- "We beat a Tiger with this Tank....."
The Panzer IV (short for Panzerkampfwagen IV, ordnance designation Sd.Kfz. 161) was a German medium tank whose function evolved from an infantry support role to a tank-fighting function. It became the backbone of the German Heer's (Army) Panzer Divisions, and was the only German tank to stay in production for the entire duration of the conflict. It first appeared in the anime in Episode 1.
HistoryTogether with its contemporary, the Panzer III, this tank was the brainchild of Panzerwaffe's founding father Heinz Guderian, which envisioned the need for a tank suited for fighting other tanks (for which the Panzer III was designed) and a tank which could provide support with a larger caliber howitzer, which became the Panzer IV. With thefirst prototypes appearing in 1937, mass production began only with the Ausf. D variant (Ausf. A-B-C being pilot series), and went on to the Ausf. F1 variant, with each variant registering minor improvements and armor increase, but which all shared the KwK 37 L/24 short-barreled gun. This armament was adequate for the task, which was for providing fire support for infantry, however, it was discovered in France, May 1940, that the Panzer IV with its 75mm struggled to penetrate the curved armor of the French Char B1 series heavy tanks and Somua and Renaults Model 35 tanks. when during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the German Army met the then-secret Soviet tanks such as the T-34 Model 1940 and the KV series (all of which had a distinct advantage over the Panzer IV), the decision was taken to upgrade the design with a longer-barreled 75 mm gun (the KwK 40), with this modified version being called the Ausf. F2, which was first put to trial against the British in North Africa in 1942. The Panzer IV was then set through a series of upgrades, forming the Ausf. G (with other improvements like the fitting of additional armor and Schürzen armored skirts). The latest variants (Ausf. H and J) pretty much took the design to its limits, yet helping to keep the tank competitive.
The first Panzer IVs took part in the Invasion of Poland and in the Battle of France (although in limited numbers, as most of Germany's armoured forces were still made up of Panzers I and II and of seized Czech tanks (Renamed Panzer 38(t) the "t" standing for Tshechisch which is German for Czech); its first test came with the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa, when the Panzer IV proved inferior to Soviet armour. The decision to upgrade its weaponry recognized that it could be adapted to fit the anti-tank role, with the support duties going to the now surpassed Panzer III (of which its latest version was armed with the 75 mm guns removed from upgraded Panzer IVs); thus, the Panzer IV truly became the backbone of the Panzerwaffe, being deployed on all the fronts (the Eastern Front, North Africa, Italy, France), soldiering on even after later Panzers (like the Tiger I or the Panther tank) took service. Its widespread use and its thorough reliability made this otherwise unimpressive Panzer a force to be reckoned with, capable of holding its own against adversaries such as the American M4 Sherman or the Soviet T-34.
In the Anime
A Panzer IV Ausf. D was found during Ooarai's search for the tanks once used by their school's Sensha-Dou club, and was selected as protagonist Miho Nishizumi's tank (later being dubbed Team Anglerfish due to its crew's embarassing penalty for losing a training match).
Despite having a somewhat underwhelming gun (the short-barreled KwK 37) it gave astounding performance in the training match against St. Gloriana (where it accounted for all but one of the Matildas and only failing to defeat the Churchill's superlative armor), in the first round against Saunders (where it managed to knock out the opponent's flag tank from the distance) and against Anzio (where it was able to defeat the Carro Armato P40, nullifying its sloped armor by firing from above).
When a KwK 40 gun barrel was found, it was used to upgrade the tank to the Ausf. F2 variant, thus gaining badly needed firepower (which served well in the match against Pravda, being capable of knocking out T-34 tanks with ease, and even a heavy KV-2 tank with a well-aimed shot). Furthermore additional armor was added to the front of the upper superstructure which allowed them to shrug of a direct hit from one of Pravda's T-34's.
Before the Finals, it was further upgraded to the Ausf. H version, fitted with Schürzen spaced armor. It held its own against Kuromorimine's tanks and was the tank which, with a carefully prepared shot to its only vulnerable point, defeated the super-heavy Maus tank. It later defeated Maho Nishizumi's flag tank (a Tiger I) with a rear shot, gaining victory for Ooarai.
Tank basic characteristics
- Main gun
- Early : KwK 37 L/24 short-barreled 75mm gun
- Late : KwK 40 L/48 long-barreled 75mm gun
- Other : 7.92mm MG 34 x 2
- Hull armor / Turret armor (Ausf. H)
- Front : 80mm / 50mm
- Sides : 30mm / 30mm
- Rear : 20mm / 30mm
- Schürzen spaced armor on hull and turret sides
- Speed : 42 km/h (26 mp/h) on road, 16 km/h (9,9 mp/h) off road.
More details about Panzer IV
- Panzer IV
- Panzer IV specifications
- Panzer IV in the official anime (japanese) (There are 3 sections for the 3 different models of the tank)
- Panzerkampfwagen IV at achtungpanzer.com
- Panzer IV at Tanks Encyclopedia
- Ooarai's Panzer IV was featured as a Skin Mod along with the other tanks as a Collaboration Event of Girls Und Panzer and World of Tanks
- Their Panzer IV Ausf. H also appears as a limited edition, stand-alone Premium tank in the PlayStation 4 release of the game. It is acquired after earning 20,000 Tank XP on a regular Ausf. H in a collaboration event.
- In the mobile game World of Tanks Blitz, the tank was given out to players who had completed a certain number of battles.
- Panzer IV was featured in World of Tanks as German Medium Tank, which is divided by 2 : Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. D (Tier 4) and Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H (Tier 5)
- In the manga, the switch to the longer 75 mm gun happens after the match against Saunders and before the match with Anzio.