|This page is about the German medium tank Pz.III E. For other versions, see Panzer III (Family).|
The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung E (Panzer III E) (Sd.Kfz. Index: Sd.Kfz. 141) is the fifth variant of the Panzerkampfwagen III medium tank family. After the first four Panzer III variants were completed, it was discovered there was still a lot of potential for development and adjustment. The Panzer III E was the next variant in line, and it included a number of improvements, including a necessary increase in armour protection. More notably, it finally addressed the fundamental problems with the previous variants' troublesome suspensions by introducing a basic torsion bar suspension design. The most notable legacy of this vehicle was that it established the production standard for all subsequent Panzer III variants. The Germans concentrated on the French 25 mm fast-firing tank gun when determining the necessary armour thickness for the new Panzer III E. They eventually decided that 30 mm of armour was sufficient. At ranges of over 500 mm at 30°, the frontal armour plate proved powerful enough to withstand the 25 mm armour-piercing rounds.
Introduced in the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41, the Panzer III E variant is a basic medium tank that looks a lot like the Panzer III B variant. It was mounted with the same 37 mm Kampfwagenkanone (KwK) 36 L/46.5 tank gun. However, by increasing the overall armour plate thickness to 20 to 30 mm, this tank's protection is significantly boosted. Despite this, it is nevertheless vulnerable to almost all vehicles in its rank from any angle, with the exception of a few very low-calibre tank guns. Playstyles are comparable to those of the Panzer III B variant.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Cupola)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull||30 mm||30 mm||20 mm||15 mm|
|Turret|| 35 mm Turret front
30 mm Gun mantlet
|30 mm||30 mm||10 mm|
|Cupola||30 mm||30 mm||30 mm||8 mm|
The Panzer III E has improved protection over the Ausf. B. The armour values on the hull sides and front are similar, so the Panzer III E is an excellent tank to use the tactic of angling in. With angling, the hull has a chance to bounce some enemy fire. The turret face protection is rather thin, but in some areas the turret armour overlaps which may help to stop some shells. Overall, the Panzer III E is not very survivable, being reliably protected only against .50 calibre ammunition. Additionally, the thin roof armour means that enemy planes may penetrate the top of the tank if they are using .50 calibre guns or cannons.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The Pz.III E does have improved mobility over the B model, the top speed is listed as 71 km/h in RB mode, and 79 km/h in AB mode. However, the Pz.III E can only reach these speeds if travelling down a hill or a decline in the terrain, in RB mode it will struggle to pass 40 km/h off road, and in AB it will rarely pass the early 50 km/h. So the mobility is upgraded, but it's not really enough of an upgrade to be considered a huge advantage. A big positive though is that the Pz.III E can reverse a lot faster, meaning that if it gets into trouble, it can quickly retreat.
Modifications and economy
The Pz.III E is equipped with the 37 mm KwK36, which is a fairly underwhelming weapon performance-wise. It can penetrate most lower rank vehicles at close range, but at further ranges the gun really does start to struggle. It's also fairly inaccurate, which makes aiming for certain weak spots quite difficult. It comes with two available rounds-
- APHE- Max 47 mm penetration- Low penetration but higher damage potential.
- APCR- Max 86 mm penetration- High penetration but lower damage potential.
It's best to consider taking a mix of both types of ammunition, the APHE has the potential to knock out some enemy tanks, but will be completely ineffective against the more heavily armoured vehicle you'll likely meet when uptiered, for these tanks it's best to use APCR and aim for flat surfaces. The APCR does very little damage internally, so try to aim for crew members if possible.
|37 mm KwK36||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|131||114 (+17)||76 (+55)||58 (+73)||20 (+111)||1 (+130)||Yes|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
- Visual discrepancy concerns rack n°5: it is modeled to contain 8 shells but you have to fire 19 shells in order to empty it.
Like its predecessor, the Pz. III E is equipped with two coaxial 7.92 mm MG34 machine guns, as there are two of them these machine guns are quite potent against enemy anti-air trucks, and even against the slower biplane aircraft commonly encountered in lower ranked battles; although their viability against aircraft is questionable due to the slow turret traverse. These guns have no functional viability against armoured vehicles however, and only serve as a last ditch effort to kick up dust, or blind an enemy vehicle by firing at their optics.
|7.92 mm MG34|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Pz.III E, despite its upgrades, functions almost exactly the same as the previous B model, the armour and mobility are improved, but not to the point where these aspects are reliable, or warrant a change in playstyle to take advantage of them. Because of the slow turret traverse and unimpressive firepower, consider playing the E in a more passive role. You can't comfortably rush around the map using your extra mobility as if you push to the point where enemies could get on your sides, you'll likely be knocked out very quickly. The largest drawbacks the E model has are its armour, turret traverse and firepower. The firepower can't be buffed in any way, but the negative effects of the armour and traverse can be somewhat negated by playing hull down and covering a narrow sight line. The turret armour can't be completely relied on, but it is the most consistent. Additionally, if you take fire into the turret, you'll likely only lose a couple of crew members. In order to increase the effectiveness of the hull armour, you can sharply angle the tank at about 45 degrees, since the side armour is equally as thick as the front armour. That means there is no risk of exposing a weaker flank, and a steeply angled hull can even deflect the 37 mm. cannon shells fired by most tanks of its tier (it will not always deflect them, but your odds increase at longer ranges). The E model has a fairly effective reverse rate, so you can easily retreat from combat, repair and reengage. You also have access to five rear drop smoke grenades to aid this purpose. Another advantage of covering a narrow sight line is that you don't really need to traverse your gun much to be able to fire on enemy vehicles.
If possible, try to remain somewhat sedentary, because the Pz.III E lacks a short stop stabiliser, if you run into an enemy allied tank on the move, they will likely be able to level off their gun and fire at you first, and as the armour of the E is very inconsistent, you will likely be knocked out. If you stay somewhat still and wait in ambush, you should be able to avoid this drawback. The E model works best at mid ranges, at long range the armour is effective but the gun isn't, whereas at close range the gun is effective but the armour isn't - at mid range you have the potential to maximise both. Aim to angle or hide your hull and take a decent mix of APHE and APCR depending on the battle rating you're playing at. The E model isn't the most effective Panzer III, but if played in the right spot it can do a decent job.
Pros and cons
- Very fast reload
- Access to APCR
- Decent overall mobility
- Immune to heavy machine gun fire
- Tougher than other reserve tanks if angled
- Very slow turret traverse
- Lacklustre firepower
- Unimpressive armour protection if not angled
- No short stabiliser
The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E was the first large-scale variant of this tank. The machine had a new torsion suspension design, and its wheels had a much larger diameter. This greatly simplified its manufacture and servicing. The construction of the hull was modified, slightly shortening the front and rear sections. Some design improvements were made to facilitate the crew's ability to evacuate when needed and to improve their field of view. The construction of the Kugelblende 30 machine gun's mantlet saw improvements, as well, and a small container of smoke bombs was affixed to the aft of the tank's hull. The more powerful Maibach HL120TR engine, with 300 horsepower, was installed, along with a mechanical Variorex SRG 328-145 transmission with ten forward gears and four reverse gears. These changes increased the tank's maximum speed and cross-country ability.
During the tank's single year of production, beginning in October 1938, the companies MAN, Daimler-Benz, Henschel, MIAG, Alket, Krupp, FAMO, Wegmann, and MNH produced about 100 specimens.
The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E tank variant participated in every military operation which took place during the first stage of World War II.
This variant became the basis for all subsequent ones.
The tank's first combat experience was successful, and from 1940 to 1941 some of the tanks were outfitted with a 5cm KwK L/42 gun in a new cannon mantlet. Afterwards, the remaining Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E tanks were withdrawn from the front lines and converted into Pz.Beo.Wg. artillery spotters or repair and rescue vehicles.
On the whole, the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E tank was reliable and easy to operate and provided a high level of crew comfort.
This tank's main disadvantage was that its armament was relatively weak for a medium tank.
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|Germany medium tanks|
|Pz.III||Pz.III B · Pz.III E · Pz.III F · Pz.III J · Pz.III J1 · Pz.III J1 TD · Pz.III L · Pz.III M · Pz.III N|
|Pz.IV||Pz.IV C · Pz.IV E · Pz.IV F1 · Pz.IV F2 · Pz.IV G · Pz.IV H · Pz.IV J · Pz.Bef.Wg.IV J|
|Pz.V||VK 3002 (M) · Panther A · Panther D · Panther F · Panther G · Ersatz M10 · Panther II|
|M48 upgrades||M48A2 G A2 · M48 Super|
|Leopard 1||Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard A1A1 (L/44) · Leopard 1A5 · C2A1 · Turm III|
|Leopard 2||PT-16/T14 mod. · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2AV|
|Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2 (PzBtl 123) · Leopard 2 PL · Leopard 2A5 · Leopard 2 PSO · Leopard 2A6|
|Trophies||▀M4 748 (a) · ▀T 34 747 (r)|
|Other||Nb.Fz. · KPz-70|
|USA||mKPz M47 G · M48A2 C|