Medium tank Pz.Kpfw.T-IVE. Weight: 21t. Crew: 5. Armament: 1x75, 2mg. Shield: hull front - 50mm, sides - 30mm, turret - 40mm. Engine: Maybach HL120TRM, 300hp. Max. speed: 40km/h. Range: 200km.


Medium tank Pz.Kpfw.T-IVH. Weight: 25t. Crew: 5. Armament: 1x75, 2mg. Shield: hull front - 80mm, sides - 30mm, turret - 50mm. Engine: Maybach HL120TRM112, 300hp. Max. speed: 40km/h. Range: 320km.


Armoured infantry support gun Sd.Kfz. 166 Brummbär (Sturmpanzer 43). Weight: 28t. Crew: 5. Armament: 1x150, 1mg. Shield: hull front -100mm, sides - 50mm. Engine: Maybach HL120TRM, 300hp. Max. speed: 40km/h. Range: 210km.


Tank destroyer Sd.Kfz.162 (Jagdpanzer IV/70). Weight: 25t. Crew: 5. Armament: 1x75, 2mg. Shield: hull front - 80mm, sides - 30mm, turret - 50mm. Engine: Maybach HL120TRM112, 300hp. Max. speed: 40km/h. Range: 320km.



When the German command studied the project of the medium tank Pz.Kpfw.T-III, fitted with a 37mm gun, it came to conclusion that the German army needed also another medium tank, fitted with a gun of a bigger calibre. Its high-explosive fragmentation shell had to be capable of knocking anti-tank guns and field fortifications. The 75mm calibre was deemed sufficient to achieve that goal. Therefore as early as in 1934 the German command placed orders with several companies to develop prototypes of such a medium tank. Thus began the career of the Pz.Kpfw.T-IV, which became the standard German tank of the Second World War that saw combat actions on all the fronts in Europe and Africa, and remained in active service of several countries after the war. It also was built in mass quantities - more than 8,500 vehicles of all modifications.

In 1935 out of several projects was accepted the one proposed by the Krupp, and two years later, in 1937-1938, German factories produced several dozens of the tanks of the A and B versions for evaluation purposes. Before the outbreak of the war armoured troops of the German army received 134 tanks of the C version, with 30mm-thick armour, and 40kmph speed (on roads). The tank's weight was 19t, and range - 200km. Its turret was fitted with a short-barrel 75mm gun, paired with a machine-gun. Another machine-gun was placed in the front shield of the hull. Armor-piercing shells (with the initial velocity of 385mps) were capable of piercing a 39mm armour at the distance of 500m. Later ammunition also included more cumulative shells, piercing a 100mm armor.

During the invasion of Poland (September 1939) the German army possessed already
211 pieces of the T-IV tank. It past the test and was commissioned as the main tank of the German armoured troops. Its mass production commenced in December 1939.

Before the French campaign in May 1940, troops concentrated on Germany's western borders possessed  278 T-IV's. They all took active part in the fights. In result of the experience of the Polish and French campaigns the thickness of the hull shield was increased to 50mm in front and 30mm on sides. The armour of the turret also increased to 50mm. The total mass of the tank increased to 22t (models E and F1 manufactured in 1939-1941). Also the tracks were widened slightly from 380 to 400 mm.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union had promptly revealed the weakness of th T-IV's armament. It proved completely powerless against the T-34, and the Germans decided to mount a long-barrel gun and strengthen the armour in a desperate attempt to equate T-IV with the T-34. In the spring of 1942 the T-IV was fitted wit a new 43-calibres-long 75mm gun (its armour-piercing projectiles had initial velocity of 990mps and pierced a 108mm armour at the 500m distance). That tank was designated T-IV F2. In 1942 was produced model G, in 1943 - H, and since June 1944 till the end of the war - I.

Tanks of the last two models had 80mm front armour, and carried a 48-calibers-long gun. Its armour-piercing projectiles pierced a 120mm armour from the distance of 500m. The weight of those machines has increased to 25 tons, which, naturally, reduced their off-road performance. On the other hand the supply of fuel increased, and the range increased accordingly to 300km. Since 1943 the tanks began to receive a 5mm-thick armoured skirts, protecting sides and the turret from the side and rear fire of cumulative shells and anti-tank rifles.

The tank's simple hull, welded and without plates slopping under rational angles, had a lot of hatches, which facilitated access to various mechanisms, but also reduced its strength. Also the T-IV's multifaceted turret had hatches on both sides. The turret turned round by electric motor or manually. Commander's cupola was fitted with five optical periscopes with armoured shutters. More periscopes were installed on both sides of the gun mantlet and in the turret side hatches. T-IV was propelled with a 12-cylinder carburetor engine Maybach with water cooling. Chassis consisted of eight rubber-coated drive wheels of small diameter with twin leaf springs as elastic elements. T-IV proved to be reliable and easily manageable machine. However, its ability to surmount obstacles proved inadequate, especially in case of heavier last modifications. Well-armed and armoured, it surpassed all Allied tanks, except some modifications of the American M4 Sherman and the British A-34 Comet. However, T-IV was inferior to the famous "Thirty-Four" in all ways, except perhaps the thickness of the front armour.

The well-established and implemented T-IV industrial platform was used to create a number of combat and auxiliary vehicles. Since April 1943 and until the end of the war factories of the Reich and the occupied countries had released nearly 300 armoured infantry support guns Sd.Kfz.166 Brummbär. Those were in fact self-propelled gun-carriers armed with 150mm short-barrel guns. They were first tested in the battle of Kursk in July 1943. The German army tried to heal the urgent need for the tank destroyers by deployment of the gun-carriers similar to those based on the chassis of the T-III. While weighing 53 tons they were armed with a 48-calibres long 75mm gun and had a 800mm front shield. From December 1943 till the end of the war more than 1,100 vehicles were produced. Modification of those machines, called Jagdpanzer IV, had the same 75-mm gun and hull armour plates under rational angles, but it weighted 24 tons, with the thickness of the front shield of 60 mm. As many as 770 vehicles were built in 1944.

Deterioration of the effectiveness of the 75mm gun against the Soviet tanks required gun-carriers with more powerful weapons. Therefore, beginning of August 1944 there was produced a gun-carrier, after all called a tank, Jagdpanzer IV/70 armed with a 75mm gun, but with length of 70 calibres, just like on the medium tanks Pz.Kpfw.T-VG Panther. Those machines turned out to be too heavy and their chassis, especially the front wheels, used to break down easily. Nevertheless, they proved a very effective anti-tank weapon (piercing projectiles of the 75mm gun from the distance of 1,000m was able to penetrate a 149mm armour under the 30° angle).

Beginning of 1943 the T-IV chassis was used to build self-propelled 88mm anti-tank guns Hashorn (500 vehicles built) and 150mm howitzers Hummel (700 vehicles). Older tanks T-IV since 1944 had been converted into self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, armed with 37mm or quadruple 20mm automatic guns in revolving turrets.