Panzer IV Ausf. H 

A Little History

In April 1943 production began on the H variant—eventually the most massively produced version of the Pz. IV. A total of 3,774 vehicles of the Ausf. H were built.
The 7.5 cm KwK L/48, first introduced on the late Ausf G was standard, as was the thickened ( 100mm) cupola, which had a single flap rather than two half flaps. A new eight-spoked driving sprocket of webbed pattern was fitted, and the gearbox was changed from a ZF SSG 76 to an improved type, the ZF SSG 77.
The very late production Ausf H had entirely new armour disposition, a single thickness of 85mm replacing the welded or bolted layers, and the armour plates were of inter-locked construction.
Very late vehicles also had a new idler wheel of webbed and welded construction, the return rollers were of all steel type, and simplified limiting stops were fitted for the bogies.
New vehicles were all fitted with Schurzen as standard, these being intended mainly as protection against hollow-charge projectiles of the bazooka type. The side skirts were mild steel, 5-9mm thick, hung from rails attached to the vehicle sides. These plates were removable.
The turret skirting was similar but was a permanent fixture, with hinged panels opposite the turret side doors. Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste was a usual covering on new vehicles in the 1943-44 period.
Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H tanks were issued to Panzer Regiments in Panzer Divisions and were used in that role to the end of the war. On June 6th of 1944, majority of Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks present in France were Ausf H.

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