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Panzer IV ausf H

History: On the 3,935 ausf H chassis produced, 3774 were completed as Panzer IV, with 30 used for the first StuG IV and 130 for Brummbär.  In November 1943, an attempt was made to alter the suspension to gain ground clearence.  The experiment failed and the Panzer IV retained the same basic suspension from 1937 until the end of war.
Specific features: The basic change from the ausf G was the SSG77 transmission fitted to the ausf H.  The frontal armour on the ausf H evolved from 50mm basic with 30mm additional, to 80mm basic, to 80mm basic interlocked with the hull sides.  Minor modifications, introduced during the production run of the ausf H, included external air-filters, all-steel return rollers, a cupola mount for an anti-aircraft machine gun, a new style idler, and the deletion of the side vision ports for the driver and radio operator.
Combat service:  From 1943, Panzer regiments in the Panzer divisions were to have one detachment with Panzer IV and one equipped with Panthers.  As a result of problems with the Panther, some Panzer divisions had a second detachment equipped with Panzer IV, while many had but a single detachment of four companies, each equipped with twenty-two Panzer IV, plus eight with the HQ Company.  On 6 June 1944, most of the 748 Panzer IV with the nine Panzer divisions in France were ausf H.

Panzer IV ausf H

 

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