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German AFV interiors:

Panzer 38t.4-17 Panzer II........................................................................18-35 Panzer III ausf.J..........................................................36-69 Stug.III...........................................................................70-91 Panzer IV...................................................................92-140 Panther......................................................................141-148 Jagdpanther.............................................................149-179 Jagdtiger.................................................................180-220 Ferdinand/Elefant.................................................221-249 Maus.........................................................................250-277

Russian AFV interiors:

BT-7..........................................................................278-289 T-34............................................................................289-311 IS-2.............................................................................312-335 ISU-152.....................................................................336-339

Czech Light Tank, LT vz. 38, Pz.Kpfw. 38(t)

Picture 1: Prior to the outbreak of World War II, there were two primary tank manufacturers in Czechoslovakia, Skoda of Pilsen and CKD (Ceskomoravska Kolben Danek) in Prague, this later being actually a consortium of smaller companies. The LT vz.38 was a development continuation by CKD of their LTL-P (TNHS) light tank, a design project produced initially with good export success. The LT vz.38 was put into production for the Czech Army in late 1938 and when Germany annexed Bohemia and Moravia the following spring, the Wehrmacht was so interested in the LT vz.38 that a HeersWaffenamt-Prag was established in Czechoslovakia to continue the manufacture and modification of the vehicle for the occupying Army's use. CKD was subsequently renamed BMM (Bohmisch-Mahrische-Maschinenfabrik), and by the time of the German invasion of France in 1940, the small tank had been fully integrated into the 7th and 8th Panzer Divisions as one of their primary weapons. As the war worn on and new more powerful AFV designs surpassed the LT vz.38, the proven chassis was modified to produce a number of self-propelled guns and tank destroyers, including the well-known Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer. This is a factory photo of an Ausf.E Pz.Kpfw.38(t) vehicle. These later models can be identified by the thicker driver's and radio operator's viewer covers.

Picture 2: The driver and hull machine gunner/radio operator sat in the front hull (driver to the right) of the LT vz.38. The original Czech design placed only one crewman up in the turret, sitting in a sling seat behind the gun, and this tank commander was expected to load, aim, and fire the main gun, as well as command the vehicle. When the Germans took over production, they modified the turret crew workload by adding a loader in the right side of the turret (removing some ammo storage to make room), thereby reducing the commander's duties to gunner and track commander. Although the turret was crowded, both crewmen were provided with leather turret seats that were suspended by support tubes from the turret ring. There was no turret basket or floor in the tank during its combat use in WWII. The Praga engine is mounted in the rear of the AFV, behind a firewall that is 5mm thick and composed of steel, asbestos and aluminum plates. The vehicle's armor plate is bolted and riveted to an angle iron frame and all plates are flat rolled armor, with the exception of the turret sides and rear, which were curved plates. The driver steers the vehicle by a system of two horizontal levers that angle out from the centrally mounted transmission/gear box. These levers attach to links that lead directly to the epicyclic gears and brake units mounted to the final drive. A ball-mounted hull machine gun in the front plate is of the same type as the coaxial MG located up in the turret, a ZB vz.37 heavy MG (7.92mm); the main turret weapon is a Czech 37.2mm cannon. As you can see from the drawing, the radiator assembly is behind the engine, and at the very rear of the vehicle can be seen the cooling fan.

Picture 3: The seats for the driver and hull machine gunner are clear in this over-head drawing. You can also follow the drive shaft as it leaves the rear-mounted Praga TNHPS engine through the fighting compartment bulkhead and joins the Praga-Wilson gearbox mounted to the floor between the front seats. The steering levers are seen angling out from the top of the gearbox, with connecting links to the covers of the planetary gears. The small box to the right of the engine is the air cleaner (most vehicles had cylindrical cleaner housings at this time), with the intake manifold pipe leading from the cleaner to the side-mounted carburetor. The large box to the left of the engine is the battery box. The exhaust is seen exiting the engine pistons and leading to the rear mounted silencer/muffler. Suspension is by leaf springs, and they are seen mounted outside the vehicle along each side. The earliest versions of the LT vz.38 (Ausf. A-D) were nearly identical inside, differing only in the German radio sets and other electrical equipment. The positive contributions of the early Ausf. A vehicles in the Polish campaign convinced the Germans of the AFV's quality and strongly influenced their decision to continue its production.

Picture 4: This and the following series of photos come from the British evaluation of an captured early Ausf.A-D vehicle with a staggered front plate in front of the driver and machine gunner. Unfortunately, the unique steering levers are difficult to see in this particular photo over at the driver's position on the right. The left steering lever ends just to the right of the transmission cover and the right lever traverses under the driver's vision block and can be barely seen at the right. Down below are the clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals, with the parking brake lever visible along the right hull side. Above is the early 203mm x 82mm episcope vision block mounting with a padded frame (19). From the Ausf.E on, this episcope was replaced with the German Sehklappe 50, or Observation Port 50. The armored outside shutter was closed with the small handle you see on the left. A fixed episcope of a similar but smaller type is seen to the right on the right hull wall, and next to that, but closer to us, is an intercom connect box To the right of the driver's front episcope is a small vertical panel with a few lights and buttons (20, 21, 22, 64). This is a simple communication system that connecting the commander/gunner in the turret with the driver. Red, blue, and green lights (20), along with accompanying push buttons (21), allowed the commander to indicate to the driver when to turn and in which direction (using a predetermined color code). When the Germans began to use the tank in their own Panzer Divisions, the normal German internal radio intercom system was used (Fu.2 and/or Fu.5) and this light system was ignored, or used as a backup. To the right of the smaller machine gunner's vision block (15) is the hull MG mounting (17), with telescope sight mounted to the upper left and wooden control handles to either side of the receiver. The machine gunner has no vision block on the left side of the hull. Notice the long cable running from the MG to the driver's left steering lever- this Bowden cable was a remote control that allowed the driver to fire the MG from his position when it was locked in its ball mount. Positioned on the front plate over the transmission is a small interior light (18) of the type first seen in these vehicles. There is a small over-head hatch on the ceiling over the machine gunner/radio operator, but it is not seen in our illustrations.

The central gearbox is a pre-selector type, similar to the Wilson unit used by Britain designers in their tanks between wars, but improved in this license-built version. Preselector gearboxes are operated by pushing the gearshift to the required gear (5 forward choices in the LT vz.38) and then depressing the clutch, which would then engage the gear selected. Note also the large leather pad to the right of the driver on the hull wall and the use of an angle iron frame for armor attachment at the hull corners, best seen in the machine gunner's area. The turret has been traversed to the rear for this photo, and some of the ammo storage in the bustle can be seen at the top of the image.

Picture 5: A closer look at the driver's area shows a bit more detail, including the steering levers and their control rods leading over to the attachment on the top of the transmission case off to the left. The driver's vision flap is also clearer. This flap could be opened for a better view out the front of the tank, and the glass episcope vision block was replaceable. Here, the block is almost completely obscured behind the leather face pad

surrounding the block mounting. The control pedals at the driver's feet are also clear now, as well as the drive shaft running from this side of the steering box across to the front reduction gears attached to this right side's drive sprocket. The parking brake lever engaged both brakes, thereby locking the transmission. Speaking of transmissions, the gearshift lever is also visible at the left, situated on top of the transmission case, and you can see that there has been some attempt to protect the driver from the hot gearbox by using sheet metal heat shields around the case. The edge of an AP ammo box for the main gun is seen to the lower right, and at the upper right is the intercom box again.

Picture 6: A similar crop and enlargement shows the machine gunner's position in the hull. Again, notice the heat shield on the side of the transmission facing the gunner. The attachments of the driver's steering levers are now visible at the right edge of the photo on top of the gearbox, and the connecting rod leading from the left steering handle leading over to the brakes on the left side of the transmission and drive shaft are also visible. Note the ZB vz.37 heavy MG (7.92mm) and its ball mount. If the gun looks familiar, it was the basis for the famous British BESA MG; in my opinion, the ZB vz.37 is probably the finest machine gun used during WWII. The Czechoslovakian ZB vz.37 was designed and manufactured by the Zbrojovka Brno factory (that explains the "ZB" in the name) from 1937 to 1945, and was designed as a heavy support weapon. It was

chambered for the 7.92mm Mauser cartridge, was belt fed, and had an adjustable rate of fire of either 500 or 700 rounds per minute. The telescopic sight is mounted in the ball mount to the upper left of the MG, and the wooden control handles for the MG mount can be seen angling out to either side under the gun. These are mounted on hinges that allow the handles to be raised or lowered, depending on the gunner's need. Also note the remote firing cable snaking its way from the driver's left steering lever over to the rear of the MG and its firing lever. His forward vision block is also visible, again with a replaceable protective glass block, and a forehead bump pad above the block. Like the driver's vision flap, this flap can also be opened to provide an unrestricted view forward. The large padded seat cushions appear to be attached to the seat frame with straps.

Picture 7: This is the view of the right side of the hull, with the driver's seat to the far left and his right hull side episcope (33) visible on the wall. Headroom for both the front seaters is at a premium, and pads are mounted above both positions to reduce injuries from head banging. Recall that there is a hatch directly over the machine gunner's position. Directly behind the driver's seat is a characteristically shaped ammo box (24) for 37mm rounds for the main gun with a spare MG barrel (36) strapped just below, and a red fire extinguisher (35) mounted directly behind. Two other 37mm ammo boxes (24) are strapped to the floor below, and the forward/rear adjustment for the driver's seat is seen below and behind the bottom seat cushion. On the floor at the firewall are smaller MG ammo boxes (1), each of 18 boxes on board had 300 belted rounds of ammo, and along the bottom of the photo is the sheet metal tunnel for the drive shaft. You can also see the turret power slip ring (37) on the floor and the electrical conduit angling up toward us. The Praga engine on the other side of the firewall to the right is a 6-cylinder, water-cooled, gasoline type of 126hp at 2,2000rpm. Maximum speed for the AFV is around 42km/h and the total range (with

two tanks of gasoline located under the engine) is close to 250km. Slightly more than 1,400 vehicles were completed between 1939 and 1942, most going to German units during the first half of the war.

Picture 8: Although this photo is slightly overexposed, it shows some of the detail of the rear of the fighting compartment. Both the commander/gunner's and the loader's seats (13, 11) are seen suspended on dark green tubes from the turret ring. There are two access hatches through the firewall into the engine compartment, one to the right and one to the left. Mounted on the hatch to our left is a universal wrench tool (10) and next to that is a small control panel for engine fuel pumps and valves. Centrally located on the back wall is a first aid kit (8), and to the right is the second engine access hatch. A simple wooden grating covers the floor in these photos, and the ammo boxes (1, 7) fit into sheet metal bins with large holes in the bin sides to reduce weight. The drive shaft tunnel is seen again below with ammo boxes stowed underneath and to the side (1), and a canvas/leather tool bag is rolled and strapped to the rear wall (12). For some reason, we can once again see the rear of the turret, but the two turret seats are visible only in this photo. Notice that in both photographs that show the turret bustle (this and Picture 4), the rear turret 37mm ammo rack is visible at the top of the photos. But only this image shows the two seats installed. Does this mean the turret seats were not bolted to the turret ring, but merely hung onto it and removed at will? Or have the seats been unbolted and removed to better see the detail in Picture 4?

Picture 9: The left side of the hull is similar to the right, with unique slant-sided 37mm ammo boxes (24, 60) strapped to the wall and traditional-shaped MG ammo boxes (1) along the base of the fire-wall at the left. One of the turret seats (11) hangs down near the center, behind the hull machine gunner's seat, and the sight for his MG (27), as well as the two wooden stabilization handles (26), are visible to the far right. I believe the brackets (29) on the hull wall to the left of the seat support the radio when installed. Notice again the Bowden cable enabling the driver to control MG firing, and the wooden grating down on the floor. When fired by the driver, the MG would be locked into a forward aiming position and the driver could direct his fire by using an aiming rod erected on the front glacis in front of his viewing window, and simply turning the tank. The machine gunner was also the radio operator, the original Czech radio being the vz.37 set, a telegraph type with a range of about 4km. Both the transmitter RV16 and receiver P27 were mounted in an aluminum box on the left side of the hull, just behind the hull machine gunner (off frame at the top of this photo and not visible). Interior wall paint in Czech vehicles was predominately white during the war, while the floors and transmission housings have been seen painted a dark green, or occasionally, black. The one restored and repainted vehicle I have seen in Eastern Europe has black leather seats and bump padding as well as steel colored drive shaft tunnel and final drive components. But whether this is a copy of the original paint or a decision of the museum staff is unknown.

Picture 10: We are in the turret now and looking to the rear. Again, this photo is from the German version of an operator's manual, but the image is closely cropped to show the detail. The commander's fixed cupola, located off center to the left in the turret roof, is seen here at the upper portion of the photo. The non-rotating cupola has four episcopes, one on each side, and the front one is adjustable in elevation and has a slightly larger mounting with bigger surrounding head bump pad. Here we can see the right cupola periscope, labeled "Sehklappe, rechts", and the rear one directly facing us. I had to overexpose the image a bit to get some detail to show up, but unfortunately that also washed out the upper right corner of the image. Between all four periscopes are padded leather head padding; the pad between the right periscope and the rear periscope is clearly visible, but the pad between the rear periscope and the left periscope should be in the upper right corner of the image, but has been lost to overexposure. Slightly forward and to the left of the cupola is an opening in the turret roof for attaching a monocular 2.6X periscope for the commander-- the periscope tube and viewer is just beyond the edge of the picture to our right. You can usually see the projecting tube and head of this periscope above the turret roof in period photos of the tank. It was designed to be so tall so that it could view the surroundings over the commander's cupola. Altogether, there were typically fifteen 37mm ammo boxes (magazines) carried in the tank, with six shells in each case (90 rounds total). The magazines have carrying handles made from OD green webbing, and the magazines that were loaded with AP rounds are usually painted with a white stripe around the center of the ammo can, as you may have seen in some of the previous photos. The center section of the shelf rack in this photo is made of wood and contains drawers with small tools for servicing the guns. The black box with holes mounted on the turret roof at the upper left is another storage

rack/bin for a 37mm magazine.

Picture 11: This operator's manual photo is taken through the empty front turret mantlet opening, looking at the left front side of the turret. The black turret traverse handwheel for the commander/gunner is clearly seen and the turret lock is to the far left, along the turret ring. Above the handwheel are the three lights/buttons for communication with the driver that I mentioned earlier. The turret is hand traversed, usually using this handwheel. It can also be rotated by disengaging this mechanism and traversed by pushing it around by hand. Elevation for the gun is by either a horizontally mounted handwheel under the left side of the gun mount (as seen in later photos) or by using a shoulder brace, as was typical for US and British guns of this size. The turret has been conveniently rotated to the rear so we can also see down below to the driver's position, and his communication light box, seen at the lower left corner of the picture. Also visible here are his right side vision flap, and the conduit bringing power up into the turret from the slip ring we saw earlier mounted on the floor. This conduit ends at the forward edge of the turret lip, under the gun. Up above the communication light panel is the cylinder mount for the commander's roof periscope, but the periscope does not appear to have been installed, unfortunately. There were approximately 150 Ausf.A vehicles produced in late 1939, 325 Ausf.B, C and D made in 1940, 525 Ausf.E and F vehicles produced in late 1940 and throughout 1941, and 90 Ausf.G tanks built through the end of 1941. Each model was modified a bit more under German direction, but the basic design remained relatively unchanged. Armor thickness was gradually increased until it could no longer be justified to continue using the AFV as a battle tank. Then the conversions to various successful gun platforms began.

Picture 12: The 25mm thick front mantlet plate, with the guns installed, took up most of the room in the turret. The 37mm main gun (on the far side) is the Skoda 37mm A7 (3.7cm UV vz.38) with an elevation of +25 to -10 degrees in its mount. The "UV" in the weapon designation refers to "Utocna Vozba", Armored Vehicle. AP rounds fired from this weapon are recorded to defeat 50mm of vertical armor at 500m, and 30mm armor at 30 degrees obliquity at 900m. The breech is a quick-firing semi-automatic falling type, allowing around 15 rounds to be fired per minute. Initially, the recoil cylinder was mounted below the weapon, but by the time the Ausf.B was produced, it had been placed on top of the barrel. Firing range is around 4,000m with the HE and roughly half that with AP. The coaxial MG is the same ZB vz.37 as seen earlier in the front hull, both of them mounted in ball mountings allowing a 27 degree swing angle of fire. Note the coax MG ball mount, exactly the same, including a telescopic sight, as used down in the hull machine gunner's position. Like the hull gunner's MG mount, the turret coaxial MG could be locked in place (to fire with the 37mm weapon) or unlocked to be aimed and fired independently. Ammo belts were fed from their boxes into both MGs from the right through a loading chute and aiming for all weapons was by the separate lighted telescopes you have seen with 2.6X magnification and a 25 degree field of view. Interestingly, the main gun could also be aimed over open sights by lifting a small viewing cover in the mantlet. When using the telescopic sight in the roof, the commander/gunner elevated the weapons with the hand wheel or his shoulder and traversed the turret with the traverse hand wheel, well positioned at his left. Generally, the A7 is said to have better performance statistics than the German 3.7cm Mk. 35/36 gun, although there are photos of German vehicles that have German 3.7cm guns mounted in the turret. Spent shells fell into a canvas/leather bag below the breech and the coax ZB vz.37 also had a small spent shell bag mounted below. This German manual picture shows the telescopic sights mounted and the shoulder brace for the 37mm gun to the far left.

Picture 13: This is a view of a similar, but slightly different, mounting for the Skada A7, showing the telescopic sight to better advantage and the flat elevation hand wheel with palm switch below. As I mentioned earlier, the elevation wheel mechanism could be disengaged and the gun elevated by the shoulder brace when desired. Notice the recoil spring housing at the top of the gun and the recoil shield to protect the crew located behind the weapon. In German service the gun was known as the 3.7cm KwK38(t)(A7)L/47.8. It fired both Panzergranate 39 (Pzgr.) and Pzgr.40 ammo, the later with a muzzle velocity of over 1,000m/s. Pzgr. was the main AP round used in WWII and was an armor piercing projectile containing a small HE charge that exploded after penetration. Pzgr.40 ammo had a small, very hard tungsten-carbide core surrounded by a mild steel covering. When the target was hit, only the core penetrated the armor, providing devastating results inside the AFV. Due to its particular ballistic characteristics, Pzgr.40 could only be used (with any accuracy) up to about 1,000m, and actually lost most of its penetration qualities over 500m.

Picture 14: The Praga powerplant was originally designed to be used as a truck engine, and in this AFV it was mounted along the center line, in the rear of the hull. It was cooled by a finned centrifugal fan, driven through a Rzeppa universal joint from the crankshaft, which then forced cooling air through the rear-mounted radiator. Cooling air was drawn through the firewall bulkhead from the fighting compartment and from a mushroom shaped louver over the engine bay. The cooling air was then forced out through an opening in the rear top plate, which can be closed for protection or in cold weather by sliding a thin

armor plate over the opening. Twin fuel tanks are mounted low on either side of the engine, and a special belly armor plate directly below is attached with a few small bolts to allow it to blow out if there is a fuel tank explosion. In this photo of the engine compartment, taken through the opened right side access hatch, you can see the cylindrical air cleaner covers and the steel colored intake manifold stretching horizontally across the cylinder head. To the left is the exhaust manifold looping over the top rear of the engine and heading out to the exhaust pipe/muffler mounted on the outside of the rear plate to the left. The small filler cap seen just above the exhaust pipe is the cap for the radiator, which is hidden from view to the left off in the shadows. Both sides of the engine deck open like this, allowing excellent access to most components. As with all AFV designs, the LT vz.38 had its good and bad points depending on which report you read. The British panned the vehicle when the Czechs originally shipped one to them for trials and examination in the mid 1930s. On the other hand, German crews greatly appreciated its automotive reliability, handling, and 37mm weapon, deeming it superior to their own Pz.I, II and early IIIs in many respects during the first years of the war. However, it was not a design that could be easily upgraded, and the 38(t) soon fell prey to the need for increased armor protection and larger, more powerful main guns. If you have additional information about this vehicle's interior that you would like to share, particularly concerning the engine and drive train, I would be very interested in hearing from you and enlarging this web page. This is an ongoing project, and hopefully the page will grow with time. (c) 2003, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzer II Light Tank (Sd.Kfz.121), Part 1, Revised September 20, 2002
Picture 1: Re-armament in Germany was increasing in importance by 1934, and the Heerswaffenant (Army Weapons Branch) issued a request for designs for a more powerfully armed light tank needed to supplement the small LaS vehicles (Pz.I). Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nrnberg (MAN) was subsequently chosen to develop the new chassis while Daimler-Benz worked on the superstructure and turret, although eventually Henschel, Wegmann, Alkett, Muhlenbau-Industrie AG (MIAG), and Fahrzeug und Motorenbau GmbH (FAMO) were all involved with Pz.II manufacture. Evolving through a number of development types (Ausf.a1, a2, a3, b, and c), production began in earnest with the Ausf.A (notice the capital "A") in 1937 and was followed by minor changes in the Ausf.B and C. The Pz.II in the Imperial War Museum photo is one of these standard production vehicles, uparmored with additional armor plates (notice the applique mantlet armor, for instance). It is a vehicle that belonged to the 21st Panzer Division and was abandoned during the North African Operation Crusader battles at the end of 1941. The Pz.II Ausf.D was a bit different from the Ausf.A-C. It was introduced at the same time as the Ausf.C but was designed for fast cavalry work. It had a redesigned hull and superstructure and, for the first time, a torsion bar suspension. Even though the Ausf.D had an increased maximum speed of 55kmh, there were only 43 of them produced, seeing action only in Poland as far as I can tell. By March of 1940 the vehicles had been converted to Flammpanzer (Flame-throwing tank). The final version of the Pz.II was the Ausf.F, again a refinement of the original design, and it included a new more powerful engine along with other minor improvements. The Ausf.F was manufactured solely by FAMO of Breslau and also saw action in North Africa and on the Eastern Front. Production of the Pz.II ended in 1942 after realization that the tank was both too lightly

armored and armed, although the proven automotive chassis continued to be built for other uses until later in the war. The bewildering number of exterior variations on the Pz.II design from Ausf.a through Ausf.F (particularly involving the running gear) has provided military vehicle historians with a real identification challenge. But the nine-ton AFV's three-man interior changed very little throughout the vehicle's production and is easy to study, if you have basic references.

Picture 2: This is an existing drawing of a Panzerkampf wagen II Ausf.c, the interior arrangement being very similar to most of the production versions of the Pz.II (Ausf.A, B, C, and F). The driver sat to the left in the front of the hull, but because the hull was narrow the right side was taken by the large transmission. The superstructure could be unbolted and removed, and the front plate (in front of the driver) contained the driver's armored visor flap and removable glass block. There were also two holes bored through the armor above the flap that allowed the use of a binocular periscope when the vision flap was closed in combat. One identifying feature of the first Ausf.A-C is that the front armor plate on the early vehicles was angled back on the right side (in front of the transmission) and a second visor flap, a dummy, was located on this angled plate. When the later Ausf.F was designed, this front armor plate was changed to one continuos straight plate that extended across the width of the vehicle. It did, however, still feature a dummy aluminum vision flap in front of the transmission, apparently to draw enemy fire toward that side and away from the driver's visor. The dummy visor has also confused AFV enthusiasts and scholars for years, suggesting that a second crewman was located in the bow of the Pz.II. But of course, there was no one there. The same hull/chassis was used in a conversion called the Marder II, when a large 7.5cm gun was mounted on the hull for the purpose of tank killing. Our pages on the Marder II, found elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS, provides additional information regarding the drive train and other interior components in the bow of the vehicle.

Off to the right side of the hull is the fuel tank with two fuel filler necks rising up to where the top of the superstructure deck would be; these filler pipes are best seen in the top drawing. The second crewman's seat (the radio operator) is located at the left rear of the fighting compartment-- in this case the seat is shown facing to the rear in the bottom drawing. At that position he has another armored visor flap on the back superstructure plate allowing a view out over the engine deck. There is a round air filter canister shown at the right-rear corner of the compartment, next to the radio operator. The engine is located in the rear on the right hand side of the hull, with its radiator and fan to the left. The third and final crewman in the machine was the commander who manned the oneman turret, his seat attached to the rear of the turret lip and rotating with it.

Picture 3: All models of the Pz.II (Ausf.A-F) were powered by a similar engine, the Ausf.A, B, and C using the 140hp, water-cooled HL62TR engine and the Ausf.D and E the slightly more powerful HL62TRM. But Ausf.A, B, C and F used a 6-speed ZF SSG 46 gearbox, while the Ausf.D and E used a Maybach Variorex VG unit, providing seven forward speeds and three reverse. This factory photo shows the right side of the production hull with the armored superstructure unbolted and removed. To the lower left is the driver's seat, and to his right is the ZF SSG gearbox with its driveshaft tunnel extending from the gearbox to the rear-mounted engine clearly visible (off to the far right). The hatch on the curved front glacis plate is the driver's hatch; there is also one on the turret roof for the commander/gunner. At the far side of the hull is the 170 liter (37gal) fuel tank that we saw in the previous drawing, and in the right-rear corner of the fighting compartment is the air cleaner for the engine. To the lower right is the radio operator's seat, this time shown facing forward, and there is a shelf for the radio on top of the left sponson. The dark shape over the drive shaft is a typical German AFV fire extinguisher in its bracket, and above it, to the left, is a leather case for vehicle operating manuals and maps. To the right of the leather case is a storage box for 20mm magazines. I am not

sure what the tall basket next to the air cleaner would contain-- it may have been a receiver for spent shells, or perhaps a bin for signal flag stowage. Let's take a closer look at this side of the hull, first examining the transmission area.

Picture 4: The ZF transmission is clearer in this enlargement and there appears to be an oil can on the top of the case. Although it is a bit hard to see, the shift lever is on this side of the transmission case, rising from close to the floor level and angling forward before ending in a handle. The handle is visible next to the driver's right grab handle. Unfortunately, both of the steering levers have been pushed so far forward that they are out of sight. The driver's seat back is visible, and the top of the large toolbox next to his seat is also clear. Between the toolbox and the radio speaker box are two spare glass vision blocks. On the far side of the hull is a small instrument panel, sitting above another toolbox, this one not labeled. To the right of this white toolbox is the angled front of the fuel tank. Mounted on this angled panel are what appears to be another spare vision block, and a case for spare MG34 barrels ("MG-Laufbehalter"). On the side of the fuel tank facing us is a dark leather satchel and to the right is another stowage box, this one contains accessories for the 2cm weapon ("Zubehorkasten fr 2cm"). Below this toolbox is a very dark fire extinguisher in a bracket, wedged between the toolbox and driveshaft, and although it is hard to see, the battery box is located below the driveshaft. The main instrument panel for the driver is mostly out of sight on top of the gearbox, but the large characteristic

German AFV speedometer dial is clearly visible on the right side of the panel.

Pict ure 5: Thi s enla rge me nt sho ws the righ trear area of the figh ting co mp art me nt in the Pz.II. The large can-type oil-bath air filter ("Luftfilter") sits upright on the other side of the storage basket. The air intake pipe goes from the filter to the carbouretor on the intake manifold, disappearing briefly behind the oil reservoir tank on the other side of the firewall. On this side of the basket is the radio operator's seat, here facing forward, and we can see the top of the radio cabinet at the bottom of the picture. The two small boxes on top of the radio cabinet are the Morse Code key on the right and an intercom connection box on the left. The ammo drum for MG34 belted rounds is to the left of the cabinet, and the top of the radio speaker is at the lower-left corner.

Picture 6: This is the view of the left side of a production type Pz.II chassis. The 6-cylinder, inline, water-cooled Maybach engine is now clearly visible at our left, with the air hose from the filter in the fighting compartment passing through the firewall to the carburetor on top of the engine. The exhaust manifold and cylinder/valve cover are seen on the top of the engine. On the far side of the engine is the radiator and fan with shroud, and just forward of the firewall is the radio operator's seat, partially hidden by an oil reservoir tank, next to the engine. The empty boxes/cabinets for the radios are now better viewed on the far sponson wall. Notice that there are two boxes, one on the bottom that can hold two radios side by side and one on the top that can hold one. Early in the war the radio was typically just the Fu2 (receiver-- one box) or Fu5 (receiver and transmitter-- two boxes) for commander's vehicles. But as the war progressed, the typical radio set in the Pz.II became the Fu5, and unit commanders added another Fu2 set, requiring space for three radio boxes, as we see in this illustration. Just forward of the upper radio shelf is a speaker box for the radios. German AFV radios did not generally have a built-in speaker so one had to be set nearby. Further along the sponson is a larger box mounted on the wall next to the driver-- this is a toolbox. Some of the driver's position detail is also seen in this photograph, including two handholds in front that were welded to the chassis plates close to the point where the superstructure was bolted on. The driver steered the AFV with traditional tiller levers through a simple epicyclic clutch and brake system, and there are three floor pedals in front of the driver's seat, an accelerator, clutch, and brake. Pulling back on one of the steering levers first engaged the clutch that then slowed the drive sprocket on that side and initiated a turn. Pulling back further engaged the brake on the same side, and further enhanced the turn. Maximum road speed for the production Pz.II was around 40kph (25mph). Notice that the floor has a pronounced non-slip diamond pattern and that it is painted a dark color, perhaps the typical greenish gray we have seen in other panzers. The hull walls from the floor up are a lighter color, probably the typical ivory Elfenbein found in other German panzers built during most of the war.

Pict ure 7: The origi nal pictu re is not very clear , so there isn't muc h more to be seen in this section of the enlargement. There is an MG34 ammo drum holder to the right of the top radio box, between the box and the speaker box. Between the speaker box and the toolbox ("Werkzeugkasten") next to the driver's seat are two spare vision blocks. There are at least three large toolboxes in the hull, this is the only one that is painted a dark color in this particular vehicle. Some of the detail of the top of the gearbox next to the driver is a bit clearer, but most of the case is hidden behind this end of the fuel tank, although its filler tube and cap are now prominent.

Picture 8: The left side of the enlargement is a bit more illuminating where it shows the engine compartment. The exhaust manifold is clear on this side of the engine, with a port for each of the six in-line cylinders visible. The tube rising from just this side of the manifold is the oil dipstick-- there is a cap on the end that has a level indicator attached to it, like you find in modern vehicles. On the far side of the engine is the radiator and above this area is a grating in the armor deck allowing cooling air down to the radiator. The air is drawn in by the fan, which is located to the left of the radiator, here covered by a shroud at the upper-left corner of the enlargement. Also very clear here is the air intake piping for the carburetor, coming from the air filter hidden on the other side of the fuel tank filler neck, and arriving at the carb located on the left side of the engine valve cover.

Picture 9: And before we leave the hull to explore the turret, here is an image from the radio handbook showing

the installation of a Fu.5 radio on the left side of the hull. This is a slightly later radio installation than what we saw previously, and a larger mount and support are necessary for the larger Fu.5 radio boxes. The antenna and power cords are seen attached to the far right of the 10 W.S.c transmitter box on the right, while the U.kw.E.e receiver on the left has cords for headphones and speaker attachments. Recall that like most German AFV radio equipment in WWII, these boxes were typically painted gray and had black or dark gray faces with black knobs and electrical connectors. The Morse key is seen at the left end of the work shelf. At the upper left corner of the picture is the vision block cover for the viewer found on the back of the superstructure, over the engine deck. We will continue our exploration of the Pz.II with the turret in Part 2. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzer II Light Tank (Sd.Kfz.121), Part 2, Revised September 20, 2002

Picture 1: This is the second of a two-part series exploring the interior of the German Pz.II tank used in WWII. The turret of most of the Pz.II tanks housed only the commander/gunner and his armament consisting of a 2cm Kw.K.30 L/55 on his left, and a 7.92mm MG34 on his right. The Kw.K.30 was fed from a small ten-round box magazine because the standard magazine for the 2cm Flak 30 gun, which held 20 rounds, was too large for use in this turret. Like the Flak 30 gun, the Kw.K.30 was recoil operated, and when mounted in the Pz.II turret it was fully automatic, firing AP and HE rounds at around 280rpm. The 2cm Pzgr. AP projectiles could pierce 25mm of armor at 30 degrees obliquity at 400yds which was good enough to penetrate most light tanks at the time the Pz.II was designed. Later in the war its effectiveness was greatly reduced as enemy armor became thicker and the Pz.II was removed to purely reconnaissance and rear area duties. In this photo you can see the center mounted T.Z.F.4 sight with its 2.5x magnification and 25-degree field of view, complete with a brown forehead pad. The sight was used for both guns (they were coaxially mounted) and was range scaled to a maximum of 1,200 meters. The Kw.K.30 was fired by using a trigger on the elevating handwheel to

the left, and the MG34 by a trigger on the traversing wheel on the right. Elevation was possible by using a toothed support attached to the turret ceiling and by cranking the elevation handwheel the gun support would travel up and down this support. The traversing handwheel acted through a gearbox mounted on the lip of the turret in the normal way by engaging the gearing of the turret ring. It took around 90 turns of the handwheel for a full 360-degree turret rotation. If necessary, the traversing gear could be disengaged completely and the turret rotated by pushing it around manually on its ball bearings. Gun elevation for both weapons was limited to +20 to -9 degrees. This view of a later style turret shows the commander's cupola with its padded hatch pad and an opening lever to the upper-right of the hatch. I believe all Pz.II models sent to Africa had this new cupola added to the turret roof as well as modifications for tropicallization. These included holes cut in the engine deck for additional air circulation and increased radiator fan speed for improved water cooling.

Picture 2: The turret had no turret basket or floor, so the command er sat in a padded seat that was suspended by tubes ("Sttzroh r fr Turmsitz") from the rear of the turret ring. As I mentioned earlier, many vehicles were retrofitted with a commander's cupola by the spring of '41, which replaced the double door rectangular hatch of the earlier models. The new cupola included eight vision blocks-- the original hatch you see here only had a simple rotating periscope and did not provide enough of an outside view for the commander. Notice that the seat originally included a seatbelt ("Haltegurt") and that it was adjustable in height. The original turret roof hatch ("Turmlukendeckel") had a flare pistol flap in one of the doors and the flares were stored in a box ("Kasten fr Leuchtpatronen") on the rear of the turret lip. The turret traverse gearbox ("Turmschwenkwerk") is illustrated here also, as well as a storage box for spare glass vision blocks ("Kasten f. Reserveschutzglas u. Sehschlitzpanzer"). "Turmbeleuchtung" means turret light in English, "Sehklappe" is vision flap, "Rinne" is rain shield, "Trag-Haken" is lifting hook and "Kugellager" is the ball bearing race.

Picture 3: A picture of the rear of the turret provides some informati on about this area, particularl y concernin g storage of radio equipmen t. Both the commander's headphones and throat mikes are stored in the box you see hanging on the turret lip to our left of the seat support bracket, while to the right is an electrical junction box and the connect box for his radio gear. Up on the lip and to the upper right in the picture is the storage box we saw in the previous sketch for flair pistol rounds (Kasten fr Leuchtpatronen). To the left, and directly to the rear of the turret, are the viewing block mounts on the turret walls, including the head pads and port cover opening handles.

Picture 4: This is the front of the turret mantlet without weapons or sight installed. The large support mount for the Kw.K.30 is at the left, with the shelf for the box feed magazine to its left and angled slightly forward. Two direct viewing flaps were included in the gun mantlet, a larger one between the Kw.K.30 and sight, and a smaller one to the right. This second viewing flap had a hole bored in its lower right corner for the MG barrel, and when the flap was opened it allowed the MG to be fired over open sights. Each flap

was hinged at the top and opened with a push/pull handle that you can see here, the two handles appearing like white balls on the end of the opening lever. Although not depicted here, there was a gun travel lock for the K.wK.30 that connected between the weapon cradle and the turret roof. When the weapon was not in use, the travel lock was used to keep it from bouncing and loosing its alignment with the sight as the vehicle moved over rough ground. By April of 1940, around 1300 Pz.II chassis had been produced (Ausf.A, B and C = 1,100 vehicles), including those for flame-thrower vehicles as well as bridgelayers.

Picture 5: Like most German tank components, the elevation mechanism in the Pz.II was very well designed, perhaps over-designed. It consisted of a threaded rod surrounded by a cylinder attached to the ceiling on the left side of the 2cm gun, and a rotating follower surrounding the rod that attached directly to the gun cradle. The traverse handwheel at the bottom of the threaded rod rotated the rod through a series of gears, causing the follower surrounding the rod to rotate and raise or lower, pulling the attached gun mounts along with it. This is a common gun elevation system found in small turrets and weapons systems, but this particular German design avoided a couple of problems commonly seen in other vehicles. Other designs did not rotate the rod, but used it as a line of gearing that a hand crank gearing system, attached directly to the gun cradle, could travel up or down upon. When that happened, the handwheel had to follow the cradle up and down the rod and meant that the gunner's arm changed elevation along with the weapons as he cranked the handwheel. But in this case, the handwheel is attached to a stationary gearbox that rotates the rod, thereby keeping the gunner and his arm more or less stationary in his seat as he turns the handwheel. Also, since this threaded rod can be encased in a protective sleeve, there is less of a chance of catching anything on the gearing, unlike the other design where the rod threads are exposed. Lastly, notice that the rod and its case do not extend down into the hull for possible snagging (or head banging) because they are located far forward in the turret, therefore requiring a shorter length of rod. It is

a very well thought-out system, but more complicated and expensive, and requiring more maintenance. Some of the major components of the system are illustrated in this drawing. We are looking at the mechanism from the front; the Kw.K.30 is to the left and its barrel, pointing straight at us, is the larger series of circles. The weapon is mounted into a cradle, or shelf, called a "Schlitten", and below the cradle is the recoil spring encased in a piston, "Federzylinder" and "Bremsbacke". The "Zurrbugel" (what a great word!) is the gun travel support that was used when not in combat; it was hinged at its attachment to the ceiling so it could be swung up and clipped to the roof, out of the way, when not in use. Although it looks very complicated, the actual threaded rod and follower are based on the simple system I mentioned before, the rod rotating as the handwheel is cranked, and the follower on the rod then pulling the gun mount up or down the threads as they are rotated. The "Winkelhebel" and "Rolle" is a lever and roller mechanism that could be used to lock the cradle at a certain position along the elevation cylinder. The other identified components are part of the recoil mechanism and mounting. At the bottom of the image is the elevation handwheel-- remember we are looking at it from the front-- and some of the gearing between the handwheel and threaded rod are shown, as well as the firing trigger that is incorporated into the handle.

Picture 6: Now that we have a general familiarit y with the turret mantlet and weapons, this IWM photo shows the view looking up to the telescopic sight and MG34, but now from the left side of the turret. Notice the late commander's cupola at the upper right with its empty periscope frames. There is a small interior light (with wires) at the upper-left on the ceiling, and an adjusting knob for distance ranging is seen to the left of the sight. The Pz.II carried around 180 rounds of Pzgr. (AP) and Sprgr. (HE) for the 2cm weapon (18 10-round magazines). Most of the box magazines were carried in bins and brackets on the superstructure walls and down in the hull. The MG34 ammo belt feed chute is seen as a slide-like structure on the left side of the gun receiver and at the lower-center of the photo. For the MG34, there were belted

rounds of S.m.K. in either metal drums or 150-round bags (17 carried, according to references). The MG ammo bags ("Hulsensack")were made of tan canvas, had a metal mouth with hinged metal lid, and were highly effective at keeping the metal linked ammo belts free of dirt. You can see them under the MG in Picture 1 above. The ammo feed entrance into the receiver of the MG34 was on the left side, and all ammo feed belt containers were attached to this side of the gun, or slung directly below. When space was tight on the left of the machine gun, and a feed container wouldn't fit in the space available, ammo belts were occasionally directed over the top of the MG from feed bins or bags on the right, as you will find on the Panther tank and a few others. Also, in most cases there was accommodation for a second ammo bag that was also hung under the MG34, but this one was empty and located to the right in order to catch spent cartridges as they were ejected. Again, this is illustrated in Picture 5. The T.Z.F.4 sight, like most German panzer telescopic sights during WWII, was an articulated tube sight, and this end of the optical tube did not move as it was normally attached to the turret ceiling by a brace, like you see here. This type of sight possessed a moveable elbow joint at the articulation with prisms that allowed the gun and mantlet to elevate, while keeping the sight objective and forehead pad steady for the gunner. In this why the gunner did not have to follow a moving sight in order to maintain his view of his target. The forehead pad allowed for viewing the sight only through the right eye. The left eye was covered by a black piece of felt, some of which you can see here.

Picture 7: This is a photo from a series taken by the British of an uparmored Pz.II, again showing some of the improvements the Germans made to the small panzer as the war dragged on. This vehicle was dugin along the Egyptian frontier and formerly belonged to the Regimental Medical Officer of Pz.Rgt.8 in the 15th PD. Notice the early stepped front armor plate (Ausf.A-C) with additional bolted-on armor protection, as well as the additional armor on the mantlet. The top and bottom lips on the mantlet applique armor eliminated the bullet splash that entered around the mantlet as it was an internal type that was prone to splash penetration and jamming. The 2cm weapon is still installed in the turret, but it looks like the MG34 is missing. Like all the other Pz.IIs sent to Africa, the new commander's copula has been added to this vehicle, and some of the basic interior detail

of the open hatch can be seen here, including padding and simple locking handle. Also, if you look carefully you will see the two holes for the driver's binocular periscope; the holes are centered over the driver's closed vision flap. The Kw.K.30 was a reworked 2cm Flak 30 with a shorter barrel, a Rheinmetall design developed at Solothurn (actually Waffenfabrik Solothurn AG) during the late 1920's. This was a period when the Germans were exporting their gun design and manufacturing skills to other countries for development and production due to restrictions placed on them by the Versailles Treaty. The KwK.30 was a recoil-operated weapon that was percussion fired and was actually just an over-grown Solothurn MG30. Like most German AP projectiles used during the war, the 2cm Pzgr. projectile was painted black and used a brass or brass plated cartridge.

Picture 8: This is the rear of a Pz.II Ausf.F that was captured by the British in Tunisia from the Regimental HQ Company of Panzer Regiment 7 (bison marking on turret). This same vehicle is now preserved in the Tank Museum in Bovington, England. While the earlier Pz.II models had layers of applique armor added as their vulnerability became ever more apparent, the Ausf.F vehicles were designed to accommodate thicker armor from the start with only minor changes in the overall layout. For instance, the same unique design of the rear engine deck that was apparent in the Ausf.A-C is still visible here, with the engine located to the right side where the deck armor is angled up toward the superstructure, and the radiators and fan located on the left where the deck is flat. Notice the radio operator's armored vision flap on the superstructure in front of the flat deck, the armored flap partially hidden by a spare road wheel on the flat decking. Also notice the turret vision flaps on each plate making up the turret walls, and the newer commander's cupola with periscopes on the roof. Vision flaps on the Pz.II were generally of two types, those with a vision slit in the flap and those without. All vision flaps had beveled seating surfaces and overlapping sides, creating a seal with a rubber seat attached to the hull around the openings. Those flaps with a slit had the 4mm wide cut in the raised portion of the flap, the raised area cast into the flap and included as a deflector. Eye protection against bullet splash through the slit was provided by replaceable 12mm thick "Luglas-Glaskombination" (laminated glass blocks) behind the

vision slit. In combat, these blocks were supposed to be replaced with steel plates, according to the vehicle manuals. Those vision flaps with a slit were called "Sehklappe mit Sehschlitz" and those without were "Sehklappe ohne Sehschlitz", and the flaps without vision slits did not have glass block protection. On the rear armor plate of the hull are the muffler and exhaust pipe to the right, and a smoke discharger box to the left, the individual smoke candles hidden from view inside the armored box. Also notice that the radio antenna is mounted on the left side of the hull, where the radios and radio operator would be located inside the tank.

Picture 9: Further developments of the Pz.II line included the Ausf.G (or Neuer Art Vk 901) with yet another redesigned suspension, the Ausf.J with as much armor as possible placed on the basic vehicle and a more powerful Maybach HL45p engine, and the Ausf.L, or Luchs (Lynx) Sd.Kfz.123, a completely different vehicle entirely. I am including this picture of the interior of the Luchs to illustrate the direction German light tank development was headed near the end of the war. It's also a very well produced photograph. The Luchs included a four man crew and around 100 were actually built by MAN through January '44 (when production ceased), most used in recce units of a few panzer divisions. This famous photo from the Tank Museum library of a captured vehicle shows the front of the turret with a view below toward the driver's area at the forward left, and the radio operator's to the right. The photo is possible because there was a large hatch at the back of the turret. The front two hull seats are gone, but an interesting instrument panel is visible at the driver's position (along with two steering levers) and the rack for one of the radios is also visible in front of the rightfront crew position.

Up in the two-man turret, the gunner is now to the right of the improved 2cm Kw.K.38 weapon (the sight is missing, but the mount and rear support are visible) and the commander would be seated to the left, behind the MG34 (also missing here). The gunner's elevation handwheel can be seen at the bottom of the rear of the main weapon and the traverse handwheel is in the same position as the early Pz.IIs, at the right. Two gas mask container brackets are mounted on the forward-right turret wall and a storage box for spare vision blocks is at the far right in the picture, like it was in the earlier Pz.IIs. For some reason there was no cupola included on the turret roof, but periscopes mounted in the ceiling allowed 360 degrees of vision for both commander and gunner. Obviously, designing/producing a turret with room for two allowed the commander the chance to actually command the vehicle and greatly improved the effectiveness of the small panzer. But even with these improvements, the writing was on the wall for light tanks by the end of WWII, and except when they were used as reconnaissance/scout vehicles, their effectiveness was just about exhausted for all user nations. Within the period of 10 years of war and accelerated AFV design, the Pz.II was reduced from a position of spearheading the German advance across France (40% of the German panzer force), to second-line action. Many of the illustrations used in this page come from copies of original German vehicle manuals. Others are copies of images from the Imperial War Museum and the Tank Museum, both in England. If you would like to contribute to our knowledge of the interior mechanics of the Pz.II, please contact me directly. We can always use additional information and will post it here. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampwagen III, Ausf.J, Part 1, Revised May 25, 2002

Picture 1: For some time I've realized that attempting to trace the interior design changes and improvements during the production history of the German World War Two Panzerkampfwagen III tank would be an impossible task for a publication this small. Entire books written on the development and production changes of this tank are too short and frustratingly incomplete. But the vehicle's design is important for a number of reasons, so in order to take a brief look into the complex interior of the Pz.III I will be restricting our attention to just the mid-production models of the series, the vehicles mounting the 5.0cm KwK gun. This will allow us to potentially examine tanks from the Ausf.G through M models, touching briefly on many of the important features of those most commonly seen in wartime photographs and newsreels. I have broken the interior story into four sections so the pages will load in a reasonable amount of time, but the images are large. In the first two parts we will briefly explore the gradual evolution of the basic types and spend most of our time inside the turret. Part 3 and 4 will cover the hull interior as well as the transmission and engine components. This Bundesarchiv photo shows a line up of new Pz.III Ausf.J tanks with L/60 guns at the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg (MAN) factory, ready to ship out to the troops.

Picture 2: The first Panzer III prototypes were built by Daimler-Benz in 1935 and initial limited production of the type began in 1936. Most of the first four models, from Ausf.A through Ausf.D, are easily identified by their initial large road wheels and coil spring suspensions (Ausf.A) or smaller wheels and leaf spring suspensions (Ausf.B-D). Although a few of these first vehicles saw some service in Poland and France, they were basically experimental prototypes and trials vehicles. A Maybach HL 108 TR engine (230-250 HP) was attached to a ZF SSG 76 gearbox to power these first Pz.III tanks and they all used a Daimler-Benz/Wilson type clutch. The armament included a 3.7cm KwK L/46.5 gun with three MG34 machine guns, two mounted up in the wide internal turret mantlet to the right of the 3.7cm gun, and the third placed in a ball mount at the right bow of the hull. The first three models had a simple dustbin cupola for the commander at the rear of the turret. But by the Ausf.D, the Pz.III included an improved mid production commander's cupola with five side vision blocks that were opened by overlapping armored rings around the exterior that slid up and down to reveal the vision blocks behind. This Imperial War Museum photo illustrates the 3.7cm main armament of these early Pz.III tanks mounting the 3.7cm gun. The turret has been removed from the hull and set on a stand and a white sheet or tarp has been thrown over the entire turret, extending down to the floor. The wide internal mantlet was fitted with a vision port on the left end, covered with an armored shutter (Klappe) that could be pivoted opened to improve the view for the gunner by the white handled lever you see on the far left of the mantlet. There are a number of other interesting details provided for us in this photograph. At the far left edge is the left side turret door, the inside surface painted the dark gray of the exterior vehicle paint. Next to it is an opening vision port with a glass block behind it, and above the port is the hinged travel support on the ceiling that would hold the gunner's periscope, missing here. Both the manual turret traverse and gun elevation hand wheels are visible, and the traverse handle includes a gun firing trigger. Because the traverse required a lot of cranking to turn the turret, the loader was provided with an

assist traverse handle that you see at the lower right corner of the photo. A circuit breaker on the gunner's side of the gun mount was the backup firing device for the gunner. Notice the gun recoil guard is missing its spent shell catch bag and tubular support and also that the twin MG34 guns are missing their mounting brackets for the two ammo bags that would hang from each gun. Indeed, the MGs are staggered one in front of the other so the hanging bags from one gun do not interfere with the other. The 3.7cm KwK gun was a semi-automatic weapon with falling block and its breech handle is clearly visible on the right of the breech ring.

Picture 3: The first true production version of the Panzer III was the Ausf.E and a number of changes were made at that time to improve the vehicle. One of the most significant was the use of a new torsion bar suspension system, originally developed by Dr. Porsche, and the Pz.III was the first German tank to sport this new suspension. We will examine it in depth in Part 3. Additional room for 3.7mm ammo was found somewhere in the hull in order to raise the stowed amount to 131 shells in the Ausf.E. New double side doors were substituted for the earlier one-piece types on the turret sides, and an improved driver's visor 30 (Fahrersehklappe 30) and periscope were included on the front plate. This driver's visor had two covers over the vision block opening, but only the upper one slid up and down to expose or cover the opening. It was these late Ausf.E and F models that first had their 3.7mm guns replaced with the more powerful 5cm KwK38 L/42 weapons. These vehicles also received an improved magneto ignition for the Maybach engine, creating the HL 120 TRM power plant that would propel all subsequent versions of the Pz.III, as well as the Pz.IV, and their variants. This photograph, like many in these pages, is from the collection at the Imperial War Museum in England. A number of excellent photos were taken by the British of captured German vehicles during the war and the Pz.IIIs interiors in these images are mostly the Ausf.H vehicle armed with the L/42 5cm gun, or a later Ausf.J/L model with the longer KwK39 L/60 gun. This view illustrates the larger size of the gun breech of the 5cm weapon over the 3.7mm gun we saw last photograph and it also shows the mount for the single 7.9mm coaxial MG34 to the right. The close proximity of the MG to the 5cm gun made it difficult to load the machine gun quickly (left loading) and this was a common problem with many German designs. In this picture only one ammo bag is mounted below the MG, in this case it's in the center

of the mounting rod, not actually in position for either bag. The feed bag that held 150 belted rounds of Patr SmK ammo would be slightly to the left and the bag for collecting empty brass to the right. Where the barrel meets the mantlet you can see the long latch that holds the MG to its barrel mount. Note that the large canvas bag for catching 5cm spent shells is mounted below the recoil guard in this image. The gunner's periscope to the left of the gun is the TZF5d with a 2.5 magnification and a 25 degree field of view, which was adjustable in 100 meter increments to a range of 1500 meters for Pzgr. and 3000 meters for Sprgr. ammunition. At the far left in the picture is the gunner's azimuth indicator dial (Zwolfuhrzeiger) that shows him the relationship between the turret and hull.

Picture 4: From the German Signal Magazine comes this image of the interior of a Pz.III and the 5cm gun turret. You will see the same equipmen t here that we saw previously, and there are now two mounts for MG ammo bags under the coaxial MG to the right of the main gun, one for loading fresh rounds and the other to catch spent shells after firing. Signal Magazine was Germany's official wartime picture magazine providing propaganda not only for the German people, but also for other languages. As a mater of fact, in its heyday, Signal was published in 20 languages with a peak of 2.5 million copies sold in 1943 around the world. The Panzer III crew consisted of five men with two in the front of the hull including a driver at the left and a radio operator/hull machine gunner at the right. Up in the turret, the gunner sat to the left of the main weapon in typical German style, a loader worked the gun on the right side, and the commander sat elevated at the rear with the use of a cupola over his head for battlefield observation. Both the gunner and commander sat in padded seats suspended from the turret ring, rotating with the gun. But the loader had the use of a small fold down seat attached to the back firewall and typically worked standing up on the hull floor with his seat stowed. Most of these Ausf.E and F panzers were manufactured between 1938 and 1940 by Daimler-Benz, MaschinenfabrikAugsburg-Nuernberg (MAN), and Henschel & Sohn, and together these firms produced 96 Ausf.E and 435 Ausf.F vehicles. The basic interior layout of the Pz.III would remain unchanged throughout the remainder of the production run but most of the major

components would continue to improve, particularly up in the turret, as experience was gained in combat.

Picture 5: Another photo of the 5cm gun and mount in an Ausf.H shows the rest of the turret interior artfully removed by the illustrator to emphasize the weapons and surrounding gear. Unlike the early 3.7cm gun, the 5cm weapon and coax were protected behind an external mantlet. But in these models there were two viewing flaps in the mantlet, one on each end, and both of them are visible here. The additional right flap allowed the loader the same unrestricted view out the front of the tank as the gunner had. Notice the lead weight attached to the rear of the recoil guard to help balance the barrel heavy weapon. The 5cm gun fired three ammo types. The high explosive (HE) was known as Sprenggranate 38 (Sprgr.38), which was nose fused for impact detonation. The second type was an armor piercing capped shell of the typical German penetrating and bursting type called Panzergranate 39 (Pzgr.39). The piercing cap on the end of the projectile helped reduce shattering upon contact with the target. The third type was Panzergranate 40 (Pzgr.40) and this was a light weight projectile with a very heavy tungsten carbide core. Sometimes known as armor piercing composite rigid (APCR), this projectile reached a very high muzzle velocity at close ranges due to its light weight, but its velocity decreased rapidly at distance for the same reason. Because tungsten was at a premium in Germany, this shell was never offered to tankers in abundant quantity, but when battling at close quarters the Pzgr.40 was a powerful armor piercing shot. The Pzgr.39 was one of a number of German bursting AP shells (called "Supercharged" by the Allies) which were particularly effective against Allied tanks where ammo was often stored unprotected inside the hull or turret. This was because the Pzgr. bursting charge detonated just after penetration, causing extensive internal fires and ammunition explosions with subsequent serious injury or death to the crew. On the other hand, Panzer III ammo rounds were stored in armored cabinets (4 to 6mm thick) below the turret ring, and Allied AP rounds that managed to penetrate the external armor skin were less likely to set them off. This was because the damage caused by most allied solid AP shells was restricted to the kinetic energy left in the round after penetration.

Picture 6: The next major changes in the evolution of the Pz.III centered on yet another increase in armor thickness to 30mm, requiring a new driver's visor 30 and an improved KFF2 periscope in the new Ausf.G tanks. With an improvement in the turret wall design to provide more room inside, an improved cupola was also added, the same cupola that was also mounted on later Pz.IV tanks. As with the mid production cupola mentioned earlier, the late style cupola required only one lever to open and close the upper and lower shutters that protected each of the cupola's five viewing blocks. But now the shutters were smaller, only the width of the view opening, and the operating lever inside was made to fit into dtentes that fixed the shutters fully opened, half opened, and fully closed. Although the first batches of these new Ausf.G and J tanks were originally built with the 3.7cm guns, all later vehicles of these types were fitted with the KwK38 L/42 5cm weapons. By the end of 1942, most of the earlier Panzer III tanks that were still in service had been updated with the 5.0cm gun and very few photos show vehicles with the smaller caliber weapon from then on. This is the general layout of the right front of the turret of the British captured late Ausf.J or early Ausf.L with the 5cm gun, in this case we are looking from the gunner's position across the turret. I believe this same vehicle is still in British hands, residing in the collection of the Tank Museum at Bovington Camp. Its combination of a later turret with no side viewing ports forward of the doors and yet still maintaining the hull side escape hatches is somewhat unique for the Pz.III and places it with the late Ausf.J or L tanks. Up above the gun is a hinged travel support for the weapon, the support pivoting down to attach to the gun with the pin seen here next to the one securing it to the ceiling. Off to the right on the ceiling is the electric turret ventilator (Lufter) that was added with the addition of the larger 5cm gun. Spare vision blocks for the turret viewing ports are stowed on the wall, seen here behind the speaking tube funnel. Although most short and long gunned Ausf.J tanks had a visor port (Klappe) on the turret sides just forward of the doors, these were deemed unnecessary and were removed from the plans for the last batch of the Ausf.J tanks. Strapped down on the turret ring shelf is a long dark canvas bag containing two spare MG34 barrels, and just below the bag you can see part of the linkage rod that allowed the loader to assist the gunner to traverse the turret when necessary. The loader's assist hand wheel is missing in this tank, but the drive shaft is seen angling up from the height of the turret ring to the front of the turret. It then takes a sharp left turn at a small gearbox (hidden behind the MG34) to proceed under the gun mount and attach at the rotation gearing in front of the gunner.

We will see more of this detail in later illustrations. Most of both hull walls below us were festooned with MG ammo bags, clipped to horizontal mounting strips, and a few are seen under the turret ring. The breech of the 5cm gun is in the closed position in this picture.

Picture 7: The short barreled 5.0cm L/42 was not powerful enough to penetrate many of the Soviet tanks they encountered during their Blitz into Russia and the longer KwK39 L/60 gun was substituted for the shorter weapon at the factories during the Ausf.J production run. Although the gun breech of both the L/42 and L/60 guns is identical from inside the vehicle, the longer ammo rounds of the later gun required some rearranging of storage in the hull and a reduction of numbers. Those vehicles with hull side escape hatches could store around 84 of these longer rounds while later Ausfs., with the hatches deleted, had room for 98. Other changes instituted with the early Ausf.J included increased armor protection at the front plates for a total of 50mm and the resulting replacement of the driver's visor to the thicker driver's visor 50. This visor had one single outside cover that pivoted down to protect the visor, instead of sliding up and down. With the addition of the L/60 weapon during the second stage of the Ausf.J production run, additional 20mm spaced armor was also often attached to the gun mantlet and glacis plate for a total of 70mm of face-hardened armor protection. The additional weight of the longer L/60 gun barrel could not be balanced simply with lead weights at the back of the recoil guard like those used earlier for the L/42. So an additional torsion bar spring support was added on the ceiling of the turret and attached to the gun mount at the front end just forward of the breech ring. With the subsequent increased weight of the applique armor on the mantlet of the second batch of Ausf.J tanks, another spring had to be added to the right side of the gun to keep it balanced on its trunions. This one was attached to a lever on the top inside edge of the mantlet and down on the turret ring plate in front of the loader. The torsion bar spring gun balance can be seen in the previous photograph and many others taken of the inside of this British documented Ausf.J/L. But the smaller spring housing on the right of the mantlet is missing in this particular vehicle, although the top attachment bracket at the upper right side of the mantlet is visible here. This photo also illustrates well the coaxial MG34 and surrounding equipment to the right of the long L/60 gun, including the loader's turret traverse assist drive rods and

angle gearbox we mentioned previously (seen to the far right). The coax MG34 barrel is clamped just forward of the receiver to its mount, and in this picture you can see the open and flipped back metal covers of both MG feed and brass collection bags hanging below the gun. Once the barrel was securely clamped in place up by the mantlet, the rear of the gun was supported by the tube mechanism you see to the left of the MG. Inside the tube was a buffer spring to allow some rearward recoil action of the gun. A mechanical link ran from the MG trigger forward along the side of the gun and then to the left and under the main weapon, attaching to vertical rods that extended down to a small firing pedal at the gunner's feet. Of course the loader could also fire the gun by using the trigger on the gun, but it was difficult to reach. Notice the ammo belt guide on the left of the MG34 receiver that allowed the feed belt to rise from the bag below and enter the left side of the gun. A short ejection chute on the right of the gun deflected spent brass down into the second bag on the right. This view also shows the loader's safety firing switch on the small box on the right of the gun mount (at the upper left) and the characteristic German breech handle with round base at the bottom of the picture. Although we will explore the lower hull in Part 2, you can see here the radio shelf/box support above the transmission at the bottom of the picture, and a little of the hull machine gunner/radio operator's seat to the lower right. The turret has been rotated to the 11:00 position to allow this view of the radio operator's position.

Picture 8: We are still in the same 5cm L/60 gunned Pz.III, but now sitting in the gunner's seat. The longer 5cm gun could produce a muzzle velocity of 1180m/s when firing Pzgr.40 rounds, compared to 1060m/s for the shorter L/42 gun. Here we see a clear view of the gunner's equipment on the left of the mount, including a speaking tube that allowed direct communication between the gunner and the commander behind him. Although some authors suggest these were added sometime during the Ausf.J production they were actually around from the beginning of Pz.III production, although often removed by the crew. The sight and brow pad (Kopfschutz) are particularly clear here (this is the same sight used with the L/42 gun) as well as the elevation handwheel. A large recoil guard protects the gunner not only from the recoil movement of the gun but also the resulting powder flash that escaped from the breech during firing. Elevation for the gun was -10 to +20 degrees which was the same as for the L/42 weapon. The German writing on the small reminder sign on the telescopic sight support hanging from the ceiling at the top of the picture translates into something like "Attention first loosen before sighting", referring to the fact that the support from

the ceiling had to be loosened to allow the sight to work properly. Ther preferred method of firing the main gun was via a trigger on the traverse wheel, but a circuit breaker switch on the gun shield seen here could also do the job. Power comes from a wire hanging down from the right side of the turret roof, into the loader's safety switch box, across under the breech to this switch, and then to the trigger and the firing mechanism in the breech itself. Hitler had actually ordered the L/60 gun to be mounted in the Pz.III back in August of 1940, but the Ordnance Department did not implement the order because at that time the L/42 appeared adequate for most targets. But, on his birthday in April of 1941, Hitler saw the new Ausf.J on display and realized it was still without the longer gun. The results of his discovery were L/60 guns quickly mounted on the rest of the Pz.III Ausf.Js.

Picture 9: The 5.0cm gun was typically fired in the same way as the 3.7mm gun, electrically via a trigger on the traverse hand wheel or by a circuit breaker button on the gunner's side of the gun mount. The coaxial MG was fired mechanically by depressing a pedal at the gunner's feet that was connected by linkages to the trigger on the MG. This drawing from a German service manual shows the detail of the MG firing pedal and connecting rods; this type of firing arrangement was used on all the Pz.III tanks I have seen. There has been a considerable amount of confusion about whether a turret basket was mounted in the German Pz.III. A number of authors seem to be repeating the same tired information that a basket was added to the tank from Ausf.H on. This is not true and to the best of my knowledge there is no evidence that a full basket was ever used in the tank. Instead, there was a small foot support plate located just forward of the gunner that also supported the firing pedal for the coax, as you see here. A similar foot rest platform and MG firing pedal shows up in drawings of the turret of the Ausf.A and D tanks, so I suspect it was also found in these early models. The same firing pedal arrangement has also been reportedly seen in the 3.7cm armed vehicles by others and there was again no turret basket. You will also find a small but interesting cover support over the turret collector ring at the middle of the floor that acted as a foot rest for the gunner and commander as well as a protective shield for the electrical conduit that leads up to the turret. I suppose it is possible that the combination of the gunner's foot rest and this slip ring cover was misconstrued as part of a turret "basket" by some authors. On the other hand, I've learned to never say

"never" in these pages as there always seems to be an exception to every rule. For instance, I don't know if a real turret basket was added to the Ausf.N support tank version of the Pz.III when its 5cm gun was swapped to the short 7.5cm gun. It doesn't seem likely. If you have evidence of a production Pz.III tank with a real turret basket, I certainly would like to hear from you. This concludes Part 1. Part 2 will continue our exploration of the turret interior while Parts 3 and 4 will examine the hull interior components. (c) 2001, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampwagen III, Ausf.J, Part 2

Picture 1: This is Part 2 of a four part series examining mid production German Panzer III tank interiors. The MG firing pedal is again visible in this image, as well as the gunner and commander's foot rest above the electrical slip ring to the right, although it is bent and rotated slightly out of position. This photo was taken inside the later model Pz.III at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland (an Ausf.M?). Fortunately, or unfortunately, the side of the turret has been cut open years ago and covered with mesh screening, allowing the weather to rust much of the interior equipment. Even so, a surprising number of details are still intact in this vehicle and it provides answers to a number of questions about mid/late Pz.III interiors. The conduit you see coming off the top left side of the collector ring follows the gunner's seat support up to the turret ring behind him, and then rises up the turret wall to a fuse box. From there, power and radio connections are routed to the ceiling lights, gun firing circuits, radio connection boxes and sight graticles. Two of the wires lead to the left over to the commander's radio connection box and the remainder of the wires cross over the left turret door to the gun and ceiling. We will cover the radio set up in the tank in Part 3. Just forward of the MG firing pedal you can see the back of the driver's seat and once again the turret traverse hand wheel is visible above with the gun firing trigger. The back of the ZF SSG 77 transmission used in mid/late vehicles is also visible here, as well as a saddle shaped bracket for the gunner's gas mask canister, seen here between the traverse wheel and the transmission. Each crew member had one of these canisters within easy reach as well as a flexible extension tube (Atemschlauch) that could be attached between the filter and the face mask. The tube allowed continued close up and unobstructed viewing through the various vision ports and gun sights while using the gas mask because the filter could then be worn at belt height instead of directly attached to the front of the mask. The loader and commander's tubes were located in the right rear of the vehicle hull, but I don't know where the gunner's was mounted. You can bet it was within an arm's reach of his seat, probably on the left hull wall out of sight here. The gun recoil shield is at the upper right.

Picture 2: This is the view of the commander's seat at the back of the turret in the same captured Ausf.J/L we saw earlier, the picture taken from the lower right side of the gun mount looking up toward the rear of the turret. The commander's black seat could be folded up and out of the way and the seat back support partially obscures a stowage bin on the turret lip that contained his radio headset and microphone as well as a signal pistol. Directly to the right of his seat (our left) you can see a storage bracket on the back hull wall that secured two spare vision blocks for his cupola. The three vertical strips of metal directly behind the seat on the firewall have attachment clips for hanging water canteens (Feldflasche) and on close examination there are stenciled location labels at their locations. Generally these labels were painted directly on the walls of the turret and the hull and they can be a good indicator of how much "restoring" has taken place inside a vehicle. On either side of the commander's seat are two pistol ports and their operating handles, and above both handles are electrical boxes. The one on our left is the commander's radio connection box, while the one on the right, partially hidden by the shadow of the recoil guard, is the fuse box I mentioned before. The main electrical conduit from the collector ring rises from the back of the gunner's seat support to end at this fuse box, and the conduit can be seen at the far right on the turret wall. If you look to the right of the commander's seat bottom support (set pad missing) you will see another saddle shaped bracket for a gas mask canister. Just to the right of that is the gunner's seat back and its support, appearing very dark in this high contrast black and white photo. The inside of Pz.III turrets were generally painted Elfenbein, a very light ivory color, in order to improve lighting conditions in a closed down machine. The small lights you see here and there on the turret roof were cylindrical in shape and used clear or white lenses, allowing only a minimal of light for the crew to see their most important equipment in a darkened turret. Most of the dark items you see in these black and white photos was painted black, and the commander's seat cushion, if it were present, would be covered with a brown or perhaps black leather material, as would the other seats in the tank. Down on the floor to our right is the commander's footrest on the collector ring, which, like the floor, would normally be painted a greenish shade of dark gray. Up on the ceiling above his seat is the later style cupola.

Picture 3: This photo was taken of one of the Pz.III Ausf.M at the Munster Panzer Museum in Germany and the image was loaned to us by Mikel Ezcurra. It is an interesting vehicle in that it is said to have been retrieved from a military cemetery in Tunisia some years ago where it had stood as a monument. The turret was rusted in a rotated position and the tank would therefore not fit into a shipping container. So the barrel was cut off for the trip to Germany and the vehicle repaired at the museum. The photo illustrates well the open split hatch design of the late production commander's cupola. Although the vehicle is repainted with incorrect colors inside (a common problem at many museums), it still has some interior details intact. Each of the two hatches had at one time a thin rubber cushion glued to the flat surface and you can see their positions even though the pads are missing. The right hatch door (our left) closed slightly overlapping the other and only this top door required the latching handle you see. These late production cupolas were similar to the mid production types and had two armored rings that surrounded the cupola to cover the glass vision blocks. But the actual shutters over the five vision ports were only the width of the ports, as you can see here. When the inside handle under the block was pulled down the shutters would separate to expose the vision block and each pair of shutters could be opened this way independently of the others. Mid production style cupolas used a similar system but the moving armored shutters were wider and took up the entire ring. They were also pulled open to expose the vision block with a handle in the same location as the late production cupolas. But due to the fact that a larger shutter was used, it was more likely to jam with sand and debris and its weight was harder to open with the handle. Looking down inside this cupola you can see the one horizontal operating handle below each glass block holder. Normally there was a thick leather covered cushion attached to the space between each block inside the cupola, but all the pads are missing here. There are also smaller horizontal forehead pads made from rubber above and below each block, and these are still visible. You can also see the small black handle at the top of the block holder that opened the frame for replacement of the block. The later style cupola is sometimes seen with two smaller locking handles above the glass block holder. Glass blocks in most German WWII produced tanks were of excellent quality and were fashioned from multiple layers of glass, the typical type being 94mm thick. Due to the thickness of the blocks, they all had a slightly greenish appearance. At the bottom right corner of the picture you can see one of the round signal ports on the turret roof. There was considerable variation of turret roof equipment on Pz.III tanks

over the few years they were in production. Early types had two signal ports up here, the left one sometimes mounting a light tower with a slit on the side that could be used for side light communication at night. Then, with the 5cm gun upgrade, a forced air ventilator fan was added to the right front of the turret roof and one of the two signal ports was often deleted. On occasion, the ventilator was placed into one of these signal ports, seen sometimes on Ausf.G and later machines. When you remember that damaged and recovered tanks were not only repaired but also ordered to be upgraded and refitted with the most recent equipment available it is not surprising that identifying Pz.III models from photographs can be very tricky.

Picture 4: At the very top of the interior of the cupola, just below the two hatches, was a thin, revolving, white ring with gear teeth and black markings that indicated the orientation of the turret in relation to the hull. A rotating gear attached to the top of a long drive shaft turned this ring while the other end of the shaft originated down on the turret ring below. Since there were the same number of teeth in both the turret ring and the indicator ring, the indicator ring would rotate the same but opposite direction as the turret when it was traversed, keeping the ring indicator in line with the hull. The same type of cupola mounted azimuth indicator, called a "target designation indicator" in some references, was used in a number of other German tanks including the Pz.IV, Panther, and Tigers. By using this indicator the commander could call out the direction of a target to the gunner, who could then swing the gun to bear by following his own azimuth indicator attached to the turret ring to his left. To assist the commander in lining up his targets, a small vane sight is also visible in the photo above, just forward of the front facing vision block in the cupola. In previous pictures the black drive shaft of the direction indicator can be seen rising up from behind the gas mask holder. A close-up crop of the vision block and holder from a mid production cupola helps clear up some misconceptions about the block and securing bracket. The actuating handle for the armored shutters is the horizontal bar at the bottom of the holder. The small vision block release lever is at the top of the holder. The frame holder hinges at the bottom to open toward us and then swings down, allowing the multi-layered glass block to be removed and replaced. The blocks are not installed here and notice the slotted holes in the flat panels at either side of the holders. Protective cushions were mounted covering these panels between each block in order to protect the commander's head while the tank was in motion. Barely visible at the right is the rotating drive rod that rises from the gear at the turret ring and eventually actuates the turret direction indicator inside the top of the cupola, seen here as the ring with gear teeth at the top of the photo. Recall that all these German cupolas were non-rotating, otherwise this turret direction indicator system could not have been functional. The five glass blocks give a distant 360 degree field of view from the cupola, although some areas of ground close to the tank were blocked due to the shape of the surrounding turret roof, etc.

Picture 5: If we drop down inside the Munster Pz.III we would have this view of the front of the turret from the loader's position. The gun itself is fairly intact, although both the gunner's sight and the coaxial MG are missing. What can we now identify in this picture with the knowledge we've gathered so far? Starting from the right side, you can see the mount for the MG34 and the ammo belt feed chute that rises up and then down like a child's slide. You can also see the rear support mount for the MG--the tube that holds the recoil spring with the release button on this end that we saw in an earlier drawing of the firing pedal. To the left of the ammo feed chute is the near end of the right recoil cylinder for the 5cm gun, showing the large castle nut used to hold it in place. The other recoil cylinder is on the left of the gun and hidden from view. These were not identical cylinders, the one on the left was a Luftvorholer (hydro-pneumatic recuperator) and the one on the right was the Rohrbremse (hydraulic buffer). A spring loaded hydraulic reservoir with the usual hydraulic safety switch was mounted transversely beneath the gun, as was typical for German tanks guns in WWII. It was about the size of a soda pop can and from this small reservoir a tube brought hydraulic fluid (under pressure) to the front of this right hydraulic cylinder. This right cylinder slowed the recoil of the gun to a stop and the hydro-pneumatic recuperator on the left brought the gun back to its original battery position again. The round base for the breech operating handle is on the right side of the breech ring, and the breech block is in the up and closed position. Because the gun was a semiautomatic block type, a large spring forced open the breech after recoil and ejected the spent shell. When the next round was shoved home it would trip a catch lever and the breech would automatically close, ready for firing. The breech handle was generally only used to load the first round, or to service the gun. Above the gun is the torsion spring balance for the barrel heavy weapon (this must be an L/60 gun) and the travel support hanging from the ceiling is attached to the weapon at the recoil shield as it would be during road marches. The recoil shield and guard are visible, and even some of the shell collection bag support under the breech is intact, although this is not the original bag support. On the inside surface of the shield is a sliding weight that moves when the gun recoils and provides the loader with an indication of the recoil distance in millimeters, allowing him to monitor the condition of the recoil cylinders. With the gun practically sitting in the commander's lap, the loader was induced to keep a good eye on the recoil condition of the gun. Off to the far left is visible the gunner's elevation hand wheel and above it is the lever to open the visor on the left side of the mantlet.

Picture 6: Another of Mikel's photos of the Munster Pz.III shows an interesting view of the turret from under the left side of the gun, probably from an open hull side door. Both the gunner's and commander's seats are missing, indeed much of the equipment that can be removed from the turret walls is gone, probably a product of sitting abandoned in North Africa for so many years. But the gun and laying equipment are still mostly intact and although the traverse hand wheel is partially hanging off its base you can see the gun firing trigger in the center of the photo. Directly to the left is the bottom of the vertical falling breech block, which is now raised up into the breech ring in the closed position. The details of the recoil guard are clear including the make shift metal support for the spent shell catch bag, which would be made of canvas. At the upper left is the round base of the breech handle and now the handle itself is also visible. The bright tube hanging down at the upper right of the photo is the bottom of the azimuth indicator, a gear in the instrument's base meshes into the hull turret ring gear that you can also see next to it. And speaking of turret ring gear, at the back of the turret is the base of the cupola direction indicator drive shaft with its lower gear engaging the hull gear teeth. The bent tube on the turret lip next to it is the top of the support for the missing gunner's seat.

Picture 7: This last picture in Part 2 of our interior tour of mid production German Pz.III tanks shows the interior turret side wall of a vehicle in the Armour Museum, Saumur collection in France, released with the courtesy of the museum. Mikel Ezcurra also loaned this photo to us and it was taken inside a vehicle with an early Ausf.E hull that had been upgraded with a 5cm KwK L/42 gun turret. In this case we can use this picture for additional turret interior detail that has been missing from our previous photos. Again, the under side of the 5cm gun dominates the top of the picture, and the spent shell catch bag support tubes are missing. The breech actuating lever is painted red for some reason (the Saumur vehicle painters enjoy bright colors inside their

vehicles), and the loader's assist turret traverse hand wheel is black and visible at the lower left of the photo. Back behind the hand wheel is a good view of the side vision Klappe found on all but the last Pz.III turrets, with the large flap opening handle on the upper left and the two smaller locking handles on either side. Notice the pair of bolts above and below the bracket that secures it to the turret wall. Barely visible above the port are two stowage brackets for spare glass blocks, which would be held by leather straps with buckles. To the right of the Klappe is the two door side hatch, the left door containing a non-opening vision port with glass block bracket, and the door on the right a pistol port with opening handle at the top, partially hidden by the main gun's recoil guard. On the ceiling is the right side signal port with its spring loaded locking latch plainly visible, and on the back wall of the turret is the commander's radio connection box, here painted black.

Picture 8: This photo of an early Ausf.J from the Bundesarchiv helps illustrate a few of the details we have examined. The commander's cupola is the later type and the thin padding on the inside of the hatches is apparent on this open left hatch. With the turret side hatches open we can see the closed pistol port on the right door and the large bracket for the viewing port and glass block on the left door. Notice the large operating handle rising up from the pistol port on the right. The port was locked closed by a spring loaded button on the handle that fit into a catch on the door to keep the handle from moving down and opening the port. The vision port on the left door contained a typical multi-paned glass block and the holding bracket was opened to replace the block via a small lever at the top, which then allowed the bracket to swing down to release the block. There are thin horizontal face pads at both the top and bottom of the bracket so a tanker could press his face close against it to get a wide field of view outside. Both doors could be held closed by the substantial handles you see at both the top and bottom of each door. The pair of bolt heads you see above and below the side vision Klappe just forward of the doors are the same we just saw that hold the glass block bracket to the wall inside the turret. This Obergefreiter hanging out this door is probably the gunner and is wearing the typical black panzer uniform and service cap. This concludes our brief exploration of mid-production Panzerkampfwagen III turret interiors. In Part 3 we will explore the hull, including the driver and radio operator's positions as well as the rear-mounted engine. (c) 2001, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen III, Ausf.J, Part 3, Revised September 21, 2002

Picture 1: This is the third of four web pages exploring the interior of mid-production Pz.III tanks, primarily centered on the Ausf.J model. The previous two web pages covered the turret and gun controls and in this and the next page we will spend some time down inside the hull. Once again, there are many large images here and they will take some time to fully download. The drawing is from a British evaluation report on the Pz.III Ausf.F that I alluded to in an earlier page. The School of Tank Technology (STT) report examines in detail many of the most important characteristics of this particular captured vehicle. Most of the major components in the hull are identified, including the driver's controls and transmission in the front, the drive shaft running back through the fighting compartment to the engine, and the engine itself with early filter units mounted on the engine side of the firewall. There are a couple of interesting aspects to the drawing. Notice the engine compartment deck access hatches have the vented openings originally provided for those vehicles destined for North Africa. The gun is the shorter L42 version of the 5cm weapon and the commander's cupola is the later type. Even though we know the British were examining and recording an Ausf.F, this particular vehicle could easily have been a later version from the limited information provided in this sketch.

Picture 2: If we climb inside the hull we would see this view captured in a photograph of the driver's area in the front left side of a Pz.III Ausf.J/L hull. The seat has the typical German tubular frame with spring supports and removable cushions made from dark leather that were stuffed with horsehair. The seat back was hinged at the lower junction so it could be reclined flat like this, allowing the driver to enter or exit the vehicle from the fighting compartment behind since he had no over-head hatch. Initial Pz.III tanks had two forward hatches (actually two double door hatches) on the sloping front armor plate that were considered emergency escape exits for the driver and radio operator seated to his right. But later in the production run, around the introduction of the Ausf.J, it was realized that these small hatches were almost impossible to use effectively for crew escape and the name for the hatches was changed to "ventilating" or "inspection" hatch. They also were converted from the previous double door type to a single plate, hinged on the front edge, at about this same time. You can see the driver's hatch forward of his seat on the sloping front hull plate. It is of the later single door type and is latched closed with the two handles you see on this side of the hatch/opening. The steering levers are also plainly evident, each connected by actuating rods and springs to the hydraulic controls at either end of the Daimler-Benz/Wilson Clutch type steering mechanism. This metal case is bolted to the front of the ZF SSG 77 Alphon transmission, which you see to our right. Recall that early Pz.III tanks used a Maybach Variorex transmission with pre-selector that was very complicated to maintain. The ZF unit was substituted from Ausf.H on to simplify transmission construction at the factories and subsequent repair in the field. The ZF transmission had six forward speeds and was synchromeshed in most gears (except 1st and reverse), using a short securing knob down on the floor for the reverse gear that would later be changed to a long manually operated lever. You can see the gearshift lever/handle and gate on the side of the transmission, and on top of the large case is the wide instrument panel. Other objects of interest in this photo include the driver's visor 50 (Fahrersehklappe 50), newly added to conform to the additional thickness of the new 50mm armor on the bow plates. When the tank was under fire and the visor had to be closed, a KFF2 periscope could be slid across from its stowed position on the right to sit directly in front of the vision block. This binocular type periscope is visible here in its stowed position at the upper right corner of the photo. Also visible is the electric gyrocompass at the driver's left shoulder and also two small blue lights, one on either side of the driver's visor. These lights illuminated when the turret was traversed and the gun overhung the side of the hull, alerting the driver to avoid anything close on that side of the tank since he

could not see the barrel of the gun.

Picture 3: Another in the same series of photographs taken by the British of the same captured Ausf.J/L Pz.III shows a bit more of the detail to the driver's left. The binocular periscope has been positioned in front of the now closed driver's visor enabling him to still view the battlefield directly in front of the vehicle due to the periscope's top lenses aligning with two small holes drilled above the visor hood. You might also notice that the visor cover is in the lowered position by observing the location of the handles on either side of the glass block holder--here the handles are up (visor closed) while in the previous photo they were down (visor open). Getting any type of magnetic compass to work properly in a heavily steel armored vehicle back in those days was next to impossible, but the German electric gyrocompass was one of the best and most accurate. Notice the electrical wire leaving the bottom of the unit and leading down to an out of sight plug near the floor. Also notice that the left main brake casing (next to the hull wall) is covered with a curved piece of sheet metal and also that a breather hose is attached to the brake case which curves our direction before turning down to the floor. Another cooling vent tube is attached to the right brake in the same manner and both these tubes lead under the floor to eventually end in the engine compartment where the radiator fans create a negative pressure gradient to suck air from the brake cases into the engine compartment. On this side of the hull wall stiffener on our left is a storage box for the KFF2 periscope and closer to us is the driver's gas mask canister. Also in the same area is the first of a line of MG34 ammo bags (150 belted rounds) hanging on a strip welded to the hull wall. The driver's left hull visor, or Klappe, is visible at the upper left. Although the visor could be opened, the protective glass block could be set in one of two positions, either stationary on the hull wall, or the holder and block could be unlatched and swung down to provide an unobstructed view through the open hatch. In photos you will see this visor in both positions, when the block is lowered you have a clear view into the interior of the tank. The torsion bar suspension in these vehicles was covered with German anti-slip skid plate, typically painted a dark gray green, and in the driver's area you can see that this paint extends up to the vertical front visor plate. In the fighting compartment of this vehicle the sponson sides are painted predominately the same light ivory Elfenbein color of the turret interior.

Picture 4: An enlargement of the previous photo shows additional detail in this area, particularly of the Klappe. The handle to swing the vision flap open is at the top left corner of the glass block holder and you can see the smaller flap locking handle on this side while the other handle on the far side is hidden from view. When the multi-layer glass block was broken it was replaced by turning two small latches at the top of the holder and folding down the frame that holds the block in place. A new block was then placed in the holder and the front frame revolved back into place and secured with the latches. This photo also shows detail of the canvas MG ammo bag and its metal cover with a leather strap and eye arrangement to secure the top closed. A second length of ammo bag support bracket is located above this one, and the first of the line of ammo bags stored up there is also visible at the upper left. Also, there is a thin padded head cushion above the driver's seat--a corner of it is visible at the top right of the photo. I have not seen any seatbelts used in these front tank seats and if they were not, I suspect a bump cushion on the ceiling was a very good idea. The Panzer III was the first mass produced tank to ride on a torsion bar suspension. This arrangement included a spring steel bar (torsion bar) that was securely bolted to one side of the hull, just above the floor, and then passed across to the other side of the hull and out through a hole bored in the side armor. A horizontal steel lever arm was bolted to the exposed end of the torsion bar and a road wheel was mounted on the far end of the lever. When the wheel was displaced while the tank was in motion, the torsion bar would provide some limited twisting/flexing, returning the wheel back to its original position if possible. The hole bored through the hull wall was surrounded with roller bearings so the rod could rotate easily in either direction, and you will see occasion elaborate oiling systems designed to keep these important bearings lubricated. With a number of these torsion bars and wheels attached to each side of the hull, the tank was very capable of covering uneven landscape at quick speeds for that time. The suspension required shock absorbers at the first and last wheel positions to dampen the initial travel of these wheels when overtaking obstacles and they also helped to keep the tank from continuously oscillating back and forth after hitting a bump in the ground. When designing suspension systems for future tanks in the German Army, the "ride" could be stiffened by either including additional torsion bar stations or by using stiffer spring steel in each bar. An additional benefit of the torsion bar suspension system was that most of the delicate portions were protected from damage inside the hull. One drawback to this suspension included some sacrificing of interior space for the bars located in the bottom of the hull. Very heavy vehicles also required many closely spaced torsion bars (requiring overlapping road wheels in most cases), which negated any hope of providing an escape hatch on the hull floor for the crew. In the case of the

Pz.III, the driver and radio operator were provided with escape hatches in the hull walls because the designers were not able to find space on the hull floor. But even with these minor problems, the new torsion bar suspension of the Pz.III proved so efficient and effective that it was subsequently fitted to most of the later German tank designs and became one of the most important automotive improvements in the history of tank design.

Picture 5: Another shot of a different Pz.III's driver seat shows some of his same equipment from a slightly different angle. Again the ZF transmission is at our lower right and can be identified by the smooth rear case and the large bolts that surround the back side. Both steering levers and their black rubber hand grips are visible, as well as the short drive shaft that crosses from the steering brake next to the transmission to the main vehicle brakes on the hull wall. A microphone and headset stowage box is mounted under the driver's visor--also notice the long horizontal grab handle along the lower edge of the vertical armor plate for the driver to hang on to when things get rough inside. The driver's visor 50 handles are in the down position so that means the armored visor is up outside the vehicle. You might also notice that the cooling/inspection hatch in front of the driver's knees is open now and although the gearshift lever is hidden by the transmission, the tall reversing gear lever with round black knob is plainly visible at the bottom of the photo. The side and back of the instrument panel is at the upper right and the lever rod connection from the left steering lever enters the steering brake casing in the same general area, with a prominent spring holding it in the lower, or non braking, position. In this IWM photo the main brake sheet metal covers and the sponson walls next to the driver appear to be painted the lighter ivory interior paint, in contrast to the vehicle we were just inside. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes with interior paint, nothing ever seems to be painted the same way from one tank to the next....

Picture 6: An additional image of the same general area, but oriented more to the right, comes from the British evaluation report on the Panzer Ausf.F. The foot pedals under the left crossing drive shaft include, from left to right, the clutch, foot and parking brake, and the accelerator. At the upper right is the instrument panel and identified there is the driver's radio connection box (59) at the far end of the instrument panel, the small electrical fuse box (54), and a spare vision block (56). Way up on top of the panel is a typical German interior tube light (58) to illuminate the panel. This vehicle is equipped with the Maybach Variorex 10 speed transmission with pre-selector found in the Ausf.E, F, and G models. It is easily identified by noting the location of the gearshift lever (53) up on the top of the box and recognizing the air pressure tubing running around the sides of the case.

Picture 7: Just for comparison sakes, here's one of Mikel Ezcurra's photos of the interior of the Munster Panzer Museum's Pz.III Ausf.M hull, stripped of much of its equipment, but still of some use to us anyway. The smooth casing of the later ZF transmission is now evident with those bolts on the back of the case that I mentioned a couple of pictures ago. The main brakes and their breather/cooling pipes are here painted silver by the museum staff so they are surely easier for me to point out. Like the Saumur Museum restorers, the

Munster staff also seems to like painting bright colors in their Panzers, and none of this paint is original. Anyway, the steering levers are still intact and the control arms and levers entering into the steering brake housing in front of the transmission can also be seen, the springs and brake rods in this case are painted red. Notice that the right steering lever control rods cross over the top of the transmission and will enter the steering brake on the other side. The instrument panel is from somewhere else and can safely be ignored, but since the vehicle is probably a "runner", it is necessary for the museum driver to have something to guide him as they show off the vehicle during demonstrations. The driver's visor is open (handles are down) and the glass block is missing (so you can really see it is open). The binocular periscope has been slid over to its stored position at the right (its an earlier version but very similar), with the track it slides across visible above the visor and vision block holder. Notice the handles that lock the inspection hatch over the brakes in front of the driver are the same on this vehicle late vehicle as they were in the Ausf.J/L we saw earlier. The location of the black gearshift lever is more clearly visible on the transmission side and the three pedals under the cross drive shaft are also clear in this photo. The over-head padding for the driver is completely missing, but the hull machine gunner/radio operator's padding frame is still intact and the MG mount is also visible. We will be going over to that side next.

Picture 8: This is a British photograph of the same Ausf.J/L we were examining earlier. The original photos are preserved in the Imperial War Museum but there are various copies now in both the Tank Museum at Bovington and the National Archives in Washington DC. The radio operator's seat is similar to the driver's, covered with leather cushions padded inside with horse hair and strapped to the frame so they are easy to remove. On the back of the seat is a storage bin for MG34 tools and equipment. Directly forward of the seat is the covered face of one of the radios carried in this vehicle. Out of sight to our left are two additional radio cases mounted in a hanging support frame over the transmission. Normally, the radio in most Pz.III tanks would be a Fu 5 set, and this unit directly in front of us would be the 10 W.S.c transmitter (as it says on the cover plate!). But we'll have more information about the radios later. The MG mount is the famous Kugleblende 50 (the 50 refers to the thickness of armor plate that the ball mount as attached to) and the MG is the MG34. The weapon used the same belted ammo (held in bags by this time) that the coaxial MG used up in the turret, and additional bags can be seen in this photo at the upper and lower right. With the

ammo bags attached, this end of the MG was way too heavy and a spring between the receiver and armor plate over the mount helped balance the whole affair. The gunner also used his head to support and guided the weapon-- the main aiming handle is below the gun along with the firing trigger. Although it is hard to see in this image, the same twin ammo bag setup is under the MG mount that we saw earlier used for the coax in the turret. The left bag is ammo feed, and the right is for spent brass collection. On the sponson wall, to the right of the MG, is a hook to hang the radio operator's headphones and throat microphone and in the superstructure above the headset hook you can just see the now familiar vision flap on this right side of the hull.

Picture 9: Here is a closer view of the same picture, showing indeed the two ammo bags under the MG with their top covers opened and hanging down on this side of the bags. The Kugleblende 50 gimble ball mount was a vast improvement over the earlier and more complicated Kugleblende 30. The MG34 ball mount used a KgZF2 monocular sight that viewed directly through a hole in the ball mount, next to the machine gun barrel. The sight allowed the gunner a direct view of his target, unlike so many allied hull machine guns that relied on the hull gunner's use of an over-head periscope to view tracer arcs for aiming. All hull-mounted MG34s tended to pull off target to the upper left, partly due to the support spring you see that was necessary to keep the receiver-heavy machine gun balanced in its mount. In this photo you can see a bit more of the firing trigger for the MG, the spring recoil knob at the back of the mount, and the distinctive head pad for support and aiming assistance. To the lower right is one of the power transformers for the radio set and barely visible below the shelf is the beginning of another row of hanging MG ammo bags. Notice that the ivory Elfenbein paint is applied down to the floor again on this side of the vehicle.

Picture 10: From a radio manual come the following two images of the same area in a

Pz.III, but with some minor detail differences. In this photo the cover has been removed from the front of the 10 W.S.c transmitter. The Ukw.E.e receiver, the second part of the Fu.5 set, is also visible at the left, along with a second receiver (by itself known as a Fu.2 set). The use of two receivers inside German tanks became more common from 1944 on, but prior to that you generally only found the additional receiver in a unit commander's vehicle. The MG34 Kugleblende is also visible, but the MG is not mounted and the gunner's head pad has been rotated over to the right, above the firing handle. Notice the headphones again hanging on the hull wall to our right.

Picture 11: Our final picture of this area shows the right hull wall again, to the right of the radio operator. This shot shows more clearly the radio control box with hookups for cables leading to each crew position on the bottom, and the radio operator's headphones and throat mike on the top. At the left edge of the image is the transmitter again, and below is the rear of the gearbox. At the far right are portions of two of the transformers for the radios, but we can only see where the electrical plugs, the rest of the transformers are out of the frame. This completes Part 3; the next section will complete our exploration of the Pz.III hull components. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen III, Ausf.J, Part 4

Picture 1: This is the fourth and last page about the interior of the German Pz.III tank of WWII. Another picture of the tank interior from the same photo series we saw previously shows the right hull wall in the fighting compartment of an Ausf.J. The radio operator's radio control box sits on the sponson wall next to his seat, under his headphones, and two of the power transformers for his radio set are attached to brackets directly behind the seat. The transformer on the top shelf is used with the transmitter we mentioned earlier, and the smaller transformer on the bottom rack powers the receiver UKW.E.e., mounted on the radio rack to his left over the transmission. The smaller box in the center of the picture with the single button on the face is the fuse box for the radio set up--there is one wire entering the bottom of the box from the vehicle batteries, and three leaving the top to power each of the three transformers. A few more ragged MG ammo bags hang on their mounting strips on this right hull wall (there are locations for at least 25 bags in the tank with a total of 3750 rounds) and you can see some of the turret ring at the top of the picture. Also visible to the upper right is the end of the loader's assist turret traverse hand wheel. The long vertical bag at the lower right contains spare MG barrels, the bag strapped in place on the sponson wall. Just out of view to our right would be the first of the floor mounted vertical ammo boxes for 5cm main gun rounds. Contrary to popular belief, most of the Pz.III hulls, superstructures and turrets were supplied by Deutsche Edelstahlwerke AG of Hanover, while the main armament came from Karges-Hammer of Braunschweig and Franz Garny of Frankfurt. Total production of 5cm L/60 vehicles was around 1,975 from 1941 through the end of 1943. But their strategic use began to wane by the end of the run--they were doomed by the smaller size of their turret ring. By early 1944, all the remaining Pz.III tanks were being converted to support vehicles or relegated to second line tank forces as the Pz.IV took center stage, soon to be upstaged in turn by the Panther tank.

Picture 2: The British Army sketch for the typical radio set in the Pz.III (and other tanks, for that matter) is shown here. The operator's controlling switch box in the center of the drawing is the same box we saw to the right of the radio operator's seat on the lower hull wall. From the control box we see wires leading to the driver's headset and throat mike at the lower right and the commander's set at the upper right, via the turret slip ring. Recall in Part 2 that we saw the electrical wiring leading from the slip ring up under the gunner's seat and then to the back of the turret where it crossed to the commander's radio connection box. The other side of the drawing shows the connections between the transmitter and receivers (two shown here although this was not always the case), as well as the antenna connection on the right hull wall. Notice also the transformers (dynamotors) that we saw in the previous photo. This kind of set up, with two receivers and one transmitter, was very common in German tanks by mid to late WWII, allowing the tank crew to keep in touch with both their local unit members as well as another unit on another frequency (air assets, infantry support, etc.). Normally, a two-meter rod aerial was used, and as you probably know, the base could be pivoted down with a handle on the inside of the hull so the antenna lay in a protective wooden trough when not in use. You might also notice that the gunner has no radio communications equipment. This is an interesting state of affairs as one would think the Germans would have placed great importance in providing communications between the commander and gunner. But their close proximity in the turret probably allowed enough contact and there was always that speaking tube system for them to use that we saw in Part 2.

Picture 3: Ammunition storage in the Pz.III mounting the 5cm gun varied depending on whether the gun was the short or long version and if there were hull side doors or not. This image loaned to us by Mikel Ezcurra was taken in the Saumur Ausf.E Pz.III upgraded with a 5cm turret (courtesy Armour Museum, Saumur). The photo shows the double stacked left corner bins (to the right in the picture) used for the short ammo of the L/42 gun whenever it was mounted in the Pz.III. The lower bin is said to have held 24 rounds with 24 more in the identical bin above it. The other side of the hull only has one corner bin and it holds only 22 rounds. A second bin could not be stacked on top of that one due to the fact that the antenna base was in the way on that side of the hull. There was probably a horizontal ammo bin on the loader's side of the floor, and another one back in the firewall at the lower left, with access through the lower corner bin only after it had been emptied. The combination of all these bins provided a total of around 99 rounds carried in the Pz.III tank when the short 5cm gun was mounted. This photo is helpful for a number of other reasons including detail of the gunner's seat and foot support as well as this view of the protective cover over the turret slip ring to the lower left that we examined in Part 2. It is bent sideways here, and the foot trigger pedal and connections for the coaxial MG are totally missing. By the way, the hull side escape doors are located between the two triangular floor-wall braces you see at the bottom right corner.

Picture 4: When the longer L/60 gun was introduced, the longer length of the ammo rounds required eliminating the upper bin on the left rear corner of the hull and the new arrangement is said to have provided space for a total of 84 shells. This is the interior of the poor old rusting Pz.III at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland that

we saw in a previous page in this series. The old gal was cut open as a teaching tool shortly after her arrival and she has been sitting out in the rusting field behind the museum for too many years. Yet, there is still much to be learned here, even in this sorry state. Although some of the equipment has been removed and some dumped onto the floor, the tall left rear bin (to our right) is visible and there are positions inside for 24 rounds. The upper tube clips that held the round in place are spring loaded, so the round was inserted up into the tube first and the base of the shell then inserted into the cup holder at the bottom of the bin. The horizontal rack in the armored box projecting back into the engine compartment (under and behind the gunner's seat support--the seat bottom is gone) held 14 more. This bin is also visible here if you look into the left corner bin (again, to our right) and you can also see the door with wooden bumpers used to hold the rounds in place when it was closed. Access to this rear bin was only possible when the larger corner bin had been emptied of shells. The hull's right rear bin, barely seen to our left, was slightly smaller and held 22 rounds. Additional long 5cm rounds were stored in a vertical box attached to and below the commander's seat, which in this vehicle has been unbolted from the turret ring and tossed on the floor to our left (8 rounds). The seat cushion that was hinged on top of the box is now missing, and the rounds were only available with the seat folded up. There is another horizontal rack visible in the picture, located on the center of the firewall, below the turret ring (2 additional shells). That adds up to around 70 by my count, but more may have been available as there may have been bins on the floor like in the L/42 gunned vehicles that are gone now. When the hull side doors were finally eliminated during the Ausf.J/L series there was said to have been additional space freed up along the left hull wall for another vertical storage bin (the right wall was filled with radio transformers and MG ammo bags). The total number of rounds carried increased again, this time to a reported 98 shells. All the bins had heavy gauge sliding or hinged steel doors that protected the rounds from shell fragments unless they were directly hit. Notice also that the rounds were all stored below the turret ring, providing additional protection. This made loading a round into the breech probably a bit slower than if a large ready rack was available with ammo sitting closer to the loader (the two rounds on the back wall were probably "ready rounds" and used first in the tanks with the long 5cm gun).

Picture 5: Here's the picture from the British School of Tank Technolog y study of their captured

Pz.III Ausf.F, showing much of the same equipment used with the shorter 5cm gun, but this time the picture is labeled for us. The two ammo bins in the fighting compartment's left rear corner are clearly both the same size here, holding 24 shells in each. The corner bin on the other side of the hull (3) held 22 rounds and the small bin (4) on the floor held four more horizontally. The engine access panel on the firewall has been removed and above the opening are the brackets for three canteens. To our right of the canteen brackets is the commander's gas mask holder (8) and on the opposite side of the canteen brackets are two spare vision blocks and the control handle for engine compartment cooling louvers (18). Items 19, 23 and 26 down on the floor include an access door to the lower hull, the drive shaft tunnel, and a stowage box of unknown use. To the far right of these panels is another stowage box (27) on the floor directly below the side escape hatch. Other items of interest include the fire extinguisher holder (25) and the battery box (24). Keep in mind that the loader had to step over all this stuff to follow and feed the traversing gun during action. Although you can see the left side hull escape door at the far right of the image, the right side one is hidden by the radio transformer support shelf that is mounted over it (the transformer is missing).

Picture 6: And speaking of ammo bins and hull escape hatches, this is the left hatch in the Saumur Ausf.E hull, again taken by Mikel and courtesy of the Saumur Museum. Pz.III tank designers originally thought the hatches to be necessary as they provided the driver and radio operator with a quick escape route. This was important due to the fact that the turret crew would be bailing out through the turret hatches and the front hull crew would then have to wait their turn or try to squeeze out their brake cooling hatches in the front armor plate. However, when analysis of vehicle and crew losses was performed at the factories and at Army Headquarters in 1942, the benefit of the hull side hatches was outweighed by the serious weakening of the hull walls the need to provide room for additional rounds of ammo. So, during the manufacture of the Ausf.J and later vehicles, the hatches were eliminated. I have not seen an analysis of crew loss comparison between vehicles with hull side hatches and those without and I suspect none was completed. But, I would not want to be in the driver's position in one of the later vehicles when it was time to evacuate the tank in a hurry. In this photo provided to us kindly by Mikel Ezcurra you can see the double armor construction of the door panel and the simple locking latch on the inside panel.

Picture 7: Finding images of Pz.III engines intact and still inside the tank is as difficult as finding pigs with wings, so we will have to make do with some StuG.III photos of the same engine until something else comes up. This is reasonable when you consider that the hull for the assault vehicle was almost identical to the tank version and, of course, the engine was the same. So, here is a well known Bundesarchiv photo showing some of the engine compartment in a StuG III taken while the vehicle was still in the factory. We are standing on the left front corner of the StuG, looking back down at the engine compartment. The general layout places the engine in the center of the compartment with the gas tank to its right (our left) and the radiators in the rear. Since the engine deck could be removed completely when unbolted from the hull (as both the engine deck and hull superstructure could in the tank), we have this opportunity to view the entire engine compartment, complete with gas tank filling neck rising from the single gas tank. There were two types of air filters used in the Pz.III, the first vehicles (up through around Ausf.H) used simple Delbag oil and paper types that were housed in rectangular boxes mounted on the engine side of the firewall like shown in the sketch above. The later and more heavily photographed filters were of the centrifugal oil bath type manufactured by Mahle. They are oddly globular in shape, and these filters are of that type. When used in Africa, Pz.III and StuG.III vehicles had additional air filters attached either inside the compartment or mounted on both sides of the engine deck with air ducts leading down to the Mahle filters. These primary exterior filters were just large rectangles of felt that acted as prefilters to reduce the ever present fine sand and grit that destroyed engines in the desert. North Africa bound vehicles also had large vents cut in the top of the flat engine compartment covers that later all Pz.IIIs had installed, and additionally, the speed of their cooling fans was increased with larger fan pulleys. The tubes you see running back from the top of the engine are the radiator coolant feed tubes which are on their way to the radiators at the back (hot water out the top of the engine to the radiators, cooler water back from the radiators to the engine down below). Large fans driven by an engine take-off drive shaft cooled the twin radiators and the exhaust pipe from each header passed between the radiators and over the compartment back wall to exit the vehicle at the rear. The space you see to the left of the engine (our right) was occupied by the ammo bin on the floor for the five rounds we mentioned earlier and on top by a tray to secure the vehicle's two 12-volt batteries. Two starters were available for the Maybach, a Bosch BNG 4/24 electric starter and an AL/ZMA/R 4 hand operated inertia starter. The inertial starter was used when battery charge was too weak or the oil in the engine was too frozen for the electric starter. A small hatch on the back armor plate allowed access for the hand crank and this was the common starter method most of the winter in Europe.

Picture 8: Removal of the Maybach engine required the removal of the radiators and fans and in this Bundesarchiv photo we see a StuG.III undergoing just that kind of work. A coolant cross connector runs between the two radiators and attaches to the engine coolant pipes we just saw. Both fans are clearly visible here. You can also see the exhaust pipe on this side passing over the top of the rear compartment wall to end behind the rear armor plate at a muffler (hidden). This is an Alkett produced StuG (this company, by the way, also assembled the majority of Pz.III tanks). Once again notice the fuel filler extension on the right and the flat plate over the battery box on the left. Already the crew has removed some parts from the compartment. The air filters are gone and the shrouds around this side of the radiators and fans have also been removed. The next step is the removal of the radiators themselves, and then finally the engine can be disconnected and pulled out. The big pipe opening you see in the firewall at the left I believe is for crew heating, and a similar exit from the engine compartment was also used on some of the Pz.III tanks with a regulating flap on the other side of the wall. There has been a great deal of debate the last few years about engine compartment paint colors in German vehicles. I have to say that I have seen a number of different variations in a number of vehicles, but very few originally painted colors. Since many museums sandblast the entire engine compartment when they overhaul the engine, or during "restoration" projects, it is difficult to make any strong predictions based on those vehicles alone. I have seen only two compartments painted in what was probably their original red lead primer paint. But other vehicles I have seen, or have been reported to me, both Pz.III and IV, have been painted the similar gray green as the interior floor. The radiators, fan assemblies, gasoline tanks and other associated equipment are nearly always painted the original manufacturer's colors, and they vary from primer red, to black, to even white on occasion. I have always suspected that it would be easier for mechanics to see what they were doing down in the compartment if most of the paint was some lighter color, but that does not seem to have always played a role in choosing paint colors inside German engine compartments.

Picture 9: This is the Maybach HL 120 TRM we have been talking about, used from early on inside the Pz.III and also in the Pz.IV and both their many variants. Although you will see this particular picture often captioned

as a Pz.IV TRM engine, you can tell it is from the Pz.III, or one of its variants, because the exhaust pipes curve up to pass over the back wall of the compartment, as we just saw. The Pz.IV headers and exhaust pipes traveled directly back through perforations in that tank's rear compartment wall and so they did not curve up this way. The Maybach was a 60-degree V gasoline engine with 12 cylinders totaling 11,860cc displacement and producing around 265hp at 2600rpm. Although often touted by many as a purposebuilt tank engine, it was not. Like many other tank engine designs, the HL 120 originated as an aircraft design, but it was more heavily modified for its tank role by a company famous for their excellent work. On this right side of the engine you can see the large rectangular oil reservoir tank with its filler tube rising near the front of the block. The carburetors were two Solex 40 JFF II units, sharing the air intake from the air cleaners we saw before. The clean air enters the carbs at the top of the engine through the manifold you see here. Most pictures of Maybach engines show them painted predominately black, although the Bosch starter is typically metallic steel and the generator can be green or even red on occasion. The fuel tank held 320 liters of gasoline and provided the engine with enough fuel to push the tank a total of 145 kilometers on the road and a little more than half that cross country. Although Maybach was the original designer for the engine most of the units were actually license manufactured at a number of different plants. Well, that concludes our all too brief tour inside the mid/late production German Panzerkampfwagen III. There is a lot to examine in this vehicle and I'm afraid we have just scratched the surface. The general overall impression you get when inside the tank is one of crew efficiency, high standard of equipment quality and finish, and a well thought out and balanced crew duty system. However, many of the pieces of equipment are over-engineered and were probably somewhat difficult to maintain in the field, especially considering the poor repair facilities available from the middle of the war on. Like many of the AFVs that began the war in 1939, the Pz.III was well designed for German war planner's visions of increased tactical mobility and lightning assaults. But with the introduction of the advanced hull design of the Soviet T-34 and others, the earlier panzer designs were made instantly obsolete, and so were General Guderian's once mighty Pz.III tanks. Again I want to express my sincere gratitude to Mikel Ezcurra for sharing his photos with us. Without his help I would still be stuck on a number of questions. Thanks also to David Byrden of Tiger1.info website, and John Heeps and Sarah Vosich of the Imperial War Museum for coming to the rescue on a number of issues where reference information was incorrect or completely missing. Jon Hornbostel supplied us with the School of Tank Technology images of the Ausf.F vehicle. Once again, these web pages have been a team effort and we all benefit from these particular folks' freely given contributions. Any errors are my own. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Sturmgeschutz III, Part 1, StuK37 L/24 Gun Models

Picture 1: Originally designed to provide close support for the infantry, the Sturmgeschutz III, or StuG III, was based loosely on the Panzer III tank chassis. The StuG III assault vehicle mounted a low velocity 7.5cm gun in a limited traverse mounting and provided room for four crewmen- driver, gunner, loader and commander. There were many improvements to the initial design but the full production of Ausf.A through E only amounted to around 620 vehicles. Yet the German designers were on to something big and more powerfully gunned versions would be produced later by the thousands. We will examine the early StuG III versions, the models Ausf.A through E, in two pages, Part 1 and Part 2. There is a third page (Part 3) that will provide you with interior information on StuG IIIs with the longer 7.5cm gun (Ausf.F, F/8 and G). This photo of StuG III Ausf.D in Russia is from the Bundesarchiv.

Picture 2: As with the Panzer III, the StuG III driver sat in the forward left side of the hull and his driving controls were also of the Pz.III variety. In this sketch of an Ausf.C/D originally drawn by artists at the British School of Tank Technology (but used since by a number of publishers) you can see the driver's seat, his controls, and the instrument panel. Directly behind the driver sat the gunner and directly behind him, the commander. The loader was positioned to the right of the gun and he was provided with a seat bolted to the sponson. Forward of the loader were storage racks for steel cases containing main gun ammunition. The 7.5cm weapon and floor mounted gun cradle just about divided the hull in half but there was still room behind the recoil guard to slide from one side of the vehicle to the other. The Ausf.C/D model was the first with the gunner's sighting aperture window removed from the original alcove in the forward armored plate and relocated up through a special plate in the roof hatch. This helped eliminate the shot trap of the original gunner's forward mounted sight of the Ausf.A and B models.

Picture 3: This drawing shows a bit more of the detail of the driver's position. He steers the vehicle with traditional steering levers attached by linkage to the DB/Wilson Clutch and braking system, which is hydraulic. The transmission sits

in the middle of the front hull, to the right of the driver, and consists of a ZF SSG 77 Aphon unit with 6 forward and 1 reverse gears. This simplified transmission took the place of the Maybach SRG 328 145 unit of the Ausf.A. Gas, brake and clutch pedals are all in the normal position at the driver's feet (clutch to the driver's left, brake in the middle and gas to the right). The driver's main instrument panel is mounted above the transmission at the right. To change gears with this synchronized transmission the driver shifted the preselector lever to the desired gear and then depressed and released the clutch pedal. The transmission would then automatically change to that new gear and the driver could then select the next gear to engage by moving the gearshift lever again before pressing the clutch pedal once again.

Picture 4: The instrument panel is dominated by a large tachometer flanked by gages on the left for oil pressure and temperature, and on the right for speedometer. To the right also are 4 fuse box covers and further right are connections/switches for lights and the gun's electrical system. This is the typical panel layout for early StuGs, later versions, as with the Pz.III, varied a bit from time to time. Above the tachometer and speedometer are two small horizontal lights to illuminate the panel. These same light bulb holders can be seen elsewhere in the vehicle for general lighting purposes, usually attached directly to the armor. Instrument panels were typically painted black, or the same ivory as the interior color, and the dials were white with black lettering. The tachometer dial indicated dangerously high rpm levels with colored warning bands, first yellow and then red.

Picture 5: This archive photo shows some detail of the driver's forward area, including the forward view block. The Kinon bulletproof glass block is typical for the time and was used as the primary viewing device during

relatively safe periods of operation. The holder and outside armored flap is called a Fahrerseh Klappe50 and when in combat the outside armored cover was closed over the glass block by the large handles you can barely see on either side. The handles are seen here near the top and the visor cover, indicating the cover is in the closed position. Once the Klappe50 was closed, the driver's KFF binocular optics were swung down into position over his glass block inside the hull. The binocular KFF was attached to the front armor plate above the viewing block and allowed a very restricted view through two small holes bored through the armor just above the armored cover. At the top of the photo are the clips that hold the two telescopes when pivoted up and not in use, in this case the KFF is the KFF2 model. Typically, there was a padded face guard attached to keep the driver from banging his head into the optics when bouncing over the ground (not shown here). To the left is a rubber speaking funnel and tube with elastic support band that was used to communicate with the commander in the early vehicles that did not have an intercom system (vehicles prior to the Ausf.D). The speaking tube system is seen occasionally in later vehicles as a back-up measure. Above the tube is the driver's left side Kinon viewing block and holder, here painted black as are most of the mechanicals that appear dark colored in this photo. By the time of the Ausf.G models, this left viewing block would be replaced with a simple pistol port plug. Down below are two steering levers with black rubber hand grips and to the right is the round knobbed gear shift lever. Also visible here is the lower left corner of the instrument panel--the remainder is blocked by part of the gun support. The left-hand drive shaft passes through the large tube seen forward and the main brakes are housed in the larger diameter cover seen on the left. Way down at the lower right of the photo is the handle for the starter carburetor control with locking button at the end. A word about StuG III interior paint is probably appropriate here. Notice that the sponson walls and floor are a darker shade of paint than the superstructure walls in this training vehicle. In many vehicles this floor color was a greenish gray paint, varying only slightly in the Alkett factory. At about the same time the order came to discontinue applying zimmerit paste to assault vehicles at the factories (the fall of '44), manufacturers were also ordered to stop over-painting interiors of vehicles Elfenbein (ivory) and allow only the original factory primer, a fairly bright brick red, to be used. This was to cut production time and would have affected only the later StuG IIIs (Ausf.G) or only a few earlier models that had been returned to the manufacturer for repair/rebuild. There is evidence that suggests some early vehicle's floors were painted with this primer instead of the gray paint I previously mentioned, but the walls and roof were painted the typical Elfenbein. There is at least one StuG III in captivity with original paint suggesting a genuine white paint was used, even on the floor, although it is in two slightly different shades (perhaps a rebuild or repaired vehicle). It had been sitting in a swamp for 40 years before recovery so the actual original paint shade is debatable.

Picture 6: Lucky for us, the German Army was proud of their engineering skill and expertise, and extensively recorded by photographs the interior of many of their AFVs. These next few photos are from the Bundesarchiv and taken of a StuG III Ausf.E (with the short L/24 gun) said to be used for crew training. Here the crew is installed in their proper positions and the superstructure and engine compartment roof have been removed. Chassises for the early StuG IIIs changed markedly during the vehicle's production and mirror what was available at the time. The first StuGs, Ausf.A vehicles, used the Pz.III Ausf.G chassis, some with side escape hatches as you will find in the tank. Since the Pz.III Ausf.G was made with only 30mm front armor, the StuG armor was augmented with an additional 20mm plate bolted on from the very beginning. Ausf.B StuG IIIs used the chassis of the Pz.III Ausf.H, although with wider track. StuG III Ausf.C/D vehicles used the same Pz.III Ausf.H chassis except for the change of transmission mentioned before and new globular oil bath engine oil filters replacing the early felt types. Like the Pz.III tanks, those StuGs to be shipped to North Africa, Italy and Russia were "tropicalised" by increasing the radiator fan speed and altering the engine deck hatches with additional vented covers. The most important modification for the Ausf.E StuG III was the lengthening of the left armored pannier and the addition of an armored pannier on the right side. This was necessary for the inclusion of additional radios in these vehicles, due in part to the fact that the Sd.Kfz. 253 observation half track was no longer used in the units and the StuGs took over this command responsibility for platoon leaders and battery commanders. The vehicles that mounted the additional radios can be identified by the two antennas on the back of the superstructure. The lengthened left pannier fit both the radio (FuG15) and additional six rounds of ammo. Notice in this picture of the StuG III Ausf.E the small rack on the right side of the gun (with lightening holes all around) for storing cases of 7.5cm ammo. Additional ammo boxes have been stored behind it, stacked freely on the floor. The recoil cylinders for the short 7.5cm gun are mounted to either side of the barrel and require an armored surround on the mantlet to protect them. A bit of detail can be seen of both the gun breech/recoil shield and the rear engine and black air cleaners. Way at the back of the engine compartment are the two radiators (fans are behind the radiators and not seen) and their coolant feed hoses originating from the top of the engine are also visible. The engine compartment walls were probably painted with the same red lead primer as the rest of the vehicle and the paint would appear quite bright in a newer vehicle. Notice that the thick, black rubber gun shield pad on the back of the recoil guard that was used

for deflecting ejected shells down into the catch bag has been marked by the spent shells bouncing off it. Notice also the two "inspection" hatches on the front armor plate forward of the driver. They were initially designed as both inspection hatches for the steering and braking mechanisms mounted below and as escape hatches for the driver and hull machine gunner. But the transmission and steering boxes made it almost impossible for the crew to squirm out through the hatches so you will find the "escape hatch" part of the description abandoned by the time of the Ausf.C. For more information about the hatches and their changing design on the Pz.III tank see the web pages in AFV INTERIORS on the tank in the Archives section.

Picture 7: Here is the left side of the short 7.5cm Stuk37 L/24 gun used in the early StuG IIIs. The loader is looking up the open breech and the gunner is to the left. In these earlier vehicles the gun elevated -10 to +20 degrees by hand wheel and traversed equally left and right for a total of 24 degrees, again, by hand wheel. The breech is a semi-automatic vertical sliding block and, as I mentioned before, the spent shells were ejected with some force to the rear during recoil. Most of the mechanicals seen to the left of the gun breech are shafts and gears of the elevating mechanism and connections for the two different sights that we will see more clearly later. The L/24 fired Gr38 HL/A ammo (HEAT) 450m/s and was also fitted to all Pz.IV models prior to the F2. The gun weighed over 490kg and for indirect fire support the Rundblickfernrohr 32 panoramic periscope with 4X magnification was used. At the upper right corner is the loaders safety switch to notify the gunner the weapon is loaded via the light you see on this side of the gun recoil guard. Notice also the flat space machined on the left side of the breech ring for attaching the gunner's quadrant for indirect firing without using the elevation markings on the gun sight.

Picture 8: Another view of this vehicle, this time from the left side, shows a bit more of the gunner's control mechanism. The elevation hand wheel is now clearly seen at the right while the traverse wheel is partially visible underneath. The gun was fired via a switch on the operating handle of the traverse wheel. You can also find the traverse gear on the base of the mount-the round box just about centered at the bottom of the picture. The gun is mounted on a traversing cradle that sits atop large steel beams, which in turn cross the hull from side to side along the floor. A direct fire sight is seen here attached to the elevating gear housing. This sight was added to the StuG C when the sight window was removed at the front of the vehicle. Along the side of the sight mount can be seen the metallic ammo range rings, but the black periscopic sight does not show well in this photo. The sight mounting was considerably different between the short and long gun versions of the AFV, the early versions with ranging rings to the left of the mechanism as seen here and the later mounts with the rings down below the mount.

Picture 9: This view shows the gunner installing a SelbstfahrlafettenZielfernrohr 1 (Sfl.ZF1) direct fire sight into its mount (Ausf.A and B used shorter Sfl.ZF sights). The stub rod on the sight fits into a channel attached above the traverse wheel and the sight is tightened into place with a set screw held in the gunner's left hand. This is a fairly simple periscopic sight with rubber eye ring surrounding the optic eyepiece. The attaching mechanism below is the actual guts of the system and three ranging rings for ammo types (PzGr39 and 40 as

well as SprGr34) are located to the left of the mount body. When the new sight was first mounted in the Ausf.C, the gunner's overhead hatch was altered to allow the sight to elevate through the hatch for viewing. Although the indirect sight was already one that required an overhead opening, the new direct fire sight was mounted slightly to the right of the indirect fire, and required further altering of the roof panels. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Sturmgeschutz III, Part 2, StuK37 L/24 Gun Models Continued

Picture 1: There wasn't much room for the loader on the right side of the gun, but he actually had more room to maneuver than any of the other crew members. Most of the available ammo for the short barreled guns was within easy reach while sitting on his small seat and here we see him withdrawing a round from the back wall ammo bin to then shove into the open breech to his right. This is yet another in the same training series of photographs from the Bundesarchiv. The round appears to be a short 7.5cm Nebel-Gr. (smoke shell) as they were the only really short rounds found in StuGs during the war. You can see along the top of the picture the open ammo bin with a number of other rounds held vertically, nose down, showing just the butt of the shell. The breech is at the lower right with the round base of the opening handle just visible at the lower edge of the photo. Also seen here is the recoil indicator mounted on the inside of the recoil guard and the soft pad at the back of the guard to deflect spent shells down into the canvas collection bag below. The stick grenade racks, on the front of the opened ammo bin, are also seen just below the round being held by the gunner.

Picture 2: German stick grenades came in a couple of different types during the war, the one stowed inside the StuG III was probably the Stielhandgranate 24 (Stielhdgr 24). The grenade consisted of a long wooden handle and a thin sheet metal head containing a bursting high explosive charge. A length of cord connected the igniter in the charge to a porcelain bead at the other end of the hollow handle, the bead accessible by removing the end screw cap. To arm the

grenade the soldier unscrewed the end cap and pulled on the bead on the cord. This initiated the friction igniter in the charge and the grenade would explode after a four or five second delay. Total weight of the Stielhdgr 24 was around 1.4 pounds and the bursting charge was TNT. There were other types of similar styled grenades, like the smoke version (Nebelhandgranate 39), this one distinguished from the high explosive stick grenade by three grooves in the handle, a white band painted around the center of the handle, and "Nb.Hgr.39" stenciled on the head. I would not be surprised to also find a few Nb.Hgr.39 types inside Stug IIIs.

Picture 3: This view shows the general layout in another StuG III Ausf.E, this time illustrating the left front section of the fighting compartment. To the far left is the receiver Ukw.E.h. (known as a FuG15 when alone like this) set mounted into the side wall pannier. Earlier vehicles mounted the single radio on a shelf on the back wall next to the commander. The gunner's seat is at the bottom of the photo. Just forward of the radio is mounted the commander's swing arm support for his scissors periscope (SF14Z). Notice the thin metal wall braces angling from the floor to the sidewall with holes in them. Again, the telescope sight is mounted and the gun breech is closed. The wide base of the gun cradle pivot is seen well at this angle, as are the gunner's traverse and elevation wheels. The equipment mounted on the floor to the left of the gunner includes a gas mask canister and two water bottles. Behind the side wall/floor brace is another gas mask container for the commander as well as a holster for his pistol sidearm. To the upper right in this photo is another gas mask container for the loader and to the left and slightly below that is a small box mounted on the top of the gun cradle- the safety switch for the gun. After loading the weapon, the loader would hit this switch to indicate to the gunner that the gun was loaded and ready to fire. Many cases for ammo are stashed to the right of the gun mount on the floor and contain 3, 4 or 5 rounds.

Picture 4: A closer view of the FuG15 on the left side of the hull near the commander's position provides some detail about the radio

equipment. The receiver operated in the 23000 to 24950 frequency range and was a handy addition to the other identical receiver in the FuG16 set on the far side of the vehicle. Having two receivers allowed the crew to listen in to two different frequencies at the same time, for instance both their unit commander as well as the battalion command. Notice the headphones hooked in the rear corner next to the rear firewall and the rubber speaking tube funnel for directly communication with the driver located right next to the headset. Also clearly visible here is the commander's scissors periscope SF14Z mentioned in the last picture. The periscope and swivel mount have been folded head down in their stowed position, but you can still see the unique clamp that held the periscope to the support rod as well as the binocular eye pieces.

Picture 5: This is the other side of the forward area, again showing the ammo boxes stacked in their racks to the right of the gun. Notice that the breech of this weapon is painted the same ivory of the interior. More radio racks are mounted to the right in this commander's vehicle (the FuG16 radio set) and the Elfenbein ivory of the interior paint extends down to the floor in this vehicle. The additional radios installed in the right side pannier were originally planed for platoon leaders or battery commanders that required the additional communication set. With the addition of the new panniers, the Ausf.E StuGs could now carry 50 rounds of ammo (as opposed to the 44 of the earlier vehicles) as space was now available next to the radio in the extended left pannier for 6 additional rounds.

Picture 6: Here is the setup for the FuG16 in the right pannier. This set includes both the receiver we saw before and a 10watt transmitter 10W.S.h. The equipment is identical to the FuG5 set you may be familiar with mounted in many Panzers, but the frequency range was

different and used for communicating with ground troops and artillery units. The receiver is always mounted to the left and the transmitter on the right, connected for common antenna and power between them. The box under the receiver on the left is the power transformer while the transformer for the transmitter is a differently shaped box at the far right.

Picture 7: This is the same vehicle's rear wall showing the commander's bicycle style seat in the center and radio to his left. Two MP40 machine pistols are clipped to the wall and below them is a long covered storage bin, with hinged metal lid, for holding 12 rounds of 7.5cm ammo. Down near the floor are clips and alcoves for mounting the stick grenades we saw earlier and the support for the commander's elevating seat is seen in the rear corner. The seat was spring-loaded and could be raised to allow the commander to ride head out, as the vision from the early StuG IIIs was very poor. The loader's black seat is barely visible at the lower left of the photo, behind the ammo boxes. To his left, and in the corner of the fighting compartment, is a floor clamp for storing a MG 34. The storage box mounted on the rear firewall at the left of the picture is for MG ammo.

Picture 8: The engine for the StuG III was initially a gasoline Maybach HL 120 TR, but was improved to the new TRM with a dry sump lubrication system and Schnapper Magneto by the time of the Ausf.B, and retained for the rest of the vehicle models. In this picture we are back in the early Ausf.E again and we can see the top

of the gloss black engine valve covers for the V-12 engine and the black globular air filters mounted on top. The TRM produced approximately 300hp at 3000rpm and maintained a power to weight ratio of 13 until extra armor was added to the later Ausfs. The fuel filler neck is seen on the far side of the engine compartment and extends to the fuel tank below. Total fuel held in the single primer-red gas tank was around 310 liters. Note the stick grenades in their clamps along the bottom of the rear ammo storage bin again.

Picture 9: Another image from the same series shows a slightly different angle of the same general area. Now the voice tube for the commander is at the lower right corner of the photo and the rear firewall ammo bin with attached stick grenade rack are also visible. The cyclone engine air filters were improvements over the original Ausf.A felt types that were originally installed on the firewall just forward of the engine. Cyclone filters are also oil bath types, but the swirling action of the air as it moves through the baffles of the filter forces larger dust and dirt particles to the outside of the case where they fall away. The same idea was used to develop a number of other efficient filters for German WWII vehicles, perhaps the best known being the later style box filters seen in Tigers and Panthers. Again, the radiators are the boxes at the back of the engine compartment with their coolant feed tubes seen crossing from the center top of the engine (water pump) to the top of the radiators. The single fuel tank with its filler tube is off to the left.

Picture 10: The way the radiators straddled the rear of the engine ment that in order to lift the Maybach the radiators had to be at least partially removed also before pulling the engine. This final photo illustrates a 120 TRM being pulled for maintenance. We are looking at the rear of the Maybach with the starter crank connection hanging down. The air filters and intake manifolds have been removed from the

engine and the cylinder at the bottom on this end is the oil cooler. Notice the upswept exhaust pipes, a clear indication that this engine lived in a StuG or Panzer III as the exhaust had to pass over the rear engine compartment wall before exiting the vehicle. For additional information about the engine and drive train you may wish to read the Panzer III pages in AFV INTERIORS. Let's take a look now at the upgunned versions of the StuG in Part 3 that used the longer barreled 7.5cm gun. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Sturmgeschutz III, Part 3, Long Gun StuK40 Models

Picture 1: By the end of 1941 it had become obvious to the German High Command that the masses of Russian T-34, KV-1 and KV-2 tanks were causing major problems with their plans for eastern conquest. It was therefore decided to increase their own numbers of tank killing machines by up-gunning the StuG III with a longer gun with better armor penetrating power, the gun chosen being the StuK40. These vehicles became known as the StuG III Ausf.F, F/8 and G, depending on the length of the new gun and other upgrades in vehicle equipment. The subsequent vehicles were so effective in their anti-tank role that many of these later StuG IIIs took the place of traditional tanks in Panzer divisions by mid 1944. And yet, even then the crews manning the machines were still artillery soldiers, not Panzer crewmen. In this page we will explore the interiors of these later StuG III vehicles and compare them to the earlier models of StuG with the shorter gun. This is a Bundesarchiv image of a StuG Ausf.G.

Picture 2: This is the Rheinmetall-Borsig designed long barrel version of the 7.5cm cannon (Sturmkannone 40, or StuK40), showing the basic layout of the weapon and especially how the gunner's seat is attached to the gun support on the left side. Two large cylindrical recoil pistons are now mounted above the gun and attached near the front of the breech block. These recoil tubes and their attachment points are the quickest way to ID the longer gun and its mount when exploring just the interior of a StuG III. Note that the longer gun also has a vertical sliding breech with operating handle on the right side. The long StuK40 produced an increased shell velocity of 630 m/s for AP shells, enough to penetrate the T-34, KV-1 and KV-2 at reasonable ranges and therefore allow the StuG III a much-improved anti-tank role. Forward of the mount, and angling down, is a spring loaded barrel counter balance, needed due to the increased weight of the longer barrel. The gunner's laying controls are similar to the earlier L/24 with a few minor changes we will see later. The vertical elevation wheel is prominent in this photo, but the horizontal traverse wheel is lost behind it.

Picture 3: This is an enlarged section of the photo above to show more detail. Notice that on this gunner's side of the recoil shield there are two black objects and an associated electrical wire. The top one is a signal light and the lower a simple on/off switch. After the loader rams his round into the breech, he pushes his safety switch (on his side of the gun) and this light would glow to indicate to the gunner that the weapon was loaded, locked, and ready to fire. The wire hanging down from the on/off switch leads to an emergency back-up firing device, should the palm switch on the traverse wheel fail to electrically fire the gun. The large brown canvas spent shell catch bag is attached to the recoil guard and the gunner's padded seat bottom and small backrest are also clearly visible. Fifty-four rounds of long 7.5cm ammo where carried for the longest barreled versions of the StuG III. Since the longer breech extended almost to the rear wall, the rear 12-round ammo bins found in the earlier vehicles were removed and more shells were stored in a revised rack to the right of the gun. A bin with stacked stowage holes (three wide and 5 tall) for 15 shells was mounted on the floor forward and to the right of the gun support. Another rack with 5 layers (with supports for 3 rounds each) that pivoted back against the hull wall when empty, was located directly in front of the bin. The 15 rounds in the closest racks were used first, from the top rack down to the bottom, and then these racks were folded back to expose the bin behind. A second smaller open bin was located above, in

the alcove of the superstructure front wall, and held another 8 rounds. Ammo was also stored in a bin located back in the engine compartment with access through a hatch in the fighting compartment rear wall, below the commander's seat. You may recall this was also a stowage location for the Panzer III tank and as many as 20 rounds could be stored in this rear bin. In earlier StuGs some ammo was stored in the left pannier in front of the radio, but I have not seen a preserved StuG III Ausf.G with a rack in this location.

Picture 4: A close-up photo from the German sight training manual shows most of the major components of the Sfl.ZF 1/1A direct fire sight. At the bottom of the sight is the Zieleinrichtung 37 (Z.E.37) sight bracket with cross leveling, deflection, and range adjustments. Notice the three ranging rings mentioned earlier for the different ammo types, with a pointer that indicated the elevation on the scale for each shell. Each ring has numbers printed in different colors that correspond to the different types of ammo. Once the commander called out the approximate range and ammo type, the gunner elevated the gun until the pointer touched the correct range number for the ammo ordered and then traversed the gun onto target, usually doing both actions simultaneously with both hand wheels. To the left of the range rings is the monocular for the periscope and below that the adjusting knob for side tilt. Up above the rings is a small bubble level gauge (determines tilt or cant) and above the sight is a slightly inclined knob that tightens the telescope in its mount. Sights were typically painted black or field green in most German vehicles in WWII and stored carefully in padded cases generally mounted near the gunner's location in the AFV. German optics were some of the best in the world at this time--clear from edge to edge, bubble free and very accurate--and therefore carefully studied by both Soviet and western powers when captured vehicles and equipment became available to intelligence units.

Picture 5: This excellent factory photo provides a view of an Ausf.F/8 nearing completion in the factory. Closest to us are the twin fans to cool the radiators (mounted on the far side) and the twin exhaust pipes can be seen bending over the rear deck support to then exit the rear of the vehicle. The radiators are connected to each other by a crossing coolant pipe, and the gas tank and its filler neck are seen rising upward to the right (the fuel filter was a strainer that fit into this tube). Directly

across from the gas tank is the storage bin for 7.5cm ammo we mentioned earlier with access through a hatch in the firewall below the commander's seat. The twin globular cyclone air cleaners and the intake manifold combine to hide the center of the Maybach engine and its two carburetors from view. Forward of the firewall the transmission has been placed and the torsion bars of the suspension are seen prior to the installation of the floor plates. Notice the pipes leading away from either side of the transmission. These are air circulation tubes to cool and release fumes from the brakes on either side of the hull. They lead back under the floor to the engine compartment where the twin fans create a negative pressure that sucks the foul air from the brakes out the back of the StuG. To the left, up forward, is barely visible the driver's seat, and his instrument panel is also just seen as a lighter shaded are on the left of the transmission housing. The chassis/hull for the F/8 was almost identical to the Pz.III Ausf.J tank (8/ZW). Ammo storage increased from the 44 of the StuG III Ausf.F to 54 in the F/8, and remained that way with the G model also.

Picture 6: This well-published picture illustrates the very close confines of the crew positions in a StuG Ausf.G, the vehicle said to be located in the Finnish Army Museum at the time of the photograph. The Ausf.G was the most produced model of all the StuG IIIs, with approximately 7,720 made by Alkett and MIAG from December 1942 to March of '45. Notice how the driver up front is partially isolated from the fighting compartment and crew, but not as much as in the Pz.III tank. The gunner is seen with his left hand on an unusually large elevation wheel and just about sitting on his back is the commander, with his seat elevated so his head is in the cupola above. It is easy to imagine the havoc of battle as the driver attempts to find the perfect hull down position, the commander barks out orders for ammo type, target location and range to the gunner, and the gunner franticly works the gun controls to line up the target. Then comes the commander's order to fire and the explosion of the 7.5cm gun less than 2 feet from their heads and then the sliding crash of the automatically opening breech and spent shell as it is ejected into the overburdened bag behind the breech. The loader then pounds another shell into the breech, it closes with a slam, and once again the crew is ready to aim and fire again. Notice the concrete deflector shield added in front of the commander's cupola. There will be more about this in a moment.

Picture 7: Another very interesti ng German Army image shows some of the detail on the superstr ucture roof of a zimmerited late StuG III Ausf.G. Both of the loader's hatches are opened and some of the inside lock detail is visible. Notice that the machine gun shield (forward of the loader's hatch) has been folded forward and the exposed rear side shows the hinges for the shield as well as the mount attachments for the MG. The commander's cupola is also well displayed and includes the upper flat ring that protected the vision blocks below which surround the cupola to provide 360 degrees of view. The round hatch has been opened with the commander standing inside and the black padding and locks on the inside surface are visible. Because the cupola protrudes up from the roof it was easily damaged by enemy fire and on occasion even blown off the vehicle. For that reason commander's often attempted to beef up the armor ring by adding track shoes or any other additional protection. Eventually, concrete was added the front surface at the factories as we saw in the previous picture, sloping up from the roof to the bottom of the vision blocks. Notice the gunner's sight in the sliding armor plate that covered the roof opening and how the plate slides back and forth when the gun is traversed. The rear engine deck is also partially exposed and includes the engine compartment air louvers on this side of the deck and a couple of the protective covers over the air vents in the engine deck hatches, similar to those found in later Panzer III tanks. It is interesting to note that the twin recuperators and barrel of the long 7.5cm are clearly seen behind the gun mantlet as they enter the vehicle. It makes me think that this was probably a drafty spot for the crew and I wonder why there was not a canvas weather cover over this area as you often see attached to similar areas on Allied vehicles. You might also note the two antennas on this vehicle, indicating that radios were mounted on both sides of the superstructure.

Picture 8: This is one of my favorite StuG III propaganda photos--a pipe smoking gunner would not have gotten far inside a StuG during actual combat. The sights in front of the pipe smoking gunner are now the newer Sfl.ZF 1A for direct target sighting (the Rundblickfernrohr 32 or 36 was still used for indirect sighting). The commander behind him is adjusting his scissors telescope through his open over-head cupola hatch that was new to the Ausf.G. Initially, this cupola rotated 360 degrees on ball bearings, but their scarcity forced the manufacturers to bolt a nonrotating cupola to the hull roof for a period of time before the cupola was again made to rotate towards the end of the war on imported bearings. The roof panels seen here are devoid of detail except for the wiring of small interior lights. This simple roof design allowed the entire thing to be removed at one time to maintain or replace the gun and larger equipment inside the AFV. Both the FuG15 and FuG16 radios were carried with full intercom included allowing voice contact between all crew members.

Picture 9: Here is a photo of a Stuk40 gun being serviced in an Ausf.F/8, the photo illustrating again the breech differences between the short and longer guns. Notice the two upswept mounts for the twin recoil cylinders just forward of the breech block. Once the roof is unbolted and removed, the gun and mantlet may be removed in one piece in under a half-hour, and then replaced after mounting a new gun inside the vehicle in about the same time. Recall that the other changes to the interior from the earlier StuGs included revised ammo storage bins for the longer shells, increased width of the superstructure for the radios, and the addition of a commander's cupola. Other changes included the exhaust fan mounted centrally in the rear superstructure roof in the Ausf.F and F/8 models and then moved to the rear wall in the Ausf.G as it tended to get in the way of the loader in its original ceiling position. Notice also that the breech block has been removed from this gun and the loader's gas mask container brackets are still in their earlier position near the right hand of the figure on the right. The lower figure on the left is steadying the gun with his left hand on the new gun sight mount (periscope not installed).

Picture 10: This is another in the same series of pictures taken by German Army photographers during the war. This photo was actually taken just before the previous one, and shows the maintenance crew working on removing the gun's breech guard before lifting the gun and mount from the StuG. A bit of the interior is also visible here, including the relocated fan now on the back superstructure wall and the altered ammo storage below it. Notice that the bracket for an MP is still at the left of the fan, although the fan has taken the space for the second MP that used to be mounted on this back wall. The radio rack on the far sponson is empty as radios were usually removed before this kind of maintenance work was attempted. It is clear that this is an Ausf.G as there is no longer an armored box built out on the sponson for the radio, but rather the entire superstructure has been extended over the track and the radio equipment not sits out in the open on the sponson shelf. The rear half of the loader's two piece hatch has remained with the back wall while the front half has been lifted with the roof. Notice again the two recoil cylinders over the gun mount identifying this as a long gun version of StuG. Although the sight has been removed, the mount is still attached to the gun cradle and the elevation hand wheel is obvious on this side also. A number of improvements were made during the production of the last Ausf.G models. Frontal armor received bolted on 30mm armor plates over the base 50mm armor and then full depth 80mm welded plates were used. The area around the driver's visor had to keep the same 50mm base armor plate due to the visor mount, so this area only received an additional 30mm bolted plate for protection. With the addition of this plate, the holes for the KFF2 were covered and the periscope no longer used by the driver (see Picture 1 above). A new cast mantlet was added to some vehicles, known as a "Saukopf", or pig snout. Some late StuG IIIs even had a coaxial MG34 added on the left side of the main weapon, the hole bored through both types of mantlet and the MG wedged in the space between the main gun and the gunner's sights inside. One of the more interesting interior additions was a remote controlled machine gun mounted on the roof in place of the previous one we have seen with the large shield. This new weapon, called a "Rundumfeuer MG", or rotating machine gun, used a periscopic sight of 3x magnification and field of view of 8 degrees attached to the bottom of the MG mount. Attached to the roof on the loader's side of the superstructure, the small shields and mount interfered with his hatch opening so the two doors were then made to hinge on their sides instead of fore and aft. And, in early 1943 many StuGs received smoke grenade launchers, three tubes on a bracket mounted each side of the front superstructure. But, since these could be set off by a hit from an enemy and then cause

great obscuration or ventilation problems for the crew inside the StuG, they were removed and a Nahverteidigungswaffe (close quarters defense weapon) was installed from mid 1944 on, mounted just forward of the Rundumfeuer MG. These were the same type we have seen in other German WWII AFVs and covered in depth elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS.

Picture 11: A commander in his open cupola is seen adjusting his SF14Z scissors periscope to gain range data for the gunner in front of him. The periscope is mounted on a pivoting bar that attaches to the inside front of the cupola and could be rotated, as he is doing here, with both hands. To range a target, the commander rotated a dial on the periscope base that angled the mirrors at the top. When the image was focused the range was read from an indicator. The new cupola on the Ausf G contained 8 removable viewing blocks around its perimeter, which improved the commander's closed down view of the world considerably Although as a tank destroyer the tactical use of the StuG III was limited by its lack of full gun traverse, in the defensive role this AFV played a valuable role for the German Army, particularly as support for the infantry in the anti-tank doctrine. The design also greatly influenced other countries to attempt similar designs with low profiles, particularly the Russians, who continued constructing tank destroyers of similar design for many years after World War II. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz.161), Part 1, Revised April 16, 2003

Picture 1: The Panzerka mpfwage n IV was first produced in 1938 as an infantry support vehicle to support the Pz.III tank, but by mid 1942 it had taken front stage to become the primary anti-tank workhorse of the German Panzer Divisions. It was during a meeting of the Heerswaffenamt in January of 1934 that an agreement was reached concerning the types of tanks that would be required for the newly designed Panzer Divisions. One of these panzers was conceived and designated as the 'Mittleren Traktor', or medium tractor, in an attempt to keep its actual military status secret. Later in its development, the official title of the vehicle was changed to Begleitwagen (BW), and this is the name most often used in period memos and letters written about the early design work on the Pz.IV vehicle. The 'medium' tank designation created by the Wehrmacht referred to the size of the new tank's gun, not its size or weight class. Once production had begun in earnest, the official title of the vehicle was changed once again, this time to Panzerkampfwagen IV, shortened in our discussions here simply to Pz.IV. At the 1934 planing meeting, the basic role of each vehicle type was determined and for the medium tank it was to be close support for the infantry. The armament was the short barreled 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun that could easily reduce pillboxes, machine gun nests, and other obstacles confronting the infantry. In the Pz.IV this main gun was coupled with a coaxial machine gun in the turret and another MG down in the hull, for many infantry targets would not require the use of the main weapon. With two machine guns

onboard it was possible to provide MG fire in two directions simultaneously, at targets identified by the crew in the bow as well as in the turret. A weight of no more than 24tons was specified to ensure crossing of most bridges and also for common rail freight systems. The overall layout and details of the design were to be the same, or similar, to the Pz.III tank, which was also in development at the time. But in the end, there was to be one crucial design difference between the Pz.IV and Pz.III-- the superstructure of the Pz.IV would overhang its hull and suspension to provide a larger turret ring, and this one fact would shape its future capacity to wage war. A couple of manufacturers competed for the design and building contract for the new medium tank and eventually it was given to Krupp AG which used a number of design elements they had previously developed for another tank project. The Pz.IV underwent a dramatic evolution during WWII and there were many improvements that created a number of models, or Ausfhrung (Ausf.), mostly based on increases in armor protection and the muzzle velocity of the gun. For instance, the Pz.IV in this picture is an early production Ausf.C that was photographed in France during 1940 and has a number of improvements over the original Ausf.A. For this interior series on the Pz.IV we have gathered together many interior illustrations and references-- some are copies of photographs held in military photo archives in both Europe and the US we have collected over the years. To provide the clearest study material for you, I have presented the best images fairly large on the page, and to be sure each of the pages downloads in a reasonable amount of time, I have spread out the story over four separate pages. Parts 1 and 2 will begin the examination of the basic hull, while Parts 3 and 4 will highlight a few of the different turret designs and weapon systems found inside.

Picture 2: Our first drawing illustrates the basic layout for early models of Pz.IV equipped with the short 7.5cm L/24 weapon. Many of these drawings are only slightly modified British sketches from the School of Tank Technology (STT) that were made during their examination of captured German specimens. This vehicle is a sketch of an Afrika Korps

Pz.IV Ausf.D, captured in North Africa, with the tactical number 813. The short 7.5cm gun was the primary weapon in all the Pz.IV models up to, and including, the Ausf.F1. After that, a longer barreled 7.5cm KwK L/43 was mounted inside, which was later replaced in turn by yet a longer barreled gun, the KwK 40 L/48. The general layout of these early hulls is the same as the later types, with only a few exceptions. As was typical of German tank designs at this time, the driver sat at the left bow of the AFV and the radio operator/hull machine gunner sat to his right on the other side of the forward-mounted transmission. A simple, box-like, welded superstructure with a 1680mm diameter central hole bored to accept the ball bearing turret race was bolted onto the lower hull which contained the suspension system and power train. As I mentioned before, the superstructure overhung the hull and suspension, providing room for a very large turret ring that later allowed upgunning of the turret.

Picture 3: This is the same vehicle, number 813, that the interior drawings were derived from; the Bundesarchiv photo was taken while the tank was still in German hands. Three Panzertruppen worked inside the turret, including the gunner (left of gun), commander (rear of turret), and loader (right of gun). Unlike the Pz.III, there was a full rotating floor suspended below the turret on three tubular supports, and all three of the crew seats were connected to the supports or the turret lip and therefore rotated along with it. An electrical slip ring in the center of the floor provided power from the hull to the turret and also carried radio connections for the crew. The turret was traversed either by handwheel or electric motor, but the gun was elevated only by handwheel. The engine compartment is to the rear and contains not only the big Maybach engine, but also twin radiators over the left side of the compartment and two large cooling fans over the right. In most vehicles, an auxiliary engine/generator is mounted on a frame on the hull floor to the left of the engine, under the radiators. Main gun ammunition is stored both horizontally and vertically in protective sheet metal boxes with hinged lids located on either side of the hull (as you can see in the previous drawing), and also in a large box directly behind the driver. Machine gun ammo in early vehicles was held in drum magazines and stored on racks in protective bins, but later the drums were changed to bag/sack containers. These held more rounds and were not as prone to jamming and they were openly hung on metal strips horizontally affixed to various places in the hull. Many of these details are visible in the sketches provided in this page and you will probably find the drawings helpful later as more of the equipment is

identified in the pictures.

Picture 4: This is another fairly accurate schematic top elevation of the same early Ausf.D vehicle showing the general layout inside-- once again it is only a bit altered from the original British intelligence section's drawing of Ausf.D number 813. The transmission is located between the driver and radio operator and directly above it is mounted the driver's instrument panel and the radio set, the radio rack actually hanging from the ceiling and accessible only from the hull machine gunner's side. A large brake drum unit is located on either side of the hull, and cooling air ducts from these combine with the transmission at a small fan housing mounted to, and directly behind, the transmission. The collected air is then forced by the fan up a central duct to the roof and across to the left side of the superstructure to a vent located near the driver's position, protected on the outside by an armored cover. The radio operator's backrest is mounted to the side sponson and his seat is hinged to the floor so it can be flipped up for access to an emergency escape hatch underneath. This escape hatch is possible in the Pz.IV because the vehicle design did not incorporate the common German torsion bar suspension, but relied instead on bogie wheel assemblies bolted directly to the hull, leaving the floor open and without obstructions. The engine compartment is located at the rear of the hull-- the Maybach power plant is mounted off-center to the right in order to provide space for the Auto Union DKW Type PZW 600 auxiliary engine/generator as well as the radiators on the left side of the hull. Two large cooling fans are on the right side of the compartment, attached directly to the large right engine deck hatch. Once the drive belt was disconnected from the engine, the deck hatch could be opened and the fans would come up along with it. These fans were driven via rubber belts from the engine and drew circulating air in through the left side grills of the compartment. The cooling air was then pulled through the two radiators, past the engine, through the fans, and then finally out the right side grills of the compartment. The three circles in the front right corner of the engine compartment are air cleaner cylinders; these were large oil bath types mounted on a rack on the floor next to the engine and connected via a duct to the twin carburetors on top. Notice that there

are two mufflers outside on the back armor plate, the larger one is for the Maybach engine and the smaller for the aux. engine/generator. The second muffler's design and size changed late in the war, but it was always mounted back there when an aux. engine/generator was installed.

Picture 5: Although gunners in most Pz.IV models (like this Ausf.D) appreciated the inclusion of powered traverse in their tanks, the Heerswaffenamt decided that an increase in fuel capacity was needed more than the turret power traverse equipment as the Germans began to appreciate the vast expanses of the Russian steppe. So during the manufacturing run of the last Pz.IV model, the Ausf.J, the aux. motor/generator was removed from the engine compartment to make room for an additional 200 liter fuel tank. Of course, turret traverse was then only by hand and the powered equipment in the turret was removed. You can identify these late production Ausf.J tanks a number of ways both inside and out, but perhaps the easiest is outside from the rear-- there is no auxiliary engine/generator muffler. Once again, this is our same Pz.IV Ausf.D, number 813, photographed this time while in British hands and in the process of being carefully studied and analyzed from one end to the other. We will see photographs taken inside this tank later.

Picture 6: Pz.IV armor plate was initially designed to provide protection against small-caliber AP bullets up to 20mm in size. The front hull plate was a 50mm homogeneous steel plate with a BHN (hardness) of 309 to 353. Additional 30mm face-hardened plates were then added to the base 30mm facehardened plates on the superstructure front, and gradually these were replaced with even thicker plates as time went on. For instance, the last Ausf.D tanks were produced with hull front plates of 50mm homogeneous steel with additional 30mm face-hardened plates added to the superstructure front. On the sides of the superstructure and hull there were additional 20mm plates bolted on that provided a total of 40mm protection in these

areas. This altered production drawing of the hull illustrates some details before equipment was added inside, and it includes both the front and rear bulkheads separating the driving, fighting, and engine compartments (the bow is to the left). The round floor escape hatch at the radio operator's position is visible and there are reinforcements welded to the hull sides where many of the suspension units will be mounted later. Two long rails have been added at the bow to support the transmission and in the engine compartment at the far right are two forward motor mounts on the firewall and one rear supporting bar. There are also 10 access ports in the floor under the engine and in the bow under the brake drum locations. All the structural steel on the Pz.IV was joined using austenitic welds, the term 'austenitic' referring to the addition of nonmagnetic solid solutions of ferric carbide or carbon that were mixed into the iron. This increased the corrosion-resistance of the steel, the armor plates being made from high quality chromium-molybdenum, produced by the electric furnace process. As opposed to a blast furnace, an electric arc furnace uses heat from an electric arc to melt metals in order to make alloys, especially in steel manufacturing. In the direct-arc type furnace, such as the Hroult furnace, an arc is formed between the metal and an electrode. The second electric arc method was called the indirect-arc furnace, such as the Stassano furnace, and in this case the arc was formed between two electrodes and the heat then radiated out onto the metal to melt it.

Picture 7: The relative unimportance of the Pz.IV when first conceived was illustrated by the fact that only one contractor was initially involved with its design and assembly, compared to eight for the Pz.III tank. As the larger vehicle's importance on the battlefield gradually increased, more vehicles were ordered and monthly production goals were difficult to meet. Originally, the main assembly of the vehicle was by Krupp of Gruson, with hulls and turrets supplied by Krupp of Essen as well as the Eisen Company of Bochum.

When the much needed new tank factory was built at Nibelungenwerke at St.Valentin, Austria, (managed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch) it took on most of the expanded Pz.IV production. From 1943, the vehicle was assembled almost exclusively at this factory and it remained in production there until the end of the war. By the way, it is interesting to note that the Hermann Gring Steel mills just happened to be close by at Linz and they supplied most of the steel for hulls and turrets. Building an early Pz.IV (without weapons, optical equipment or radios) is reported to have required 86,000lb of steel, 2.6lb tin, 430lb copper, 525lb of aluminum, 140lb lead, 146lb zinc, half a pound of magnesium, and 256lb of rubber. Here you can see finished hulls receiving their interior equipment like the ammo bin sitting on top of the closest hull. The hulls were mounted on special trolleys that rode in the grooves you see in the floor. As each assembly was completed the hull was pushed sideways over to the next component area. In summary, Pz.IV tanks were initially only assembled by KruppGrusonwerk AG (Ausf.A-F1). Krupp was then joined by Nibelungenwerke and Vomag (Ausf.F2-J), with only Nibelungenwerke doing most of the later series work.

Picture 8: This is the view looking forward to the driver's station from inside the fighting compartment in an early Ausf.A Pz.IV (only 35 1/BW vehicles were built). In this Krupp factory photo you can clearly see the early large black ammo bin for 7.5cm rounds mounted behind the driver's seat. This is the same bin we saw on top of the hull in the previous picture. These early bins were not very tall and held 27 rounds (three rows of seven and one row of six) while later production vehicle bins would hold 23 rounds (three rows of six and one row of five). The ammo rounds were stored tip down and although lids were provided for the bin, they were easily removed and often discarded. When the KwK 40 gun was substituted for the short L/24, the longer rounds

required taller sides on this and the other ammo bins in the tank. The back of the driver's seat (dark brown or black leather cushions) is centered in the photo and to the right can just be seen part of the instrument panel, perched on top of the transmission, with its characteristically large tachometer dial. The tank was steered via two traditional steering levers with linkages that attached to driving brakes housed in the same large drum cases as the track brakes. A WilsonKrupp clutch system was bolted to the front of the transmission and contained the epicyclic gears. The drive shafts from the epicyclics left the case in front of the transmission and proceeded to sun and planetary gears mounted on both hull walls. The driving and track brakes were actually attached to the inside spur end of a second drive shaft that left the planetary gears on its way out to the final drives and drive sprockets. This is an interesting design deviation from the original Wilson system of epicyclic clutch and brake-- the brakes are not located on the main drive shaft between the transmission and the reduction gears, but on the end of a secondary drive shaft instead. The left brake unit is visible in this photo, forward and left of the seat, and you will notice a number of large hand fasteners on the case. Inside each of these brake cases are two brake bands that encircle large spinning metallic discs attached to the drive sprockets. When the bands are pulled and tightened, the disks slow to a stop, that is to say the brakes are applied, and the drive sprocket attached to the disk on that side of the tank also slows or stops. The brakes are actuated by either the steering levers or the brake pedal in front of the driver. When one of the steering levers is pulled, the brakes on only that side of the tank are applied and the tank turns in that direction. However, when the foot pedal in front of the driver is applied, the brakes on both sides of the tank are applied evenly and they bring both sprockets, and the tank, to a stop. Clutch and brake systems provide a somewhat jerky turn system, since as soon as the brakes are applied all power is lost to that track (the drive is simultaneously disconnected at the epicycle clutches), but with practice the driver could minimize the discomfort to the rest of the crew. The central brake pedal is out of sight here, but we will see it in later pictures. Some of this brake detail can be better visualized by studying Picture 4, if you are interested in this sort of thing. At the upper left of the photo is the driver's left side superstructure viewing block with its black handle that raised and lowered its external armored flap. There was another of these on the right side of superstructure, next to the radio operator. When additional armor was added toward the end of the Pz.IV production, these two viewing flaps were eliminated because the armor was in the way. Just behind this viewer is a black board of some sort attached to the superstructure wall. It has brackets attached that I can not identify and I do not know what was stored here in early vehicles. Later Pz.IVs have a small bin here where the driver stows his radio headphones and mike, or some clamps for stowing two reserve glass vision blocks.

Picture 9: Below the front armor plate in the same photo is a light colored handle and dark control rod used in early machines to remotely open the front cooling hatches over the brake units. Friction banded brake units like these got a real workout and became notoriously hot, so adequate cooling was important or all braking effect would be lost and the tank would roll out of control. The control rod for opening and closing both cooling hatches simultaneously can be seen running along the bottom front armor plate and the actuating handle is at the left, within easy reach of the driver. Because it was not wise to go into battle with your front brake cooling hatches open, later Pz.IV vehicles (Ausf.F-J) were provided with armored cooling vents welded directly to the brake hatches and the hatch opening mechanism was then deleted. Just above this control rod and handle is a thin horizontal metal strip with a number of bolts, which is part of the superstructure to hull mounting system. If you look carefully, you will also see two holes drilled in the strip, just about directly under the visor controls. These were the locations for two small blue lights, safety indicators, one of which would light to warn the driver when the turret was traversed out over that side of the vehicle. You often see these small lights in early Pz.III and IV tanks, but they don't seem to have been used inside later models. Forward of the driver is an early remote periscope vision device called a "KFF", which has twin periscopic optics providing a limited view forward during combat through two small holes bored in the front plate just above the driver's main vision shield. When not needed, the device was slid along the top rail to the right and out of the way, and the driver could then use the larger protected vision opening. Initially, the vision opening was protected with a simple hinged flap, but on the Ausf.B through D it was replaced by a two-piece sliding armored visor outside, the whole thing called a 'Fahrersehklappe', or driver's flap. These were opened from inside via handles on either side of the unit. The full name for the visor included the armor thickness it was installed in, such as the 'Fahrersehklappe 30'. In the Ausf.E and later, the vision opening and visor was

redesigned again and consisted of a single housing bolted to the driver's front plate protected by a pivoting armored visor, and called a 'Fahrersehklappe 50', as it was used in armor that was then 50mm thick. Glass vision blocks were made from a number of layers of glass held in a Bakelite frame, and they had a slight greenish cast. The blocks were always held in black hinged frames on the inside of the vision openings just in case a stray bullet or piece of shrapnel managed to penetrate the thin vision slit in the armored flap. When operating in non-combat areas, the driver could quickly open the armor flap and remove the glass block to allow direct viewing and even enjoy a little fresh air. To his right, and suspended from the roof, is the hanging frame support for the radio equipment. One of the things not seen in this photo is the black German vehicle gyrocompass ('Kurskreisel') that was found mounted in production vehicles in the left front corner of the superstructure. Above the driver's seat can be seen his over-head hatch ('Lukendeckel') which was initially a two piece affair (as it seems to be here), but from Ausf.B on was simplified to just a single armored door. The Ausf.A was only manufactured for a short time in late 1937 before the improved Ausf.B vehicles were produced.

Picture 10: Another photo from the STT series on the captured Ausf.D shows the forward ammo box that was located behind the driver's seat. There are a couple of interesting things to notice here. First is the number of holes for rounds-- three rows of six and one row of five. It is interesting that the box could not have been built slightly wider to allow for four rows of six rounds. Another design detail is the raised side panels on the left and right side of the bin. These are not hinged covers that have been opened for the photo; the sides are continuos with the lower bin sides and just continue up to the height you see here. Apparently, the sides were tall enough to completely cover the entire stored round when in the bin. Front, back and top covers were made of canvas, and you can see the front cover hanging down behind the seat, and the rear one laying on the floor on the

other side of the bin. I suspect the bin was constructed like this to allow better access of the rounds from the front and rear of the bin (from the front so the driver could help extract them and from the rear to ease the job of the loader), but still provide some meager protection on the sides of the bin. You might note some other details in the photo, like the curved edge of the turret floor at the upper-left corner of the photo.

Picture 11: If we step outside the early Ausf.A, we will see some of these same interior characteristics from the other side of the armor. The driver's vision flap is a very simple affair and is held open by the lever we saw to the left of the flap (our right here). Most of these tanks also had the rain/sun shield you see over the vision flap. The Kugleblende sits very proud of the armor plate, partly because the plate is still fairly thin, and also because it is the early design mount with most of the pivot ball exposed. You can also see the flat pistol port flap on the angled section of the front plate; it was not really accessible to the radio operator due to the radio equipment inside, but it was handy for the driver should he want to shoot at something forward or angled to the right of the bow. Although we haven't covered it yet, you also get a good view of the early turret in this picture, including the internal gun mantlet, simple viewing flaps to either side, and the dustbin type cupola on top.

Picture 12: This is the best image we have found so far of the driver's controls up in the front of the vehicle, this picture coming to us from the National Archives, although I understand there are others at the Tank Museum and/or IWM. The vehicle is an

Ausf.G that was captured and heavily photographed by the British. The characteristically smooth sides of the ZF SSG 76 Aphon transmission (the Ausf.A used the ZF SFG 75, the Ausf.H and J are said to have had the ZF SSG 77) are to our right, with the shift lever rising on this side of the unit through a shift gate. Recall that these are manual synchronized gearboxes and they have six forward and one reverse speeds, although the early versions had only five forward speeds. I believe the reverse lever is at the far right edge of the photo, but I have not driven one of these vehicles and I have no detailed user references on the Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen transmission. Notice also that the aluminum case comes apart along its longitudinal axis, the securing bolts you see here passing clear through to the other side of the case. The small track brake pedal I mentioned earlier that is in front of the driver is now visible (at left center) along with the linkages that connect it to the large brake drums on either side of the hull. Down below the brake pedal are the clutch and accelerator pedals. Facing us at the junction of the hull and superstructure (upper left corner) is a narrow sheet metal panel with a vehicle ID stamp as well as two holes. I suspect these were for the driver's blue 'turret traversed' warning lights, but they both seem to be missing here. Walter Spielberger indicates that the warning lights were discontinued beginning with the Ausf.G, and that may explain their absence. The instrument panel above the gearbox has the original dark painted faceplate and the gages include a large tachometer as well as smaller speedometer, oil pressure, and water temperature gages. The small plate at the lower edge of the panel indicates the shifting pattern, with reverse being the position with the lever farthest forward and to the right, and with the six forward gears located alternating from side to side as you pull the lever back along the case. Only the right steering lever is visible in this photo and its mounting bracket is also seen down on the floor. It looks to me like the transmission case has been painted the same light ivory as the rest of the upper areas of the interior. Notice the large left drive shaft coming from the left side of the Wilson-Krupp steering box bolted on the front of the transmission, and traversing behind the left brake drum to the planetary gears, off picture. It's easy to imagine yourself sitting in the seat driving one of these tanks. Both the brake units and the transmission would be steaming hot and except on the coldest of days it is very uncomfortable up here. With the air inside sweltering and stifling, you are simultaneously steering with both hands on the levers and straining to hear your commander's orders in your headphones over the deafening noise of the surrounding machinery. You shift gears with your right hand (when you get the chance) and at the same time peer out through the front visor, which is about the size of a shoebox, all the while bouncing along through and over who knows what on the ground.

Picture 13: This illustration from an Ausf.A manual gives a general idea of what it looks like when you are in the radio operator's

seat. His over-head hatch is above us and is one clear indication that we are definitely in a Pz.IV, not a Pz.III. Actually, the hull suspension as well as a number of other major design differences become easier to identify from inside as you get to know the vehicle better. To our left is the an early Fu.7 type radio set, normally consisted of a 20 watt transmitter you see on the top known as the 20 W.S.D., and an Ukw.E.d1 receiver shown mounted underneath, along with other small pieces of equipment. This combination was fitted to vehicles to co-ordinate troop operations with the Luftwaffe. It was typically found inside Kf.17/1 radio vans, Sd.Kfz.251/3 and 6 halftracks, and inside commanders' tanks like this. Normal platoon and unit leaders tanks would have the Fu.5 set installed, which looked entirely different. In the past I have misidentified this particular Fu.7 setup as a Fu.5. In the Pz.IV, the radios were all electrically connected to an operator's switch box, like the one you see at the lower right, and the twin electrical wires that led to each crew's position are plugged into this box. The radio operator also plugged his headphones and throat mike into the switch box-- indeed the wires you see attached to the top of the box are his two plugs. The other crewmembers' wires plugged into the bottom of the box, out of sight here. Its appears that only the radio operator, driver, and commander had radio connection boxes in early Pz.IV tanks. The gunner and commander communicated via a voice tube in Ausf.D and E vehicles (and maybe earlier vehicles) and the loader was always close enough that he could be easily yelled at by the commander under most conditions. The two boxes below the MG mount labeled 'b' and 'c' are the transformers for the two boxes in this radio set-- there was always one transformer per radio box. On early Pz.IV tanks the two-meter hollow copper antenna was attached to the right superstructure wall near the operator (just behind the right vision flap you can see at the far right). The antenna base rotated so the antenna could be lowered when it was not needed into a protective wood cradle via a handle inside. Later, during the manufacture of the Ausf.H when additional armor was added to the tank in this area, the antenna base was moved to the left rear of the engine deck and it could no longer be lowered. Generally speaking, the radio setup inside the Pz.IV was the same as you will find in Pz.III tanks, and you may want to visit the Pz.III pages in AFV INTERIORS for a more detailed discussion of the equipment and its capabilities. The radio operator's gas mask container is labeled 'f' in the drawing (every crew member was assigned a gas mask and breathing tube).

Picture 14: This is the early type ball and sight mount for the hull MG 34. In German, the ball mount was called a 'Kugleblende' and the thickness of

the armor it was installed in dictated the exact name, as in 'Kugleblende 30', referring to the ball mount that was used in 30mm thick armor. Kugleblende 30 was the MG ball mount used in the Ausf.D and E tanks but, as the armor became thicker, other ball mounts were later used like the Kugleblende 50. The MG periscope that is missing here is a KZF2; the sight aperture was bored through the ball mount next to the larger hole that held the MG barrel. These first Kugleblende mounts included an attachment for saddle-magazine feed as you see here, but in the Ausf.E and later vehicles the mounting was designed for bagged cartridge belt feed. Identified in the drawing as 'a' is the large round knob on the back of the MG handle. The spring you see at the upper left was required to balance the receiver-heavy weapon and help keep the gunner from spraying bullets underneath his target. The supporting head pad that would normally be horizontal and located over the missing sight is shown here folded and stowed to the upper left of the MG mount. The MG weapon itself is also unusual in that normally the shoulder butt would be removed when clamped in a ball mount like this. Generally, the butt, bipod, and aircraft sight were carried in a storage case and attached to the gun only when it was used outside the tank. Most Kugleblende ball mounts allowed a limited traverse of 30 degrees and elevation of -10 to +20 degrees. Around 3000 rounds of MG ammo was stowed inside the tank, depending on the model, and that equals approximately 40 drums in the earliest vehicles. Ausf.B and C tanks used mostly belt sacks by the time they went into combat action with 150 rounds in each sack; there were sacks inside with a total of 2700 rounds. Ausf.D and E tanks are said to have had 21 belt sacks authorized, for a total of 3150 rounds. Some of the drums and sacks were stored on the wall to our right for this MG, and the rest were in the fighting compartment and up in the turret for the coax. The front superstructure plate, called the 'Panzerkastenoberteil', varied in basic design and thickness from one model to the next. On Ausf.A tanks it extended farther forward on the driver's side than on the radio operator's, and the radio operator was provided with a MG 34 in a ball mount. This is what we see in Picture 10. On Ausf.B and C vehicles the plate went straight across the bow and the MG ball mount was removed and replaced with a vision slit and cover, as well as a pistol port. Why the designers decided to straighten the plate and drop the bow MG I do not know, but on the D models the plate was once again pushed out further in front of the driver and the ball-mounted MG was returned to its previous position in front of the radio operator. Sure enough, on the Ausf.F the straight plate was back once again but this time the MG ball mount was retained and the design of the plate would remain in this configuration on the remainder of vehicles. It is impossible for me to determine from this drawing how this front plate is shaped, as the bend (if there is one) would be located behind the radios and out of sight. But I suspect, due to the particular artistic style of the manual illustration and the use of early style radios, that this is an Ausf.A tank manual image, and our front armor plate should extend out in front of the driver.

Picture 15: A photo from the Tank Museum again shows some of the same equipment, but from a slightly lower angle. Again, we are looking at a fairly early Pz.IV, note the early Fu7 radio. It is now clear that the objects to the right of the radio set are a gas mask container for the radio operator (the round cylinder) and a spare MG barrel container with the oval end, just under the gas mask container. Again you can see both transformers on the shelf directly in front of the seat, and to the right is the control box for the radios. To the far right is the backrest for the seat in the raised and stowed position. Note the ceiling stiffener, the triangular fillet at the upper-right corner of the picture. Forward on the armor plate is the ball mount, this time without the MG and sight. To the left of the Kugleblende is a wire storage reel, used here to store the extra cable for the operator's throat microphone set. It is interesting to note how much darker the superstructure paint is to what we expect to see inside this tank. It appears that this vehicle has been left in its red lead primer, or perhaps painted the same darker graygreen floor color. Most of the upper portion of the interior of these tanks was usually painted a light ivory color called 'Elfenbein', although white was apparently used on occasion, especially when major repairs in the field were necessary. The floor and sponson walls might be dark gray, a dark greenish gray, or even primer red, depending on the factory of manufacture, the date of completion, and whether the vehicle has been damaged and repaired. This concludes Part 1. Part 2 will continue our visit inside the Pz.IV hull and Part 3 and 4 will take us into the different turrets. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz. 161), Part 2, Revised April 17, 2003

Picture 1: This is Part 2 of a four-part series exploring the interior of the German WWII Pz.IV tank. This and the following diagram were originally produced by the School of Tank Technology in England. With some minor changes, the drawings illustrate for us the 7.5cm ammunition storage inside the fighting compartment. This is the left side of the hull with the driver's and radio operator's seats beyond the forward bulkhead-arch you see to the right. There were three fuel tanks in the Pz.IV, all located under the floor in the fighting compartment, and you can see the location of the two hull-side fuel filler pipes indicated by the small ramps along the far wall, under which the filler pipes lead to the fuel tanks. On the sponson shelf above are two horizontal 7.5cm ammo racks that are separated by a bin for MG rounds-- in this case drum magazines. Each of the two 7.5cm ammo bins slightly overhangs the sponson and each originally had a sheet metal door to cover the bins, hinged at the bottom. Most German WWII tank designs attempted to completely enclose their ammo bins with light armor in the hope of reducing the risk of fire and explosions if the vehicle armor were penetrated. With three rounds on each shelf, and three shelves per bin, we have a total of 18 rounds of 7.5cm stored in these two bins. The rounds were held in place on the racks only by form-fitting indentations in the racks themselves-- there were no clips to retain the shells. Combined these with the 23 rounds in the large storage box behind the driver (there are actually 23 rounds there although you can only see 18 here), and we now can account for 51 of the 80 rounds stored in the vehicles with the short 7.5cm gun. Because the fuel tanks were located under the floor of the fighting compartment there was

additional armor plate added below the hull in this area. The vehicle batteries were also under the floor at the rear right side, and notice the channel in the floor between the fuel tanks for the drive shaft that runs from the rear engine to the front transmission.

Picture 2: This is the general storage layout on the other side of the hull, the right side. Notice the twin engine compartment hatches in the rear wall and three storage bins along the floor for 7.5cm shells, all stored vertically. Each of these held eight rounds, with an addition two in the small bin (J) at the lower left. Total shell storage is now up to 69. Up on the sponson is another horizontal bin like the ones on the other side but narrower, this time holding six rounds, total rounds accounted for now equals 75. Next to this shell storage bin is another compartmentalized bin for MG 34 ammo, in this case 75 drums could be stored there. By the time the Ausf.G was being manufactured, MG rounds were stored in canvas belt bags, 150 rounds per bag, and 13 bags hung on this right wall. Four more hung to the right of the radio operator's seat and four additional bags were hung on the right of the turret for the coax MG. You can see the general location under the floor again for the three fuel tanks, together holding 105gal (477 liters) of gasoline, and the same battery box we saw before, holding four 12 volt batteries, is in the far corner. Also over there, up on the firewall with the arrow pointing toward it, is the hot air vent from the engine compartment bringing air to heat the tank interior. A control flapper on the airshaft allowed heat to escape into the compartment which was undoubtedly greatly appreciated in the winter. The forced air heating system was powered by the fans in the engine compartment-- a duct carried the heated air from a vent in the fan shroud. Just above the duct system is another sheet metal bin on the firewall, this one holding three additional rounds of 7.5cm ammo. Total ammo round storage found so far is now 78, leaving two rounds unaccounted for to this point.

Picture 3: Although taken from an early Ausf.A manual, this illustration shows the general layout of the rear of the turret and hull area for most Pz.IV vehicles. The commander's seat is bolted to the turret ring at the left of the picture and the gunner's seat is mounted to one of the turret floor's three supports and also to the floor below. The gunner's seat back is also mounted to the same turret floor support tube. Visible on the far sponson shelf is the left storage bin for MG 34 ammunition, in this case a few shelves of 75-round drum magazines (also called 'saddle drums', or 'Patronentrommel 34', or 'Cartridge Drum 34'). Later vehicles used belt fed ammo ('Patronengurt 34', or 'Cartridge Belt 34'). As I mentioned earlier, when linked belts began in use in armored vehicles, they were stored in canvas bags, which were stacked or hung here and there in the vehicle. Just behind the gunner's seat is a vertical tube used to store signal flags. On the wall behind the side hatch is a signal pistol in its holster, and signal flare rounds are stored in the small black boxes mounted to each side of the commander's seat on the turret ring. Below his seat, and behind the gunner's, is storage for both their personal packs, and gas mask containers are strapped below the gunner's seat and on the turret floor support tube to the right of the commander's seat. Also in the same area is a mess kit ('Kochegeschirr') attached to one of the field packs. The turret side doors were later redesigned from this early single door configuration to a double door type seen on the Ausf.F models and onward. Notice the thin rod rising up from the turret lip next to the commander's seat, past the flair pistol holster, and toward the ceiling. This is the drive shaft for the cupola direction indicator ring inside the top of the cupola that oriented the commander to the direction the turret was facing in comparison to the hull. I suspect commanders' seat cushions didn't tend to live very long as he had to fold up his seat, or stand on it, in order to view through his cupola or look out through the open hatch. But we'll have more about the turret later.

Picture 4: This picture from the Tank Museum shows the general arrangement of the lower turret components and hull in the fighting compartment , this time in an Ausf.G. We are looking toward the lower right side of the hull and floor and now the commander's seat is to our right and the gunner's is at the bottom of the picture. Three vertical 7.5cm ammo storage bins are seen along the hull floor (parts of the first and third sheet metal bins are missing in this vehicle) and their position corresponds well to the drawing we saw earlier. Directly behind them and up on the sponson is the one horizontal rack for additional 7.5cm ammo and storage shelves for MG 34 belt bags and other items. Notice how dark the paint is inside all these ammo bins, perhaps even black. The turret floor has a non-slip pattern and the bar that you see mounted on the floor in front of the commander's seat is his footrest that we saw in the previous image. The small box on the floor is an end bracket for a longer box that would hold two more ammo rounds, the other end bracket is out of the picture. Its possible that this ammo box was just one of the normal two-round wooden shipping crates. It is also possible that this box and the brackets were not used in earlier Ausfs. which used the shorter L/24 gun. Although the gunner electrically fired the main weapon, the coaxial MG was fired via a mechanical linkage from a foot pedal in front of his seat that can just be seen on the floor in the lower left corner of this photo. The loader's tractor style seat should be attached to the turret floor support on the other side of the commander's seat, but it is missing or just out of view in this photo. As with most Pz.IV tanks, this floor is probably dark greenish gray and the walls of the hull and turret are ivory. The seat cushions for the commander and gunner are missing, but would either be covered in black or brown leather (early) or dark green/brown canvas material (late).

Picture 5: The Pz.IV Ausf.F2 at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, is in dismal shape, primarily due to the fact that much of the left side armor was removed many years ago to create a "teaching" tank and then it was left outside unprotected. Even so, much of the interior equipment is still identifiable and clues still exist of missing equipment if you know where to search. We are looking across the fighting compartment floor again in the same general direction as the previous picture. The locations for the three eightround vertical ammo bins can be seen along the right side of the hull, but the rear one is now missing. Additional storage is up on the sponson, including the horizontal bin for additional 7.5cm rounds and smaller bins for MG ammo. In this vehicle the loader's seat is still attached to the turret floor support tube to the right of the commander's seat, and part of this tractor style seat is visible at the lower left.

Picture 6: Another picture taken inside the poor old Aberdeen vehicle shows the general arrangement of the seats in the back of the fighting compartment attached to the rear turret lip. In this case, both the loader's seat on the left and the gunner's on the right have been swiveled together towards and under the commander's seat in the center. Some of the detail of the vision blocks and shutter actuating levers in the cupola is visible here also. Looking down into the turret again you can see a double bar angling

down from the upper left. This is the travel lock for the gun, obviously not connected to the gun here. This bar was hinged on the ceiling so it could swing down and attach to the gun recoil guard during vehicle travel or swing up and clamp to the ceiling, out of the way, during battle. You might also notice the turret electrical slip ring cover in the center of the floor. There is a protective tunnel carrying the wires forward across the floor that ends at the front supports under the gun breech. Some of the gun electrical fuses and controls are located on boxes mounted to those support tubes and the rest of the wires continue to rise up to the gun and turret wall above.

Picture 7: The first Ausf.A Pz.IVs were powered by a Maybach HL 108TR engine. But it lacked enough horsepower for the tank and Ausf.B vehicles received the HL 120 TR. The next model, the Ausf.C, would be updated with the more powerful HL 120 TRM (M for magneto), and this would be the engine for the remainder of the Pz.IV tanks. The Maybach HL 120 TRM was a 60-degree, V12, gasoline engine providing roughly 300hp at 3000rpm, although it was governed to 2600rpm most of the time. As you may recall, this same engine was also used in late model Pz.III tanks and other armored vehicles derived from these tank chassises, and this photo was taken of one of the engines destined for a Pz.III installation. In the Pz.IV, the Maybach was usually connected to a ZF SSG 76 transmission that provided six forward and one reverse speeds. The famous Maybach 120 TRM, developed specifically for tanks from an early airplane design, gradually became a fairly reliable power plant after it's initial over-heating problems were solved. The carburetors were a pair of Solex 40 JFF IIs, the starter a Bosch BNG 4/24, and the clutch a F&S La 120/HDA dry 3-plate, the total package capable of pushing the heavy Pz.IV along at 40kmp on roads and about half that speed crosscountry. In this view of the right side of the engine you can identify the black air intake at the top of the carburetors. Also clearly visible are the characteristic large, black, valve covers and a big black oil reservoir with a filler tube rising up along the side of the engine to allow service access from above. The exhaust manifolds are covered by sheet metal heat guards and the exhaust pipes would exit straight out the back of the tank when installed in a Pz.IV. In a Pz.III, they curve up like this in order to clear the rear mounted radiators and back armor plate before attaching to the muffler. After the exhausts leave straight out the rear armor of the Pz.IV, the pipes connect to a horizontally mounted muffler/flame suppressor assembly. In the very last Pz.IV tanks the mufflers were

abandoned completely and vertical exhaust stacks were substituted, similar to the ones also installed on the Panther tank. In my travels over the years examining panzers, I have found most of these Maybach engines originally were painted gloss black, but some of the attached components arrived at the assembly plants painted in various colors, including red, green, and metallic. Most museum staff will tell you that the inside of German WWII AFV engine compartments were generally left unpainted, and therefore you would expect to see mostly red lead primer. But there is still considerable debate on this issue and it is possible that the compartment walls were painted Elfenbein or gray or some other light color in order to improve lighting conditions inside the otherwise dark compartment.

Picture 8: The general cooling system diagram shows a little of the layout of the Pz.IV engine compartment. The diagram shows the arrangement as you look from the fighting compartment back into the engine compartment. Note that the engine is offset to the right side of the compartment. The space under the radiators to the left of the engine (our right) was mostly filled with the auxiliary engine/generator that was used to power the turret traverse electric motor, although the generator is not shown here. Cooling air for the engine and its compartment was drawn into the bay through louvers on the left side of the compartment and sometimes also through a grill on the left engine cover door. The air was then pulled through two large radiators that were mounted directly below, thereby cooling the engine coolant as it was pumped through the engine. Once it passed through the radiators, the air was then drawn across the engine and other components before being blown out through the two fans mounted on the right engine compartment doors, and finally exhausted through the louvers on the right side of the bay and in some vehicles also through the top right engine deck door. The two large fans were belt-driven via a pulley system from the back of the engine, their approximate

location shown in the drawing. Before the right engine deck door could be opened, the fan belt was disconnected via a small hatch on the rear armor plate. Then the right door could be opened, pulling the fan assemblies up and out along with the door. This is why you sometimes see the fans exposed on abandoned vehicles, as the engine compartment doors are often shown opened after the vehicles were deserted.

Picture 9: Here is a DKW engine and electric generator removed from a Pz.IV. Normally , this unit was hidden under the radiators on the right side of the engine compart ment. You will notice that the two-cylinder gasoline engine is on the right, and the electric generator is on the left. The engine has a small air intake filter mounted on the carburetor on this side, at the far right. The cylinder head is at the top, with two spark plugs clearly visible. The exhaust manifold exits the cylinders on the far side and then loops up and over to the left, seen here at the top of the photo and ending above the generator electric access panel. The larger rubber hose you see passing between the engine and generator is one of the radiator hoses and the fuel line is the smaller tube running horizontally across the back side, near the cylinder head. It appears that there was a small starter motor attached to this side of the generator and geared to the flywheel you see at the lower left. Recall that this small unit provided power only for the large turret traverse motor, allowing the vehicle to sit with its main engine switched off and still have power for turret rotating if this small unit was still running.

Picture 10: Before they were shipped to North Africa, Pz.IVs were 'tropicalized' by adding cooling slots, or vents, to the engine decking. Other changes included the addition of large felt pre air cleaners and faster cooling fan speeds to help cope with additional cooling demands. The cooling vents in the engine deck show up later in all Pz.IV vehicles, so apparently it was a good idea regardless of where the tanks were eventually sent. This Imperial War Museum (IWM) photo illustrates an Ausf.D (tactical number 811) of Panzer Regiment 5 after its capture by the British in April of 1941 when the Germans were repulsed at Tobruk. The engine deck hatch that covered the radiators is open and the cooling slots are clear. Apparently, the additional armor plates added to the superstructure on this side were blown off by an artillery strike. These additional armor plates were known as 'Zusatzpanzerung' (directly translated as 'additional armor'-- the word 'panzer' can mean 'armor', or 'armored' as well as 'tank'). Both the engine and auxiliary engine/generator mufflers are visible on the rear plate. Because the fuel tanks were located under the turret floor in the fighting compartment and away from the engine, fuel/engine fires were not as common in this AFV as with some others mounting a gasoline engine. But gas engines did burn quickly when ignited and the compartment is said to have been equipped with a fire suppression system of compressed CO2, although I have never seen direct evidence of this. For some reason that I can't understand, the Germans were notoriously poor manufacturers of fuel line gaskets and seals, relying instead on the proper fit of metal to metal couplings. As a consequence, fuel leaked onto the engine compartment floor, and this fuel could spell disaster if ignited by a spark, particularly if the fuel had been vaporized in a hot climate.

Picture 11: Engine removals/replacements were a necessary part of a tanker's life in the field, and attached maintenance sections usually did most of the hard work, but not always. The Pz.IV rear engine deck had three main access doors. The one on the right had the twin inclined air fans attached that swung out with the door as it was opened. Of course, you would first have to disconnect the drive belts from the engine to the fan clutch/drive. The center deck hatch was not as wide as the first and covered only the left side of the engine. The far left door on the engine deck provided access to the inclined radiator and it had a small raised box attached to the surface with a small access panel to allow refilling coolant into the radiator located below. This crop of a wartime Signal Magazine photo shows the back and left side of a Maybach HL 120 resting on some boards at the rear of a Pz.IV. The top pulley on the engine drove the fans via two V-belts and you can see the empty pulley groves closest to us where the fan belts would be located. Also clearly seen in this photo is the air intake manifold attached to the two Solex carbs at the top of the Maybach engine, as well as the disconnected exhaust manifold located between the valve cover and the generator on this side of the block. The workman inside the engine compartment is resting his right arm on the central engine access door, which is bare of any detail inside except the panel latches at each corner. The upper rear armor plate on the tank has also been removed, allowing a clear view of the top of the radiator (located to the immediate left of the opened center access door), complete with fittings for the hoses that ran from the radiator to the engine. This is an early Pz.IV with short barreled 75mm gun and one-piece turret side doors. The paint colors used in this engine compartment are hard to determine from this photo and your interpretation is probably as good as mine. The yellow color balance in the photo is a tad off, but it looks to me like the fan mounting is painted red lead primer. The rest is hard to tell, but at least the Maybach is black as it is supposed to be. This concludes Part 2. In the next two sections we'll take a look at a number of turret interior images from a couple of different models and try to understand how the equipment worked and what it might have been like to fight inside one of these vehicles. (c) 2003, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz. 161), Part 3, Revised April 16, 2003

Picture 1: Both US and British intelligence services were anxious to acquire and study captured German panzers during the war, and special combat teams were assigned different areas of responsibility along various fronts for weapons collection and study. These teams would move into freshly occupied areas as quickly as possible to collect and often ship back to their own countries armored vehicles they knew would be of interest. Most of the images we have in western archives of the turret interior of the Pz.IV are photos taken during documentation and study of these war trophies, and those archives are our sources for most of the information in this page. The turret of the Pz.IV Ausf.D we will be studying first is the captured tactical number 813 vehicle we saw earlier, documented by the British SST with photographs held in the Tank Museum at Bovington. This is a turret interior image looking to the left where the gunner would operate. A number of details are obvious from this particular photo. The side hatch is the early one-piece design, and includes both a vision port as well as a pistol port below. Notice the locking handle on the top edge of the vision port mount that allows the front frame to hinge open so the glass vision block assembly can be pulled and replaced quickly. The pistol port is a simple design-- you merely slide the cover open to allow you to fire your machine pistol through the opening. The hatch is securely locked with the handle at the left, and held open by a latch that is released by the black handle you see to the upper right of the hatch.

To the right of the hatch is a vision port with opening cover but no protective glass block. The hinge for this cover is at the top, with latching handles on both sides to keep it closed when necessary. To the right of the vision port is the ceiling support for the telescopic sight, hinged on the ceiling so its relative position may move a bit but its height in relation to the gunner remaining stationary. In this case though, the telescope has been disconnected from the ceiling support, and is seen below. The dark colored angle bracket and actuating handle you see behind the sight support is the handle that opens the forward viewing cover located to the left of the main gun, allowing the gunner direct vision and sighting when needed. The manual elevation handwheel is also visible here, on the other side of the recoil guard, and partially hidden on the other side of the handwheel is the azimuth indicator, one dial in these early machines with markings in clock time only. The traverse handwheel is hidden from view in this photo.

Picture 2: From the same Ausf.D (number 813) report comes this image of the gunner's equipment that was mostly hidden in the previous image. The azimuth indicator and its clock type indicator dial is visible on the left. The dial was geared to the hull turret ring gearing and simply rotated as the turret rotated. The indicator reads 12:00 now, so if it is still functioning correctly the turret is pointed directly forward. The gun elevation handwheel is next to the indicator, and the cross shaft can be seen on its wall to the left side of the gun mount where it will be geared, via a pinion and rack, to the mount. The traverse hand wheel is below and connects directly to the traverse gearbox, which is also the location for the turret traverse motor, although it is hidden by the traverse handwheel in this photo. The gunner's telescopic sight is visible here, but the face pad is missing. The voltage regulator that controls the speed of the traverse electric motor, and hence the turret traverse speed, can be partially see at the upper left.

Picture 3: A similar photo taken of the right side of the turret shows the turret wall in this area. The side hatch is about identical to the other hatch, but a mirror image, of course. To the left of the hatch is another viewing port, but this one not only has an armored cover but also provisions for a protective glass block. The mounting frame is missing some pieces, but you can get the idea of how it worked, and see the familiar hinged mechanism for the cover behind, with the locking levers on either side. A lighting control rheostat knob is mounted between the hatch and vision port, with the typical German WWII tank cylindrical light fixture on the ceiling. Also on the ceiling are two breathing tube cylinders with their end caps, and part of the ceiling fan at the upper left. Down below on the turret lip is the secondary manual turret traverse hand crank, used to provide some additional power when the gunner needs help with rotating the turret in a hurry. The turret has a power traverse motor, but having the second hand wheel/crank came in handy when the powered system was not working or was turned off.

Picture 4: And here is the electric traverse motor hanging off the turret lip just forward of the gunner's position on the left side of the gun. We are still in the Ausf.D number 813 vehicle. The dark case at the top of the motor is the engaging gear that connects the motor to the turret ring. The motor is a variable speed unit with a slow and fast gearing system, and controlled by levers and switches above that we will

see later. Note the two power cables entering the motor case from above, next to the manual traverse hand wheel. Note the firing trigger for the guns located on the traverse handle. The turret was mounted on a ball bearing race and the turret ring had 324 teeth on its inside surface. The turret ring was riveted onto the upper armor plate with the traversing gears mounted on the turret engaging the teeth on the turret ring. Under typical conditions, the motor was used to traverse the turret and a voltage regulator controller was used to govern the traverse speed. This voltage controller was mounted directly above the motor, just under the telescope, and was controlled by a lever on top. Electric power for the traverse motor was supplied by an auxiliary generator set mounted in the engine compartment, consisting of a DKW two-cylinder engine and electric generator. In late Pz.IV models the electric traverse motor was not installed and the turret was traversed by hand only. In these vehicles, the auxiliary generator was also therefore not installed in the engine compartment. This photo was taken looking at the right side of the motor, and in the background is the left hull wall and some of the storage located there. I can make out the storage bins and racks for horizontal 75mm rounds and the remains of the canvas cover over the bin front. Below the bin are some electrical switches and cables.

Picture 5: This is the gunner's control for the electric motor traverse. The motor case hangs down below the cylinder you see to the lower right, which is actually part of the traverse gearbox. The long lever is connected by a connecting rood mechanism to the light colored box you see to the far left. This is the voltage regulator that controls the speed of the motor. The telescope here appears to be the typical Leitz TZF 5b, complete with forehead pad. We'll have more to say about the sighting equipment. Although it is a bit difficult to see, you can just see the front turret flap that could be opened by the gunner to use a simple leaf sight instead of the telescopic sight, the flap

and its opening mechanism at the far left over the voltage regulator. Although the small flap on the loader's side of the mantlet was no longer installed from the Ausf.G on, the flap on the gunner's side was continued throughout the vehicle's manufacture. The Pz.IV turret was built up of welded armor plates, and as you have seen, the turret was initially constructed with a single door on each side. The first few Ausfs. also used an internal gun mantlet, but it didn't take long to realize that internal mantlets of this type allowed bullet splash into the tank and were also prone to jam the elevation mechanism, even if there was no penetration. The Ausf.D was the first model to adopt a new external mantlet with overlapping edges that protected the mantlet-turret joint. As we mentioned earlier, the bow machine gun was reintroduced on the Ausf.D and the side and rear armor of the hull was increased from 15 to 20mm. There were over 220 Ausf.D tanks produced, but only a few were ready before the outbreak of war to fight in the early Polish campaign.

Picture 6: Now let's jump into a Pz.IV Ausf.E turret and see if anything interesting has changed inside from the previous model. This particular vehicle is another captured vehicle that was studied by the British, this time with the tactical marking of 800 on its turret. It was one of the first Pz.IVs captured by the British during the North African campaign and is shown in this photo. It was in bad shape when it first fell into British hands with much battle damage; it was missing its right track run and a return roller, as well as the antenna trough and radio operator's right vision flap. But it looks like the track was repaired before this photo was taken, probably so the vehicle could be moved for study.

Picture 7:

When the armor of the Ausf.D proved to be too thin, the next model, the Ausf.E, was constructed with increased front glacis plate armor of 50mm thickness. There were

also additional 30mm plates added to the hull front visor plate, and 20mm plates to the superstructure and hull sides. These revised models also had a new type of cupola that was positioned further forward on the turret, seen in this photo of the same Ausf.E we saw in the previous photo. With the repositioning of the cupola, it was possible to create a simple curved rear plate for the turret that no longer required the cupola extension down the rear of the turret. Because the gun and mount have been removed from this turret, we can look into the opening and see the revised trunion mounts. The small vision flaps we mentioned earlier ('Sehklappe'), are still located on either side of the Ausf.E mantlet. The one on our right for use with the gunner's back-up sighting system, and the one on our left enables the loader to aim the coaxial MG when it is disconnected from normal gun alignment and used independently. Notice that the Ausf.E has only one signal port on the roof to the far left, and the ventilator cover is offset to the right side. The earlier turrets had no ventilation fan, but relied on a simple rectangular hatch on the roof, flanked on each side by a signal port.

Picture 8: This illustration shows the general layout of the turret interior and was drawn by Intelligence artists after studying the captured Ausf.E number 800 that contained a 7.5cm KwK 37 L/24 gun. Some of the more interesting features include the large electric motor (6) for the powered traverse, the gun firing trigger (2) on the manual traverse handwheel, the elevating handwheel (7), and the foot pedal trigger (4) for the coaxial MG. The drive shaft (18), which has nothing to do with the turret traverse, passes under the turret floor on its way to the forward-mounted transmission from the rear-mounted engine. The turret floor hangs from three support tubes (15) bolted to the turret lip. Two of the tubes are at the back of the turret, located to either side of the commander's seat, and the other is at the front, under the gun cradle. Actually, this front support tube is really two

tubes, beginning as one down at the floor and then splitting into two as it rises to attach to the turret lip. The electricity for the turret components and radios enters the turret from the hull via the centrally located slip ring (17) on the floor (occasionally also called a 'collective'). From there the power and radio wires travel along the floor in a protective conduit to the front support tubes, rising at that point through a couple of fuse and junction boxes, and ending up on the front turret lip. Recall that power for the traversing motor and its control mechanism comes only from the aux. motor/generator in the engine compartment-- the rest of the electrical power for the turret and hull comes from either the vehicle batteries or the 12v generator on the Maybach engine when it is running.

Picture 9: A similar drawing shows the Ausf.E turret from above, indicating the gunner's and loader's seats (13 & 14) in relation to the command er's located directly under the cupola. The coaxial MG 34 is shown mounted to the right of the 7.5cm gun and the gunner's equipment fills the space to the left of the main weapon. The telescopic sight (8), a Turmzielfernrohr (TZF) type, is shown above the horizontally mounted traverse handwheel (5) and the secondary sight, an open gun sight (9), is also identified. The presence of this secondary sight explains the need for the armored viewing cover (21) on the left side of the mantlet. Later, you will notice that when the right viewing flap is eliminated (usually during production of the Pz.IV Ausf.G) this left flap will remain as the open sight was the only backup to the primary telescope. A couple of the turret floor support tubes (15) are shown here, although only the one to the right of the commander's seat is identified. Notice the wide outside armored cover that protects the recoil cylinders mounted on either side of the 7.5cm gun and also the wooden antenna deflector mounted below the barrel to push the antenna out of the way during traverse so it will not snag on the gun. Some vehicles do not seem to have these

mounted, and they were all later removed when the antenna was relocated from the right side of the superstructure to the left of the rear engine deck (Ausf.H) as additional armor was added. Notice that although the gun breech does not reach to the center of the turret opening, the large recoil guard extends well back, almost to the commander's seat. Although the L/24 was a low velocity weapon, there was still a lot of recoil.

Picture 10: This is a view of captured Ausf.E number 800 again, this time with the left turret door open. The doors were identical with the earlier Ausf.D doors we saw earlier, each with a vision block holder and a pistol port underneath. The bakelite-framed glass vision block was held in a hinged mount and could be released by moving either one or two levers located at the top of the frame, and then pulling open the frame to retrieve the glass block inside. The pistol port was a simple sliding shutter type with a lock at the bottom. Notice that these turrets had a vision flap mounted just forward of each door, the armored visor could be opened from inside but only the right side one was protected inside by a glass block. You can also see a round pistol port on the back wall of the turret, next to the stowage bin. There were two ports in the rounded rear armor plate, one on either side of the exterior storage bin. They were opened from inside via a handle from the commander's position. Notice the additional superstructure armor that has been bolted on.

Picture 11: When we poke our heads inside this same Ausf.E vehicle we have this view of the turret interior. The recoil guard dominates the center of the turret and both the elevation and traverse handwheels are visible to the left. The gunner's telescopic sight is

mounted above the handwheels and includes the protective face pad that can be adjusted toward either side so you may sight with your right or left eye. The reticle pattern in the sight is of the typical German lighted type and includes adjustable range scales around the edge for AP, HE and MG. Seen here under the sight, and behind the manual laying handwheels, is the large electric motor for power traversing. It is the vertically mounted cylinder and we can just barely see the top half in this photo. We will have additional views of both the electric motor and the voltage controller in later photos. Note the exhaust fan now on the roof of the turret, offset to the right, and a number of electrical cables crossing the ceiling near the fan. As I mentioned earlier, initial Ausf.A turrets did not have a powered ventilator, but instead there was a fairly large flap on the roof centered directly in front of the early dustbin commander's cupola, and it could be opened to provide some fresh air. This rectangular flap was flanked on either side with round signal port hatches. The Ausf.B had a similar roof layout, but the cupola was updated with one that had armored shutters to protect the viewing blocks that in the first cupola had been totally exposed. Ausf.C and D turret roofs were similar to the B, but the Ausf.E turrets had the powered exhaust fan you see here as well as only one signal port hatch, on the left side of the turret roof. Ausf.E turrets were also the first to have the later style commander's cupola utilizing two sliding covers over each vision block. The pair of armored covers for each block were mounted one above the other, and when the covers were opened from inside the turret, the top cover rose up a bit and the bottom lowered, therefore exposing the glass block inside. These were heavily armored cupolas and there was a separate handle inside (below each block) so the commander could open just the vision blocks he needed. The same types of cupolas were also used on the Pz.III tank, and they are covered in more detail in the Pz.III pages elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS.

Picture 12: This is the other side of the same Ausf.E turret, vehicle 800, showing the vertical sliding breech of the 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun as well as the substantial recoil guard. There was a spent shell catch bag normally mounted under the guard, but it is usually not shown in period photographs, probably because it obscures so much of the internal turret detail when installed. Off to the right of the gun is the mount for the coax MG, shown installed in

this photo. By this time most MG ammo used in German tanks was stored in canvas bags, and there would normally be two bags attached to the coax MG. One of them was the ammo feed bag, and the other was empty (on the other side of the MG) to receive spent brass and links. Our turret ventilator fan is up in the ceiling again, and over on the other side of the gun, and visible under the recoil guard, is the electric motor for powered turret traverse. Some of the electrical junction boxes and fuses for the turret traverse are mounted on the turret floor support tubes under the gun breech. You can also just see part of the remaining signal port hatch on the left side of the roof, at the upper left corner of the photo.

Picture 13: This is the left side of the 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun, taken from the mount. The trunion on this side is visible up near the curved armor mantlet ('Walzenblende') and the elevation rack gear is also visible on this side of the cradle. You might notice that on these short barreled guns that the top edge of the breech ring very gently slopes from the front to the rear. This is one of the best ways of differentiating the 7.5cm KwK L/24 and L/43 from the very different KwK 40 L/48. There were 42 Ausf.B (Type 2/BW) manufactured and the last was completed in 1938. The Ausf.C (Type 3/BW) series was begun immediately in 1938 and the last of the 140 vehicles was finished in 1939. Six of these were set aside and later finished as bridging vehicles. Construction of the Ausf.D began in September of 1939, but some of the 248 vehicles were finished as bridge layers and other experimental designs. At the beginning of the French campaign in May of 1940 the attacking Panzer Divisions had about 278 Pz.IV of various sorts available and the factories had a monthly production quota of 30 vehicles. It was shortly after this that Pz.IV production levels were urgently increased and the vehicle placed on the "special level" of priority manufacture. Beginning with Ausf.F (Type 7/BW production beginning in May of '41), the firms of Vomag and Nibelungenwerke joined in Pz.IV production. Vomag (Vogtlandische Maschinenfabrik AG) even built a new factory just for Pz.IV production. Inside the Ausf.F there were still 80 rounds of main gun ammo available and for the two MGs there were now 21 belt sacks with 150 rounds in each.

Picture 14: This is the right side of the same weapon, now illustrating the manual breech handle as well as the mount for the coax MG and the two bolts for the trunion mounting cap. A small box next to the forward edge of the breech is the loader's gun safety box and there is a button on it that often is painted red. David Byrden wrote us to say he has seen these boxes painted a light blue in the tanks he has studied. The gun has a semiautomatic breech, which means that after firing, and during recoil, the breech opens and the spent cartridge is ejected. The breech remains open as the gun returns to battery, and the loader only has to ram another round into the breech to trip its closing spring and have it snap shut. However, at that point the gunner is still unable to fire the weapon until the loader hits the safety button on that box. The use of a loader's gun safety switch keeps the gunner from accidentally firing the weapon before the loader is ready and in a safe position. Most modern tanks still have a loader's safety button of some sort for the same reason. Notice also the thick armor sleeve around the area where the coax MG barrel protrudes out the front of the mantlet at the far right. The 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun was a rifled weapon that could fire K.Gr.rot Pz. (AP) rounds, Gr.34 (HE) rounds, and Gr.38 (HEAT-shaped charge) rounds. Velocity of the projectiles ranged from 385m/sec for the AP to 450m/sec for the shaped charge. Elevation of the gun was from -10 to +20 degrees and the recoil cylinders included an oil-filled dampener and a pneumatic recuperator. One of the drawbacks in servicing this gun is that both recoil cylinders are enclosed by the mantlet and armor guards and are very hard to reach without taking something apart. Again notice the gently sloping top of the gun breech ring of the KwK L/24 weapon. This concludes Part 3; the next section will continue our exploration inside the different turrets of the Pz.IV. (c) 2003, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sd.Kfz. 161), Part 4, Revised April 17, 2003

Picture 1: This is the view looking at the open right turret doors of a Ausf.G Pz.IV outfitted with the longer 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43 gun. This was a weapon of vastly improved muzzle velocity over the shorter L/24, due mostly to its longer tube length and the larger size of the ammunition cartridge used with this gun. This is the vehicle captured by the British in North Africa and reported by the School of Tank Technology to be an Ausf.G, with a possible upgunned Ausf.F turret. The chassis is number 83072. The long 7.5cm KwK 40 L/43 was first introduced in the previous model, Ausf.F2, which appeared in the spring of 1942, but the first guns had a slightly different single baffle (globular) muzzle break than those with a double baffle muzzle break found on the Ausf.G. As more Pz.IV tanks were up-gunned with the longer barreled L/43 guns, the discarded shorter L/24 weapons were subsequently installed in Pz.III tanks, StuGs, 8-wheeled armored cars, and even half-tracks in order to provide the infantry with the heavy support they continued to require. It was at this point, with the installation of the long L/43 gun, that the venerable Pz.IV ceased to play a support role function and began its new life as the German Wehrmacht's number one tank killer. Although it would later be eclipsed in lore by Tigers and Panthers, the Pz.IV was never matched in numbers manufactured or in total enemy tanks destroyed. The L/ designation used by the Germans and others to differentiate their various gun lengths does not actually refer to the specific length of the weapon at all. An L/24 gun does not have a 24cm long barrel. Instead, the L/24 refers to the ratio of the length of

the barrel to the diameter of the bore; in other words, it is the barrel length divided by bore diameter. Another way of thinking about this is to understand that an L/24 gun is simply a gun that has a barrel length 24 times the diameter of its bore. The barrel of the KwK L/24 was actually around 1800mm long, and if you divide that by the diameter of the bore (75mm), you get 24, or L/24. The KwK 40 L/43 we see in this Ausf.G had an actual barrel length of 3218mm, and if you divide this by its 75mm diameter bore you will get 42.9, rounded up to 43. The L/ number provides you with a handy general comparison of the lengths of gun barrels, and therefore the potential power of the gun, only IF you are comparing weapons of similar sized bores using similar ammunition. Generally, the longer the barrel, the more time the projectile is exposed to the expanding propulsion gasses, and the faster the projectile will be traveling when it finally leaves the barrel. The single side door of the earlier turrets was replaced with a double door design from the Ausf.F on; these new doors were easier to operate and provided a slightly wider overall opening. The pistol port on the door was redesigned from the simple sliding shutter as we saw in the earlier turrets, to one with a vertically hinged handle. This port could be locked closed using a small spring-loaded button in the handle that inserted into a small latch bolted to the door (the handle is shown here in the locked position). The vision block assembly in the front door on both sides was practically identical to the earlier design-- this particular specimen still has its protective forehead pad above the angled viewing window. The single door handle of the early doors was replaced with two handles on the forward hatch and one on the rear; the front hatch overlapped the rear one and helped to hold it in place. The front door could be held open by a spring-loaded device that was released by pulling down on the lower portion of the latch. Notice the rain gutter above the door and the grab handle on the turret roof. Getting in and out of these side doors was not easily done. Part of the vertical sliding breech of the L/43 gun can be seen inside the turret, and you can also see the recoil guard separating the gun breech and the gunner. Let's take a closer look inside.

Picture 2: The view into the same turret from the right door of the Ausf.G provides us with a lot of interior information. This and the following photo are again from the School of Tank Technology in England and have been preserved at the Tank Museum in Bovington for many years, from the days when the facility was the official RAC military museum. The big electric traverse motor is now clearly visible on the other side, under the recoil guard. And since the turret is now traversed to the 2:00 position, we can look down into the driver's area at the lower left of the photo and also see the large ammo bin behind his seat. The coaxial MG is also mounted in this turret and can be seen to the right of the gun. Next to it is an equilibrator support spring that is now required to counterbalance the heavy weight of the long 7.5cm gun barrel. The far end of the spring cylinder is bolted directly to the floor below, and the long attached piston rod curves slightly as it rises between the coax MG and main gun cradle to attach high up on the gun mantlet. Seen here next to the spring cylinder is the main electrical junction and fuse box for the powered traverse system, with a smaller main switch box above. Because the gently sloping top surface of the breech ring and the surrounding turret equipment is the same for both the L/24 and L/43 versions of the 7.5cm KwK, this balance spring is the primary difference between the two and the best way of identifying which type of gun you are studying-- thereby providing a clue to which Pz.IV Ausf. you might be looking at. At about the same time the longer gun was mounted, a secondary traverse hand crank was added on the loader's side of the turret, and you can see the handle at the far right of the photo. The gearing and handle were installed for the loader to assist the gunner when he was traversing the turret in manual mode, as it took a lot of revolutions of the hand crank to traverse the big turret around, especially if the tank were on an include. But in the last model of the Pz.IV, the Ausf.J, this hand crank became almost paramount when the auxiliary engine/generator and power traverse were removed from the tank.

To help compensate, the gunner was then supplied with a new manual gearing system to ease the work, but it still took a lot of muscle to rotate the turret with its long gun. Although the coax MG was normally aligned with the main gun and gunner's sights, it could also be elevated independently, and the vision flap on the right side of the mantlet that we saw in an earlier sketch continues to allow the weapon to be visually sighted by the loader. In later vehicles (beginning with the Ausf.F2) this whole system was deemed unnecessary and wouldn't have worked anyway with the revised L/43 gun mount, so the coax MG was fixed in its mount and the small vision flap to the right of the mantlet was finally eliminated. Once again, if you look carefully above the MG you will see the loader's safety button and switch box. You can also see the recoil indicator on the inside of the recoil guard that is attached to the left side of the gun. As we have seen with other 7.5cm weapons in AFV INTERIORS, this indicator is simply a gage indicating the total amount of gun movement during recoil. Proper servicing of the recoil cylinders to provide just the right amount of rearward movement is critical to safe operation of the gun, as having a weapon that recoils completely out the back of your turret will generally cause considerable trouble between you and your platoon leader.

Picture 3: An enlargement of the previous picture allows a better view of the dark right side of the gun. The equilibrator spring housing is at the bottom of the picture and the metal piston rod extension can be seen rising up behind the coax MG 34 to attach to the right side of the gun cradle way up by the turret roof. The coax MG 34 is also clearer here and although the ammo bag support is attached to the mount, it is hanging off at an angle. Normally, a canvas bag would be mounted on either side of the MG, one on the left to provide belted rounds and the other to receive spent shells and links. With some imagination you can see the mechanical firing mechanism at the machine gun's trigger, the metal

rods crossing under the main gun and then extending to the floor and finally to the gunner's foot pedal trigger. The electrical junction and control box for the power traverse that is located under the breech is also visible here, at the bottom left of the picture. I suspect the interior paint for the turret for most Pz.IVs was the same light ivory Elfenbein as the upper portions of the driver's area and the rest of the fighting compartment, but even the shade of ivory probably changed as time went on. I also believe the turret floor was generally painted a dark gray or greenish gray, or even primer red in some cases. The gun also seems to have been painted the same ivory as the interior walls, with many surfaces left unpainted, and others that were normally heavily worn ending up steel colored anyway. When a gun was replaced, it would remain whatever color the manufacturer had originally painted it that day, unless there was time and interest to repaint them once installed inside the turret. The interior surface of all hatches were typically painted the same as the base exterior color-Dunkelgrau (dark gray) in early machines and Dunkelgelb (a light brown/tan) in later versions, like this Ausf.G. BUT, there are a number of photographs of vehicles in action showing a very light color on the inside surfaces of the side turret hatches, and I suspect these were just painted the same interior Elfenbein at the same time the rest of the turret interior was painted. The off-white of the open turret doors are clearly seen in period photographs, and there are a lot of them. It is sometimes very difficult to identify particular models of the Pz.IV because vehicles were sent back to Germany for repairing and at that time they were brought up to the current gun and armor standards. Because of this, you may find L/43 gun turrets on Ausf.D chassis, or even odder combinations, making technical identification of a particular very difficult on occasion. By the way, Will Phelps informed me that this particular vehicle, chassis 83072, was in action for no more than two months before it was captured by the British, and that explains the apparently excellent interior condition. Some sources say this tank simply ran out of gas, and others that there was a mechanical failure of some kind, but one way or the other it was probably captured during the German retreat after their disaster at Alamein.

Picture 4: From the same Ausf.G comes this photo, similar to the earlier shot but with the gun elevated slightly so it can be secured with the gun travel lock hanging from the ceiling. The coax MG has also been removed and allows a view of the detail hidden from us before. Again, you know this is a long-barreled Pz.IV because the spring cylinder balance for the barrel heavy weapon is attached to the right side of the gun mount. This is a good picture to examine the right side of the gun breech. The round flat cylinder on this side of the breech ring is the breech lever mechanism which includes the round outer cover that is clearly visible and the breech lever which is hidden behind the recoil shield support tube. Just above the breech lever mechanism is a light colored pivoting piece of metal. This is the safety catch lever, the operating knob being on the top portion of the lever, right next to the large nut holding the right recoil cylinder to the breech ring. The safety catch lever can be pulled back, or pushed forward (like it is here); the rear position is the "Sicher", or safe position, and the forward is the "Feuer", or fire position. If you look carefully, you can make out these markings along the top edge of the triangular lever. The safety switch button is located in the switch box near where the balance spring rod attaches to the gun mount. There is a small button on this side of the switch box, and when the loader pushes this button, it lights a small bulb on the gunner's side of the weapon, signaling that the gun is loaded and ready to fire. Some of the gunner's equipment is now also visible as the weapon is elevated and the recoil shield on his side of the turret lowered.

Picture 5: This is the view looking through the open left turret doors of the same Ausf.G that we saw before. You'll notice the gun recoil guard is slightly different on the longer gun from what we saw on the L/24-- the sheet metal used at the rear of the old recoil guard has been replaced with steel tubing. Once again the green or tan canvas catch bag for spent shells is missing from under the gun breech. By the way, since this is the same Ausf.G vehicle we examined earlier when looking at the hull ammo stowage bins, some of the hull fixtures (like those ammo bins) are visible at the lower right. Also visible here is the tractor style seat for the loader at the lower right. Because the photo is of such excellent quality, you can now see the two manual gun laying handwheels better than in the Ausf.E pictures and although the powered traverse motor is hidden behind the equipment again, the selector lever on the control box (mounted on top of the motor) is visible to the far left. The lever is in the 'Motor', or powered, position and it has to be shifted to the left for 'Hand', or manual traverse. The TZF 5f telescopic sight is again very prominent in the photo (it was a 5b on the short gun), and the sight support hanging from the ceiling is attached to the sight just forward of the face pad. The turret has been traversed to the 10:00 position so the radio operator's area is visible under the gun, including the right brake housing in front of his seat. Beginning in the Ausf.F2 the number of main gun rounds was increased to 87 and are reported to have remained that way through the end of Pz.IV production, but to this point I have not been able to determine where the additional shells were stored. I DO know that thirty-two rounds are said to have been held in the horizontal superstructure bins and 55 in the lower hull bins.

Picture 6: This is a slightly closer view of the same gunner's equipment. The view is very similar to what we saw in Part 3. The powered traverse control lever is clearly seen and if you had a magnifying glass you would be able to read the position indicator label under the lever directly from the photo on my desk-- 'Hand' on the left and 'Motor' on the right. The manual elevation handwheel at the lower left is attached to a couple of short shafts and gears to end at a pinion gear along the side of the gun cradle. There it engages a long rack gear on the side of the gun mount, similar to the rack gear we saw earlier on the side of the short gun. It took 15 complete turns of the elevation handwheel for the gunner to raise the weapon through its full 32 degrees. The traverse handwheel, with the trigger for firing the main weapon, is mounted on the bottom of a short gearbox, which in turn is attached to both the electric motor below and the gearing on the turret ring behind. When the manual/powered traverse control lever is to the right, or 'Motor' position, the electric motor drive gear is meshed with the turret ring gear and the motor is used for traversing. In powered mode, the motor and gearbox have variable speeds right and left, and when the gunner found his target in his sight he could slow down the powered traverse to final lay his weapon. The wires rising from the traverse handwheel trigger grip are seen leaving the top of the gearbox on their way to the gun firing circuitry. There is a powered traverse speed apparatus mounted immediately to the left of the manual/power traverse control and motor, but it unfortunately does not show in these photos (it is out of view to our left). Electric power for the traverse motor first originates at the DKW aux. engine/generator in the engine compartment and then travels up through the turret floor slip ring and through a junction fuse box located on the front turret floor support tube. Above the fuse box is a switch box for turning the system on and off. Once power has reached the manual/power control and then the speed control regulator, it finally connects to the big hanging traverse motor. Remember that a completely separate circuit energizes the gun firing and safety system, the radio system, and the general lighting system. This power originates directly from the 12volt vehicle battery and the generator on the Maybach engine, and this power is also routed up through the slip ring (but via different circuits) and then up into the turret. By the way, most German 7.5cm guns of this sort were percussion fired, but the

safety switch on the loader's side completed the circuit that allowed the firing servo to energize and percussion firing to take place. A small light bulb on the gunner's side of the gun mount was connected to the loader's safety switch and alerted him to the status of the gun. As I mentioned at the top of the page, I believe that this particular Pz.IV Ausf.G was captured by the British at Tobruk and was at that time part of German Panzer Regiment 8. It was closely studied and photographed by the British, and after residing in the UK for many years was eventually returned to Germany in December of 1960 in exchange for another vehicle. After a full cleaning and repainting it went on display at the Munster Armor Museum and I believe is still in running condition, but unfortunately most of the electrical system for the novel powered traverse system is now missing. This is indeed a sad tale, as the powered traverse system used in the Pz.IV was one of the few powered traverse systems used in a German tank in WWII, and is still not completely understood.

Picture 7: This is an Ausf.F2 tank, again captured from the Germans by the British in North Africa. The main gun rounds used in the KwK 40 were significantly longer than those used with the L/24, and they also had a wider brass cartridge that narrowed to the same diameter 7.5cm projectile, the cartridge sometimes called a 'bottle neck' type. The longer and wider shell casing provided substantially more room for stick propellant inside and therefore a greater muzzle velocity, almost doubling the penetration power of the projectile. To fit the bottle neck cartridge, the KwK 40 had a redesigned breech and barrel and the whole thing had to be much stronger to tolerate the higher breech pressures and temperatures. Other items to notice on this Ausf.F2 are the early globular single-baffle muzzle break, the double doors on the turret sides, and the later style commander's cupola, but with its original double hatches. These vehicles were called 'Mark IV Specials' by the British and were highly feared upon their arrival in North Africa. There were around 175 F2 vehicles manufactured, plus another 25 or so converted from Ausf.F1 vehicles that were still in the factory when the order arrived to up-gun the tank. Recall that the longer barrel of the KwK 40 necessitated the inclusion of the loader's assist hand traverse crank

and the balance spring inside the turret. Apparently, this photo was taken in a vehicle park as we can also see an M3 Grant Medium Tank, M3 Stuart Light Tank, and an Italian M13/40 Medium Tank to the far right, all covered elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS. By the way, with the introduction of the KwK 40 gun on the Pz.IV, it gained the new designation of Sd.Kfz.161/2.

Picture 8: This is the view looking toward the rear of the turret, in this case inside the same Ausf.G we looked at earlier (chassis 83072), with the late commander's cupola ('Kommandantenk uppel') above. From the Ausf.E onwards, the cupola contained five upper and lower sliding armor shutters that protected viewing blocks inside. This cupola also had a two-piece hatch that would later be changed back to one piece. Some of the individual vision blocks and their mounting brackets are visible here in the cupola, and down along the back wall are two black handles for uncovering the pistol ports located there. The commander's seat is at the center bottom of the picture, flanked on both sides by the two black storage boxes holding signal flare rounds. One of the black turret floor supports can be seen on the far left of the picture, bolted to the upper edge of the turret lip. The thin vertical rod you see leading from a small gear box mounted on the turret lip at the left of the commander's seat and rising up to the cupola is attached up there to an annular ring direction indicator (azimuth indicator). Circling the cupola just under the hatch, this indicator was used by the commander to determine the relative rotation of the turret in respect to the tank hull, and I think was marked off in twelve hour clock settings, i.e. 9:00, 2:00, etc. Recall that the gunner had a small azimuth indicator located to the left of his position, and at least on of its dials was also marked in clock time. In this way, the commander could locate targets while in his cupola and relay their relative position to the gunner, who could then traverse the turret to the approximate bearing to acquire the target.

Picture 9: Looking for targets from inside your tank without becoming one yourself took nerves of steel and a tank commander's frustration at not being able to see well through his cupola vision blocks ('Ersatzglasserblocks') could lead to sticking his head out his open hatch, and possible death. German designers created some of the best commander's vision cupolas of the war and the final version mounted on the Pz.IV was their best. This Bundesarchiv photo shows many of the external features including the double sliding armored covers protecting the five vision blocks and the round ballistic shape. The turret sidewalls changed slightly with the Ausf.E design; they were lengthened somewhat so the new commander's cupola no longer cut into the rear wall. The cupola is heavily armored and non-rotating, and a direct sighting pointer has been mounted in front of his forward facing viewing block to make sure the gunner is aligning with the targets the commander wants him to hit. Notice that the cupola hatch cover has been changed to a one-piece type and that there is a round pad in the center. A single black latch holds the lid closed and a bullet splash guard surrounds the cupola base. This particular Ausf.H has Schrzen attached to the turret walls, as you can see by the support brackets on either side. Schrzen were thin mild steel plates attached with brackets to the turret and hull sides in an attempt to defeat hollow charged projectiles such as bazooka rounds. The turret plates were slightly thinner than the hull plates, but they were permanently welded on the turret while the side plates fit into brackets and could be removed or replaced. The Ausf.H and J tanks carried the long L/48 gun with a double baffle muzzle brake and reportedly around 87 rounds of 7.5cm ammo.

Picture 10: I was very happy when this photograph arrived back in the late 1960s from the Bundesarchiv at Koblenz, as it is one of the few images I've seen showing the inside use of the later style cupola. I have to admit that I am not positive that this is a Pz.IV and not a Pz.III interior, but some of the smaller details point that

direction, so I put my money on Pz.IV some years ago and I'm sticking to it. In this picture, the commander's hands are resting on the armored shutter opening handles under two vision blocks-- as we mentioned each shutter can be opened independently from the others. The shutters can be positioned in one of three positions-closed, half open, and fully open, depending on which of the three side detents the spring-loaded handle is placed in. The multi-layered glass vision blocks were easily replaced via a release lever (or levers) on top that opened the support frame, and spare blocks were kept in bins near the commander's position and on the right forward lip of the turret near the loader. Notice also the vertical drive shaft of the turret/cupola azimuth indicator system and the fact that the tanker is wearing both headphones and a throat mike. Unfortunately, we can't see the cupola azimuth indicator ring with its markings in this picture as it was mounted just under the hatch at the very top of the cupola. One of the pistol ports on the back of the turret is visible to the lower right and appears to be open. It looks like the commander is wearing a 9mm Walther P38 pistol in his holster-- what do you think?

Picture 11: There were other changes made to the turret that affected the interior toward the end of the production run. The vision flaps in the turret walls forward of the side doors were deleted from the Ausf.G on as Schrzen panels were attached and the vision blocks became unusable. Smoke grenade launchers were added to the front turret sides of some late vehicles and the controls for these were located inside the turret, on the walls just in front of the doors. And the final models of the Pz.IV eliminated the signal port that was on the left side of the roof and mounted, on occasion, a smoke bomb thrower ('Nahverteidgungswaffe') to the right of the powered ventilator. And of course, from August of 1942, the long version of the 7.5cm KwK 40 was installed in all Pz.IV vehicles, whether new or repaired, and the L/48 went on to become a legendary tankkilling gun. Unfortunately, we currently have no interior images of the L/48 gun mounted inside the Pz.IV Ausf.H or J turret, but we hope to add them sometime in the

future. Perhaps you have some you would like to share? The Pz.IV was the only tank that was built by the Germans throughout the entire war. By the end of hostilities there had been over 8,000 Pz.IVs produced and it had become the workhorse of the army and armored divisions. This last image is a Bundesarchiv photo showing an earlier day when the Pz.IV was still playing a supporting role for the infantry. Note the interesting turret stowage bin design that I have not seen in any other pictures. By the way, for some very interesting reference information on the Pz.IV, you should really visit Will Phelps' Panzer IV Universe. Will has put together some awesome information over the years and his web page is full of very interesting stuff. He also helped with these pages by doing some much needed editing and catching a number of errors. David Byrden also noticed a couple of errors and took the time to let me know about them. Any problems you still find lurking in these pages are of my own making, and I would appreciate it if you would bring them to my attention. Many of the images used in these four web pages are copies of original photos found in The Tank Museum and the Imperial War Museum, both in England. Other photos have been collected from the US National Archives and from the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Germany, as well as the Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. If you have additional reference information or personal photographs of the interior of the German Pz.IV tank that you would like to share, I am very interested in hearing from you so we can improve our coverage. I am particularly interested in images of the interior of the Ausf.J turret mounting the L/48 gun, and I would like to post a couple so we can see the changes that took place when the power traverse was removed. I know the breech of this weapon is also very different in appearance from what we have seen of the L/43, but the only photos we have to this point are from the same gun used in other German vehicles that you will find in AFV INTERIORS. (c) 2003, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Medium Tank (Sd.Kfz.171), "Panther", Factory Photographs

Picture 1: Armored fighting vehicle manufacturers have often photographed their production facilities in an attempt to document their work or provide evidence of the magnitude of their abilities for propaganda or marketing reasons. The Germans in WWII were particularly keen to preserve images of factory scenes and their photographs are some of the best quality produced during the war. Because there has been a great deal of published material on the Panther tank, a detailed examination of the interior, as typically provided in AFV INTERIORS, is probably not necessary. So, I have decided to use some of these factory photographs to illustrate how a Panther hull is constructed, step by step. In this way the AFV can be presented not only opened for study, but in the actual process of construction. Vasco Barbic was originally instrumental in encouraging the writing of this page in INTERIORS a few years ago. For additional factory photographs of various vehicles you might want to visit his web site at PANZER WERKE . Although most of the pictures are still the same in this page, I have added a great deal of information about the construction process. This Henschel & Sohn factory photograph shows both Panther Ausf.D and Tigers in early Mary of 1943 outside the final assembly plant in Kassel.

Picture 2: The German WWII Panther Tank, in all its variants, is probably one of the most recognized AFVs of all time. Manufactured at four plants, Maschinenfabrik AugsbrugNurnberg (MAN), DaimlerBenz, Demag, Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover (MNH), and Henschel, the vehicles arrived on the battlefield for the first time in 1943. Although initially prone to engine, transmission, and final drive problems, the repaired and improved Panthers eventually became arguably the best tanks of the Second World War for their armor protection and firepower. This photo was taken of the final assembly line at MNH, Hanover, when the factory was captured in April of '45. As you see, AFVs in German factories were generally not placed on a continuously moving conveyer in the assembly line fashion popularized by Henry Ford in the US, but each tank was moved only a few times from station to station where another group of workers added additional components. This was primarily because the German factories were previously heavy equipment manufacturing plants accustomed to individual unit production, not automobile manufacturers set up for mass production. Here we see both Panther Ausf. G and Jagdpanthers mixed along the factory floor. Notice the Maybach HL 230 engines with their later characteristic square air filters in the center isle. The hull at the bottom right has two of these same filters tossed in the empty turret ring and the engine compartment has received its radiators and fans already. Most of the vehicles seen here have at least one air filter sitting on the hulls. During actual manufacture the assembly lines would be tidier, especially the parts shelves at the far right. It looks as though the line closed pretty quickly and the Allies have done some looking through the parts left behind.

Picture 3: These vehicles are Panther Ausf.D tanks in the assembly line at Henschel & Sohn, in Kassel, around June of '43. Here the vehicles are nearing the end of the assembly process; the Maybach engine is installed and the turret will be added soon. Although Henschel & Sohn were given credit for assembly, the actual components were made in a number of factories throughout Germany--the armor from one set of companies (DortmunderHoerder-Huttenverein, for instance), the turrets from another (Wegmann in Kassel), the engines from others (Auto-Union Werk, for instance), etc. Looking into the turret ring

of the lower vehicle you can see that the interior paint demarcation line between the green/gray of the lower fighting compartment and the Elfenbein ivory of the upper interior is about half-way up the engine bulkhead. The largest of the holes in this firewall is an access hatch from the fighting compartment for engine controls found in the forward engine compartment. The automatic fire suppression system (selbsttatiger Feuerloscher) is installed as you can see the mounted fire extinguisher gas bottle on this same bulkhead. Notice also the steps leading up the front hull. On the shop floor to the left of the hull are a few circular air intake louvers. The hull hanging overhead is in a much earlier stage of construction. I have always thought the very light color of this hanging hull was odd, perhaps it was yet to be primed. Or perhaps the basic welded hull been pre-painted with some lighter color inside and out? The steel plates themselves would normally be dark gray on their arrival from the armor manufacturer and should be primed at the steel works before the hulls arrived for final assembly. The interior has not received its darker floor color yet. Perhaps its just a trick of the lighting--being hoisted this high and close to the over-head lights may give the impression of a lighter paint color.

Picture 4: We are now looking into the central engine compartment and side radiator/fan compartments of an Ausf.A at MAN in January of 1943. The two pairs of main fuel cells have been added at either side of the compartment, one of each pair sitting on the hull floor and the other wedged into the sloping hull sides. The large funnel near our end is the fuel filler for the fifth fuel tank which then fed the other gasoline tanks. The pipes at the far end of each side tank are the connections between the various fuel tanks. At the engine bulkhead we can see that small round access hole we saw earlier, and off to the left of the photo are a couple of the early round cyclone air filter cans. Most likely, the interior of these compartments were painted the red lead primer color, except in rare exceptions where you see lighter or darker shades. Notice on the back armor plate that there are three stripes of light colored Zimmerit paste. This is the first of two coats of Zimmerit, a coating applied for a time on all vertical surfaces to resist magnetic shaped charges placed on the surface by enemy infantry. The rest of this rear plate will shortly be covered with storage boxes and mufflers/shrouds for the exhausts so the zimmerit paste was not applied to these areas at this time.

Picture 5: Although slightly grainy, this photo is very interesting for a number of reasons. The workers are constructing an Ausf.G and the distinguishing circular driver's periscope opening is at the far left, partially hidden by some tools and other materials. Visible above (to the right) of the periscope opening is another hole, this one for the ventilator fan assembly. Sitting on the hull roof along side this opening is a driver's seat, ready for installation, and at the edge of the hull is a pile of suspension parts. One of the workers is holding a two-handed drill, which lies near the exposed turret ring. In this factory, the hulls are lined up so close together that boards can be used to walk from one hull roof to the next. Inside the turret ring can be seen a few of the double torsion bar sleeves, each passing from one side of the hull to the other, and then back, where they are attached to the wall. Two banks of light colored lubrication nipples are also seen over the left man's right shoulder. At this point the main paint color visible down there would be the characteristic red lead primer, a fairly bright brick red color. The final coat of paint that was over-sprayed when more of the assembly was finished was green-gray for the floor and ivory for the upper surfaces.

Picture 6: Here is an Ausf.D or early A (the hulls were the same), identified by the driver's vision flap and the "letter box" flap for the hull MG. In this case the exhaust fan between the driver and machine gunner/radio operator is also not yet mounted. Again, the workers use boards between the vehicles--as they finish one task on a hull they cross and do the same thing to the next Panther. This vehicle is also nearing completion; the engine is installed and the rear worker is adding the radiator hoses that pass from the central engine bay into the side radiator compartments. The central engine bay could be made watertight for amphibious action, allowing the engine to remain dry while both side radiator compartments were flooded for engine cooling. Inside the hull, the floor has yet to be added above the torsion bars and one of the larger access hatches on the engine bulkhead (the right one) have yet to be added. I believe that is a battery sitting next to the engine compartment opening to the right.

Picture 7: The Panther's huge cooling fans were responsible for forcing cooling air out of the radiator bays on each side of the engine, the air being drawn into the bay through grates located forward and behind the fans and then through the twin radiators on each side. The Maybach power plant was a water-cooled gasoline engine, and required plenty of radiator area to keep it at proper operating temperature. The fans were driven by takeoff shafts from the engine that were geared directly below the fans to the fan drive shafts. The hub of the shaft then connected, with these 8 nuts, to the actual fans. Over the fans were bolted armored circular gratings, the heavy gratings later covered with thin screen mesh to protect the fans and prevent debris from falling inside. Examining this original photo closely, it is apparent that there is a predrilled disc that fits over the fan hub, and the nuts are then tightened to hold both fan and center disk in place.

Picture 8: This is the engine compartment just about completed. The later style white cyclone air cleaners are installed and all black radiator hoses seem to be installed and connected. The air cleaners were an interesting adaptation of the current round cyclone filter we saw earlier. The original oil bath can filter is surrounded by an outer rectangular pre-filter with numerous small entrance holes along both outside edges. The swirling cyclone action of the air around these holes forced larger dirt and dust particles to the outside edges where it fell out of the filter box. To remove this entire filter unit, the butterfly nut on top was removed, the central can filter then removed and finally the surrounding rectangular pre-filter was lifted. Back in the left corner of the engine compartment (from our view point) is the fuel filler and tank mentioned earlier. The circular cut out space in the tank wall was originally for storage of a telescoping snorkel tube to provide fresh air for the combustion chambers of the engine when the tank was submersed underwater. Although the snorkel was not fitted to later Panthers after the abandonment of Operation Sealion (invasion of England), the original fuel tank was in continual manufacture throughout the production of the Panther and used anyway. The cover to the snorkel opening was then simply screened over to provide another air grating. The smaller radiator coolant overflow tank has been added to the right rear corner of the


Picture 9: We are now inside the fighting compartment of an Ausf.A and looking forward toward the front of the hull. The driver's area is to the left and the hull machine gunner/radio operator's position is to the right. Two pedals have been mounted for the driver, the clutch and brake, but the accelerator pedal is still yet to come. Both large Suddeutsche Arguswerke hydraulic disk brake drums are seen at either side of the front compartment, yet to be protected by their sheet metal covers. The driver's vision port opening has been drilled for the Fahrersehklappe (glass vision block) holder/control and the machine gunner's MG Kugelblende (ball mount) has been added, but the MG34 has not. If you look closely you can see the larger hole in the ball mount for the MG barrel and the smaller hole, on the left, for the sight. A number of double torsion bars for the suspension are seen traversing the hull. Each entered the hull at a round bearing, crossed to the far side and attached to a pivot. From there another bar crossed back to a solid splined mount located next to the original entry point. The bars pass through two hull supports running the length of the vehicle that acted as braces for the transmission and seats that will be added later and the bearing points were lubricated with oil via a tangle of oil lines. Note the front right shock absorber- the left one is farther back and cannot be seen in this picture. Also notice that the interior ivory (Elfenbein) paint and the green/gray have already been painted in this late Ausf.A.

Picture 10: We are further along in the assembly process (although the vehicle has not moved on the plant floor) and the massive ZF AK 7-200 transmission/gear box now dominates the center of the photo. The large size of this unit is the reason that such a large over-head removable plate (incorporating both crew hatches) was necessary for transmission's removal and repair. Along with the installation of the transmission came the drive shafts leading

to the side mounted brake drums, still uncovered here. Also up front, the accelerator pedal linkage has been completed but the pedal can not be seen due to the transmission. To the right a tube for oiling the shock absorber has been added. The left front shock can now be seen due to the photo being taken farther back in the vehicle than the previous photo. This picture is clear enough that the gear shift lever can be seen to the left of the transmission and details of the knuckle joint between transmission and drive shaft are visible. The hole to the upper right corner of the back of the transmission is for attaching a breather tube to vent heat and gasses to the engine compartment and there is a second one to the left of the drive shaft's entrance to the transmission. The driver and radio operator sat in seats bolted directly to cross members above the torsion bars- there was no floor under them except the hull belly plates below the torsion bars. Anything that was dropped down there was probably lost unless you were lucky, and modern day restoration workers are constantly finding bits of this and that in these areas as they work on previously unrestored vehicles. Notice how the rear of the transmission is bolted via a top U-bolt to a brace attached to a cross member along the floor.

Picture 11: The same area of the Panther hull is now almost completed. The steering cross shaft has been added that passes from hull side to hull side over the transmission and the steering levers are attached (hanging down, in this case very hard to see). The actuating levers from the cross shaft can be seen angling down and into the gear box at the right and left of the forward transmission housing; each connected to the steering brakes on either side. Sheet metal covers have been added over the disk brakes and transmission drive shafts and the driver's viewing block holder is also bolted to the front armor plate. The instrument panel support bracket is bolted to the top of the transmission nearest the driver and the seats have been added to either side. Notice that the right shock absorber is now protected with a sheet metal cover, painted the same darker paint as the floor. Notice also that there are two large lifting rings attached to the top of the transmission for hoisting the unit out for possible servicing or replacement later.

Picture 12: This is the fighting compartment in the hull of an Ausf.D or A (based on the ammo storage rack at the bottom right) as the hull is finished and about ready for the turret. The white capped torsion bar lubrication nipples seen in an earlier picture are lined up in 2 banks on either side of the added floor and the non-slip surface of this plating is evident. Down below, in the turret hole that will be under the turret basket floor, can be seen the rows of double torsion bars as well as fluid plumbing of various sorts. The central turret drive take-off is seen attached to the drive shaft from the transmission, although the shaft from the engine at the top of the picture to the take-off is missing for some reason. A simple rack for three 75mm ammo rounds stored under the turret floor has been installed to the left in the photo and upright racks are at the rear of the fighting compartment, one for six rounds to the right and one for three to the left. These racks sit almost on the hull belly plates and are installed before the floor (which is built up around them) to ease the loader's job of pulling up and out a long round for loading. The paint used on the two racks seems darker than the green/gray of the floor and it is possible that they were black or red lead primer colored. A bracket for a portable fire extinguisher is seen next to the left ammo rack and another rack for the engine fire suppression extinguisher bottle (Loschmittelflasche) is attached to the engine bulkhead. The boxes with holes in their lids are for the batteries. How nice it would be if this photo was actually in color!

Picture 13: Just for the heck of it, here is a photo of some Panther Ausf.F hulls in welding jigs at the RuhrstahlHattingen steel works. Notice that some of the details of the rear engine compartment are similar to earlier Ausfs. and some are different. The holes in the side engine compartment plates for passing of radiator hoses, etc. are now oblong and rectangular. The jigs attach at the rear of the hull at the holes for the exhaust pipe exits, and the motors that rotate the hull are at the front of the jigs. Up on the landing, beyond the jigs, are piles of armor plate, cut and ready for welding. (c) 2000, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Jagdpanther (Sd.Kfz. 173), Part 1, Revised 10/22/00

Picture 1: By the summer of 1942, the initial speed and ferocity of the German blitz into the Soviet Union had begun to wane against the seemingly endless Russian Steppe and tank forces. An order was issued in October of that year for a self propelled design that could carry the new and powerful 8.8cm PaK 43 L/71 gun. After a few designs were examined, the Panther tank chassis that was currently in production was chosen to become the base for one of these vehicles. By extending the side armor plates up at a slightly different angle, and adding a flat roof, the interior of the new tank destroyer could accommodate five or six crew members, the gun, and ammo. In traditional German fashion, the driver sat at the left in the bow and a radio operator/hull machine gunner on the right. The commander was positioned behind the radio operator on the right side of the big gun, the gunner was positioned to its left, and a single loader worked at the rear of the fighting compartment. The torsion bar suspension, engine, and driving controls remained essentially the same as the Panther tank. The resulting vehicle gained spectacular results with the Krupp designed 8.8cm PaK, providing the Germans with probably the best tank destroyer design of WWII. Unfortunately for them, by the time the Jagdpanther began rolling of the assembly lines and could be shipped to the troops, the die had been cast against the Wehrmacht, and during the long retreats of 1944 there were never enough Hunting Panthers available. This is the first of a three part series on the Jagdpanther. This first part will explore the driver and radio operator's positions in the bow. Part 2 will cover the engine/transmission and gun, and the third part will explore the loader and commander's positions. Many of the photos seen here were loaned to AFV INTERIORS by Pascal Intzopoulos and were taken of the preserved Jagdpanther at the Imperial War Museum in England. Many thanks Pascal for your help and also our thanks to the IWM for the foresight and care they have taken to preserve this lumbering beast.

Picture 2: There were around 419 Jagdpanthers reportedly manufactured between January 1944 and March 1945, and most of these (270) were produced at Muhlenbau und Industrie AG (MIAG), although Maschinenfabrik NiedersachsenHannover (MNH) and Maschinenbau und Bahnbedarf (MBA) also supplied many (112 and 37). A number of modifications were made to the Jagdpanther during its production. Most were small and not easily seen from inside the machine, but the change in the gun mount on the front armor plate was one of the big ones. Early vehicles, like the one in Picture 1, utilized a two-piece armored mantlet consisting of a frame welded to the hull and a cast armor gun support "pot", or collar, which was bolted to the frame from inside and supported the gun cradle. The gun tube and breech could be removed from the cradle through a large rear hatch after some preparation, but to remove the gun cradle itself (and the transmission, for that matter), the collar had to be unbolted from the frame inside and then pulled out the front. The resulting hole was then large enough to accommodate the removal of any of the larger interior components, although it was a lot of work due to the angles involved. Because the larger interior components could be removed out the resulting hole in the front armor, it was not necessary to provide for a removable roof on the Jagdpanther, as it had been for other large Jagdpanzers. Therefore, the roof was welded in place, adding considerable stiffness to the hull. The gun's support frame and collar were made as a one-piece unit in later vehicles, and the frame was bolted directly to the hull armor plate from the outside with four bolts on the top and four on the bottom. When these eight bolts were removed, and a crane attached to a lifting lug on the mantlet, the entire support assembly, cradle, and gun could be pulled forward and out from the front of the AFV in one smooth action. Because details of the gun and support also changed with the second type of mounting, those guns with welded collar mantlets were designated 8.8cm PaK 43/3 (L/71) and those with bolted collar mantlets were 8.8cm PaK 43/4 (L/71). The differences were so small that they have to be pointed out to you to be seen. This photo illustrates the earlier type of gun mount in the preserved Imperial War Museum vehicle; the photo was taken through a large rectangular hole cut in the left of the hull wall specially for museum viewing. We are looking across the driver's position to the large cast gun support collar, and some of the driver's equipment can also be seen, including the top of the transmission that separates the driver from the radio operator. Notice the large bolts on the side holding the armor collar to the frame. The first prototype vehicles were also provided with two periscopes for the driver in the front armor, one directly in front and one angled slightly to the left. Because the left periscope was almost impossible to use (due to the sponson being in the way), this hole was covered with a metal plate, plugged, and deleted from later series production. For

some reason, construction of the original configuration front plates continued for some time in at least one of the factories, and the second periscope hole is clearly visible inside many vehicles as late as December 1944 even though it has been covered. In this IWM vehicle, manufactured sometime during the second half of 1944, the remaining periscope frame and holder are painted black and are visible at the left, while only a corner of the plugged second opening can be seen to the far left. An ammo rack on the left sponson would normally stretch from the sponson to the ceiling, but it has been removed to clear away obstacles to viewing the interior, although the position of the end of the rack is indicated on the sponson by the welded bottom plate seen here. Also visible are the two black instrument panels for the driver, both of which were also found in the tank version of the Panther. Here, the panel holding the tachometer and speedometer that was normally mounted on the transmission in the tank has been mounted directly in front of the driver in the Jagdpanther. The larger black circuit breaker panel with engine coolant temperature and oil pressure gauge is still in the same position as in the tank, over the transmission. The long black handle rising from the lower right corner of the photo is the gear shift lever and safety shift release hook.

Picture 3: We will be spending much of our time examining the inside the IWM Jagdpanther and this is a British photo of the exterior as it appeared when first captured and examined. This vehicle is the command version of an early Jagdpanther, reported to have been built by MIAG in July of 1944 (chassis number 300054) and then served in sPzAbt 559. Except for possibly the left front fender, there are no markings on the hull that I can find. Those on the fender are not legible to me and could be markings from the British retrieval unit. You will notice four large penetrations in the armor on the right side- three of them are at the rear bottom corner of the fighting compartment and one at the far rear into the engine compartment. A close examination of the roof shows the double hatch covers for both the commander and loader are missing. These hatches were very similar in design and construction to those used in the Elefant tank destroyer and were mounted on a nonrotating frame, the hatches opening to the sides and the hinges bolted directly to the vehicle roof. None of the hatches on the roof have handles on the outside but they all do have key holes. Notice how the driver's second periscope opening has been covered with a small armor plate and the vehicle then was covered with Zimmerit anti-magnetic paste. Many of the early and mid production vehicles had Zimmerit, but the coating was

dropped from factory orders by the end of '44 and those vehicles built after that time had no anit-magnetic paste applied. We will see the damage the penetrating rounds made inside the IWM vehicle later in Part 2 of this series.

Picture 4: We are back inside the preserved and repainted IWM vehicle. This is the view looking down into the driver's position, with his seat at the bottom of the photo. Although the Jagdpanther design provided ample interior space for the equipment that was necessary, the huge 8.8cm gun occupied most of the available room and the crew were confined to a narrow corridor around the weapon and its mount. The driver's simple tubular seat frame was crossed with springs which supported leather (Chromleder) covered cushions, typically tanned black. The cushions were held in place by straps around the frame, and the driver's seat back could be reclined to the horizontal position. To the driver's right is the gear shift, mounted on the large Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen (ZF) AK 7-200 transmission, and directly forward is the one remaining vision block. Unlike most German tanks of this period, the steering levers in Panthers do not rise up from the floor, but instead hang down from a cross bar which attaches to both the support and disk brakes on this side as well as the other side of the AFV, next to the radio operator. Here, the steering levers are incorrectly painted white (like most of the equipment in this museum vehicle) and the rubber handles (seen close to the seat) are black. This steering lever design placed them in an awkward position and they were uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. The brakes, however, are hydraulic assisted, and the cylinders and associated hose connections are seen for the left brake up on top of the sponson. Above this hydraulic connection is a clear view of the empty and plugged second vision block opening. Without the second periscope, the view for the driver was very restricted, and he relied heavily on directions from the commander and other crew members. This was not an advantageous condition, and I am sure drivers would have preferred a better viewing system. Clamps for a gas mask (Gasmaske) canister and a breathing tube (Atemschlauch) holder are usually mounted on this left sponson next to the driver. Even though poison gas had not been used against the Germans in the war, they were still prepared for the circumstance with these masks and extension breathing tubes that ran between the masks and the filter canister to allow freedom of movement for the crewman head, especially should he need to look closely through viewing blocks and sights. Some references state that the first Jagdpanthers

were issued to the 559th and 654th Panzerjagerabteilungen in June of 1944, and these and a number of others gradually found their way into the Ardennes offensive. There, and also at the Eastern Front in battles against the Russians, Jagdpanthers made a big impact on the Allies' armored forces. Tank detachments in a number of different tank divisions also received Jagdpanthers during the first few months of 1945 as units were reorganized and refitted for the defense of Germany.

Picture 5: A closer view of the same area in the vehicle shows a few more details. The horse hair stuffed seat bottom cushion, with leather cover, is falling apart at the bottom of the photo and the two steering levers are seen in front of the seat to either side. The large disk brake cover takes most of the foot room to the left in the photo, but the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals (in order, from left to right) can just be seen under the drive shaft crossing near the floor. The steering system on the Panther/Jagdpanther is a "single radius" system (Einradienlendgetriebe). There are actually two braking systems at work here, one called the "support" brakes which are mounted on the transmission where the drive shafts exit on their way to either side of the vehicle, and the second are larger disk brakes, seen encased in their sheet metal shields near the hull walls. Usually, epicyclic gearing, clutches, and the support brakes were used to reduce the speed of the tracks on one side of the vehicle in order to turn in that direction. Single radius steering refers to the fact that the turning radius was initially dictated by the transmission gear chosen by the driver at the time he bagan to apply the brake, not the amount of pull on the steering lever. He was expected to judge the sharpness of a curve and shift into the appropriate gear in advance, the lower gears providing a tighter radius of turn. This type of steering required little strength from the driver but a good deal of skill, and as I mentioned earlier, the driver's job was made a little easier by the hydraulic boost for both the support and drive braking. Of course, sharp turns could still be accomplished by hauling back harder on one of the brake levers to completely stop that side's tracks via the large disk brakes, causing what is still known as a "skid" turn. The single radius steering was an improvement over the simple clutch and brake system used in earlier German tanks, but still managed to cause its fair share of problems as it was brand new and untried in a vehicle of this size. But worse than the problems with the steering system was the inadequate final drive gear chosen. These are the gears located just outside the hull and attached to the drive sprockets. The double-spur

reduction gears and their mounts were far too small and weak to handle the torque they controlled. This was because the Germans did not have sufficient numbers of milling machines to make the proper gearing, and as a result, many Panthers were lost when these gears, or their mounts, failed. Instructions to new drivers were very clear that major speed changes (torque) that would affect these fragile gears were to be avoided at all costs, but most drivers learned the hard way as suddenly the tank would begin to turn in circles with a complete loss of power transfer to one track. Otherwise perfectly healthy Panthers and Jagdpanthers were lost by their crews, and often blown up, when a hunk of metal the size of your hand failed.

Picture 6: This is a slightly clearer view of the same driver's controls in a Panther Ausf.A tank, although any production model of the tank would work as an example for the Jagdpanther. The gear shift is on the right and both steering levers can be seen hanging from the brake system cross shaft. As I mentioned before, pulling back slowly on the steering levers first engaged the single radius steering system, while pulling back further activated the disk brakes for tight turns. To the far left is another lever hanging down near the sponson wall- this is the parking brake which effectively locks both disk brake units once the vehicle comes to a stop. All three foot pedals are now visible under the large drive shaft, but notice the speedometer and tachometer are mounted at the right, over on top of the transmission, in the Panther tank version. The paint color on the floor and transmission in this vehicle is original period paint, probably the typical dark greenish gray used on many German tank floors, and the side walls and ceiling are probably the typical Elfenbein, a light ivory color. I suspect the same paint scheme was used in the Jagdpanther, with some vehicles possibly painted only their red lead primer inside the crew compartment during a short period at the end of '44 and early '45. This order applied to all German armor factories to conserve ivory paint and worker's time by not finish painting the interior of new AFVs. The dark round control with a switch lever, seen to the left of the right steering lever connection, is the main electrical power switch for the vehicle batteries and can be seen in our previous photos in the IWM Jagdpanther as well. Although the Jagdpanther was overall lower, cheaper to build, and quicker to manufacture than the Panther, it also weighed more and its overall automotive performance was slightly reduced from the tank.

Picture 7: The area to the right of the bow of the vehicle is the radio operator/hull machine gunner's position, and both it and the commander's area can be seen in this photo of the IWM vehicle. To the right of the large cast gun support collar is a MG34 ball mount (Kugelblende), partially hidden here by the shadows and the support rod for the commander's scissors periscope hanging from the mounting above. Armor for the Jagdpanther was well sloped and thick, varying from 80mm at the front to 50mm on the sides, 40mm at the rear, and 25mm on top. The belly plates were 15mm thick for most of the tank destroyer, but additional plates (or one thicker one) at the front protect the driver and radio operator from mine damage (25mm total thickness). The Saukopf type mantlet was 100mm thick and provided excellent protection for the gun opening at the front of the hull. At the right in the photo is a shelf for mounting the typical Fu5 radio set (10 watt receiver and transmitter), and below the shelf is an ammo rack for six 88mm rounds. The 8.8cm main weapon is seen to the left and includes the gun tube and recoil cylinders; we will examine the gun more closely in Part 2 of this series. Although it has been reported that the Jagdpanther used the chassis of the Panther Ausf.A, it was really a further development of that chassis and more like the Panther Ausf.G, with the gentle slope of the sponsons from the front to the rear of the vehicle and a similar slope angle for the side armor plates. Indeed, from the turret down, the Panther Ausf.G was just about identical to the Jagdpanther in most automotive respects.

Picture 8: From the same preserved vehicle at the IWM we have this photo of the MG Kugleblende. The ball mount provides a grip handle for directing MG fire that is seen under this near end. A pipe has been clamped into the hole in the ball in place of the

MG barrel, but the empty sight aperture for the MG telescopic sight is clearly visible to the immediate left of the barrel clamp. Some of the ball mount is obscured by the hydraulic equipment for this side of the Jagdpanther's brake units, but the bracket for the radio operator's gas mask container is seen on the sponson to the far right. The dial instrument with the lever mounted to the left of the MG is a communication device used by the commander to direct the steering of the driver if the radios do not work. Each position on the dial indicates a direction, and the information is sent to the driver via a series of lights at his compartment. Some of the MG mount hardware is also missing, such as the support spring that attached from the front of the mount and stretched up to an attachment on the armor plate above (the gun when mounted was barrel light). Note the attachment for the suspension shock absorber attached to the second torsion bar on this right side of the vehicle; it is mounted to the hull under the hydraulic brake equipment at the bottom of the photo. Only the second and seventh torsion bars were equipped with shocks on the Panther, the front one on the driver's side is located much further back along his side of the hull because the torsion bars move in the opposite direction on that side. The designers would have liked to have attached the shocks to the first and last (eighth) torsion bars, but space constraints of the interleaved suspension dictated the second and seventh, as well as the mounting of the shocks inside the hull.

Picture 9: This is a good clear view of the Kugelblende ball mount in a Panther Ausf.A tank, looking just about identical to our Jagdpanther's, although the mount is located closer to the center line of the tank and much lower on the glacis than our vehicle. Again, the mount's black rubber handle grip is below, and the trigger lever is directly in front of the grip, but out of view. In this case, a 7.92mm MG34 is attached to the mount, and so is the KgZF2 monocular MG sight, providing a magnification of 1.75x for the gunner and a field of view of around 18 degrees. The sight reticle has no range or deflection settings, but zeroing adjustments are provided as well as illumination. A face and head pad are provided for the gunner, the face pad for protection while using the sight and the head pad for depressing the gun as the machine gunner raised his head. Notice the balance spring (mentioned before) is intact here and the MG travel lock is seen to the upper right, the support hook pivoted up and out of the way. The balance spring caused the gun to pull off target during long bursts, always upwards and to the left, which was a trait common to most German hull MGs using this Kugelblende type. The total elevation arc is around 27 degrees, and traverse a bit less than 30 degrees.

The MG34 was the standard tank hull MG during most of the war, firing a blistering 850 rounds per minute from belts stored in canvas bags, 150 rounds per bag. Actually, the cyclic rate was even faster when fed from drums (Patronentrommel 34) as the spring in the drum assisted feed while the weight of the belts (Patronengurt 34) slowed the gun down. But drums could hold fewer rounds, and Jagdpanthers generally used bagged belts for their MG34s. As with most tank mounts, the hull MG in the Jagdpanther used two ammo bags, one to feed the gun from the left side and one to collect the empty shell casings at the right. The bags were mounted side by side under the gun, with their metal covers hinged open and toward the gunner. The fresh ammo belt would feed up from the left bag and into the MG, while empty cartridges would eject down into the right bag. Stored in the vehicle in a wooden box was the machine gun's wooden butt, sights, and bipod mount, so the weapon could be used outside the tank destroyer when necessary. Also stored someplace inside the vehicle were a couple of MP40 submachine guns, used by the crew for personal defense. Early vehicles had pistol plugs in the side armor (two on the right and one on the left- see Picture 1), but these disappeared in later versions. This photo provides a clear view of the crossing control bar for the right support brake unit, the connecting lever disappearing down into the support brake housing below the cross bar.

Picture 10: And just for comparison, here is the same area in the Jagdpanther preserved at the museum in Munster, Germany. Although the rear armor plate of this vehicle has many of the later Jagdpanther details, you can see from this photo that the mantlet is of the early type. There are a few differences here, and a number of similarities to the other vehicles we have studied. The floor plates have obviously been replaced by the museum staff (or someone else) and are not original, but the bolts holding the internal mantlet on the front plate of the early style gun mount are in the same position and are the same size as we saw in the IWM vehicle. Also, notice that the museum staff have covered the lower ammo bin, under the radio rack (at the right in the photo), with some canvas material. It is hard to tell from the photos of the other preserved vehicles if there are holes for the mounts for this cover and if it was standard procedure in all the vehicles, or if it is again something added by this particular museum staff. Mikel Ezcurra loaned this photo (and another you will see in Part 3) to us and I really appreciate Mikel taking the time to share his reference photos with us. It is always helpful to have as many examples of a vehicle interior as we can get to better understand what goes where as well as the similarities and differences between vehicles.

German Jagdpanther (Sd.Kfz. 173), Part 2

Picture 1: This is Part 2 of a three part series on the interior of the German Jagdpanther. The ZF transmission was specially designed and manufactured for the Panther tank and it was produced in record time. The decision to mount a manual transmission in a 45 to 50 ton vehicle was hotly contested at the time, but special features to reduce driver fatigue were incorporated to satisfy the critics. The transmission is a triple shaft, all speed synchronized unit (except 1st and reverse gears), and includes seven forward and one reverse speeds. It is a preselector type of gearbox, requiring the driver to first select the gear needed with the shifter and then step on the clutch to engage it. The syncromesh only works when the engine rpm is between 2000 and 2300, or when changing down at a lower rpm. The same unit was used in all production Panther variants, including the Jagdpanther. In this Bundesarchiv photo, mechanics are removing an AK 7-200 from a Panther tank (the gearbox is hanging nose down) and they are holding the "support brake" housings on either side of the front of the unit. The gearshift on the left of the casing is clearly visible. The photo also provides an indication of the immense size of this transmission; it is not often appreciated how large the power plants and transmissions were for these armored vehicles. Although not seen here, the transmission is hanging from a crane outside the frame of the photo. You will also notice that the transmission housing is not painted the same ivory of the interior walls and ceiling, but rather the gray green we saw earlier on the floor. The clutch is a three-plate unit and is attached to the rear of the case, in this photo at the top of the gearbox. The AK 7-200 transmission produced quite a lot of heat, and two cooling air ducts were attached to the case (at the rear and on the right side) to remove heat and odors to the engine compartment. Unfortunately, neither duct connection can be seen in this photo. Toward the middle of Jagdpanther production, three attachment sockets (Pilze) were welded to the roof of the tank destroyer to attach a 2-ton jib and crane. This crane was strong enough for gun, transmission, and engine removal from both the using Jagdpanther and anything parked close enough to it. The crane was not carried on the vehicle, but by support troops.

Picture 2: Just as the chassis for the Jagdpanth er originated from the Panther, so the engine was the same as the one used in the tank- the Maybach HL 230 P 30. Here, the rear deck grills and access hatches have been removed from a Panther tank; both the Ausf.A and Ausf.G type deck components were also used on Jagdpanthers. The engine is hidden under the two white air filters mounted on top. These filters were a result of engine failures caused by insufficient air filtration in early Panthers and the new filters were a combination of newer Fiffel cyclone and older oil bath types. Briefly, dusty air enters the top and bottom of the filters (through the holes along the sides) and is gently swirled before entering the central oil bath filter units. The swirling action removes most of the larger dust and dirt particles, which fall down into trays below and are blown out of the vehicle by the fans of the cooling system. Only the finest particles continue into the oil bath filters, leaving only clean air to enter the carbs and intake manifold. To either side of the engine air filters are black rubber coolant hoses, running from and to the radiators in the side compartments and the water reservoir tank at the rear (top right in this photo). The larger tank next to the water reservoir is the first of five fuel tanks; the screen filter for the system is located in the funnel shaped fuel filler tube you see projecting up here. The other fuel tanks are not visible but are located down on either side of the engine and up above the sponsons, next to the radiators and fans. Total fuel capacity is around 730 liters, of which around 130 were considered reserve. This capacity allowed a normal operating range of around 200km on the main gas tanks, and another 50km more on reserve. The two horizontally mounted fans to either side of the engine are driven by power take-offs and clutches- the drive shafts leave the rear of the engine under the magnetos you can see just behind the farthest air filter box. Normally, the fans blow air out of their circular grills above, sucking air from outside the vehicle through the rectangular grills to either side and then through the radiators. The engine bay is separated into these three compartments in order to allow the tank to submerge for amphibious operations. The two radiator compartments were to be flooded, but the central engine compartment was designed to remain dry, and was supplied with fresh air by use of a telescoping snorkel tube. The snorkel was initially stored vertically in the round space left between the coolant reservoir and the rear fuel tank. When the plan of directly attacking England was finally dropped (and portable bridges were made available for stream and river crossings), the snorkels were removed and the resulting space left empty. The small armored cover on the deck over the empty snorkel space was then removed and a screened cover replaced it to assist with additional engine compartment cooling. This compartmentalized engine and cooling configuration is also found in both

the Tiger I and Tiger II tanks and their many derivatives; indeed it is sometimes difficult to identify the vehicles when looking just at the rear engine compartments like this. Most of these internal components (including the radiators/gas tanks), and the entire engine bay interior, were left in their red lead primer paint, as the Germans saw no use in over painting this area.

Picture 3: The Maybach HL 230 P 30 is a water-cooled, V-12, gasoline engine developing 700bhp at 3000rpm, although it was typically governed down to 2500rpm. The HL 230 was a real work horse and was similar in appearance to the Maybachs used in large numbers for all the larger German tanks. Although often touted as the first power plant designed entirely for tank locomotion, the Maybach tank engine, like most other tank engines of the time, actually originated as a light alloy aircraft engine design back in the early 1930's. Even with its cast iron block, the engine was light and powerful. The HL 230 version was based on the earlier HL 130/210, with a few extra refinements added such as a special forked connecting rod and bored-out cylinders for increased displacement. Unfortunately, due to its very short development span in the rush to put the Panther on the battle field, the early HL 230 engines were plagued with initial problems, including bearing failures and over heating. However, by the time Jagdpanthers were being built, most of these had been corrected, and the engine proved to be one of the more reliable components of the tank destroyer's power train. Interestingly, the original amphibious design of the tank's engine compartment was to provide one of its worst problemsengine fires. The restricted air flow in the engine compartment allowed fumes to accumulate, primarily due to leaky hose connections and fuel tank seam failures. Any hot components or sparks would then cause catastrophic engine fires, disabling and often destroying numbers of Panthers before they reached the battle field. This was a problem that also plauged the Jagdpanthers, even after the Panther and Jagdpanthers received a venting tubes and a fire suppression system to blow fire retardant on specific components in the engine bay. Once a gasoline fire erupted there was little the tank or crew could do to save the vehicle. Although most of these problems had been resolved by the time the Jagdpanther went to war, there were still numerous engine fires reported, some caused by leaky cylinder head gaskets allowing oil to drip on the exhaust headers. For some reason, German gasket technology was not well developed and it would affect both airplane and automotive designs. This is all the more suprising considering their

general engineering and design expertise in other areas. It was a problem not fully understood and corrected until after the war. These images of both sides of the 230 engine from the Maybach company provide some detail of the attached components. The left image shows the right side and rear of the Maybach as installed in the Panther/Jagdpanther. The black rectangular oil reservoir tank is mounted on the bottom of the case, with its long oil filling extension rising up the side of the engine. The exhaust manifolds are encased in sheet metal jackets cooled by air driven by the fans, and were very important in keeping the engine cool in its confined space. Just to the right of the oil reservoir is the inertia and electric starters. Inertia starters were standard equipment on all German tanks of this time and were used when the electric starter or batteries were too weak and during cold weather conditions. Inertia starters on German tank engines were small and complicated affairs and consisted of a series of small gears and fly wheels packed into a cylindrical housing. When turned by a hand crank from outside the vehicle, the internal mechanism in the starter stored up the kinetic energy and then very quickly released it to rotate the engine flywheel that it was geared to. The rotation of the engine flywheel then began to move the pistons, and eventually fired the spark plugs via the magneto. A hole had to be provided in the oil reservoir tank for passing the starting crank through to reach the inertia starter on the other side, and you can see the hole in this image. From this end view, you can see the twin metallic colored magnetos (just to the left of the air filter box). The magneto uses mechanical energy from the engine to generate alternating current waves. These current waves are only generated during certain intervals of the magneto's rotational cycle. Magnetos have changed very little over the years and consist of a transformer coil, a rotating magnet, a capacitor, breaker points, and a distribution switch enclosed inside a housing. Just below the twin magnetos is the dark shape of the air pump, flanked by water coolant tubes leading from, and to, the radiators (both tubes are plugged here). At this end of the engine there is a round fan that would attach to the engine support that provides cooling air for the engine compartment and in later engines would assist the exhaust manifold ventilation. The right picture shows the left side of the power plant, including the long cylindrical oil cooler at the bottom and the smaller oil filter cylinder that is slightly angled and mounted near the fly wheel. Above the oil cooler is the generator (dynamo), tucked away under the exhaust manifold. The water pump is just above the flywheel on this end, and the cylinder head cover is clearly visible, as it is on the other side's picture. The predominate color of the engine components (block and cylinder covers) is gloss black, a favorite at the Maybach assembly plant, but much of the additional equipment from subcontractors can be black, metallic or even red, as was the case with some of the electric starters from Bosch.

Picture 4: We will leave the automotive components of the Jagdpanther behind now and re-enter the fighting compartment to examine the gunner's position. This is a British Intel photo, now in the IWM collection, illustrating the interior of a destroyed Jagdpanther. The photo shows the basic arrangement of the 88mm gun components and surrounding equipment. The gun mount/cradle is attached to the front mantlet collar and the whole thing slides back and forth along a curved race on the hull floor where the traverse gears are located. Here we see the smoked and singed remains of the semi-automatic falling wedge type breech of the 8.8cm PaK 43 as well as the gunner's position to the left of the weapon. Over on the left side of the gun breech block, you will notice the remains of the recoil shield and the lead plates bolted on this side of the breech to balance the gun on its trunions. In typical Krupp fashion, twin recoil cylinders are located on top of the breech, the left is the hydro-pneumatic recuperator and the right one is the hydraulic buffer. A little known fact about this gun, as well as the 7.5cm in the Panther, is that it was fitted with a compressed air blow out system (bore evacuator) to clear the barrel after firing. A compressor was mounted under the gun support in the Jagdpanther, and on the turret floor in the Panther, with a supply tube rising along the left side of the gun to an actuating piston. When the gun reached full recoil the piston would allow a valve to open for a brief moment, and compressed air would be shot into the breech of the gun. The tube for the system ran back along the top of the recoil shield to the rear of the breech, where it looped along just under the opening where the shell was loaded. If you look carefully at this picture, the position of the tube at the back of the breech is still visible, even though the tube itself is missing. You can also see something of the tube later in Picture 9, and any photo of the gun breech of a Panther, from Ausf.A on. As luck would have it, the system on the IWM Jagdpanther is missing, and we don't have a clear view of the back of the breech anyway. We will have more to say about the gun a little later. The gunner's seat and primary gun controls are seen just to the left of the gun; the hand wheel just in front of the seat is the gun hand traverse. The wheel to his right is the elevation hand wheel with the firing switch attached to the curved bar just to the right of

the elevation wheel. The gun was fired electrically, the firing pencil being a particularly robust part of the breech block. The gunner's sight mount is also seen hanging down from its mount near the ceiling, just in front of his seat. The SflZF5 sight was used in the early Jagdpanthers, but photos of them are very hard to find. WZF1/4 sights were probably used in the later versions. Both sights had 3x magnification and were marked with ranges for AP, HE and indirect fire. As you can see, a good portion of the space on the sponson to the right of the gun was taken with an 88mm ammo rack, located just to the rear of the radio shelf we saw in Part 1. The floor was covered with typical German non slip plate, most of which has been removed here, exposing the torsion bars underneath and part of the battery box under the recoil area of the gun.

Picture 5: This photo was taken of the vehicle at the IWM that we began exploring in Part 1 of this series. We are looking through a large hole cut in the left hull plate directly at the gunner's position. His seat is mounted on a tube that is attached to the moving gun cradle, and the seat back is adjustable in height. The traverse hand wheel is supported by another tube from the side of the gun support, and if you follow the traverse shaft down from the wheel you will see where it is geared at the curved base plate under the gunner's seat. Total traverse for the gun was only 13 degrees left and right of center, so accurate gun laying often required cooperation between the driver and gunner to line up targets. The solid elevation wheel is to the right of the traverse wheel, and in this slightly over exposed photo it is almost lost in the white paint incorrectly used by the museum staff. The staff have also chained both gun laying wheels together to keep visitors from playing games with the equipment. This photo also supplies some feeling of the large size of the gun cradle extending back from the support collar. At the far left is the vertical extension rising toward the roof that supported the gunner's sight. Up above, there is a kidney shaped opening to allow the sight to extend through the roof and traverse along with the gun through its full arc. An armored plate, with a hole for the sight, covers the oblong hole in the roof, providing some protection for the crew under the opening. Back behind the recoil cylinders you can see a bit of the shelving along the right wall at the rear of the fighting compartment.

Picture 6: This is a view of the same general area, this time in the preserved Jagdpanther at the Saumur museum in France. The gunner's seat is at the center bottom of the image, but the back is missing. Note the traverse wheel and its drive shaft connection as well as the curved support tube that we saw in the previous photo. The recoil cylinders and gun tube are at the right and in this case the gun seem to be stuck in full recoil, as the cylinder rods and gun are fully extended. Don't take exterior measurements of any projecting gun to determine it's length without looking inside to see if it is frozen in recoil, as they sometimes are. To the left is the ammo rack that was removed from the IWM vehicle when the hole was cut in its side armor. There appears to be four shelves for rounds in this rack, for a total of 10 shells- three on the bottom two racks and two on the top two. Up forward of the rack is the driver's position we saw in Part 1, obscured here by shadows and the gun laying equipment. There is a horizontal hand hold bar welded on the upper slope of the front plate to assist the driver in evacuating his seat in a hurry. Once again you can see the vertical support from the left side of the gun cradle that holds the gun sight, rising up just forward of the recuperator cylinder. Just barely seen at the lower left in the photo is the top of the shock absorber for this left side of the suspension, actually attached below to the second torsion bar on this side. Notice the dark color of the interior. This is also not original paint, but a grayish green applied by the museum staff a number of years ago. Gentle scraping of the dark paint reveals the original ivory and then the red lead primer underneath.

Picture 7: From the same Saumur vehicle we have this photo of the gunner's area, but now looking up toward the sight mount and its sliding hatch above. You can also see kidney shaped hatch opening and sliding cover on the roof. Also on the ceiling is electrical wiring for interior lights, one of which is seen at the top center of the photo. To the left of the light is the pull ring used to cock the close-in defense weapon

(Nahverteidigungswaffe) which was also mounted on the roof in place of tube dischargers on the outside of the hull. The weapon itself is mostly out of view. The four shelves of the left ammo rack are in their stowed positions, held in place by spring loaded metal cylindrical hooks. Ammo was removed from the top shelves first, thereby releasing the next shelf's rounds for use. German sights and other optical devices were some of the clearest and most precise used by any country in WWII, and the primary manufacturer (Leitz) was justifiably proud of their products. Regardless of whether you were looking through a TZF9c in a late Tiger 1 tank, or a SflZF5 in a Jagdpanther, German anti-armor sights mounted on tanks and tank destroyers had a similar sight picture and the etchings on the glass (reticle) were arranged in a similar and familiar pattern. Most of these sights were known as Zielfernrohr types (Sfl.ZF), used 3x magnification and generally had a field of view of around 8 degrees. Around the perimeter of the reticle were range markings for the primary ammunition that had been designated for use with that gun. These sights usually included the coaxial machine gun (MG34) range scale on one side (which would not be on our Jagdpanther' sight) and the major anti-tank projectile scales on the other. Most of these reticles were illuminated, and a translucent pointer at the top of the sight picture remained stationary while the gunner turned a knob on the sight body to rotate the correct range marking around until it was under the pointer. That motion would elevate or depress the sight slightly in relation to the gun, and when the gun tube was then realigned would compensate for the aerodynamics of the particular projectile the gunner had chosen and the range to the target. That was the easy part of gun laying, the difficult part was accurately ranging the target and adding in a lead angle, if the target was moving.

Picture 8: In the center of the sight picture is a horizontal line of evenly spaced triangles, only the larger center one has a base while the three others on each side are open at the bottom. The top of the center triangle is the aiming point, and for a stationary target that had been ranged properly for the ammo type that was to be fired, the gunner merely turned the traverse and elevation hand wheels in order to align the tip of the center triangle onto the target, and then fired the gun. The top of each triangle was the same distance from the next, and this distance was divided into "strich" (mil), there being four strich between each triangle tip. For those that are interested, the total 360 degrees of rotation available for a tank turret/gun can be divided into 6400 equal parts, and each of these angles is one mil, or one strich. Likewise, one strich equals approximately 0.06 degrees.

If the gunner knew the approximate width or height of his target, such as a T-34 tank, he could then calculate the distance to his target by noting how many strich wide the tank appeared in his sight and then using a simple mathematical formula to figure the range. The hull of a T-34 was around 3 meters wide when viewed from the front. If the hull occupied one strich in the gunner's sight (one quarter the distance between the tips of two adjoining triangles- this T-34 is pretty far away!) then the gunner could figure that the T-34 was around 3000 meters distance. Actually, a number of these distances and the size of enemy vehicles were memorized back at gunnery school. If the T-34 appeared three strich wide in his sight (took up 3/4 of the distance between triangle tips), he knew the enemy tank was only 1000 meters distance. Once this range had been calculated, the gunner could then rotate the proper range on the range scale to the top of his sight (under the pointer), align the gun with his hand wheels so the target was at the tip of the middle triangle, and electrically fire the weapon by the extension on the elevation wheel. The ranging formula was simple: take the known width of the target, divide it by the number of strich it takes up in the sight picture, and multiply times 1000. For instance- a T-34 (3 meters wide), at 6 strich, times 1000, would equal 500 meters range (3 / 6 x 1000 = 500). In the Jagdpanther, the gunner would then turn the range dial so the 500 meters mark on the 8.8cm Pz Gr 39/43 range scale lined up with the top pointer, align the gun so the target was on the tip of the center triangle, and then fire the weapon. The sight reticle picture I have included here is for a Tiger 1 TZF9b sight, taken from an original German Tigerfibel manual. But as I said, the general arrangement of the etchings are the same for our Jagdpanther except there would be four range scales for specific AP and HE shells. These would include Pz Gr 39/43, Spgr 43, Gr 39 HL, and Pz Gr 40/3 and would have no MG34 range scale (no coax MG on the JpV). As you may know, early Tiger 1 and Panther tanks used a binocular sight, with the right lens reticle appearing like this and the left simply marked with a horizontal ranging scale. These two images would be superimposed over each other when looking into the sight with both eyes, unless you had a strongly dominate eye, and then you were out of luck. The Germans realized the double ranging scales were unnecessary and difficult for some gunners to use, so most binocular sights were replaced by monocular ones, leaving just this type of sight picture. Properly leading a moving target was another can of worms that we will not get into here, but it also required some additional math and was based on the estimated speed and direction of the target vehicle, as well as the range and ammo type being used. Suffice it to say, hitting anything on a broken WWII battle field was a precise combination of simple math, practice, skill, nerve, and luck, especially when the enemy was targeting you at the same time and perhaps even hitting your Jagdpanther from a number of different directions. German orders were clear that there could be no firing on the move in WWII, the vehicle had to stop and shoot, then move on to another position if necessary. Stabilized sights would not reach German tankers in any quantity by the end of the war, which some claim put them at a disadvantage compared to the Sherman. But stabilized sights came with their own problems.

Picture 9: As we mentioned in Part 1, the 88mm PaK 43 L/71 was originally designed by Krupp as an anti-tank weapon to counter improved armor of Soviet T-34 and KV tanks. It was an immediate success when introduced in late 1943, and from that point on, the need to place the PaK 43 in a self-propelled mount became high priority for the Germans. With the recoil cylinders moved around to other positions, and a few other modifications, the new gun was mounted in the open topped Nashorn (PaK 43/1 L/71), the Elefant (PaK 43/2 L/71), and in the Tiger II turret as well as our Jagdpanther (PaK 43/3 L/71). The high velocity fire of this weapon could easily defeat ANY enemy armor on the battle field, often from as far away as 2000 meters. This was an awesome weapon, not only because it was powerful, but because the PaK 43 was extremely well made and accurate as well. Although it could fire a number of different munitions, the most deadly to the tankers on the other end of the flat trajectory were probably the Pzgr.Patr.39/43 and 40/43. These projectiles are said to have been able to penetrate over 150mm and 200mm armor, respectively, at 30 degrees obliquity at 1000 meters, and 140mm and 160mm at 2000 meters, at the same angle of attack. This photo shows a test firing of the Jagdpanther version of the PaK 43, perhaps at Meppen after the war. As in the Jagdpanther, the elevation gear is covered in a black, accordion-folded protective rubber boot to the right of the barrel, and the recoil bar shield that was normally attached behind the breech (and was missing in our earlier picture), is now visible and includes the small angled deflector shield/pad for spent shell casings. Notice that the Jagdpanther mantlet has been re-mounted to balance the gun on its temporary cruciform mount, but the mantlet has been placed up-side-down. Other details on this side of the breech include the breech activating handle for loading the first round and the electric safety switch used by the loader after a round was loaded to free the weapon for firing. This is one of the later two-piece PaK 43 barrels- both one and two-piece types were seen on the Jagdpanther. Generally, the two-piece barrels were used on later vehicles that mounted the PaK 43 in order to decrease the time required to change worn barrels.

German Jagdpanther (Sd.Kfz. 173), Part 3, Revised 11/26/00

Picture 1: This is Part 3 of a three part series on the interior of the German Jagdpanther tank destroyer. Only a handful of Jagdpanthers were available for the German Ardennes offensive in late 1944 as they were also being parceled out to units on the Eastern Front. The Jagdpanther in this US Army photo is probably from the 560th Heavy Panzerjager Battalion and was disabled during the fighting around Don Butgenbach. Assigned to the 12th SS Panzer Division ("Hitlerjugend") during the Battle of the Bulge, these Heavy Panzerjagers were not able to break through the US 1st Division's intensive artillery and anti-tank fire. The 12th SS PD left behind the wrecks of 44 tanks and tank destroyers at the end of this four day battle as well as hundreds of dead Hitlerjugend. American observers after this fight remarked the enemy dead were "as common as grass". Notice that at this time the new gun mantlet frame (bolted from the outside) was in use, and the PaK 43 also had a two-piece barrel. On the other hand, careful examination shows that the second driver's periscope opening is still visible, although covered with a steel plate. These 12 Jagdpanthers probably arrived just before the start of the offensive because the official organization for the 12th SS PD, dated December 8, 1944, does not include mention of the 560th. Another Jagdpanther battalion that fought in the Ardennes was the 559th Heavy Panzerjagers. Their action centered around Rochefort and at this time they were attached to the Panzer Lehr Division. Available photos of these vehicles also show them mounting the later gun collar and two-piece barrel. The 519th Heavy Panzer Battalion (with 7 Jagdpanthers) and 559th (with 12) were also heavily involved in the Battle of the Bulge, but the photos I have seen of these units are not clear enough to see variation details.

Picture 2: This is the view looking across the rear of the fighting compartment towards the lower left hull in the IWM vehicle. Another ammo rack took up most of the space over the sponson-- this one storing at least 13 more rounds. The rear wall of the fighting compartment contains the bracket for the fire extinguisher cylinder for the engine compartment suppression system. There is also an oblong inspection opening for access to the engine oil filter and other equipment to the left of the engine. The opening for the drive shaft is near the floor, leading from the engine behind the firewall to the transmission up front. An adjustable duct for crew compartment heat enters the compartment near the floor. Twin battery boxes are also in this space below the floor as they were in the Panther tank. A small electrical circuit breaker box hangs open directly across from our position. The right side of the 88mm breech is to our right, showing the round breech handle base, although the actual hand grip is not in view. On the inside of the recoil shield is the recoil indicator, a simple sliding mechanism that moves with the gun to provide the crew with some indication of how far back the gun traveled after firing. If the recoil system is faulty, or requires oil or other maintenance, the indicator will provide warning to the crew. It was the loader's responsibility to keep an eye on the recoil indicator while servicing the gun. The loader had the use of the full rear of the compartment to perform his duties. A curved bar normally extended from the rear of the left recoil shield and supported a spent shell deflector plate, but I have seen no sign of a canvas bag to catch spent shells. This vehicle is missing this support bar, which filled most of the space from the breech to the rear wall. Elevation for the big gun was restricted to +14 degrees due to interference with the floor panels (missing here), and depression was restricted to -8 degrees due to the vehicle's roof.

Picture 3: This photo, from the Bundesarchiv, provides us with a view toward the upper left rear wall and includes two of the crew, perhaps the

commander and loader. The top of the ammo rack on the left wall is clear, as well as the shelf on top. In this instance a case for radio equipment is also visible. The large rear hatch is painted the primary exterior color and hinges out and down when the two side latches are pulled in. At fist I thought these were SS soldiers with "Totenkopf" (3rd SS Panzer Division) collar badges, but a number of readers have written to remind me that these crewmen are actually Werhmacht tankers. Panzer troops also had "skull" collar patches that they borrowed from the Hussars of WW I (thanks Don Wittmann, and others). The loader's over-head double hatch is open, allowing sunlight to enter his corner of the TD. The writing on the hydraulic buffer indicates the quantity and type of buffer fluid for the cylinder. "Braun ark" is a fluid that uses equal parts of Bremsflussigkeit braun (brown buffer fluid) and Bremsflussigkeit arktisch (arctic buffer fluid). In this case a total of 6 liters was used. The recuperator on the other side would probably have a stencil indicating the correct air pressure, either in kg/cm2 or atmospheres. This one requires 5.5 kg/cm2. Hydraulic buffer cylinders were designed to absorb the shock and halt the rearward motion of the breech/gun tube after firing. This was done by the action of hydraulic piston resistance and a large spring, all packed inside this cylinder. The recuperator, on the other side, brought the breech and tube back to the original battery position by means of oil and compressed gasses acting against another piston. The gas was nitrogen and stored in a pressurized bottle under the gun carriage. This type of recoil system was originally designed by the French for their famous 75mm field gun, but copied by many gun designers and frequently used from the early 1900's. The other interesting thing to note here is that the rear hatch is not painted Dunkelgelb (dark yellow), but probably Dunkelgruen. This color change was mandated in late 1944, indicating that this Jagdpanther might also be one that had the later flame suppressers on the exhausts and the improved personal heater tower on the left fan on the rear engine deck. The main interior color here is obviously not red lead primer, but probably Elfenbein ivory, including the main components of the gun. The order to discontinue finish-painting ivory over the base red lead primer was issued about the same time as the order to paint the exterior Dunkelgruen. By February of '45, the interior paint order had been changed again and Elfenbein was again the official primary interior finish color.

Picture 4: The right rear of the hull held an ammo rack similar to the left rear, holding another 13 or so rounds, and in the case of the IWM vehicle, it also holds the answer to the capture of this vehicle. There are at least three penetrations through

the side armor at the bottom of the wall, just above where it joins the sponson, and the holes can be seen at the lower right corner of this photo. See Part 1 of this series for a view of the outside of this vehicle shortly after recovery. It is remarkable that the interior survived as well as it did with this type of damage. I am curious to know what happened to the three piercing rounds after they entered the fighting compartment... perhaps the gouge in the wall at the upper left of Picture 2 is where one hit the far wall? Up above this rack is a shelf for storing loose equipment and to the far left of the shelf is an armored box welded to the roof to protect a fresh air duct. Again, the ammo rack supports are clear in this photo as well as the channels welded to the hull wall that held the supports. It is said that the Jagdpanther could carry up to 57 rounds of 88mm ammo, but the four racks we have seen to this point don't quite account for that many. There are also reported to have been 600 rounds of MG34 ammo carried for the hull MG, which, if they were 150 round storage bags commonly used at that time, would equal only four bags stored down near the radio operator. I suspect they were hooked to the hull wall over the sponson to his right, but I have not seen photographic evidence of this. Also in this picture you can see the antenna cable looping down at the upper right corner where it enters the vehicle from the antenna mount and begins its journey to the radio set. The black bar hanging down is one of the handles for rotating the loader's periscope directly over our heads. This Imperial War Museum Jagdpanther was probably a command vehicle as it has a second antenna mount on the left side of the rear wall.

Picture 5: This is the radio shelf we saw earlier in Part 1, just forward of the large ammo rack in the previous picture. Notice the space for 6 more rounds of 88mm ammo below the shelf. The Fu5 radio set that was normally carried here consisted of two radio boxes, a Ukw.Ee. receiver on the left and a 10 WS.c. transmitter on the right, linked together by electrical cords, and powered by dynamos (transformers). Their cases and front covers were typically black or gray and the faces either field green or gray. Each crew member (except the loader, I think) had a small radio connection box at his position to plug in his throat mike and headphones so he could communicate with the rest of the crew as well as other radio sets tuned to his net frequency. If the vehicle was a command version, there would be an additional antenna on the back wall or engine deck. In that case, another radio set was found inside, such as a Fu2 (just another Ukw.Ee. receiver) or any number of other different sets, depending on the unit

and the communication required. Normally, these radio boxes would be mounted in a simple radio rack frame that completely surrounded the cases for protection, and each radio had a face cover that latched on the sides of the boxes to protect the controls when not in use.

Picture 6: We have come full circle now and are looking over at the commander's position at the right side of the gun. The commander has immediate access to two openings over his head, one doubledoor hatch for entering and exiting the vehicle, and a smaller door for mounting his periscope, which was directly in front of his hatch and could be rotated 360 degrees. The periscope mount contained openings and mounts for both a normal tank periscope and the commander's stereoscopic range finder. The hatch shape you see at the top of this photo is this periscope mount which is located at the very front of the roof. The stereoscopic range finder base clamps to the black bar you see hanging down and can be elevated on the bar to extend up through a small opening in the roof mount. You will often see a similar long vertical bar in other vehicles using the stereoscopic range finder, such as the Elefant and Jagdtiger. The commander's viewing periscope is the typical removable German type that clamps up into the mount behind the range finder with two wing nuts, one on either side of the frame mount. The combination of these two instruments allowed the commander to search and locate targets with his periscope and then range them for the gunner in advance. Just behind and to the right of this rotating mount is another periscope for his use, this one fixed in position to look to the right of the vehicle. The commander's own circular hatch has two doors but no observation equipment attached to them. Also visible in this picture is a support frame rising from the right of the gun mount, which attaches to a bar that crosses just under the ceiling to the left. This is the control bar that is pivot bolted to the gunner's sliding sight hatch cover so that it slides from side to side along with the sight as the main gun is traversed. Again, notice the lead plates that have been bolted to the left of the gun breech (bottom of photo) to balance the tube-heavy gun. In the Tiger II and Elefant, there is a spring cylinder under the gun that serves the same purpose, but I have not seen the spring in Jagdpanthers. The other thing I have not seen inside Jagdpanthers is an internal gun crutch or support for this weapon. Typically, there would be a hook of some sort

hanging from the roof that would attach to the gun and stabilize it during travel to reduce wear and tear on the delicate gun laying mechanism. Since there is no external travel lock, and I can not find a hook on the ceiling, the gun may perhaps have a lock hidden under it, or there may not have been an internal travel lock installed.

Picture 7: This is another of Mikel Ezcurra's photos of the interior of the Munster, Germany museum vehicle, showing a good part of the entire front of the interior. There are some very interesting details in this photo. Notice again the canvas cover over the lower 8.8cm ammo bin under the radio rack on the right. The over-head dome lights are of much later vintage than WWII, but the sight mount is correct for our vehicle. This Jagdpanther has the full tube recoil shield behind the gun, including the spent shell deflector shield directly in front of us, but because of its position behind the breech I can not see if the barrel blow out tubing is still intact around the breech loading area. I have no idea what the folding frame is to our right, attached to the left support for the tall ammo rack. It seems to be hinged to the rack, so it may be swung forward as we see here, or pivoted back to perhaps block the isle on this right side of the gun. The traverse hand wheel on the left of the gun is very small and perhaps a replacement. Notice the box mounted to the hull wall at the right of the commander's position. I wonder if this could be the stowage box for the commander's periscope. Photos like this always seem to provide more questions than answers....

Picture 8: A different war-time photograph of the right side of the gun also provides some additional detail. The black accordion-type rubber boot you see in the center is the protective cover over the elevation piston, the gearbox is at the bottom. The elevation hand wheel drives a shaft that enters this gearbox just out of view at the bottom of the image. At the very top left corner of the illustration is the side of the loader's safety switch box and a good part of the right recoil cylinder and the large barrel tube, forward of the gun breech, is also seen. At the right is the support pole for the commander's ranging binocular periscope, and at the far right is the communication lever for the driver. This lever switch allowed the commander to communicate with the driver if the radio system was down, the lever merely indicating to the driver basic commands (left, right, etc.). Also visible next to the periscope support rod is the parallel but thicker bracket that rises above and then crosses over the gun and then connects to the sliding kidney shaped cover over the gun sight slot in the roof. If you look closely toward the top right corner of the photograph, you can see a portion of the direction markings in front of the commander's periscope hatch opening.

Picture 9: Another picture from the Bundesarchiv shows a wet commander in his Jagdpanther and provides a bit more detail of an active vehicle's roof equipment. Notice again the commander's

hatch covers and their latches, the hatch on his left is the bottom hatch and has two latches on the side to secure it closed to the roof armor, and the hatch on his right is the top hatch and only has one central latch to hold it closed to the first hatch. This tanker looks a bit like the one we saw inside the vehicle in Picture 3; I wonder if this could be the same vehicle? Although the gun mantlet is partially covered by some camo branches, it is of the early internal bolted mantlet frame type. We could also tell the vehicle is from one of the early batches because the mounting socket (Pilze) for the 2-ton jib crane has not been added yet to this side of the roof, just forward of the side-facing fixed periscope. The small door for the commander's steroscopic ranging periscope is clear here, just in front of the periscope guard, and the armor dome for the passive ventilator (behind the commander's hatch) is also visible. The official caption for the photo places the vehicle in the 654th Heavy Panzer Battalion at Bourgtheroulde, just West of the Seine River. Notice the folded umbrella on the roof just forward of the commander.

Picture 10: The exterior of the IWM Jagdpanther was heavily photographed by the British after its capture, and this is the view of the roof, before it was cleaned and repainted. Notice that both the commander's and loader's hatch doors are lost, I suspect during an internal explosion when the AFV was penetrated at the ammo rack location, or the hatches may have been lost during initial examination of the captured vehicle. You will notice today that the vehicle in the IWM has wooden covers for these areas now. Taking a tour around the roof perimeter, we can first located the commander's rotating periscope and ranging periscope mount at the front right of the roof (bottom left here). The small flap cover for the ranging periscope is just barely visible, just in front of the periscope guard. Directly behind the rotating periscope mount is the commander's hatch, again, with both hatch doors missing. To his right, between his hatch and the rotating periscope mount in front, is the fixed periscope position we mentioned before, aimed out to the right of the AFV. Behind the commander's entrance hatch is the passive air vent cover, this is the cover for the interior vent box welded to the roof that we saw earlier in Picture 6. To the right rear of the roof is the loader's 360 degree rotating periscope mount and on the other side of the roof is his hatch, again with the two doors missing. Forward of his hatch is

another fixed periscope, this one pointing to the left of the AFV, and just forward of it is the close-in defense mortar which could also rotate 360 degrees and fire anti-personnel, smoke and signal bombs if necessary. The gunner's sighting hatch is at the front left of the roof, and the size and shape of the curved covering is clear here. In the center of the roof is a powered fan ventilator cover. <>br> This and the Saumur vehicle are what I call mid-production models of the Jagdpanther. The vehicle at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland is also probably built by MNH at about the same time as the IWM vehicle (May-December '44), but it has the later one-piece gun mount collar with the external bolts. In still later vehicles (Feb '45) I have noticed some roofs have a slightly modified layout, in that the passive vent opening on the right has been moved to a forward position directly over the gun, between the commander's periscope mount and the gunner's sight hatch. This vent is then powered with a second fan, and combined with the other roof fan at the rear, must have improved the interior air quality by removing more of the smoke and carbon monoxide from the fighting compartment.

Picture 11: Although the commander had a fairly good view forward and to the right side at his position, nothing compares with the 'heads-out' view when boosted up into your open hatch. I have found no sign of an elevated seat or sling for the commander to sit on, so I suspect he just stood with one foot on the side sponson and the other on the gun carriage. Just forward of his position you can see his periscope and stereoscopic range finder head, and just behind him is the central ventilation fan with a rare view of its protective cover, secured with wing nuts around its perimeter. At the far right in the photo is the top lens assembly for the gunner's sight. One side of the commander and loader's hatches was lipped to slightly over-lap the other, so this one had to be opened before the other. The bottom hatch had two latches on its side to keep it closed while the top one only had one in the center to latch it to the bottom hatch. This way the top hatch could be opened and still have the bottom one securely latched closed. This commander wears the common 1943 wool field cap with snaps over the visor and a turn down that could be lowered to protect the rest of his head and neck in cold weatherthe national emblem and colors are at the peak. The shirt and camouflage jacket (unknown pattern- perhaps one of the special Italian types?) show no insignia as we can not see his shoulders, but he wears the Iron Cross First Class on his left breast,

sometimes won by tankers after achieving a certain number of hits/kills with his tank or tank destroyer. His black head phones and throat mike plug into a black connector hanging at his chest, and the wire from it then plugged into his control box on the hull next to his hatch.

Pictur e 12: The wellknown Germa n militar y author Walter Spielbe rger comma nded a Jagdpa nther and somehow managed to escape alive after a number of hits disabled his vehicle '123' in April of 1945. The most obvious penetrations are large caliber holes in the side armor of the engine compartment, pointed out by the GI in this US Army photo. But the roof to the left of the rear hatch was also torn apart by impacts although the damage is difficult to assess here. All Jagdpanthers had a small circular communication port to the right of this rear hatch, and in this case it is open, perhaps as a result of an internal explosion. This small hatch was designed to allow verbal communication between the crew and outside supporting infantry, although I do not suspect it was used for that purpose very often. Spare tracks and towing cables litter the ground and a good portion of the external equipment attached to the hull has been blown off and piled on the back deck, including the long storage tube for gun cleaning rods and spare antennas. Like some Panthers, this storage tube was sometimes seen attached to the back of the engine deck in approximately this position. Even the antenna base on the back wall, above the shell ejection port, has been broken off the vehicle. Like the Imperial War Museum's Jagdpanther, this model was also probably manufactured between May and December of 1944 (mid production batches), as evidenced by the additional cooling air inlet pipes seen on both sides of the left exhaust pipe, barely visible here in the foliage that has been added to the rear armor plate. Initially, the crew compartment was heated in the winter by replacing the left engine deck fan with one that directed air down through the radiators instead of up and out of the vehicle, the warmed and redirected air then ducted to the crew compartment. When this was done, the left exhaust manifold cooling cover we saw in the pictures of the

engine were not connected and this over-heated exhaust pipe then caused the engine to over heat. To rectify this problem and maintain heat for the crew, additional cooling pipes were added to draw in replacement cooling air for the left manifold, and these pipes were located on either side of the left exhaust pipe on the rear armor plate. There were always two of these additional pipes flanking the left exhaust, and they were always on the left side because that was where the over-heated manifold was requiring additional cooling. Some post war photos of Panthers and Jagdpanthers show only one of the two cooling pipes, but the other was there originally and has just been broken off or lost. When you see these cooling pipes on the right exhaust of a Panther or variant, the museum staff, or military collecting/intel unit, has taken both exhausts off and just accidentally reversed them when re-attaching them to the back plate. When the improved crew heater was added later with the addition of the left fan tower assembly, normal air fans were bolted on that once again forced the air up and out of the vents and the air flow direction to the left engine exhaust manifold cooler was restored to normal. The extra exterior cooling pipes were then no longer necessary and removed. This was all possible because the new crew compartment heater worked only when the crew added sheet metal covers over the elevated left fan grating, thus redirecting the blown air into a side collector and additional ducting that lead to the crew compartment. The left fan did not require changing when interior heating was needed and the cooling air to the exhaust manifolds was maintained. With the additional pair of cooling pipes no longer needed, a larger exhaust spark arrestor/muffler could be added and the final batch of Jagdpanthers seem to have been configured this way, with the left fan crew heater tower and spark arrestor/mufflers. On occasion you will find Panthers with both the spark arrestor mufflers and the three pipes on the left of the rear hull, but these are rare. The earliest Jagdpanthers also did not have the fire extinguisher bracket that you see here mounted to the right of the rear hatch. In early vehicles the extinguisher was mounted on the exterior right hull wall along with other equipment, Panther style.

Picture 13: Because some Jagdpanthers were built right next to Panther tanks, at least at the MNH Hanover factory, you can expect the chassis

details, and particularly the rear armor plates and engine decks, to be similar between the two types of AFVs as changes were made to either one. Unfortunately, most photos of Jagdpanthers were taken from the front angle for propaganda purposes and production changes are not as apparent. For instance, there are Jagdpanthers with the late crew heater tower extension on the left engine deck fan (Kampfraumheizung) and the fat spark arrestor mufflers (Flammvernichter) on both exhaust pipes, but which of the factories added these to their Jagdpanthers, and when, is still not clear. This is a photo taken by the British when they captured the MNH factory in April of 1945, and it answers some of these questions for this factory. None of the Jagdpanthers here have the two periscope openings for the driver anymore, nor is there any sign the second powered ventilator fan in the roof I mentioned earlier- apparently, MNH did not add them to their Jagdpanthers at this time. However, the large spark arrestor mufflers have been attached at the rear and the gun mounting collars are all of the one-piece type, bolted on from the outside. Although not seen in this photo, an accompanying photograph taken of the other side of the assembly floor shows the late style crew heating fan towers on the left fans of completed Panthers. Notice the Maybach engines in the center isle and the combination cyclone/oil bath type air cleaners laying about here and there. Researching basic interior information on a vehicle as important as the Jagdpanther should not be difficult, but this is one German WWII AFV that is not well covered in the popular military press. Every one of the two dozen or so photos I studied for these articles produced more questions, and reference works on the AFV are sometimes contradictory and incorrect. Many questions remain. For example, although we can guess that production variations at the MNH factory mirrored those of the Panther tank, what about the other two Jagdpanther factories that were not manufacturing Panther tanks at the same time? When MNH changed their Jagdpanther mantlets to the onepiece types, did the other two factories also change theirs at the same time? We do know that variations in most German AFVs during WWII did not occur all at once at all factories, but as new parts were made available they were added later as the old ones ran out, and vehicle batch variations and exceptions are abundant and common. This three part series was only made possible thanks to the assistance of Pascal Intzopoulos and the Imperial War Museum. Should you have any corrections you would like to add to the information presented here, please feel free to contact me and I will include important additions to the text. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Tank Destroyer, Sd.Kfz.186, "Jagdtiger", Part 1

Picture 1: The Panzerjger Tiger Ausf.B (as known as 'Jagdtiger', or 'Hunting Tiger') was the heaviest tank destroyer fielded by German forces in WWII, weighing around 78 tons when fully combat equipped. Its main armament was a 12.8cm PaK 44 L/55 gun which could kill any allied armored vehicle at over 2,000 yards. And, with its very heavy frontal armor, the Jagdtiger was just about impervious to any Allied tank gun that was fired at it from the front. Unfortunately for the Germans, the Jagdtiger came to the battlefield very late in the war, and there were only a very few built. Its extremely unfavorable power-to-weight ratio of 8hp per ton and its bridge-breaking weight meant that it was hampered during road marches and not maneuverable at all when off-road. The heavy beast was frequently found by Allied troops abandoned, usually due to becoming mired in mud or because of mechanical breakdowns due to the fact that the Tiger II power train was not up to the strain of the additional weight of the Jagdtiger's chassis. Indeed, mechanical problems due to its weight plagued the design from the very first vehicle that rolled off the assembly line. There were two basic types of Jagdtiger manufactured in 1944/45, differentiated only by their suspension. Most of the seventy-seven or so production vehicles had a box-type torsion bar suspension designed by Henschel, identified by the nine over-lapping road wheels seen on each side of the hull. The 'spring' in the suspension was provided by the torsion bars, and from inside the vehicle these can best be seen crossing the driver's area of the floor from side to side. But the first nine vehicles (chassis numbers 305001-

305010, except for 305002) were equipped with a spring-roller type external suspension that was designed and built by Porsche, and these vehicles can be identified by their eight road wheels on each side. The Porsche suspension was positioned entirely outside the vehicle, and therefore the floor area inside the hull was less cluttered. Although the Porsche system was cheaper and perhaps easier to repair when damaged, it apparently was not robust enough and was not used after these first few vehicles were built. This particular Jagdtiger, chassis 305058, was produced with the Henschel type suspension and was later abandoned intact in the town of Abernetphen, near Siegen, Germany. It originally belonged in the 2nd Company of Panzerjager Unit 512. The vehicle was heavily photographed by US military intelligence and the photos, as well as pictures taken of other captured Jagdtigers, were included in a US intelligence report that we will be using throughout our interior explorations of this vehicle.

Picture 2: Here is a general layout sketch of the Jagdtiger, the drawing modified slightly from the German tank manual D1884. This manual covers the Porsche suspension version of the Hunting Tiger, but since the interior design was almost identical for both versions, we can use it here. As I mentioned, the lower hull was similar to the Tiger II hull, but reportedly it was lengthened about 25cm (10in), and included a driver and hull machine gunner/radio operator up in the bow. Behind them was the fighting compartment, with seats for the gunner at the left side of the weapon, the commander to the right, and two loaders stationed behind them. The ammunition for the gun was two piece, with a separate projectile and charge casing, and I suspect that one loader handled the projectile while the other loaded the charge case. The tall fighting compartment was not constructed as with other German assault gun conversions as a short separate superstructure that was bolted on top of the hull. Instead, the fighting compartment was

formed by continuing the tank hull side plates farther up to a new roof plate, and then simply adding a robust front plate with gun mount and a thinner rear plate with double doors. Whereas most German assault gun conversion vehicles were normally lighter than their tank ancestors, the Jagdtiger design created a vehicle considerably heavier than the Tiger II, resulting in many of the mechanical and automotive breakdowns we mentioned earlier. The gasoline engine in the rear of the hull that was expected to propel the lumbering beast down the road was the same setup found in the Tiger II, namely the Maybach designed HL230. In the sketch it is seen flanked by the traditional radiators and fans, and covered by two boxy air filters. There were actually seven gas tanks in the vehicle, but we will get to that a bit later. The two-piece ammunition was stored in horizontal racks on the track sponsons and under the floor behind and below the gun.

Picture 3: We will start our examination of the driver's compartment in the Jagdtiger using an enlargement of the previous sketch. The driver's seat is the one closest to us and it is adjustable forward and back, as well as up and down, thereby allowing him to ride head-out through his overhead hatch. Normal vehicle steering was via the "quarter" steering wheel you see forward of the seat, but there were also emergency brake steering levers to either side, and a parking brake lever on the far left. Down on the floor forward of the seat you can see the clutch and brake pedal. The accelerator pedal farther to the right is barely visible here. To the right of his seat is the monstrous transmission with the equally large steering system case bolted to the front of the gearbox. The main instrument panel is mounted above the gearbox, similar to other German WWII tanks. On the other side of the gearbox is the hull machine gunner/radio operator's seat (not visible here) and his ball-mounted MG34, which can be seen although it is not particularly well rendered here. The tank radio equipment was normally mounted above the gearbox and behind the instrument panel, and here we see just part of the radio rack. Not seen in this drawing is an emergency floor escape hatch just forward of the radio operator's seat, we also do not see the air ventilator on the compartment roof, just to the

right of his over-head hatch.

Picture 4: This is a rather restricted view of the driver's primary controls in the Porsche suspension Jagdtiger number 305004 that was examined and extensively photographed by the American Army during the war. The steering wheel shape suggests that only a partial turn of the wheel was required for a full vehicle turn. You may also notice that it is mounted on a pivot that allows it to be raised or lowered, depending upon whether the driver is riding head-out of his hatch or down low in the fighting position. A small portion of the steering system's case is visible to the far right and the left drive shaft cover (attached to the case) is seen crossing above the pedals to the left brake drum at the far left. The emergency steering levers are at either side of the photo, while one of the shift levers for the gearbox is at the lower right. At the upper right corner of the photo is the characteristic battery/starter switch. A similar switch mechanism was used in all the larger panzers and can usually be identified up here, or back on the engine firewall, once you know what it looks like. The smaller foot pedals at the left are the clutch and brake, while the larger one to the right is the accelerator. At the far left you can see the tall lever that actuated the parking brakes, basically locking both sets of brake drums. The first Jagdtigers began rolling off the Nibelungen Works production lines in early June of 1944 and a training company was created at the 7th Panzerjager Replacement and Training Battalion in Munich/Freiman. Eventually, this training company would form the basis for the 2nd Company of 653rd Hvy.Pz.Jg.Bn. Members of the 1st and 3rd Companies began test driving the vehicles in September 1944, both companies moving to Linz, Austria, in late September. Further training took place at the Nibelungen Works in St. Vanlentin, where the crews actually helped to complete Jagdtigers at the factory.

Picture 5: Another photo of the driver's area shows some of the equipment above the steering wheel as well as the areas to either side. Credits for all these images can be found at the end of the web series. Once again you see the characteristic steering wheel of the Tiger II, and this time the gearbox case is visible with the gearshift lever, high up on the side. Just below the gearshift is the forward/neutral/reverse shift lever, seen here angling out from the gearbox cover and then turning up, to end in a ball handle. Most of the instrument panel can be seen above the gearbox, with the primary gages on the slanted portion and the electrical controls and fuse box on the vertical portion above. The fuses are the strips of white material packed closely together in the center of the electrical panel; normally there were two small panel covers protecting them. At the top of the panel you can just see part of the small illuminating light for the panel, this being the only light in the driver's area. The knobs on either side and above the fuses are the headlight switch, warning lights for engine fire, and an auxiliary electrical socket. The dials below on the panel include, from left to right, a large tachometer and speedometer, and smaller oil pressure and temperature gages. At the top of the photo is the over-head periscope bracket, attached to the roof in front of the hatch, but here without a viewing block installed. At the far left is the actuating handle for the over-head hatch, with the handle now in the hatch lowered position, but not completely stowed properly so it would be out of the way. To open the springloaded hatch you have to first lift it with the handle and then swing it open clockwise so it could be locked in the open position. The driver's periscope on the roof in front of the hatch could be fully rotated, but the radio operator's was fixed. Both exposed periscope glass heads could be removed and replaced with new ones stowed at both positions from inside. The metal channel trough you see at the lower left, with the clip at the far end, held a lubricating grease or oil gun.

Picture 6: This is the gearbox/steering box removed from the vehicle, with the protective outside case taken off, showing some of the internal detail of the gearbox itself. The Jagdtiger was fitted with the Maybach Olvar 'B 401216 pre-selector type gearbox with eight forward and four reverse speeds. It was hydraulically controlled, the series of three hydraulic cylinders laid out along the top of the unit but hidden here due to the side of their casing. The small gearshift (Vorwahlapparat) is visible with its control rod disappearing into the side of the gearbox at about the same location as the forward/neutral/reverse lever (Fahrtrichtungshebel). As you may recall from other pages in AFV INTERIORS, a pre-selector gearbox works by allowing you to shift into the gear you will require before you actually need it, and then by pressing the clutch or another operating lever you actually engage that gear. The Jagdtiger clutch was also hydraulically operated, the multi-disc centrifugal clutch being located at the input end of the main shaft and covered by the bulge in the gearbox case above the large clutch operating lever (Kupplungshebel) on this side. The clutch operating lever is located at the bottom of the gearbox assembly, about two thirds of the way back toward us. At the rear of the gearbox is the attachment for the drive shaft, the drive coupling can be seen at the far right of the picture. The input shaft also operated two oil pumps inside the gearbox, which provided the pressure for the hydraulic shifting controls.

Picture 7: Another view of the steering system is visible here, but this time the protective cover is in place around the Olvar gearbox and a lifting jig has been attached for removal of the combined units. To provide you with some orientation again, the gearshift lever is located on this side of the case and seen just to the left of the steering wheel. The clutch operating lever is at the bottom of the case, to the far right. Notice that the steering wheel and its rotating shaft attach to a small gearbox that redirects the shaft rotation directly into the steering system case. The steering system used in the Tiger II and Jagdtiger was the same, a Henschel L801, and it was a regenerative controlled-differential type. In short, an epicyclic train leads to each sprocket, driven by the gearbox output. Sun wheels at each side are driven from the gearbox input, so speed and direction imposed on the sun wheels is controlled through gearing by hydraulic multidisc steering clutches, giving two radii of turn in each direction for each gear. The steering clutches are hydraulically controlled by the steering wheel and they are housed inside the casing bulges at each end at the front of the steering case, seen particularly well in this photo. The emergency steering levers (seen previously) control the disc brakes on each output shaft and they allow the driver to steer the vehicle when the engine is not running, under emergency situations. For normal road travel, the steering wheel is used and the turning radius depends on which gear is engaged, the lowest gear providing the tighter turn radius. For a neutral turn, the main engine clutch is disengaged, and with the engine accelerated, the tank will turn with one track moving forward and the other reversed, depending on which way the steering wheel is turned. You have to be careful to have the steering wheel centered when starting the vehicle, or it will begin neutral turning as soon as the engine is started, most disconcerting to anyone standing close by at the time. There were many problems with the Henschel & Sohn steering system, and a redesign was necessary when it was found that the first units equipped with the Jagdtiger experienced a number of breakdowns. Again, the system was not originally designed for a vehicle of this weight class, and most of the problems were stress related. By the way,

some recently published books on the Jagdtiger have misidentified the Tiger I gearbox and steering mechanism as belonging in the Tiger II. Although the gearboxes were similar, the two steering systems were very different.

Picture 8: We haven't talked much in AFV INTERIORS about how clutches work in tanks, so let's spend some time here looking at the one in the Jagdtiger. As we mentioned before, the multi-disc centrifugal clutch was located at the input end of the main shaft, just after it entered the gearbox after its journey along the floor of the vehicle from the engine. The clutch was disengaged by hydraulic pressure from a cylinder, the cylinder attached directly to something called a 'withdraw fork'. The clutch pedal you see here is mechanically connected to the large lever we saw earlier that is attached to the side of the gearbox case, and once inside, it activates the hydraulic cylinder. The withdraw fork is located directly in front of the discs that make up the clutch and they are all just barely seen in this somewhat fuzzy manual drawing. This drawing was originally only one of a number of beautiful color renderings, but I only have access to black and white photocopies of some of the drawings so I have colored it here to provide some visual interest. The "centrifugal" part of the clutch name refers to the fact that the discs are spinning. With the application of pressure to the withdraw fork from the foot pedal and hydraulic cylinder, one half of the multi plates are pulled away from the other, thereby disconnecting the engine from the gearbox and allowing a change in gear. There were actually five bearing surfaces on each plate and either Jurid or Emero manufactured the clutch plate facings-- both were large manufacturers of clutch plates and brake pads at that time. There is also a small brake that can be applied to the main clutch plates to slow them during disengagement. General operation of the clutch, and the engine for that matter, went something like this:

with the gearbox in neutral, the clutch pedal is depressed to disconnect the engine from the gearbox, and the engine started. When the engine is running, the clutch pedal is released and the gearbox and engine allowed to come up to operating temperature. To begin moving, you have to first select the direction of travel you would like to go with the forward/neutral/reverse lever. On smooth road surfaces you can then normally select third gear on the smaller gearbox shifter. Next, you again depress the clutch pedal, accelerate the engine with the accelerator pedal, and then release the clutch pedal gradually. As the tank begins to move you can then upshift to another gear by first selected it by hand with the gearshift lever, and then engaging the gear by pushing down, or sideways, on the shift lever. That hydraulically engages the gear you chose and as you continue to gain speed you can then get ready again for the next preselect, steering with the steering wheel at the same time. The drawing is actually from the Tiger I manual, but the Olvar gearbox and clutch are almost identical in both of these vehicles.

Picture 9: Another image of the driver's area shows the complicated tangle of controls and suspension parts on the floor in front of the driver's seat, the picture taken inside a Henschel torsion bar suspension vehicle (Tiger II). The bottom of the seat can be seen at the lower edge of the photo, and in front of the seat and down on the floor are three torsion bars for the Henschel suspension system, the closest bar seen with its roller bearing collar. Each torsion bar was splined at both ends; a locating bracket attached to the hull side was machined to hold one end of the splined bar. This particular bar is attached to the other side of the hull and passes through a roller bearing before it traverses the hull floor. At this point the bar passes through another roller bearing collar (the one seen here), before it passes through a hole in this side of the hull where it attaches to a radius arm and wheel assembly outside the vehicle. The roller bearing collar keeps the bar from bending as it twists during wheel movements. The other two torsion bars you also see here traversing the floor are connected at this side of the hull, and will pass through similar roller bearing collars over on the radio operator's side before exiting the hull to radius arms and wheels over there. To the left in the photo is the front left shock absorber for the first torsion bar/wheel station; only the first wheel stations at the front of the Jagdtiger, and the last wheel stations at the rear, had shock absorbers. A similar shock absorber is located on the radio operator's side for the first wheel on that side, but it is angled in a slightly different direction. The

two at the rear of the Jagdtiger are back in the engine compartment. Forward of the torsion bars are the connection bars and linkages for the emergency steering levers, and to the far right is the gearshift lever and its notched gate for the eight forward and two reverse gears. Down on the floor at the top of the picture are the foot pedals again, and off to the left is the parking brake handle we have seen before. It is interesting to note that the left drive shaft connecting the L 801 steering unit to the disc brake has been removed. It would normally pass in front of the foot pedal attachment brackets. This is actually a photo inside the Tiger II at the Tank Museum taken when the vehicle was first being examined during the war. Notice that although the floor of the vehicle is painted with a dark color, probably the typical greenish gray floor color, the cover over the gearbox is much lighter, probably the Elfenbein ivory paint normally used inside most German tanks and tank destroyers in WWII.

Picture 10: This is another image from the same Tank Museum photo series of the Tiger II interior, and this one illustrates the left disc brake. Many of the steering components have been removed from the tank before the photo was taken, including the emergency steering levers that would normally attach to the stub bases you see at the bottom of the picture. You may want to compare the previous photo to this one to see what else is missing. You can also clearly see that the left drive shaft is also missing, and probably the entire steering unit was removed in order for the photo to have been taken from this angle. The Argus disc brake units on each side of the hull controlled braking of the drive shafts as they passed on their way to the final drive units outside the hull. Recall that brakes were applied not only by the two brake levers for emergency steering, but also by the foot pedal and the parking brake lever, the last two applying both disc brakes simultaneously. The actual braking force was exerted by 29 steel balls (Drukkugel) sandwiched between two large, round, and stationary brake pad rings (Bremsbelag). The brake pad rings pushed outwards against the spinning brake housing which was constructed as a two piece finned unit; you can see the numerous bolts around the housing's perimeter. The large surface area of the brake rings, and the great expansion force caused by the bearings, meant that the wear of the brake lining was relatively low and allowed for heat buildup to be bled off by the fins on the housing and the fan action of the spinning case. Normally there was a sheet metal cover surrounding the spinning brake housing, providing some protection to the driver. But the cover has been removed in this photo.

If you look carefully, you can see the brake application rod (at the lower left corner of the photo) rising to attach to one of a number of holes in the brake actuator bracket, seen just to the left and behind the parking brake lever. The series of holes allowed for adjusting the brake pedal free play as the brake linings wore. The spring you see next to the adjusting bracket keeps the brake relaxed when pressure is not being applied to the brake levers and actuator. Also visible in the photo is the first suspension torsion bar, seen directly below the brake unit. Recall that it is splined to this side of the hull and passes across the floor to exit the other hull side by the radio operator.

Picture 11: This is another one of those restricted view photos taken by the Americans of Jagdtiger 305004; this time the image shows the machine gunner/radio operator's position on the right side of the gearbox. His seat is attached directly to a large storage box bolted to the floor, and the seatback is attached via a hinge to the side sponson, as you can see here. Inside a Tiger II the seat back could then be pushed out of the way so the radio operator could wiggle his way back into the turret for escape if his over-head and belly escape hatches were obstructed. Although some references indicate a similar passage back into the fighting compartment of the Jagdtiger, I don't believe there was enough room. You will also read on occasion that the radio operator's seat bottom was adjustable in height in the same manner as the driver's, but again, photographic evidence like this indicates otherwise. Mounted on the sponson wall below and forward of the seat back hinge are two storage boxes for spare periscope blocks to be used in the fixed over-head periscope, located just forward and to the right of his hatch. The spare periscope blocks are missing from their stowage bracket; the driver also had similar storage boxes on his sponson. The clamp that is closest to us on the sponson wall, at the bottom right corner of the photo, held a gas mask container and is of the typical German design. Also down along the floor to the right is a small bracket, actually one of two that held spare MG barrels. The butt for the MG and its small bipod were normally stored on the sponson to the right of the radio operator, but the location is unfortunately out of sight in our photographs. This

side of the gearbox case is relatively unadorned-- there are no controls over here.

Picture 12: If we look down at the hull floor in front of the radio operator's seat in 305004, we can see the oval emergency escape hatch as well as some of the large right brake housing and drive shaft for the right sprocket. The hand wheel on the escape hatch slid two opposing latches together, allowing the hatch to fall out. The right driving and steering brake (Fahr- und Lenkbremse) is here shown covered with its protective sheet metal case. Both the gearbox and these brakes became very hot in operation, and in other large German Panzers they were vented/cooled with their own air ducting systems, although I have not seen such a system for the brakes of the Tiger II and Jagdtiger. Note that because this vehicle (305004) mounted the Porsche suspension system, there is no torsion bar located between the hatch opening and the bottom of the brake housing. Although the Jagdtiger was assembled at Nibelungen Werk, the various components were manufactured in a number of different factories. For instance, the armor came from the Goring Werk Orbadonau, in Linz, and was then transported across the street to the hull assembly factory at Eisen Werk Orbadonau. The characteristic Saukopf mantlet was manufactured at Freidrich Kruppe Essen as well as the cannon tube, breechblock, and wedge, and these were added after the finished hull was transported to Nibelungen. Allied air raids played a crucial role in slowing, and actually stopping, production of the Jagdtiger. For instance, on the 25th of July in 1944, a particularly heavy raid destroyed 50% of the Eisen Werk foundry and steel mill, although both the Nibelungen Werk and Goring Werk were only lightly damaged that time. The heavy damage to the Eisen Werk delayed production of the Jagdtiger a number of months, with significant numbers of vehicles finally becoming available to the troops at the end of the year. This meant that the Jagdtiger was only seen in the battles of the Ardennes that winter in relatively few numbers. Allied bombing of rail transport and poor mechanical reliability also conspired against the Germans getting more Jagdtigers to the front at this time.

Picture 13: Another of the British photographs of the interior of their Tiger II illustrates some additional details of this right disc brake and surrounding equipment. The brake is now protected by its metal cover although the right drive shaft and other steering components were removed before the photo was taken. This is also an excellent photo of the right shock absorber and its attachments. Because we are again back inside the British vehicle that used the Henschel torsion bar suspension, the first torsion bar is also now clearly seen along with its roller bearing collar, the collar located on the bar just prior to it passing outside the vehicle to the radius arm and wheels. The radius arms on this right side of the vehicle were directed backward ("trailing"), while the ones on the left side were directed forward ("leading"). Since the arms on this side were directed to the rear, you can see how movement upward on the first torsion bar while the tank was passing over obstructions would cause the piston in the shock to compress the fluid in the cylinder, and thereby dampen the torsion movement. Shocks were only used on the front and rear torsion bars and since these bars were under additional strain, they were therefore made a bit thicker and more robust than the other torsion bars. Also barely visible at the bottom of the photo is the opening in the floor armor for the emergency escape hatch.

Picture 14: Another frustrating ly restricted view was recorded inside Jagdtiger 305004 by US forces and shows the MG34

ball mount (Kugleblende) in front of the radio operator. A KZF2 sight was normally attached to the MG mount and these had a field of view of around 18 degrees. The elevation and traverse was the same for the sight and the machine gun, from +20 to -10 degrees, and the traverse was 15 degrees to either side of center. As with other Kugleblende mounts, when the MG was loaded with ammunition is was very receiver heavy and therefore supported by a head cap as well as a spring attached from the mount to the front armor. Due to the spring, the MG pulled up and to the left during sustained firing. If the MG were locked in the Kugleblende, the weapon would be seen to the right of the handle that you see here. The curved metal plate at the top of the picture, to the right of the balance spring, is the belt slide to direct the ammo belt on its way to the left feed chute of the MG receiver. Two ammo bags were normally attached under the MG on the support rod you see here, one bag filled with a 150 round belt on the left side of the mount, and one empty bag on the right to receive spent cartridges. Notice that although the head support pad is missing in this photo, the attachment for the rod that supported the pad is seen just to the left of the balance spring. The large hole at the upper right corner of the photo is a lightening hole in the front armor brace; a ventilator is located up on the roof next to the hatch, and if you looked into the hole you would see the duct leading down to the floor. Most of the air from this ventilator is ducted down into the gearbox case to help cool it. Keep in mind that all German ventilators normally brought fresh air into the vehicle, including the powered ventilators. In the case of the Jagdtiger, exhaust air was removed from the compartment via the sirocco fan attached to the engine, the air flowing out of the tank via ducting located at the rear of the fighting compartment. This negative pressure system in German AFVs caused considerable problems when the early style smoke dischargers that were mounted on the turret were in use. If the smoke bomb in the discharger tube were set off while in the tube by stray fire, the resulting smoke would pour into the vehicle, seriously injuring or even asphyxiating the crew. That is the primary reason why vehicle designers changed to the close-in defense weapon from the exterior mounted smoke dischargers. The entire mortar mechanism, including the smoke round, were protected under armor until time to fire. At the far left you can just see a little of the machine gunner's radio connection box, the radios mounted in a rack off to our left and out of sight. Other equipment located up in the bow of the Jagdtiger (that we have not seen to this point) includes two 15 liter oil cans stored on the floor to the left of the driver and a grease gun with coupling, also stored to the left of the driver, but mounted on the sponson wall. There was also a large storage bin on the floor behind the driver's seat that contained tools, engine and transmission oil, and other odds and ends. Above the track sponson to the right of the radio operator was plenty of room for hanging MG ammo bags and you will also occasionally see locator brackets on top of the sponson for securing the German style MG ammo boxes. One reference indicates that there were as many as 17 ammo bags, each with 150 belted 7.92mm AP and tracer rounds, stowed in this area near the hull gunner. These included four bags on the bulkhead above the sponson to the right-rear of the gunner, eight bags above the length of the sponson to his right, four more on the front sloping plate above the sponson, and then one more on the gun mount itself. And that doesn't include the rounds stored in the fighting compartment for the MG at the commander's cupola and/or mounted on the rear engine deck.

German Heavy Tank Destroyer, Sd.Kfz.186, "Jagdtiger", Part 2

Picture 1: Welcome to Part 2 of our four-part exploration of the interior of the German WWII Jagdtiger. In this section we will take a look at the engine and other drive components and in Part 3 and 4 we will explore the fighting compartment. The Jagdtiger was powered by the Maybach HL 230 gasoline engine, a powerful V-12 design that in one form or another powered most of the larger tanks in the German inventory at that time. The engine was mounted in the rear of the hull and was surrounded by radiators, cooling fans and fuel tanks. This is a photo of the engine deck of captured Jagdtiger 305003, showing the general location of the center engine access hatch. To either side are the two circular fan ducts that helped cool the engine, and fore and aft of the fans are the main cooling air vents. The two fans were driven from power take-offs from the rear of the engine, and they forced air out through their round louvered vents. Air entered to replace this draft through the rectangular vents you see forward and aft of the fan vents, and after the air was pulled into the vehicle, it was forced through four water coolant radiators, a pair mounted on each side of the engine compartment. Air necessary for engine combustion entered the compartment through the two dome covers on the central engine hatch, and the engine air cleaner filters lay below these domes. The other two round covers you see near the left bottom corner of the image are the armored fuel and coolant water fillers, each of which could be opened with a special

key. The larger cover on the left was for engine coolant water and the one on the right protected the fuel filler cap. Between these armored covers is a small, round, screened opening that was originally designed to accept a tall air supply snorkel meant to be used when the vehicle was submerged during river crossings. But when the idea of an amphibious attack against Britain was shelved with Goering's defeat in the Battle of Britain, and with the introduction of a portable bridging system that could theoretically carry the vehicle across rivers, the snorkel tube equipment was abandoned. The hinged armored cover that originally protected the opening was discarded and the remaining hole in the engine deck was simply screened over to create another air cooling vent. This vent was ducted down to a new fan mounted behind the engine, which pulled air from the transmission and around the exhaust pipes.

Picture 2: When a replacement Maybach engine reached the front and was uncrated, it looked something like this. This is the front and left side and most of the items are identified for you. The history of the famous Maybach engines is a bit controversial as they have often been claimed to be the first engine expressly designed for tanks. But this is, of course, not true, at least not the part about being designed only for the purpose of pushing tanks around a battlefield. The history of the Maybach engine can actually be traced back to another gentleman without too much effort, Herr Gottlieb Daimler. Daimler, born in Schorndorf, Germany, in 1834, was an engineer who worked in Britain, France, and Belgium, and then came home when he was appointed as technical director for a gasoline engine company that Herr Nikolaus Otto founded at Deutz, Germany. Daimler worked closely with Herr Otto, who introduced him to a another young engineer, Wilhelm Maybach; all three of the men enjoyed working together and gradually developed an internal combustion engine to power a new type of road vehicle they had envisioned. After a bad dispute with Nikolaus Otto in 1882, Daimler and Maybach left to set up their own engine building company. At first, Daimler and Maybach concentrated on producing a light-weight, high-speed engine that could run on gasoline fuel. They eventually designed and built an engine with a surface mounted carburetor that could vaporize the gasoline and then mix it with air before injecting it into the combustion chambers. Their earlier engines, which had

been produced with the help of Herr Otto, had only achieved 130rpm, but the newly refined Daimler and Maybach engine reached 900rpm. Finally, in 1889, Daimler and Maybach placed their latest engine into a horseless carriage and proceeded to drive it at speeds over 11mph, an unheard of achievement at that time, and thereby producing the first four-wheeled automobile. Once the two men devised a simple four-speed gearbox and a belt-drive mechanism to turn the wheels of their new car, they decided to mass-produce them, thus founding the Daimler Motor Company in 1890. The company developed a reputation for reliability of its products which was no little feat in those early days of automobiles. In the first road race between Paris and Rouen, in 1894, 15 of the 102 cars that entered the race actually were able to reach the finish line, and Daimler/Maybach engines powered all 15 of those cars. This public exhibition impressed Herr Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin who then arranged with the men to use their Daimler/Maybach engines in the airships he was building. Daimler/Maybach engines were also used in German armoured cars of the time, although the airship connection was far more lucrative and would lead them into the engine design that would produce the famous weight-saving Maybach tank engines.

Picture 3: This is the rear and left side of the Maybach engine used in the Jagdtiger. The oil tank at the bottom is especially prominent, with its tall filler tube. Notice the hole designed in the rear of the rectangular oil tank. This was required for access to the Bosche inertia starter via a starting crank that was inserted through a port in the rear armor of the Jagdtiger, and then through the oil tank, to finally connect at the inertia starter (Schwungkfraftanlasser) that you see further to the right. The electrical starter motor (Elektrischer Anlasser) used during warm weather is just below. The exhaust pipes on both sides of the motor are covered with sheet metal manifolds. A scirroco fan is bolted to the front flywheel (on the other end of the engine) and its purpose was to draw air through the domed vent near the radio operator's over-head hatch. As I mentioned earlier, that air then cooled the gearbox and was ducted through a trunk under the fighting compartment, back to the engine, where it was finally vented out the vehicle. The twin drives for the radiator fans can also be seen on this end of the engine; the gearbox is called "Lufterantrieb" in the drawing.

In April 1907 when Wilhelm Maybach left his motor car company in Stuttgart, he began devoting all his efforts toward the design of powerful but lightweight engines for Graf Zeppelin's airships. His new company "Maybach Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH" later became Maybach Mororenbau GmbH, and was renamed later still as "Motoren und Turbinen Union (MTU), Friedrichshafen". Today the company belongs to the MTU/Diesel Engines unit of DaimlerChrysler and one of MTU's most recent projects was the development of the powerful engine for the modern German PzH2000. After his death in 1929, Maybach's son Karl built upon the company's airship engine building expertise and directed the design and production of the famous Maybach tank engines of WWII. Like the previous airship engines, the new tank engine cylinders were thinly walled and placed as closely together as possible to save weight, the spacing made possible by using a disk-type crankshaft and an overhead camshaft. The use of a V-12 design was also continued in order to provide the best power to weight ratio. And, just like in the airship engines, a dry sump lubrication system was enlisted to provide trouble-free lubrication of the engine parts when the tank was operating at steep angles. All these innovations that were originally used on the airship engines were combined with the company's vast experience in working with light alloy metals to produce Maybach's WWII panzer engines.

Picture 4: This unfortunately poor quality illustration shows the general layout of the engine cooling system located in the engine compartment. The coolant water reservoir tank is located at the rear of the compartment, here identified as number 2. From that tank there are two main hoses carrying cooled water away, one leads to the forward radiator on the left side (seen to the right) and then crosses over to the other front radiator. The other hose leads directly to the engine block (seen at the bottom, the block not shown). From the engine block, the now heated water is pumped directly to the two rear radiators, and

then forward to the two front ones, before returning the now radiator-cooled water back to the reservoir tank. The primary air dampner control for regulating the air flow through the radiators is mounted on the firewall between the fighting compartment and the engine, and here the control lever is identified as number 14. We will see this control lever on the firewall in a later image of the fighting compartment. Notice again that cooling air is drawn in through the rectangular vents on the engine deck, then through the four radiators, and then finally up and out through the fans in the circular housings. On a cold winter's day, troops sitting near these fan housings had the warmest seat on the engine deck.

Pict ure 5: Ano ther of the colo r sket che s fro m the Tig er II man ual sho ws the location of the gas tanks in the rear of the vehicle and below the fighting compartment floor. As I mentioned earlier, the primary fuel filler cap and fuel tank were at the rear of the engine deck with fuel lines running from it to both the rear sponson tanks and then on to the lower two engine compartment tanks. There were also additional flat fuel tanks in front of the firewall, on either side of the fighting compartment, under the floor. This was also the location of the main fuel change over valve that controlled which tank was being used at one time, seen here between the two floor tanks. The seven fuel tanks provided a capacity of 860 liters. The two pairs of Solex 52 carburetors are illustrated where they would be mounted on top of the engine, and you can track their fuel lines back to a control on-off valve on the firewall. Also located on the firewall is a primer pump box, characteristic of the larger German panzers during the war.

Picture 6: With the engine hatch opened you can see the two cyclone air filters that were perched on top of the engine. The cyclone air filters were centrifugal types that used the 'centripetal' rotation force of the incoming air to clean most of the larger dust particles out of the airflow. When these larger dust particles were removed they dropped into two dust traps that were located on either side of the engine and the dust was then removed from the vehicle by the radiator fans. After traveling through the centrifugal pre-cleaner portion of the filter box, the air then reached the oil bath filters located in the center of each filter unit where it was further cleaned before final delivery to the carburetors. The cyclone/oil bath filter combination was so efficient that even under heavy dust conditions the filters only required cleaning when the vehicle was refueled. A number of photographs of these filter units show them to be painted a very light color, either white or perhaps the same light ivory of the interior, known as Elfenbein. The gentleman in the image is removing the cover of the oil bath filter. He will then be able to remove the oil filter can completely, so that the oil can be dumped, the can wiped out, new oil added, and the can replaced in the filter unit.

Picture 7: Once the air filters have been completely removed, this is the view showing the air intake trunk that brought clean air to the two pairs of carbs. The Solex carbs received fuel via two fuel pumps, and once the fuel was in their float chambers the float and valves maintained the correct fuel level. The fuel then passed through the main jet and into the submersion tube, and then into the vaporizer, just above the main venturi.

The throttle of the venturi provided the correct fuel/air mixture to the intake manifold, and then the mixture was blown into the combustion chambers at the top of each of the 12 cylinders. The two objects located at this end of the intake trunk are the magnetos that provided the electricity for the spark plugs. The wires leading from the magnetos to the plugs are also visible. The hose at the upper left corner of the photo is the water coolant hose leading from the reservoir tank to the front radiator on the left side. Recall that the hose then loops around the front of the engine hatch opening and ends up attaching to the front right radiator. This portion of the hose is visible at the upper right corner of the picture. Also in the photo you see the rectangular ducts on both sides of the engine that whisked the dust from the centrifugal filters out to the radiator fans, which then blew it out of the vehicle. The fan drives were topped up with oil through the two pipes you see at the upper left and bottom center of the photo. The caps on top of the short vertical pipes are the handles of the dipsticks.

Picture 8: With the air delivery trunk removed, you finally have an unobstructed view of the carbs and other equipment located on top of and between the engine cylinder heads. Each carb is double barreled and feeds fuel air mixture to three cylinders of the V-12 engine. The synchronization of these carburetors was tricky and kept the driver/mechanic busy during quiet times between engagements. Standard octane 74 or 78 was normally used. Part of the automatic fire extinguisher system can also be seen here and includes both the temperature sensor (the larger disk) and extinguisher spray nozzle. The fixed fire extinguisher cylinder was strapped to the fighting compartment side of the firewall and held five liters of carbon tetrachloride. There was also a hand pump that allowed the crew to maintain the correct pressure in the system. The valve on the cylinder connected to a pipe that lead to a manifold where pipes for four spray nozzles branched out. Two of these nozzles sprayed onto the carburetors, one sprayed onto the fuel pump, and the other nozzle sprayed onto the under side of the crankcase. When any of the thermostatic switches were energized by high temperature, a valve was opened and carbon tetrachloride was released for a seven second burst. When the system was activated, a red light alerted the driver, the light located just below his forward vision periscope. The gentleman's hand in the photo holding the wrench is turning the main nozzle jet

adjustment on the side of the carb.

Picture 9: A photo of the rear of Jagdtiger 305058, captured by the Americans in Abernetphen, Germany, shows the two large, armor-protected exhaust pipes (Auspuffrohr) exiting the engine compartment. There are a number of access ports located below the level of the exhaust pipes-- the ones to either side on the armor plate are access covers for the track tensioning mechanisms. The center and larger port allows limited access to the rear of the engine and also provides studs to mount a gasoline engine starter. Just to the right of the port, and almost hidden in the shadows, is a smaller port located under the right exhaust pipe. This is the cover for the inertia starter located on the right side of the engine block that we mentioned earlier. Notice that this particular Jagdtiber has a tall tubular support mount for an anti-aircraft MG42 on the rear deck. This is the same vehicle we saw before as Picture 1 in Part 1. This concludes our tour of the engine compartment. In Part 3 we will open these rear doors into the fighting compartment and climb inside. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Tank Destroyer, Sd.Kfz.186, "Jagdtiger", Part 3

Picture 1: This is the third part of a four-part web page series walking you through the interior of the German WWII Jagdtiger. In Parts 1 and 2 we examined the driver and radio operator's positions in the bow and also studied the engine compartment in the stern. In this section we will climb down into the fighting compartment and discover how the crew manages the big 12.8cm cannon. Once again we'll use a few sketches first to provide a general orientation of the interior before we study the few available photographs. The 12.8cm PaK 44 L/55 gun and its mount occupy most of the area in the center of the fighting compartment. The gunner's position is on this left side of the weapon and the commander's is on the right. The gunner's seat is mounted on the traversing mechanism gearbox below him-- the gearbox in turn is bolted to the left side of the gun mount. The gunner's seat includes both a bicycle-style padded seat bottom and a narrow seat back, which is attached via a single tube to the rear of the seat bottom. Directly in front of the gunner is the horizontal traverse handwheel that controls the limited 10-degree traverse of the gun from either side of center. To the gunner's immediate right is the elevation handwheel with its drive shaft ending at the traditional cone and pinion gears under the gun. These gears engage the gun mount's rack gearing, which in turn elevates the cradle with gun. The weapon was well balanced on its the mount, so hand elevation was relatively effortless. It did, however, take many revolutions of the handwheel to elevate the gun tube from its potential -7.5 to +15 degree elevation. To balance the gun mount the designers used long weights that were attached to the left side of the breech guard and will be seen in a number of our illustrations.

Notice the two recoil cylinders mounted above the gun tube, and the sight attached to an extension arm on the left side of the gun mount. The sight protruded up through an elongated hole in the roof plate, the hole covered by a kidney-shaped plate that slid back and forth as the gun traversed. The two-part 12.8cm ammunition is stored in racks on both track sponsons, under the gun mount, and under the steel floor plates that are directly behind and below the gun. I am not convinced that the ammo rack design and locations are correct in this sketch, but it does provide the basic layout features. On the other hand, there may have been a couple of different rack styles, and storage layouts.

Picture 2: Another layout sketch of the Jagdtiger provides an interior view looking from the rear forward. Once again you can see the gunner's position to the left of the main weapon, with his seat attached directly to the traversing gear case. The gear case supports the traverse handwheel and driveshaft and is bolted directly to the gun mount. On the front armor plate directly in front of the gunner is an empty bracket used for securing his gas mask container. There are other brackets also, including small brackets for holding his breathing tube stowage cylinder, although the cylinder is missing. The small box on the same armor plate probably housed extra heads and spare parts for the gun sight. Now some of the commander's position on the right is also visible. The commander had a simple, round, padded seat bottom with no backrest; the seat was attached directly to the lower portion of the gun mount to his left. His position was located directly under a good-sized escape hatch in the roof, the only hatch up there that could be used for that purpose. The commander also had a gas mask cylinder and breathing tube in front of

him, and the sponson to his right was filled by projectile and charge cartridge storage. Again you can see the charge storage under the gun mount, as well as additional charges and some projectiles that were stored under the floor behind the gun. Recall that there were supposed to be two loaders in the rear of the compartment, but to this point I have found no evidence of provisions for any seats for them. The sheet metal floor panels you see here with a non-slip surface did not extend all the way back to the firewall, as we will see in a later photograph. If the sketch is correct, there were 11 projectiles stored in both the racks at the rear of the sponsons (these are the racks closest to us), and a number of additional projectiles were also stored under the floor. There are said to have been 38 HE and AP projectiles onboard, so it is possible that there were as many as 16 rounds stored under the floor plates. The photos I have seen that illustrate the under floor location, show horizontal stowage across the floor in two rows, head to head, easily providing enough space for eight projectiles in each row. On the right sponson in our sketch there are 12 total charges stored in the two racks (six in each rack), and an additional 11 or 12 charges are stored in similar racks on the left. Notice that in order to provide more room for the commander and gunner near the front of the compartment, the front racks have only two charge cartridges on the bottom row instead of three, with the other four charges stacked above. The rear charge racks have three rounds on the bottom row, then another level of two on top, and finally one more cartridge charge at the top of the rack. Adding all these charges together gives us a total of around 24 in these four sponson racks. As you will see, there may have been at least one additional charge stored above the rear racks in some vehicles, so there actually might have been as many as 26 charges stowed above the sponsons. In addition, there were at least eight more cartridges stowed under the floor plates, and another nine in the holes at the bottom rear of the gun mount. Adding all these charges together gives a possible total of 43 that were carried in some Jagdtigers. You'll notice that the storage arrangement is different in this sketch than in the previous one. We will examine the ammunition storage situation in more depth later.

Picture 3: This is the roof of the fighting compart ment of Jagdtige r 305058 (as photogr aphed by the

Americans during the war); the photo was included in the US Army intelligence report that I mentioned previously. We are sitting on the gun tube near the mantlet, looking toward the rear of the vehicle. At the center left is the commander's hatch and its base (2) bolted to the roof. The hatch ring could rotate on the base, the half moon-shaped hatch door took up only a portion of the total area available. Nearer to us on the left is a periscope mounted on similar, but smaller, circular base (1). The base here also allowed the periscope to rotate so that the commander could view his surroundings in all directions by swiveling the mount. Included on this base, but in front of the periscope, is a small hatch for a binocular periscope/range finder. This area is often referred to as the 'commander's observation hatch'. To our left, and sandwiched between the two hatch bases, is a mount for a radio antenna. Next to it, at the far left edge of the picture, is a fixed mounting for yet another periscope. To our right is the sliding gun sight cover (8)-- the access hole in the cover for the sight head is clearly visible, although the sight itself is missing. This sliding cover arrangement is similar to those we have seen on the German Jagdpanther, and the design was also used on a number of other German Jagdpanzers in WWII. Although we can't see it in this photograph, the sight bracket below the opening is also similar in design to the Jagdpanther's. It is attached directly to this kidney-shaped sliding cover, so that as the gun is traversed the sight and cover also traverse. On the far side of the sight cover is an open self defense mortar cover (7). The mortar (Nahverteidigungswaffe) is attached to the underside of this rotating cover plate and it could lob any of a number of rounds out the top of the vehicle at a slight angle. Further back on the roof is another periscope mounting (6), this one also rotating, and centered mid-way back is the cover for the powered ventilator (3). The ventilator fan hung from the ceiling underneath. Two additional fixed periscope mounts are at the back corners of the roof, each angled slightly to provide a combined wide-angle view of the area behind the Jagdtiger. Notice that the roof plate is bolted in place-- it is not permanently welded. By bolting it in place, the roof plate could be removed on occasion when major servicing of the gun was required.

Picture 4: This is an unfortunately rather grainy photograph of the commander's hatch area on Jagdtiger 305003, but the photo is clear enough to serve our purpose. We have switched our position on the vehicle and we are now standing on the engine deck, looking forward. A couple of interesting things on the roof plate are now apparent. First, the

commander's hatch has been opened and its simple locking handle and rubber seal are clearly visible. His scissors periscope observation hatch is also open at the upper right corner of the photo, and a binocular periscope has been mounted inside with only the two heads visible. Notice this small hatch also has a locking handle as well as a rubber rain seal around it. It appears that the sliding cover over the gunner's sight has been moved just about as far as it will go to the right (it is almost touching what appears to be a post mount for an anti-aircraft MG). And yet, the gun tube is traversed to the right also. Because during traverse the sliding sight cover has to move in the opposite direction of the gun, the sliding cover has apparently been disconnected from the sight mount below. Note also that the roof that is exposed under the sliding cover appears darker than the rest of the exterior paint. Perhaps what we see here is the primer paint, or a previous base coat that was not over-painted when the lighter paint (I assume this is Dunkelgelb) was sprayed on. Or, the paint under the cover could have been rubbed off by the back and forth movement of the cover plate. The turret powered ventilator cover is at the lower left, and the close-in defense weapon is at the far left. On this particular vehicle the plug has been placed inside the mortar to protect the tube opening, the plug inserted from inside the vehicle.

Picture 5: A slightly better quality photo of the corner of the roof of the same vehicle now provides us with some additional detail. The handle for the periscope hatch is slightly bent to clear the roof when it is locked, but the handle does still rotate to latch the hatch securely. The binocular ranging periscope is mounted inside on a vertical bar that extends from the underside of the rotating cupola down about two feet, and the scissors periscope's base attaches to a bracket that can then side up and down the bar, and can be locked at any height along it. We will see the periscope and its base from inside the vehicle in later photographs. The commander's fixed periscope location is visible to the right, and to the left is the post I believe was a mount for a anti-aircraft MG. Some spare track links have been hung on this side of the superstructure and you can also see some

of the cast gun mantlet at the upper left.

Picture 6: If the roof plate was removed from a Jagdtiger you would have this view of the inside of the fighting compartm ent. Obviously , we are now looking toward the front of the vehicle, perhaps sitting on top of the same roof plate, which has been unbolted and slid back in order for the photographer to snap this picture. This is Jagdtiger 305004 again; we have previously seen photographs of the driver's area of this Porsche-suspended vehicle in Part 1. Now the top of the gun and its mount is exposed, and the recoil cylinders on top of the gun tube are clearly visible. The recoil cylinder to the left is the hydraulic buffer, normally filled with 12.25 liters of Braun-Ark hydraulic fluid. Inside this cylinder is a piston with a plunger valve. Its purpose is to slow the rearward travel of the gun after firing and to eventually bring it to rest after a predetermined amount of travel (known as 'run-out', or recoil distance). To the right is the slightly larger diameter recuperator cylinder. This is the typical German-designed hydropneumatic-type, filled with both pressurized gas (probably nitrogen) and more Braun-Auk hydraulic fluid. The construction of this cylinder was simple-another cylinder is mounted inside this larger one. When the gun was fired a piston inside the inner cylinder is pulled back as the gun recoils, and this piston movement forces hydraulic fluid out of the smaller cylinder and into the surrounding larger cylinder, filled with pressurized gas. The hydraulic fluid further compressed the already compressed nitrogen, so that at the end of the recoil runout the combined pressure forced the piston back to its original position, pulling the gun tube and breech along with it. The small box located between the cylinders appears to be either a typical flair gun ammunition storage box, or a projectile stowage box for the close-in defense weapon. The box appears in the same position in other vehicles which I suspect points

to the conclusion that it was used to store flair gun rounds.

Picture 7: In this image the tall sight bracket is visible near the front left of the hydraulic buffer recoil cylinder, but the gunner's sight has been removed, perhaps by the crew as they abandoned this Jagdtiger. Most crews not only attempted to remove the sights and radios and bury or destroyed them, but they also attempted, if there was time, to blow up the Jagdtiger so it could not be used against the German's later. On the rear portion of the buffer cylinder you can see the filling valves. I do not know what was strapped into the recess between the cylinders, forward of the storage box. Let me know if you have the answer. Although much of the other equipment is not very clear, you can make out the gunner's traversing hand wheel at the left, and the commander's seat at the right, along with traces of ammo racks for charge stowage. Notice in the previous picture the recessed ridge around the perimeter of the hull for mounting the roof plate. The recess was not quite deep enough for the thickness of the armor plate, so an inch or so of the edge of the roof was visible when the plate was bolted in place. Also notice that a space for the fixed periscope mount for the commander (along the right edge of the roof) had to be machined into the roof support ledge. If you look carefully, you may be able to find the commander's gas mask container bracket on the front armor, his radio connect box just forward of the fixed periscope to his right, and even a little of the mechanical communication device (near the radio connect box) that operated between the commander and driver. There appears to be a canvas weather seal around the gun and mount which is also attached to the front armor plate. By the way, some of the wiring we saw hanging on the wall to the right of the commander's position is from the ceiling lights that had to be removed in order to remove the roof plate for these pictures. In the Jagdtiger there was a typical German tubular interior light above the commander, one over the gunner, and a third between the two loaders at the back of the ceiling. These lights had a cover that could be rotated by hand to either dim or brighten the light, but the cylindrical light lens was clear, so the light inside German vehicles in WWII was normally white, not red or blue.

Picture 8: Crouching down on the engine deck and looking through the open rear fighting compartment doors, we have this view of the interior of the same vehicle. The ammo rack construction can be seen better now and shows the typical German lightweight design, where charges were removed from the top layers first. The photo appears to indicate that the rack farthest forward on the sponson, up near the commander, had two layers of two charges each on the bottom and two additional layers of only one charge each on top. This corresponds well to our Picture 2 drawing and I suspect this particular sketch was taken of this very vehicle (or from the photos that were taken of this vehicle). Also in the image we can see the commander's round seat as well as what I suspect was his spare periscope head stowage box on the wall to his right, and also his breathing tube container (on the forward armor plate). The huge size of the gun breech ring is apparent to our left, along with the numerous balance weights bolted to the left side recoil guard. The gun is elevated in order to show the top of the breech ring and other items located to the right of the gun.

Picture 9: We are inside another vehicle now-- one that still has the commander's scissors periscope installed. There seem to have been a couple of different stereo binoculars used in German AFVs in WWII, but the SF 14Z that was normally used in the Jagdtiger was probably the most common. These optical instruments were a development of commercially available binoculars manufactured by Zeiss before the war. In Germany they were called "Scherenfernrohr" or scissors telescope (Zeiss called them "Relieffernrohre,"), but they were not a commercially successful product for the company when sold to the general public. An 8x20 model was offered from 1894 to 1906, and a 10x25 model from 1895 to 1908. This is probably the design that was later

bought in vast numbers by the German military and used in both World Wars with little change. Typically, these binoculars provided spectacular views of terrestrial objects, greatly magnifying the perception of depth in a scene as well as the appearance of modeled relief. They were also used as rangefinders in both wars by several service branches of most of the participants in the conflict, particularly the Germans. The smaller hand-held scissors periscopes were about 6x30 power, with objectives that could extend to 18 inches, and the usually included a folding hinge to reduce the overall length for transport. Larger tripod mounted instruments sometimes had 50mm objectives, very helpful for use at dawn and dusk, and these larger periscopes were the ones typically found in armored vehicles. The SF 14Z had a magnification of 10x, a field of view of 5 degrees, eye relief of 12.5mm, and inter-ocular distance of 57mm+ as stereo, and 58mm+ as periscope. Normally, the graticle in the right eyepiece showed 10mil squares with 2mil gaps at 5mil intervals. There was an interrupted cross at the center for the datum or aiming point. The graticle could be illuminated by an internal light bulb, and it also incorporated a small clinometer that was also graduated in mils. In our photo you can see the electrical wire and plug for the graticle light, the plug seen hanging on the right side of the periscope mount. The periscope seems to be hanging in mid air here, but there is indeed a black bracket below the periscope that crosses to the support bar at the right. A wing nut on the bracket allowed the periscope to be elevated to a comfortable position for the commander. Also visible to the right in the photo is the hand lever that was part of the mechanical communication system (sometimes referred to by Americans during WWII as 'telegraph equipment') between the commander and driver. There is additional information about this equipment in the AFV INTERIORS web pages about the Jagdpanther. Up above is the normal fixed periscope that provided a view out the right side of the vehicle and on our side of the periscope is the commander's radio connection box up by the ceiling. Although the scissors periscope is mounted in the over-head hatch, the normal vision periscope is also mounted and you can see how far it extends down into the fighting compartment. Unlike the fixed periscope to his right, the periscope mounted in the observation hatch has a padded viewing area. Behind the support bar for the scissors periscope is the now empty bracket for the commander's gas mask container. This concludes Part 3. We'll continue inside the fighting compartment in the next and final section. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Tank Destroyer, Sd.Kfz.186, "Jagdtiger", Part 4

Picture 1: Welcome to Part 4 of our coverage of the Jagdtiger interior. If we back out the rear doors again (actually, this is a photo taken inside vehicle number 305058), we finally have a good view of the rear of the huge 12.8cm gun breech. Also, you can now see the support bracket over by the commander's seat that held the scissors periscope (although now the periscope is missing), as well as some of the ammo racks on his side of the hull. On the opposite side of the weapon is the gunner's seat with its seat back lifted out of its bracket and leaning over to one side. Again, the ammo racks on the sponson next to the gunner are just visible, and you can also examine how the gunner's seat is mounted directly onto the traverse gear housing that projects out the left side of the gun mount. The canvas weather cover around the mantlet and gun tube shows up particularly well in this photo, and so does the curved gun mount traverse support below the weapon. Also visible here is the internal gun lock, or gun crutch. The heavy weapon in the Jagdtiger was supported outside on the front of the vehicle by a typical tubular gun crutch and inside by this floor support that was attached to the rear of the breech ring. Many German vehicles used an internal support that hung from the roof, but this one appears to swing up from the floor. The height of this internal support (from the floor to the breech ring) was apparently adjustable by a screw (as we have seen in other self-

propelled guns)-- the handle of the screw mechanism is just visible below the breech ring. Again, you can see the gun's counter balance weights that are attached to the left side of the recoil guard, and also the guard tube on the right side is also visible. The rear of the guard tubing ended just shy of the firewall below us. There also appears to be a few fragmentation grenades lying on top of the gun between the recoil cylinders. These are probably "Eihandgranate 39" grenades, also known as "egg grenades" or "mini grenades". They were typically constructed of thin sheet metal cases with high explosive bursting charges packed inside, just one of the standard German hand grenades that were used in the war. The wire loops of the friction igniters are visible on a couple of the egg grenades-- they are connected by short cords inside to blue metal caps screwed on the top of the grenade bodies. These grenades are small and weigh only 8onces-- to use one you simply unscrew the blue cap and pull the igniter loop on the bottom. You then have four to five seconds to throw it before the grenade explodes. Notice that they seem to be painted a light color here. Grenades inside German AFVs were not only used for personal defense of the vehicles, but were also provided for the crew to destroy the vehicle if/when it had to be abandoned. Recovering Jagdtigers toward the end of the war when the Germans were in full retreat was often impossible. Normal operating orders were for the crew to place one grenade on top of any remaining ammo in the fighting compartment and another one on top of the engine. Many photos of destroyed Jagdtigers show the catastrophic results of internal ammunition explosions where the armor of the fighting compartment has been completely blown out by the power of the explosion.

Picture 2: Back inside 305004 with the roof removed, we have this image of the gunner's seat. His firing trigger for the gun was mounted on the elevation handwheel to his right and was similar to the design seen on the Hummel. It was a smaller diameter partial hand wheel, called a "segment shaped trigger bar", and it was mounted on the same hub but just a couple of inches to the right of the main handwheel. In this position, it was easily reached by the fingers of his right hand as he worked the elevation wheel, and a quick pull on the firing trigger bar would electrically fire the gun. The curved plate at the bottom of the picture is part of the cover that protected the curved rack and pinion gearing that allowed traversing of the gun mount. We can see again some brackets for storage on the front plate (in front of the driver's seat), and these brackets hold the round storage cylinder for his breathing tube. The storage box for optical equipment is also visible on the same plate. This

fighting compartment front armor plate was 200mm thick and it was the only armor on the Jagdtiger that was made by casting. The rolled homogenous armor plate of the front of the hull was 150mm thick while most of the side and rear rolled armor was around 80mm thick. How is the blast from the breech (that resulted from firing the gun) kept away from the crew? Generally, containing the blast inside the breech ring and barrel is handled in two or more ways. The first method is to seal the sliding block against the breech ring. As the steel block slides closed in the mortise of the breech ring, it is also forced slightly forward to press tightly against the rear of the cartridge case, further sealing the opening. The second operation that helps seal the breech from escaping blast is the cartridge casing itself. The metal cartridge case expands under the pressure of the exploding charge inside when the powder is ignited, pressing the case tightly against the walls of the chamber and therefore sealing it. That's one of the reasons why cartridges were made for so many years from brass, as this metal has some very good expansion properties when under great pressure and heat. Even with the sliding block and expanding cartridges, there is still some limited blast and flame that manages to escape the breech, depending on wear and tear. Generally, no one in the fighting compartment wants to be standing right next to the breech when the gun fires, particularly one of this size!

Picture 3: Looking down from above gives this interesting angle on the gunner's padded seat. The leather was typically brown and the padding horse hair. At the bottom of the image is the end of the recoil cylinder, showing its securing nut that attached it to the breech ring. Notice also that the traverse handwheel is mounted off center on its support post, presumably to move it a bit further away from the ammunition rack at the gunner's left. There were three electrical safety switches that would keep the gun from firing. One was located on the breech to keep the gun from firing if the breech was not closed. The other two were located on the recoil cylinder and on the runout rails, so the gun could not be fired if the recoil cylinder was low on fluid or the gun had not returned to its full forward position after recoil. There was also the traditional mechanical safety switch on

the right side of the gun breech ring. The large red switch broke the firing circuit when the gun was fired and it had to be reset by the loader before the gun could be fired again. The gun was fired electrically, that is to say the primer in the cartridge was ignited by electrical contact current through the firing pin mounted in the breech block, not by the force of the firing pin striking the primer (percussion) as is incorrectly reported in many references.

Pict ure 4: Fro m the sam e US Ar my inte llig enc e rep ort com es this view of the left rear sponson rack, including the projectile rack at the very rear. You can clearly count the positions for 11 projectiles in the rearmost rack to our left, and the charge rack here has locations for six, and possibly seven charges. The image is clear enough to show some details of the charge cartridge construction. These were constructed from strip steel that was wrapped around a form into a helix with a small overlap, and welded together. Inside was a synthetic silk bagged containing a stick form propelling charge with a Nitro-cellulose igniter and an electric primer cap. There were actually two different charge cartridges provided for the Jagdtiger. One was meant for the Pz.Gr.43 armor piercing projectile and the other for the Spr.Gr. high explosive, the AP charge being a full charge while the HE had only a partial charge. The cartridge steel was oil blackened and typically appears almost black; the dark oil was used to retard corrosion/rust. Both cartridge casings were identical in shape and size and only identified with painted letters on the base plate and the cartridge opening that was sealed with a milboard cover, recessed about an inch or so into the case. This cover marking was in large red letters that indicated either PZGR or SPRGR. The Germans typically painted their Spr.Gr. HE projectiles gray or gray-green, but the ones found in this particular vehicle are reported to have been yellow. These projectiles also had two grooves located behind the two driving bands, which leads us to believe that they were probably originally produced for the German navy, and were intended as part of a fixed round, the grooves used to secure the projectile to a fixed cartridge.

German Pz.Gr. AP rounds were almost all oil blackened steel, and would appear black in color. We see here one of the interesting yellow Spr.Gr. HE projectiles. Again, notice the double driving bands located near the base. By the way, Spr.Gr. stands for Sprenggranaten, or 'explosive shell', and Pz.Gr. stands for Panzergranaten, or 'panzer shell'. The Spr.Gr. projectile used a nose percussion fuse and the Pz.Gr. projectile a base percussive, slightly delayed, fuse. This allowed penetration of the projectile before the bursting charge was ignited, thereby pretty well totaling the interior of an enemy AFV and anybody unlucky enough to also be inside.

Pict ure 5: Her e is one mor e pho to in the seri es of ima ges take n inside the captured Jagdtiger 305004, this time showing some of the firewall at the rear of the fighting compartment. Most of the equipment you see is identical with the Tiger II firewall, although the location of some of the equipment is changed. To the left is the fixed fire extinguisher system we mentioned earlier in Part 2 that protected the engine. Notice the gap between the floor plates and the firewall, and the fact that the firewall is painted the same color as the floor. To the right of the 4liter extinguisher is an air duct leading through a control vent and then on into the engine compartment were it will end at the sirocco fan attached to the engine. You can't see it here, but there is another duct coming up from under the fighting compartment floor and attaching to the bottom of the control vent; this is the duct bring cooling air from the transmission, the duct traveling under the floor from there to our position. Also along the bottom of the firewall, but to our right, is one of the gas tank fuel line connectors leading from the left tank (located under the floor) back through the firewall and into the engine compartment. There is another fuel line like this for the right fuel tank also located under the floor, but it is on the other side of the fire extinguisher and not visible here. Above and to the left of the air control vent is a lever that controls air regulating dampers located in front of the radiators. The dampers control whether the radiators receive flowing air, and therefore if they are operational (the label next to the lever should read 'Zu' and 'Auf', or open and closed). There were times when you wanted to close off the radiators in order to allow your engine to come up to operating temperature

faster, etc. Above and to the left of the lever is a small oval plate that slides out of the way to provide access to the fuel shut-off valves on the other side of the firewall. Above the fuel line that we examined a moment ago is another lever, this time black, that controls a floor drain valve; again there is a similar black lever on the other side of the extinguisher bottle for the drain valve on that side. What we can't see at the top of the firewall is the voltage regulator for the generator, the interference filter for the radios, and the fuse box for the fire extinguisher system. These were similar to the ones mounted on the Tiger II, so any photo you have of that firewall will provide these details. Of course, up above the firewall are the two doors for the rear hatch. Mounted to either side of the hatch are typical angled channel racks for two 9mm machine pistols (with around 900 total rounds ammunition) as well as typical German storage boxes for spare periscope prisms for the fixed periscopes mounted on the ceiling in the back corners. There were also gas mask containers and breathing tube storage cylinders for each loader, located either on the sidewalls, or next to the back doors. The rear portion of the recoil guard is seen at the bottom of the photograph. When the gun recoiled, it traveled back about 900mm (36in, or 3ft), almost to the guard. You can also see two (of the four) floor plates are opened up in order to expose a charge cartridge down in the rack below. There were two charges accessible through each floor plate, for a total of eight. Remember that the batteries and two of the fuel tanks were also located under these floor racks, the fuel tanks running almost the entire length of the floor.

Picture 6: The Jagdtiger used what I believe was the best overall anti-tank gun design of the war, the 12.8cm Panzerjagerkanone 44 (L/55), also known as the Pak 80. Some confusion over the name of the weapon stems from the fact that the name was changed in mid1944 from Pak 44 to Pak 80, causing confusion in many reference works. You will find the gun called either name in official documents from late 1944 and on. The performance of this weapon was phenomenal-- the muzzle velocity for the AP round is said to have been 920m/sec and for the HE round 750m/sec. With a range for the AP of well over 4000m, you can generally say that if the gunner could clearly see a target, he could usually kill it. The gun was actually a further development of the

12.8cm Kanone 44 (towed anti-tank gun), which was a competitive effort between both Rheinmettal-Borsig and Krupp, each producing a similar tube and breech, but mounted on very different-looking mobile platforms. The gun was 55 calibers long, but unlike the towed version the model mounted in the Jagdtiger did not have a muzzle break. The breech was a semi-automatic horizontally sliding type and the firing mechanism, as we said previously, was strictly electric. Although the prototypes of the towed Kanone 44 were completed and delivered, as far as I know there were no towed versions of the gun put into series production; the only weapons produced and actively used in WWII were mounted inside the Jagdtiger. The two-piece gun mount produced for the Jagdtiger is fairly clearly seen in this US Army photo, with the gunner's seat on this left side and both his traverse and elevation handwheels visible. Above the gun tube are the recoil cylinders and mounted in a bracket to the left of the cylinders is the gun sight periscope. If you look closely you will once again see the balance weights bolted to this left side of the recoil guard. Because the gun could easily be balanced this way, there was no need for an equilibrator balance spring on the weapon, something you often find on many other German selfpropelled guns from WWII. The gun tube was turned and bored from one long steel rod and the breech ring was also machined from a solid block of steel. The tube was fabricated with a raised flange at the breech end, and to connect the tube with the breech ring a steel threaded locking ring was slid onto the tube. Once the tube was inserted into the hole at the front of the breech ring, the locking ring was screwed into it to secure the tube. The tube alone weighed roughly 2200kg, and the breech with block weighed another 1100kg. Out of the total vehicle combat weight of roughly 80,000kg, the gun weighed, including the cradle and mount, over 7000kg.

Picture 7: The gunner's sight was a Winkelzielfernrohr 2/1 (translated as 'angled periscopic sight' and abbreviated in German as WZF 2/1), and was attached to the sight mount at the left side of the gun. The sight appears to have been a periscopic twin telescope, although it is difficult to tell from this poor image. The sight was also supposed to have been usable at night, but I suspect this meant only that the graticle was lighted, as most sights were at this time. The eyepiece was fitted with a soft rubber face pad as you see here, the interocular distance between eyepieces being adjustable via the cranked eyepieces themselves. Looking through the sight you would see a horizontal line with a triangle mark, the top point of the triangle being the aiming point. To the left and right of the triangle were markings along the horizontal line, with each sixth mark

representing one degree of gun movement. The sharpness of the graticle could be adjusted with a focusing ring around the eyepieces. Range scales for both types of ammunition were provided around the circumference of the sight view, as was custom for German gun optics at this time. The range scales were adjustable from 0-8000 meters for the Spr.Gr., and 0-4000 meters for the Pz.Gr.43 ammo. Some references indicate that smoked glass was used to protect against blinding and the graticles in both telescopes were illuminated from the same light bulb via a divided prism inserted into the middle of the graticle box. On occasion you will see the electrical cable and socket used for this. A spare viewing head was carried inside the Jagdtiger should one become damaged, and I believe this is the purpose of the storage box mounted on the vertical armor plate in front of the gunner.

Picture 8: Our last interior image of the Jagdtiger is another of the American photographs used in a report on the Jagdtiger, this time closely illustrating the left rear of the gun mount. Again the gun support crutch can be partially seen at the right lower corner, attached to the curved metal cover that protects the toothed segment used for traverse gearing. At the left is the traverse gearbox and you can now see how the traverse handwheel and drive shaft attach into the gearbox, and then you can also see the drive shaft crossing to the drive gearing between the gun supports. Also visible a bit better now than before, is the trigger handle that is seen on the other side of the elevation hand wheel; the main elevation pinion gear is also plainly visible down below the handwheel location. The gun mount was divided into upper and lower metal frames-- the lower frame bolted directly to the hull and the upper frame sat upon the lower, free to traverse. Traverse was possible because of a large front ball pivot that the upper frame rested upon; this served as the traverse pivot bearing. The rear of the upper frame rested on a couple of rollers that not only supported this end of the gun, but also allowed it to swing back and forth during traverse.

Picture 9: In the final analysis, the roughly 70 Jagdtigers that were constructe d were design failures in a number of areas and successful in only a few. The AFV was too heavy and cumbersome on the battlefield and proved not only difficult to get to the fighting, but almost impossible to recover afterward. Although when the weapon system could be brought to bear on an opponent the results were often devastating, out-maneuvering the Jagdtiger was a relatively easy task for Allied AFVs, as long as they could stay out of its sights. And yet as a tank destroyer design the vehicle has many fascinating points, and a study of the interior and the crew assignments can shed light on how to efficiently get the most out of a six man crew. This particular unlucky Jagdtiger is reported to have been destroyed near Rimling by an M36 tank destroyer of the US 776th TD Battalion. The resulting internal ammunition explosion, either from the M36 penetrations or from explosives set by the escaping crew, has just about completely destroyed everything above the track sponsons. Perhaps Otto Carius, a Jagdtiger company commander, said it best in his description of his vehicles. "Despite its 82 tons, our Hunting Tiger didn't want to act like we wanted it to. Only its armor was satisfactory, its maneuverability left a lot to be desired. In addition, it was an assault gun. There was no traversing turret, just an enclosed armored housing. Any large traversing of the main gun had to be done by moving the entire vehicle. Because of that, transmission and steering differentials soon broke down. That such a monstrosity had to be constructed in the final phase of the war made no sense at all." Credit for the images used in these pages goes to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds library in Maryland, USA, and to the Tank Museum library at Bovington, England. These facilities display two of the very few Jagdtigers still existing today. Should you have additional images of the interior, or information that could aid us in our explorations of this vehicle, we would certainly like to hear from you when you get the chance to contact us. (c) 2002, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Panzerjager Tiger (P), (Sd.Kfz. 184), "Ferdinand/Elefant", Part 1, Revised 10-15-00

Picture 1: Dr. Ferdinand Porsche's VK 4501 tank proposal lost the competiti on for Germany' s new heavy tank contract to Henschel's Tiger I in the early 1940's. But, due to the designer's close personal relationship to Adolph Hitler and his position on the armor vehicle design board, he had been allowed pre-production manufacture of a number of hulls for the doomed tank. The story of what happened to the ninety hulls is a very interesting chapter in the history of German World War II AFV design. This famous Bundesarchiv photo shows early "Ferdinands" before their major rebuild to become "Elefants". These first vehicles had no bow machine gun or protective shield for the gun mantlet. In October of 2000, Ronald Woodward loaned to us a series of color photographs he took inside the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Elefant and I have included them as Part 2, 3, and 4 of our examination of the Elefant interior. This first Part will get you acquainted with the general layout of the vehicle and its automotive equipment and the photos in the other sections will provide some detail of the equipment.

Picture 2: The original VK 4501 tank design was certainly ambitious, even for the creative but forceful Dr. Porsche. Initially designed to showcase new engine and electric propulsion drive systems, the new air-cooled engine technology was fraught with problems. In the end the engines were not capable of powering a 45+ ton vehicle and the tank design lost the AFV competition to the Tiger I prototype from Henschel. The existing order for 90 hulls constructed at Krupp in Essen was then amended by the OKH so they could be converted to a turretless self-propelled gun, mounting the 8.8cm PaK 43/2 (L/71) gun. This necessitated moving the engines, generators and fans to the central hull and opening the rear for the new fighting compartment. The exotic twin, air-cooled, Type 101/1 engines that drove electric generators which in turn provided power for electric drive motors at the rear of the VK 4501 were replaced in the new plan by two proven water-cooled Maybach HL120 engines, used in most Pz.III/IV vehicles. Each engine then drove a Siemens Schuckert Type K58-8 electric generator to supply power to a huge rear-mounted Siemens electric motor, attached directly to each rear drive sprocket. A heavily armored fixed superstructure mounted on the rear half of the hull housed the gun and crew, and armor thickness was increased at the front of the AFV by bolting on additional plates. Twin radiators and fan assemblies were mounted directly behind the front driver's and radio operator's compartment (above the electric generators seen in this sketch), with the two Maybachs directly behind the generators. This is the original plan proposed by Alkett for the new superstructure and internal layout. Except for perhaps the general ammo storage and a new slanting front armor plate, the sketch is correct for most internal components. Note the large round electric motors at the lower rear of the hull. The new design, salvaging the poorly conceived original VK4501 plan, must have seemed like a stroke of genius at the time. Unfortunately, it was still a collection of mechanical problems just waiting for a crisis. The vehicle's first combat action provided that crisis.

Picture 3: This photo was taken in the final assembly plant in Nibelungenwerk in St. Valentin, Austria, and shows the modified interior of the hull (looking toward the hull front) once the initial torch cutting and welding was completed on the old hulls. The engines would then be mounted side by side, just forward of the partial firewall seen here- small access holes in the floor allowed for minor engine maintenance. The area on this side of the partition became the fighting compartment, with the 8.8cm weapon centrally mounted directly behind the engines, just this side of the firewall. The transmission was the Siemens-Schuckert electric power unit mentioned earlier (with three gear ranges in both directions) and steering was hydropneumatic with electric assisted brakes (Porsche/Siemens), again showing the electrically oriented designs of Dr. Porsche. The very rear of the VK 4501 vehicle was altered the greatest. Where the original design had a slanting/pinched appearance when viewed from above, the Elephant's side plates were continued straight back to the rear armor plate. The existing diagonal plates of the older rear were left in place, although large holes were cut out to lighten them. The additional side plate extensions that were added to continue the hull to the new rear plate are seen at the bottom of this photo.

Picture 4: The emergency requirement for the fire power of the PaK 43/2 on the Eastern Front was the driving force behind the energy and money spent in converting Porsche's hopeless tank design into a SPG. The conversion work was begun with the cooperation of Altmarkirchen KettenWerk GmbH (Alkett) after Hitler's approval orders of February 1943, a time when the Wehrmacht was realizing the real danger of the Russian giant they had awoken with their Eastern invasion. This cleaned up Nibelungenwerke factory photo shows a bit of the conversion work proceeding for the early Elefants, and the huge size of the unpainted 8.8cm weapon is clearly seen. The hydraulic recoil buffer and recuperator cylinders are mounted side by side on top of the barrel and the falling wedge breech block is seen to the far right.

The gunner sat on this side (left) of the gun mount and his elevation hand wheel is seen just below the gun. Fifty or so rounds of ammo were to be carried inside the AFV and could include PzGr39/43, PzGr40/43, SprGr43, or H1Gr39. Rounds were one-piece, shorter than the Flak version to ease handling inside armor vehicles, and weighed around 20kg. Penetration is said to exceed 132mm armor at 90 degrees obliquity at 2,000 meters, which would bore through anything on the battle field at that time. Also seen in this photo are white box protectors for the radiators at either side of the hull, showing just how small the driver's compartment was at the front of the hull. As the hulls are modified and guns mounted on this side of the factory floor, the superstructures are readied across the isle (note the open round rear hatches). The roof plate directly in front of us shows the early commander's split hatch on a superstructure already mounted to a modified hull. You can also see the curved track for the gunner's periscopic gun sight, the opening covered with its protective sliding door in this photo. The cover on the often-photographed preserved Aberdeen Vehicle is not original to the vehicle and is incorrect.

Picture 5: This is the general view looking down the right side of the 8.8cm PaK inside what was left of the vehicle at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland a few years ago (Bovington also has a preserved Elefant, but we have not yet examined the inside of that vehicle). At the top center of the photo is the commander's cupola. This was one of the few modifications made to the 50 remaining Elefants (of the original 90) in 1943/44 after the tank's early dismal actions in operation Zitadelle/Kursk. Seven SF14Z (Sfl) periscopes for the commander now surround the cupola, adding greatly to the previous vehicle periscopes-- three for the driver and two for the loaders at the back of the vehicle (one each on the rear corner of the roof). Even so, vision outside the AFV for the crew remained very poor. Along with the new commander's cupola for improved vision, a MG34 was mounted at the front right of the hull for close in protection and an armored plate clamped around the barrel of the PaK, just forward of the mantlet, to protect the ball mounting of the main gun. Above the gun in this photo, and hanging down to connect to the top of it, is the internal gun support to supplement the external one mounted at the front of the hull roof plates. Way up on the front wall are brackets

for two gas mask canisters and their accompanying breathing tube containers (Gasmaske and Atemschlauch). About centered in the photo are a pair of oddly shaped black air filter containers for the right Maybach HL 120 engine hidden below and slightly to the left. These filters were also used in the Pz.III and are the centrifugal oil bath type manufactured by Mahle. Also visible here is, I believe, the commander's seat bottom, with the supporting floor folded up so the seat is seen tilted forward. To the far right you can see racks for some of the 8.8cm ammunition along the hull wall. The ammo was held tip down resting in wooden blocks with the shell casings strapped to the upper bracket by leather straps. Ammo storage racks include 15 rounds on the left of the vehicle (including 6 on the hull wall and 9 at the left rear corner) and 17 on the right side (including 8 along the wall and 9 in the rear corner rack. The remainder of the ammo storage is not known- perhaps there was a large rack under the gun, as was originally designed by Alkett and seen in the early sketch above. The leather straps on the ammo racks are gone in these photos, but they where there in '82 when I first examined the vehicle interior. Apparently, someone did not care for the stiff and rotting remnants and broke them all off. The walls of the fighting compartment are painted typical German Panzer ivory (Elfenbein) which is still visible along the badly rusting walls and ceiling while the floor is a dark gray with a slight green cast.

Picture 6: The Elefant had a five or six man crew depending on the reference you read (probably six men) and three or four of them worked in the fighting compartment. The gunner was seated to the left of the gun, commander to the right, and the loader/s were in the rear. This picture shows the general view down the left side of the fighting compartment. Two sets of ammo brackets are visible attached to the wall on the far left, similar to those we saw earlier on the right hull side. Again, the leather straps with buckles which were attached to the top bracket to hold shells are now sadly missing as their length indicates the number of shells in each row. Behind both rear racks on the side hull walls are pistol ports. Their location perhaps indicates an ammo storage change revision as the ports are clearly blocked from use when a full rack of ammo rounds are stowed on board. Note again the twin black air filter containers on the engine housings toward the front of the compartment.

On the far front wall is another set of brackets for gas mask containers and breathing tubes, and the gunner's horizontally mounted traverse wheel can just be seen to the right of the Mahle air cleaners (the gunner's seat is hidden from view by the protective shield on the 88). Up in the right corner of the photo you can see the gunner's sight bracket attached to the roof with two straps hanging down (no sight). Notice the large bolts with castle nuts on the lower side of the superstructure, in the area of the forward ammunition bracket. These are just a few of the bolts that attach the Krupp-built superstructure to the lower hull of the Porsche Elefant.

Picture 7: This is a close up crop of the gunner's side of the 8.8cm gun again, this time focusing on the overhead hatch and empty sight bracket for the SflZF1a/Rblf36 direct/indirect sight. This was the same excellent sight design used in the later versions of the StuG III, StuG IV, Jagdpz IV, as well as the Hetzer. It is a monocular 5X sight with an eight degree field of view and allows both indirect and direct firing solutions. The curved access door in the hatch above allowed the sight to follow along with the gun below as it traversed from side to side as we saw in an earlier photo of the top of the superstructure roof while still in the factory. The sight bracket here is connected directly by links to the gun mount and elevates/depresses with the gun (+14 to -8 degrees) as well as traverses the available 14 degrees either side of center. Also visible in this photo are the Atemschlauch breathing tube holders mounted on the front wall. The Germans were very cautious of the possibility of gas attack, especially by the Russians. The breathing tubes were simply flexible metal hoses that connected the general issue gas masks and their canister filters. The idea was to allow the tanker to sling the filter canister over his shoulder with the tube connecting to his gas mask, allowing him to place his face closer to his periscopes and other optics without the canister interfering. Most German WWII AFVs have these characteristic tube storage containers mounted in the vehicles somewhere close to each crew station. At the far left is a radio communications connection box for the gunner. A small tube-type interior light, typical of German vehicles, is seen to its left.

Picture 8: Here are the two photos seen earlier connected at the gun breech to provide a reasonable panoramic view of the fighting compartment. One of our readers, Sauro Torrini from Milan, Italy, has used some of his computer magic on the pictures and made the connecting border between the two photos disappear! Thanks Sauro. As you can see, the interior was roomy for an AFV of this time period, but man-handling the 88mm rounds was still a difficult proposition for the loader. The breech block was of the semiautomatic type, which would fall open and eject the spent shell case during recoil, leaving the breech ready for the next round to be shoved in. The breech opening lever on the right of the breech ring was used the first time it was opened. A red gun safety button is mounted on a small white box just below and to the right of the right recoil cylinder. As mentioned earlier, there was a large circular hatch centered in the rear superstructure plate to assist with gun removals, and includes a small ejection port in its center. The circular hatch is flanked on both sides by pistol ports. Although not seen in these photos, there was a L bracket for stowing MP 40s mounted next to each of these ports on the back wall. The AFV was initially called "Ferdinand", in honor of the primary designer, but the title was officially changed by order of the OKH in February of 1944 to "Elefant", more or less as the vehicles were being improved with the commander's cupola, etc. The last Elefants were thought to have been put out of action in Italy in the summer of '44, but rumors suggest a few may have escaped to Austria in early August. There are two known existing Elefants in captivity, one in the Kubinka Museum in Moscow and one at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The pathetic APG vehicle has recently been removed from its outdoor "rusting place" behind the museum and was placed in storage, awaiting some proposed restoration work. In April of 2000 the vehicle was sitting outdoors in a remote railroad yard apparently awaiting shipment out of the Proving Grounds to some unknown destination.

Picture 9: The driver and radio operator (later "hull machine gunner") are completely separated from the fighting compartment by the radiators/fans and engine compartment. Access to the fans and radiators from the driver's area is possible through a removable hatch

directly behind the two seats, and the electric generators under the fans can also be reached from this position. The driver steers the vehicle by means of typical steering levers, which actuate electrically driven compressed air brakes. The two hand controls for the air compressor set-up are mounted at the driver's right on a box that partially separates the two seats and houses the compressed air tanks inside. A gearshift lever is also at the driver's right. Down forward of the driver are two foot pedals and a floor covered by wooden slats, similar to the Kubelwagen. Vehicle track tension adjustment is accomplished with large nuts mounted on a bracket that in turn controls the setting of the front toothed idler wheels- the large nuts are located inside the AFV at the front operator's feet, both sides. Both front seats are of the typical tubular type with springs and attached black foam padded seat and back cushions covered with black leather, and at least the driver's seat is height adjustable by a spring loaded lever design to raise the him up for head-out driving. Vision for the driver when buttoned up consists of three periscopes mounted directly in his over-head hatch (seen in this photo), the left and right units angling out to either side. The heavy hatches are spring assisted, the long spring running the width of the opening and located just inside the rear edge. There is also a vision slit with internal sliding cover at each front corner of the hull, although access to this is very difficult. A box mounted on the wall behind the driver holds his radio equipment or spare periscopes and an emergency fire suppression system for the engine compartment is activated by a valve at his left side. A portable fire extinguisher was mounted on the wall behind his left shoulder. The right seater was initially the radio operator and back-up driver/mechanic, and his position was provided with the typical Fu5 radio set directly in front of him on brackets. The 2 meter radio antenna is mounted at the front right corner of the hull roof, next to the radios inside. After the rebuild program in 1943 the new bow machine gun was added directly in front of the operator with the typical ball mounting attached to a gapping hole cut in the original front armor plate and then surrounded by an additional bolted plate. The radios were then said to have been moved to the wall to the right of the operator. The two black and white interior photos of the APG Elefant examined above were provided to AFV INTERIORS by Scott Negron, and were taken inside the Aberdeen Panzerjager Tiger in the early 1980s. For additional information on the Panzerjager interior you may wish to consult "Museum Ordnance Special Number 4, Elefant Panzerjager Tiger (P)", by Jentz and McKaughan, through Darlington Publications, mentioned in the References/Links section of AFV INTERIORS. Although there are a few caption errors in this booklet, the excellent black and white photographs of the interior help make the publication well worth the investment. In the next sections of this article we will examine a few color photographs taken of the interior of the Aberdeen Elefant, provided to us by Ronald Woodward. I have kept the pictures fairly large so you can see some of the detail and therefore the pages may take a bit longer to load than you are accustomed. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Panzerjager Tiger (P), (Sd.Kfz. 184), "Ferdinand/Elefant", Part 2, Revised 10-15-00

Picture 1: Ron Woodwar d's first pictures of the interior of the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Elefant will take us into the forward driver's area of the vehicle. This is the driver's seat in the left bow of the AFV, his seat illustrating the typical German design of stringing springs across a simple tubular frame. But unlike most German AFV driver's seats, this one could be elevated so he could ride with his head outside his over-head hatch. Recall that even with the three periscopes in his hatch, the view out the front of this machine when you were buttoned up was poor at best. The two steering levers are seen to either side of the seat. Elefant steering was hydropneumatic; the electrically activated compressed air brake system (PorscheSiemens) worked directly on the rear mounted drive sprockets by means of inner brake shoes. The large dual compressed air cylinders were placed end to end between the two front seats and protected by a sheet metal box cover that more or less separated the driver's seat from the machine gunner/radio operator's on the other side. The top of the boxy cylinder cover is seen at the very bottom of the photograph. By pulling back on a steering lever, the driver activated an electric switch, which opened and closed an air valve, allowing compressed air in tubes leading back to the rear of the AFV to activate the brake shoe on that side of the vehicle. The original steering design goal was to provide a powered steering system that required little exertion on the part of the driver. The electric air pump for the compressed air was also located under this central cover. The lever sticking up near us, between the seat and the compressed air cylinder cover, is

the gearshift handle and the button on top kept the driver from accidentally shifting into reverse. Recall that the Porsche-Siemens gearbox was located back near the electric motors and had three forward and three reverse gears. The gearbox was shifted electrically, making the gearshift action also very easy and light, as the driver was only pushing the shift lever into contact with a different switch each time he shifted gears. Also visible in this picture is the left track tension adjustment mechanism is at the right behind the steering lever. At the far right is a small control panel with three missing components on its face.

Picture 2: Another control panel is located on the cylinder cover box directly to the right of the driver. Unfortunately, I can't quite read the labels on the controls, but the panel's location near the air pump and cylinders would suggest it has something to do with the controls for the vehicle brakes and transmission. The dial to the left is an air pressure gage. The end of a third cylinder, transversely placed at the front of the box cover, is at the upper left, while the other two larger cylinders are below and to the right of this instrument panel. There must have been another larger instrument panel to monitor the two Maybach HL 120 TRM engines back under the fighting compartment. This panel's location has not been found in any of the photos I have seen, I suspect it may have been located in the alcove over the left sponson just to the left of the driver.

Picture 3: This is the driver's seat looking down from the open over-head hatch. The seat and its elevating frame are visible as well as a portable fire extinguisher bracket to the right. On the wall behind the seat is a rusted storage box and through the open access panel to the left you can see some of the belts and pulleys for the large fans behind the driving compartment. At the left is the rear portion of the box cover that protects compressed air cylinders for the braking units. Just exactly how this system worked, I do not know, and why the third cylinder was added transversely in front of the cover containing the other two is also a mystery.

Picture 4: This is the view looking down at the driver's seat and foot pedals. Both steering levers are again visible along

with the gearshift lever with the safety button on top. Down below the driver's seat are slats of wood attached to a frame which keep the driver's feet off the hull floor. Notice that the floor is painted a different color than the walls. Most of the interior appears to be the typical ivory paint, German Elfenbein, while the floor is gray or perhaps the typical gray-green we've seen in so many other German WWII AFVs. The left track tension unit adjuster is clearly visible here. The tracks were driven from rear mounted sprockets, so these identical front sprockets were used for track tensioning. The adjustment control is the rod with hex nut at its base facing us at the lower left of the unit. When the adjustment control is rotated with a wrench it rotates the whole unit, and since the sprocket hub outside is mounted on a short off-center bar, it is slowly cranked either forward or backward depending on which way you rotate the tensioner nut. The front of the unit is securely welded to one of the front armor plates. Barely visible behind the gearshift lever is that air pressure instrument gage again, probably one of the gages for the hydropneumatic brake system and the air cylinders mounted under the central box. The third air cylinder is mounted transversely in front of the central partition box, and just the left end is visible at the upper right corner of the image.

Picture 5: look down along the hull wall to the left of driver's seat you can see where the left steering lever is attached to the floor. From an actuating rod crosses under the floor and driver's seat to the vehicle braking equipment to the right of the driver. German WWII AFV seats were very comfortable typically had a spring bed like this covered removable horse hair padded cushions, covered with brown or black imitation leather. Normally the seats could be reclined, although this one may not, and were attached to runners underneath so the could be adjusted forward or back. Again the wood slat floor boards so mud and water drain down. It would be very interesting to what might have fallen down under that

If you the there

and with

they seat notice could see floor.

Picture 6: Here is the area behind the driver's seat again, including the support bracket for raising and locking it in the elevated position. The seat had only two positions, up or down, and in order to lift it up the driver had to pull out on the round knob at the right side of the support frame (seen at the lower left in the picture) and swing the seat up. Once it was in position, the springloaded knob would pop back in, securing the seat in the raised position. Directly above and behind the seat is a storage box, probably for radio headphones and throat mike (Fernhorer, Mircofon) is the assist spring for the driver's hatch, the actuating lever seen on the far side rising up and out of the opening to attach to the hatch out of view. The access hatch to the fan and radiator compartment directly behind the driver and radio operator has been opened and some of the drive belts to the fans are visible to the lower left. Some of the red color you see in these pictures is due to rust, but most of it is the red lead primer paint exposed when the Elfenbein over coating has peeled off.

Picture 7: This photo gives perhaps the best view of the cylinder cover box and the controls to the right of the driver's seat. The right steering tiller's hand grip is hidden by the front armor. Notice the interesting way the attachment nuts for the applique armor bolts have been incorporated into long steel strips that weave their way across the front armor plate from one side to the other, from nut to nut. It sure would be interesting to know what the controls on the side of the cover box are for. This is a big guess, but I suspect the largest lever you see on the side of the box is the reversing control for the tracks. You can also see the gearshift lever, just to the left. Down below the box is barely visible what appears to be the electric air pump for the cylinders, and a control manifold, perhaps for the brakes. The radio operator/machine gunner sits over on the other side of the compartment.

Picture 8: Here is the view looking across to the radio operator's position in the Aberdeen vehicle. This is the type of interior photo I really enjoy, half because there haven't been any museum "restorers" in here to mess up the equipment, and half because the equipment that is here is so far gone that it is sometimes a challenge to determine what is left. At the bottom of the picture is the central air cylinder box cover that divides the compartment in half, and the small instrument panel we saw previously is visible above it at the left. The ladder shaped brackets on the far wall have been misidentified in some publications as radio racks, but they are actually the supports for the two radio transformers/power supplies, the plug sockets seen at the bottom edge of the one on the right. The radios themselves (probably FuG5 and FuG2) were located someplace else, perhaps on the wall directly to the left of the lower bracket, or perhaps directly in front of the radio operator's seat. Power supplies for the FuG5 and FuG2 included the U.10 or U.10a1 for the 10 watt transformer, and the E.U.a1, a2, or a3 for the ultra short wave

receiver. Both power supplies used similar wall mounting brackets like these. The whitish box mounted on the back wall near the radio power supply bracket is the primer for the gasoline engine, both a hand pump button and electrical switches are on the top of the box. You see these on most vehicles powered by Maybachs, usually on the firewall between the fighting and engine compartments in Pz.III and Pz.IV tanks. On the same back wall is a typical German AFV bracket for a gas mask container and up above is the spring assist for the over-head hatch, the actuating lever from the spring to the hatch now clearly seen. If you look closely, you will see the locking lever for the hatch at the far edge, toward the front corner. Directly below the hatch to our left is part of the ball mount for the hull machine gun. The rest of the mount is down on the floor, out of sight. The alcove directly across from us is the outside armor wall above the right sponson, and the rectangular shape you can barely see in the center of the wall is the small viewing port on this side. Recall that this portion of the side armor is angling in toward the front plate. This crewman had no other means of looking outside the vehicle except for the sight of his MG, and because his seat is completely missing we can't tell if he had an elevating seat like the driver or not. I don't see any mounting hardware on the back wall to support one, but you may have better eyes than I do. The large cable in the side sponson alcove rises to the antenna base outside.

Picture 9: A closer view of the ball mount for the MG shows that most of the mount that actually held the MG is missing. Notice the 100mm thickness of the front armor plate that had to be cut out for the MG to be mounted during the refitting. Two of the large backing nuts used to attach the additional 100mm thick applique armor (mounted outside) can be seen welded to the inside plate at the right. The additional armor was necessary to increase armor protection of the original Porsche VK4501 to the 200mm thickness demanded for the Ferdinand Panzerjager. The antenna wire we saw before can be easily seen snaking up the wall from someplace down below (making me suspect the radios were mounted some where down there), and the viewing port in the sponson alcove is just visible to the far right. Notice the small internal tube light attached just below the MG ball mount. This also suggests the radios were down in

the shadows below. Six hundred rounds of MG34 ammo are reported to have been stowed in the vehicle and I suspect they were here in the radio operator's area. Since the MG rounds were probably stored as bagged ammunition (Gurtsacke), and each of the bags held around 150 rounds of both AP and API, then there should be at least four bags to store around here someplace. It is possible that there are/were horizontal ammo bag hanging strips (like those we have seen in other vehicles) attached to the armor walls, but I have not located them in the photos or material examined so far. If I were inside the vehicle I would look closely at the wall behind the seat and in the alcove above the sponson to the operator's right, since those are favorite storage areas in Panzers. But the armor plate directly above or to the side of the MG ball mount is another possible location. Other items that are normally found near bow hull MGs include a small storage box for spare parts (MG Werkzeug) and the MG butt and bipod for ground mounting the machine gun which can be found in a metal storage box. Also there should be a couple of spare MG barrels, again usually in either a metal or canvas storage container.

Picture 10: If we climb out the driver's hatch and look back to the engine/f an deck behind us, we would have this view of the central fan compartment when the louvered access hatch was opened. The front of the vehicle is to our left, and the front of the superstructure with the 8.8cm gun mantlet is to the upper right. Although you can not see them here, there is another set of fans under this side of the deck directly below us. The four fans force cooling air through the engine radiators located under us and on the other side of the compartment; the large hole you see at the bottom right of the image is an access port to the top of the radiators over here and another access hole is on the other side. The rusting cross beam with the lightening holes seen down in the compartment is the primary support for the fan drives. Notice that like the fans in the Pz.IV tanks and variants, the vanes you see here are not the actual fan blades, but rather non-moving louvers, the fans are on the other side. Down

below this compartment area are the two large Siemens electric generators, and the pulley and belts you see at the lower left are the drives from the generator power takeoffs to the fans.

Picture 11: This view into Aberdeen' s Elefant shows the fans and drive shaft locations when you look just about straight down into the fan compartm ent. There are actually three large access hatches over this central deck area on the Elefant-- the larger central one has been opened to provide us with this view. The two smaller vents that flank this central deck louver allow cooling air out of the vehicle after it passes through the radiators. In this picture, the front of the vehicle is again to the left, indeed you can see the open access panel to the driver's area at the lower left. You can tell from the drive shafts that there were two sets of fans on each side of the hull, each driven from power take offs from the electrical generators directly below. In this way, fresh air was brought in from the louvers above, circulated around the generators, forced by the fans through the radiators on both sides, and then exhausted through the flanking louvers. The fan drives here are very much like those found in the Pz.IV and its variants, the fans were two speed and could be turned off in cold weather by turning a handle on the driver's side of the wall to disconnect splined drives at the pulleys. The hoses you see are coolant hoses between the radiators and the engines and include caps for flushing the radiators. The vacuum established in this compartment by the fans also pulls out any escaped exhaust from the engine compartment and keeps the air circulating in those compartments also. The engines and fighting compartment are on the other side of the firewall to our right. This concludes Part 2. In Parts 3 and 4 we will continue our exploration of the Ferdinand/Elefant with additional photographs of the Aberdeen vehicle taken by Ronald Woodward. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Panzerjager Tiger (P), (Sd.Kfz. 184), "Ferdinand/Elefant", Part 3, Revised October 15, 2000

Picture 1: The photographs you will see in this part of our Ferdinand/Elefant interior exploration were taken by Ron Woodward of the vehicle that was rusting away at the US Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The vehicle has been taken off display and I last saw it sitting on a railroad siding, heading off the base. Many of the Aberdeen vehicles that were sitting out in the "rusting field" behind the ordnance museum for many years have been recently moved, either to the cosmetic "restoration" building for cleaning or storage, or taken off base to other facilities. This photo was taken of the left rear corner of the fighting compartment. The large round access hatch at the back of the vehicle has been removed and the opening is to our left. To the right is one of the 8.8cm ammo racks on the left hull wall. These racks held eight rounds, four in two rows, with the points orientated down and sitting into rubber recesses below. The shells were held in place not only by the bar bracket you see here, but also with individual straps securing each shell. Most of the leather straps have been ripped off or broken by vandals over the years.

To the left of the rack, on the rear wall, is an L shaped machine pistol stowage bracket, the pistol often stored in a canvas bag in this rack. To the left of the MP bracket is a typical German pistol port plug. The plug is held in place by the C-shaped retainer you see here. When the retainer is rotated away from the plug, the plug can be pushed out and it will then be held hanging outside the hull by the chain you see hanging below. Of course, the other end of this chain should be attached to the bracket, but it has been broken off. The pistol plug could then be pulled back into the vehicle via the chain held back in place by the retainer. A similar bracket for a machine pistol and another firing port were located on the other side of the large round rear hatch. Recall that this round hatch was not hinged, but held in place by brackets. It was not used by the crew except for gun removal or other major maintenance operations. The thick hatch is extremely heavy and required the strength of a couple of men to replace. The odd shaped object to the lower left on the floor is one of the Mahle engine air filters that should be mounted up at the front of the compartment. Notice that there is another pistol port on the left hull wall behind the ammo bracket. Also notice the paint color difference between the ivory of the superstructure and the dark gray of the hull and floor. One of the large attachment brackets used to connect the superstructure to the hull is also visible here. The two large electric motors that drove the AFV were under this section of floor, one on each side of the hull, and the floor below us could be removed for service.

Picture 2: This image shows the same general area in the hull, but from a different angle. The C-shaped retainer for the pistol port plug (the plug known as a "MP Dichtstophen") is clearer now and includes the locking hand screw at the top. A couple of the leather straps for holding 8.8cm ammo rounds in the rack are also visible, along with a number of stubs from those that are now missing. Up higher on the back wall is a large port of unknown type, although the one on the opposite side of the vehicle has been equipped to mount an antenna base. Just visible at the top of the image is the handle for the periscope viewing port on this corner of the roof-- another one is located on the other side of the roof, out of view. Again, the connecting bracket with bolts that attach the superstructure to the hull are very clear under the MP stowage bracket, as well as the misplaced engine filter laying on the floor at the lower left. Visible at the upper left is the horizontal strip bracket typically used for holding MP ammo pouches. Armor thickness on the Elefant hull front was 100mm plus 100mm, for a total of

200mm. Hull and superstructure sides and rear plates were generally composed of 80mm of face hardened steel.

Picture 3: Another tantalizin g photo of the same general area provides additional detail for this left hull wall. To the right of the ammo bracket we have seem before is a small box that holds flair cartridges. This small box, with its single clasp to latch the hinged lid is typical in German WWII AFVs, and can be used to hold flair cartridges or even headphones and microphones on occasion. To the upper right of the flair cartridge box is a larger container that would normally contain a number of spare periscope heads for use in the holders up on the roof. Also of interest in the photo is a bracket on the wall located over the ammo rack and flair cartridge box. This is the same vertical bracket design that we have seen on the left interior wall of the German Hummel SPG superstructure. It was used in that vehicle to store a hose that could be connected to a bottle of compressed gas (nitrogen) that could then repressurize the recoil cylinder of the main weapon, and I suspect it has the same purpose here. There is enough room between the ammo rack and flair cartridge box for the hose to hang between them.

Picture 4: Here is the interior of the flair cartridge box we saw previously, the lid carefully lifted. Notice the padded underside of the hinged cover (compressed horse hair) and the typical German stowage bin latch on the front. Down below you can see the angled original armor of Porsche's VK4501 design that angled from the hull sides to the rear of that proposed tank. Recall that the sides of the Elefant/Ferdinand were altered in the factory so they would be flat from front to rear, and the original angled section of the rear was kept intact, with a lightening hole cut to reduce the weight. To the lower left are a few of the wooden projectile retainers on the floor (under the ammo rack) and at the far right is the side of another ammo rack that continues off the side of the picture.

Picture 5: And for those readers that are interested, here is the interior of the large spare periscope storage box that we saw a few pictures earlier. The partitions are made from wood and the inside of the box was painted the same Elfenbein (ivory) of the general interior. Again the lid is hinged and held closed with typical German latches, this time two of them. The replenisher hose bracket is seen again at the far left. German WWII AFV periscopes and sights were generally of high quality and the periscopes were typically made from seven to nine layers of tempered glass, the soft green tint of each glass pane magnified by their numbers so the overall view looking through them was of a greenish landscape. Each periscope was held in its mounting bracket by a hinged frame with a release wing thumb screw at one end and a hinge on the other, and by releasing the wing screw the frame could be hinged down so a damaged periscope could be easily and quickly replaced. The periscope frames and

brackets were normally painted black.

Picture 6: Continuing along this left side of the hull above the track sponson we see now another stowage box with a single latch at the far side of the second long ammo bracket. Also you can see the remainder of the air filter holders located on top of this left side engine box. Two of the globular Mahle filters would normally fit onto this filter bracket head, hanging underneath on either side, and the cleaned air was then ducted down into the engine carburetor below via the corrugated hose you can just barely see at the far right lower corner. These simple filters were of the usual centrifugal oil filter type, where incoming air was swirled around inside the filter casing by its induction, forcing the largest dust particles to fall into the oil below. The oil also impregnated the paper filter through which the air then had to pass, which further cleaned it before it was ducted down to the engine. Cleaning of the filters involved dumping the dirty oil and replacing it with fresh, and also cleaning the paper filters with solvent, typically gasoline. The same setup was located on the right side of the fighting compartment for the other Maybach engine located over there. Normally, these filter casings and brackets were painted black and you may recognize them as the same as used in the early marks of the Pz.III. There is a large hook bracket on the wall near the front of the compartment and a second one is located near us, just out of view to the left. These hooks are of unknown use, and similar hook brackets, slightly smaller, are also found on the right hull wall at about the same location. I suspect they are the correct size for storing gun cleaning rods, there were three of four sections required for the long barrel of the 88mm gun. At the far right edge of the picture is a stowage tube for a breathing tube. We know that gas mask container brackets are located to the right of the storage tubes from our general description of the interior back in Part 1 of this series. I don't know what was stored in the box mounted on the hull wall, but it must have been fairly fragile as the interior is lined with pressed horsehair padding. It is the same size as the earlier flair cartridge box we saw earlier, so I suspect the gunner's radio headphones and microphone were stored inside. Or, perhaps part of the gunner's sighting system components were stored here; his position is just behind us on this side of the fighting compartment. Although these boxes were generally identified with a printed stencil or hand printed label, the rust has eroded the paint away and the label is gone for good.

Picture 7: The floor in the back area of the fighting compartment has a number of removable panels in it, and the central one has been removed for this photograph. Down below is an open area and to the left you can see the cooling fans for the huge electric drive motors located at the very rear of the hull. Ron reports that he found a protective wooden projectile cap down in this space, indeed he sent along a photo of it to us, which makes us believe there was additional ammo storage under the floor here. You can see that a number of odds and ends, along with some trash, has been pushed down here over the years. This may also have been an area for storage of personal crew equipment. A vehicle archeologist like myself would have a field day with the stuff down here. This concludes Part 3 of our tour of the Aberdeen vehicle interior. Part 4 will continue the story. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Panzerjager Tiger (P), (Sd.Kfz. 184), "Ferdinand/Elefant", Part 4, Revised October 22, 2000

Picture 1: This is Part 4 of our exploration inside the Elefant/Ferdinand Panzerjager. We have been examining a number of photos taken by Ron Woodward inside the Elefant that was stored outside at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for a number of years. This is the overall view of the left side of the compartment, the 8.8cm gun and mount are seen to our right. From our previous pictures you probably know most of these components by now, but just to review and clarify I will identify what I see, starting from the top of the picture and working my way down. The kidney shaped hatch over-head is the sliding cover for the gun sight that was mounted above the gun mount. As the main gun is traversed by the gunner either left or right of center, the sight also traverses with it through a hole in the cover, and the attached cover slides across the roof opening, keeping it covered. Some of the sight mounting bracket is seen hanging from its support at the upper right, but it is painted black and is hard to visualize here. Take a look at the pages on the StuG III and JagPz IV for better images of this particular sight and its mount as they were the same general design. To the left of the roof opening (on the left wall) is the gunner's radio connect box that his head set and throat mike could plug into in order to communicate with the other members of the crew. Seeing the radio connect box here indicates the stowage box we saw located below in an earlier photo is most likely for the headphone and microphone. Next to the radio connection box is another of the small tubular interior lights used in German WWII AFVs. On the front wall of the superstructure are brackets for two gas mask containers and storage tubes for flexible breathing tubes. To the left is the large hook bracket we saw earlier and down below is the set of Mahle air cleaners for the Maybach engine located below the floor and gun support. To the center right is the traverse hand wheel for the

8.8cm gun, the traverse drive leading to a gear under the mount.

Picture 2: This large but slightly out of focus photograph illustrates some of the equipment around the driver's area, particularly down on the floor. All this equipment is just about identical to the gun and mount used in the Jagdpanther, and you will find clearer photos and drawings of in those pages elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS. The traverse wheel we saw in the previous picture is now at our left, and the support for its drive shaft is seen at the bottom of this picture. The shaft attaches to the gearbox at the bottom edge of the photo and tuns right to lead under the gun mount. The elevation hand wheel is also visible now, and its drive shaft can also be followed to the right and under the gun. It exits on the other side, attaching to another small gear box, and when the gunner rotates his hand wheel the turning shaft raises and lowers the gun mount via a large screw covered by a protective rubber boot. We are standing at about the location of the gunner's seat.

Picture 3: We have backed up a bit more now, and the rear of the large gun breech is visible. The 8.8cm weapon is the PaK 43/2 antitank gun with L/71 caliber length made by DormundHuttenverein of Lippstadt. The L/71 refers to the fact that the length of the barrel was 71 times the diameter of the barrel. The weapon had a traverse of 14 degrees to either side of center and dual recoil cylinders were mounted on top of the barrel. This was an extremely powerful and accurate gun and could kill any allied vehicle at well over 1000 meters. The gun recoil guard is shown in the lowered position; it had no catch bag below for spent shells. With the recoil guard raised, the spent shells were ejected back to hit the rear vertical extension of the guard and then just rolled off and onto the floor. Recall that two loaders took turns servicing the gun and retrieving ammo from a ready rack under the gun mount and from additional racks we have seen on the sides of the hull. The breech is a semi-automatic vertical falling wedge type and the actuating handle is on the right side of the ring.

Picture 4: Here is the right rear corner of the superstructure, looking very similar to the left side we saw earlier. The machine pistol port is visible to the far right and the L-shaped

bracket for the MP is next to it, including the clip at the top of the bracket for holding the end of the MP gun barrel. On the side wall is another 8.8cm ammo rack, the rounds again stored two deep in the rack and tip down into wooden blocks on the floor. Like the ammo brackets on the other side of the hull, the rounds here were held in place by leather straps, most of them now gone. Notice the second pistol port plug behind the rack (just like the other side), in this case the C retaining clip is partially off the plug and the clip is hanging out with its locking bolt fully retracted at the top. A typical German AFV radio connect box is above the rack, presumably used by the loader on this side of the gun. It has been said many times that the debut of the Ferdinand on the Kursk battlefield during "Operation Citadel" was a disaster for the vehicles and crews. I disagree. Consider this-- the Ferdinands that were available at that time were formed into the 656 Regiment and included a total of 38 vehicles, with 14 others held in reserve. By July 27, 1943, while fighting along the north wing of attack, these Ferdinands were reported to have destroyed at least 502 enemy tanks of all types, 20 antitank guns, and 100 guns of other types. The vehicles then continued on to fight at the Nikopol bridgehead and in the big bend of the Dniepr, destroying an additional 200 enemy tanks before being withdrawn to Germany for factory overhauling (to become Elefants). Even with an attrition rate of over half the original Ferdinand force of 38 vehicles, that is still a spectacular record for any new AFV.

Pict ure 5: The loade r's had their own hatch in the left rear corn er of the super struc ture roof, and this is how it appears from inside. It is a two-part hatch that opens out on hinges-- the long bar you see is attached to one of the hatch halves. If it is turned, it will release that one side to open up which then will release the second side. This double hatch and the commander's cupola hatch were the only roof openings the fighting compartment crew could use to enter or exit the vehicle and it was not enough for the typical six-man crew.

The object at the upper right corner of the photo is the only roof fan. The other object just below the fan is one of the two brackets that held the internal travel lock for the gun, which happens to be missing in this vehicle (at least it is not mounted to the ceiling). The travel lock augmented the external gun crutch outside, and the lock inside hung down from these two hinges on the ceiling to attach to the top of the 8.8cm gun with a steel pin. Partly visible to the left is one of the rear viewing ports, the covers simply hinged out to allow a view in that direction. The other objects on the left wall we have seen before and include the recoil cylinder hose bracket and an interior tube light.

Pictur e 6: Turnin g to look forwar d along the right superst ructure wall we see the comma nder's directi on comm unicati on device and handle, this apparatus being a way to communicate steering commands to the driver when the radio was not working properly. The commander pushed the lever to any of a number of positions and this information was relayed down to the driver at the front of the hull. The commander's radio connect box is to the lower left of the crank and the large stowage box further forward is for radio gear, perhaps including spare tubes and replacement parts. I don't know why it was mounted here instead of in the bow with the radio operator, unless it was also used for other stowed gear. Keep in mind that this particular Elefant may have been a command vehicle and an extra radio set or two may have been mounted here in the fighting compartment, which would help explain the extra antenna bracket on the back wall of the superstructure. On the front wall (to our left) is the same large attachment plate with brackets for two breathing tubes and gas masks. The Germans typically did not mount equipment brackets directly to an armored surface, but rather to plates or strips of metal that were then shock mounted to the armor plate. This was a precaution against equipment flying around the compartment if the armor was hit, as the brackets would absorb some of the


Picture 7: A slightly better photo of the same area shows that the labeling on the radio storage box is still legible (Funk=Radio). The two sets of air cleaners for this right side engine are under the storage box, and once again a large hose leads from their mount down through the supporting box to the right Maybach engine hidden below. Recall that each gasoline engine operates one of the two generators up front, which in turn supplied the electricity for the electric motors in the rear, which were actually the power for the vehicle. Once again I would like to express my thanks to Ron Woodward for sharing his photographs of the Aberdeen vehicle with us. If you have additional reference material concerning the interior of this vehicle that you would like to share, I would like to hear from you. Sometimes that one image adds another piece of the puzzle for understanding how the interior of a fighting vehicle functioned and how the crew managed the equipment inside. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Panzerkampfwagen, "Maus", Part 1, Revised 10/10/01

Picture 1: This is the first of a four part series on the German Superheavy Tank, known as "Maus". In these first two parts we will examine the hull, and in the last two we will take a close look at the proposed turret interior. Each web page of this study contains many a number of large images in order to best illustrate what little detail we know of this very large vehicle. The pages will probably be slow to load, but the pictures will be worth the wait. Serious consideration for the design and production of a 100-ton panzer was begun at the upper levels of the German military establishment in June of 1942. Talks between Hitler, Reichsminister Albert Speer, and Dr. Ferdinand Porsche determined the early specifications for the new tank. Because Porsche was at that time still President of the Panzer Kommission, he was very influential in both tank design and engineering circles. In subsequent planning meetings the general specifications for the vehicle were worked out- the tank was to be a thickly armored and slow moving "mobile fortress", armed with either a 12.8cm L/55 or 15cm L/38 gun, along with a 7.5cm KwK L/36, in a fully rotating turret. The drive was to be one of Porsche's gasoline-electric types that he and his engineers had been experimenting with for a number of years. The image references we will be using for these four pages include design and production drawings, operator's manual illustrations, and a few factory photographs. Since the vehicle design only advanced to the prototype stage, it is difficult, actually impossible, to state exactly what the interior of the Maus would have looked like if it had reached full production. This particular concept drawing illustrates the general internal plan for the first Krupp manufactured hull, in this case shown with the turret that was proposed at that time. The AFV was to be powered by two large electric motors (located at the rear of the tank) with electrical power for them produced by a

generator located under the turret. In order to produce the electricity, the generator was turned by either a gasoline or a diesel internal combustion engine, seen here mounted just forward of the generator. The large engine with its associated water cooling equipment occupied most of the space between the turret ring and the driver's area at the front of the hull.

Picture 2: If we enlarge this concept drawing, we can begin to identify some of the componen ts in the bow of the hull. In one of the few contemporary German tank design traditions that Dr. Porsche DID follow with his super tank, the vehicle driver sat on the left side of the bow, and a radio operator sat to his right. In this image we are looking across the hull to the right wall, and we see the radio equipment cases and supporting rack at the operator's right. This equipment would most likely include the typical German tank radio sets of the time, a Fu 5, or perhaps even a Fu 5 and Fu 8 if this was a command vehicle. The radio operator's seat was located a bit farther forward and higher than the driver's. Since the driver's view forward was restricted to one non-rotating periscope, it was necessary during driving trials to raise the driver with additional seat cushions so he could steer with his head out of his over-head hatch. An elevating seat mechanism was eventually added in both prototype hulls at this position, probably designed very much like the one in the Ferdinand/Elefant tank destroyer (Type 101) seen elsewhere in AFV INTERIORS. The Maus was steered with normal looking steering levers, but as with Dr. Porsche's Type 101 tank, they were mechanically attached to a non-standard hydropneumatic assisted electric braking system located at the rear of the tank. Some of the fire extinguisher cylinders are seen in the bow area on this left wall, up against the bow armor plates. The transmission was also electrically controlled and buttons and levers were used to change between the two-speed gearing at the transmission, located between the two electric motors at the drive sprockets. German test reports during trials of the first prototype hull indicated the vehicle could turn in a circle of less than 15 meters, with both tracks still turning in the same direction. But, the Maus prototype hull could also turn in place (pivot steer) by running one track forward and the other in reverse. The engine powering the electric generator is seen here directly behind the driver's firewall bulkhead and there is a large access hatch in this firewall allowing repairs and adjustments to the front of the engine. The engine in the first prototype vehicle (Maus 1)

was a modified V-12 gasoline aircraft engine, and after its modification for the Maus the engine was named "Daimler-Benz 509". It produced 1080HP and was an inverted design, where the V of the cylinders was placed on the bottom. The second hull (Maus 2) had, instead, an M-B 517 diesel engine installed, this time mounted in the normal "cylinders up" position. In this sketch of the proposed Maus 1 hull, you can see the original D-B 509 engine and two large internal fuel tanks located up on the sponsons (next to the driver and radio operator areas), but separated from them by an armored wall.

Picture 3: According to copies of original design drawings that were sent to us by Steve Tegner from South Africa, there were two large fixed fire extinguishers located in the driver's compartment, strapped to the sponson wall next to the radio operator. Here we have two views of this general area; the top drawing is a side view and the bottom drawing shows the same area from above. Although the drawing is very light, you can still follow the hose lines from both cylinders as they lead to a common valve on the sponson along side the tanks, and then down to the firewall behind. From a junction valve at the firewall hoses continue along both walls of the engine compartment, and spray nozzles are located here and there, fairly evenly spaced, along both walls of the compartment. These hose lines are only a couple of inches off the compartment floor, and the nozzles are aimed down at an angle toward the floor. Although the original sketch is almost illegible, you can make out the letters CO2 before the German word for fire extinguisher ("Loschmittelflasche"). The smaller cylinder, just forward of the two fixed CO2 cylinders, is a typical portable "ETH" chemical extinguisher as you often see on/in German WWII AFVs, here stowed on the sponson wall with the typical clamp device. Just for reference sakes, the automatic fixed extinguisher system in the Panther tank used carbon chlorine bromine (CB). I suspect that engine fires were not as prevalent with the Maus diesel engine configurations than with the typical German gasoline Maybach engines used in the war, and that may explain why they decided to use CO2 as

the extinguishing chemical in the Maus.

Picture 4: A similar drawing, but for the driver's side of the compartment, shows what appears to be a large electrical fuse panel to the left of his seat. Notice that the steering levers on either side of the seat are connected to levers that rise to end in the panel, probably to an electrical rheostat for controlling speed of the electric motors at the back of the hull. The driver's seat is also shown with a simple lever mechanism for elevating it as we mentioned earlier. An over-head view of the same electrical boxes is shown below the side elevation drawing.

Picture 5: Unfortunately, at this time I know of only one photograph of the driver/radio operator's compartment at the front of the Maus, and this is it. The photo was sent to us also by Steve Tegner and it is a beauty. With the central over-head armor panel removed, we can see down into the driver's and radio operator's positions, and both their seats are clearly visible-- the driver's at the left and the radio operator's to the right. Both steering levers can be seen on either side of the driver's seat, and the round emergency escape hatch on the floor is situated in front of the radio operator. Both of the fixed fire extinguisher bottles (that we saw in the earlier sketch) are seen mounted on the sponson wall in front of the radio operator, and even the driver's foot pedals are visible. To the right of the radio operator is the typical type of German radio rack as seen in many AFVs of this period, but the radios have been removed. The radio control box used by the operator to direct and control radio communications among the crew is still attached to the track sponson under the rack, and at least one of the darker dynamos is seen in its rack on the rear bulkhead, behind the operator. Some of the driver's seat mechanism that enabled it to raise or lower is also visible, just behind the seat, and it appears very similar to what we have seen in the Ferdinand/Elefant self-propelled gun. Notice that the paint on the floor and sponson walls is fairly dark, probably either the original primer red lead, or the typical German green gray interior floor paint. Notice that there are double sets of steering levers-- longer ones angling out forward and shorter thicker ones angling almost directly upward. These shorter levers seem to be the ones connected to the control panel to the left of the driver and were probably the electrical speed controls we mentioned earlier. I wonder if the longer levers were backup mechanical brake levers, or perhaps just the mechanical parking brakes?

Picture 6: This is a design drawing of the SiemensSchuckert (Berlin) LK 1000/12-2000 electric generator. It was a 6pole generator and was cooled by forced air via two cooling ducts on either side of the unit that you can see along the hull floor. These ducts emptied into the rear compartment containing the two electric motors, which were also manufactured by the same company. The two loops on top of the large duplex electric generator were used for lifting the unit in and out of the tank through the engine deck hatches just forward of the turret.

Picture 7: The gasoline DaimlerBenz engine was to be attached through an intermedia ry drive with a toothed clutch directly to the generator. However, the Maus 2 hull electric generator was actually powered by a motor boat diesel engine. The new air-cooled diesel power plant that was originally envisioned in the original plan by Dr. Porsche was not ready in time, so a modified motor boat diesel was used instead (M-B 517). The turret has a full basket with a two tier floor and included large hatches for both retrieving ammo stored down in the hull and servicing the generator and associated equipment under the basket. The artist has also drawn the large compressed air cylinder in the forward section of the turret basket which I believe stored compressed air to blow gasses out of the gun's barrel after firing. You will find a number of names for the Maus tank project, including "Mammut", "Porsche VK 100.01", "Typ 205", "Maeuschen", "Ratte", and finally "Maus", first used in February of '43. For some reason, Maus stuck and this is the name found in most official German documents to the end of the war.

Picture 8: This concept drawing provides us an over-head view with some additional information about the possible interior of this unusual AFV. The driver's and radio operator's seats are clearly drawn, as is a circular hull belly escape hatch just forward of the radio operator's position. The twin fuel tanks are up on the sponsons to the sides of this area (a bulkhead separates the tanks and the crew) and their filling caps are seen at the rear end of each. The large D-B engine takes up most of the room behind the driver's compartment and the drawing shows the radiators and fans to either side of the engine. Flanking the generator are storage racks for the two-part main ammo (projectile and charge shell) and on the right is an auxiliary generator to electrically charge the batteries and run some of the accessory equipment. The vehicle batteries are on the right sponson behind the auxiliary generator, and additional ammo storage is found behind the batteries. The electric motors are now clearer at the rear of the AFV, attached via a geared electric transmission to the drive shafts of the drive sprockets.

Picture 9: A closer view of the bow of the Maus shows the radio operator's equipmen t on a shelf to his right and the filler caps for the 825 liter fuel tanks

on their top rear side. Twin fans on each side are driven from two power take-offs at the rear of the gasoline engine and forced air from louvered vents on the hull deck are forced through the large radiators by the fans, cooling the water flowing through the engine. In this sketch there seem to be five filler/access caps along the top of each radiator stack. On the left side of the engine (bottom of the sketch) the artist has drawn the exhaust manifold crossing behind the radiators/fans to a long muffler, which then released the exhaust up a central exhaust pipe to the upper deck and out the vehicle. The auxiliary electrical generator is a small 2-cylinder 8hp gasoline engine, and is seen here to the right of the main power generator. It was included in the design to provide pressurized air for the crew compartment during snorkeling under water, heat the crew areas, filter out poison gas, and keep the batteries charged. The auxiliary motor has its own exhaust pipe and muffler, shown as the cylinder to its right (above in this drawing). The D-B V-12 engine is connected to the primary electrical generator by a clutch housing seen as a funnel shape between the two components. This is the same general location where the power take-off shafts leave for the radiator fans. Once again, some of the two-piece ammo is stored along the top of the left sponson and the batteries are found on top of the right one. It must have been difficult for the loader to retrieve ammo stored under the turret basket, even with the large access hatches on the basket floor. This concludes Part 1. Part 2 will continue our examination of the hull, and Parts 3 and 4 will take us up into the turret. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Panzerkampfwagen, "Maus", Part 2, Revised 11/11/00

Picture 1: A cross section drawing looking forward through the hull provides this view of the forward midsection of the Maus. At the right we see a section through the driver's seat area including the forward mounted gas tanks, each rounded and separated from the crew by a thin steel bulkhead. A large engine air filter is shown on this right side, next to the filler neck of the fuel tank, and the filtered air is then ducted directly to the engine. On the left side of the drawing is a hull cross section taken further back in the hull, through the radiators and fans, showing the power take-off from the engine rear to the fan drives. Exhaust is collected on both sides of the engine through manifolds and is then piped under the radiators/fans to mufflers on the sponsons, mounted along both hull sides. From there the exhaust travels up an exhaust stack to the hull deck and out the vehicle. Notice again the inverted V of this aircraft engine design, typically used as a powerful and streamlined bomber/fighter power plant. The extreme thickness of the hull side armor plates (200mm) is also apparent in this sketch.

Picture 2: As I mentioned before, the gasoline engine fitted into Maus 1 was modified from an aircraft design- one of the D-B 600 series very much like the one shown here. The supercharger at the rear of this aircraft engine was removed for the Maus, the compression ratio and boost were reduced. The reason aircraft-type engines are found so frequently in tanks of WWII vintage is that they had been specifically designed from the start to be light weight, powerful, and yet

compact... just what tank designers needed at that time. Aircraft engines were also fairly reliable, a trait that proved important in tank applications where vehicles were driven hard and servicing was difficult. It has been reported that the D-B motor in the Maus was a modified D-B 603, but I have seen no original documents indicating more than the engineers modified one of the D-B 600 series engines. By the way, these aircraft engines were used in the Heinkel He 111/112 and Messerschmitt Me 109/119, as well as Dornier Do 1 and 215 bombers. There were over 100,000 of these big engines produced in 1939/1940, so it is not surprising that one was modified to fit the first Maus hull. The narrow crankcase and two cylinder blocks are one-piece castings, with an angle of 60 degrees between the two inverted blocks. The aircraft version used direct fuel injection via a pump mounted below, between the cylinder blocks, and I believe the engine fitted into the Maus also was fuel injected. Two twelve cylinder magnetos on top of the rear crankcase supplied the electric spark. As of this time I do not know if the Maus engine was set up the same way or not, but I suspect it was, as Dr. Porsche was also in favor of magneto spark for his experimental air-cooled engine designs. Here you can see the wire harness, with leads to two spark plugs for each cylinder, on the side of the head. In this case the exhaust manifold has been removed and the ports are shown open below the plugs. The intake manifold is under the engine, on the other side of the cylinder heads. I do not know what other modifications might have been made to the aircraft engine for the Maus, but I suspect they were minimal.

Picture 3: Different references indicate there were to be ammo racks for either 32, 55 or 61 rounds of twopart 12.8cm KwK L/55gun ammo in the prototype AFV. Perhaps the conflicting information is based on which German order or specification you are reading. I don't think the exact numbers had been worked out sufficiently, before the program was cancelled, for us to determine exactly how many rounds were to be inside. If ammo was stacked in the hull two deep, and arranged as seen in this sketch, there could have been as many as 48 rounds stored on and around the sponsons, with additional storage up in the turret that we will see in Part 2. I suspect, given the large size of the charge cartridges, that they were stored only one or two deep on the sponsons, depending on the contours of the

turret basket, and that would add up to between 24 and 48 rounds in the hull. Two hundred rounds of 7.5cm ammo were also to have been carried, but where all this was stored in the vehicle is still a bit of a mystery. Most of these must have also been stored down in the hull; we will see in Part 2 that there is only one ready rack for 7.5cm ammo in the turret. Gearing from the twin electric motors allowed two forward speeds and two in reverse, and the speed of motor rotation was governed electrically, controlled by the driver's tiller steering levers and other controls up front. The Maus was designed to have a maximum top speed of 20kph and a range of 186km, and reports from test driving sessions indicate it was actually faster. Steering the monster was also reported to be relatively easy for the driver. The Maus crew of five included the driver, radio operator, commander, gunner, and loader. I suspect a second loader would have been used if the vehicles went into production and saw any length of combat. Once the turret was added and the vehicle combat loaded, the total weight was 189 tons, a far cry from the original plan of 100 tons. It was enough so the designers believed the tank could effectively face any Soviet "Super Tank" that might see action by the end of the war.

Picture 4: When the Allies captured the Krupp factory in Essen, the British found an unfinished Maus hull as well as a number of unfinished turrets. This IWM photo of the third hull shell in the bomb damaged factory provides us with more clues to the arrangement of the interior. In the bow (the end farthest from us) we see the rear of the central crew area for the driver and radio operator, with space on both sides on the sponsons for the large fuel tanks. Above the driver's seat location is an opening for his non-rotating periscope, and the round hole to the right of that is for a ventilating fan. The section of hull directly behind the driver/radio operator would house the D-B engine, with the smaller boxes at the forward side areas being the locations for the air filters on the right and fluid reservoirs on the left. The extreme width of the track sponsons is visible through the turret ring, allowing only a relatively thin corridor down the center of the tank between them. Keep in mind that the sponson area near the turret would be filled with ammo racks on this left side, and an auxiliary generator, batteries and more ammo racks on the right. The lower corridor between the sponsons would house the main electrical generator, with vent ducts along both sides leading to the rear compartment closest to us. The generator was probably plated over to protect it and provide an even surface from one sponson to the other. The twin electric motors would be mounted to either side in the rear compartment, and the center area housed the transmission gearing leading to the drive sprockets. Notice the slot openings in the bulkhead, forward of the motor locations, which were necessary for air cooling channels between the motor

compartment and the hull. Although it is pure speculation, I suspect the interior paint colors would be similar to that of other Panzers of this time. For the crew areas this would be light ivory (Elfenbein) on the side walls and ceiling, and probably the typical greenish gray paint would be found on the lower areas of the hull and floor. I suspect the Krupp assembly factory painted all the interior compartments red lead primer, which in this case is a fairly bright brick red. When they completed the assembly of the hull, Alkett would then have sprayed the red primer with ivory paint only in the crew areas and left the primer alone in the rest of the hull. As a rule, German panzer engine compartments were not over-painted in lighter shades of tan or white as the Allies did, but there were exceptions.

Picture 5: Another drawing from original production sketches for the Maus show a few more details that may, or may not, have been included in the two prototype hulls that were actually finished. The driver's belly escape hatch is shown at the left and access holes in the bulkhead to the engine compartment behind them are indicated. There is a long rectangular inspection hatch on the hull belly, under the engine, that probably provided access to the cylinder heads and other equipment along the bottom of the engine. The over-head supports for large louvers/gratings on the deck in this area are also shown. Back in the turret opening, we see panels covering the generator between the track sponsons, including what seems to be a hinged access hatch at the forward section and the turret electrical slip ring mounted in the center.

Picture 6: This is a photo from the Bundesarchive illustrating the detail around the fuel filler cap on the left forward section of the hull deck. The driver's area is at the top of the picture and a small section of the D-B engine is visible at the far upper right. The rear of both fuel tanks are held in place by a metal strap that passes around the tanks, just forward of the filler caps, and the front of the fuel tanks are secured by a large flange bolted to a support that is welded to the hull. Notice the paint in this area is fairly dark, and is probably the red lead primer mentioned before. To the right of the filler cap is the top of what appears to be an engine fluid reservoir, complete with filling caps. This container (whatever it is) is held in place by a simple metal strap with a quick release type latch. Behind the fluid tank, and to the lower right in the picture, is the front end of the left radiator; to take this picture the photographer would be standing on top of the grating over the dual fans. The exhaust pipe also exits up and out of the hull somewhere below us.

Picture 7: If you removed all the gratings and plates over the engine area at the front of the hull you would see this view, with the bow of the tank toward the top of the photo. At the upper left is the same area we saw in the previous picture, with the rear end of the left fuel tank and its filler, and the engine fluid reservoir. Below them on the left is the front end of the left radiator top filler plate, and the radiator fan drives/clutches (metallic) can be seen to the far left on this side, as well as the far right on the other side of the engine. Running down the center of the photo is the light colored air intake duct, originating at the top right from the air filter box and running the length of the engine to the bottom of the photo. I believe under the intake duct there are twin magnetos, but I can not be sure from this photo alone. By November of 1943, the production of further Maus hulls and turrets was officially canceled, due in no small part to the fact that there just were not enough resources available in the German manufacturing sector to support continued full-scale work on a vehicle of this size (ALKETT was also responsible or manufacturing StuG IIIs, as well as other Panzers). When the order for production to cease further manufacturing arrived, there had already been two completed hulls shipped from Krupp to the assembly factory at Altaerkisches Kettenwerk G.m.b.H. (ALKETT) for finishing and another one almost ready for shipping. Further test driving of the two hulls, and trials with turret weights and later the finished turret, continued off and on through 1944. The hulls were to have

been mated at ALKETT with their Krupp turrets, but only one was actually completed and placed on hull number 2 in June of '44 for a visit by Generaloberst Guderian. Much of the testing of the two prototypes (Fahrgestell) was actually done at Boeblingen. At the Krupp factory at the end of the war, the Allies found a third hull and a couple of unfinished turrets (including Number 2). These had all been put in storage by order of Wa Pruef 6 when production plans had been canceled. Our exploration of the Maus tank continues in Part 2 with the interior of the turret. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Panzerkampfwagen, "Maus", Part 3

Picture 1: This is the third of a four part series about the interior spaces of the experimental German Maus tank of WWII. In Part 1 and 2 we explored the inside of the hull and in this and the next section we will cover what we know about the turret interior. The design requirements for the Maus turret specified mounting either 12.8cm or 15cm main gun and a 7.5cm coaxial secondary weapon in a fully revolving turret. The turret was to have at least 220mm of armor protection on the front surfaces (250mm on the mantlet) and 200mm on the sides and rear. In addition, there was a pistol port required on each turret side, and a shell loading/ejection port (with a pistol port in its center) on the rear wall. The gunner was to use a rotating periscope as well as a direct view periscopic/telescopic sight, both exiting through the roof over his position. The commander also needed a rotating periscope because there was no requirement for a vision cupola. Dr. Porsche's and Krupp's designers went to work on the project in early 1942, and this preserved sketch of the general mechanical workings of the turret is one of their solutions to the turret requirements. The turret IS huge, its immense bulk being necessary to provide enough mass to contain and absorb the recoil of the large weapons. There is ample room in the turret bustle, due to its large size in order to attempt to balance the guns, and the bustle holds ammo racks for both 12.8cm and 7.5cm rounds.

In traditional German style, the gunner sits to the left of the weapons and the commander to the right. In this case, it was planned to have only one loader, handling the fixed rounds for both weapons (later the 12.8 ammo was changed to separate projectile/charge types). In practice this would have proved impossible, and at least one additional loader would have been required, regardless of the ammo being separate or fixed. Since the 7.5cm is directly in front of the commander, he could possibly assist loading this weapon, but that would take him away from his command position, something the German's knew could prove to be a disaster. In the end, this sketch closely predicted the actual turret setup, with only a few details differing from the completed turret we will be examining in the next few images. The ammo storage in the bustle was changed to accommodate two-part ammo stored in tubes, and the gunner's periscope was removed in favor of a small ranging periscope.

Picture 2: I have enlarged and cleaned a portion of the above drawing to show the details of the sighting equipment at the roof and front of the turret. The gunner's periscope is shown mounted in the roof over his position and was designed, like most German tank periscopes, to both rotate and pivot up and down, to provide the best possible view. After the first prototype turret armor plate was welded together, it was decided to eliminate the gunner's periscope, but keeping the duplicate at the commander's position. Instead of a periscope for the gunner, he was to receive a smaller ranging periscope, mounted in a new hole cut just forward of the old periscope's position. Even though the drawing is not accurate in this respect, the diagram is useful for understanding the commander's scope and its mounting. The gunner's sight is a unique T.W.Z.F.1 gun sight, which projects through its own exit in the turret roof. But, unlike the periscopes, the sight head has a protective conical cover. The T.W.Z.F.1 sight monocular eyepiece is mounted stationary in the turret, only the mirrored head elevates and depresses to keep pace with the guns in the mantlet. The gun sight provides the gunner with 3x magnification and a 10 degree field of view. The magnification is more powerful than sights found in other German tanks of the time because the range of the 12.8cm was greater, over 3500 meters (for instance, the Tiger I, with an 8.8cm gun, had a T.Z.F.9 sight with a magnification of only 2.5x). The rectangular graticule box is seen at the 90 degree turn of the sight tube. It is illuminated and has both horizontal and vertical adjustments. The sight picture consists of the standard system of a horizontal row of five triangles at 4-mil intervals, the center one providing the aiming point. Around the circumference of the sight window are the range

scales for the 12.8cm, 7.5cm, and MG weapons and the most common ammo types used by them. An adjustable browpad is provided above the eyepiece, and in this picture it can just be seen above the eyepiece, which is to the right of the hanging periscope. Notice the MG 34 mount forward of the gunner's position and the geared attachment of the MG securing bracket to the main gun mount.

Picture 3: This enlargement will provide a better understanding of the gun laying equipment. Gun elevation is by the vertical manual hand wheel only, via a gear reduction and rack system typical of most tank gun mounts of the time. The gun was well balanced in the mount and due to the gearing it was not difficult to elevate or depress the weapon. Turret rotation could be set in motion either by an electric motor mounted on the ring at the gunner's left, or by a horizontal hand wheel at the gunner's right. The electric motor for the traverse is shown ghosted on the floor of the basket and was controlled through a small gearbox for both Low and Hi speeds and the gears and speed control are seen forward of the motor. When in HI speed mode, the motor could completely traverse the turret in 16 seconds. Hand cranking this turret would have been an enormous job for one person, even with the gearing used by the Krupp designers, so a second removable "emergency" hand crank was also provided, angling out behind the left side of the gun mount. It was intended that when the electric motor was not working two men (gunner and loader) would rotate the turret by hand. When working properly, the general gun laying controls allowed the gunner to electric traverse in HI or LOW speed to the general location of the target, and then fine adjust with the hand wheel. The stacked traverse gears we see here will be enclosed in a steel gearbox case in the following pictures of the actual turret, and the electric turret traverse motor will be located closer to the turret ring. But overall, this sketch compares well with the actual completed prototype, and by closely examining these images you will better understand the complexity of the mechanical controls. Notice the full turret basket with two-tiered floor and recall that there are a number of hatches in the floor to allow both retrieval of ammo and maintenance of the generator and other equipment below.

Picture 4: The immense size of the turret is apparent in this photo taken looking through the empty mantlet toward the rear turret wall. The loading/ejection port is clear on the back wall, and the two pistol ports are also visible on both side turret walls. Once the turret was filled with equipment the bustle would have racks along both sides with the center section clear for access to the port and for storing personal equipment for the crew. Down below you can see the integral turret ring and floor, with large holes around the circumference. The ledge just in front of us serves as the mounting tray for the gun, while the mantlet would pivot on side trunions. This particular turret is one of the few found at the Krupp factory in Essen near the end of the war and was ready for fitting out with internal equipment. The massive armor plates were joined by interlocking their edges and by drilling, pinning and welding. The overall turret ring diameter of this monster is 9ft 7in.

Picture 5: An operator's manual was produced in July of '44 using the only operational Krupp turret, and these next few images are from that manual. This is the gunner's position at the left front of the turret, dominated by the huge breech of the 12.8cm weapon on our right with the breech block in the closed position. The gunner's seat is flanked by the small electric turret traverse hand wheel on his left, by the azimuth indicator, and the larger vertical elevation hand wheel on his right. A button on the elevation wheel fired the guns, but how the gunner switched from the 12.8cm to the 7.5cm weapon I do not know. This would only require a switch, but its location has eluded me at this point. The manual traverse hand wheel is directly in front of the gunner's seat, and the pistol port for this side of the turret is visible to the far left. Hanging next to the port is a sling seat in its stowed position. When used, one end would be hung on the hook seen to the right of the over-head hatch, forming a sling seat that must have been very uncomfortable over long periods of time. There are two handles for the hatch, the long one angling off to the right was the operating handle used to swing the hatch open, while the smaller T bar screw handle is a locking mechanism. Just forward of the hatch is the position for the gunner's periscope, which is not mounted in this view, the opening appears to be welded closed. Forward of that is the gun sight, hanging down from the ceiling. The eye surround is soft rubber and a forehead bump pad would be mounted over the eyepiece. The lever to change magnification is at the top of the eyepiece. Directly above the gun breech is a fan with control switch on a small control box to the right, and the twin recoil cylinders at each side of the top of the gun can be seen behind the breech. Notice the sheet metal protective guard that keeps the gunner away from the breech and shields him from possible blowback from the breech ring.

Picture 6: This is a slightly different view of the area around the gunner's electric traverse control, taken from over the gun recoil space. The small electric traverse hand wheel control is now clearer than the previous picture and the gunner's seat has been turned to the left with the back obscuring some of the manual traverse gear box cylinder. The collar shaft for the manual traverse wheel is attached directly to the gearbox and the wheel handle has a palm switch for disengaging a turret lock mechanism. In the lower center of the picture is the front shaft for the emergency traverse control, the actual crank handle is not mounted in this picture. Also in this area of the picture is a small radio connection box for the gunner. One of the turret roller brackets that allow the turret to traverse on the hull race is also seen near the gunner's radio connection box. The turret had three of these double rollers spaced around the ring. A unique aspect of the turret is a special lowering mechanisms used to seal the tank for deep water fording. The vehicle was designed to wade underwater and all openings in the armor were to be plugged before any aquatic adventuring. Since the turret ring is one of the most difficult areas to seal, the entire turret could be lowered onto a rubber gasket by turning a hand crank inserted into a special screw/geared lowering mechanism. There were a couple of these lowering gears around the turret ring, each located to the right of the large bearing rollers, and each one needed individual cranking to lower the entire turret onto the hull. The turret azimuth indicator is provided for the gunner and is a common piece of hardware in the turret. It shows the gunner at a glance the direction the turret is pointed in relation to the hull, and is geared to the hull to rotate its indicator needle as the turret revolves. A second identical indicator is mounted on the opposite side of the turret near the commander. Once again, the round side pistol port and seat sling are seen at the upper left in the photo. This concludes Part 3. The next and last section will continue our coverage of the Maus turret. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

German Heavy Panzerkampfwagen, "Maus", Part 4

Picture 1: This is the fourth of a four part series on the German Maus tank interior and here we will continue our exploration of this huge AFV up in the turret. This is a fascinating view of the same general area around the gunner's seat, but taken from under the breech of the 12.8cm weapon that is visible to the upper right. At the upper left is the gunner's seat, now rotated to face the gun breech and right turret wall. The seat support is mounted on a vertical tube welded to the floor and the seat may slide up and down on the tube for height adjustment, the control lever for this is seen just under the seat pan. Below the seat can be seen the emergency/auxiliary traverse drive shaft, leading to the right and crossing in front of the traverse gear box before joining it at a universal joint attachment. Notice the manual traverse shaft (the hand wheel is above and out of the picture) also joining the traverse gearbox at this same location. At the far left is the end of the cylindrical casing for the electric turret drive motor, the small control wheel and housing is out of the picture to the left. At the upper right in the photo is the elevation gear, which engages a toothed arch welded to the left side of the gun mount and seen just to the left of the gear. Down below the elevation gear is another view of the turret roller bracket and just visible in front of the bracket is the gunner's foot pedal to fire the coaxial MG 34 mounted to the left of the 12.8cm weapon. This is a simple mechanical cable attachment to the MG tray bracket and stepping on the pedal depresses a lever at the MG that pushes on the trigger to fire the gun.

Picture 2: We are back sitting next to the 12.8cm weapon again. The 12.8cm was an adaption of the same caliber anti-tank gun design, the Kanone 44, which was probably the best AT gun design of the war. The breech is a semiautomatic, horizontal, sliding block type, with operating handle on the right side and electric firing mechanism. Firing Pzgr.43 ammo, the gun could penetrate all enemy tank armor thicknesses out to over 3000 meters. The gun could also fire Sprgr 5151 L/5.0, which was probably originally a naval shell. Charge cases came in two varieties, either reduced or full charge. The propellant was enclosed in an artificial silk bag inside the brass or steel case, which was closed at the end with a waterproofed cardboard cap. Writing on the cap indicated either SPRGR for reduced charge or PZGR for full charge to remind loaders that armor-piercing rounds were to be fired only with full charge loads. Directly in front of us is the coaxial MG 34, the primary MG used in this position in German tanks during the war. The cable running up to the gun on the left is the firing cable we saw previously, and the alignment spindle and gearing can be seen on the right of the tray/bracket leading over to the gun mount. When the main gun was elevated, a geared reduction allowed the MG to also remain aligned. If the periscope was mounted in the roof we would see the bottom edge directly in front of us. We are also just a bit too low to see the gun sight, which is mounted on top of the slotted bracket to our right. The slot in the sight support bracket allows a alignment connecting rod to pass through from the gun mount to the sight, keeping its mirror aligned with the weapons in elevation. At the upper right is part of the left recoil cylinder for the 12.8cm gun and at the lower right is part of the elevation hand wheel. At the bottom of the photo is a portion of the manual traverse wheel as well.

Picture 3: We are now on the right side of the main gun and looking at the breech of the 7.5cm coaxial weapon. This was a semi-automatic vertical sliding breech Kw.K.44 L/36.5 gun, similar in many respects to other high velocity 7.5cm anti-tank guns in the German inventory. I believe it fired the same fixed one-piece ammo, which would include Pzgr Patr 39, Pzgr Patr 40, and Sprgr Patr 34. The hand lever for initially opening the gun breech for the first round is at the traditional right side of the breech, and the safety switch is seen also on this side, but near the top of the photo. Also seen up there is the breech attachment for the top recoil cylinder, a second is mounted at the bottom of the gun but not seen here. A recoil guard extends back from the right side of the mount and curves around the end of the breech about 30 inches from the rear face. A shell deflector shield is seen on this end and when in service, a canvas bag hanging under the recoil guard would catch the empty shells when ejected at recoil. At the right is the only 7.5cm shell storage rack I have found in the turret, this one holding 25 fixed rounds. A sheet metal guard retains the shells in the rack and is held in place by a large wing nut at the top corner. When the nut is removed, the guard can be lifted and also removed. At the left is the right recoil cylinder for the 12.8cm Kw.K. L/55 gun, and just this side of the cylinder is the small black box with a red mushroom button that is the gun's safety switch. At the bottom left corner you can just see the breech operating handle- in most tanks the rotating handle is painted black. Another turret roller bracket is at the lower right corner.

Picture 4: If we turn around and look straight back into the rear of the turret we will see this ammo rack arrangement. The rack is a combination type for storing both projectile and charges, the projectiles held in place by an end cap with wing nut, and the cartridge charges held by simple wing nut retainers. The caps over the ends of the projectile storage tubes are held closed by the wing nuts screwed on long threaded shafts that run the length of the tube. Once the wing nuts are loosened a few turns, the cap can be rotated. When the shaft is pulled toward you the projectile partially emerges and it can then be easily removed. This rack appears to hold 12 charges and seven projectiles, and an identical mirror image rack is mounted on the left side of the bustle. This would allow a "ready round" total of 24 charges and 14 projectiles to be immediately available to the loader to shove into the massive breech, loading first the projectile and then the charge. Notice the spent shell ejection port in the back wall, and the small round pistol port in the center. A retaining chain held the plug when the port was opened and pushed outside. Although a MG 34 could be pointed out any one of the three pistol ports in the Maus turret walls, the most likely weapon to be used would have been a crew-carried MP 40.

Picture 5: The Maschine npistole (MP) 40 was probably one of the best submachi ne gun designs produced in WWII, and fit the needs of the German army perfectly. Designed and manufactured by Erma-Werke at Erfurt (not Hugo Schmeisser) as an improvement

over their MP 38, the MP 40 was a cheaper and simpler gun to manufacture and was highly prized by the German soldier, as well as Allied troops lucky enough to come across one. With a folding butt and a vertical magazine clip, the gun was handy in tight places and a natural for tank crews. You will often find a storage bracket for an MP 38/40 in German WWII AFVs, typically seen as two lengths of metal channel, welded in an L shape. The longer piece is welded in a vertical position and the second length is horizontal and welded to the bottom of the first. With the butt folded, the gun would fit into the L bracket perfectly and was held in place by a leather strap, the gun often stored in a protective canvas bag. Each crew member would have a bracket close to his position and although I have not seen these brackets in the interior Maus photos I have examined, I suspect they were there just the same. The MP 40 weighs 4.54kg (8.87lb) and fires 9mm (0.354in) rounds at a rate of 500/minute from its 32 round magazine.

Picture 6: This is our last image from the Maus turret manual produced by Krupp using the only finished turret as the model. This is the view looking up at the roof, toward the commander's hatch on the right of the turret. The long control handle for these round hatches is better seen here than previously, and the locking T bar handle is at the top right of the photo. Notice that in this particular turret, the interior of the hatch is painted the same ivory as the rest of the interior, not the exterior paint color which would probably be Dunkelgelb, or dark yellow. German hatch interiors were generally painted the same color as the primary exterior paint by the final assembly factory, but many photos of various AFVs in the field show the light Elfenbein on the inside surfaces of hatches, from Pz I tanks to Panthers. Just forward of the hatch is the black hanging bracket for the rotating periscope, mounted so far to the edge of the roof that a scalloped section of the side wall had to be removed for the periscope mount to fit properly. The hanging webbed sling seat is again seen in the stowed position, but the attaching bracket on the left can be clearly viewed here and you can easily image the seat extended under the hatch opening. To the left of the periscope mount is a radio connection box for the commanders headphones and throat mike. Just to the left of that, on the roof, is an emergency buzzer/horn with a control button in the small box next to it, used to warn the crew to

evacuate the vehicle in an emergency situation. Further back toward us is the forward roof ventilation fan; another one is located in-line back over the rear of the turret bustle. The on/off switch for the fan is located next to it in the box seen here. Although not visible in this picture, just behind the rear fan is a close defense weapon called a "Nahverteidigungswaffe". This is a small mortar, mounted at an angle that could rotate 360 degrees and launch any of a number of anti-personnel or smoke rounds out the top of the turret.

Picture 7: The close defense mortar was an ingenious idea and replaced most of the external smoke grenade launchers mounted on the turrets of German tanks by mid WWII. If hit by small arms fire or shrapnel, external launchers could be damaged and malfunction, or worse yet, the smoke bomb could explode while still in the launcher. The resulting smoke surrounded the vehicle and was then sucked into the tank by its powerful ventilating fans. Reports show that many times either this rendered the crew unconscious, or on occasion suffocated them to death. In comparison, the launching tube for the close in defense weapon was inside the AFV, providing protection for the weapon as well as the crew during loading. The breech was unlocked and opened by turning the large knob handle on the side. A round was then loaded into the tube, and the breech then closed and locked. Once the ring was pulled on the end of the striker, the weapon was rotated to the desired direction and the round fired by pulling the small trigger seen here between the breech opening knob and the striker ring, part way around the tube from our view point. A number of smoke and anti-personnel bombs (S-Mines) could be lobbed a short distance from the tank and could be most effective when facing a massed infantry attack. Most of the larger German AFVs had these weapons on their vehicle roofs by the end of 1943.

Picture 8: Photograp hic evidence indicates that there were only two prototype Maus hulls finished

for road trials, one (hull 2) mounting the only finished turret that we have examined here, and the other (hull 1) mounting only a weight to simulate the turret. Both vehicles were reported to be at Kummersdorf for storage at the end of the war and close examination of this Soviet photo identifies the vehicle as hull 2 with the turret blown off. In the Kubinka Museum, near Moscow, in Russia, there is a Maus that appears to have this same turret. The hull of the museum vehicle is not this one though, but appears to be the first prototype hull (with the gasoline engine). The best current theory is that at least one of the prototype vehicles was temporarily operational and then blown/destroyed, perhaps in battle with the Russians at Kummersdorf or by the Germans to keep the vehicle from falling into Russian hands. Either way, the victorious Soviets then took the turret from this wreck and mated it with the intact prototype hull 1 they also found, to create the display vehicle seen in Kubinka today. This would also explain the badly damaged turret interior of the Kubinka vehicle, where much of the equipment is missing or heavily damaged, as if there was a powerful internal explosion. Notice in the picture that the entire right hull plate has been blown off the tank and lays on the ground. Imagine the power of the explosion to have lifted the 50ton turret and tossed it off the side of the hull. The right fuel cell is partially blown out of the sponson, and part of the right electric drive motor can still be seen behind the turret, at the far left. Also notice that the turret hatches have been lost in the explosion and that the gunner's rotating periscope was previously removed and the opening welded closed, as we saw earlier in the manual illustrations of the gunner's position. The smaller ranging periscope hole is seen near the old periscope location. Although it had been suspected for many years by some researchers, the fact an actual Maus still existed in Kubinka was only confirmed in the military press in the last 10 years or so. Although it seems like old news today, just a few years ago most military authors declared these unusual prototype tanks to have been scrapped. Congratulations to the Russians for hauling this huge hunk of AFV history back to the Soviet Union and preserving it for study. The lone preserved Maus provides a fascinating look into the minds of the tank designers that created one of the most amazing and powerful AFVs of World War II. I would like to express my thanks to Steve Tegner for his assistance with this project. Steve has assisted with a number of our vehicle studies in AFV INTERIORS and his support is always appreciated. Should you have any additional information about the interior of this vehicle I would enjoy hearing from you. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet BT-7 Fast Tank

Picture 1: The BT ("Bystrokhodniy Tank"- Fast Tank) series of tanks were developed in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. The Soviets had received two examples of Mr. J. Walter Christie's convertible tank after Christie had been turned down by the US Army, and the Soviets were very impressed with the novel tanks abilities. The Red Army (RKKA) decided to copy the Christie design and add a few improvements, calling the resulting tank a fast tank due to its excellent speed performance. The early BTs were built at the Kharkov Locomotive Factory Nr. 183 until 1936, when the improved BT-7 was produced. This final model, along with its variants, brought the total production of BTs to over 7,000 vehicles. This made the BT series the primary tank used by the mechanized troops. At the time, its more numerous counterpart, the T-26, was used by infantry divisions for direct fire support. This is a photo of an early BT-7-1, this one being a leader's tank (sometimes called BT-7TU) equipped with a 71-TK radio and frame antenna. Most BT-7 tanks did not have radios.

Picture 2: The Cristie design had a number of interesting design quirks, one of which was its convertible wheeled/tracked design. During the Great War, many tanks broke down during their long approach marches to the start line, mechanically dying before they were even committed to action. The automotive engineer Mr. Christie decided to attempt to solve this problem in the 1920's by designing a vehicle that could travel at speed on roads without its tracks by running on rubber-tired wheels. Then when the tanks reached the start line, the vehicles could be converted to cross country use by placing tracks around the wheels and modifying the drive system. Mr. Christie's ideas gradually evolved into the Medium Tank M1931, which used a suspension of four large independently sprung road wheels on each side of the chassis. Each wheel was attached to a pivoting arm, supported by a large coil spring. The spring allowed vertical wheel movement, and each wheel was fitted with dual solid rubber tires to dampen vibration and noise. These were the two vehicle hulls purchased by the Soviets and copied to make their initial BT-2 tanks. The photo shows a late BT-7-2, identified by the larger turret with sloped armor sides.

Picture 3: When operating on wheels, power was transmitted by a chain drive from the rear drive sprockets to the two rear road wheels, and I believe the chain drive system was maintained on the Soviet BT design. The driver turned the vehicle by using a steering wheel that turned the first set of forward road wheels (note that the fist road wheels on each side have a different hub than the other three behind themyou can see this in some side view photos on this page). When the tracks were installed, a large guide tongue on the inside of alternate track shoes engaged rollers between the two halves of the rear drive sprocket, the track guides then passing between the dual road wheel tires as they moved. When running on tracks, the driver steered the vehicle in the normal way you would drive a tank, via steering levers/track brakes. The first BT2 tanks were gradually improved by the Soviets to fit their needs, first to BT-3 and BT-4 with different armament types, and then to BT-5 and BT-7 models with larger guns and necessarily larger turrets. The BT-5 tanks had a new and larger turret (although still vertical sided) to accommodate a more powerful 45mm M-1932 tank gun, installed with a coax MG in the mantlet. The tank engine was also improved from the original copied V-12 Liberty that had been in the BT series. The new engine was called the M-5 Liberty, and the BT5 was placed into service at the end of 1932, remaining in service up to 1941. The new turret for the BT-5 was similar to the one used on the T-26B light tank. Utilizing a large turret bustle behind the turret helped balance the heavier 45mm gun and provided additional storage space inside. The improved BT-7 began its manufacture run in 1935 and included another improved V-12 Liberty engine, this time named the M-17T. It

developed around 450hp at 1,750rpm and was the direct forerunner of the famous Soviet V2 diesel. Early BT-7 production models utilized the older cylindrical turret of the BT-5 series, but later versions used a modified turret with sloping walls. The BT-7 tanks used the same 45mm M-1932 L/46 gun that had been introduced with the BT-5, although a few tanks are said to have been modified to carry a 76mm weapon. This excellent photo from the Tank Museum shows an early BT-7-1, like the one in Picture 1 above, with the vertical sided turret. Note that a frame aerial has been removed from around the top of the turret. The tank is shown in the wheeled operation mode, with the driver's and turret access hatches opened. Notice also that the front set of double-tired road wheels has been turned slightly to the vehicle's right. Normally when the tracks were not in use, they were stowed on top of the right track guard. They are missing on this vehicle which is probably an evaluation vehicle provided to the British during the early years of the war.

Picture 4: A cross sectional view of the BT-7-1 interior locates many of the main internal components and the crew areas. The driver seat (9) is centered in the pointed bow, his steering wheel (6) directly in front and steering levers (4) to either side of the seat, here shown in their forward position. The transmission gearshift (5) is to his right and the viewing slit (7) directly in front of his face is protected with a glass block (8). Directly behind the driver is the two-man turret with a gunner and loader; their seats (18) hung from the turret ring and rotating with it. The main gun for the BT-5 and BT-7 was the 45mm L/46 anti tank gun utilizing a coaxial DT MG. Although they were well armed and usually outmatched their opponents, the Soviets were not happy with the BT-7 tank's performance in Spain, Manchuria and Finland, mostly due to the its thin armor and two-man turret design. This particular vehicle is a command tank with radio (19), sometimes called a BT-7-1V, and the antenna frame (35) can be seen wrapping around the top of the turret, the typical location at this time. Inside the turret, the gun was elevated by a hand crank (15) and

also rotated manually. Most of the main gun 45mm ammunition (16) was stowed pointdown in racks along the hull walls, and the coax DT machine gun was fired via a pedal on a small platform (17) at the gunner's feet. The gunner's periscope (12) has been included in the drawing mounted up on the roof, as well as the turret ventilating cover (13). The engine is a copy of an American V-12 Liberty design, and is the forerunner of the famous V2 that will later be installed in the T-34. In its diesel form, this engine will become the primary tank engine for the Soviet Union for decades to come. Behind the engine is the transmission and sprocket drive (28), with the fuel tanks at the very rear. Note the exhaust pipes curving up and exiting the rear deck directly. The hull rear was a redesign of the BT-5 and is easily picked out from the rear in photos. The BT-5 still utilized a large can muffler, horizontally mounted on the back plate and clearly seen in photos. Most of the modifications of the rear of the BT-7 was to provide additional fuel capacity, as you see here.

Picture 5: A year or two ago, Mr. Igor Nesterov's photos of a BT-7 Model 1935 that he photographed in Kubinka in September of 2001 became available for our use to explore the inside of the BT-7. It has taken me some time to get this page written, but I am happy to present his excellent photos for you here. This is the front of the vehicle, showing the driver's position and some of the fittings and details of this area. Note that the driver's hatches are slightly off set to the driver's left, but the viewing slit on the front cover is about centered on the vehicle. The lower access plate is hinged at the bottom, but the upper plate is hinged at the top, and is provided with a control handle lever that disappears into the vehicle above the driver's head. The front fenders of the

BT-7 tanks were very large, and provided not only for mud and dust control, but had to be wide enough for the wheels to be covered when turned during road travel.

Picture 6: With the driver's viewing hatch open, we have this view of the inside detail. The viewing block holder is clear, along with the forehead pad surrounding the block frame. The driver's hatch handle is to our right, and note that it can be pivoted to the side when closed to keep from interfering with the driver. The Soviets originally planned to use the BT as a fast exploitation tank massed in large numbers. But a change in Russian tactics just before the start of WWII doomed the fast and maneuverable tank to infantry support. When committed in small numbers the Germans easily defeated it, with hundreds of BTs destroyed or captured in some battles.

Picture 7: Once both of the forward driver's hatches are opened we have an unobstructed view of the equipment surrounding his position. The steering wheel could be removed when operating on tracks, and you can see it in its stowed position at the lower right. One of the track steering levers is visible near the wheel, but the other is out of view to our left. A couple of instrument panels are visible, attached to the left hull wall, but I do not know if these are originals. Machine gun magazine holders are stacked both horizontally and vertically on the far side of the instrument panels, and are the typical type to hold DT MG drum magazines. The long horizontal cylinder under the MG magazine racks is the cover for the control rod that turns the front set of road wheels when traveling on paved surfaces. The front end of the control rod protrudes out the side of the hull and attaches to a knuckle to the front road wheel. The gray hand pump attached to the floor next to the seat is used to pressurize the fuel tanks to force fuel to the fuel feed pump. A pipe leads from this hand pump to the fuel air cock, located in the fuel line. There is also a pressurized air system for assisting the brakes and for starting the V-12 engine in cold weather, but this system is separate and utilizes compressed air cylinders. Both the air/fuel pump and the pressurized air cylinders were also used in the later T-34 and other Russian WWII tanks.

Picture 8: A similar view of the left side of the driver's area shows the layout for the main gun ammo rack on the left hull wall. This picture also provides a clearer view of the two instrument panels, the lower one apparently for engine gages and the upper one an electrical panel with fuses and lighting switches. At the upper edge of the photo above the panels is a radio connection box, probably for the driver, and at the left edge of the photo is one of the turret seats hanging from the turret ring. At the upper left corner of the photo is the gun elevation crank. The early BT tanks were armed with only machine guns, and utilized smaller turrets. When the 37mm M-1930 gun was introduced, a DT MG was retained in the turret, but it was ball mounted to the right of the main gun and was moved independently. In early photos of BT tanks you can often see the ball mount if you have a view of the front or right side of the small turret. When the 45mm gun was introduced in the larger turret, the DT MG was mounted coaxially with the main gun, and the ball mount discarded.

Picture 9: If we look straight down into the driver's compartment we have this view of his seat and controls. The right steering lever is off to our left and the base for the left lever is also visible, off to the far right. At the lower edge of the photo is the connection for the steering wheel and shaft, when installed. The wheel shaft appears to insert into the stub tubing, and is held in place by a pin kept handy by a small chain. To either side of the steering wheel base are simple pedals for clutch on our right and accelerator to our left (?), and off to our far left is the tall gearshift lever.

Picture 10: Our last interior image from this BT-7 shows the rear of the hull looking back from the driver's position

to the engine compartment. Both upper and lower engine access hatches have been removed, and the front of the mighty aero V-12 is visible. Note that both small turret seats are now visible hanging on their support tubes, and also the relatively small size of the turret ring. The elevation hand crank for the main gun is again visible, and some padding acting as back rests for the turret seats has been added at the back of the turret ring. The racks for main gun rounds are visible along both sides of the hull now, and the small size of the rounds is evident by the size of the retaining clips on these racks. Both the steering cylinders are now visible at the bottom of the hull walls, and the driver's relatively comfortable seat back is also visible. Keep in mind that the Christie tank's double hull construction keeps us from seeing the suspension springs that are housed between the hull walls, making the interior appear relatively uncluttered. But it also reduces the interior hull width to the size of the turret ring, which in this case was only 37in.

Picture 11: The images sent to us were clear enough that I was able to enlarge this one to show more detail of the front of the V-12 M-17 engine. The Liberty V-12 design origins are clear from this picture, the front of this engine being an almost exact copy of the Liberty. Both cylinder banks are visible now, their height apparent when you find the front end of the cylinder covers up near the top of the engine access opening and the lower end of the cylinders attached to the aluminum engine block down below. Each cylinder was completely exposed, as you would find in most aero engine designs that

required air movement around the cylinders to help with cooling, and light weight construction. A couple of batteries are located down on the floor to either side of the engine block, and what appears to be a fuel shut-off valve is mounted on this side of the firewall, at the upper-right corner of the photo. There also appear to be two radiators installed-- here they are painted silver and are mounted on the floor on either side of the engine. These V-12 engines were all water-cooled, and when the diesel form of the V12 was introduced in the late 1930s into the BT-7M, the tank's fuel economy was greatly improved, as was the operational range.

Picture 12: Unfortunately, we do not have any detailed images of the interior of the BT-7 turret. Recall that these are the same turrets used on the late models of the T-26, so if you have reference on them you may have something to work from. I know from the previous drawing that the cylindrical and conical turrets were similar inside as far as the vertical brackets for 45mm ammo storage on the turret side walls, and the use of periscopes for both turret crew members up on the roof. You might also have noticed that the turret hatches were different between the two turret types-- the large rectangular hatches of the earlier cylindrical turret were replaced with smaller individual oval shaped ones on the conical turrets. Some references state that the coax 7.62mm DT MG was removed from the later BT-7M tanks with the diesel engine, but it is difficult to confirm this from the limited photographic evidence we have of these vehicles. It is clear from photos like this Sovphoto, that there were apertures on either side of the gun mantlet for a gunner's telescope (to the left of the gun), and a coax MG (to the right). The gunner's periscope you see here on the roof is the same type we have seen on the early T-34 tanks, the early type PT-4-7 with opening hood, and I have also seen BT-7 tanks with the later onepiece PTK-5. Notice that the driver's viewing slot is centered on the visor hatch plate on this tank. I suspect this is a BT-5.

Picture 13: The BT fast tanks were an interesting design direction for the Soviets, and there was even some interest in asking Christie to move to the Soviet Union and join their tank design team. Although that did not come to be, the BT design had a lot to do with a later Soviet design, the T-34, which many believe was the best tank design of WWII. I would like to thank Mr. Igor Nesterov for allowing us to use his photographs; there are more photos of this same vehicle available at Vyacheslav Ryzhenkov's TANKMASTER web page. I would also like to thank Mr. Valeriy Potapov of Russian Battlefield web site for allowing us to use the cut-away BT-7 interior drawing from his web site. If you have interior images that you would like to add to our web page, especially if they concern the interior of the turret, we would like to hear from you. (c) 2003, AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank, Part 1

Picture 1: The Russian Medium Tank T34 is a perfect example of the right tank at the right place and time. Perhaps never before, or since, has the appearance of a new tank design on the battlefield produced such a response from an enemy's tank design industry. Based on the Soviet designer M.I. Koshkin's concepts of a tank's three main design requirements-protection, firepower, mobility-- the T-34 incorporated the best armor and weapon that the Soviets then had to offer, as well as a diesel engine and wide tracks for improved mobility. Although there were many different variations in the T-34 over the years, we will concentrate our efforts on the interior of the first group of tanks, later to be known as the T-34/76, named after its 76.2mm tank gun. A number of the interior components described here are common to all T-34/76 models and also apply to the later T-34/85 with, of course, the exception of the later tank's 8.5cm gun. There were a number of subtle and not so subtle differences between T-34/76 tanks. Some of these differences were due to improvements made during the production life of the vehicle, and some due to differences in components and construction techniques at the different manufacturing factories. Recall that during the war many of these factories had to pick up and move in order to avoid the oncoming German forces. You will often find the different T-34/76 models identified by year dates, such as T-34/76 Model 1940, and this is one handy way of differentiating types, although there are still many differences within a model year. This photograph taken by the Germans and now preserved in their archive shows three T-34 tanks bogged down in a marsh in Byelorussia in July of 1941 during Operation Barbarossa. Nearest to us is a Model 1940 while to the left is a Model 1941 under investigation by two Germans. The Model 1940 was the first production model and mounted a 76.2mm L/30.5 L-11 main gun; the mantlet was of a rounded cast type which covered the recoil cylinder mounted ABOVE the gun tube. The Model 1941 used a more powerful 76.2mm L/41 F-34 gun and the mantlet was made from bolted armor plates to included a cover over the recoil cylinders mounted UNDER the gun tube. Model 1940 tanks were produced at the KhPz Nr.183

plant, and by the end of 1940 around 115 had been manufactured which was not nearly enough.

Picture 2: This side view drawing illustrates some of the radical design thinking of the T-34/76 designers, in this case illustrating a T-34/76 Model 1942. In all T-34 tanks the driver and hull machine gunner are seated well forward to allow for a turret that was also placed near the front of the hull. The combination of these factors produced a large open fighting compartment under the small turret and a very aggressive tank silhouette. The engine and transmission/final drives are located in two compartments in the rear half of the hull, which allowed for direct rear-wheel drive for the tracks. Due to the Christie suspension system used on these tanks (internal vertical suspension springs inside the hull) there are areas of the hull interior that are fairly narrow due to the springs and their protective sheet metal covers. The suspension also caused the tank to leak like a sieve when crossing rivers and streams as the hull sides were slotted for movement of the suspension arms. There is no turret basket inside T-34/76 tanks; the seats for the commander/gunner and loader are suspended from the turret ring. The lack of a basket provided both turret crewmen with quick access to the rest of the hull interior for ammo retrieval. Because there was no driveshaft bisecting the fighting compartment as there was in most US and German tanks the T-34 had a lower profile and was a more difficult target to hit. Soviet tankers also found it easier to locate hull-down firing positions for their T-34s because the gun was mounted high in the turret front plate. But there was a trade off for this, as we will see later. The British School of Tank Technology produced a number of drawings of a T-34 Model 1942 that they were provided as an evaluation vehicle by the Soviets and this sketch is one of those illustrations. A number of components can be seen in this picture including the driver's twin steering levers on either side of his seat and the large spring cylinder over his head to assist with opening his heavy front glacis hatch. Back in the turret, the gunner's (commander's) seat is shown supported on a single tube from the turret lip, and both his manual elevation and traverse wheels are also shown, just forward of his seat. There are boxes of ammo under the mats lining the floor, and ready rounds are strapped to the internal hull walls. There is a large recoil guard between the

gunner and the gun breech, the guard reaching almost to the back turret ring. The round objects in the racks in the turret bustle are magazine drums for the two DT machine guns in the tank, one coaxial with the main gun and the other in a ball mount in the bow. The F-34 main gun required an armored cover over the recoil cylinders below the barrel, which projected through the mantlet. Also, at the back of the tank, the engine can be seen and between it and the gearbox is a large scirroco fan that moved cooling air through the radiators and engine and transmission compartments.

Picture 3: Both the Americans and British exchanged tanks with the Soviets during WWII, those vehicles going to the Soviets were included in various Lend Lease programs and those few coming over to the Americans and British were for study and evaluation. These evaluations were then given to the Soviets in order to help them improve their designs, but the experience also helped the west improve their vehicles. The only proviso from the Soviets concerning these few study tanks was that the armor would not be cut for evaluation. The Americans ignored (or "forgot") that agreement, which led to some embarrassing moments when a Soviet official later visiting the American tank proving grounds discovered large armor plates completely missing from their 'loaned' vehicles. By the way, the armor on this particular tank was found to be of very poor quality, hardened only slightly on the surface, and the US strongly advised improving the quality of steel, as the thickness of the armor could then be reduced with a resulting improvement in mobility/speed. The British School of Tank Technology found their T34/76 Model 1942 tank's armor to be of "excellent" quality, which begs the question, why such different results between the British and Americans? This drawing is adapted from another School of Tank Technology drawing, again illustrating their evaluation Model 1942, which included a number of improvements over the earlier Model types including an F-34 main gun. Notice the thick padding and

large arm rests on the two front hull seats (black or brown leather). From the first time I sat in one of these seats, I thought they were the most comfortable and physically supportive of any found in a WWII tank. And this was necessary for the overworked driver, for the amount of effort required of him in order to control his vehicle was definitely the greatest of any major tank from this period. For instance, it was not unusual for the driver to have to resort to pounding his driving controls with a small sledge hammer in order to get them to move, particularly the gearshift lever. The mounting of the bow 7.62mm DT machine gun (DT for Degtyarev's tankoviy-- the gun being a tank variant of his famous infantry light machine gun) is also well drawn here. Most of the interior walls and floors of these tanks were painted white (for better visibility) and the major mechanical components and rubber floor mats in the fighting compartment were black. An armored guard over the ball mount of the hull machine gun was a later improvement and a tall rack for MG ammo magazines is also seen below to the right of the MG mount along with a rack for radio equipment.

Picture 4: Most T-34s did not mount a radio set until midway through the war, and even as late as 1945 on 70% had radios. During the fist few years platoon leaders used signal flags to communicate to their platoon vehicles. This was not unusual at this time as most tank units around the world used flag signals in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It just took the Soviets a bit longer to install radios in their tanks, partly because they were slow to understand the speed and coordination necessary for the new Blitzkrieg tactics of WWII, and partly because they just didn't have the radios. In a couple of the photos we have used in this page of the early models of T-34/76 you will see a small port on the right side of the large turret hatch. This was designed to be used for flag communication as well as for possibly firing a flair gun. When a radio was mounted inside, it was initially the 71-TK-1 or -2 (using small radio connection boxes for the crew), and then the 9-R radio (double box sets with large connect boxes for the crew). The sets were normally placed up by the hull machine gunner, who then also became the radio operator. Most of this radio equipment was mounted to his right on shelves attached to the inner hull wall, but some radio boxes could also be mounted on the

glacis plate directly in front of his seat and below the MG. And although these early radios were of generally robust construction, they were weak and often out of service due to large amounts of water leaking into the tank and shorting all the electrical connections. Water leakage was so bad due to poor seals around hatches and the turret, as well as open slots in the hull sides, that most Soviet tankers wore rubber boots, not to keep warm but to keep dry. I have been told that only the driver and commander had access to the radio sets, but I suspect the hull gunner also had a set because he had the main radio controls at his position. Notice in this Sovfoto taken in May 1942 that only the platoon leader's Model 1941 tank in front has a radio while the other Model 1940s and 1941s do not.

Picture 5: Although I have not seen much written over the years about the 71TK radio types, I do have some reference information about the 9-R set from a US Army Intelligence document dated May 1944. It states that the 9-R Radio consisted of a separate transmitter and receiver of around 5 watts output, and the set used the typical 13ft whip antenna. Normally in the T-34, the armored antenna mount was located on the right forward hull, as we saw in the last picture, and the mount could be rotated 90 degrees backward to lower the antenna via a handle on the mount located next to the radio operator inside the hull. Pictured here are the 9-R transmitter on the left and receiver on the right and I think the identification tags for most of the controls on their faces are large enough here for you to read. If you look back at Picture 3 you will see the transmitter located up on the shelf to the right of the radio operator (above where the DT MG is drawn). Both boxes required their own power supplies, the dynamotor for the receiver being a RU 11-5 unit and the transmitter a RUN-30. Dynamotors are simply power transformers to convert power from the tank electrical system to that needed by the radios. The dynamotors were of the normal cylindrical shape and metallic metal colored, and mounted on similar sized control box bases, each dynamotor about the same size as the receiver and transmitter box they powered. The dynamotors were generally located very near the radio boxes, in the only illustration I have seen of their installation in the T-34 they are with the radio boxes on the small shelf to the right of the operator. In Picture 3 they are drawn under the radios on the bottom shelf (below where the DT MG is drawn). Signal range for the 9-R is said to have been around 30mi for CW and 15mi for voice, but when mobile, voice range was reduced to 5mi or less due to interference and signal blockage. The transmitter box was around 7in by 7in by 9in and the receiver 7in by 7in by 10in, about the size of the span of your hand. Combined, the set weighed around 75 pounds. Many radios were sent to the Soviets by the US and British, but I have not seen reliable documentation that any of these sets were used in the T-34/76


Picture 6: One of the drawbacks of using such a raked glacis plate (60 degrees) and a forward mounted turret on the T-34 is that there is no room remaining for protected driver access hatches or vision devices on the hull roof over their positions. Instead, the driver's hatch has to be placed on the front glacis armor, creating a large and dangerous weakness in this critical plate. Early T-34 tanks (like this Model 1940) had a driver's hatch that held only one large fixed periscope, with two additional smaller periscopes mounted above and to either side of the hatch, each angling out to the sides for better lateral viewing. By the time the Model 1942 tanks were available, the driver's hatch had been altered to mount two periscopes side by side with armored covers, the left one angling slightly toward the left of center, and the two smaller flanking periscopes were deleted. Although the T-34 hull was of welded construction, the turrets were made of either welded plates or cast armor. This is one of the welded Model 1940 turrets.

Picture 7: This is a photograph taken inside one of the tanks given to the west for evaluation (this is the Model 1942 given to the British); we will be seeing a number of

photos taken inside this and other evaluation vehicles in these pages. The picture illustrates many of the dominant features of the front hull interior. The driver's steering levers can be seen to either side of the seat, and up forward is the clutch pedal on the left, along with the brake pedal and round accelerator pedal on the right. There was no power assist for steering, the levers connected directly with the gearbox steering brakes at the rear and required a lot of upper body strength to operate. Also on the far right is the gearshift lever with a round hand knob on top. The two compressed air bottles forward of the seat assisted the starting of the diesel engine in cold weather and air pressure inside the cylinders could be increased via the mechanical pump seen between, and slightly above, the clutch and brake pedals. The hand throttle (idle speed) is just to the right of the seat, just barely seen in the lower right of the photograph. The driver's front viewing flap/hatch is open and a large head bump pad is seen above it. To the left of the driver is the main electrical fuse box (black) along with other electrical connections, and below that are the speedometer and tachometer on their own small panel. In the upper left corner of the picture is visible the end of the large spring cylinder (black) that assists the driver when opening his front hatch. The box at the upper right is the driver's radio connection box. The Soviets were very surprised with the great amount of crew protective padding they found in their lend lease vehicles from the US and Great Britain and often tore it away as a hindrance. You will not find much padding in a T-34 and a lot of sharp edged equipment is readily available to bang yourself against.

Picture 8: This and the following photo were taken of a preserved museum vehicle at the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The picture was taken looking through the driver's hatch to the left wall of the hull, next to the driver. Unfortunately, the Plexiglas over the opening made photography difficult. Visible to the lower left is the seat and arm rest. To the lower right is the left steering lever with the brake lock release button clearly seen on top. The black box on the wall is the fuse box with a built-in amp meter and a recent manufacture speedometer and tachometer are visible above the box. The transmission for the V-12 diesel engine was a dry multi-plate mechanical gearbox, allowing 4 gears forward and 1 reverse, at least in the early tanks. Later vehicles had a revised gearbox with five forward speeds. By attaching the transmission to the rear of the engine at the back of the tank the designers were able to keep the overall height of the vehicle low, as there was no drive shaft to pass under the turret area to a forward mounted transmission. Unfortunately, the early Soviet gearboxes proved to be troublesome and short lived; occasional WWII vintage photos show T-34s with an extra transmission strapped to their engine decks. In fact,

during evaluation in the US of the supplied T-34, the US armor mechanics were surprised to find the tank used a gearbox that had been used in US trucks some 15 to 20 years earlier. Indeed, the Soviets had copied a commercial truck gearbox, but unfortunately the tempering quality of the gears inside was very poor and the transmissions often ground to a halt when the teeth were stripped out.

Picture 9: This is the view looking toward the hull machine gunner position. The gearshift lever is now in the center of the picture and visible on the far wall (right hull wall) is a rack for stacked MG ammunition boxes. The ball mounted DT machine gun had a 24 degree horizontal fire arc and a vertical arc of -6 to +12 degrees. Initially, the early T-34/76 tanks that were lucky enough to get a radio had only 46 MG ammo magazines stored in bins and racks for their machine guns, most of these in the turret and near the hull gunner. Each of these DT magazines had a 63 round capacity, so there were around 2898 rounds total inside these tanks. Tanks without a radio could hold additional MG ammo drums (75 magazines, or 4725 rounds) because the space could be used for additional magazines, placed in a tall rack. A few additional magazines were located in other areas of the tank also. Later T-34/76 Model 1943 tanks with the hexagonal turret had 50 magazines (3150 rounds), one PPSh sub-machine gun supplied with four magazines, and 25 grenades F-1 ("pineapples"). From the Model 1942 on, most tanks were supplied with an armor shield in front of the hull MG ball mount, much to the relief of the bow gunner. Below the MG ammo rack is a ring welded to the floor as a portable fire extinguisher bracket, and the sheet metal bump-out panel just forward of this ring covers the first suspension spring on this right side of the hull. In front of the machine gunner's seat, down on the vehicle floor, is an escape hatch, hinged at the front to drop down and forward with the release of the pull handle you can see close to the seat. The driver's round accelerator foot pedal can just be seen at the far left of the picture. The thickness of the armor on the T-34 was increased as the war progressed, eventually totaling around 60mm on the front glacis plate.

Picture 10: The Americans and British heavily photographed the T-34's they received from the Soviets for evaluation in WWII, and the photos were then shared and can be found in both the Tank Museum in England and the National Archives in the US. This is the view looking back into the fighting compartment from the driver's seat. T-34 tanks had no turret basket or floor so the two turret crew seats were suspended directly from the turret. As a result, the floor was relatively free from obstructions and it was covered with rubber mats. Underneath these mats were placed a number of bins holding a total of approximately 68 rounds of ammunition. This ammo was a bit awkward to reach during combat conditions, but unusually difficult things somehow get done when someone is shooting at you. There are also nine ready round racks on both hull walls-six rounds are stored on the left and three on the right. Notice that each round fits into a conforming tray and is held in place by two quick-release bands. T34/76 tanks Model 1940 and Model 1941 had 77 rounds that could be stowed inside located both on the floor (68 rounds) and the hull sides (9 rounds). Model 1942 tanks with the later hexagonal turret had 100 rounds stowed inside, perhaps 75 high-explosive and fragmentation rounds, 21 armor-piercing rounds, and 4 sub-caliber rounds. These were located on the floor (8 boxes with 86 rounds in total) and 14 on the walls of the fighting compartment, in racks and metal bins. These were typically located as follows: two AP rounds with tracers stored in the rack at the right rear corner of the fighting compartment, eight fragmentation rounds stored on the left side of the compartment in two bins, and four sub-caliber rounds were stored in the racks on the right side of the compartment in one bin. Also visible in this photo is the commander/gunner's seat on our right (vehicle's left) and the turret traverse hand wheel is hanging down directly to its right front. Hanging down from the turret in the center of the photo is the support for the gunner's foot triggers for the main gun and coax MG, but unfortunately the back of the driver's seat hides the actual pedals. The other tube angling down to the floor from the turret is the electrical conduit for turret electricity. It attaches down on the floor to the turret electrical slip ring (also hidden by the driver's seat back) and it rotates around with the

turret during traverse. The loader's seat is off to the left and in the background is the large open firewall engine hatch allowing a nice view of the front of the V2 diesel engine. At the top of the picture is the bottom of the gun breech ring and behind that is the small catch bag for spent shells after ejection from the breech. In the back right corner of the hull (our left), behind the three ready rounds, is a vertical rack for MG ammo drums.

Picture 11: This excellent photo shows the top three ammo rounds in one storage box that normally lay under the rubber floor mats. You can also see the six rounds stored on the left hull wall next to the gunner that we mentioned earlier; this is the back left corner of the floor with the firewall to the engine compartment at the far left. The under-floor ammo storage boxes were of different sizes and held rounds two or three layers deep, depending on the location of the box in the hull. The boxes sat directly on the hull bottom plate and each could be picked up and moved around. Each box was covered by a ribbed and hinged sheet metal lid and opened with a wire handle. The gunner had to pull up the rubber floor mat to get to the boxes stacked under it, although I suspect in combat these floor mats probably were discarded in the field as time went by. There is also ample room on the hull floor to pack additional rounds, and I suspect additional 76mm rounds were 'stowed' here and there before battle. The hull machine gunner assisted with the digging up of ammo when he was not needed at his bow position. Up above, the gunner could fire the main gun either by hand or foot control, while the 7.62mm coaxial MG could be fired by the gunner by means of a foot pedal or by the loader with a trigger directly on the gun. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank, Part 2, Revised May 10, 2001

Picture 1: The early two-man turrets were small and very cramped and the one major flaw in the T-34 design. But this was not unique to just the T-34; there were a number of tanks at that time with two-man turrets where one man was responsible for laying and firing the gun, commanding the tank, observing the battlefield, and communicating with superiors and other tank commanders, while the other man was responsible for loading the weapons. But when you combine the T-34 commander/gunner's workload with the relatively poor Russian optics (although very ruggedly constructed) and extremely restricted view outside the turret, you have a very overworked gunner/commander that even the mighty 7.62cm tank gun could not compensate for. In the sketch you can see that the size and length of the gun and recoil shields practically divides the small turret in half. To the left of the gun are the manual wheels for the turret elevation and traverse mechanisms. The box with the horizontal slits in its side is the speed rheostat for the electric powered turret traverse, the electric motor angling off the back of it, mostly hidden by the bottom of the over-head periscope in this sketch. Attached to the bottom of the rheostat and also to the turret ring is the traverse gearbox, here seen just to the left of the pistol port plug on this side of the turret. There is a episcope vision port on this side of the turret above the pistol plug as there is also on the far side. The gunner's telescopic sight does not articulate but is attached directly to the side of the gun mount. Above the telescope is the more useful PT-4-7 panoramic sight attached to the roof of

the turret. References suggest that the initial sights used in the T-34/76 with the L-11 gun were the TOD-6 telescope and the PT-6 periscopes. With the introduction of the F34 gun, the sights were changed to the TOD-7 telescope and the PT-4-7 panoramic sight, and these later replaced with the improved TMFD-7 telescope and the PT-5 panoramic sight. The two different periscopic sights used with the F-34 gun can be identified by their two different armored covers seen on the turret roof. From the outside of the tank the earlier PT-4-7 consists of a short armored tube with a hinged conical cover that must be manually opened by the tanker before it can be used. The later PT-5 has a stationary armored conical cover with a small opening in the front so it does not have to be manually opened before use. I believe the T-34 Model 1942 examined and reported upon by the British had the PT-4-7 with the hinged cover, and that is what seems to be shown here. To the right of the gun is the coaxial DT machine gun (hidden here) and a number of MG ammo drums are stored on the rear turret bustle. When fully loaded, these bins helped balance the weight of the gun and mantlet, but when emptied, the turret must have been out of balance and hard to traverse properly. If there was an exhaust fan mounted in the early T-34/76 turrets (which there often was not), it was small and mounted directly over the gun, and the air quickly fouled when the guns were in action. Early turrets also had one large and very heavy over-head hatch which probably seemed a good idea to the designers for both crew vision and bailout use. But when the hatch was open in action, which was necessary to clear the tank of gun fumes, it effectively blocked any forward view and opened almost the entire turret roof. Later T-34/76 tank turret's (Model 1943, the turret often referred to as "hexagonal") were designed to use smaller round hatches over each turret crew position, and later still the commander/gunner was given an actual viewing cupola. The early Model 1940 turret hatches had a second periscope often seen on the left side of the large over-head hatch. Additional items visible in the sketch include the linkage between the gun mount and the periscopic sight that kept it aligned with the gun and the huge gun recoil shield and shell ejection pad at the back that bounced spent shell casings down into the catch bag below.

Picture 2: This photograph shows the entire front area of the turret with the main gun breech in the center. As we mentioned earlier, the first T34/76 tanks mounted the L-11 76.2mm gun, but armor piercing results were not effective against improving

German armor and Soviet crews loudly protested about their weak weapon. By February of 1941, the more powerful Grabin designed F-32 76.2mm weapon was adapted for use in tanks (the gun then called F-34) and in a short while the L-11s in T34 tanks were being replaced by the harder hitting F-34 in the Model 1941 tanks. The F-34 gun was 42 calibers long and fired a BR-350A armor piercing projectile, an OF-350 high explosive shell, or a SH-350 shrapnel round, stowed in the tank in a ratio of 19/53/5, as indicated in a 1942 summer report. The gun has a conventional semiautomatic vertical sliding breech and it uses a hydropneumatic recuperator and hydraulic buffer that are mounted side by side under the gun tube. These are long tubes and project out through the mantlet, requiring the armor covering we have seen under the gun tube outside the vehicle. Elevation of the F-34 is -3 to +30 degrees, the gun depression being very limited due to the low turret roof and the mounting of the gun high in the front turret plate. It is interesting to note that although the gun is mounted high in the turret to allow the crew excellent hull-down positioning, the design made it impossible to site the tank on a reverse slop with enough gun depression to engage targets on the other side. The lack of adequate gun depression due to the design of the turret was a trade-off that would accompany many later Soviet tanks, and something usually seen on vehicles designed for offensive, rather than defensive, roles. Gun depression for the earlier Model 1940 tanks with the L-11 gun was a bit better, around 5 degrees. In this photo you can also see the large sheet metal recoil guard on the left of the gun and a turret locking handle on the turret lip to the right of the gun, in front of the loader. The DT coax MG is also mounted on that side with a round ammo magazine on top. The gunner's manual elevation wheel is visible at the lower left of the photo (down by the telescopic sight and forehead pad), and his manual traverse wheel is at the far left, the wheel painted black here with a natural wood handle. The small power traverse control is the knob you can barely see just forward of the traverse wheel, mounted next to the speed control rheostat as we saw in the turret sketch above. In action, the turret traverse electric motor was generally too weak for rotating this turret and the speed rheostat would often burn out. The gunner's PT-4-7 periscopic sight is visible in this photo and so is his radio connect box. Again, a radio inside a Model 1942 T-34 was not a common sight; I suspect it was placed in this evaluation tank to impress the British. The cylinder up on the ceiling (to the right) houses a spring that assists with the opening the heavy over-head hatch, but it seems to be disconnected here, perhaps because the hatch has been removed. Notice that there appears to be no fan in the ceiling over the gun in this vehicle, only an interior dome light next to the hatch spring cylinder.

Picture 3: For a better view of the equipment around the gunner's position, I have enlarged a portion of the previous photo. The gun elevation wheel is at the bottom of the picture, and the telescopic sight with its forehead pad is just above it and to the right. There is also a cheek pad attached directly to the side of the gun mount and in order to use the telescope to lay the gun you have to lean down and brace your head behind the telescope with one pad at your forehead and one at your cheek. Your left hand then controls the elevation wheel in front of you while your right hand either crosses your body to the manual traverse wheel at the left, or reaches forward to the powered traverse control knob. When it was working properly, the powered traverse could rotate the turret completely in around 14 seconds. The location of the turret traverse motor and large speed rheostat are both easier to see now at the left, and some of the periscope adjustment knobs are also visible. The knob on the left of the PT periscope is the range scale control while the range scale deflection knob hangs down underneath. Command tanks might also be fitted with a second PT panoramic periscope (then called PTK) over on the loader's side of the turret roof, and you will see these occasionally in period photographs. The cylindrical cone to the left of the radio connect box is a microphone for the TPK-3 interphone radio system, the same type as normally used with the 9-R radio set. Normally, Soviet tankers wore a padded cloth helmet with pockets for their earphones and a strap for their throat microphone. The wires from both of these plugged into a small black controller box that hung on the tanker's chest, which then plugged into a radio connect box in the tank as we see here. Although the 9-R radio used microphones similar to this, I have not seen it mounted before in a tank like this, but it makes sense as it seems to be aimed at where the gunner would be located most of the time. The large shape at the lower left is the side of one of the MG ammo magazine bins sitting in the back of the turret. The standard anti-armor projectile used in the T-34 in the first half of the war was the BR-350A that I mentioned earlier. It was fitted with a ballistic cap and contained a small amount of high explosive fill, similar to some German types, and after penetration it would explode. Fired from the F-34 gun, this projectile could penetrate around 70mm of armor at 500m, which was adequate to penetrate the front of both the German Pz.III and Pz.IV, at least up through the Pz.IV Ausf.F which had 50mm bow armor protection. When the Pz.IV Ausf.H was introduced in the spring of 1943 with thicker protection, the Soviets countered with a new projectile, the BR-350P APDS, which could penetrate 92mm of armor at 500m. When the Tiger and Panther were then introduced, the F-34

76.2mm gun in the T-34/76 was not capable of penetrating their thicker armor and these tanks were just about impervious to the F-34 gun, at least from the forward arc. It was the introduction of these German tanks that propelled the Soviet placement of an 85mm gun into the T-34 at the end of 1943, resulting in the T-34/85-- perhaps the best designed tank of the war.

Picture 4: This is a picture of the PTK panoramic periscope as used in the later T-34/76 tanks, both at the gunner's side as the PTK-5, and occasionally on the loader's side, particularly in command tanks. The armored cover over the objective has been removed. The PTK-5 looked almost identical to the PT-4-7 when inside the tank, the major changes being the objective lens outside on the turret roof as well as the protective armored cover. All PT panoramic periscopes consisted of a Harting Dove prism placed between two telescopic systems, each adjusted independently of the other. There is a reticle in the focal plane of the objective, which is projected by the erecting lenses to the focal plane of the eyepiece. In the focal plane there are two cross wires, which can be moved either horizontally or vertically to boresight the weapon with the sight without having to adjust the primary mounting. The movement of these cross wires is controlled by two large knobs at the base and to the rear of the periscope. On the right side of the periscope you can see a graduated dial and a lever, here the lever ends in a hand knob. When mounted on the gunner's side of the T-34, the lever would attach to a connecting link which would lead to the gun mount, the lever angling the line of sight vertically to keep it aligned with the gun tube during elevation changes. The full field of view is around 25 degrees for the PTK, but the optics are not well made and only the central 12 degrees are of any use for sighting the weapons. Magnification of the sight, as with most other Soviet tank sights during WWII, was around 2x, and the reticle was lighted for night use. The forehead pad could be slid from side to side so either eye could be used for sighting.

Picture 5: Another photo inside the same evaluation vehicle shows that it was used at least once for target practice. The manual breech-activating handle is difficult to see here. It is hidden between the large coil spring cylinder housing that closes the breech and the steel guard (both seen along the right side of the breech at the right bottom corner of the picture). In this image, the vertical sliding breech block looks brand new. The periscopic (panoramic) sight is again visible from this angle-- the brow pad and ocular are clearly seen as well as the connecting link between the periscope body and the gun mount. The black turret traverse hand wheel is attached directly to the traverse gearbox, and the white curved sheet metal cover hides the electric traverse motor and rheostat. Just above the motor is the gunner's radio connect box, and to the left of the box is a viewing port for this left side of the T-34/76 turret. These turret side viewing ports used replaceable episcopes with glass blocks and the port did not have an opening hinged flap. Directly below the episcope is the retainer for the pistol plug, the lock on the back of the plug had to be lifted before the plug could be pushed out and the port used for defense. Next to the port is a hanging canvas bag that now holds the gunner's headphones. The gunner's seat back is attached to the turret lip at the lower left, and the telescopic sight and forehead pad are right next to the breech and recoil guard at the center/bottom. Notice that we can see down into the hull and a couple of rounds are mounted on the left wall. Also notice that we have this terrific view into the turret because the huge roof hatch is open, exposing all of the turret equipment.

Picture 6: For comparisons sake, here is a Tank Museum photograph of the turret interior of the L-11 gun in a T-34/76 Model 1940. You will notice the differences of the gun breech ring and breech block, the steel of the ring on the right side is thicker than on the left. Note also that the recoil cylinder is now on top of the gun, with its rear attachment bolt actually machined into the front of the breech ring, just forward of the sliding breech (the breech shown open here). The gunner's laying equipment is similar to what we have already seen with the traverse wheel to the left and the elevation wheel forward and lower down. Once again the hull side storage racks for ready rounds are visible down below, but this time they are empty. One of the hinges for the over-head hatch is at the top of the picture. Notice that the viewing port is visible at the far left as well as the pistol plug chain hanging directly below. The gunner's seat back is missing, but the support is visible attached to the turret lip at the lower left. I also can't seem to find the telescopic sight and I suspect it has been removed from this vehicle before photography.

Picture 7: Stowag e of equipm ent and persona l gear is rather sparse in the rear of the turret, here it include s only stowage bins for magazine drums of DT ammunition. But the photograph is of such excellent quality that the canvas leader for each ammo belt is visible looping around the

drum magazines and you can also see the pull ring used to get the belt leader started into the MG receiver. These flat drum magazines are very similar to the Soviet infantry support machine gun magazines, but you might notice that they are thicker. This is to accommodate two layers of bullets, increasing the capacity of a typical drum to almost double that of the infantry magazines. You might also notice that the ammo bin at the lower right stows drums two deep, and the magazines are kept in place by spring latches at the top of the bin. The other racks have a similar securing device on the sides of the bins, seen most easily on the bin at the upper left. Even so, the retainers look a bit flimsy to me and I wonder if there were not times during rough going when magazine drums would fall out of the bins and roll around on the floor.

Picture 8: The rear engine deck on the back end of the T-34 is one of its most distinguishing features. The rear hull armor plate slopes down gently, providing improved armor protection for the engine and transmission compartment inside. In the middle of the rear plate is an access hatch for the gearbox/transmission and in early tanks this hatch was rectangular, as you see here, but in most later vehicles it was altered to a round shape. To either side of the hatch are two exhaust pipes, one without its armored cover, while up on top of the decks are cooling louvers that cover the scirroco fan attached between the gearbox and engine. These louvers were controlled by the driver (via a lever up near his seat) in response to the cooling requirements of the engine. Normally, these large louvers were in turn covered by a large protective screen to keep out debris, but it has been removed for this photo. Forward of the louvers are the actual engine covers, with small openings running their length for cooling and air intake. If this was an early T-34/76, we would find a short round air cleaner on top of the engine under the small access hatch at the top of the picture. This air filter was apparently one of the weakest components of the engine system in early vehicles and caused a lot of problems for the Soviets and their new tank when the Germans over-ran the border. When US technicians examined the air cleaner in their evaluation T-34, the cleaners did not seem to work at all. In fact, they wrote in their report that only a saboteur could have constructed such devices! And although the vehicle manuals included with the tank referred to oil bath air filters, these obviously were not. This is interesting for a couple of reasons, but we will get to that later. Tests in the laboratory at Aberdeen showed that the air cleaner did not clean the air that was drawn through it into the engine, and furthermore, the cleaner's air flow capacity was not sufficient, even when the engine was idling. As a result, the engine did not reach its full power potential and dirt entering the cylinders caused the rings to wear quickly with a resulting compression drop,

producing an even greater decrease in torque. The evaluation provided to the Soviets continued by saying that the fiber/paper filter and housing was very primitively manufactured and in places the spot-welding to hold the metal housing together had actually burned through during construction, leading to air and oil leakage. These early "Pomon" filters that were mounted over the engine were indeed later changed (by around 1943) to real oil bath cyclone types, two of which were mounted near the gearbox, one on either side of the fan. Most of the air filtration problems were then solved and the engine benefited with a subsequent power boost. I suspect that the vehicle sent to the Americans for evaluation had the wrong operating manuals shipped with it which referred to the later oil bath filters not installed on this vehicle. Or, perhaps the engine or air intake had been altered and had been replaced with the earlier air cleaner with the old paper/fiber filter. Another possibility is that oil bath filters were requested by the designers and manual writers, but other filters of poorer quality were substituted instead. It is an interesting situation.

Picture 9: This is the view of the engine compartment with the engine deck and hatches removed; the turret is out of view at the top of the page. In this case we are looking at one of the later T-34/76 vehicles where the air filters are located back in the rear compartment and not on top of the engine, probably of the Model 1942 provided to the British. The hoses from the filters that lead to the engine air intake manifolds have been disconnected at the bottom of the picture, the large tubular intake manifolds are seen on either side of the central fuel injection supply. The fuel from these many small tubes is injected directly into the cylinders at the plugs you see here and the engine is flanked by two water radiators, here seen partially covered with screening. The cross tube at the bottom of the picture connects the radiators, and the water coolant filler cap is in the center of the cross tube. The hoses from the top of the radiators that lead down to the engine are also seen at the bottom of the picture. Oil reservoir tanks are located on either side of the engine, outboard of the radiators, and their filler caps are the dark colored circles at the far left and right edges of the sketch. Both the water and oil radiators are cooled by forced air brought into the vehicle by the large scirroco fan, which would be directly below us, off the bottom edge

of the picture. The four dark rectangular shapes, two at each side of the picture, are the filler caps for four of the fuel tanks flanking the engine and radiators in this configuration. The V2 12-cylinder diesel engine consumed either diesel oil type "DT" or gas-oil type "E" (OST 8842); the fuel was fed to the cylinders by a NK-1 12-plunger injection pump. The story of the different types of diesel fuel tanks used in the T-34/76 is a complicated one. There were six internal fuel tanks in the early T-34/76 with a total capacity of around 460 liters. A couple of these tanks were located over the track sponsons, up near the driver's area, and you will see these in some interior sketches. In addition, there were four box shaped external fuel tanks (which are often confused as storage boxes by other authors) that could be added to the hull with an additional total capacity of 134 liters. By the end of the summer of 1943, the total number of internal fuel tanks was increased to eight to improve the tank's range, and their total capacity is given as 540 liters. The original four external fuel tanks were replaced with two square fuel cells placed on the back of the tank, and from 1943 on even these were then replaced with two external cylindrical fuel tanks of 90 liters each. Once again the fuel carried was increased by the addition of a third external 90 liter fuel drum. These three fuel drums were mounted on both sides of the rear of the tank, one fuel container on the left and two on the right. Usually, one of these was filled with engine oil, as the V-2 engine consumed a lot, due to leaky cylinder rings and other idiosyncrasies of the big diesel. By the way, the external fuel tanks did not connect directly to the engine fuel feed system, so all that fuel had to be hand pumped into the internal tanks before it could be used.

Picture 10: The Soviet V2 12-cylinder diesel tank engine was a highly reliable, watercooled power plant, when the air filters worked properly. Like many WWII tank engine designs, it was developed from an aircraft engine and the resulting "V2" was the engine used in both the T-34 and KV-1 tanks, the diesel proving particularly suitable for operation in both extremes of Russian weather. In cold weather it could be started with a blast of compressed air directed into the cylinders from storage tanks located forward of the driver. When the engine was tuned properly and everything was working as designed, it developed roughly 500hp at 1800rpm, with a power to weight ratio of around 18hp/ton. The drive train, through the sometimestroublesome transmission, provided a maximum road speed of around 34 mph. In one form or another the heritage of these early V2 engines can still be seen in Russian AFVs to the present day.

This picture shows one of the early V2s with the top mounted air filter removed from the intake manifold. Notice that the air intake manifolds stretch out the length of each cylinder bank in order to feed each of the 12 cylinders. Again the fuel injection tubes are clearly seen, and now the exhaust manifolds on the outboard side of the cylinder heads can just be seen along either side. The exhaust pipes would continue back through the gearbox compartment and exit the tank through the rear plate to either side of the rear access hatch. This is the front end of the engine. Both the oil filter and the fuel pump are mounted near the top on this end, and down below is the water pump. The big electrical starter motor is actually not in the engine compartment at all, but mounted back in the rear compartment over the gearbox/transmission. The starter motor pinion gear meshes with a large gear surrounding the scirroco fan, so in order to electrically start the engine you first have to spin the fan. In one of our earlier images of the engine decks you can see the gearing around the fan.

Picture 11: Our last image (this one from the Bundesar chiv) shows a ditched T34/76 Model 1941 with its turret hatch opened. The photo also provides an excellent view of the engine deck and other, now familiar, design features. Notice that unlike the Model 1940 turret hatch, this one does not have the provision for a second gunner's periscope, but the small port for the use of signal flags or a flair gun is still present on the right side. Notice the latch on the edge of the hatch near the signal port and the fact that the inside of the hatch is painted white, not the exterior paint color. There is also a pistol port plug in the turret rear plate, something we have not seen in the other photos to this point. The simple sleek shape of the angled hull plates is particularly striking in this image, as is the small size of the turret and its forward location on the hull. The appearance of the T-34's sleek and low silhouette on the battlefield resulted in German factories quickly up-gunning their Pz.III and Pz.IV tanks with longer and more powerful tank guns, as well as providing better anti-tank field guns. The Panther and Tiger II tanks designed to deal with the T-34 also took on the ideal shape of the T-34's sloped armor, yet neither managed to match its high power to weight ratio, not to mention the mobility, of the Russian vehicle. All in all, there are said to have been

around 50,000 T-34s of all types built, and to this day the T-34 is one of the most recognized AFVs to emerge from World War Two. My thanks to Stefan Kotsch who caught some errors in the original text and took the time to write me about them. Should you have additional information about the interior of the T-34/76, or have any comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. This is an ongoing project that I suspect will never be quite finished. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet IS-2 Heavy Tank

Picture 1: Early in the autumn of 1943, the Soviets were completin g the first of three prototypes of their new IS-1 (IS-85) heavy tank using design experience gained from their previous KV heavy tank projects. These new IS (Iosef Stalin) prototypes were systematically demonstrated before the special commission from the Main Defense Commissariat and with the completion of general factory trials the IS design was approved for production. Although the first production vehicles mounted the 85mm gun also seen on the T-34/85 medium tank, these initial IS-1 tanks were shortly converted to carry the 122mm M1943 D-25 gun before they were provided to the tank troops. The new IS-2 tank weighed little more than its predecessor KV tank, but it had thicker and better-shaped armor that provided vastly improved protection. The overall weight was kept low by using a more compact hull and component design, as we shall see later. Once the 122mm gun was installed and series production continued, the new "Tiger Killer" was officially named the IS-2 Heavy Tank, although its weight and armor characteristics closely coincided with the German Panther medium tank. By the end of 1943, the Kirov Factory had produced a total of 102 IS-2 heavy tanks and they were used for the first time in February of 1944 at Korsun Shevkenskovsky. Although there were a number of external improvements to the IS-2 during its production and field use, there were relatively few internal changes made over the years. Our internal exploration of the IS-2 will center around large color drawings loaned to us by Valera Potapov that appear in his excellent web site The Russian Battlefield and photographs taken by Steve Zaloga inside an IS-2m.

Picture 2: This is the first of Valera's web site drawings, this one showing the basic exterior design of both the hull and turret for an early/mid production IS-2 (please notice that the web address on these pictures for his site has changed; the link I provided above will take you to the new site). The IS-2 hull was designed after ample combat experience with the KV tanks, and you can see that the hull actually overhangs the tracks. It is an interesting hull design in that the bow casting is welded directly to a circular casting for the base of the turret. Additional rolled armor plates are then added to form the rest of the hull sides, ending at a sloping rear plate that covers the engine and transmission. Both heavy armor castings and rolled plate are utilized in the hull, and the castings in the bow provide around 122mm (4.7in) of frontal armor. This initial bow design was based on the earlier KV-13 tank layout. Although the first IS-2 vehicles used this curved and gently sloping front bow casting, it was later replaced in 1944 with either a new casting or a welded plate nose, both of which had a straight 60-degree slope from glacis to the top of the hull. The Uralsky Factory of Heavy Machinery (UZTM) plant made the welded noses, while factory #200 made the cast types. The IS-2 was one of the first production Soviet tanks to remove the traditional second driver/hull machine gunner from the bow of the tank, providing additional space for fuel tanks. In place of a ball mounted MG on the front plate, a DT machine gun was mounted on the right side of the hull behind the driver and up near the turret ring. It was fired via a remote control firing cable from the driver's position.

Picture 3: The new tank design illustrates the Soviet's mid-war combat strategy reorientation from using tanks for infantry assault to tank hunting and killing machines. As a result, the second driver in the hull was deemed unnecessary and the crew was reduced from the traditional five soldiers to only four, the driver then placed in a central position in the bow. The commander is located inside the turret at the left rear, the gunner is to the left of the main gun, and the loader is to the right. Both the gunner and loader are provided with over-head periscopes and the commander has a non-rotating turret cupola incorporating vision blocks that provided a 360-degree field of view. He also has a rotating periscope in his cupola hatch. A round roof hatch that is flush with the turret roof is provided for the loader on his side of the turret. Initially, the 122mm L/43 gun mounted in the cast turret retained its original interrupted screw breech, showing its ancestry from the already proven D-19 field gun. But the screw field gun breech was replaced (by early 1944) with a horizontally sliding block, semi-automatic type, and of course the recoil cylinders and elevating mechanisms were altered from the field gun to fit into a turret. Because the 122mm ammunition rounds were so huge, they were provided in separate pieces, a projectile and a charge cartridge, but even so only 48 complete rounds could be stored inside the tank. Although a number of ready rounds were strapped into easily reached racks in the turret, most of the ammo was stored in sheet metal boxes down on the hull floor and, as we have seen in the T-34/76, these boxes were often covered with rubber floor mats. There was no turret basket in the IS-2; the turret crew seats were either suspended from the turret and rotated along with it (commander's) or the seats were supported on tubes that rose from the center of the floor and also rotated with the turret (gunner and loader).

Picture 4: By the time the IS tanks were being manufactured, the Soviets had plenty of technical experience with casting large pieces of armor, and the IS-2 turret became one of the biggest castings they manufactured during the war. Although Western writers have tended to criticize the coarse standard of Soviet armor finish, the urgency of tank manufacture in 1943 did not warrant lavishing extra time and energy on unnecessary refinements. Over the course of its production, the turret was gradually changed. The early IS-2 tanks that were manufactured in 1943 were originally designed to have installed a D-5T 85mm gun in their turrets, and they had a narrow opening for the telescopic sight just to the left of the gun. When the 122mm D-25T gun was placed inside these same turrets, it was very hard for the gunner to use his telescopic sight, as it was so close to the gun. So, in mid-1944 a new turret with a larger sight opening that was also shifted slightly to the left was produced. Also at this time the thickness of the turret's mantlet was increased, along with the lower hull sides. The new turret also moved the commander's cupola slightly to the left and the gunner's PT4-17 periscopic sight in the turret roof was changed over to a Mk.4 type. About this time a Model 1938 12.7mm DShK anti-aircraft machine gun was installed outside on the commander's cupola to provide some protection from strafing German aircraft. This drawing shows the general arrangement of projectile storage in the turret bustle, where many AP-T and HE-Frag projectiles were stowed. There are also a couple of brass charge cartridges strapped down horizontally on the right turret lip, as well as a pistol port and storage for flair pistol rounds up on the right turret wall. Down on the right track sponson are additional horizontally stowed charges while the seat for the commander at the rear of the turret ring is shown folded up on the turret lip under the 7.62mm DT machine gun that was initially mounted in the bustle. The gunner and loader's seats are supported on hollow tubes that rise from the center of the floor and rotate with it. The V-2IS, four-stroke, V type, 12-cylinder engine is located in the rear of the hull, and in this drawing some of the firewall separating the fighting compartment from the engine compartment is visible. The diesel engine produced around 520hp to

push the tank a maximum of 23mph on the road and roughly 18mph cross country. Maximum range with the internal fuel was 150mi.

Picture 5: Stripping away the rest of the turret and some additional portions of the hull provides this view of additional internal components of the IS-2. In the turret area you can now see the support tubes for the gunner and loader's seats, as well as a part of a third tube (conduit) carrying electrical and radio wires up to the turret equipment. Down below the seats are some of the sheet metal storage boxes for shell charges, and a starting crank handle is visible on the firewall at the rear. Up forward is the central driver's position, flanked by the two large diesel fuel tanks, although additional fuel tanks are located in the rear on either side of the engine. Total fuel inside the tank was around 137gals, but additional fuel and oil drum tanks were normally lashed to the sides of the engine compartment. The oil drums were particularly important as the V-2 engine used huge quantities of oil. Along both hull walls, just behind the driver, are two sets of vertical storage racks for more brass charge cartridges, although only the rack on the right side of the hull is drawn here. As we have found in many Soviet WWII tanks, the V-2 diesel engine could be started with compressed air in very cold weather, and the air storage cylinders are located up in front of the driver. A DT machine gun is shown located in the right forward hull, but back directly under the turret ring. I have to admit that I had never noticed this weapon before in photographs of the IS-2, but as I researched images for these pages I found the MG mounting on many early IS-2 tanks. Curious.

Picture 6: Now the engine and rear mounted transmission are visible, as well as a number of the yellow compressed air tubes and other control lines from the driver's area to the rear of the hull. The engine setup is very similar to what we have seen in the medium tank T34, in that the engine is attached directly to the multiple dry main clutch, which is then attached to a scirroco cooling fan, which then attaches directly to the mechanical gearbox and differential. The gearbox provides eight forward gears and two reverse. The water radiator originally designed for the KV-13 predecessor of the IS-2 is an interesting design. Also used in the IS-2 tanks, it was in the shape of a horseshoe and efficiently covered the sides and top of the large cooling fan. The steering brakes and final drives are mounted on either side of the transmission, and the rear mounted drive sprockets are attached to the final drives. Also visible here are the torsion bars of the suspension, again this was one of the first Soviet tanks to utilize the German developed torsion bar suspension which was also to be seen in other Allied tanks by the end of the war. You see the torsion bars running in pairs across the hull floor because each bar enters the hull from a road wheel station and then crosses the hull to attach to the opposite wall.

Picture 7: Now, through the courtesy of Steve Zaloga, we will slide down into an IS-2m that he photographed while at the Duxford Museum in England. These photos were taken with a very wide-angle lens, which allows us to view a good portion of the interior components but also slightly distorts the edges of the photographs somewhat. In this case, we are at the rear of the fighting compartment, just in front of the firewall, looking forward toward the central driver's position. The IS-2m, or IS-2 Model 1944, was the vehicle's name given when the front bow armor was changed to a straight slopping plate, the gunner's PT-4-17 periscope was replaced with the Mk.4, the wider turret mantlet was substituted, and the 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun was mounted on the turret cupola. Our first picture above shows an IS-2m although the DShK is not mounted. Directly in front of us is the combination seat support and electrical collective ring, the gunner and loader's seats supported on the two tubes painted white with the hinges at the bottom, allowing them to swing under the gun breech and to be out of the way when necessary. The third tube contains wires for the radio and electrical components in the turret, the conduit rising from the collective up to the turret lip near the gun mount. On the floor surrounding the tube supports and collective are a number of stowage boxes for 122mm ammo. Also down there are two darker colored battery boxes, one at either side of the floor, near the sponson walls. Just forward of the battery boxes are the vertical brackets for storing charge cartridges that we saw in earlier drawings, there were approximately five charges in each rack. The large boxes on either side of the driver's seat are the diesel fuel tanks we saw in a previous drawing, and the steering levers and gearshift are also visible near his seat. The

driver has three viewing devices, two rotating periscopes at either side of his position, and one episcope mounted directly on the front armor plate in front of him. As far as I can tell, the driver has no exit at his position so he must crawl back into the fighting compartment to enter and leave the vehicle via the turret. The huge underside of the 122mm breech ring is at the top of the image with some of the traverse gearing visible to either side. To the right and just below the turret ring you can see the black mounting ring for the forward facing DT MG, but the MG is missing.

Picture 8: Stefan Kotsch sent us a few drawings of Soviet machine guns, this one illustrating the 7.62mm DT 1929, used in the IS-2 as the hull MG as well as the coax. Notice that unlike the infantry version (known as the DP-- the 'T' in DT stands for tank), the DT MG has a retractable metal stock in place of the wooden one, and also now has a wooden pistol grip. The drum magazine was typically used in Soviet tanks and the drum held 60 rounds in two layers, therefore making it thicker than the drum used with the DP version. Normally, a separate optical sight (1 and 2) was mounted when the DT MG was installed inside a tank.

Picture 9: Here is an enlargement of the previous photo emphasizing the driver's area in the bow. Steering was via a regenerative two-stage system with skid turns, and the levers could be locked in any position. Full back lock on both levers effectively placed the brakes into the parking position. The gearshift lever is to the driver's right and is mechanically connected to

the synchromesh transmission (or manual gearbox, sources vary on this point) at the rear of the tank. Above the gearshift is the driver's primary instrument panel and electrical switch/fuse box, and a radio connect box for him is also visible. Notice that you can now see the ends of two dark compressed air cylinders under the forward episcope. And although you can't see them from this angle due blockage by the driver's seat back, there are traditional brake and clutch pedals down on the floor in front of the seat. Also up there is a back-up hand pump for the compressed air cylinders.

Picture 10: This is the view looking forward to the gunner's seat from the commander's position-- the commander's cupola is visible directly above us. The typical 10RK radio transceiver and intercom system is to our left, and a number of racks for 7.62mm DT MG ammo drums can be seen down on the sponson to our left and on the other side of the radio. Directly forward from our position is the dark gunner's seat with his elevation and traverse hand wheels, and the D-25T gun breech is visible to our right. The commander's cupola is non-rotating, but the six vision blocks are spaced so an almost complete 360degree view is provided. There are protective face pads around each cupola block and shattered glass blocks can be easily replaced by opening the latch under the frame. Normally, a rotating periscope is also mounted in the center of the cupola hatch over our heads. On the turret ceiling, just forward of the cupola, is a Soviet interior dome light, typically with a blue lens installed. Total production of the IS-2 tank amounted to around 2,250 vehicles by the end of the war. Of these, approximately 250 were reported to have been constructed in the first quarter of 1944, 525 in the second quarter, 725 in the third, and 750 in the last. When the first IS-2 tanks rolled off the factory floor and out the door, they were placed in special new units designated as separate Guards heavy tank regiments (OGTTP). These units typically had 21 IS-2 tanks divided into four companies with five tanks each. The Guards units were also known as "break through" regiments indicating their powerful offensive design.

Picture 11: Turret traverse was either manually by hand or powered with an electric motor, the hand wheel can be seen on the left. Gun elevation was via the darker handle you see in the center of the enlarged photo and it was manual only. There was no stabilization on these guns and the laying equipment was fairly simple and simple to operate and maintain. Visible down on the floor between the elevation hand wheel and the gunner's seat is this side's vertical storage rack for 122mm charges that we saw earlier, and also a storage rack for MG ammo drums is at the lower left. Up in the turret we can just see that storage rack for additional MG ammo drums seen earlier, along with the gunner's radio connection box for his headset and microphone. The periscope in the roof is the later Mk.4 type while the 10-T-17 telescopic sight is directly in front of us and has the forehead pad adjusted to view through the sighting ocular with our left eye. The over-head dome light now dominates the top of the photo, and some of the left side of the huge green breech ring is visible to our right. Laying on top of the flat ring is the black breech actuating handle, and if you look carefully just forward of the handle you can barely see the two recoil cylinders laying on top of the gun tube. The gun can be fired either electrically via the thumb button on the traverse wheel, or mechanically by the lanyard you see hanging in front of the gun shield, just to the lower right of the elevation hand wheel. Elevation of the big gun was from -3 to +20 degrees.

Picture 12: Another of Steve Zaloga's photos illustrates some of the equipment on the loader's side of the turret in this preserved IS-2m. The black electric turret ventilator is at the upper left over the gun, and one of the recoil cylinders is visible up near the gun mount/mantlet. To the right of the gun tube is the mount for the 7.62mm DT coaxial MG, which is not mounted in this vehicle. The loader's Mk.4 roof periscope is to the right of the ventilator and further right is another interior dome light. Forward of the periscope is another vertical rack for four DT MG ammo drums and below the rack is the electric motor and gearing for powered traverse. Notice the thin drive shaft arriving from the manual hand wheel on the other side of the weapon and here entering the gearbox in front of us. The small radio connect box on the turret wall under the dome light is for the loader. At the end of this wire is the plug that attaches to his helmet lead, and the plug is neatly tucked into the leather pouch you see on the turret wall to the right of the control box. Down on the hull floor are more of those green 122mm ammo boxes and the vertical rack for a few charge cartridges on this side of the forward hull are seen under the turret traverse motor. When the Soviets tested their D-25T gun against a captured Panther tank, the 122mm gun manufactured at factory #9 easily "penetrated" the Panther's frontal armor at 2,500 meters. The Soviet report states that the gun's ballistic characteristics were identical to those of the A-19 122mm field gun, the D-2 122mm gun (factory #9), and the S-4 gun (Central Artillery Design Bureau), giving it a muzzle velocity of 780-790m/s with a 25kg projectile. I suspect the Panther in question was not "penetrated" by an AP-T round, as it did not have the kinetic energy at this velocity and range, but instead the Panther probably had its armor shattered by a HE-Frag projectile. Maximum range for the D-25T weapon was stated to be over 3,000 meters, but of course accuracy at that distance was totally nonexistent due to the variations in ammo and gun barrels, and the lack of sufficiently precise Soviet sighting equipment. Most records indicate that tank duels took place well under 1000 meters in WWII, and at that range the D-25T's AP-T probably would indeed penetrate the Panther's front plate, particularly those made from 1944 on with homogenous armor.

Picture 13: This interior picture shows the rear of the turret with racks for both AP and HE projectiles. The typical AP-T projectile used in the IS-2 was the BR-471B and the HEFrag was OF-471N. Since the AP projectile was shorter it was stored in the rack at the right and the HE in the left rack. As far as the charge cartridges are concerned, both types were made from brass and were the same general shape with little of any narrowing near the cardboard plug at the end. But the charge casings for the armorpiercing BR-471 projectile had a red identification band around the case near the black lettering. Notice how the upper bracket supports for the projectiles may be adjusted in height along the vertical support rods. The recoil guard for the 122mm gun almost touches the rear of the turret lip and there is a secondary guard mounted on its left rear corner to protect the commander over in his position. The recoil guard obscures the commander's seat. Back further in the commander's corner of the turret is the rear DT MG mount and the commander's radio connect and control boxes are also seen mounted to the wall. Up in the cupola you can just see the bottom of the periscope mounted in the hatch. I believe that that is a padded black canvas Soviet tanker's helmet laying on the projectile rack, complete with the radio connect plug hanging down.

Picture 14: If we stand up in the commander's position with the hatch open, we would have access to the 12.7mm MG up on his cupola. This is another drawing sent to us by Stefan Kotsch, this one showing how the MG was mounted and the anti-aircraft sight was used at the end of the war, and beyond. The DShK was the standard Soviet heavy machine gun for most of the war, used as the standard infantry gun as well as secondary armament on their larger armored vehicles. The gun was a joint design project by both Degtyarev and Shpagin. The feed mechanism was very unique-- a rotary block which was protected by a steel stamping, was positioned above the breech mechanism. When the cartridges were stripped from the links in the belt, they were revolved around the block and inserted into the chamber.

Picture 15: The external appearance of the DShK resembled the DS machine gun, with spade grips, trigger mounted on the back plate, and barrel with cooling fins and large muzzle brake welded to the end of the muzzle. The anti-aircraft sights replaced the standard leaf rear sight when mounted on tanks, the AA sight being either the M1938 or M1941 type. They were both said to be suitable for firing at rapidly moving surface and air targets. By 1943, the Soviet DShK had been in wide use for some time, and there were complaints of breakages and feed problems coming in from the using troops. To help remedy the problems, the revolving feed mechanism was removed and a simpler setup, using a claw to pull the cartridge out of the belt and present it in front of the bolt, was installed. Some other

parts were also strengthened and simplified. The new model became the DShKM (sometimes with "38/46" added behind the M), the M referring to "Modernized". In this guise, the trusty MG served on with Soviet forces well after WWII, with many still in service today.

Picture 16: Two IS-2m tanks stand ready as their crews listen to instructions from a Soviet officer. All the tankers seem to be wearing the late war, black leather, 3/4 length jacket over their khaki coveralls. The photo appears to have been taken in Berlin in 1945 at the end of hostilities, and the white stripe on the farthest IS-2m turret was an Allied identification marking introduced at this time to help Allied aircraft avoid attacking unfamiliar Red Army tank formations. Our Picture 1 is taken in a similar setting but in a more severely damaged section of the city. Again, I would like to thank Valera Potapov of The Russian Battlefield for the use of his drawings of the interior of the IS-2, as well as Steve Zaloga for loaning us his interior photographs of the IS-2m. Steve's images can also be seen in a number of his own publications on Soviet/Russian armor, including the New Vanguard series of Osprey Publishing's "IS-2 Heavy Tank 1944-1973" and Concord Publications Company's "Stalin's Heavy Tanks 1941-1945, The KV and IS Heavy Tanks". Also I would like to thank Stefan Kotsch for the machine gun sketches. We have plenty of room for additional images and reference information about the interior of the IS-2 in these pages. Please feel free to contact me if you care to contribute. BACK TO AFV INTERIORS HOME PAGE (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet Self Propelled Gun ISU152, Part 1

The ISU-152 was a further development of the SU-152 Assault Howitzer, but based on the IS tank's (Iosef Stalin) lower chassis and running gear instead of the KV tank's (KV from the pre war defense minister, Klimenti Voroshilov). Although the ISU-152 mounted the same 152mm M1937/43 (ML-20S) gun-howitzer of the SU-152, the new crew compartment was now higher (as the IS chassis was not as deep as the KV) and more rectangular. The old circular KV hatches were replaced with the SU-100 style cupolas and new standard periscopes installed in each. The new ISU 152, and the similar ISU-122 (fitted with a 122mm A-19 cannon), were first produced at Chelyabinsk during late 1943 at the same time as the IS-1 heavy tanks.

Picture 1: If we drop down through the gunner's circular hatch on the left side of the roof, we would be greeted with this view of the interior, taken from the operator's manual. The crew of the ISU-152 included 5 men- driver at the left front of the bow, gunner seated directly to the left of the gun, commander to the right, and two loaders found at the rear corners of the vehicle. Once your eyes adjust to the very busy style of this operator's manual drawing you will recognize the breech of the big gun-howitzer to the right and ammo projectiles stored in racks to our left. The AFV carries only 20 rounds of two-part ammo (semi-fixed), requiring 40 rack positions for the separate projectiles and charges. Most of the ammo is stacked along both sides of the hull, projectiles on this side and charges on the other. The manual breech handle for the gun-howitzer is to the upper left of the block and just to its left are the two manual gun laying hand wheels for the gunner. Limited traverse is controlled by

the hand wheel closest to the breech and elevation by the second wheel, angled slightly, to the left of the traverse wheel. Over-head is the gunner's circular two piece escape hatch with his periscope protruding through the front half visible here. Each rack to the gunner's left holds 10 AP or HE projectiles, loaded on each shelf two deep, with the tip facing to the rear, while the shell charges are racked on the right of the hull and under the gun (not seen here). Also on this left side can be seen a large fuel tank up on the sponson and a small shovel is mounted on the sponson wall to the left of the gunner's brown padded seat bottom. Further back on the sponson towards us are MG ammo boxes and rucksacks for gas masks while above the 152mm projectile racks is a shelf for hand grenades. A large circular exhaust fan is mounted in the roof directly over the gun with a simple screen to shield the fan blades at the bottom.

Picture 2: This is a close-up crop of a photo loaned to AFV INTERIORS by Steve Zaloga illustrating some of the gunner's controls for the massive 152mm gun-howitzer. Both the traverse hand wheel and elevation wheel (to its left) are visible here as well as the mount for the indirect gunner's sight, which is also more or less intact here. The gun mount's elevation gear and the hand wheel's rotating pinion gear are to the right of the sight mount. A head bump pad is attached at eye level on the side of the howitzer and directly below is the pull lanyard to fire the gun. Even with its huge exterior dimensions, space is still cramped inside the ISU-152, primarily due to the immense size of the gun and the fact the area over the sponsons is taken with stored ammo and other gear. Just visible in this photo are the pistol port plugs on either side of the gun mantlet, fairly high up the front armor plate. Operating a self-propelled limited-traverse gun system takes a lot of coordination between the crew members, particularly the driver and commander. The vehicle must always be turned toward the target to fire the gun, regardless of the proposed direction of travel or surrounding terrain conditions. Only then can the gunner acquire the target through his telescopic sight and the limited traverse of the gun, in this case just 5 degrees left or right of center. Barely visible down to the lower left is the driver's seat and his small forward instrument panel. Armor thickness on the ISU-152 ranged from

20mm (0.79in) on the hull roof to 110mm (4.33in) on the front plates and gun mantlet.

Picture 3: This image shows the gunner's position again as he rides next to the 152mm weapon. His seat is attached to the gun mount by a single steel tube and traverses/elevates with the gun. The gun laying hand wheels are directly to his right and in front of him. The gunner's ST-10 2x telescopic sight is drawn as a slanting tube leading forward to the gun mantlet while the indirect sight unit is drawn as the dark circular shape below, with the long adjustment and alignment handles leading up across the telescope tube. The telescopic sight has a large padded eye ring and a head bump pad directly above the eyepiece. The gun-howitzer slides on a long recoil run-out tray and one of the recoil shields on this side is seen to the rear, above a small storage box for spare gun parts. Elevation for the weapon in this vehicle is +20 to -3 degrees and total traverse is 10 degrees from side to side. Standing outside the AFV the 152mm armed vehicle can be differentiated from the 122mm models by the larger diameter gun-howitzer tube, large multi-vented muzzle break and shorter tube length. This image was loaned to AFV INTERIORS by Valera Potapov of the web page Russian Strategic Zone . A color rendition of the drawing can be found in his web page as well as additional information about the ISU-152 and other Soviet/Russian AFVs.

Picture 4: The indirect dial sight (non-optical) used was typical of most European artillery sight designs. It includes adjustments for azimuth and elevation with spirit bubble levels (3) to indicate level gun positions. The drum to the left (15) is calibrated for each ammo type and allows proper elevation deviations for the aerodynamics of each projectile. The long levers rising to the right (6,7) are speed adjusting bars. Indirect firing requires a predetermined aiming point to be established before hand and sighted precisely. Then, when an enemy location is indicated on a map for a fire mission, the angle of deviation to the target on the map is determined from the established aiming point. The sight adjustments are set to that angle and the gun traversed until the aiming point is

again in the sight. Once the elevation is worked out via a table for the distance required and elevation of both the target and gun-howitzer, the sight is adjusted again and the gun is elevated, now ready for firing. With a forward observer calling in minor adjustments, the gun-howitzer can hit its target after 2 or 3 ranging shots. For a 152mm gun-howitzer the area of complete destruction (except armored targets) around each HE shell blast is roughly 20 meters in diameter.

Picture 5: The gunner's periscope, mounted up in his over-head hatch, was not a sight but a typical Mk.4 periscope, seen here in both its original version (with ball handles at either side), and the improved model's one-piece handle type below. This was the general issue British tank periscope used during WWII and was supplied to the Soviets in numbers within Lend Lease until they could manufacture their own copies. The periscope is mounted in the forward half of the over-head hatch and is protected by an armored ring with a sheet metal top cover. The mounting allows the periscope to be both fully rotated and tilted up and down with the handles to control these movements. A slide is provided for back laying so the periscope may be used from either side without having to rotate it, the slide having a forehead bump pad attached to it. You can see that the upper and lower lenses were separate units and they could be replaced independently. This was done by releasing the latch seen on the front of the box mount (upper right drawing) and "breaking" the body to pivot the hinged lower section forward. The small knob at the upper right of the mount (seen in the upper left drawing) is the locking screw to keep the periscope from tilting. A similar knob is used to lock the periscope from rotating, but is not visible here.

Picture 6: The illustration from the operator's manual shows similar items of interest. The telescope and indirect sight are drawn in their normal positions and the head pad on the side of the gun can be seen with the firing lanyard hanging below. The large twin recoil damper/recuperators for the gun-howitzer are mounted below the barrel and the front end caps of these cylinders are up in the gun mantlet. Access to the cylinders is via a large rectangular cover plate just under the tube on the outside of the mantlet.

Picture 7: The interrupted screw breech looked like this and was operated by the large vertical handle. First action of the handle rotated the breech a quarter turn, disengaging the screw and allowing the block to be pulled from the breech. After the spent shell was ejected a new round was loaded and the breech closed. Due to the meager 20 rounds of ammo carried inside the vehicle, many period photos show ISU-152s traveling with wooden ammo crates stacked on the back decks. The weapon fires an HE shell weighing 96lbs to a range of nearly 9km. Even with its slow rate of fire (due primarily to the two-part ammo) the weapon can fire three or four 107lb AP projectiles each minute to over 4,000 meters.

Picture 8: Sheet metal ammo bins for projectiles were built in this configuration for

the left side of the fighting compartment. Painted the typical white interior color they were simply and lightly made with wooden blocks for the projectile end tip supports. Only the top shelf used the metal hoop quick release straps, the others have release tabs on the cross bars to allow removing the ammo. The hoop straps on the right are used to stow charges under the gun. The entire rear half of the superstructure roof was bolted in place and could be removed for major vehicle repairs. At the left rear of the roof there is a large rectangular hatch with another rotating Mk.4 periscope for the loader's use. The hatch is extended down the back plate of the superstructure so that the top hatch could swing forward and the back portion swing down, providing a very large access space for loading ammo into the racks on both sponsons.

Picture 9: The right side of the fighting compartment is drawn here, with the gun to the left and commander's position to the right. Since the gun is mounted off center toward the right of the vehicle there is even less space on this side of the howitzer. Up above is the commander's two-part circular hatch shown here with his binocular ranging periscope installed. The basic vehicle radio equipment is mounted on a shelf on the front wall and also on the right. Two dark charge casings are mounted horizontally on the right hull wall and above them are boxes for spare MG parts and a first aid kit. From 1945 on there was a 12.7mm M1938 DShk anti aircraft machine gun mounted up on the commander's cupola and the crew were from the start armed with either PPS or PPSh sub-machine guns as well as person side arms. A few more of the 20 shell charges are seen in their rack to the far right of the sketch and seat pads are located on the sponson for the commander and right side loader. As far as I can tell the commander and loader's seats did not have backs, which must have made life interesting for the commander. He could stand in his hatch at his position to observe the area around his vehicle or close down the hatch and either sit sideways or stand next to the gun to use his periscope, radio, etc. The rear left loader's seat was a fold down affair mounted on the sponson and used only when traveling. You can see a bit of it at the lower left corner of Picture 1 above. This is the end of Part 1 of our exploration of the interior of the big Soviet SPH.

Picture 10: Just how big is the 152mm Howitzer? If you remove it from the ISU-152 and place it on a mount with wheels it looks like this. The field gun and mount originated from a design of the early 1930s and was one of the Soviet's primary heavy artillery weapons of WWII. Artillery in the Soviet arsenal benefited greatly from the Second Five Year Plan, and when the ML-20 was adopted in 1937 it was only one of 15 new field pieces to appear between 1935 and 1941. This propaganda photograph illustrates nicely the characteristic long multi-slotted muzzle break and the dual spring supports for the weapon. The two loaders are holding both a charge case and an HE projectile, with the projectile being layed into the breech and the charge ready to follow. The field mount was modified only slightly to fit into the SP vehicle, moving all the elevation and traverse controls to the left side and changing the angles of the firing lanyard. A large pile of projectiles and charges is covered by a tarp to the right of the gun position and a few discarded charge cases can also be seen in the same area. This is the end of Part 1 of our exploration of the interior of the big ISU. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine

Soviet Self Propelled Gun ISU152, Part 2

Picture 1: The commander's hatch-mounted TNK-1 periscopic was a simple mirrored binocular periscope system that could roughly range targets by their relative size in his viewer. The periscope was capable of either 1x magnification with 17.5 degree field of view by use of the unity window located half way down the periscope body or a 5x magnification with 7.5 degree field of view by use of the binocular eye lenses. The mounting is the same as for the Mk.4 periscope found earlier in the gunner's hatch and the TNK1 also opens for replacement of the separate prisms the same way. The major difference between the two is the longer length used to add the unity window and the eye lenses to increase the magnification to 5x. The periscope could rotate 360 degrees and tilt the same as the gunner's. With few modifications, this was to be the basic tank commander's periscope/ranging system in Soviet tanks for the next twenty years. Even with the roof mounted periscopes the view out of the ISU-152 was very poor. The driver had only a forward facing visor with no side vision. The crew could only use their three roof mounted periscopes, or they could open a pistol port and peer out of it. Within about 20 feet of the vehicle an enemy could not be seen and there are reports of German's able to get close enough to lay satchel charges on the engine deck to disable the assault guns. But typically, infantry and support troops surrounded these weapons and provided the protection they required.

Picture 2: The radio equipment

carried in most Soviet tanks by the war's end included this basic radio setup. This is the P-113 radio layout, illustrating the most important components of the system. The transceiver is the large unit in the center and is connected to a power supply amplifier on the left. To the right is an emergency back-up power supply unit and the 2.5m antenna is seen at the top and its tuner is laying on its side in front of the emergency power unit. The vehicle antenna is mounted on the front right corner of the superstructure, directly over the radio position located in front of the commander. As with most Soviet radios, the typical transceiver could broadcast in AM only out to around 2.5km. The transceiver operated in the 20-22,375mhz range and with additional power units the range could be increased up to 20km (P-120 radio set).

Picture 3: This is the best drawing I have seen so far of the primary late WWII Russian AFV radio transceiver used with the P-113. Although robust for its time, the radio featured delicate tubes and often was of little use during combat. The front of the radio includes the primary frequency tuner in the center of the face and connections for power and antenna to the lower left. At the upper left is the main power switch and at the upper right is the antenna control. The radio was shock mounted on rubber feet to a shelf unit, which was in turn also shock mounted to the vehicle. The radio was painted green and matched other standard military issue items scattered throughout the white interior.

Picture 4: Additional communication equipment is illustrated here. This appears to be the simplified tanker's helmet that appeared in 1941 made of black canvas, instead of brown leather, and lightly padded. There are holes and pockets at the ears for head phone attachment and the helmet straps and headphone control yoke cords were generally light buff colored. Crews of ISU-152/122 vehicles were typical tank crewmen, not artillery drawn units, and they used similar personal equipment and doctrine as other tanks in the Soviet arsenal at the time. The central box in the illustration is the intercom connection box A-1, located at each crew position, and was normally green in color. The other various fittings include crew connect boxes A-2 and A-3 as well as cable connectors for

the radio equipment. All would be painted green or black.

Picture 5: The shell charge rack on the right side of the AFV was of a similar construction as the projectile racks on the left side, but utilized full depth wooden shelf end supports with indentations for the charges to rest on. The entire unit was bolted to the right hull wall, over the sponson, at the back of the compartment. The brass charge cases were removed by pulling the release tabs on the cross bars and heaving the shell out of the rack and, like the projectile racks, this single charge rack held two shells on each shelf. The additional ten charges were located on the sponson, forward of the rack (2 or 4 charges) and in a floor rack directly below the gun (6 or 8 charges). Normal gunnery included identification and ranging to a target by the commander who called out projectile type while the driver positioned the vehicle and the gunner aimed the weapon. Next, the left side loader would open the breech (if not already open) by pulling on the breech handle which would rotate the breech and withdraw it from the breech ring, and then slide in the called projectile type. The second loader (on the right) would then ram in the charge with the breech automatically closing after the shell case. The second loader would hit his ready button on his side of the howitzer and announce the weapon was up, the commander would command fire, and the entire interior of the hull would explode with the concussion of the firing of the gun. If it was silent and the lanyard/percussion firing system did not function, the gunner would reach to his right and yank the firing lanyard one more time. Once fired, the left loader would open the breech, the spent charge case would eject and clank to the floor behind the gun, and the sequence would repeat again, as long as there were targets and the vehicle was not hit in turn.

Picture 6: The driver's forward position is located at the left of the hull between the hull wall and gun carriage/mount. In this sketch from the operator's manual the seat is clearly seen as well as the primary steering control levers. Clutch and accelerator pedals are mounted in their traditional position and a small instrument panel is bolted to the front glacis just below eye level. The front vision flap can be opened or closed and the resulting vision slit is protected by multiple layered glass blocks. To the right of the driver is the gear shift control lever and further to the right is the rack for two compressed air bottles, one stacked over the other, used to assist starting the diesel engine on very cold days or when the batteries were low on charge. This was accomplished by the driver turning an air valve to send a blast of compressed air into all 12 of the engine cylinders of the big diesel. This could be done while turning over the engine with the starter motor, or without it, saving the charge on the batteries and giving the engine crank an extra twist of power. Soviet AFV designers used this type of assisted starting on most of their diesel power plants but it is generally not possible for gasoline fueled vehicles because of the delicate balance of the fuel air mixture. A second control panel is located to the driver's immediate right and contains the electrical system switches, dials, and fuses, which are accessed behind a small dropdown door. One of the round clamps for the ammo charges stored under the gun are seen to the right of the unique driver's seat back.

Picture 7: The driver's seat is an interesting design composed of a tubular frame with normal padded seat cushion and an hour glass shaped seat back. The cushions are held in place by straps and springs, are stuffed with horsehair, and are covered with brown or black leather. The seat is adjustable in height by way of a spring-loaded central telescoping tube poorly drawn in cross section at the upper left corner of the drawing. Two side brackets add lateral support to keep the seat from tipping and are

seen at each side. The seat back can be reclined by way of the diagonal support adjustment tubes and can be folded either forward or back for access to the fighting compartment. This could be handy for the driver's quick exit in an emergency situation as there was no over-head hatch for the driver in the ISU-152 (and he could not fit through his forward viewing flap!). Steering the ISU-152 took a lot of muscle and shifting was a bear, requiring brute strength to get from first to second gear. Generally, the driver tried to avoid first gear all together and, if possible, would skip it and start the vehicle rolling in second (on smooth level ground).

Picture 8: The small forward instrument panel was bolted to the front armor plate directly in front of the driver and contained a speedometer at the top with additional oil pressure and engine/transmission temp gages to the sides and below. The panel was painted green or black with white and black dials. The driver's electrical panels to the right of his position came in two styles illustrated below and were generally painted the same white as the interior. In this case you can see the opened door to the fuse compartment at the bottom of each box, and the central electrical clock is clear in the far right panel. The switches controlled power to the various components- the left box controlled the radio, interior lighting, exterior lights, and gun, while the right panel was for powering engine functions, including the master power switch.

Picture 9: With the engine hatches removed from the rear deck the engine bay looks like this for all the early IS tank chassis, including the ISU-152. We are standing on the rear of the

AFV, roughly on top of the transmission cover, and looking forward. The engine is the trusty Soviet power plant, the Model V-2 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel, which develops roughly 520hp at 2,200rpm. In this case the cylinder heads and valve covers are seen to either side of the block and the can-shaped pre air cleaners are at the front of the compartment with their large air intake hoses snaking around to the engine. The large tanks to either side of the engine are radiator water reservoir tanks. The radiators are actually mounted above the transmission at the very rear of the vehicle, just about under our position now. With this combination of engine and transmission the ISU-152 was capable of speeds up to 23mph (37kph) on roads and had a range of around 150 miles (240km) between refueling.

Picture 10: The front end of the engine is illustrated in this operator's manual drawing. The V-2 engine was a powerful and sturdy unit and, in one form or another, was used by the USSR for many years as their principal tank engine (Soviet design policy was if it works, don't change it). Here you can see the water supply tubes arriving from the radiators at the bottom right of the block and attached to the water pump. From the pump tubes carry the water up to the engine, splitting to go to either side of the block just above the pump. A cylindrical oil filter is strapped on this side of the engine and the characteristic tall cylinder heads are apparent in this drawing. Air inlet tubes leading from the pre air filters are seen at the top of the engine and the exhaust manifolds snake out both sides at the rear of the engine, directing the exhaust gases out on each side of the rear transmission deck.

Picture 11: When the ISU122/152 heavy selfpropelled artillery regiments were originally formed in February of 1944, the vehicles were placed in groups of 21 assault guns with four batteries per regiment. The SP guns were

intended to support offensive breakthrough operations and expected to deal with German strong points and anti-tank defenses from long distances. First deployed during the summer of '44 offensive "Bagration", the ISU-122/152 regiments took part in what was probably the largest concentration of Soviet armor up to that time and proved themselves to be very useful AFVs. After WWII the construction of these assault vehicles continued and they were sold to other Warsaw Pact member countries as well as Algeria, Egypt and China. This Soviet News photo illustrates the internal hatch detail of both the gunner's on the left and the commander's split hatches. The hatch half with the periscope closes first and the second half then slightly over laps the first and has two small latches at its edge to hold the hatch in place. Normally there was a leather covered pull chain connecting these latches (as seen on the gunner's hatch) and a simple pull on the strap would release both latches so you could open the hatch from the inside. The commander here appears to be holding his cloth tanker's helmet in his left hand while the right rests on the long handle of his periscope. Notice the antenna base, just forward of his hatch, and also the domed armor cover over the hull fan, located directly between the two hatches. The early ISU-152M we have examined here was updated to the last version in 1956, adding more ammo storage to the new K model for a total of 30 rounds, most of the additional rounds being stored in a third rack on the left side of the hull. Also added to the ISU-152K was a new TPKU ranging sight on the commander's cupola and an improved PS-10 telescopic sight for the gunner, as well as a revised engine and cooling system. My thanks to both Valera Potapov and Steve Zaloga for assisting with reference information for this page. (c) 2001, 2003 AFV INTERIORS Web Magazine