Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J was the last version of the Panzer IV medium tank to enter production before the end of the Second World War. By the time it entered production in the summer of 1944 the Panzer IV had declined in importance as a battle tank, and so of the three factories that had produced the Ausf H only Nibelungenwerke produced the Ausf J, while Krupp concentrated on the StuG IV and Vomag on the JadgPanzer IV. Despite this a total of 1,758 Panzer IV Ausf Js were produced, along with 278 chassis for the Panzer IV/70(A) and 142 for the Brummbär.

The main change made to the Ausf J was the removal of the electric turret traverse and its associated auxiliary engine. To compensate for this a dual speed hand-traverse was installed. The space saved was used to fit an auxiliary fuel tank, which added 30 miles to the Panzer IV’s cross country range.

The Ausf J also saw the addition of a Nahverteidigungswaffe (Closs defence weapon), capable of firing either smoke or high explosive grenades to defend the tank against very short range infantry attacks.

During the production run of the Ausf J the pistol ports were removed from the turret rear and side doors, thicker armour was added to the turret and superstructure roof, on some tanks wire-mesh skirting replaced the solid armour skirts on the sides of the tank (to save weight), and in December 1944 the number of return rollers was reduced from four to three (to speed up production).

By the time the Ausf J entered production the Panzer IV had passed its heyday. The Panther had replaced it as the best German medium tank, and Nibelungenwerke’s production of the Panzer IV ausf J was not enough to replace combat losses.  As a result in November 1944 the number of Panzer IVs in each company was cut down to 17, 14 or even to 10. By the end of the year the eight panzer divisions involved in the Ardennes offensive had 259 Panzer IVs but 399 Panthers. Despite this the Panzer IV fought on to the end of the war.  

Names
Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J
Sd Kfz 161/2
Gerät 550

Stats
Number produced:  1,758
Produced:  June 1944-March 1945
Length: 7.02m
Hull Width: 2.88m
Height: 2.68m
Crew: 5
Weight: 25 tons  
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM
Max Speed: 38km/hr
Max Range:  320km
Armament: One 7.5cm KwK40 L/48 and two 7.92mm MG13s

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

50mm/ 2.0in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

18mm/ 0.7in

Superstructure

80mm/ 3.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

20mm/ 0.8in

12mm/ 0.5in

Hull

80mm/ 3.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

20mm/ 0.8in

10mm/ 0.4in

Gun mantlet

50mm/ 2.0in

 

 

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 July 2008), Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_IV_ausf_J.html

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