WOT Blitz: Panzer IV Schmalturm Review

Greetings fellow tank commanders!

One of the things I enjoy quite a lot about World of Tanks Blitz is how Wargaming allows us to drive prototype tanks that never saw actual combat. One such tank is the Panzer IV Schmalturm premium tank. Before I delve into this tank’s innate characteristics, I want to discuss how important the Panzer IV was to the Wehrmacht during WW2. General Heinz Guderian, the father of the German Armoured Forces, called the Panzer IV the “workhorse” of the Panzerwaffe. Classified as a medium tank, it was an integral component in most, if not all, Panzer divisions. Originally developed as an infantry support tank, as shown in my review of the Panzer IV Ausf. A, it was equipped with the short 75 mm howitzer to destroy enemy infantry and fortifications. Thanks to its large hull and better structural integrity, the Panzer IV enjoyed extensive developmental potential not present in the Panzer III. As the Germans encountered heavier Soviet and Allied armour on the battlefield, the High Command saw fit to upgrade the Panzer IV in armour protection and in firepower. Now, I will give you a review of the Panzer IV Schmalturm.

Panzer IV S Front View
A distinct Schmalturm turret mounted on a Schurzen-equipped Panzer IV chassis. Note the 75 mm KwK 44/L70 cannon manufactured by Rheinmetall-Borsig. Gefechtsbereit! ^^
Panzer IV S Side View
Please note that while I am a Star Wars fan, I do not particularly like this Schurzen mesh pattern. From what I’ve heard, this extra side armor does not protect the tank from HEAT and HE shells. Note how really long the gun barrel is. In fact, the principle reason why this tank never managed to enter the factories for production was because the gun and the turret were simply too heavy for the Panzer IV chassis to endure.
Panzer IV S Rear View
Clean neat rear with two straight exhaust pipes. Exactly the way I want it ^^

 

ARMOUR 

Panzer IV S Armour Stats
HP: 950, Hull Armour (Front): 80 mm, Hull Armour (Side): 30 mm, Hull Armour (Rear): 20 mm, Turret Armour (Front): 120 mm, Turret Armour (Side & Rear): 60 mm

If you look at the hull armour stats of the Tier 5 Panzer IV, you’ll notice that the Panzer IV S hull armour is exactly the same. With thin side armour of 30 mm, you might think that side-scraping is not possible. However, if you manage to side-scrape at an extreme angle of 80 degrees, you can achieve a relative thickness of 173 mm, which can bounce many shots from other tier 6 tanks such as KV-1S and Churchill VII. Still, against tanks with powerful guns such as the Tiger I and IS, it is very much advised not to side-scrape as they will penetrate most of the time.

From the stats diagram above, you can see that the tank’s turret armour is quite thick with 120 mm in the front and 60 mm in the sides. Naturally, you should always look for hull-down positions by exploiting the terrain to conceal your vulnerable hull. Can your commander’s hatch be penetrated? No need to worry as this hatch is nigh impenetrable and too small for many tanks to actually hit it.

 

FIREPOWER (75 mm KwK 44/L70)

Panzer IV S Firepower Stats
AP Shell Damage: 120 ~ 200, AP Shell Penetration: 113 ~ 188 mm, Shots per minute: 11.54, Aiming Time: 1.9 seconds, Dispersion per 100 m: 0.35, View Range: 240 m, Ammo Capacity: 60 rounds

The gun is what makes this tank so excellent. With a short aiming time of 1.9 seconds and a dispersion of 0.35, you can land shots where you want to almost all the time. Yes, the alpha damage is a bit lacking and this can be a problem when you have to trade HP with monster tanks like the KV-1S and KV-2. In order for you to win engagements against such tanks, it is better to stay at a long distance and snipe away at these tanks. In terms of penetration, this tank does well so you won’t have to use APCR rounds too often. Using mostly normal AP rounds will certainly help you earn more credits over time.

 

MOBILITY

Panzer IV S Mobility Stats
Weight: 30.75 tons, Horsepower: 440, Top Speed: 44, Hull Traverse: 34 degrees per second, Turret Traverse: 24 degrees per second

Mobility is not this tank’s strongest suit; in fact, it is its weakness. You should not attempt to climb steep hills with this tank as it is equipped with a Tier 4 engine. However, do not think that this tank is a snail because its top speed does reach a reasonable 44 km/h in favorable terrain. This means that you should always be aware of your surrounding environment when engaging enemy tanks. For instance, don’t go down a hill on an impulse as it will take you quite a bit of time to climb back up. Its turret traverse and hull traverse aren’t very good either so you may occasionally see seasoned players trying to pull of a circle-of-death. This is why it is imperative to keep your distance from the enemy.

 

LOGISTICS

Panzer IV S Equipment Configuration
Improved Ventilation, Coated Optics, Enhanced Gun Rammer

Ventilation should be self-explanatory because your crew performance will improve across the board. Coated Optics should improve your initial view range of 240 m to 264 m even when moving, thereby allowing you to see further and detect enemy tanks. The Panzer IV S already has an awesome rate of fire but you probably want to maximize it even further with this Enhanced Gun Rammer.

In terms of ammunition, I carry:

Panzer IV A Ammunition Config
AP: 40 rounds, APCR: 15 rounds, HE: 5 rounds

As I mentioned before, the good penetration of the Panzer IV Schmalturm’s gun allows you to not depend on APCR. Although if you have a premium account, you can use a lot of APCR and still make a handsome profit. However, you will need a few APCR rounds when you get into a tight situation and you need to make a last stand. Certain tanks like the Tiger Porsche and AT 7 have very thick armour that can bounce your AP rounds when angled. APCR rounds on the Panzer IV S allows up to 194 mm of penetration. Even the great AT 7 would be vulnerable to this level of penetration in its gun mantlet area. And as mentioned countless times before, HE rounds are for resetting base cap.

Since update 2.8, you can now purchase provisions such as engine oil, protection kit and chocolate (for German tank crew). For these items, I find that unless you are really cash-strapped, it is always a good idea to give your tank crew the best possible provisions to maximize your chance of winning. So, when it comes to provisions, I always choose the best possible. Regarding consumables, I carry the following:

Panzer IV S Consumables Configuration
Multi-Purpose Restoration Pack, Repair Kit, Adrenaline

Carrying an extra Repair kit is quite important as you need to quickly duck into cover when the enemy breaks your tracks. Adrenaline and the Enhanced Gun Rammer should work wonders when you have to put your gun to work. It should make short work of any enemy tank provided that you have good line of sight.

 

DANGEROUS TANKS

Obviously, you should watch out for every tank as you don’t know who is behind its wheel. However, I find the following four tanks to be particularly dangerous.

Jagdpanther
Jagdpanther: Bouncy frontal and side armour can be quite annoying especially when angled. Its 105 mm gun has a penetration of 60 mm with its HE shell. Remember your side armour is only 30 mm thick? Each HE shell from this monster will deal 420 damage. So watch out!
SU-152
SU-152: 152 mm of HE Derp! Each HE shell will deal 910 damage. Your HP pool is only 950. Obviously you want to hide if this thing is aiming at you.
KV-1S
KV-1S: This Soviet tank has a 122 mm howitzer. It can deal up to 450 damage per shot. Stay at distance if you are engaging this tank as it has poor accuracy.
KV-2
KV-2: Every time I see that humongous turret, I can’t help trembling with fear. 152 mm howitzer will deal 910 damage per HE shell. Keep moving as its accuracy is very poor.

 

CONCLUSION

Panzer IV Schmalturm is an excellent premium tank that comes with a Star Wars themed camouflage skin. If you want a capable Tier 6 German medium tank, you should keep a close eye on the news to see if Wargaming is offering this tank again. Hope you found this review useful!

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