13 km/h back70 km/h forward
11 km/h backSpeed
The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E is a rank I German medium tank with a battle rating of 1.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41. The successor of the Panzer III B and the predecessor of the Panzer III F on the German tree line, the Panzer III Ausf. E has an improved armour layout with 30 mm thick front and side armour while retaining the 37 mm gun.
Survivability and armour
Although the Pz.III E has improved survivability over the Ausf. B, the additional armour protection is largely superficial. Overall, the armour is almost doubled with 30mm on the front and sides; this leads for the possibility to increase the hull armour to just over 40mm effective by angling. However, the majority of common vehicles at the rank will still have no trouble punching through this armour, although the French BR 1.0 vehicles will largely struggle to penetrate the armour, and on top of this the E model is immune from tank-mounted heavy machine gun fire. The turret armour though has the potential to be quite formidable. While the base is still 30mm, there are strips of armour that overlap this with a thickness of 35mm, meaning that on some parts of the turret the total thickness is 65mm total. Because of this, the turret is actually fairly strong, but as this extra protection doesn't cover the entire turret face, it's still not entirely reliable.
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 E can only reach these speeds if travelling down a hill or a decline in the terrain, in RB mode the E will struggle to pass 40 km/h off road, and in AB it will rarely pass the early 50s. 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 E can reverse a lot faster, meaning that if it gets into trouble, it can quickly retreat.
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 one-shot 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. As this vehicle is at 1.7, the likelihood of encountering vehicles completely immune from the APHE round is fairly likely, so taking some APCR is a must.
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.
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 play-style 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. 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, sp at mid range you have the potential to maximise both. Aim to 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 from heavy machine gun fire
- Very slow turret traverse
- Lackluster firepower
- Poor armour protection
- No short stabiliser
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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, Deimler-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.Kpfw. III Ausf. B · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. F · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J1 · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N|
|Pz.IV||Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. C · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. E · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F1 · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J · Pz.Bef.Wg.IV Ausf. J|
|Pz.V||Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. A · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. D · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. F · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. G · Ersatz M10 Panther · Pz.Kpfw. Panther II|
|Trophies||▀Pz.Kpfw. M4 748 (a) · ▀Pz.Kpfw. T 34 747 (r)|
|Post-war||KPz-70 · mKPz M47 G · M48A2 C · M48A2 G A2|
|Leopard||Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2A5|