Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J

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General info

Panzer III Ausf. J in the garage.

The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J (or Panzer III J) is a Rank I German medium tank with a battle rating of 2.3. It was introduced in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals".

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

This tank should be played as a second line support or area denial vehicle, due to acceptable speed and accurate, potent gun, yet sluggish turret traverse even when fully upgraded. Increased armour allows you to come a bit closer to the battlefield, and to engage lower BR tanks directly. At all ranges, always try to help your armour by any means possible, either by angling it a bit to the side (but not much, your side armour is weak), or using hulldown maneuver to cover your hull and exposing only your turret when engaging enemies.

Vehicle characteristics

In game, compared to the previous modification Panzer III Ausf. F, the J variant is mostly an armour upgrade - Front armour, both on hull, turret and the cupola, went up to 50 mm. Rear hull armour has been increased as well to 50 mm, engine deck armour has been also increased, from 10 mm to 15 mm. This added armour increased the weight of the tank by about 1.5 tons, reducing its top speed from 67 kph to a still decent 53 kph. But mobility remains the same. Gun also remains the same 5 cm KwK 38 L/42.

Another very nice improvement is also the increased reverse speed (from about 4 kph to 10 kph), which fastens retreat to cover considerably, exposing your tank for much shorter time, as well as improving overall maneuverability.

Tactics

Specific enemies worth noting

Usaflag.pngUSA Ussrflag.pngUSSR Germanflag.pngGermany

Counter-tactics

Exploit the slow turret traverse by flanking or circling the vehicle, avoid long-range shooting contests unless you know you have the gun advantage. When aiming, focus at the base of the turret, where the ammunition is stored. When you can see the tank behind the hill, you can try hitting its large sticking out commander's cupola - killing the commander. Fragments of the shell are also often deflected to the interior of the vehicle, injuring or killing other turret crew members.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Accurate and decently powerful gun
  • Great gun depression
  • Good Mobility
  • APCR ammo has very high speed and good penetration, making shooting at long range easier
  • Armour is fairly decent, can protect reliably against beginner's and some lower BR tanks

Cons:

  • Penetration is a bit lacking
  • Awful turret traverse speed
  • Flat armour with little slope, weak side armour
  • Large commander's cupola, often sticking out above the terrain, drawing enemy attention.

Specifications

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Armaments

1 x 5 cm KwK 38 (99 Rounds)
1 x 7.92 mm MG 34 machine gun (4,350 Rounds)

Main armament

1 x 5 cm KwK 38
  • Ammunition Capacity: 99 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 3.3°/s (Stock), 4.5°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 5.2s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 5 cm KwK 38
  • Ammunition Capacity: 99 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 3.3°/s (Stock), 3.8°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 5.2s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 5 cm KwK 38
  • Ammunition Capacity: 99 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 3.3°/s (Stock), 3.8°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 5.2s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), __._s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
PzGr 39 74 73 59 45 34 26 APC 685 2.1 1.2 25 28.9 +4° 48° 63° 71°
PzGr 40/1 118 117 84 56 37 25 APCR 1005 1.1 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 66° 70° 72°
PzGr 40 132 130 94 63 42 28 APCR 1050 0.92 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 66° 70° 72°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks for the Panzer III Ausf. J
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
99 75 (+24) 50 (+49) 25 (+74) (+98) Left side empty: 50 (+49) Yes

Secondary armament

1 x 7.92 mm MG 34 machine gun (coaxial)

Crew

  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
  • Assistant Driver

Total: 5 Crew members

Armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Barrel shroud, Cupola)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 50 mm (12°) Front plate
25 mm (86°), 50 mm (52°) Front glacis
50 mm (23-69°) Lower glacis
30 mm 50 mm (14-46°) Top
50 mm (10-66°) Bottom
15 mm
Turret 50 mm (10-25°) Turret front
50 mm (12-62°) Gun mantlet
30 mm (20-25°) 30 mm (12-15°) 10 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 50 mm 10 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick.

Engine & mobility

Weight: 21.8 ton

Max Speed: 59 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 465 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 21.33 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 29°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 572 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 26.24 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 36°
Weight: 21.8 ton

Max Speed: 53 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 265 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 12.15 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 32°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 300 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 13.76 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 36°
Weight: 21.8 ton

Max Speed: 53 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 265 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 12.15 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 32°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 300 hp @ 3000 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 13.76 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 36°

Modules and improvements

History of creation and combat usage

Development

The Panzerkampfwagen III medium tank, or the Panzer III was developed in the 1930s. Starting in early 1934, Heinz Guderian set down some specifications for a new tank, which Army Weapons Department took up to design the tank to weigh no more than 24,000 kilograms with a top speed of 35 km per hour. This tank's role was to be the main tank of the German army and was expected to destroy opposing tanks, as opposed as a tank made to destroy anti-tank guns and opposing infantrymen, which the Panzer IV took up in.

Damlier-Benz, Krupp, MAN, and Rheinmetall produced prototypes meeting the specifications and the Damlier-Benz model was chosen after testing in 1936-1937. The Panzer III model used a leaf-spring suspension in its early models (Ausf. A - Ausf. D) before utilizing a six-wheeled torsion-bar suspension in the Ausf. E and beyond. The Panzer III had a crew of five people, the commander, gunner, loader, driver, and assistant driver. The best feature of the Panzer III during its introduction that is the most overlooked was the three-man turret, which was not as common at the time. This frees the commander to be able to effectively command the tank while maintaining situational awareness rather than be burdened by the role of a loader or gunner, improving combat effectiveness of the tank. Despite this rather advance design, the turret did not have a turret basket for the crew. It was a proven design and production began in May 1937. The total number of Panzer IIIs tanks constructed in its production life was 5,774 units (excluding StuG III variant).

Specifications

The Panzer III started with only 15 mm of armour on all sides, this was quickly upgraded to 30 mm on front, side, and rear on the Ausf. D, E, F, and G models. Then the Ausf. H placed an additional 30 mm of armour onto the front hull as an interim solution before the Panzer III Ausf. J gave the Panzer III a 50 mm armour thickness on the front and rear. The Panzer III Ausf. J still retained the 50 mm KwK 38 cannon from the Ausf. F, which provided much needed firepower over the 37 mm KwK 36. The Panzer Ausf. J had a 300 PS Maybach HL 120 TRM engine that gave it a top speed of about 40 km/h (25 mph) with a operational range of 155 km (96 mi.).

Combat usage

The Panzer III Ausf. J gave the German army better armour for their Panzer III and with a better gun. However, it was still considered undergunned to the Soviet contemporary T-34 and KV-1 tanks as the 50 mm KwK 38 was not powerful enough to penetrate these tanks frontally with normal ammo. This requires the use of APCR, which was in low supply. The Soviet T-26 and BT series light tanks were still easily taken care of and were still in larger quantities than the T-34s and KVs, but T-34 production was kicking off and it won't be long before the T-34 becomes the main tank of the Red Army.

The Panzer III still needed improvements if it ever was to go up against the more modern tanks and Germany needed it to stay in service as long as possible as their new tanks are being developed. The next variant featured additional armour and a better 50 mm cannon, the 50 mm KwK 39, on the Panzer III Ausf. J1. The armour had an additional 20 mm offset armour in the front hull and turret, plus the 50 mm KwK 39 featured a longer barrel than the 50 mm KwK 38, increasing its penetration values.

Screenshots and fan art

Skins and camouflages for the Panzer III Ausf.J from live.warthunder.com. There are plenty of category terms flying around. So looking through every one of them will be necessary.

Sights

Additional information (links)

References


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germ_pzkpfw_iii_ausf_j_l42.png

Icon-country-der.png Panzer III Ausf. J
Nation Germany
Type Medium tank
Rank 1
Battle Rating
2.3
2.3
2.3

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Weight
21,800 kg
48,061 lb
Number of Crew 5
Hull armour thickness
50/30/50/15 mm
1.97/1.18/1.97/0.59 inches
Statistics
Engine power (Stock)
465 hp
265 hp
265 hp
Engine power (Upgraded)
572 hp
300 hp
300 hp
HP/ton ratio (Stock)
21.33
21.67
12.15
12.35
12.15
12.35
HP/ton ratio (Upgraded)
26.24
26.66
13.76
13.98
13.76
13.98
Max speed
59 km/h
37 mph
53 km/h
33 mph
53 km/h
33 mph
Main Weapon
1 x 50 mm KwK 38 Cannon
Ammo stowage 99 rounds
Vertical guidance -10°/20°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 7.92 mm MG 34 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 4,350 rounds
Mount Coaxial
Economy
Required RP 5,900 RP
Vehicle cost 6,300 SL
Crew training cost 1,800 SL
Max repair cost (Stock)
410 SL
480 SL
610 SL
Max repair cost (Upgraded)
531 SL
622 SL
791 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
26m
53m
53m
Free repair time (Upgraded)
8m
17m
17m
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