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Side view Panzer IV ausf G or H

Side view Panzer IV ausf G or H

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Side view Panzer IV ausf G or H

Here we see a Panzer IV ausf G or ausf H, with side armour for the superstructure and extra curved armour around the turret. From the side these look very solid, but from this angle we can see the network of rather flimsy looking beams that connect them to the tank.

This particular tank has the vision port on front-right side of the superstructure side, which was eliminated during the production run of the ausf H, but no vision port on the front right side of the turret, eliminated during the production run of the ausf G, making it a late G or early H.

Nibelungen Panzer IV H Initial 1944 Zimmerit ?

2:20 PM - Apr 01 #1 2021-04-01T14:20

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5:03 PM - Apr 01 #2 2021-04-01T17:03

This is something i have only recently become interested in Stirling since i am building the Dragon 6611 mid ausf H with zimmerit kit. So let me just try to get you to clarify your question as i don't fully understand where you are going with it.

Are you trying to find out if the new hull type (lets call it late ausf H) coincided with a change in how zimmerit was applied, ie they immediately stopped adding zimmerit to the turret side skirts or do you suspect that they carried on for some time into 1944 and then at some unknown point changed to not adding zimmerit to just the turret side skirts.
I'm looking at a lot of Ausf H photos and zimmerit application seems to be quite varied from vehicle to vehicle.
Dragons mid ausf H kit zimmerit seems to be geared more towards the Ausf J pattern than what i see in photos of the Ausf H.
I have read through some old posts and it seems we know very little about this subject right now so i will be following this thread with interest.

So your asking when did zimmerit shift from this application..

. to this type?

I'm just wondering where this pattern fits in?

And whats going on with this pattern?

5:21 PM - Apr 01 #3 2021-04-01T17:21

The last photo shows the initial trial Nibelungen zimmerit pattern ,
Nibelungen still applied zimmerit to the turret schurzen at the end
of 1943 as well as the superstructure sides, they carried on applying
zimmerit to the superstructure sides into 1944 on Ausf.H panzers
built on the simplified hull - but appear to generally have stopped
applying zimmerit to the turret schurzen - though there may have
been a crossover period during the Winter of 1943-4 when Ni-werke
were building Panzer IV Ausf.H on both style hulls.

Ni-werke Ausf.H built on revised hull with zimmerit still on superstructure sides :-

Uk6Hj3k4MvoikDnQxNkWgzG77nSXCwPqu1Gl3YILmBPw__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJS72YROXJYGYDADA" />

6:56 PM - Apr 01 #4 2021-04-01T18:56

I thought zimmerit on the superstructure sides was a late feature only added after zimmerit was dropped from the turret side skirts as in my photos 1,2,4,5,? But as is the case with your color photo some overlapping of zimmerit on both is possible.
I'm still not sure if your initial post was a question or a statement.

Since we are on the subject though are these two tanks Ausf H or J?
The second one is captioned as Ausf H on my PC file. Can you confirm if that is correct or not.
This one has neither zimmerit on the turret skirts or the side of the hull. where would this fit into the production timeline?

7:26 PM - Apr 01 #5 2021-04-01T19:26

As an aside, Nacho Roces' posts from 2015 may be of help. He noticed several Ausf.Hs with these combinations (early hull + no Zimmerit sides + Zimmerit Schürzen / late hull + Zimmerit sides + no Zimmerit Schürzen):

8:43 PM - Apr 01 #6 2021-04-01T20:43

I can`t see any "pilzen" on the turret roofs - but in the top photo the
panzer is missing the brackets for an ariel trough - so it may be an early J,
the second photo could be either - or an H/J, my original post was a question
the photo below is of an Ausf.H which has had it`s drives swapped for G types
it is a Nibelungen build with 80mm bow plate on an early hull - which has been
zimmerited , in the Trojca book "Panzer IV G/H/J" there is a pic of the same panzer
from the opposite side showing zimmerit on the superstructure sides.

kqnrsRu--vDBW8sgG4BGmHhveBvomn0RwmTz8PpNHPlTKnWV2Dkxp0w__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJS72YROXJYGYDADA" />

4:20 AM - Apr 02 #7 2021-04-02T04:20

I thought zimmerit on the superstructure sides was a late feature only added after zimmerit was dropped from the turret side skirts as in my photos 1,2,4,5,? But as is the case with your color photo some overlapping of zimmerit on both is possible.
I'm still not sure if your initial post was a question or a statement.

Since we are on the subject though are these two tanks Ausf H or J?
The second one is captioned as Ausf H on my PC file. Can you confirm if that is correct or not.ulS14F4.jpgPanzer_IV_Ausf_H.jpg
This one has neither zimmerit on the turret skirts or the side of the hull. where would this fit into the production timeline?

Hi Dave,
The correct way of studying the zimmerit evolution is to relate the tanks to their serial numbers, and if it looks a bit more crazy than normal you have to remember there were 3 manufacturing plants, each with their own changes timelines. Apart of the few threads that Lukas linked to, I might have some few more photos showing the Fahrgestellnummer and zimmerit, but some of the main guidelines for Ni-W built tanks are:

1) Zimmerit even on the Schürzen plates, not on the hull sides
2) Zimmerit not on the hull sides, not any more applied on the Schürzen plates.
3) Zimmerit starts to appear on the hull sides with horizontal ridges, more or lesss at the very same time the lower hull became the interlocked. plates and square rear.
4) Zimmerit on the hull sides starts to be applied with vertical ridges (end of Ausf H batch).

For example 562 is an excellente xample of that 4) style, which is the most typical on Aus J but is alone not enough to discard a very late Ausf H.

Some weird variations cant be discarded by the two other manufacturers. Now I am not sure (will have more time this afternoon) but only Krupp or Vomag seems to have applied zimmerit to the nose plate. There is another thread I started years ago for what I called a very strange "family" of Panzer IVs, it contains also some comments on the zimmerit of those
The to me differencing factor was the more or less clear "early" Ausf H appearance, but they lacked the 3 track holders on the rear plate and even more noticeable the big separation between the track cable holders. Ni-W had this "wide" cable arrangement only from september-october 1944 which means for some strange reason at least one of the two other manufacturers had it even in 1943. Apart of that these rare family tanks seemed to have a own timeline for keeping very late the rubber return rollers and the not interlocked lower hull, but they show some interesting zimmerit patterns too that might help to build the puzzle. In view of the extremely low quantity of tanks with these features I proposed they could be Krupps (the manufacturer with less, by far, Ausf H output in the last moths of their production) but Craig Ellis commented he saw on them Vomag features. But the Ausf J Vomag tank from February 1944 preserved in the Saumur museum is identical to the Ni-W tanks with the 3 track brackets. The problem I see with manufacturer deductions based on features if they are not robustly based on previously identified F-N with a exhaustive confirmation AND discard process is that, as it happened few weeks ago in a FB group, suddenly a new photo of a tank with F-N surfaces, but based on the features deduction, it should be another manufacturer. Panzer IVs seem to have been kind of a minefield for a deductive process based maybe on not enough tanks with confirmed F-N, things changing wildly, the wide or narrow arrangemente for the track cable holders is a nice example.

Few months ago I got finally my hands on a Panzer IV delivery schedule, which is the best means available to narrow down the production date of any tanks (iirc I had no F-N for any of them) provided the unit is known.

History of Tanks - Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. H

The history of Germany&rsquos most manufactured tanks, the Panzer IV.

The Panzerkempfwagen IV, commonly known as the Panzer IV, was the base design for what would come to be known as the Pz. Kpfw. IV. Ausf. H, a Tier 5 German Medium tank in World of Tanks. The Panzer IV was one of Germany&rsquos most manufactured tanks, with an impressive 8,500 units built and developed in the latter half of the 1930s. Of these almost 9,000 units, roughly 3,000 were the Ausf. H. and G. variant.

Unlike many other armored vehicles at the time, the Panzer IV actually saw combat in nearly all of Germany&rsquos engagements during World War II. This continued use was thanks to a number of modifications and upgrades to the vehicle which helped improve its overall performance.

In World of Tanks, the Panzer IV is the Ausf H version from real life, albeit with some slight differences like top speed.

In June of 1943, the next version of the Panzer IV was developed and would become the Ausf. H. The Ausf. H. had a number of modifications which set it apart from its predecessors. One of the most important improvements came in the form of increased integrity of the glacis armor covering the front of the vehicle. As opposed to being multiple pieces, the plate was manufactured as one solid covering, coming in at an impressive 80mm thickness. The upgrade from the G. variant also included side skirting to protect the tracks.

As opposed to being multiple pieces, the plate was manufactured as one solid covering and came in at an impressive 80mm thickness. The upgrade from the G. variant also included side skirting to protect the tracks. The importance of track protection is extremely noticeable in World of Tanks, as enemy vehicles will have a considerably tougher time destroying the tracks and causing mobility damage.

Taking advantage of the strong frontal plating and the side track plating is one way to ensure the outcome of an engagement is in favor of the Ausf. H. Try to practice angling the Panzer IV in order to take advantage of the armor on the front and side.

Quickly finding a position is key to ensuring the Panzer can make use of its long range and accuracy while minimizing attacks while traversing the terrain.

While the real life Panzer Ausf. H. suffered from a sluggish cross country speed of 16km/h, the in-game version is able to get up to an impressive speed of 40 km/h. This is thanks to the ability to improve the stock modules from the Ausf. G&rsquos to that of the Ausf. H.

Interestingly, the Panzer IV in World of Tanks comes with several Ausf. G modules pre-installed, making the Panzer IV (at least initially), the G variant as opposed to the H.

Another upgrade to the Panzer, which is also available for research in World of Tanks, is the improved 75 mm main gun. This upgrade was in response to the KV-1s and T-34 tanks that appeared during Operation Barbarossa.

These tanks required that the Panzer upgraded its gun so that it could function for anti-tank use. Unlike in-game, the upgraded 75 mm could now penetrate the T-34 at ranges up to 1.2 km&mdashat any angle.

The Ausf. H received a modified main cannon to help with anti-tank measures.

Despite the fact that the World of Tanks variant is unlikely to hit these ranges, the ideal use of the Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf. H is one of a long-range sniper. As we covered in Tip of the Tank, try to use the Pz. Kpfw. IV. Ausf. H in a hillside situation to take advantage of the gun depression and accuracy.

Much like in-game, in reality, the Panzer IV underperformed against even its predecessor, the Panzer III. However, that is until the modification of the improved 75 mm was implemented. Before this change, the Panzer IV had difficulties penetrating the armor of the British Matilda II.

The Panzer IV was overwhelmingly a non-Ally tank, although in one interesting case, a Panzer IV Ausf. H. was captured by the Polish 2 nd Corp. in Italy and used in their Warsaw Tank Brigade. This would change in later years, as the German&rsquos exported the Panzer IV to the likes of Finland, Romania, Spain, and Bulgaria, with Syria taking over production of the Panzer IV after the war.

For its time, the Panzerkampfwagen IV was one of the most successful tanks that Germany had created, and having received a number of variations, it managed to stay relevant during the entirety of the war. While it won&rsquot be seen in service today, it is still an enjoyable armored vehicle to use in World of Tanks.

What do you think of the Pz. Kpfw. IV Ausf H? Do you have any interesting factoids about the tank? Let us know in the comments below!

Panzer PzKpfw Mk IV Ausf H Specifications:

Length: 19 feet, 4 inches
9 feet, 7 inches
8 feet, 6 inches
26 Tons
Max Speed: 25 mph
Range: 130 miles
Armor: 2 " Frontal
Powerplant: Maybach 120 TRM V12 Water Cooled Gasoline engine 320hp
Fuel Capacity:
7.5cm Kw. K. 40 L/48
Two 7.62mm Machine Guns
Entered Service: 1943
Unit Cost: $

This vehicle served the German army in either North Africa or the Middle East during WWII. At war's end the Syrians snatched up the salvageable Panzer Mk IVs and whatever parts they could scrounge and continued using them into the 60s. This example was captured by the Israelis during the 6 day war. Not only were they used as mobile tanks, but when hulls or drivetrains were damaged beyond repair the turrets with their excellent guns and optics were removed and placed in static anti tank positions. These were very difficult to see and the Israelis made sure to round up as many as they could at the end of the conflict. The AAF Tank Museum traded one of their vehicles to the Israelis for this Panzer Mk IV. Unfortunately the info card did not list what vehicle it was and the staff members I spoke with did not either. It's in remarkable shape and doesn't appear to have been restored since it's capture.

George wrote me with some more details on the history of the Panzer Mk IV:

As far as the Mark IV goes, here's how I remember its story.

It was captured at the end of W.W.II. Supposedly it was at a factory and was never used in battle. I believe that even though Germany was building the biggies like the Panther, Tiger and King Tiger, they never stopped production if the Mark IV. anyway, my history on Axis production is rust but the story goes that the tank was captured by the Russians, brand new, sitting in the factory yard. It is not a combat veteran.

The Russians put these tanks in I believe Hungary where it was part of that army for some time. Apparently at some point the Russians either gave or sold a bunch of these Mark IVs to Syria . Syria used these tanks as Pillboxes and would fire them into Israel . During the 6 Day War, Israel captured a handful of these tanks and brought them back into their borders. A handful of these tanks then sat in a bone yard for a couple of decades.

The museum owner heard these stories and discovered that Israel really did have a few of these Mark IVs. At the time he contacted a dealer over there, the Israeli Government was in the process of building a museum that celebrated the history of Israeli armor. They were looking for examples of tanks that had been used during the course of their history. The owner asked if they were interested in swapping a Stuart for a Panzer IV. They agreed. The Stuart they took had an exterior restoration. I believe it was complete but was not running. Unfortunately, I never took a look inside and one day it was just gone. They were in the mists of swapping for 2nd Panzer IV when the Israeli's realized that they could get much more for these tanks than they agreed to with the first trade so the deal for the 2nd Mark IV fell apart.

While it never saw any action during the 2nd World War, I think it did manage a pretty colorful history for itself.

I've been inside it. It's not pristine but at the same token, it's in much better shape than many of the more modern examples at the museum. It had leaked a little fluid here and there so it's quite possible that it could be restored to running someday.

Another German Panzer Mk IV Ausf H Medium Tank can be found at the US Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds






Compatible Equipment

Compatible Consumables

Player Opinion

Pros and Cons

  • Versatile: good agility and fair to decent hull-down capability with gun depression of 10 degrees
  • Survivable: very good camouflage and high HP pool
  • Good gun selection with consistent long-range 75mm cannon or well-handling 10.5cm howitzer
  • 10.5cm howitzer is superior to the M4 Sherman's with noticeably better ROF, penetration, aim time, and choice of AP shots
  • Spaced armor helps protect against HE/HEAT shells
  • Relies heavily on vision control: binoculars are a must to get the first shot
  • The turret front is not noticeable but thin Tier 3's can penetrate that 50mm plate
  • Inferior mobility to previous tier 4's with worse top speed and much more weight
  • Not a brawler with the 75mm: it has less penetrating power and less DPM than the American 76mm M1A1, British 6-pdr Mark V, an
  • Forward-mounted transmission located in the lower glacis and low module HP leads to frequent engine damage from the front


You are not out of the woods yet (and in the opinion of some, you never will be with the German heavy line), because this tank is nowhere as über as World War II films or ACG works would have let you believed. It is however a consistent tank that can be played two ways, depending on whether you equip the medium-range 7.5cm L/48 or the 10.5cm L/28 Howitzer. Like all other tanks with the medium 75mm gun, it engages best at medium to long range in hills where possible, to make up for the below-average DPM. Comparing it to the Panzer 3/4 – with the higher RoF/DPM with the otherwise identical 7,5 cm gun, and the better short range punch with the 10,5cm gun, mean that the PzKpfw IV is better equipped for do-it-yourself firepower focused players. By contrast the PzKpfw III/IV in the Leopard 1 line is more suited for a more mobile spotting and assistance play style.

The Pzkpfw. IV Ausf. H is difficult to play stock, since its weak engine and radio will all be hindrance to you. Support other more capable tanks is the best way to survive and earn good credits and experience. The second turret is an improvement from the stock turret in view range and rate of fire. Additionally, the turret gets some thin spaced armor which absorbs most HE hits.

With the 7.5cm L/48, you're primarily a flanker or sniper, firing from a medium range and trying to remain out of the fray. In this role, equipping a Camo Net may be a good idea while you stay still and pump out the DPM, as the Pz IV had a very decent camo value for a medium tank. Unlike many German vehicles, the PzKpfw IV has decent gun depression, and can take up hull-down positions, even though your turret armour is inferior to your frontal hull armour value. Your turret presents a very small target, and is difficult to hit at range. Beware that 7.5 cm L/48 can not penetrate more heavily armored tier 6 or tier 7 heavies from front without gold ammo. For above-mentioned reasons, the 10.5cm howitzer is the most used weapon on the PzKpfw IV and owes it popularity partially to its high alpha damage, which reduces exposure time when fighting close quarters when comparing time per damage dealt. With the 10.5cm, you get to play primarily as a brawler, getting close and slugging it out. However, the weak side and turret armor makes this an unfavorable choice if you're not cautious.

Keep in mind that you will often be facing tanks that can kill you in 2-4 shots, so even though the tank can work as a close quarters brawler, its light armor and hit points coupled with the slow gun reloading time must be taken into account when doing so. You should also note that the turret does not have that large a mantlet that could add to its 50 mm frontal armor, so most opponents will get a reliable penetration when they hit your turret front. Consequentially, hull down maneuvers are only useful when you can keep your opponents at long range so that they will miss your comparatively small turret often. Another well known vulnerability is the PzKpfw IV's extremely weak side armor, which is even vulnerable to 105mm or 122mm HE shots, since they can kill or nearly-kill the tank within one penetrating shot. It is worth noting that this tank is just slightly inferior to the M4 Sherman in terms of protection: its side armor and rear armor are inferior and its turret utterly outclassed. However, it has considerably more powerful stock and top gun than the M4 if comparing the 105mm howitzers. The weaker turret and more limited gun depression will hurt at times. Once in top configuration, the Pz IV's camo value, turret traverse speed and radio range are better and its acceleration should be slightly better due to having more higher horsepower/ton.

Panzer IV Ausf. F1/G/H medium tank (plastic)

This product is supplied unassembled and unpainted. Glue and paints not included.

Whilst the propaganda headlines may well have gone to the big cats such as the Panther and the Tiger, the Panzer IV was the backbone of German armoured capability throughout the war.

You can choose to build your Panzer IV as one of three different variants:

  • The short-barrelled Ausf. F1.
  • The long-barrelled Ausf. G with its distinctive ball muzzle brake. Respectfully known by British forces in the desert campaign as the 'Mark 4 Special' it saw action in the Western Desert and the Russian Front primarily.
  • The Ausf H with its new muzzle brake and protective schürzen side skirts. A regular sight on late war battlefields, the Ausf H is one of the iconic Panzers of the war.

The iconic German tank of the Second World War, the Panzer IV fought from the invasion of Poland to the fall of Berlin. The Panzer IV was constantly updated, with its sound design giving it a longevity well beyond that of its contemporaries. By mid-war it was packing a deadly long-barrelled 75mm gun, giving it great hitting power and better mobility and its armour had been doubled in places greatly increasing its survivability.

By the time of massive battles in Russia in middle of the war the Pz IV was also carrying the detachable screen side armour known as schürzen. This was in response to the threat posed by Russian anti-tank rifles and, latterly, by Allied hollow charge bazooka style weapons.

This is the backbone of the Panzer regiments!

As with the other Bolt Action plastic vehicles, this kit is highly detailed yet easy to build. It provides a rugged gaming piece and will also appeal to painters and modellers.

The Panzer IV comes with a comprehensive waterslide decal sheet, allowing you to finish your new tank off perfectly!

The workhorse of the Nazi war machine, Panzer IV started its long service in 1936 as a fire support tank, equipped with a short-barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 howitzer. In this role, Panzer IV would focus on taking out enemy fortifications, anti-tank emplacements, and infantry from a long range, protecting the lighter, faster Panzer III tanks focusing on taking out enemy armor. However, following Fall Barbarossa and the shock of fighting against superior Soviet tanks, it quickly displaced Panzer III as the primary battle tank. Krupp's design was larger, sturdier, and could readily accept significant armor upgrades and long-barreled guns capable of defeating Soviet armor. The Panzer IV chassis was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles. 8,553 Panzer IVs of all versions were built during World War II, a production run in Axis forces only exceeded by the StuG III assault gun with 10,086 vehicles. A significant number of these tanks was also transferred to Axis allies and continued to used in various militaries worldwide after the War ended.

The Panzer IV Ausf. H entered production in June 1943 and featured several upgrades, including a single plate glacis, reinforced final drive with higher gear rations, factory-applied Zimmerit magnetic coating, and pre-mounted Schurzen on the turret and sides of the vehicle to act as protection against HEAT warheads and anti-tank rifles. A total of 3774 Panzer IV H tanks were produced, seeing combat on all fronts of the war.

Head to Head: Panzer IV Ausf H vs T34/85

This week Andy Singleton of Volleyfire Painting looks at those two eastern front nemesis of the late war era, the Panzer IV Ausf H and the T34/85. Both of these tanks are very similar in performance, but also have a few interesting options as well.

The Panzer IV

Panzer IV’s were the longest serving vehicle of the German army, entering service in limited numbers in 1936. The Panzer IV was originally conceived as an infantry support tank, and was to supplement rather than replace the Panzer III. As WW2 went on however it was found that the Panzer III was incapable of being upgraded to carry the weaponry and armour necessary to fight against more modern allied armour.
Following the invasion of France it was deemed the Panzer IV would need a weapon with greater armour piercing capability, and this lead to the introduction of the long barrelled 75mm gun In the Ausf F2.

With the bigger gun came better armour and this lead through to the Ausf H in 1944, and the Panzer IV would remain a potent armoured vehicle until the end of WW2. The vehicle was still in service in the Middle East, notably with Syria until the mid-1960s. Around 9000 Panzer IV were built, although an exact figure is unknown.

In Bolt Action

The Panzer IV Ausf G is classed as a medium tank with 9+ armour, has a heavy anti-tank gun, and 2 medium machine guns. Schurzen is available as an option to improve protection against HEAT weapons from the side, and the whole thing weighs in at around 235 points, 245 with Schurzen at regular.

Although maybe lacking in the fancy features of other armies tanks or the masses of HE that others get, the Panzer IV H is a fantastic vehicle killer, that can also suppress and pin (As well as kill…) opposing infantry. Whilst a not insignificant amount of points, including one in your force will give you a good, tactically flexible, unit.
In a recent Tank Wars game with a friend, I found myself wishing I had a few more medium tanks rather than heavies, due to their greater utility (and more models on the table!). More than anything I wanted Panzer IV’s rather than it’s bigger brethren, as it’s weapon is still more than capable of killing allied armour, but for nearly half the points of a Tiger.

The T35/85

One of the most famous and recognisable tanks of all time, the T34/85 was designed to improve on the already excellent T34/76. Designed to keep pace with the introduction of heavier German armour, the T34/85 featured a totally new turret that increased the size of the crew to 5 men, and also allowed the fitting of a large and potent 85mm gun.

The T34/85 started to enter service in 1944, and went on to serve not only until the end of the Second World War, but through the Cold War’s various conflicts, and can still be found in several nations armouries around the world. Purely between March 1944 and May 1945 just under 18,000 T34/85’s were produced.

In Bolt Action

The Soviet Union book features a bewildering array of armoured vehicles, however few blend the balance of firepower and points effectiveness that the T34/85 does. At 235 points, just like the Panzer IV you get 2 medium machine guns, one of which is again coax with the main gun, which is a heavy anti-tank gun. The vehicle is also armour 9+. Why pick the T34/85 when there is the cheaper T34/76 version, or the beastly JS2? Well the 85 has a better anti-vehicle capability than the 76, and is significantly less points heavy than the JS2.

Tactically, I like to use my T34/85 to engage enemy armour with it’s main gun, and use it’s machine gun to suppress enemy infantry and try and put pins on. If there is no armour, I like to keep the tank moving and keep spreading pins onto whatever appears to be the largest threat at the time. The Armour 9 is good, not brilliant, but enough that you can afford to gamble and chance things.

It’s worth remembering too that the Soviets have tank riders, so if you are playing tank wars, or just don’t want to buy transports that aren’t a tank, then you have the option to use the T34 as a ride as well. It really depends how much you want to synergise your list with your force.
One last thing with the T34/85. It has the option to mount a flame thrower in the hull, replacing the medium machine gun and giving you a heavy Anti-tank gun with coaxial medium machine gun, and a hull mounted flamethrower. This turns a good vehicle into an utter monster, without being cripplingly expensive in points. The only drawback to this upgrade is the tank does become a little more vulnerable. In my opinion it’s well worth the trade-off. However, you may well lose some friends in the process of using one too!

Both of these vehicles allow you to add some real anti armour punch to a force without spending vast amount of points.

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H and Ausf. J. Vol. I

Adolf Hitler’s coming to power and open rejection of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 announced by the Chancellor, and soon afterwards der Führer of the Third Reich opened a new chapter in the military history of Germany.

In the mid-thirties the uninhibited, active development of all types of weapons commenced. Many secret projects which had been worked upon in the Weimar Republic came out of the shadows - either carefully hidden under the cover of civil projects or carried out outside the country. In keeping with the offensive doctrine adopted by the state led by der Führer an important role in the land forces was played by armour. It was on the shoulders of the troops of armoured formations that the lion’s share of achieving the objectives of the new and - as it was soon to be found - effective strategy of Blitzkrieg was to fall. One of the basic tools that would serve the Panzerwaffe in 1939-1945 was the Panzerkampfwagen IV medium tank.
Begleitwagen The origin of the story of the most numerous German medium tank during World War II dates back to the early thirties of the last century. In January, 1934, at the Office of Land Forces Armament (Heereswaffenamt) a conference was organised whose aim was to define the basic paths of development of armoured weapons of the Third Reich in the face of the inevitable armed conflict. During the meeting an proposal was confirmed, according to which the main burden of the production of tanks would lie on the plants manufacturing the Panzekrkampfwagen III tanks - then indicated as the primary vehicles - armed with 37 mm or 50 mm calibre guns. Additionally, action begun to be taken towards the construction of a heavier tank, the combat weight of which was to fluctuate around 20 tons (but not more than 24 t which was associated primarily with the load capacity of most European road bridges and the transport capabilities of railway systems). Due to the fact that these actions at that time were still carried out in secret, the machine was officially named medium type tractor - Mittlerer Schlepper. After the announcement of re-militarisation the name was changed to Begleitwagen, that is accompanying or support vehicle or alternatively Bataillonsführerwagen (battalion level command vehicle).

According to these proposals, the vehicle then classified as medium tank and infantry support tank was to be armed as powerfully as possible in the mid-thirties - the 7.5 cm Kampfwagenkanone 37 which had a barrel length of 24 calibres. The armament was completed by two 7.92 mm machine guns Maschinengewehr 34, a variant specially designed for AFV’s: one at the front of the hull and the other in the turret. The choice of the gun was not accidental. Reichsheer intelligence agents operating in France, recognized by Berlin as the main enemy, passed information about the plans of the army of the Third Republic, according to which by the end of the decade French armed forces would field tanks protected by 40 mm armour and armed with guns with calibre greater than 70 mm. The Begleitwagen therefore was the response to the projects, especially taking into account that a 7.5 cm KwK L/24 antitank shell was to be capable of piercing armour plate 43 mm thick sloped at an angle of 30 degrees on a range of 700 m.

Side view Panzer IV ausf G or H - History

This panzer was eventually purchased by the Syrian Army. Nobody knows for certain who sold it to the Syrians, but it probably came from Czechoslovakia sometime after being captured there by the Russian Mongols of the Red Army. Many of the Syrian Pz. Kpfw. IV's are said to have originated in France and Spain, so this might be another possibility.

The tank shown here is probably one of those Pz. Kpfw. IV used by Syria during the 1965 Water War with Israel. These tanks were placed in prepared positions on the Golan Heights where they shelled Israeli towns on the plain below. Israel moved Centurions in to counter and a duel broke out. The fighting was stopped by UN intervention before either side could claim victory. Later, on August 12, another exchange occurred. This time the Israelis succeeded in forcing a cease-fire. The surviving Syrian Pz. Kpfw. IV's remained in their positions along the Golan Heights until the 1967 "Six Day War" when they were captured by Israel and placed in storage at the Latrun Museum.

The American Armoured Foundation Tank Museum acquired the panzer by trading an M5 Stuart for it -- what a great deal! The tank's restoration will commence as soon as they finish moving in to their new headquarters. By the way, they're looking for spare parts -- if you know of a source for these then please let me know or use the above link to contact the AAF by way of their web-site - thanks!

These photographs were made possible by the generous efforts of American Armoured Foundation Director Karen Gasser and her staff. Thanks Karen!

Here's a good view of the tank's front.

The driver sits behind the vision port opposite the bow machine gun. The radio operator doubles as the bow machine gun operator. The loader, gunner, and commander all squeeze into the turret area with the commander in the middle behind the gun and the loader and gunner in front of him and to his right and left respectively.

The word on the street is that, at some point prior to the tank's display in the museum, it was assembled from an Ausf. J turret and an Ausf. H hull. The style of the muzzle brake supports this assertion as it is clearly that of a late model Ausf. J. Also, the ventilator is shaped like the ones found on Ausf. Js.

The commander's hatch, however, features double doors. This is an attribute peculiar to models through early production Ausf. G. After that the commander's hatch had a single door. Unfortunately I lack photographic material that shows the pistol ports and vision slots in the turret side hatches. This would be another clue as to the true identity of the turret as these were welded closed and, later, eliminated altogether during Ausf. J production.

Of course, all this proves little since early and late versions of these components are interchangable and it's hard to say what changes might have been made in the field or during repairs and refitting.

The tank's previous Syrian owners modified the top of its cupola to accomodate thier standard Russian-made anti-aircraft gun. The fronts of the fenders have also been modified.

Here's a close-up of the tanks front that affords us a better look at the Notek black-out light mounted on the top of the hull out in front of the driver's visor. Here we can also make out the little rain gutter above the gunner's periscope outlet (located between the main gun and the gunners vision port).

From this angle we see the closed door of the gunner's vision port to the left of the main gun (to your right). If you look carefully you can see the little hole in the ball mounting to the left of the bow machine gun's barrel. The machine gun's sighting optics reside behind this hole. We also get a better look at the driver's vision port. His hatch is in the roof of the hull just above his vision port.

The Ausf. H's sole headlight is seen here, mounted (almost) in the correct position on the left fender. This is the newer style of headlight made by Bosch featuring a metal black-out cover.

Here we're looking down through the driver's hatch. The ammo stowage bin located behind the driver's seat dominates this picture.

The bracket that's mounted to the front of the bin might be for the driver's fire extinguisher, which is known to be located "beside" his seat. If so, then it would seem that the lower bracket is missing.

Part of the seat's frame is visible in the shadows at the lower left area of the photo.

Now you have climbed in and you're sitting in the driver's seat looking straight ahead. The contraption you see before you is the driver's visor, or "window", along with the mechanism that opens and closes the armored shutter located outside. This model of visor, the "Fahrersehklappe 50", was first introduced with the Ausf. F1.

The shutter can be closed to give the driver extra protection. He might then rely on a set of KFF-2 twin periscopes to see the road. or lack thereof! The periscopes would ordinarily peer out through two little holes above the driver's visor. But, starting around January 1943 (late Ausf. G), the periscopes were left out. This is the case here.

It's difficult to make out in this scan, but the original photograph clearly shows the chassis number etched in the metal just under the driver's visor: "85575". This confirms that the chassis was manufactured as an Ausf. H.

Question: Prior to the Ausf. G the driver had at his disposal two blue lights that warned him when the main gun was extended beyond the sides of the hull. Might the two empty holes in the forward panel (under the visor) have been designed to accommodate these lights (even though the lights were left off)?

Watch the video: WW2 Panzer IV - H - J footage - Panzerkampfwagen IV. pt6. (June 2022).