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Panzer III and their Variants

Source text and information:..

Der Panzer-Kampfwagen III und seine Abarten, from W.J.Spielberger
Achtung Panzer. No. 2
German Tanks of World War II, by F.M. von Senger und Etterlin.
Tanks and other AFV's of the Blitzkrieg Era, by B.T. White
Russian Magazine Armada 003 - Stug III
Panzer Tracts 3-1, by Thomas L. Jentz & Hilary L. Doyle
Panzer Tracts 3-2, by Thomas L. Jentz & Hilary L. Doyle
Panzerkampfwagen III im Kampfeinsatz, Tankograd Wehrmacht Special N° 4005
information from internet
Proof-reading, corrections and info by Rob Haelterman


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Click on the Pictures


Panzer III MKA - Krupp Prototype

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The Krupp MKA prototype for the Pz.III series. This was not adopted,but features from it were later used in the Pz.IV.

Panzer III - The differences between Ausf.A > Ausf.D

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Panzer III - Ausf.A

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The Pz.III Ausf.A, which had five medium-size road wheels and was armed with a 3.7cm L/45 gun and co-axial mg.
- 10 vehicles were built.
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Panzer III Ausf. A - Model built by Robert Kru
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Panzer III - Ausf.B

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The Pz.III Ausf.B and C featured eight small bogie wheels which gave excellent riding qualities. The original type of "dustbin" cupola with unprotected vision slits.
- 15 vehicles were built of each.
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Panzer III - Ausf.C

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comments: look by Panzer III - Ausf. B (above)
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Panzer III - Ausf.D

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The Pz.III Ausf.D had eight small road wheels each side suspensed by three large leaf springs. This model also had a new pattern armoured cupola, and a pivoted mount for an anti-aircraft mg was fitted on the left side of the superstructure.
- 30 vehicles were built
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PanzerBefehlswagen III - Ausf.D1

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Daimler-Benz has made 3 proposals from the PanzerBefehlswagen III - (only the arials were different)
30 vehicles were built. Depending on the radio the designation was Sd.Kfz. 267 or Sd.Kfz. 268. Originally the vehicle was known as Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. A. In this vehicle the gun was a dummy and the turret fixed.
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Panzer III - Ausf.E

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In the Pz.III Ausf.E. the suspension took the final form adopted for all sub-sequent production models on this chassis, There were six small road wheel with conventional torsion arm suspension. The Ausf.E was the first major production version, its 3.7cm gun being subsequently replaced by a short calibre 5cm weapon. This model was in service at the time of the invasions of Poland and France, 1939-1940.

This model introduced the escape hatches in each side, visible between the two leading return rollers.

A new driver’s visor, square MG port and double turret doors were fitted. During the production a rainguard was fitted for the driver (February 1939), the fake periscope housing on the turret roof was dropped (1939), a vision port on the right side of the hull for the radio operator was added (October 1939) and the headlights were fitted with covers (December 1939).

Many of the features of the Ausf. F were retrofitted later, like the armored covers for the transmission cooling intakes and a turret splash guard.
- 96 were built between October 1938 and October 1939
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Panzer III Ausf. E - Model built by Robert Kru
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PanzerBefehlswagen III - Ausf.E1

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45 vehicles were built in March 1940. Depending on the radio the designation was Sd.Kfz. 266, 267 or Sd.Kfz. 268. Originally the vehicle was known as Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. B. In this vehicle the gun was a dummy and the turret fixed.
Retrofits followed the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E.
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PzBefw III E with Kurbelmast - 1/72 CPL Overby Motorpool resin with Esci parts

Model by Alfred van Netburg

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Panzer III - Ausf.F

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The Ausf. F was externally similar to the Ausf E, but with armored covers for the transmission cooling intake guards (except for the very first machines).

The very first models (prior October 1939) did not have a vision flap for the radio operator on the right side of the hull.

During the production a rainguard was fitted for the driver (spring 1939) and the fake periscope housing on the turret was dropped (summer 1939). In March 1940 a splash guard for the turret and a Notek light were fitted. In May 1940 wider rubber tyres started to be fitted to the roadwheels. The last 100 vehicles produced from June/July 1940 onwards had a 5cm KwK L/42 gun and roof ventilator.
In December 1940 most vehicles began to be upgraded with the new, wider tracks and running gear and 30mm bolt on armor.
- 435 were built between August 1939 and July 1940 and between April and May 1941.
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Panzer III - Ausf.G

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The first 50 Ausf. G had the 37mm gun, but from July 1940 the were fitted with the 50mm L/42 gun (with external mantlet). The change in gun also made the turret ventilator move from the left to the right of the turret roof and saw the introduction of a new, more vertical rear plate of the turret.

The Ausf. G had a new driver’s visor, larger headlights and no fake periscope housing.

During the production a new copula was fitted, wider rubber tyres were introduced (May 1940), as well as new visors on the turret doors (July 1940). In August 1940 the first return roller was moved forward and in late 1940 additional armor was added to the front and rear of the hull. Very late production machines had the new 400mm tracks and assorted sprocket and idler. In April 1941 Gepäckkasten (aka Rommelkisten) were retrofitted to the rear of the turret.
- 600 were built between March 1940 and May 1941.

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Ausf. G layout new turret


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Panzer III Ausf. G - Model built by Dave Showell

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Panzer III - Ausf.H

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This variant had an extra 30mm frontal armor, wider running gear with repositioned first return roller, new tow hooks and covers for the ventilators on the engine deck (mounted transversally) and the latest version of the turret as introduced on the Ausf. G.
- 408 were constructed between October 1940 and April 1941.
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BefehlsPanzer III - Ausf.H

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145 vehicles were built between November 1940 and September 1941 and 30 more between December 1941 and January 1942. Depending on the radio the designation was Sd.Kfz. 266, 267 or Sd.Kfz. 268. Originally the vehicle was known as Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. C. In this vehicle the gun was a dummy (now resembling a 50mm L/42 or later L/60 gun) and the turret fixed.
Retrofits followed the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E.
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Panzer Beobachttungswagen III - Ausf.H

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The PanzerBeobachtungswagen III Ausf.H. This was an OP version fitted with a dummy main armament and a central ball-mounted mg in the mantlet. Space provided in the turret by omission of the main armament was devoted to a map table and extra radio equipment.

262 vehicles were built on Ausf. E, F and G and possibly later chassis between early 1943 and spring 1944. The designation was Sd.Kfz.143. Depending on the time-frame the dummy gun resembled a 37mm or a 50mm (L/42 or L/60) gun.
The Beobachtungs Pz III was a factory conversion on reworked chassis.
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PzBeobw III H - 1/76 conversion Matchbox Pz III L. Periscopes : TBF 2 (large) and TSR 1 (small)

Model by Alfred van Netburg

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Panzer III - Ausf.J (Early)

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This early production Pz.III Ausf.J with short barrel 5cm L/42 gun illustrates changes introduced on the later Pz.III models.Features to note are the short 5cm L/42 gun, (first introduced retrospectively on Models F and G) the squatter thicker cupola (introduced from model G), the new pattern sprocket and ideler wheels and wider spaced return rollers (introduced from model H) and the thicker hull MG ball-mount (introduced on model J). A stowage box was fitted on the turret rear from model F and model H.
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Panzer III Ausf. J (early) - Model built by Robert Kru
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Panzer III - Ausf.J (Late)

The Pz.III Ausf.J (late) was the standard 1943 production model and was armed with the long barrel 5cm L/42 or L/60 gun which was basically the same weapon as the standard German anti-tank gun of the period. Armour basis was increased to 50mm and the combat weight was 22.3 tons. Note also the elemination of the pistol ports in the turret sides, which was most unusual in the model J and may indicate that this is a reworked model fitted with a Model Ausf.L Turret.
- 2616 were built between March 1941 and July 1942 of which 1549 with the L/42 gun and 1067 with the L/60 gun (introduced in December 1941).

In this variant the engine deck was substantially extended to the rear, the frontal armor was increased to 50mm (necessitating a new driver’s visor), tow eyes weer incorporated in the hull’s lateral armor plates, the headlights were moved to the bow and a spherical hull MG mount was introduced. During the production large covers were introduced on the engine hatches (mounted longitudinally unlike the Ausf. H), spaced armor was introduced on the gun mantlet (often only the mounting frame was present), the vision ports in front of the turret hatches were dropped and the right frontal vision port on the turret was dropped. A Gapäckkaste was fitted as standard.

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Panzer III Ausf. J (late) - Model built by Alex Clarck
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BefehlsPanzer III - Ausf.K SdKfz. 267

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The Pz III K was a factory built version, it used the Pz IV turret on an M chassis, although at least one hull still had the escape hatches in the sides along with the M exhaust (this vehicle was issued to GD).
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PzBeobw III K - 1/76 conversion Matchbox Pz III L with Airfix Pz IV F turret parts - Model by Alfred van Netburg
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Model built by Dave Showell
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For more information and review visit:

to OTW Website On The Way

Panzer III - Ausf.L

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The Pz.III Ausf.L had 20mm spaced added across the front of the superstructure and across the mantlet front. This example retains pistols ports in the turret sides, indicating an early production vehicle, They were eliminated in later vehicles.
During the production the hull escape hatches were also eliminated.
- 653 were produced between June 1942 and December 1942.
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Panzer III - Ausf.M

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The Pz.III Ausf.M had the same modifications as the model L, with addition of three smoke dischargers each side of the turret, new deepwater exhaust, some were also fitted with skirt armour (Schurzen) from March 1943 onwards. The tracks were of a new pattern that allowed grousers to be fitted for mudly going. Winterketten were also introduced for this variant. Side doors and pistol ports were eliminated in this model.
- 250 were built between October 1942 and February 1943.
Most had deep wading equipment fitted to the muffler. In this variant the hinges for the transmission covers were mounted internally, Bosch headlights weer mounted on the fenders, the hull escape hatch was eliminated, the smoke candles on the rear were replaced with S-minen on the turret. The tailplate was completely redesigned. Late versions had a splash guard for the commander’s copula, a single hatch and AA mount for that copula. With the introduction of the Schürzen the vision ports in the turret hatches were dropped.
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Panzer III Ausf. M - Model built Chris Wauchop
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PzPioW III M - 1/72 conversion Esci Pz III M

Model by Alfred van Netburg

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Flammpanzer III - Ausf.M

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The Pz.III Ausf.M "Flamm" Sd.Kfz. 141/3 carried a flamethrower in a wide mantlet in place of the main armament. The co-axial and bow machine guns were retained, Flame fuel capacity was 1000 litres carried inside the hull. Range of the flame gun was about 60 metres and combustion rate was 7-8 litres per second at 15-17 atmospheres pressure. These vehicles equipped flamethrower companies on the Eastern Front in 1943. The crew of this vehicle was limited to 3. 100 were buikt between February and April 1943. Most were reworked as regular Pz.Kpfw. afterwards.
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Panzer III Ausf. M Flamethrower - Model built by Robert Kru
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Panzer III - Ausf.N

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The Pz.III Ausf. N with the short 7.5cm L/24 gun. Note the spaced armour shield round the rear of the turret on this particular vehicle.
- 660 were converted from late 1942 to August 1943: 3 from Ausf. J chassis, 447 from Ausf. L, 213 from Ausf. M and 37 from other sources.

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Panzer III Ausf. N - Model built by Robert Kru
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Panzer III Ausf. N - Model built by mightybird72 - Ebay
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Other versions on Panzer III Chassis

SiG 33, 150mm auf PzKpfw III - model built by Kenneth Overby

In late 1941 the StuG III chassis was selected to carry the 15 cm sIG 33 heavy infantry gun. These vehicles were known as Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B. Twenty-four were built of which twelve vehicles saw combat in the Battle of Stalingrad where they were destroyed or captured. The remaining 12 vehicles were assigned to 23rd Panzer Division.

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Sturmpanzer III - 1/72 conversion Esci Pz III M

Model built by Alfred van Netburg

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SiG 33, 150mm auf PzKpfw III Ausf H (field modified) from Afrika Korps - model built by Tony Ivey
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(Instruction-Fahrschule) Lehrpanzer III Ausf L mit Erdgas Antrieb - model built by Tony Ivey
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Pionierpanzer III - model built by Tony Ivey
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Bergepanzer III - Converted from obsolescent Panzers III Ausf. J's. Some Panzer II Ausf. L and M's were also modified. Approx 150 all types converted from March to December 1944.

1/35 scale model built by Christoph Garski - www.panzer-modell.de

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Munition / Recovery Panzer III

Converted from obsolescent Panzers III Ausf. H, J's and possible some other versions. The munitionpanzer III was a far simpler conversion. Basically a large wire frame "cap" that fitted over the turret ring that was in turn covered by a canvas tarp. It was by no means a grenade net because of the large spaces in the frame. Two handles were located on the insite to facilitate lifting the "cap".

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MunitionSchlepper III
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Proposed and built Prototypes

FlakPanzer III - 3.7 cm in "Ostwind" turret - prototype - 1/35 scale model built by Thomas Hartwich - pictures taken from Panzer-Modell.de
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FlakPanzer III - 4x 20mm in "Wirbelwind" turret - prototype - 1/35 scale model built by Thomas Hartwich - www.panzer-modell.de
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For more information and reviews visit:

to panzermodell.de Website Panzer-Modell.de
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Minenraumer III
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Panzer III Railway version
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Panzer III Unterwasser-Tauchpanzer
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The Tauchpanzer was based on Pz.Kpfw. Ausf. F,G,H and PzBef Ausf E
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Panzer III / IV Bridgelayer
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Captured Panzers III in Russian Service

Russian SU-76i on Panzer III Chassis

The Soviet SU-76i self-propelled gun was based on captured StuG III and Panzer III vehicles[6] In total, Factory #37 in Sverdlovsk manufactured 181 SU-76i plus 20 commander SU-76i for Red Army service by adding an enclosed superstructure and the 76.2 mm S-1 tank gun.

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Russian SU-762 on Panzer III Chassis
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The command version of SU-76i SP gun based on captured German tank chassis
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Model built by Jens Scholler - www.sturmtiger.com
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Russian SG-122A on Panzer III Chassis
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Model built by Zhenmin Han
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Sturmgeschutz (StuG) III and their variants

Generally had the StuGs a specialized hull different to Pz.3. This is visible at the brake access hatch, axes of hatch in driving direction.
(Some Stugs 3 F8/G were build on Pz.3 chassis.)


Prototype Sturmgeschutz III on Panzer III B Chassis had mild steel superstructure
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A - (A1 series)
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The Ausf. A was built in two series.

Of the 1. Series vehicles 30 were built in the first half of 1940 and participated in the French campaign. These vehicles had the chassis that was specifically designed for the StuG (derived from the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E chassis). This means that the transmission hatches opened to the sides, a splash guard was installed for the driver, no cooling vents were present for the brakes, and no lateral escape hatches were fitted.
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Model built by Jeff Hamblen - 1/72
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A - (A2 Series) - (No Pictures)
The 2. Series comprised 20 vehicles built between June and September 1940. these were built on largely unmodified Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. G chassis. This means that that the transmission hatches opened to the front and back, no splash guard was installed for the driver, cooling vents were present for the brakes, and lateral escape hatches were fitted.


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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf B
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120 Ausf. B were built between June 1940 and April 1941. These had the wider 400mm tracks (like the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf. H) with modified running gear. New track guards and mufflers were installed and a new hatch for the gunner and his periscope fitted. A Notek light became standard.
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Model built by Steve Palffi
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf C
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100 Ausf. C were built between March and SeptemberApril 1941. These had the direct sighting telescope moved from the front to the roof. A larger hatch for the loader was provided, a new type idler was introduced and smoke dischargers with armored cover were fitted to the rear of the hull.
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf B and Ausf. C/D (Trumpeter) - Models built by Zhenmin Han
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf D
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150 Ausf. D were built between from May 1941. These were externally identical to the Ausf. C. It was the first version to have a tropicalized “Tp” variant.
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf E
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184 Ausf. E were built between September 1941 and February 1942. With this variant the transmission inspection hatches were redesigned with internal hinges and a second pannier was fitted to the right side of the hull (similar to the one on the left). This was the first variant to be available as a command vehicle; a role previously taken up by the Sd.Kfz.253.
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf F
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364 Ausf. F were built between March and September 1942. With this variant the gun was upgraded from a 75mm L/24 to a 75mm L/43. The central part of the roof was raised to allow the installation of a ventilator and the gunsight port was redesigned.

In May 1942 the smoke rack on the rear hull was deleted; in June 1942 the large headlights were replaced by a centrally mounted Notek and an extra 30mm of armor was welded to the front. In July 1942 the gun was even further enhanced by lengthening it to L/48. In August 1942 the sloping roof next to the gun (over the driver’s head and on the other side) was raised.
At some point during the production the fenders were shortened.
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Model built by Jeff Hamblen - 1/72
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Model built by Mightybird72 - Ebay
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StuG III Flame Ausf F1
In 1943, 10 StuG IIIs were converted to StuG III (Flamm) configuration by replacing the main gun with a Schwade flamethrower. These chassis were all refurbished at the depot level and were a variety of pre-Ausf. F models. There are no reports to indicate any of these were used in combat and all were returned to Ausf. G standard at depot level by 1944.

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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf F/8
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250 Ausf. F/8 were built between September and December 1942. These vehicles were based on the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf.J (8./ZW) hull. The main distinguishing feature was the rear hull which now had an overhang, deflector plate, new engine deck and lengthwise armored covers. The hull sides were extended to form tow eyes. The transmission hatches opened to front and back (as in the Pz.Kpfw.III), fenders weer shorter and the periscope opening was changed (sometimes with a wire cage fitted over it). The 75mm L/48 gun and raised driver’s roof was fitted as standard. Some were built on Pz.Kpfw III Ausf. M chassis between September and October 1942. These had longer mudflaps and single transmission hatches. Apparently later on in the production the standard StuG III transmission hatches were fitted, but details could not be found in the available literature.
In September 1942 extra welded armor was fitted to the nose, changed to bolted armor a month later.
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Model built by Mightybird72 - Ebay
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G (early)
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Model built by Martin Mazett - www5b.biglobe.ne.jp
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G (Late - Final production)
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Late - Final production - Model built by Roman Skiba
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production October - November 1943 - Model built by Serge Overchenko - www.track48.com
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Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G with Zimmeritt - production August 1944 - Model built by Robert Kru
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StuG III Ausf G on a Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M chassis - Model built by Robert Kru
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10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf.G. (StuH42)
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Model built by Robert Kru
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Other StuG Ausf. G versions

10.5cm Sturmhaubitze StuH 42 Ausf.G.
10.5cm Sturmhaubitze StuH 42 Ausf.G. - mid version
10.5cm Sturmhaubitze StuH 42 Ausf.G. - final version - without muzzle brake
stuG Befehlspanzer III Ausf. G

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(Instruction-Fahrschule) StuG Lehrpanzer III Ausf E
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Model built by Jeff Hamblen - 1/72
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(Observation-panzer) Beobachtungspanzerwagen auf StuG III Fahrgestell
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Model built by Tony Ivey
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Stug III Ausf. G with Rocketsystem - postwar - Spanish experimental prototype

After WWII, around 1954 the Spanish reconstructed one Stug III Ausf. G to a self-propelled rocket launcher - (ground-to-ground) with serial number "7". The rocket storage rack is on the rear chassis, and the rocket launcher on the fighting compartiment. The diameter of the rocket is 281mm, the weight is 500kg. There were several test rocket types: G0, G1, G18, G2, G3. The farthest fire of field reach 23km, it was created by G3 rocket, the final type rocket

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Model built by Zhenmin Han

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