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German Tanks of World War II

Tankzone was started when a group of tank enthusiasts got together to share experience of building the Tamiya 1/16 scale Full Option RC Model Tanks. The Tiger 1e was our favourite. German tanks are still our main passion purely because of the advance of design for their times and their presence on the World ar II battle field. This section contains information about the main World War II German tanks featured on Tankzone. Our aim is to build it up over time to be a useful reference source for other tank enthusiasts.

Contents

  • Panzer I
  • Panzer II & Variants
  • Panzer III & Variants
  • Panzer IV & Variants
  • Panzer V Panther & Variants
  • Panzer IV Tiger 1 & Variants
  • Panzer IV B King Tiger & Variants
  • Other German Armoured Fighting Vehicles of World War II

Related Information


Panzer I Sd.Kfz.101

The Panzer I was Germany's first mass-produced armoured fighting vehicle. It was intended as a stop-gap vehicle designed for training and to gain experience in the use of tanks in the modern battle field. It was a small lightly armoured two-man tank armed only with twin machineguns in a fully traversing turret. They were deployed for battle-testing in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War in support of Franco's regime and fought during the early campaigns in Poland, France & Russia. About 1500 was produced from 1936 to 1939. Other versions including flame-throwers, munition carriers, self-propelled guns and command vehicles were also produced.


Panzer II Sd.Kfz.121 & Variants

The Panzer II was another stop-gap training tank designed to fill the ranks of the emerging German panzer divisions until the purpose-built Panzer III and Panzer IV combat tanks enter service. It was a heavier version of the Panzer I and formed the backbone of the German Army's armoured divisions until as late as mid-1942. It mounted a 2.0cm cannon and two co-axial machineguns in a fully-traversing turret. It was still relatively lightly armoured with a crew of 3. Over 1200 Panzer IIs were produced from 1941 to 1942. It was phased out of frontline service in late 1942 and many chassis were converted into self-propelled guns such as the Wespe and the Marder II.

Variants:

  • Panzer II Luchs (Lynx) Reconnaissance Vehicle SD.Kfz.123
  • Wespe SPG Sd.Kfz.124
  • Marder II SPG

Panzer III Sd.Kfz.141 & Variants

The Panzer III was Germany's first significant combat tank. It became the backbone of the german Armoured forces during the early Russian campaign but was soon outclassed by the emerging soviet armour especially the T-34 and KV-1. It was phased out of frontline service in late 1943.

General Guderian, who was the major authority on German tank design at the time, conceived two basic types of main battle tanks for the German Army. The first to carry a high velocity gun for anti-tank work - the Panzer III, backed up by a support tank carrying a larger-calibre gun capable of firing a destructive high explosive shell. The second tank went on to become the Panzer IV.

Variants:

  • Sturmgeschutz III Sd.Kfz..142

The Panzer III chassis was utilised as the basis for the Sturmgeschutz or StuG III. It was standard practice of the German Army at the time to produced up-gunned tank destroyer version with limited traverse. Though designed originally for the infantry close support role, assault gun such as the StuG III were increasingly used by the German Army in the anti-tank role to counter the horde of Russian tanks on the Eastern Front.

The Sturmgeschütz series proved to be very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and tank destroyers. Although Tigers and Panthers are more well known, assault guns destroyed many more tanks. Because of their low silhouette, Sturmgeschütz IIIs were easy to camouflage and a difficult target. Sturmgeschütz crews were considered to be the elite of the artillery units. Sturmgeschütz units held a very impressive record of tank kills - some 20,000 enemy tanks by the spring of 1944.

Panzer IV Sd.Kfz.161& Variants

The Panzer IV was the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the war years. It's sound design, with the wide superstructure which overhung the hull sides, allow it to be progressively up-gunned and up-armoured throughout the war in respond to changing combat conditions. Though originally conceived as a support vehicle to the Panzer III, it was a reliable workhorse and remained in first line combat service throughout World War II. It became the main stay of the Panzer force and the most numerous of all the German wartime tanks in many variants.

Variants:

  • Jagdpanzer IV Sd.Kfz.162

Following its standard practice, the German Army produced a limited traverse tank destroyer version of the Panzer IV called the Jagspanzer IV. Based on the Panzer IV chassis and automotive components, it was intended that the jagdpanzer IV should carry the powerful long barrelled 7.5cm L/70 gun of the Panther tank in a modified hull with a sharp nose and low silhouette.

Due to production difficulties, the first version of the jagdpanzer IV carried the 7.5cm KwK 40 L/48 gun as fitted to the StuG III and StuG IV. Later version fitted with the longer L/70 was designated th Jagdpanzer IV/70 (V). To overcome production delay, an interim version with a simplified superstructue married to the standard Panzer IV chassis carrying the long L/70 gun was produced designated the jagdpanzer IV/70 (A).

Variants:

  • Sturmgeschutz IV Sd.Kfz.163

The delay in the development of the Jagdpanzer IV led to the interim solution of fitting a modified version of the standard StuG III superstructure with its 7.5cm L/48 directly onto the chassis of the panzer IV.

Variants:

  • Hornisse & Nashorn SPG Sd.Kfz.164
  • Hummel SPG Sd.Kfz.165
  • Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar Sd.Kfz.166

Panzer V Panther Sd.Kfz.171 & Variants

The Panther was probably the best tank of World War II. It combines a powerful 7.5cm gun with excellent sloping armour. Mobility was good once initial problems with teh dribe train was ironed out. The German Army came to rely incresingly on teh Panther and it form the mainstay of Germany's deplted armoured forces right till the end of the war.

Variants:

  • Jagpanzer V Jagdpanther Sd.Kfz.173

Following its standard practice, the German Army produced a limited traverse tank destroyer version of the Panther called the Jagdpanther armed with an even more powerful 8.8cm gun. It combines lethal firepower with excellent sloped armour and good battle field mobility. It was probably the most effective armoured fighting vehicles produced by the German but it was produced too late and too small numbers to make a significant impact on the outcome of the war.


Panzer VI Tiger 1 Sd.Kfz.181 & Variants

The Tiger tank was probably the best known armoured fighting vehicle of World War II. It was particularly feared by the Allies for its potent 8.8cm main gun and heavy armour protection.

Variants:

  • Sturmpanzer VI Sturmtiger

Panzer VI B King Tiger Sd.Kfz.182 & Variants

The Extremely potent main armament of the King Tiger combined with heavy well-sloped virtually impenetrable armour made it the most feared German tank of the war. But it entered service too late and in too small numbers to prevent ultimate Allied victory.

Variants:

  • Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Sd.Kfz.186

The massive jagdtiger was the heaviest armoured fighting vehicle to enter operational service during World War II. It was fitted with a lethal 12.8cm maingun and it's thick armour was almost invulnerable to Allied guns. Only a few was completed and its lack of mobility mean it made little impact on the battlefield.


Other German Armoured Fighting Vehicles of World War II
  • Panzer 38(t) & Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
  • Jagdpanzer Tiger (P) Ferdinand/Elefant Tank Destroyer Sd.Kfz.184

 
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Our products represent subjects from a specific period in history. Some products contain details, equipment, uniform and or vehicle that include insignia or marking that some may find offensive. It is not our intension to glorify, nor exploit the horrors and atrocities of war.

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