Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J1

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General info

Panzer III Ausf. J1 in the garage.

The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J1 (Panzer III J1) is a Rank II German medium tank with a battle rating of 3.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.43. An improvement over the J version with the longer 50 mm KwK 39 gun, the Panzer III J1 provides a better punch.

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

Optimal combat distance for this vehicle is somewhere between medium to close range. But don't be mistaken, Panzer III J1 is not an frontline tank. You should be always on the move and harass the enemy without rest as any return fire will be lethal. Don't trust your armour and instead rely on your mobility. Flanking is the best option for J1 as you can use the high RoF for good effect and hopefully avoid the incoming retribution. You don't have the best mobility for medium tank, but you definitely remain competitive against most enemy tanks you may encounter. Always try to find some good firing positions, with available cover, and if necessary, pull back and relocate. Always avoid direct close range confrontations with main enemy force, never try to fight more than 1 enemy at the time. However - playing purely as support/sniper tank isn't optimal either, because of your lower armour penetration.

Vehicle characteristics

This variant, compared to its predecessor - Pz.III J, features only few, but very important upgrades.

Most importantly, J1 variant is the first Panzer III to have the long barreled KwK 39 L/60 50mm tank gun. This gun offers 96mm of armour penetration at range of 100 m and 79mm at 500m. In practical sense, it is just enough to deal with most tanks at this BR, although targeting weakspots, or side/rear armour is often necessary. Heavy tanks like KV-1 are quite problematic, but that is why you have APCR ammunition. APCR comes in two set, PzGr40 and PzGr40/1. PzGr40 has the highest penetration - 150mm at close range, but loses penetration quite rapidly when shooting far targets. (->More info can be found below in the "Ammunition" section.)

Second important upgrade is the electric turret drive - greatly improving the turret traverse speed, and removing the long present weakness of all older Panzer III variants.

Tactics

First of all, lets talk about the gun. The 5 cm KwK 39 is a good gun in the right circumstances. Its main round, the PzGr 39 Armour Piercing Capped has average penetration for the BR, but causes little post penetration damage. Granted, if you fire it into a tightly packed turret, it will kill the crew, but larger vehicles can be an issue. Then there is the PzGr 40 Armour Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR) round, which has high penetration (150mm!), but causes very little internal damage and performs poorly against sloped armour. It also loses its penetration quickly at range. It is best to carry both of these types of ammunition, allowing you to combat different targets more effectively.

Luckily, the KwK 39 has a saving grace. With a reload time of just under 5 seconds, it fires very quickly. This gun performs effectively in flanking maneuvers, where you can take advantage of weak side armour. Precise aim is necessary, as this gun rarely kills a target in one shot. Normally you have a choice. Do you shoot the driver and immobilize the tank and then kill the gunners? Or do you kill the gunners first and then take out the driver? Most of the time, it is best to take out the gunners first, so that the tank cannot shoot back. However, if the tank is mobile and the turret is facing another direction, it is sometimes best to take out the driver first. This way the tank won't have a chance to find cover.

The armour of the Panzer III is poor. It is flat, and at 50 mm it won't protect you from even rank 1 guns. From the sides you are vulnerable to anything above a .50 cal machine gun. Avoid frontal engagements with M4 Shermans and T-34s. You are unlikely to be able to kill them quickly, and often your rounds will ricochet off their sloped armour. Their rounds will slice through your armour like butter and often kill your entire crew after a single penetration. Thus, this tank is best in a support/sniping role.

Specific enemies worth noting

When playing this tank, you should be careful of the following tanks:

Usaflag.pngUSA Ussrflag.pngUSSR Germanflag.pngGermany

- US Shermans have too strong frontal armour for the L/60 gun to be penetrated reliably, especially the HVSS and M4A2, which are almost invincible to it. They all outgun you as well. Flanking them is advised, however you can penetrate with APCR ammo but it is still advised to flank the sides or rear (bearing in mind the the Sherman has a large side profile).
- All mentioned USSR tanks have almost impenetrable hull armour for the L/60, and can kill you with 1 well aimed shot. Avoiding direct confrontation is needed. Leave them to your better armed allies, try to flank them, or aim for weakspots. Do not get shot at all cost!
- Up-armoured Pz.III variants (L & M) will bounce majority of your shells, aiming at their weakspots is advised. Pz. IV F2 and StuG outgun you at all ranges, you can exchange fire with them or flank them, but they are at advantage. StuH is well armoured and has a powerful gun.

Counter-tactics

Panzer III J1 doesn't have very good armour, and its gun isn't that dangerous too, therefore no specific tactics is required to defeat it. Either outgun it from afar, where its 5 cm gun will struggle with penetration, or try to get as close to it as possible and aim shots at the center of the tank - to cause as much damage as possible.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • High RoF (Rate of Fire).
  • High shell velocity.
  • Mobile and fast.
  • Excellent gun depression.
  • APCR ammo is great against moving targets.

Cons:

  • Poor damage against modules and crew.
  • Gun lacks penetration at range, is likely to bounce from slopes, and isn't very accurate.
  • Overall weak armour.
  • Modules are sensitive to damage.
  • High BR - can meet certain very hard to defeat tanks.

Specifications

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Armaments

1 x 5 cm KwK 39 (92 Rounds)
1 x 7.92 mm MG 34 machine gun (3,750 Rounds)

Main armament

1 x 5 cm KwK 39
  • Ammunition Capacity: 92 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.3°/s (Stock), 11.53°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 16.47°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 4.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 3.7s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 5 cm KwK 39
  • Ammunition Capacity: 92 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.3°/s (Stock), 9.8°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 14.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 4.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 3.7s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 5 cm KwK 39
  • Ammunition Capacity: 92 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 20°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 8.3°/s (Stock), 9.8°/s (Upgraded), __._°/s (Prior + Full Crew), __._°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 14.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reload Rate: 4.8s (Stock), __._s (Full Crew), __._s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 3.7s (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 97 96 79 62 49 38 APC 835 2.1 1.2 25 45.9 +4° 48° 63° 71°
Sprgr. 38 4 4 4 4 4 4 HE 550 1.8 2.0 0.1 170 +0° 79° 80° 81°
PzGr 40/1 128 126 91 61 40 27 APCR 1140 1.1 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 66° 70° 72°
PzGr 40 150 149 108 72 48 32 APCR 1180 0.93 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 66° 70° 72°
Shell types
  • PzGr 39 - Armour Piercing Capped shell - This is your main ammo type, use it whenever you think it has enough penetration to penetrate your target. It deals most damage, because of its explosive filler.
  • PzGr 40/1 - Armour Piercing Composite Rigid shell - This type of ammo should be used if you are having trouble penetrating your opponent, or trying to hit a fast moving tank at some distance. However, its damaging potential is much lower, because it has no explosive filler to further enhance damage after the penetration.
  • PzGr 40 - Armour Piercing Composite Rigid shell - this variation of APCR is lighter, slightly faster and offers best penetration. Use it against heavily armoured tanks like KV-1 (If you can't flank them). However, don't expect it to cause any real damage upon penetration, it is even worse than that of PzGr 40/1. It basically only deals damage to modules/crew straight in its path. It is therefore almost useless to fire them at things like turret cupolas, as it will usually just fly right through them.
  • SprGr 38 - High Explosive ammo - You should carry only very few of these. They are completely useless against anything other than unarmoured AA vehicles, to which it is lethal.
Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the Panzer III J1.
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
92 70 (+22) 47 (+45) 24 (+68) (+91) Turret empty: 70 (+22) 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 (53°) Front glacis
50 mm (23-69°) Lower glacis
30 mm 50 mm (15-41°) Top
50 mm (11-66°) Bottom
15 mm
Turret 50 mm (12-25°) Turret front
50 mm (12-46°) Gun mantlet
30 mm (22-25°) 30 mm (13-16°) 10 mm
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: 12.16 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: 12.16 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

The first mod to install is the Parts modification since your modules are very easy to disable in combat. Next should be the FPE mod to save yourself if you catch fire. After that, it is advised that you to get the Horizontal Drive mod because the turret rotation speed is terrible (although better than its predecessor). The rest of the modifications are up to your preferences, but the other noted ones should be Engine for increased speed, Artillery Support for additional firepower, and Crew Reinforcements to help your crew survivability.

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 Ausf. J1 features a much better 50 mm gun compared to its predecessors, the 50 mm KwK 39, which is an improvement over the 50 mm KwK 38 by its longer barrel, giving a much better muzzle velocity to fired shell and therefore better penetration values. This new 50 mm gun gives the Panzer III a fighting edge against T-34s and M4 Shermans, which the older 50 mm KwK 38 had trouble fighting against. The Panzer III Ausf. J1 still featured the 50 mm armour thickness on the front and rear originally from the Ausf. J variant, but later models has new offset armour on the front of the hull and turret that are 20 mm effective. These armour also apply as spaced armour due to not being attached to the hull or turret mantlet. The spaced armour on the front helped defend the tank against Soviet anti-tank rounds or HEAT rounds fired at it on those plates, as it dissipates the penetration power before striking the hull.

Combat usage

The Panzer III J1 was only a stopgap design to integrate the 50 mm KwK 39 into service as fast as possible. The final designs in its later models were later redesignated the Panzer III Ausf. L.

Screenshots and fan art

Skins and camouflages for the Panzer III Ausf. J1 from live.warthunder.com. There are plenty of category terms flying around. So looking through every one of them will be necessary. Some of these might not work. Look for the Panzer 3 tanks with the very long barrel, or see what the description says.

Sights

Additional information (links)

References


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germ_pzkpfw_iii_ausf_j.png

Icon-country-der.png Panzer III Ausf. J1
Nation Germany
Type Medium tank
Rank 2
Battle Rating
3.0
3.0
3.0

   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 39 Cannon
Ammo stowage 92 rounds
Vertical guidance -10°/20°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 7.92 mm MG 34 Machine gun
Ammo stowage 3,750 rounds
Mount Coaxial
Economy
Required RP 9,200 RP
Vehicle cost 22,000 SL
Crew training cost 6,300 SL
Max repair cost (Stock)
620 SL
880 SL
900 SL
Max repair cost (Upgraded)
804 SL
1,141 SL
1,167 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
1h 22m
2h 44m
2h 17m
Free repair time (Upgraded)
27m
54m
45m
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