Pz.III M

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Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M
germ_pzkpfw_iii_ausf_m.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
3.0/3.0/3.0BR
5 peopleCrew
front / side / backArmour
50 / 25 / 53Hull
50 / 30 / 30Turret
Mobility
23.0 tWeight
59 km/h forward
11 km/h back
53 km/h forward
9 km/h back
Speed
Armament
50 mm KwK39 cannonMain weapon
84 roundsAmmunition
-10° / 20°Vertical guidance
3 750 roundsAmmunition
150 roundsBelt capacity
900 shots/minFire rate
Economy
18 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
77 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png1 050 / 1 433/1 000 / 1 365/1 180 / 1 610Repair
22 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
77 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
330 Ge icon.pngAces
× (136) % Rp icon.pngReward for battle

Description

GarageImage Pz.IIIM.jpg


The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M is a rank II German medium tank with a battle rating of 3.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced during the Closed Beta Test for Ground Forces before Update 1.41.

The M-modification is the latest version of Panzer III able to be purchased for Silver Lions (the last modification available is the Pz.III N, which can be purchased with Golden Eagles). It has the same battle rating as the previous Pz.III L (except in SB) and offers some additional protection enhancements.

The most notable differences are the added Schürzen, or side skirts (both on the hull and the turret). Although they are very thin, they can effectively protect the tank from glancing HEAT and HE rounds along with nearby artillery strikes and bombs. also, the dreaded Panzer cupola has been upgraded so it is no longer a fatal weak spot, which is a very useful improvement. Russian T-34s/KV-1s and most weaker tanks can no longer exploit this which adds to the Panzer III M's survivability potential.

The Panzer III M is armed with a 5 cm high-velocity anti-tank gun. At close range it can become dangerous to attack the Russian T-34, however with the exception of lucky shots. The KV-series of tanks is usually immune to normal APCBC shells. The high muzzle velocity makes long range shots rather easy, although it will noticeably lose penetration. The smaller calibre also offers a higher rate of fire than 75mm and 76mm guns.

Surprisingly, these upgrades did not add any notable extra weight, so the mobility of the tank has not been altered.

With the tank's good armour and a free path to the Tiger, Pz.III M is sometimes called the "Mini Tiger".

General info

Survivability and armour

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Gun barrel shroud, Cupola)
  • High hardness rolled armour (Front spaced armour)
Armour Front Sides Rear Roof
Hull 50 + 20 mm (12°) Front plate
25 mm (85°), 50 mm (52°) Front glacis
50 mm (25°) Lower glacis
30 + 5 mm 50 mm 15 mm
Turret 57 mm + 20 mm Turret front
50 + 20 mm Gun mantlet
30 + 5 mm 30 mm 10 mm
Cupola 100 mm 10 mm

Notes:

  • The tank has 50 mm of armour at the front of the hull and 57 on the turret front, but there is an additional 20mm plate on the upper hull and at the front of the turret, increasing the effective armour to 70mm and 77mm respectively. When the armour is angled, this tank becomes very strong frontally.
  • Side armour of the hull and turret are 30 mm and are protected by an extra 5 mm plate that protects from HEAT and HE rounds.
  • The strong turret armour makes this tank powerful when hull-down, as many enemies will only be able to penetrate the cupola, only knocking out the commander. However, don't allow anyone to freely fire there, as some unlucky shot fired there can still occasionally cause severe damage.
  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick.

Mobility

Mobility characteristic
Weight (tons) Add-on Armor
weight (tons)
Max speed (km/h)
23.0 N/A 59 (AB)
53 (RB/SB)
Engine power (horsepower)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 465 572
Realistic/Simulator 265 300
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 20.17 24.87
Realistic/Simulator 11.52 13.04

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: KwK 39 (50 mm)
50 mm KwK 39
Capacity Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Stabilizer
92 -10°/+20° ±180° N/A
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 13.33 18.45 22.4 24.77 26.35
Realistic 8.33 9.80 11.90 13.16 14.00
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
4.81 4.25 3.92 3.70
Ammunition
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration in mm @ 90°
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
PzGr 39 APC 95 92 76 61 49 39
Sprgr. 38 HE 5 5 5 5 5 5
PzGr 40/1 APCR 128 126 91 61 40 27
PzGr 40 APCR 150 149 108 72 48 32
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
0% 50% 100%
PzGr 39 APC 835 2.1 1.2 25 45.9 -1° 48° 63° 71°
Sprgr. 38 HE 550 1.8 2.0 0.1 170 +0° 79° 80° 81°
PzGr 40/1 APCR 1140 1.1 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 66° 70° 72°
PzGr 40 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 the main ammo type; use it whenever it is possible to penetrate the target. It deals the most damage because of its explosive filler. It also offers the best penetration at very long range (over 1500 m). Combat at this range is, however, not recommended.
  • PzGr 40/1 - Armour Piercing Composite Rigid shell - This type of ammo should be used if the gun is having trouble penetrating the 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. It should be used only at close and medium ranges. PzGr 40 is better.
  • PzGr 40 - Armour Piercing Composite Rigid shell - this variation of APCR is lighter, slightly faster and offers the best penetration. Use it against heavily armoured tanks like KV-1 (If unable to flank them). However, don't expect it to cause any real damage upon penetration. It's even worse than that of the 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 - Carry only very few of these. They are completely useless against anything other than unarmoured AA vehicles, to which it is lethal.
Ammo racks
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
92 70 (+22) 47 (+45) 24 (+68) (+91) no

Machine guns

Main article: MG 34 (7.92 mm)
7.92 mm MG 34
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
3,750 (150) 900 N/A N/A

Usage in the battles

The Panzer III M is a tank worth mastering. Try to play it like a standard battle tank, but only in a support role. Never fight on the front lines, as other tanks will be able to take advantage of the Panzer III's weaknesses. The tank's armour is far too weak for close counters engagements. With its surprisingly good gun penetration and good battle rating, it does fairly well with the tanks it is put up against. Feel free to carry plenty of shells; this Panzer has its ammunition stored in such a way where it will not get ammo racked too easily. After a while, any player will probably realise that after a few games they use a lot of shells with the fast firing 50 mm gun.

Always remember that the tank doesn't have the best gun around, but it has a good rate of fire to compensate and is still powerful enough against most threats (especially deadly at close/medium ranges). The Panzer III M may not always knock out the opponent in one blow, so try prioritizing on what to aim first. Here is a list of priority targets when attacking a (superior) enemy:

  • Turret - The turret contains some vital crew members and modules. If a successful penetration is scored, it will most likely knock out the loader, gunner, and commander. A solid penetration on an enemy's turret will most likely knock out/damage the following modules: cannon breech, ammo rack, and the horizontal and vertical turret drives. By knocking out any of these crew members and modules with the first fired shot, it will greatly decrease the time it will take to destroy the enemy tank while minimizing its immediate threat.
  • If the enemy hasn't been blown up yet, focus on shooting at the enemy's weak spots and known areas of vital/fragile modules (e.g. ammo rack, fuel tank, engine). The rear part of every tank is the most lightly armoured one, so focus fire there and maybe score a penetration to the engine block/transmission. Enemies without the "FPG" module installed will succumb to the flames.
  • If the opponent is still alive after repeated attacks, the best thing to do is to get up close and personal. Try to analyze what damage has been done and alter the attack based on the modules/crew destroyed. However, never underestimate the enemy and always approach the enemy with caution, no matter how much damage has been inflicted. Get up close and personal and land shots wherever they can penetrate to do the most damage.

While the armour is something to take note of, this tank will perform best in flanking attacks. It has good penetration and fires fast enough to destroy an enemy tank quickly and efficiently. Stay close to the battlefield as this tank does not fair well in long range combat. The Panzer III M is best utilized as support or front line tank that can move quickly across the battlefield.

  • Use the tank's mobility - The Pz.III M has a good gun, but don't let that encourage camping gameplay in one spot and wait for enemies to come over. Be proactive and move actively around the map; the tank is perfectly suited to perform this role. As mentioned above, applying flanking tactics is the most effective way to use this tank.
  • Spaced armour and Schürzen - The Pz.III M may fool itself into believing that those 5 mm plates on the sides of the tank's hull and turret are useless and that they just add dead weight to the tank. This is simply untrue. Their main purpose is to absorb HEAT/HE shells and prematurely activate the fuse on some AP rounds. They are definitely a useful component to any tank.
  • Angling the armour - Despite the fact that this vehicle has a sufficient armour thickness and spaced armour to protect itself from HEAT shells, the Pz.III M can always find itself in the situation when the tank is just too close to the enemy and armour thickness isn't an advantage anymore. Do not let the enemies take well-aimed shots; the weak spots around the machine gun ports and driver's viewport are tempting targets. In this case, it's best to angle the armour at around a 45-60 degree angle and start moving to maximize the effective armour thickness and increase chances of the enemy shell ricocheting. Try not to over-angle the hull; once the side armour loses the high angle advantage, anything can punch through.
  • Cover the lower glacis - The Panzer III M has a very exposed lower glacis. Although mostly covered by attached spare tracks, if the tank takes a hit there, it will most likely result in a knocked out transmission, a fire burning, and an incapacitated driver. Thus, whenever possible, try to use natural cover like rocks and obstacles to protect the lower glacis from enemy attack.
  • Carry as much ammo not as needed, but want! - That's right, if unsure of particular shooting skills, or just like to shoot at everything that moves, bring all the ammo! The ammo is stored in a relatively safe location in the lower part of the tank, so ammo rack hits are uncommon.

Always try to get the first shot off. With a clear shot, make sure to hit a vital point. For heavier tanks, aim for the gunner or turret ring, as they are fairly easy targets for this tank. Once the tank is disabled, start hitting "sweet spots" like the rest of the crew members. The 50 mm gun reloads quickly so this feat is easily achieved.

  • The KV-1s, especially the unarmoured KV-1(ZiS-5) will be a problem! Their gun mantlets and certain areas on the hull can be penetrated, but take the time with the shot; if not, be expected to be spotted and be hit quickly! APCR shells are a viable option, but several shots are often required to destroy the enemy tank. It, on the other hand, usually only needs 1 or 2 shots to send the Panzer III back to the garage.
  • T-34 is another problematic opponent to deal with, especially the later modifications. Their hull is basically invulnerable to the 50 mm gun, and weak spots on it and the turret are difficult to hit, especially when the vehicle is moving. Their gun is also lethal to most tanks.
  • US M10 tank destroyer and M4 Shermans are other tanks that should be avoided and flanked, rather than engaged directly. They often deploy "hull-down" tactics, covering their hulls behind terrain. Plus, their turret armour is very good.
  • Lastly, from the German Side, always look out for their Tank Destroyers and Pz.IVs equipped with long 7.5cm guns (like Pz.IV F2 or Pz.IV G ). Their guns can easily punch through the Panzer III armour at any distance.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Strong spaced armour on the frontal hull armour and whole turret
  • Good armour overall
  • Decent speed and manoeuvrability
  • Highly accurate and reliable cannon, with great gun depression
  • High rate of fire
  • Shells travel fast, making it easier to aim at long distance
  • Side skirts help prevent damage from HEAT and HE shells
  • Small size makes it difficult to hit when on the move
  • Strong armour on commander's cupola (100 mm)
  • Access to smoke launchers

Cons:

  • Gun is unreliable when facing certain tanks frontally unless one aims for weak spots or uses PzGr40 shells (APCR)
  • Gun is bad for long-range combat
  • Armour weak spots: lower plate, machine gun, and driver's viewport
  • Weak-side and rear armour
  • Some higher rank vehicles can easily knock the Panzer III out, even though all that spaced armour
  • Armour is flat on most places
  • Sometimes runs out of ammunition due to high rate of fire

History

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 was created for.

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 freed 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 the combat effectiveness of the tank. Despite this rather advanced design, the turret did not have a basket for the crew. It was a proven design and production began in May 1937. The total number of Panzer IIIs constructed in its production life was 5,774 units (excluding StuG III variant).

Specifications

The Panzer III Ausf. M has the 50 mm KwK 39 as its main armament, giving it the firepower to go against the Allied tanks T-34s and M4 Shermans. The Panzer III Ausf. M still featured the armour from the Ausf. L, with 50 mm of hull armour and offset armour on the front of the hull and turret that are 20 mm effective. Aside from that, there was also the instalment of the Schürzen side armour skirts also being applied onto the Panzer IVs. These offset armour and Schürzen 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

Despite its newer aspects compared to older Panzer IIIs, the prevalence of newer German tanks such as the Tiger I and Panther tanks, plus the establishment upgunned Panzer IVs made these more able to take on Allied tanks than the Panzer III. The Panzer III began slowly to be relegated to secondary roles such as training or anti-partisan activities. Nevertheless, the Panzer IIIs proved a versatile armoured platform in German service, as even though it was obsolete in late 1941, it was constantly upgraded with better guns, better protection, or modified completely to fit a different role more efficiently than its original. Even when phased out of service, its chassis was used as the basis of Germany's most lethal tank destroyer, the StuG III.

The Panzer III, after being relegated as secondary roles, was made into an infantry support tank with the Panzer III Ausf. N variant, which featured the 75 mm KwK 37 howitzer originally equipped in the first few Panzer IV models.

In-game description

"This new tank was actually the Ausf. L variant, adapted to handle water obstacles up to a depth of 1.4 meters without requiring additional preparation. This was achieved by sealing all of the hatches, installing additional covers over the engine and ventilation air intakes, and installing a muffler high above the ground and equipped with a valve. The tank's length reached a total of 6,410 mm, including its cannon. The escape hatches in the side of the tank's hull were removed. This allowed the tank to carry 98 shells instead of the earlier 84. The smoke generators in the tank's rear were replaced with six mortars for launching 90 mm NbK smoke grenades. Almost all of the tanks of this variant were equipped with 5 mm Schutzen side skirts, increasing the width of the tank to 3,100 mm.

1,000 of the tanks were ordered initially, but this order was soon reduced to 775 tanks, since the Pz.Kpfw. IV surpassed the Pz.Kpfw. III in some ways. By the end of its production, which ran from October 1942 to February 1943, only 250 of this variant had actually been produced. The remaining tanks were converted to StuG III vehicles and flame tanks.

Tanks of this variant were used en masse in the summer of 1943, during the fighting in the Kursk Bulge area. At that time, about 60% of the German tanks on the Eastern Front were of this variant. After suffering heavy losses, the remaining tanks were converted into command vehicles, flame tanks, or self-propelled StuG III anti-aircraft guns."

Media

Skins and camouflages for the Panzer 3 Ausf.M from live.warthunder.com. There are plenty of category terms flying around. So looking through every one of them will be necessary.

Sights

Read also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example,

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

ETC.

Sources

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.


Germany medium tanks
  Neubaufahrzeug
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 · Panzerbefehlswagen IV
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) · ▀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