Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf K/ Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf K/ Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60 was the last in the series of command tanks based on the Panzer III, and the only one to be custom built with its 5cm main gun intact. An order for 200 Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf Ks had been placed in October 1941, but production was twice delayed. In the same month Daimler-Benz also received an order for thirty extra Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf Hs, and then at the start of 1942 the company was ordered to convert the standard Panzer IIIJ to the command tank role, as the Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf J (but see that article for more detail).

The Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf K was virtually identical to the standard Panzer III Ausf M, but with some of the ammunition removed to make way for the new radios. As with all of the command tanks extra vision ports were cut into the side of superstructure. The Ausf K saw the replacement of the distinctive frame antenna with a more standard star antenna, removing the most obvious visual difference between the Panzerbefehlswagen and the standard Panzer III. Having said that the Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf K remained in front line service after the Panzer III itself had been withdrawn, rather reducing the difficulty of identifying it!

The different Sd Kfz numbers refer to the radio equipment installed –
Sd Kfz 267: FuG6 (ultra short wave) and FuG8 (medium wave)
Sd Kfz 268: FuG6 (ultra short wave) and FuG7 (ultra short wave)

Names
Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60
Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf K
4 Series Pz Beg Wg Ausf K
Sd Kfz 267 or 268

Stats
Number produced: 50
Produced: December 1942-February 1943
Length: 6.41m/ 21ft
Hull Width: 2.95m/ 9ft 8in
Height: 2.51m/ 8ft 2in
Crew: 5
Weight: 23 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 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

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 (25 April 2008), Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf K/ Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzerbefehlswagen_III_ausf_K.html

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