Panzer III L

Germany-flagGerman medium tank Mark 3 with long 5cm KwK39 L/60 gun.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

Panzer III (SdKfz 141/1)

Panzer III (SdKfz 141/1) with long 5cm KwK39 L/60 in Panzer Museum Munster (Germany).

Panzer III Ausf L (SdKfz 141/1)
Type: Medium tank.


In March 1942, a study was undertaken to determine whether the Panzer IV turret would fit on the Panzer III superstructure. Analysis revealed that the resultant weight was excessive, and numerous modifications would be necessary. The idea was dropped, and production of the Panzer III with the 5cm KwK39 L/60 continued.

The original order for 1,100 Ausf L was reduced by an order, early in June 1942, to mount 450 7.5cm KwK L/24 in the Panzer III. 447 Ausf L were used to mount the short 7.5cm gun and thus became Ausf N. One Ausf L was completed with an experimental, tapered-bore KwK0725.

Improvements to the Ausf L included increasing the armour on the turret front from 30mm to 57mm, installing a torsion-bar counter-balance instead of a coil spring for the main gun, and altering the air-instake louvres and hatches on the rear deck. All Ausf L had 20mm spaced armour on the superstructure front, and most had 20mm spaced armour on the gun mantlet. Early in the production run, the hull escape hatches on the hull side, the loader’s vision port on the gun mantlet and the turret side ports were deleted. A system designed to transfer heated engine coolant from one vehicle to another was also introduced with the Ausf L.

From late in June 1942, at the start of the summer offensive in Russia, there were approximately 600 Panzer III mounting the 5cm KwK L/60 with units at the front in Russia. Apart from replacing losses, Ausf L were issued to the newly-formed Panzer regiments of the 1st SS-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, 2nd SS-Division Das Reich and 3rd SS-Division Totenkopf (all now Panzergrenadier divisions), and the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland.

Users: Germany, Hungary, Spain, Turkey (for all variants).

Animated 3D model Panzer III L (SdKfz 141/1)

Specifications for Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L (SdKfz 141/1)

Panzer III L Specification
Type medium tank
Engine Maybach HL 120 TRM gasoline engine with 300 hp
Gearbox 6 forward, 1 reverse
Crew 5
Length 6.28 meters
Width 2.95 meters
Height 2.50 meters
Weight 22.7 tons
Maximum speed 25 mph
Cross-country speed 11 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 miles 350 liters on road; 530 liters cross-country
Fuel 320 liters
Road radius 100 miles
Cross-country radius 55 miles
Vertical obstacle 0.60 metrer
Trench crossing 2.30 metres
Fording depth 1.30 metres
Turning circle 5.85 metres
Climbing power 30°
Panzer III L mm angle
Turret front 57 15 °
Turret side 30 25 °
Turret rear 30 12°
Turret top 10 83-90 °
Superstructure front 70 9 °
Superstructure side 30 0 °
Superstructure rear 50 17 °
Superstructure top 18 79-90°
Hull front 50 21°
Hull side 30 0 °
Hull rear 50 9 °
Hull bottom 16 90°
Gun mantlet 70 0-45 °
Armament and Equipment
Panzer III L Specification
Main armament 5 cm KwK39 L/60
Rounds 92
Traverse 360° (by hand)
Elevation -10° to +20°
Muzzle velocity Pzgr 835 m/s
Muzzle velocity Pzgr40 1,180 m/s
Shell weight Pzgr 2.06 kg
Shell weight Pzgr40 0.925 kg
Secondary armament one 7.92mm MG 34 coaxially to gun, one 7.92mm MG 34 in front hull (together 4,950 rounds)
Radio FuG5 (2.5 miles range)
Telescopic sight TZF5e (1.86 miles aiming)
Penetration mm at 30° armour plates of the gun
Range Pzgr Pzgr40 (available only limited numbers)
Penetration 100 metres 67 mm 130 mm
Penetration 500 metres 57 mm 72 mm
Penetration 1000 metres 44 mm 38 mm
Penetration 1500 metres 34 mm
Penetration 2000 metres 26 mm
Panzer III L data
Production from June 1942 to December 1942
Price per tank RM 96,200 (early models) – RM 103,163 (Ausf M) [= $ 43,290 – 46,423 = £ 9,172 – 9,835]
Total production figure 653
Service statistics of all Panzer III variants
Year Available Production Losses
before 1939 71
1939 98 (1.9.) 206 ?
1940 348 (10.5.) 858 ?
1941 1,440 (1.6.) 1,713 782
1942 1,849 (1.1.) 2,608 1,501
1943 2,944 (1.1.) 315 2,458
1944 950 (1.1.) 134
1945 - -
Total - 5,771 4,875 (only Jan 41 – Jan 45)

Video from the action with Panzer III N in video games

Mission with Panzer II H and Panzer III N at a ‘Realistic Ground Battle’ of the free2play game War Thunder:

Who does not know the F2P tank and plane war game War Thunder can download it from here for free:


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