km/ 96 miles
Armament: One 7.5cm KwK L/24, 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+0.8  in

30mm/ 1.2in

50mm/ 2 in

18mm/ 0.66in

Hull

50mm/ 2in

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 N , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_III_ausf_N.html

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