Wednesday, July 8

Preview: Takom is making a Panzer III Ausf.N in 35th scale for August...

Takom keeps picking those targets a lot of us have a hankering for. The short-barrelled Panzer III Ausf.N is up for the 1/35th scale treatment in their "Blitz" range. Blitz promises fast builds with plenty of detail. Let's see what we can glean about this kit and the real thing in our preview...

Preview: The 35th scale Panzer III Ausf.N from Takom in August.

Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N Mitt Schürzen
From Takom
1/35th scale
Kit No 8005
Photo-etch parts included
Hot on the heels of the Panzer II Ausf.M released last month comes another Panzer III - this time the Ausf.N version with that short-barrelled gun and that protective Schurtzen around turret and suspension. We have a look at the kit - but first a little about the real tank...

Panzer III Ausf.Nin history:
The Panzer III Ausf N was an attempt to increase the potency of the tank by arming it with the 75mm KwK L/24 gun. This weapon fired an effective high-explosive round and an excellent shaped-charge that had better penetration than the long-barrelled KwK39 L/60 which it replaced.
The Ausf.N mounted a short-barrel 7.5 cm Kampfwagenkanone 37 L/24 (7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24) tank gun, previously used on the Panzer IV. It was a low-velocity tank gun that was designed to fire mainly high explosive shells. If it had to engage armoured vehicles in combat it could fire the Panzergranate armour-piercing AP shell, but it was only effective at short ranges. Later on in the war, crews had the option to load the new 7.5 cm HL-granaten 39 hollow-charge high-explosive anti-tank HEAT projectiles which had a greater effect against tank armour. 

British Army captures Panzer III Ausf N unit Norway June 1945
The Ausf N was recognisable by its short-barrelled gun and the lack of spaced armour on the mantlet. Many of the later Ausf Ns were fitted with a new cupola with thicker armour and a single hatch in place of the earlier split-hatch design. Ausf Ns were also given side skirts for greater protection from March 1943.

Panzer III Ausf N 1 Italy 1944
The initial order was for 450 tanks, but the troops at the front liked the Ausf N so much that Ausf M models were also equipped with the short-barrelled 75mm gun. With additional Panzer IIIs being so armed, the total number of Ausf Ns was brought up to 700.
The Panzer III Ausf.N was increasingly used in the infantry support role once the 75 mm long-barrelled Panzer IV, Panther and 88mm armed Tiger tank entered service.

Panzer III Ausf N winter
Starting in May 1943 Schürzen 5 mm skirt armour plates were mounted on the hull side and 10 mm plates on the turret, to prevent the Soviet 14.5 mm anti-tank rifle penetrating the side armour of the Panzer III. Draftgeflecht metal mesh screens were also trialled. They were both as effective as each other but the Schürzen skirt armour plates entered production as it would have taken too long to develop the support hangers for the metal mesh screens.

Panzer III Ausf N with Schurzen
In the field, the Ausf N was used to provide close support for the Tigers (each heavy tank company had 10 Ausf Ns to nine Tigers), as the smaller vehicle was more agile at close quarters, whereas the Tiger was rather slow and vulnerable. The Ausf N was also used in the panzer regiments of the panzer divisions. In mid-1943, during the Kursk Offensive, German panzer units were equipped with 155 Panzer III Ausf Ns.

Panzer III Ausf N 331 Kursk 1943

Panzer III Ausf.N specifications
Dimensions 5.49 m x 2.95 m x 2.50 m
(18ft x 9ft 8in x 8ft 2in)
Armament 75 cm Kw.K L/24
Machine Guns 2 × 7.92 mm MG34
Armor 16 mm – 60 mm
Weight 23 tonnes
Crew 5
Propulsion: Maybach HL 120 TRM V-12 285hp gasoline/petrol engine
Max Speed 40 km/h (24.85 mph)
Range 155 km (96 miles)
Total built 614 – 750 approx.
This new kit from Takom: 
The Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N Mitt Schürzen (Kit No 8005) from Takom is one of their newest in the "Blitz" kit range. These offer the same amount of detail with less assembly hang-ups - and hopefully more models being able to be built.
We know from a study of the box art the kit will offer:
- Link & Length style tracks
- Hatches that can be posed open or closed (no interior on this kit)
- Photo Etch for the smaller detail that cannot be easily replicated by plastic
- Four different marking choices from the "Krew" at AMMO
- Lastly - it is due in August - so three weeks kats n' kittens!

More on the kit when we hopefully get one to build for you next month!

This kit should be will be available in August from Takom's Suppliers Worldwide...