The Collectors Showcase CS00695 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. M Medium Tank - Panzer Lehr (1:30 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun. The first one eventually became known as the Panzerkampfwagen III, which was to be a standard tank for the three light companies of a tank battalion. The second vehicle became known as Panzerkampfwagen IV.
In 1935, development orders for a 15-ton fully-tracked vehicle based on the specifications set down by the Waffenamt (the Ordnance Department) were issued to MAN (Nurnberg), Daimler-Benz AG (Berlin-Marienfelde), Rheinmetall-Borsig (Berlin) and Krupp AG (Essen). In order to maintain secrecy, the new vehicle was known as the
Zugfuhrerwagen (ZW) - platoon commander's vehicle. The vehicle was designated Versuchkraftfahrzeug 619, Mittlerer Traktor (Medium Tractor) and 3.7cm Geschutz-Panzerwagen.
The Panzerkampfwagen III's development arose from a conflict between the Waffenamt and the Inspector for Mechanized Troops over the vehicle's main armament. The Waffenamt selected and was satisfied with 37mm gun, while the Inspector for Mechanized Troops demanded a larger 50mm gun. In the end, the 37mm gun was chosen as the main armament for the new vehicle. The decision was based on the fact that the infantry was already equipped with the standard 37mm Pak 35/36 L/45 anti-tank gun, so only one gun and one type of ammunition needed to be produced. The turret and turret ring was still capable of mounting a heavier gun originally envisaged by the Inspector for Mechanized Troops. Armored protection was to be heavier in the front of the vehicle than the rear, since the new vehicle was to be used in forward elements of the assault tank formations. The top speed was specified to be 40km/h. and the vehicle was to be operated by a crew of five men, with a commander, gunner and loader in the turret and driver and radio operator in the forward part of the hull. Communication between crewmembers was handled through the use of an intercom system, the first German tank to be equipped with such a device. Later on, all of the Panzers were equipped with this system which proved to be very effective during combat.
Pictured here is a 1:30 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. M medium tank in a summer camouflage pattern.
Length: 9 inches
Width: 4-1/2 inches
Height: 4 inches
Release Date: July 2013
Historical Account: "Trained for War" - The Panzer Lehr Division was formed at Potsdam in November 1943, comprised principally of demonstration units from the various Panzer schools. It was transfered to France in February 1944, then to Hungary in April, where it absorbed Infanterie-Lehr Regiment 901. The division returned to France shortly thereafter where it opposed the Allied landings in June. Panzer Lehr suffered heavy losses at Caen during a massive carpet bombing attack and additional losses as it withdrew across France. It was sent to the Saar for refitting and later saw action in the Ardennes during Operation "Wacht am Rhein". After the winter counteroffensive, the division was trapped in the Ruhr pocket in early 1945 and forced to surrender to the US Army in April.