Panzer IV, officially known as Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV), is a medium battle tank (Prodcution time: 1936-1945). It was the most widely deployed German tank in Hitler's battle fields and called the "workhorse" of German Panzer Divisions during WWII. Panzer IV was the only German tank that remained in continuous production throughout WWII, with over 8,800 Panzer IV tanks produced. During WWII, Panzer IV comprised 30% of Hitler's total tank strength.
Panzer IV had a number of versions:
Panzer IV A
Panzer IV Ausf. A. Production time: 1936
The main gun of Panzer IV A was a low-velocity gun, the 75 mm Kampfwagenkanone 37 L/24 (KwK 37 L/ 24). It could penetrate 43 mm armor at a range of 700 m. Two 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns were mounted on Panzer IV A. One was mounted coaxially with the main gun in the turret, and the other mounted on the front hull. The front armor of the chassis was only 14.5 mm.
A total of 35 Panzer IV A tanks were produced.
Panzer IV B
Panzer IV Ausf. B. Production time: 1937
The front armor of the chassis was increased to 30 mm. The weight was increased to 16 tons. A more powerful 220.65 kW engine (HL 120TR) was introduced, which increased the tank speed to 39 km/hr .
A total of 42 Panzer IV B tanks were produced.
Panzer IV C
Panzer IV Ausf. C. Production time: 1938
The tank's weight was 18 tons. The engine was the improved HL 120TRM.
Panzer IV D
Panzer IV Ausf. D. Production time: 1939
A total of 248 Panzer IV D tanks were produced.
Panzer IV E
Panzer IV Ausf. E. Production time: Dec. 1939 – Apr.1941
The front armor of the chassis was increased to 50 mm. A total of 280 Panzer IV E tanks were produced.
Panzer IV F1
Panzer IV Ausf. F1. Production time: Apr. 1941 – Mar. 1942
The appliqué front hull armor on Panzer IV E was replaced with 50 mm single-plate armor, The side armor was increased to 30 mm. The weight was 22.3 tons. The tracks were widened from 380 to 400 mm. A total of 439 F1 tanks were produced.
Panzer IV F2
Panzer IV Ausf. F2. Production time: Mar. 1942 – Jul. 1942
To engage the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks on the Eastern Front, Panzer IV F1 was upgraded to Panzer IV F2. The short main gun on Panzer IV F1 was replaced with the longer and more powerful KwK 40 L/43 anti-tank gun. It could penetrate 77 mm steel armor at a range of 1,830 m. The weight of Panzer IV F2 was 23.6 tons.
Panzer IV G
Panzer IV Ausf. G. Production time: May 1942 – Jun. 1943
Front hull armor was increased to 80 mm. But, the appliqué 20 mm steel plates were removed from its side armor to avoid further increase in the total weight of Panzer IV G,
Panzer IV H
Panzer IV Ausf. H (Production time: Apr. 1943 – ?)
Panzer IV H was featured Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine coating. side skirts (5 mm) and turret skirts (8 mm) were added to the hull sides and turret. The tank's weight increased to 25 tons,
Panzer IV J
Panzer IV Ausf. J. The last Panzer IV version.
The heavy losses on the Eastern Front forced Hitler to greatly simplify Panzer IV tanks to speed production. The number of return rollers was reduced from 4 to 3. The engine for turret traverse was removed, and the turret had to be manually rotated. The pistol and vision ports in the turret were removed. By late 1944, Zimmerit was no longer used on German tank, and the Panzer IV's side skirts were replaced by wire mesh,
Panzer IV variants
Panzer IV had a number of variants, including Sturmgeschütz IV assault gun, Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer, the Wirbelwind self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon, and the Brummbär self- propelled gun.
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