Panzer IV ausf B
History: Krupp-Gruson had been given an order to produce 45 of the
2nd series BW, but three were not completed because of shortage of parts.
Specific features: Improvements incorporated in the ausf B included a larger
engine and six-speed transmission, an increase in the frontal armour thickness to 30mm,
and a new type of cupola. Other modifications included a conical-shaped hood over
the right signal port in the roof, to shield signal lamps, and single-piece hatches over
the driver and radio-operator. The superstructure front on the ausf B was in one
straight piece, without the hull machine-gun which had been replaced by a visor and a
pistol port. In order to prolong their combat life, from late 1940, additional
armour plates were bolted to the hull and superstructure sides of some ausf B's.
Combat service: During the period in which the ausf B was produced in 1938, only
three Panzer IV were issued to a Zug (platoon) in the light tank company (a) of each
Panzer detachment, which resulted in Panzer regiments with only six Panzer IV. The
ausf B saw service in Poland, France, the Balkans and Russia, and had been gradually
phased out through attrition by late 1943.