Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 (Sd Kfz 267, 268)

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 was the first of a series of command tanks based on the Panzer III, produced when it became clear that the kleine Panzerbefehlswagen was not large enough for the role.

The Pz Bef Wg Ausf D1 was based on the last pre-production version of the Panzer III, and shared the same suspension as the Ausf D, with eight road wheels supported in pairs by two small and one large leaf spring.

The Ausf D1 was designed not to stand out. The main gun and all the equipment associated with it had been removed to make way for extra radio equipment, and so a dummy gun barrel was put in place. The main turret itself was bolted in place and as a result the turret mounted machine gun, which was the only weapon carried on the Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1, had a limited 60 degree traverse.

The main identifying feature of the Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 was the large frame antenna required for the FuG 8, which resembles a hand rail placed around the rear deck of the tank.  

The different Sd Kfz numbers refer to the radio equipment installed - FuG6 and FuG8 on the Sd Kfz 267 and FuG6 and FuG7 on the Sd Kfz 268. As later versions of the Panzer III were converted to act as command tanks, the Sd Kfz numbers would remain the same.

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 served in Poland and France. In 1939 each Panzer detachment, regiment and brigade was meant to have one in its Stab (Headquarters) unit, but only 38 of the Ausf D1 and Ausf E models had been completed by 1 September 1939. A similar number were available eight months later, at the start of the campaign in the west. 

They were withdrawn from service early in 1941 for the same reason as the original Ausf D – the poor performance of the suspension system. The use of a relatively large number of command tanks allowed the German tank commanders to lead from the front, giving them a priceless tactical advantage over their more numerous and technically superior French opponents. 

Names
Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1
Sd Kfz 267 and 268
3c Serie Zugführerwagen/ 3c Serie ZW

Stats
Number produced: 30
Produced: June 1938-March 1939
Hull Length: 5.98m/
Hull Width: 2.87m/ 9ft 3in
Height: 2.42m/ 7ft 11in
Crew: 5
Weight: 18.2 tons
Engine: Maybach HL108TR V-12
Max Speed: 40km/hr/ 24mph
Max Range: 165km/ 102 miles
Armament: One 7.92mm MG 34

Armour


Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

12mm/ 0.5in

Superstructure

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

17mm/ 0.66in

Hull

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

16mm/ 0.62in

Gun mantlet

30mm/ 1.2in

 

 

 

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 (25 April 2008), Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 (Sd Kfz 267, 268) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzerbefehlswagen_III_ausf_D1.html.html

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