German medium tank “Pz. 3 Ausf. J” creation history and review

The German medium tank Pz. 3 Ausf. J was armed with a 50 mm L / 60 cannon. The production of tanks with this modification was launched in 1941. Medium tanks “Pz. 3 Ausf. J” entered the service in the 3rd, 16th, 29th, 60th motorized divisions and 5th motorized division of the SS “Viking”. The rest came as compensation for losses in Russia and North Africa.

Modification of the tank Pz.III – J – was in serial production from March 1941 to July 1942. The frontal armor plate of the hull was brought to 50 mm. In this regard, the Kugelblende 50 ball mount for the MG 34 machine gun (similar to that used on the Pz.IV Ausf.F tanks) and the observation device of the driver mechanic Fahrersehklappe 50 with the KFF 2 binocular periscope were mounted on the front sheet and the armor protection of the tower and sides of the hull remained the same – 30 mm, shield masks installation guns – 20 mm.

The design of the towing hooks changed, the double-leaf covers of access hatches for the transmission units were replaced with single-wing ones (on tanks of later releases they also did the same with access hatches for the engine), air filters were transferred from the engine bulkhead to the carburetors. They also made many other, smaller improvements.

The most important innovation was the installation of a new gun. The first 1549 Ausf.J tanks were still armed with a 50 mm KwK 38 cannon with a barrel length of 42 calibers. Since January 1942, the tanks began to install a 50 mm KwK 39 gun with a barrel length of 60 calibers, which had greater armor penetration. Such guns received 1067 Ausf.J tanks.

Replacing the gun became an urgent need after the very first battles on the Eastern Front. It turned out that the Pz.III, which was intended specifically for fighting enemy tanks, could break through the armor of the Soviet heavy KV tank only from a distance of 200 m. At the same time, our vehicles easily hit the “troika” from a distance of 500 m. The new gun allowed at least partially equalize the chances and increase the effective fire range with Soviet tanks up to 500 m.

Medium tanks “Pz. 3 Ausf. J” successfully fought in North Africa with the English tanks “Grants” and “Valentines”, but were ineffective in battle with Russian tanks T-34 and KV.

In the game “world of tanks” the medium tank “Pz. 3 Ausf. J” is quite comfortable, good maneuverability and speed for a medium tank, as well as a quick-firing gun.