German Army Center Military History
 
 
 

 


Panzerkampfwagen
Panzer es una forma abreviada de Panzerkampfwagen, palabra alemana que significa ‘vehículo blindado de combate’ y hace referencia a los carros de combate alemanes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Los alemanes también utilizaban la abreviatura. El término panzer significa coraza o blindado, y deriva de la palabra francesa pancier (coraza).
Historia

Los Panzer eran el componente principal de la Blitzkrieg. Esta táctica se concentraba en golpear con fuerza un punto concreto (schwerpunkt), utilizando la velocidad y maniobrabilidad de los carros de combate. Así mismo, los tanques no eran dispersados en pequeñas unidades de apoyo a la infantería, sino que formaban unidades móviles conocidas como divisiones Panzer (Pz-Div).

Acompañadas por aviones Stuka y tropas motorizadas, las divisiones Panzer (10 de ellas en mayo de 1940) consiguieron invadir los Países Bajos, Bélgica y Francia en apenas dos meses. En el frente oriental, la Wehrmacht alcanzó las puertas de Moscú durante la campaña de 1941-42. El uso de otras unidades, como cañones de asalto, divisiones de infantería pesada o infantería móvil, daba el apoyo a las divisiones blindadas.

Los primeros años de la contienda fueron el apogeo del Panzer. Las estepas rusas o los desiertos del norte de África eran terrenos ideales para la guerra relámpago. Sin embargo, existían complicaciones, como las dificultades de comunicación y logística, el abastecimiento de los tanques o que la infantería no podía alcanzar a los carros de combate.

Después de las derrotas en El Alamein y Stalingrado (donde en el terreno urbano, el tanque no podía competir), los Panzer lucharon en inferioridad numérica frente a un enemigo cada vez mayor. Puesto que la movilidad ya no era decisiva, aparecieron los tanques pesados para enfrentarse a un mayor número de tanques aliados.

Tras la Batalla de Kursk a mediados de 1943, los Panzer demostraron que habían perdido su superioridad ofensiva, y debían utilizar la defensa coordinándose con las otras fuerzas. Las últimas tentativas de la Blitzkrieg ocurrieron en la Batalla de las Ardenas.

La producción, que era de 3.800 tanques en 1941 (23 Divisiones Panzer a finales de 1941), alcanzó su punto máximo en 1944, con 19.000 vehículos blindados, incluyendo 8.300 tanques (30 Divisiones Panzer y Panzer/SS en 1944). Sin embargo, esta cifra era muy inferior a la de los tanques aliados: 51.200 construidos en 1944.

Nazi Germany developed numerous tank designs during World War II. In addition to domestic designs, Germany also employed various captured and foreign-built tanks.
The German tank force was an amazing success due to tactical innovation more than tank quality. Many of their later tanks outclassed Allied armor, delivering more casualties than they took in most engagements due to the impressive training and the excellent tactics of German tank crews.

Using Blitzkrieg tactics, Guderian, Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist and other field commanders such as Rommel broke the hiatus of the Phoney War in a manner almost outside the comprehension of the Allied — and, indeed, the German — High Command. In actual tank-on-tank encounters the German armor performed poorly, but as a coherent unit, the combined arms tactic of the Blitzkrieg shocked the Allies.

The German Panzer force at the start of World War II was not especially impressive. Only 4% of the defense budget was spent on armored fighting vehicle (AFV) production. Guderian had planned for two main tanks: the Panzer III, which was in production; and the Panzer IV with a 75 mm gun, which was not. The design work for the Panzer IV had begun in 1935 and trials of prototypes were undertaken in 1937, but by the time of the invasion of Poland only a few hundred 'troop trial' models were available. The development work was then halted and limited production was begun by Krupp in Magdeburg (Grusonwerk AG), Essen and Bochum in October 1939 with 20 vehicles built. However, even that low number could not be sustained, with production dropping to ten in April 1940. Production also dropped because metal was very expensive and not many citizens were donating it.

Nevertheless, the number of available Panzer IV's (211) was still larger than that of the Panzer III (98). There were also technical problems with the Panzer III: it was widely considered to be under-gunned with a 37 mm KwK L/45 and production was split among four manufacturers (MAN, Daimler-Benz, Rheinmetall-Borsig, and Krupp) with little regard for each firm's expertise, and the rate of production was initially very low (40 in September 1939, 58 in June 1940) taking until December 1940 to reach 100 examples a month. The Panzer force for the early German victories was a mix of the Panzer I (machine-gun only), Panzer II (20mm gun) light tanks, and two models of Czech tanks (the Panzer 38(t) and the Panzer 35(t)). By May 1940 there were 349 Panzer III's available for the attacks on France and the Low Countries. Through superior command/control and tactics, the Germans were able to prevail in the Battle of France, despite the deficiencies of their Panzers.

That the Panzer III was undergunned was recognized during its conception and its design included a large turret ring to make it possible to fit a 2250 ft/s (656 m/s) 50 mm KwK L/42 gun on later models. In July 1940, too late to see action in the final weeks of the Battle of France, the first 17 of these models were produced. Designated the Panzer III Ausf. F, the other changes included an upgraded Maybach engine and numerous minor changes to ease mass production.

The Ausf. F was quickly supplanted by the Ausf. G[clarification needed], which was the main tank of the Afrika Korps in 1940–41 and also saw action in Yugoslavia and Greece. Around 2,150 Panzer IIIs were produced, of which around 450 were the Ausf G. These tanks were still under-gunned, poorly armored and mechanically overly-complex in comparison to equivalent British tanks. After fighting in Libya in late 1940 the Ausf. H was put into production with simpler mechanics, wider tracks and improved armor. In April 1941 there was a general 'recall' of the Panzer III to upgrade the main gun to the new 50 mm L/60, with the new Panzergranate 40 round, and muzzle velocity was pushed to 3875 ft/s (1,181 m/s). New tanks produced with this gun were designated Ausf. J.

The invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa signalled an enormous change in German tank development. In July 1941 36 Panzer and motorized infantry divisions were assigned to the invasion fielding over 3000 AFV's. In June 1941, these tanks first encountered the Soviet T-34. The German tanks were outclassed in every aspect of battle performance. A little later the American-made M3 Lee and then M4 Sherman tanks were encountered in the Western Desert, the M4 outclassing German armor in that theater too.

As an immediate measure the Panzer III's armor was upgraded to 70 mm by additional plates and spaced armor was introduced to protect against hollow charge attacks. Nonetheless, the Panzer III was clearly outclassed and production was ended in August 1943 with the Ausf. M (a conversion of older types), the vehicle having been up-gunned to a 75 mm L/24 and downgraded to a support role. The Panzer III chassis did continue to be made until the end of the war as the base of a range of special purpose vehicles like Sturmgeschütz III.

Slow production of the Panzer IV had been continuing, by the end of 1940 386 Ausf. Ds were in service and in 1941 a further 480 were produced, despite an order from the army for 2,200. The short 75 mm gun was the main advantage of the Panzer IV, weight and armor were close to that of the Panzer III. The Panzer IV became the most numerous tank of the Panzer divisions, although already outclassed in 1942 it was easy to maintain and simpler to produce than other German tanks. The Ausf. E was the major production variant, although the Ausf. F2 (later renamed in Ausf. G) with a long high velocity gun was the most impressive performer. First introduced in 1940 the 22 ton machine was progressively improved, with the addition of the L/43 gun the most significant change – it could penetrate 80 mm of armour at 1800 m. Later variants further improved the gun to a 75 mm L/48 but were mainly characterised by increasing the main armor and adding spacer and skirt armor to protect against anti-tank weapons. Zimmerit paste, to prevent magnetic charges attaching was also introduced on the Panzer IV. About 12,000 Panzer IV tanks (derived chassis included) were produced during the war, more than twice as many as the next German tank.

Despite continued efforts with the lighter tanks throughout the war the German designers did produce a direct counter to the heavier Allied tanks with the PzKpfw V, the Panther (in 1944 the PzKpfw designation was dropped and the vehicle was known simply as the Panther). Design work on the replacement for the Panzer IV had begun in 1937 and prototypes were being tested in 1941. The emergence of the T-34 led to an acceleration of this leisurely time-table. At the insistence of Guderian a team was dispatched to the eastern front in November 1941 to assess the T-34 and report. Three features of the Soviet tank were considered as most significant, top was the sloped armour all round which gave much improved shot deflection and also increased the armor thickness against penetration; second was the wide track and large road wheels that improved stability; and third was the long over-hanging gun, a feature German designers had avoided up to then. Daimler-Benz and MAN were tasked with designing and building a new 30–35 ton tank by next Spring. At the same time the existing prototype tanks were up-gunned to 88 mm and ordered into production as the PzKpfw VI, the Tiger.

The two T-34 influenced proposals were delivered in April 1942. The Daimler-Benz design was a 'homage' to the T-34, ditching the propensity for engineering excellence, and hence complexity, to produce a clean, simple design with plenty of potential. The MAN design were more conventional to German thinking and was the one accepted by the Waffenprüfamt 6 committee. A prototype was demanded by May and design detail work was assigned to Kniepkampf.

If the over-hanging gun and sloping armor are ignored the Panther is a conventional German design, its internal layout for the five crew was standard and the mechanicals were complex. Weighing 43 tons it was powered by a 700 hp (522 kW) gasoline engine driving eight double-leaved bogie wheels on each side, control was through a seven-speed gearbox and hydraulic disc brakes. The armor was homogenous steel plate, welded but also interlocked for strength. Preproduction models had only 60 mm armor but this was soon increased to 80 mm on the production Ausf. D and later models had a maximum of 120 mm. The main gun was a 75 mm L/70 with 79 rounds, supported by one or two MG 34 machine guns.

The MAN design was officially accepted in September 1942 and put into immediate production with top priority, finished tanks were being produced just two months later and suffered from reliability problems as a result of this haste. With a production target of 600 vehicles a month the work had to be expanded out of MAN to include Daimler-Benz and in 1943 the firms of Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover and Henschel. Due to disruption monthly production never approached the target, peaking in 1944 with 330 a month and ending around February 1945 with at least 5964 built. The Panther first saw action around Kursk on July 5, 1943.

In addition to these mainstream efforts the German army also experimented with a variety of unusual prototypes and also put into production several peculiarities. Some Tiger tanks were fitted with anti-personnel grenade launchers that were loaded and fired from within the tank as an anti-ambush device.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

PANZERTRUPPEN
Nacimiento del Tanque 
Sistemas de Radio
Panzergrenadier
Panzerkampfwagen II y variantes
Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf D [SdKfz 267,268]
Panzerkampfwagen  IV 
Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen B-2
Imagenes del Tigre I 
Panzerkampfwagen  38t
Panzerkampfwagen 35R
Imagenes del Panther
Especificaciones Tecnicas Panzerkampfwagen II
Especificaciones Tecnicas Panzerkampfwagen V Panther
Especificaciones Tecnicas Panzerkampfwagen 35t
Cañones de asalto y cazacarros
Infanteria Motorizada
Terminos militares alemanes
Guerra Civil Española
Panzerkampwagen II Ausf L (Sd Kfz 123) Luchs
Panzerkampfwagen II [F] Sd Kfz 122
Panzerbefehlswagen Ausf E [SdKfz 267,268]
Panzerkampfwagen V Panther y variantes
Panzerbeobachtungspanther
Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf B Tiger II
Panzerkampfwagen  38H
Imagenes del Panzerkampfwagen  IV 
Versiones del Panzerkampfwagen  IV 
Caracteristicas Tecnicas Panzerkampfwagen 38t
Caracteristicas Tecnicas P anzerkampfwagen III
Panzerkampfwagen VI Tigre I
7.5cm PAK 39
3.7cm KwK L/46.5
Semiorugas
Cañones en la Wehrmacht
Primeras unidades Panzer
Motores en los carros  alemanes 
Panzerkampfwagen  I y variantes
Panzerkampfwagen  III y variantes
Panzerbefehlwagen 5cm KwK39 L/60 Ausf K
Panzerbefehlswagen 7.5cm L/70
Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I
Tiger II de La Gleize
Panzerkampfwagen 35t
Gepanzerte Munitionsschlepper 
Panzerkampfwagen I
Panzerkampfwagen IV
Panzerkampfwagen VI Tigre II
7.5cm PAK 42
Armamento del Panzerkampfwagen III
Unidades Especiales
Carros blindados
Nacimiento de la Wehrmacht
La Cruz de Hierro 1813-1957
Nacimiento del Tanque 
Terminos militares alemanes 
Sturmgeschutz StuG  III
Sturmgeschütz M43/Semovente DA 105/25 
Panzerkampfwagen IV
Marder III
LaS 762 Sd Kfz 132
Sturmgeschutz StuG  III
Kleine Panzerfunkwagen Sd Kfz 260/261
Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 231/232 8 ruedas
Maschinengewehrkraftwagen Sd Kfz 13/Sd Kfz 14 
Panzerspähwagen Panhard 178-P204(i)
Panzergrenadier
Armas de Infanteria
Primeras unidades Panzer
Medallas Alemanas  1937 - 1943
Simbologia de la Wehrmacht
Batallones de Cañones de Asalto
Jagdpanther
Sturmgeschütz M43i/Semovente DA 75/34
Panzer IV/70
Schew Panzerhaubite 15cm Hummel SdKfz 165
Marder II SdKfz 131
7.5 cm Pak 40/4 auf Raupenschlepper 
Panzerkampfwagen 35R(f) 4.7cm PaK
Hetzer
Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
Historia
Leichte Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 223
Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 233 (7.5cm)
Schwere Panzerspahwagend Kfz 234/1
Panzerspähwagen AB41
Infanteria Motorizada
Divisiones de Infanteria
Campañas 
BLITZKRIEG: El Concepto 
Cañones en la Wehrmacht
Sistemas de Radio
Historia de las Panzertruppe
Organizacion 
Brummbar SdKfz 166
Sturmgeschütz IV Sd Kfz 167
 Primeras Unidades 
Leichte Feldhaubitze Sd Kfz 124 Wespe
SdKfz 138 7.5cm
schwere Granatewerfer 8 cm 
Jagdpanther
Leichte Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 221
Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 231 
Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 263/6
Schw Panzerspähwagen 7.5cm SdKfz 234/3/4 
Protagonistas
Divisiones de Montaña y Ski 
Kampfgruppen
Cascos alemanes 
Batallones de Cañones de Asalto
Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
Sturmgeschütz M42/Semovente DA 75/18
Sturmgestchütz IV
Sturmgestchütz StuH42
Geschützenwagen III und IV SdKfz 164 Nashorn
15cm sFH/13 Lorraine SdKfz 135/1
Geschützwagen B-2 10.5cm leFH18/3
StuH 43
Sturmgestchütz IV
Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
Leichte Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 222
Panzerspähwagen Sd Kfz 232/6
Panzerfunkwagen Sd Kfz 263 (8 ruedas) 
Schw  Panzerspahwagen Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma
Schw  Personenkraftwagen SdKfz 247
1ª Division Panzer
5º Division Panzer
10º Division Panzer
16° Division Panzer
116° Division Panzer
Division Panzer Tipo 39
Division Panzer Tipo 45
2ª Division Panzer
6ª Division Panzer
10º Division Panzer
14ª Division Panzer
18° Division Panzer
116° Division Panzer
1st Panzer Division
Estructura Regimiento Panzer
Brigada Panzer 100°& 102°
Brigada Panzer 105°
Organizacion
Batallon Tigre 506°
 Historias de Panzer's
II Ejercito Panzer PzAOK2 
Infantry Attacks 1937 Edition 
History of the  German General Staff 1657-1945
Hitler no se equivoco
The Rommel Papers 1953 Edition
2ª Division Panzer
6º Division Panzer
12º Division Panzer
18° Division Panzer
Grossdeutschland
Division Panzer Tipo 41
Kampfgruppe Tipo 45
3ª Division Panzer
7ª Division Panzer
11° Division Panzer
15° Division Panzer
19° Division Panzer
Division Panzer Lehr
 2da Division Panzer
27º Regimiento Panzer
Brigada Panzer 101°
 Fuhrer Begleit Brigade - Operacional
Batallon Tigre 501º
Batallon Tigre 508°
8./SS 2º Regimiento Panzer
SS Panzerkorps Hausser
Kampfgruppe Peiper 
El Nacimiento del III Reich 30 Enero 1933
Horten Ho 229 Spirit of Thuringia
Battle of Prokhorovka 12 July 1943
Operacion Caso Blanco XIX Cuerpo de Ejercito en Polonia 1 Septiembre 1939
3ª Division Panzer
8º Division Panzer
13ª Division Panzer
19° Division Panzer
Grossdeutschland - Historia
Division Panzer Tipo 43
Division "Hermann Goering"
4ª Division Panzer
8° Division Panzer
12ª Division Panzer
16° Division Panzer
21° Division Panzer
233° Division Panzer
Mechanized Forces
Panzertruppen
Brigada Panzer 103°
Fuhrer Begleit Brigade - Organizacion
Batallon Tigre 502º
Tigres en accion
Batallones Panther 
Bolsa de Paraskoweja
SS Panzerkorps Hausser - Bolsa de Jarkov
Battle of the River Plate 13 December 1939
1ra Division Panzer
Achtung Panzer Guderian 1937 Edition
El Tratado de Versalles 28 de Junio 1919
4º Division Panzer
9º Division Panzer
15° Division Panzer
21° Division Panzer
Division Panzer Tipo 44
1ª Division Panzer
5ª Division Panzer
9º Division Panzer
13ª Division Panzer
17º Division Panzer
1ra Division Panzer
Brigada Panzer 104°
Batallon Tigre 503º
Batallon Tigre 101º SS
IV Ejercito Panzer [PzAOK 4]
Lost Victories Erich von Manstein
German Cruisers World War II
1ra SS Division Panzer Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler

Derechos Reservados - The German Army 1657-1945