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Panzer IV German Medium Tank

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Panzerkampfwagen IV tank (Panzer IV) German tank

Panzerkampfwagen IV (Panzer IV)

The Panzer IV was a medium tank which was produced by the Germans from 1936 to 1945. It was heavily used during World War II with an estimated 8,800 having been built. Originally built as a close support infantry tank with a short barrel 75 mm gun and only 20 mm of armor, it was quickly upgraded to 50 mm of armor after the invasion of Poland.

After the German army encountered Russian T-34 and KV-1 tanks in large numbers late in 1941, the Panzer IV was upgraded again to a long barrel, high velocity 75 mm gun, and the Panzer IV replaced the Panzer III as the main German battle tank in early 1942. The Panzer IV was upgraded again in 1943 with a more powerful 75 mm gun, 85 mm of armor and the mounting Schurzen or skirt armor.

The Schurzen used very thin armor hung onto the outside of the tank, the purpose of which was to cause shaped charges such as the American Bazooka or British Piat to explode before they reached the main armour, thus saving the main armor from being exposed to the full force of the blast. Pictured is an early Panzer IV with a short barrel 75 mm gun and an early version turret (Ausf A through Ausf D) lacking a bustle and with the commanders cupola partially protruding from the rear of the turret.