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"Notes on the PzKw 4" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. intel report on the German Panzer IV was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 27, June 17, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The PzKw 4 is the German standard medium tank. It weighs about 22 tons. With the exception of the principal armament, the more recent models of this tank embody essentially the same features. The change in armament consists of a long-barreled 75-mm gun, the 7.5-cm Kw K. 40, being fitted in place of the short-barreled 75-mm gun (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, p. 10).

The following information on the new PzKw 4 is based on a tank captured in North Africa.

a. Suspension and Armor

The tank has eight small bogie wheels, mounted and sprung in pairs by quarter-elliptic springs, a front sprocket, a rear idler, and four return rollers on each side. The track is of steel, as is usual in German tanks.

The armor probably is as follows: front, back, and turret 1.95 in.; sides 1.18 in.; back and top .39 to .79 in.* Sand bags were carried on top of the turret for additional protection from air attack. (German tanks often carry sand bags and additional lengths of track as added protection.)

b. Dimensions and Performance

The tank is 19 ft. 6 in. long, 9 ft. 4 in. wide, and 8 ft. 9 in. high, with a ground clearance of 16 inches. It can cross a 9-foot trench, negotiate a 2-foot step, climb a 27-degree gradient, and ford to a depth of 2 ft. 7 in. The theoretical radius of action is 130 miles on roads and 80 miles cross-country.

[Panzer IV]

c. Engine

The tank is powered with a Nordbau Model V-12, four-stroke, gasoline engine, developing 320 hp. It has overhead cams, one for each bank of engines, and magneto ignition. There are two Solex down-draught carburetors, and twin radiators, with a fan for each, mounted on the right-hand side of the engine. An inertia starter** is fitted. The fuel capacity is 94 gallons for the engine and 20 gallons for the 2-cylinder turret-drive auxiliary engine.

d. Clutch, Brake, and Drive

The clutch is incorporated in a gear-box which is of the ordinary type with 6 forward speeds and reverse. The brakes, operating on epicyclic gears, are air-cooled and hydraulically operated. The drive is through the engine, drive shaft, clutch, gear box, bevel drive, steering system, final reduction drive, and sprockets.

e. Instruments

Instruments include a revolution counter (tachometer) to 3,200 rpm with 2,600 to 3,200 in red, speedometer to 50 kph (31 mph), odometer (mileage indicator), a water temperature gauge, and two oil pressure gauges reading to 85 lbs. per sq. in. The tank is fitted to take an electric gyrocompass on the left side of the driver.

f. Armament

The tank mounts the long-barreled 75-mm gun and two model 34 machine guns, one fixed coaxially on the right side of the gun, and the other one set in the hull firing forward. While reports vary, it is thought that the gun will penetrate 2 inches of homogeneous armor at about 2,500 yards at 30 degrees. The breech is of the vertical sliding type. Firing is electric, with a safety device which prevents firing if the breech is not closed, the gun not fully run out, or the buffer not full. The traverse is by hand, or by power from a 2-cylinder, 9-hp auxiliary gasoline engine directly coupled to a generator, which supplies current to the turret traversing motor. The turret floor rotates. Eighty-three rounds of 75-mm AP or HE and smoke are carried. Five smoke candles may be carried on a rack at the rear of the tank. These candles are released from inside by a wire cable. Twenty-seven belts of 75 rounds each are carried for the machine guns.

g. Radio Equipment

Intercommunication is by radio-telephone. The aerial may be raised or lowered from inside the tank. The set is situated over the gear box on the left side of the hull gunner. Below the 75-mm gun is situated an insulated aerial guard which deflects the aerial when the turret is traversed.

h. Crew

The crew numbers five: driver, hull-gunner and radio operator, commander, gunner, and loader.

*Later details indicate that the armor arrangement on current models of PzKw 4 is the same.
**An inertia starter is a starter equipped with its own independent fly-wheel to build up starting inertia.


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