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Panzer IV ausf D

History: In January 1938, Krupp-Gruson received an order to produce 200 in the 4th series BW and 48 in the 5th series.  Of this total, only 229 were completed as gun-armed Panzer.  The other 19 chassis were utilized to produce 16 bridge-laying tank, 2 self-propelled guns and a Munitionsschlepper for Karl.  Later in 1941, in an endeavour to seek a more powerful armament, an ausf D was rebuilt with a 5cm KwK39 L/60.
Specific features: The main improvements incorporated in the ausf D were the increase in the side and rear armour from 15 to 20mm, and provision of an external mantlet for the 7,5cm KwK.  The superstructure front was stepped so that the plate in front of the radio-operator was farther back than that in front of the driver.  The driver had a pistol port to the right front, and the hull MG was reintroduced in front of the radio-operator.  Ausf D, produced late in the series, had additional 30mm plates bolted and welded to the hull and superstructure sides.  Later, in 1943, several ausf D were refitted with the 7,5cm KwK L/48 for use with training and replacement units.
Combat service:  By May 1940, Panzer production had been sufficient for every tank detachment to have a medium tank company of from six to eleven Panzer IV.  On 10 May 1940, at the start of the campaign in France, there were 280 ausf A, B, C and D in the Panzer divisions.  The ausf D saw service in France, the Balkans, Africa and Russia.  The last few were phased out by attrition early in 1944.


Panzer IV ausf D

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Copyright Simon Vosters 1999-2000