Panzer III Ausf H / J / L / M / N
The Panzerkampfwagen III (SdKfz 141), commonly known as the Panzer III, was a medium tank developed in the 1930s by Germany, and was used extensively in WW2. It was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and serve alongside and support the similar Panzer IV which was originally designed for infantry support. However, as the Germans faced the formidable Russian T-34 tanks, more powerful anti-tank guns were needed, and since the Panzer IV had more development potential with a larger turret ring, it was redesigned to mount the long-barrelled 7.5cm KwK 40 gun. The Panzer III effectively swapped roles with the Panzer IV, as from 1942 the last version of Panzer III mounted the 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 that was better suited for infantry support. Production of the Panzer III ceased in 1943. Nevertheless, the Panzer III's capable chassis provided hulls for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun until the end of the war. A total of 5,774 were produced between 1939 and 1943. Nevertheless, the Panzer III's capable chassis provided hulls for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun until the end of the war. A total of 5,774 were produced between 1939 and 1943.
The Ausf H was the first version to be designed and fitted with a 5cm KwK 38 L/42 gun. These variants were also up-armoured. Delivery started in late 1940 and early 1941. Tanks going to North Africa were fitted with armored vents on the engine deck. Rear turret stowage bins were fitted later. Because of the increase in weight, wider wheels and tracks were introduced. New front drive wheels and rear idler wheels were fitted as well as a different shock absorber. Because of supply problems, some of the early Ausf H tanks were fitted with shock absorbers and wheels used on the Ausf G.
The chassis on the Ausf J was lengthened to create better engine compartment ventilation and tow eyes. It was still armed with a 5cm KwK 38 L/42 gun. From December 1941, it was replaced by a 5cm KwK L/60 gun and were renamed Ausf L. Again, tanks sent to North Africa had armoured vents fitted on the rear engine deck. In April 1941, stowage bins started to be fitted to the rear of the turret. Some late production Ausf J tanks had 20mm spaced armor fitted to the front of the turret and the hull. Some older tanks had it fitted later.
The Ausf M started production in February 1942. They had the same features as the Ausf L but were fitted with deep-wading equipment. Starting in May 1943 5mm Schürzen (skirt armour plates) were mounted on the hull side and 10mm plates on the turret, to prevent the Soviet 14.5mm anti-tank rifle penetrating the side armour of the Panzer III.
The Ausf N mounted with a short-barrel 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 gun was used in the infantry support role once the 75mm long barrelled Panzer IV, Panther and 88mm armed Tiger tank entered service. Schürzen was added starting in May 1943.
- Option to build an Ausf H, J, L, M or N variant
- Schürzen with build jig for ease of assembly
- Open or closed command & crew hatches
- Optional stowage included
- Tank crew figures included