Wednesday October 18, 2017

anzer III Ausf.M - Totenkopf Div., Kursk 1943

Item number: 88026

Status: Available

Scale: 1/72

About the model:
* true to scale model made from plastic for highest detail with metal parts
* rotatable turret
* fully assembled
* markings pad printed for ultimate realistic effect
* accurate painted and marked
* including protective case for display
* package comes with open window display
* limited production!

The Panzer III was the standard medium tank of the German Army besides the Panzer IV in the WW2. From 1936 - 1943 more than 5700 Panzer III were produced. The chassis served also as base for the StuG III which was in production until the end of the war.
The Panzer III got the role of the anti-tank vehicle while the Panzer IV was intended for infantry support. However - this changed over later in the war.
The first Panzer III versions Ausf.A-D came from End of 1936 in small numbers and with different suspension layouts to test the most suitable suspension for massproduction. They already got the 3,7cm AT cannon which was built into the Panzer III turrets until the Ausf.F.
In 1939 the first Panzer III Ausf.E which is the first of the series production with the well known 6 wheel suspension was produced. The next change was while the production of Ausf.F when the new 5cm KwK L/42 was introduced and later with Ausf.J the longer 5cm KwK L/60 cannon. Additionally the armorplates were increased in thickness from Ausf.H on. With the Ausf.L a new 20mm spaced armor on the front was introduced and carried on with the subsequent marks.
The Ausf.M then got additional sideskirts for the chassis and turret. Also a new muffler system was introduced which allowed deep fording up to 1.3m deep water. The Ausf.M was produced from September 1942 to February 1943 with 517 vehicles.
The armament was still the 5cm KwK L/60 84 rounds stored inside the tank plus one 7.92mm MG34. It consists a crew of 5 soldiers. The engine was a 285hp Maybach HL 120 TRM and allowed a maximum speed of 40km/h. The tank was 6.41m long, 3.41m wide and 2.50m high. Its combat weight was 22.5t and it ran on the 38cm wide Kgs 61/400/120 tracks.

The SS Division "Totenkopf" was raised initially in October 1939 in Dachau and was put together from three Totenkopf Standarten, Allgemeine SS, SS-Heimwehr Danzig and other SS units. It first fought in 1940 in France and was there as security troop until 1941. With the start of operation Barbarossa it crossed the border to Lithuania and secured the area. Lateron it moved to the area of Demjansk. In october 1942 the Division was ordered back to South-France to refresh.
In November 1942 the Division was renemed to Panzergrenadierdivision "Totenkopf" and got new men and material. In January 1943 the Division was ordered again to the Eastern Front under the command of 4.Panzer Armee to fight in the area of Charkow. From April to June it fought near Bjelgorod and was the part of Operation Zitadelle where it took part at the battle of Prochorowka.
In October 1943 the Division was again renamed - this time to 3.SS Panzerdivision "Totenkopf". It fought under Heeresgruppe Süd in Kriwoi Rog and Cherkassy until March 1944. Then under Heeresgruppe "Südukraine" and Mitte it fought in the areas of Kischinev, Bialystok and Modlin. With beginning of 1945 it pulled back to Hungary and Austria where they were ordered to move westward but were captured and handed over to the Red Army on 14th May 1945.