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Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60

History:  The original order for 200 Pz Bef Wg 4 serie was issued in October 1941.  The main feature was the retention of a proper main armament, the 5cm KwK L/60.  This order was postponed, fist as a result of the building of 30 additional Pz Bef Wg ausf H, and then because of the order for 80 Pz Bef Wg mit 5cm KwK to be converted from the Panzer III ausf J production.  Finally, the 4 Serie Pz Bef Wg mit 5cm KwK L/60 Schmal (small gun mantlet) was to produced alongside the Panzer III ausf M from October 1942, but the order was reduced to 50 because Panzer III production was being terminated and it had been decided to convert Panzer III to Bef Wg from early 1943.
Specific features:  The ausf K had the same hull and superstructure as the ausf M with the exception of additional vision and pistol ports on the superstructure sides.  The turret was modified:  the difference being a shortened gun mantlet, deletion of the coaxial machine-gun and the addition of a visor to the turret front, quite similar in design to the driver's visor.  The large-frame antenna.
Combat service:  The Ausf K were issued as replacements for the heavy losses sustained during the winter of 1942/43.  The Ausf K were maintained as command vehicles until mid 1944 in armoured detachments which, otherwise, were completely equipped with the Panzer IV.

Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm Kwk.JPG (5423 bytes)

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