As mentioned before, I often watch WW2 documentaries to learn about the historical facts related to weapons used during the war. I have already watched many videos concerning the Tiger I, Panther A~G, M4 Sherman, Cromwell, Churchill and many more. I even watch them again to make sure I got my facts right or just to admire the historical footage of my favorite tanks. One of the videos I watched had extensive information on the Panzer III (German War Files – Panzer III Medium Tank).
It tells a great deal about the early development stages of this great tank and how it was used during the war. Here are some things that I found to be interesting enough to share with you all ^^:
- The original gun equipped on the Panzer III was the 37 mm PaK 36. It was so ineffective against British Matilda IIs and French Char B1s that German tank crew called it the “army’s doorknocker”! lol lol lol
- Hitler ordered the German ordnance office to equip the Panzer III with the long barreled 50 mm L/60 gun but his order was ignored!!! Hitler later found out about this disobedience in February 1941 i.e. 4 months before the invasion of Soviet Union. Many historians agree that this did have a sizable impact on Germany’s chance to win the war.
- General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps used the Panzer III extensively as its main battle tank to combat the British.
The “doorknocker” part totally made me laugh because I could completely empathize with the German tank crew who trembled at how their so-called armor piercing shells simply bounced off of Matilda tanks and Char B1 Bis tanks.Thanks to World of Tanks Blitz, I could experience first-hand how it feels to drive around in an effective tank and go up against heavily armored opponents. I remember the time when I drove my brand new Panzer III and went head on against a Soviet KV1 tank. All of my shots bounced off from the front. Only when I used APCR shells could I actually penetrate the rear armor reliably. Now, WOT Blitz is obviously a game so my frustrations ended there but can you imagine how horrible it would have been for the actual tank crew who fought in the war? Each shell missed or bounced could very well mean their deaths! If you don’t know what I am talking about, please watch the highly controversial battle scene in Fury, in which 3 M4A3E8 Sherman tanks fight against a single Tiger I tank. Anyone who has played WOT Blitz or any decent tank battle simulation games before would definitely agree that nothing feels worse than seeing your own shells bounce off harmlessly.
So with such inferior tanks, how did these German tank crew members defeat the monster tanks? Well, according to the documentary, they used special charges (most likely APCR shells) and with help from other weapons like the highly effective FlaK 88 and artillery firing directly. Of course, there were not enough of them to make a sufficient difference but it at least provided an effective means to destroy enemy armor when encountered. In most situations, their superior tactical expertise and the Soviet’s relative lack of skills allowed them to overwhelm the enemy.
This brings up another point that I want to mention. Contrary to popular belief, German tanks were not all that superior (I know, I know, the Tiger Tank was a great tank). As demonstrated in history countless times, German tanks often lacked sufficient firepower or armor to compete effectively against other tanks. Still, it was the exceptional skills of the crew that won the day for the Panzers. So for all those of you guys who complain about how the Tiger I is so weak and how Panzer IV has paper armor, I want to humbly advise you to learn how to use the said tank FIRST. Learn it inside and out to get familiar with its quirks; treat the tank like a person that you are trying to get to know better. You must become comfortable using the vehicle 100%. Now obviously this requires a ton of practice. If you are the sort of player who is concerned with win rates, then I recommend that you create a practice account.
Good luck to y’all!