The Panzerkampfwagen III (Panzer III) was a medium tank, designed and developed in the 1930s by Germany. It primarily served in World War II and some minor conflicts outside of the world war. Its primary purpose was to engage enemy armor and support infantry. It was originally fitted with a 37 mm gun, but it was quickly outclassed by Soviet T-34’s and french tanks proved to be hard to destroy. To maintain the Panzer IIIs relevance and fighting ability the main gun was upgraded to first the 50mm L42 and then the 50mm L60. This action increased the longevity and use of the Panzer III but at the rapid pace of tank development it couldn’t keep up. Emphasis shifted to the Panzer IV and new Panther tank so the Panzer III effectively became obsolete as the main battle tank in Mid 1943.
Surviving Panzer IIIs were reduced to secondary roles such as command and reconnaissance vehicles, ammunition carriers and crew training. At the very end of the war, the Panzer IIIs found their way back into action as the allies penetrated deep into Germany. All weapons available were brought to bear by the Germans in the final defense of the Reich. So in this sense, the Panzer IIIs served as a front line vehicle from the beginning of the war until the end.
Prototypes were produced by Daimler-Benz, MAN, Krupp and Rheinmetall and testing took place in 1936. Daimler-Benz won with their prototype and the first Panzer III Ausf A would become the first model. The first Panzer III was produced in May 1937, although mass production would not start until the Ausf F in 1939. The primary producer of the Panzer III was Alkett GmbH. The Panzer III would go through many upgrades and a hull upgrade in the middle of the Ausf J variant, the last variant in the family was the Ausf N in 1942.
Our Panzer III is a believable copy of a later J model with the 50 mm L/60 gun. This Panzer has appeared in several films such as the Saints and Soldiers series and War Pigs as well as many public demonstration, reenactments, air shows, advertising events etc…. This Panzer III copy was sold to the Ontario Regiment Tank Museum in Oshawa Ontario Canada and can be seen on display there.
Our reproduction was scratch built to match the dimensional specifications of the Panzer III Ausf. J and is truly a “Museum Quality” copy.
A crew of 5 was used to operate the tank; a commander, gunner, loader, driver and a radio operator/bow machine-gunner.
The Panzer III Ausf J was powered by the Maybach HL 120 TRM V-12 which pushed 265hp. Its top speed was 40 km/h (24.85 mph) and its range was 155 km (96.31 miles).
About 1021 Panzer III’s with the L/60 were built.
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