- Name: Panzerkampfwagen IV
- Type: Medium tank
- Weight: 23,5 tons
- Engine: Maybach HL 120 TRM, 12 cylinders, 300hp
- Crew: 5 men
- Speed: 40km/h on roads, 20km/h cross-country
- Range: 210km on roads, 130km cross-country
- Fuel Capacity: 470 litres
- Armament: 75mm KwK 40 L/43 main gun, 2 x 7.92mm MG34 machine guns
Front turret: 50mm
Front upper hull: 80mm
Front lower hull: 80mm
Side turret: 30mm
Side upper hull: 30mm
Side lower hull: 30mm
Note that the Panzerkampfwagen IV was repeatedly modified and upgraded. The stats above are for the Panzerkampfwagen Ausf G, one of the latest models produced during the war.
The first Panzer IV Ausf A was produced in 1937. It was the result of Hitler's call for a batter tank to replace light Panzerkampfwagen III. Compared to the Panzer III, the Panzer IV was heavier, better armed and more heavily armoured.
The first few models were mainly built for testing/training purposes. In October 1939, however, the Panzer IV Ausf D became the first model to be mass-produced and used primarily in active service, and a total of 229 were produced.
Subsequent models featured many minor improvements. The Ausf E, for example, was fitted with storage bins mounted on the turret. One more important feature was the new gun which came with the Ausf G in May 1942. Developed in response to the Russian T-34, the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun had a longer barrel (and therefore a higher muzzle velocity) then its predecessor. Those which arrived in Africa greatly impressed the Allies there, as the Ausf G was superior to the tanks available to the British and the Americans at the time.
The Ausf H was meant to be a complete upgrade, and featured very thin (5mm to 8mm) side armour skirts. Another 30 mm was added to the frontal armour, bringing it up to 80mm. There were new air filters, improved suspension and a mount for a anti-aircraft MG34 in the commander's cupola.
The Panzer IV Ausf J was the final model, and was produced almost until the very end of the war. In the end, more than 8 500 Panzer IV's were produced, more if we count the more specialized variants such as the Jagdpanzer and Stug IV. While the Panzer IV was inferior compared to the Panther and later, more heavily armed and armoured Panzers, its combination of mobility, reliability (especially compared to later Panzers), a good gun and decent armour kept it in production.
Below is a list of all the main variants of the Panzer IV together with the number produced and the most important modifications. Note that many Panzer IV's were completely or partially upgraded when they were sent behind the front lines for maintainance, so a Panzer IV might have started its life as an Ausf F2, but ended it as a Ausf G.
- Ausf A: The first prototype. 35 produced.
- Ausf B: Featured a modified turret, a new engine and a one-piece front hull plate. 42 produced.
- Ausf C: Used the Maybach HL 120 TRM, which would become that standard. 143 produced.
- Ausf D: First model built primarily for the battlefield. Had a new front hull plate design. 229 produced.
- Ausf E: Included storage bins, a new cupola and a new driver's visor. 223 produced.
- Ausf F1: New turret design, drive sprocket and broader tracks. 462 produced.
- Ausf F2: Improved main gun. 175 produced
- Ausf G: Steel armour skirts, an improved turret and smoke grenade launchers added. 1687 produced.
- Ausf H: Thicker armour and a new machine gun mount. 3774 produced.
- Ausf J: Final variant. 1758 produced.