A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

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Destroyer500
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A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Destroyer500 » 11 Apr 2022 18:46

Hey there.I just want to start a topic i was thinking about for a long time.
The panzer 4 was made as a support vehicle for the panzer 3 when the new doctrine of the armed forces was being envisioned.The thing is though that the panzer 4 had a gun,at that time,that could easily fit on the panzer 3 and that was latter proved with the panzer 3 N version.Furthermore the panzer 4s armor design made its construction a lot harder and from what i read the panzer 4 was a really complex design and latter on it became easier to make a panther,i will that of course to you to answer for me.I also believe that the pz3 had further upgrade potential than just the L60 50mm with some redesigns and of cource some changes.
So heres my proposal;
1)design and make a gun similar to that of the zis 30 or make an L70-L80 50mm gun (or a completly new 60mm)
2)make the frontal chasis armor slopped instead of flat and up it to a single 70mm plate 40°
3)make the turrets armor sloped in an e100 like way 70mm 40° as well and and insted of the "deflated" design of the sides of the turret make it a bit bigger for more room
4)remove the machine gun on the frontal chasis armor and add a second one on the side of the gunner (or remove the 3rd machine gun completly)
5)make the commanders cupola tiger 2 E like (aka smaller) and add a 15mm mg just for the extra spice,the americans have the .50 wich is 12.7mm so a 15mm is not that bigger
6)make the personal stuff carrier on the back of the panzer 3 part of the turret and move the commander there so that theres more room in the turret and so that he control the 15mm gun better and so that a smoke launcher mortar and top turret hatches can be added
7)make the shurchen armor 15mm instead of 8mm thick so as not to fall of with every single bush it stumbles uppon
8)make the side armor or the turret and chasis 40mm
9)make usable night vision earlier for tanks so that night battles become more of a thing
10)create some sort of an amfibious kit for it so that it can cross anything
11)add a stronger engine
12)if the need arrises and for heavier enemies they could make some sort of an apds,because apcr is shit against sloped armor
13)add a better suspension and wheel design
14)as things progress a stabilizer of some sorts would be amazing,just like the one on the shermans
15)later on if the guns of my panzer 3 pushed it further a rangefinder would be nice but redesigns would be nessesary
16)of course with all these changes make a stronger better suspension
17)roof armor like the addons on the t34 would be nice but i dont know if the suspension would have place for more armor
18)due to the angled frontal armor move to maybe the sides the hatches for the maintenance of the suspension

Now i know that that would be a different tank in many ways but the basis for all these upgrades would be on only one tank chasis that of the panzer 3.I believe that if the chasis was a bit widened it could fit a turret able to house even a long barreled 75mm but i believe that smaller guns with a better design,as i said earlier,like the one on the zis 30 could do the job with a few differences.I believe that the panzer 4 should be a completly new tank like the panther or some type of a tank with the e100s chasis and a panther or tiger 2 gun.
I would also like to know what 70mm guns with high velocity shells could be used on a smaller tank with the pen of that of the long 75 of the panzer 4 we all know.I have even seen some plane guns the luftwafe used on irs planes of the 70 mm caliber that had good pen and look small enough even with their autoloader to fit on a tank.I may be wrong but they looked like good candidates.
My panzer 3 would have been viable to fight anything but the is2,pershing or something like that would.But those tanks would face the panther or tiger 2 e100 thing i mentioned.
I also believe that having a single chassis for turretless destroyers,artyleries,infantry fighting vehicles and of course tanks would be amazing for ww2 germany.They would have a standart panzer and not 10 designs.
At some point i will add some drawings and hopefully some scale models :)
Lets have a nice talk

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by T. A. Gardner » 13 Apr 2022 02:06

Short version:

The Pz III is too small to be a medium tank by 1943 -44. The turret ring is too small, up armoring it would exceed the weight limits on the suspension. A larger, more powerful engine takes up more space and requires an equally beefed up transmission. The 5cm gun is too small, and even if you accept a longer barrel with shorter life, and likely less accuracy, it still fires a relatively ineffective HE round.

Even the somewhat larger Pz IV, by 1944 is only barely big enough to compete.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Apr 2022 07:03

As T A Gardner says, the turret ring of the PzKpfw.III was the key limitation to upgunning it. That was why its chassis production was switched to self propelled guns half way through the war.

You could always widen the PzKpf.III chassis to carry a bigger turret ring for a bigger gun, but that would just give you something like the PzKpfw.IV, which, as you point out, already existed.

I would suggest that, as a competitive turreted tank, the PzKpfw.III was a dead end after the introduction of the T34 and KV1.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Destroyer500 » 15 Apr 2022 18:39

Well i have my objections to all your points.It would be much easier and cheaper to upgrade the panzer 3 even if it meant upgrading things like transmision,suspension,engine and gun than making tiger 1s and 2s.In my opinion the panzer 4 had really no purpose since the infantry support short 75mm gun could be mounted on the panzer 3.After doing some research i found out that there was a project called vk 16.02 leopard and that it would become a reconnaissance vehicle https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2-germ ... d-vk16-02/ but unfortunatly was canceled before being fielded.The vk 16.02 has everything i ever asked for but not the firepower.I believe that a gun like the 75 mm BK 7.5 found on the B3 version of this plane https://wiki.warthunder.com/Hs_129_B-3 https://military-history.fandom.com/wik ... hel_Hs_129 would fit on a bigger on the back,turret of the vk 16.02 leopard tank and be enough for anything of the T34,KV1,IS1 and sherman enemies the leopard would face.I believe that gun in the format and size that has been fitted on the HS 129 B3 could also be fitted on a (my) panzer 3.And again this would be x10 cheaper than making a tiger or a panther.Later on if it was given an apds shell and im saying this because they were developed for guns like that of the jagdtiger,the 12.8cm kwk 44,so nothing tells me they couldnt make one for the smaller guns to help them reach higher penetration values and make them viable for longer.I also believe that along with my point 9 and 10 the 16.02 leopard-my panzer 3 design would be the best all around vehicle.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Peter89 » 16 Apr 2022 09:45

The fundamental problem with your reasoning (on top of the design limitations mentioned above) is the actual situation in Germany's armament industry. There were always an amazing number of models in production and deployment. Just imagine the organizational and industrial effort required to retool all the production lines, the subcontractors's lines, etc. to meet these demands. Not to mention that the existing fleet of Pz IIIs had to be renovated to basically a new tank. It was impossible for Germany to renovate all its Pz IIIs before Barbarossa, and that was almost a complete year without effective Allied bombing on the industry.

Germany's mechanized forces didn't work this way. Germany always engaged in battles with attrition rates well beyond the industry's (and the training system's) capacity to replace those losses. As long as the operational results were sufficient, they could hid the integral weakness of the war machine.
Also, for example, the Panzer III chassis' production never really stopped, it became the StuG III. You see, the natural phasing out procedure for tanks was not a major upgrade you described, but the continued production of the chassis and the conversion of the tank to a SPG or ATG role, like it happened with the Pz II or the Pz 38(t) as well.
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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by thaddeus_c » 16 Apr 2022 15:07

Peter89 wrote:
16 Apr 2022 09:45
The fundamental problem with your reasoning (on top of the design limitations mentioned above) is the actual situation in Germany's armament industry. There were always an amazing number of models in production and deployment. Just imagine the organizational and industrial effort required to retool all the production lines, the subcontractors's lines, etc. to meet these demands. Not to mention that the existing fleet of Pz IIIs had to be renovated to basically a new tank. It was impossible for Germany to renovate all its Pz IIIs before Barbarossa, and that was almost a complete year without effective Allied bombing on the industry.

Germany's mechanized forces didn't work this way. Germany always engaged in battles with attrition rates well beyond the industry's (and the training system's) capacity to replace those losses. As long as the operational results were sufficient, they could hid the integral weakness of the war machine.
Also, for example, the Panzer III chassis' production never really stopped, it became the StuG III. You see, the natural phasing out procedure for tanks was not a major upgrade you described, but the continued production of the chassis and the conversion of the tank to a SPG or ATG role, like it happened with the Pz II or the Pz 38(t) as well.
great summary!

does seem that Germany could have attempted the "Geschützwagen III/IV, which combined elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine)" earlier, or schemed to develop it earlier? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummel_(vehicle))

my view the Panther was a mistake, that they could have pursued the E-series "concept" instead?

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by T. A. Gardner » 16 Apr 2022 19:30

Destroyer500 wrote:
15 Apr 2022 18:39
Well i have my objections to all your points.It would be much easier and cheaper to upgrade the panzer 3 even if it meant upgrading things like transmision,suspension,engine and gun than making tiger 1s and 2s.In my opinion the panzer 4 had really no purpose since the infantry support short 75mm gun could be mounted on the panzer 3.After doing some research i found out that there was a project called vk 16.02 leopard and that it would become a reconnaissance vehicle https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2-germ ... d-vk16-02/ but unfortunatly was canceled before being fielded.The vk 16.02 has everything i ever asked for but not the firepower.I believe that a gun like the 75 mm BK 7.5 found on the B3 version of this plane https://wiki.warthunder.com/Hs_129_B-3 https://military-history.fandom.com/wik ... hel_Hs_129 would fit on a bigger on the back,turret of the vk 16.02 leopard tank and be enough for anything of the T34,KV1,IS1 and sherman enemies the leopard would face.I believe that gun in the format and size that has been fitted on the HS 129 B3 could also be fitted on a (my) panzer 3.And again this would be x10 cheaper than making a tiger or a panther.Later on if it was given an apds shell and im saying this because they were developed for guns like that of the jagdtiger,the 12.8cm kwk 44,so nothing tells me they couldnt make one for the smaller guns to help them reach higher penetration values and make them viable for longer.I also believe that along with my point 9 and 10 the 16.02 leopard-my panzer 3 design would be the best all around vehicle.
Actually, the Pz IV is far more upgradable. Its existing turret ring can fit a high velocity 75mm gun that can also fire an effective HE round. Being able to fire an effective HE round is far more important than slightly better antitank performance on the gun. The suspension is easily modified the way the US did it on the M4A1E9.

Image

This would give the Pz IV a very low ground pressue so it could operate on soft ground at a higher weight. Adding an additional leaf or two to the springs on the bogies would beef up the suspension to take that weight as well. If you want to rearrange the armor fine. Swapping out the engine and transmission for one with more power is likely possible without redesigning the whole vehicle.
The Pz IV is also more survivable as the crew in the hull have their own hatches to exit the vehicle from.

Of course, your variants require virtually an entirely new vehicle in any case. That would have resulted in a disruption of current production to accomplish.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by maltesefalcon » 17 Apr 2022 03:13

Biggest issue for Pz III was even with the original design, the production was somewhat slow. The ramp up occurred too late, when the design's potential was already surpassed by both Allied and German models. The material savings by forsaking of the Pz IV would somewhat be offset by the materials required to upgrade the Pz III. And as mentioned above, the drivetrain and turret ring set limits to how far this design could be eventually improved.

I've actually posted several times in this forum for quite the opposite. i.e. that the Mark III should have been abandoned by 1941 in favour of the up-gunned Pz IV. They could have used the existing line to make more StuG III instead.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Apr 2022 04:41

maltesefalcon wrote:
17 Apr 2022 03:13
Biggest issue for Pz III was even with the original design, the production was somewhat slow. The ramp up occurred too late, when the design's potential was already surpassed by both Allied and German models. The material savings by forsaking of the Pz IV would somewhat be offset by the materials required to upgrade the Pz III. And as mentioned above, the drivetrain and turret ring set limits to how far this design could be eventually improved.

I've actually posted several times in this forum for quite the opposite. i.e. that the Mark III should have been abandoned by 1941 in favour of the up-gunned Pz IV. They could have used the existing line to make more StuG III instead.
This is a reasonable argument... if the Germans were to rationalize production and force manufacturers to build a standardized product. That wasn't achieved for the most part anywhere in German manufacturing during WW 2.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Apr 2022 07:06

T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Apr 2022 04:41
This is a reasonable argument... if the Germans were to rationalize production and force manufacturers to build a standardized product. That wasn't achieved for the most part anywhere in German manufacturing during WW 2.
You, and certain others, still seem to want to miss the power of the sunk cost fallacy of which the Panzer III was the poster child in World War II. From the original expression of interest c. 29 December 1933 and the development order of 27 January 1934 it took until August 1935 for the first trial chassis to be completed and the last of the initial production series (60 Ausf A-D) was completed between July and August 1938. Four and a half years...and as late as January 1936 it was not considered ready for serial production. And yet, by 11 July 1938, with the Ausf D still unsatisfactory and the problematic Ausf E not even built, let alone tested (about six were completed by the end of 1938), In 6 had already authorized Waffenamt to let contracts for 2,095 Panzer III and on that date authorized extension contracts for an additional 759.

It is difficult to rationalize madness.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Destroyer500 » 17 Apr 2022 13:53

I believe i should have explained myself better.I like the panzer because its small,nimble and had up until a certain point good armor (talking about the L and the even though late M version).The gun was always behind though even in the invasion of France times.The panzer 3 was also the tank that the germans learned upon how to make tanks.I also know and understand that what i asked for is a new tank and that the industry cannot just create it out of thin air,this is not a video game,but german industry during ww2 if in enough pressure managed to create wonders in a short time.These wonders of course had many problems most of them being not that much their design but the lack of materials and infastracture to support them.War is not won just by weapons but from tactics too.Germany could never fight a long war,they needed speed or a slow death would,as it did,eventualy come.I also understand the fact that germany and any other nation for that matter cant just go from panzer 3 to the e100 or the leopard 2 or anything without an intermediate proscess of trial and error that is also true for an individual,you cant perfect your art or your work if you never even try and by that trying make and see the nessesary mistackes for you to progress.
 Time to get to the point.While i made the post for the panzer 3 i was in search for designs that they made at the time and found out that they almost started making a tank called leopard or vk16.02.It was a "mini panther" with the L60 5cm gun.The gun was just weak and the vehicle was meant for reconnaissance.80mm of armored angled panther like chasis front and back 50 or 60mm i dont remember angled panther like side armor,panther wide tracks,a 550 HP engine and the Puma turret (the puma wheeled tanks turret is the one that was going to be used on the vk 16.02).That small thing of a tank in my opinion requires only a few changes for it to become "perfect".Make the turret ring and the turret bigger so that it can fit a 75mm L48 but make the gun a bit slimmer like that of HS 129 B3.Extend the turret backwards tiger 2 like so that a third crew member can fit and give the tank that 15mm mg i would love to see on a german tank.Give the turret instead of 80 100 or 120 mm of armor frontaly and on the sides and back make it 60.I would also remove the unnecessary ports on the sides of the driver and radio operator that the actual design had and enlogate the side hull to fill the the rest of the sides.I believe that if they made that tank with my changes in 1943 and played the mobile warfare card they did earlier on they would
at least cause a stalemate and at best win.All they needed was fuel and that small tank wasnt going to burn as much as a panther or tiger.The vk 16.02 would look like this but with a tiger 2 like turret and the 15mm mg
278377168_707935233978578_7456911198255065224_n.jpg
278349329_718478166018638_3100409438300963643_n.jpg
278350266_1427366031059073_7345335097024895137_n.jpg
  Now the only way i see a panzer 4 continiouing to be viable is if they made it like this
dbf1892f50c74cdf1668156d351b2753.jpg
90a7598cfcd877c0b39a953bffca2b93.jpg
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Destroyer500
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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Destroyer500 » 17 Apr 2022 14:18

And here is the closest i could go to my panzer 3 version
278703406_708867487231794_5067460890095874973_n.jpg
but it uses this gun https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.5_cm_Pak_97/38 instead of the ones i proposed and of course the turret is the same (i think though that its a panzer 4 but i cant really tell)
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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Peter89 » 17 Apr 2022 15:54

Destroyer500 wrote:
17 Apr 2022 13:53
I believe i should have explained myself better.I like the panzer because its small,nimble and had up until a certain point good armor (talking about the L and the even though late M version).The gun was always behind though even in the invasion of France times.The panzer 3 was also the tank that the germans learned upon how to make tanks.I also know and understand that what i asked for is a new tank and that the industry cannot just create it out of thin air,this is not a video game,but german industry during ww2 if in enough pressure managed to create wonders in a short time.These wonders of course had many problems most of them being not that much their design but the lack of materials and infastracture to support them.War is not won just by weapons but from tactics too.Germany could never fight a long war,they needed speed or a slow death would,as it did,eventualy come.I also understand the fact that germany and any other nation for that matter cant just go from panzer 3 to the e100 or the leopard 2 or anything without an intermediate proscess of trial and error that is also true for an individual,you cant perfect your art or your work if you never even try and by that trying make and see the nessesary mistackes for you to progress.
 Time to get to the point.While i made the post for the panzer 3 i was in search for designs that they made at the time and found out that they almost started making a tank called leopard or vk16.02.It was a "mini panther" with the L60 5cm gun.The gun was just weak and the vehicle was meant for reconnaissance.80mm of armored angled panther like chasis front and back 50 or 60mm i dont remember angled panther like side armor,panther wide tracks,a 550 HP engine and the Puma turret (the puma wheeled tanks turret is the one that was going to be used on the vk 16.02).That small thing of a tank in my opinion requires only a few changes for it to become "perfect".Make the turret ring and the turret bigger so that it can fit a 75mm L48 but make the gun a bit slimmer like that of HS 129 B3.Extend the turret backwards tiger 2 like so that a third crew member can fit and give the tank that 15mm mg i would love to see on a german tank.Give the turret instead of 80 100 or 120 mm of armor frontaly and on the sides and back make it 60.I would also remove the unnecessary ports on the sides of the driver and radio operator that the actual design had and enlogate the side hull to fill the the rest of the sides.I believe that if they made that tank with my changes in 1943 and played the mobile warfare card they did earlier on they would
at least cause a stalemate and at best win.All they needed was fuel and that small tank wasnt going to burn as much as a panther or tiger.The vk 16.02 would look like this but with a tiger 2 like turret and the 15mm mg 278377168_707935233978578_7456911198255065224_n.jpg 278349329_718478166018638_3100409438300963643_n.jpg 278350266_1427366031059073_7345335097024895137_n.jpg

  Now the only way i see a panzer 4 continiouing to be viable is if they made it like this
dbf1892f50c74cdf1668156d351b2753.jpg
90a7598cfcd877c0b39a953bffca2b93.jpg
It is not how tanks were made.

Of course, every German tank design engineer knew that the end result should be well armoured, have a good gun and it must have high mobility. It wasn't the problem that it didn't occur to them.

The thing is that your proposals are a bit like those of the Wehrmacht; they don't really make much sense from a production POV. Upgrading subcomponents and meddling with the hull is not simply a question of demands. A tank has to be an integrated machine of several moduls and it needs to function as a whole. Like, who knows how the increased weight would affect the transmission or mobility; who knows how a bigger gun would influence stability?

On top of this, you can't just experiment with a new engine, gearbox, steering, transmission, suspension, tracks, etc. You got to keep things simple, possibly using an existing set of subcomponents. Also because the war was continously raging in the east, just imagine a tank repair company that had to repair the same Pz II derivates in 1944 as in 1939; or an aircraft repair company that repaired the same He 111s and Ju 87s, etc.

Introducing a completely new model was problematic, but keeping old models with continously changing upgrades was also problematic. If your modifications were carried out, that would mean a huge gap in production, and it might worth to examine how that could effect battlefield results.
Tanks did not operate in a vacuum. They needed air cover, artillery and infantry support, recon units and whatnot. Then they required rail transport, a constant influx of spare parts and regular maintenance. The changes you described mean basically a new model, one that has little resemblence to the Pz III. What the Germans needed was long production runs with minimal tinkering from the military, proper training of the crews and a proper MRO system. Even their existing models could do much better if these golden rules were applied, and it is questionable how a completely new tank would fare if these golden rules were ignored.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Apr 2022 17:23

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Apr 2022 07:06
T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Apr 2022 04:41
This is a reasonable argument... if the Germans were to rationalize production and force manufacturers to build a standardized product. That wasn't achieved for the most part anywhere in German manufacturing during WW 2.
You, and certain others, still seem to want to miss the power of the sunk cost fallacy of which the Panzer III was the poster child in World War II. From the original expression of interest c. 29 December 1933 and the development order of 27 January 1934 it took until August 1935 for the first trial chassis to be completed and the last of the initial production series (60 Ausf A-D) was completed between July and August 1938. Four and a half years...and as late as January 1936 it was not considered ready for serial production. And yet, by 11 July 1938, with the Ausf D still unsatisfactory and the problematic Ausf E not even built, let alone tested (about six were completed by the end of 1938), In 6 had already authorized Waffenamt to let contracts for 2,095 Panzer III and on that date authorized extension contracts for an additional 759.

It is difficult to rationalize madness.
Oh no, I get that. In most ways, Germany was stuck with the industrial system they started the war with. It's that "madness" as you put it that gets them ending up with multiple vehicles in every category with no commonality between them. Every manufacturer was pretty much allowed to do as they pleased, while the military could demand minor changes to designs on a whim.

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Re: A Panzer 3 is all there needed to be

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Apr 2022 18:09

T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Apr 2022 17:23
Oh no, I get that. In most ways, Germany was stuck with the industrial system they started the war with. It's that "madness" as you put it that gets them ending up with multiple vehicles in every category with no commonality between them. Every manufacturer was pretty much allowed to do as they pleased, while the military could demand minor changes to designs on a whim.
Well, of course, everyone was "stuck with the industrial system they started the war with". The United States though was lucky in that there was enough idle capacity available due to the Great Depression and Great Recession, which meant late expansion was possible and could be more or less optimized to wartime requirements and yet even then there were plenty of Quad Cities Tank Arsenals, Brewster Aircraft, Spruce Geese, and similar dead ends.

Germany in contrast was trapped by a lot of prewar decisions.

For one, the prewar military buildup was designed to build up industry and resurrect a strong peacetime military...with the primary goal being to funnel money into the pockets of the major industrialists that supported the Nazi party. Thus, for every Panzer III that went to DB as prime there was a Panzer IV that went to Krupp as prime...and plenty of sub work for everyone else, like Krupp building turrets and guns for the III. The "commonality" was that pretty much everyone was given a large, medium, and small slice of the pie to play with.

For another, the prewar military buildup had no clear idea of where, when, and what kind of war would be fought with all the RM expended in peacetime. For example, there was no clear decision on the tactics and organization of mechanized forces, other than tanks were neat to develop and build. The Panzer III and IV combination was seen as tactically necessary and that thinking did not really change until 1942.

There was intraservice rivalry in acquisition. The Kavallerie insisted on the leichte Division as a tactical requirement along with development of specialized "cavalry tanks" for them. The Infanterie wanted a specialized armored support vehicle, which was gleefully taken on by the Artillerie. And there was also interservice rivalry in acquisition. That led to bizarre decisions such as mobilization planning that took about half the motor vehicle industry and put it to work manufacturing aircraft sub-components when war began.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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