11 km/h back53 km/h forward
9 km/h backSpeed
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in the battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 Read also
- 8 Sources
The Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L (Panzer III L) is a rank II Germany 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 Ausf. L modification is intended to improve the protection of the J variant by mounting an additional 20 mm thick armour plates on the front of the hull and turret. While this certainly improve its resistance against HEAT and HE projectiles(which explode on impact, and damage only the first layer of armour), as well as classic AP, more than a single layer 70 mm would do, there are small "holes" in these armour plates - around the driver's viewport and machinegun port. Turret front armour itself also got increased from 50 to 57 mm.
The 5cm cannon on this tank is best suited to short-mid range combat, while engaging enemies from the sides and/or rear if at all possible. This gun can allow the tank to hold its own in frontal engagements against angled KV's and T34's, but only at short range where the PzGr40's and 40/1 still have impressive penetration. The gun fires very fast and is accurate even at long range. When fighting tanks that can be penetrated easily, one should use the default ammo as it does more damage than the APCR.
There are also attached tracks to lower plate of the vehicle, adding extra protection. All this extra armour adds about 1.5 tons, slightly slowing down the machine. Other properties of the vehicle remain unchanged.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Cupola)
- High hardness rolled armour (Appliqué armour)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 50 + 20 mm (12°) Front plate
25 mm (85°), 50 mm (52°) Front glacis
50 mm (25°) Lower glacis
|30 mm||50 mm||15 mm|
|Turret|| 57 mm + 20 mm Turret front
50 + 20 mm Gun mantlet
|30 mm||30 mm||10 mm|
|Cupola||50 mm||10 mm|
- It 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.
- The strong turret armour makes this tank powerful when hull-down, as many enemies will only be able to penetrate your 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.
- The side and rear armour of the tank are thin, but it is possible to bounce shots from the side armour if it is angled steeply while side-scraping.
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick.
Panzer III L has pretty good frontal armour, but there are several weak spots - around the driver's viewport and machinegun port, and few small spots on the turret, where armour is only 50 mm thick and completely flat, aim there. Sides and rear are very thin, if you can target these areas (even under quite a high angle), they are penetrable very easily. If you have powerful enough gun, you can try to outgun it from afar, where its own 5 cm gun will struggle with penetration.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
|50 mm KwK 39|
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
|Ammunition|| Type of
Mass in kg
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
- 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 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 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. It should be used only at close range, at medium range, 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 you can't flank them). However, don't expect it to cause any real damage upon penetration, its 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.
|92||70 (+22)||47 (+45)||24 (+68)||1 (+91)||no|
|7.92 mm MG 34|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in the battles
This tank is very versatile as it can tank frontally, is good at flanking, and features a rapid-fire gun. This tank is outclassed when it is forced into long range engagements due to its mediocre penetration. One should use this tank as a flanker whenever possible, using its good speed to reach good positions. When the tank is forced into frontal engagements, it can still hold its own due to its good frontal armour and high penetration APCR at the short-medium range. This tank is strong in hull-down locations due to its strong frontal turret armour.
- US M4 Shermans have too strong frontal armour for the L/60 gun to be penetrated reliably, especially the HVSS, which is almost invincible to it. They all outgun you as well. Flanking them is advised.
- All mentioned USSR tanks have almost impenetrable hull armour for the L/60 and can destroy the Panzer III with one well-aimed shot. Avoiding direct confrontation is needed. Leave them to your better-armed allies, try to flank them, or aim for weak spots. Use some range to increase the effectiveness of your own armour.
- Pz. IVs and StuG outgun you at all ranges, you can exchange fire with them or flank them, but they are at an advantage. StuG III G can be hard to penetrate without APCR ammo.
Pros and cons
- Strong frontal armour
- High hardness 20 mm plates offer more protection than the usual rolled homogeneous armour
- Fast for a medium tank
- Rapid fire gun, good for the sides and rear
- Shells travel fast, making it easier to aim at long distance
- Excellent gun depression
- Small and well-located ammo racks - the tank is very rarely destroyed by being ammo racked, unline Pz.IVs
- Gun is unreliable when facing certain tanks frontally (T-34s, KV-1, M4s) unless one aims for weak spots or uses PzGr40's (APCR)
- Gun is bad for long-range combat
- Armour isn't 70 mm thick at the entire front - machine gun port and the driver's viewport are weak spots
- Turret ring is prone to get damaged, even by non-penetrating hits
- Large and vulnerable commander's cupola
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 the combat effectiveness of the tank. Despite this rather advanced 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).
The Panzer III Ausf. L has the improved 50 mm KwK 39 as its main armament, giving it the firepower to go against the better Allied tanks T-34s and M4 Shermans. The Panzer III Ausf. L featured the armour finalized on the Ausf. J1, with 50 mm of hull armour and offset armour on the front of the hull and turret that is 20 mm effective. This armour also is applied 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.
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 at this time was given one more upgrade in its armour into the variant Panzer III Ausf. M, which featured the new Schürzen armour skirts.
"Production of the Pz.Kpfw. III light tank, Ausf. L variant began in June 1942. For a few months prior to this date, the military had experimented with installing the turret from the Pz.Kpfw. IV on this tank. This allowed the use of the long-barreled 75 mm KwK43 tank gun. However, this test proved unsuccessful, and in the spring of 1942, the armament department ordered the production of a variant equipped with the 5 cm KwK39 L/60, but including all of the changes that had been made during the attempts to install the turret from the Pz.Kpfw. IV. Because of this, the weapon mantlet, which also served as the weapon's counterweight, had to be reinforced.
An additional 20 mm front armor plate became standard design. Pz. III Ausf. L tanks received 57 mm of frontal turret armor, along with the installation of a torsion counterbalance for the gun instead of a coil spring. This resulted in a decrease of the ammunition carried for the gun. This variant received a 20 mm spaced armor plate in the forward part of the hull's superstructure. A coolant transfer system was installed which could move warm coolant fluid from one tank to another, making the cold tank easier to start in winter conditions.
Later, the track adjusters were upgraded, and the smoke bombs were relocated to a position under the rear of the tank. Additional protection was achieved by removing the observation slits from the sides of the turret. The tank's operational weight was 22,700 kilograms.
During the second half of 1942, the companies Alkett, Henschel, MAN, MNH, MIAG and Wengmann built 653 Ausf. L tanks. These tanks were used to replace the losses which had been incurred by the army. They were widely used in Africa and on the Eastern Front from 1942 to 1943. In the summer of 1943, before the Battle of Kursk, the tank was equipped with 5 mm Schutzen side skirts around the hull and turret to protect it from anti-tank and hollow-charge projectiles."
- RideR2's Realistic gunsight (TZF4a, TZF 5a/b/d/e/f/f2, TZF 9b/b1/c/d, TZF 12/a) for Pzkpfw II, Pzkpfw III, Pzkpfw IV, Pzkpfw V, Pzkpfw VI
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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 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||Panther A · Panther D · Panther F · Panther G · Ersatz M10 · Panther II|
|Trophies||▀M4 748 (a) · ▀T 34 747 (r)|
|Post-war||KPz-70 · mKPz M47 G · M48A2 C · M48A2 G A2 · M48 Super|
|Leopard||Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard A1A1 (L/44) · C2A1 · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2A5|