- For the Steel Division II unit see SD2:Panzer III L
Panzer III L is a German Tank unit.
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. L built on the design of Ausf. J/1. The modern 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 introduced by the J/1 was made standard in this variant. The tank's armor was also improved, including the elimination of weak points such as hatches and visors on the sides of the turret. Starting in June 1942, a total of 653 Panzer IIILs were produced.
By 1944, the Panzer III was an outdated design that was a light tank by all accounts.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.