The German Sdkfz 161 Panzerkampfwagen (Pzkpfw IV) was first introduced into German service in the late 1930s as Nazi Germany rearmed in preparation for war and was continuously produced until 1945 in several variants (Ausf A to J).
Produced by the firm of Krupp, the Pzkpfw IV was designed around a box shaped hull, with 8 sets of roadwheels, 20mm of armour and with a turret mounting a short Kwk 37 75mm howitzer to support infantry in the earliest variants. The most common engine used was the Maybach HL120 allowing the vehicle to reach a maximum speed of 26MPH.
As the war progressed the Pzkpfw was uparmoured and upgunned to meet the evolving threat of Allied Tanks and Anti Tank Guns. The numerically common Ausf G, H and J varients carried the longer barrelled 75mm L48 gun and upto 80mm of armour on their frontal aspect. In addition skirts of 5mm armour sheets were around the hull and turret to provide stand off protection against Russian Anti Tank Rifles.
Airborne Forces encountered the Pzkpfw IV in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and North West Europe. The Airborne Forces main Anti Tank Weapons, the PIAT and 6 Pounder Anti Tank Gun, could defeat the Pzkpfw IV at normal battlefield ranges but it was still a formidable opponent for lightly equipped infantry.
A number of Pzkpfw IV were deployed by the German Army during Operation Market Garden and at least 2 were destroyed by Airborne Forces, including a well photographed example by the bridge itself. This was hit a number of times and appears to have a hole in the lower front plate from a 6 Pounder and a number of PIAT hits from Lt Barnett of the Defence Platoon, 1st Parachute Brigade.
After the war a number of modified Pzkpfw IV were used by the Syrian Army into the 1960s.
Weight: 25.0 tonnes
Length: 5.92 metres
Width: 2.88 m
Height: 2.68 m
Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator/bow machine-gunner)
Armour: 10–80 mm (0.39–3.1 in)
Main Armament: 7.5 cm (2.95 in) KwK 40 L/48 main gun (87 rds.)
Secondary Armament: 2–3 × 7.92-mm Maschinengewehr 34