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