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Aufk.Panzer III M is a German Recon unit in Steel Division II.


Main article: Panzer III

The Panzer III was developed in the 1930s, as part of the new German armored combat doctrine. Intended for fighting enemy tanks and infantry, the new tank entered production in 1936. Designed by Daimler-Benz, it was a traditional German tank, with heavily angled surfaces, a boxy superstructure, and a front-mounted gearbox. The first four variants, Ausf. A through D, were iterative developments that helped German engineers eliminate flaws in the design and iterate on technologies necessary for its production, with the first mature variant being the Ausf E, introduced in 1939. Initially adequate for fighting enemy tanks, Panzer III was replaced by its big brother, Panzer IV, in its tank-fighting rule as the limitations of its design became apparent.

Panzer III Ausf. M was the penultimate variant of the Panzer III, produced from October 1942 to January 1943. Panzer III Ms were modified to allow fording streams up to 130 cm deep, equipped with a pair of triple-barreled smoke launchers (90mm NbKs), and mounted the standard 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 tank gun. Schurzen (side screens) were retrofitted on M panzers from March 1943 onward. Only 250 tanks of this series were produced, as Hitler ordered the production to cease, in favor of StuGs and the casemate-mounted 75mm tank guns, ideal for fighting Soviet tanks.

By 1944, the Panzer III was an outdated design that was a light tank by all accounts. Units that weren't converted into StuGs were sent to tank schools as training vehicles. Their unlikely appearance in Normandy was the result of 116. Panzer commandeering their training tanks, in order to fill gaps in their arsenal.Ausf. N was the last variant of Panzer III, and an unusual one. Produced between June 1942 and August 1943, it used hulls manufactured for the J, L, and M variants, mating them to surplus 7,5 cm KwK 37 L/24 short-barreled tank guns left after existing Panzer IV tanks (Ausf. A through F1) were upgunned with long-barreled 75mm guns, taking over Panzer III's intended role. Panzer IIINs were used for fire support and close defense of larger, less mobile tanks like the Tiger. A total of 663 Panzer IIIs were converted to the N standard.


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