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Panzer IV
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Panzer IV


"We beat a Tiger with this Tank....."
―Yukari

The Panzer IV (short for Panzerkampfwagen IV, ordnance designation Sd.Kfz. 161) was a German medium tank whose function evolved from an infantry support role to a tank-fighting function. It became the backbone of the German Army's Panzerdivisions.

History

Development

Together with its contemporary, the Panzer III, this tank was the brainchild of Panzerwaffe's founding father Field marshal Heinz Guderian, it was intended to be a support tank for use against enemy fortifications with a large caliber howitzer. Its development was carried out under the name Begleitwagen ("accompanying vehicle") to hide its true purpose as the Treaty of Versailles forbid Germany to possesses tanks. While first prototypes appeared in 1937, mass-production began only with the Ausf.D, the first three models (Ausf.A to C) were produced in limited numbers. Ausf.A to Ausf.F showed minor improvement and upgraded armor but shared the same gun, the 75mm KwK 37 L/24.

In March 1942 due to the appearance of the T-34 and KV-1, the Panzer IV's armor was thickened and its armament was upgraded with the long-barreled 75mm KwK 40 L/43, due to the inability of the short-barreled gun to pierce their armor, and was given the temporary designation of Ausf.F2 later renamed Ausf.G.

In March-April 1943, some late-production Ausf.G were equipped with Schürzen armor and the new 75mm KwK 40 L/48 and by June 1943 Ausf.H was introduced with the long-barreled gun and a thicker armor than its predecessors and Schürzen like the late Ausf.Gs. The last model of the series the Ausf.J was launched in June 1944, it was often considered as a retrograde version of the Ausf.H to replace heavy losses and simplified to speed production, the turret electric generator was removed so the crew had to manually rotate the turret, many vision ports on the turret were removed and Schürzen were replaced with wire mesh.

Many specialized tanks such as the Brummbär, the StuG IV, Jagdpanzer IV, Nashorn and various versions of Flakpanzers were born from the Panzer IV chassis.

Operational History

The Panzer IV baptism of fire was during the Invasion of Poland in 1939, despite the fact that it comprised of less than 10% of the Panzerwaffe. The Panzer IV was less vulnerable to Polish 7TPs and TKS Tankettes compared to its predecessors, and performed well as an armored infantry support vehicle. However, its larger silhouette meant that it was more vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and dive-bombers.

Despite increasing production during the Battle of France, it still comprised a minority of the armoured forces. German tank crews against British and French tanks such as the Matilda, SOMUA S35 or the B1 Bis were desperate, as they were unable to pierce their armor with the 75mm howitzers or their anti-tank guns. They had to outmaneuver their opponents with radio communications and superior tactics to destroy them.

The tank saw limited deployments during both Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece during early 1941.

In 1941 on the Eastern Front, the unexpected appearance of the KV-1 and T-34 urged the OKW to upgrade the Panzer IV, now obsolete with its short-barelled howitzer. They designed the new long-barrelled 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 main gun, based off of the existing Pak 40 anti-tank gun, and modified the Panzer 4 to be able to mount the new gun. This variant was known as the Panzer IV Ausf. F2. The first shipment of Ausf.F2 arrived in Spring 1942 and participated in the 1942 summer offensive, where it became the only tank able to defeat the T-34 and KV-1. From June 1942 to March 1943, it became the mainstay of the German Panzerwaffe as the Tiger I, arriving in late September 1942, was not yet numerous enough to make an impact and the Panther would not see its debute until May of 1943. It also played a major role during the 1943 Battle of Kursk, as the Panther was still experiencing crippling reliability problems that restricted their combat efficiency.

Approximately 6,153 Panzer IVs were lost on the Eastern Front or about 75% of the total produced. Nevertheless, despite heavy losses and difficulties to replace them, the Panzer IV continued to form the backbone of Germany's armored divisions until the end of the war.

The tank, along with the Panzer III and older tanks, were deployed in North Africa as part of the Deustche Afrika Korps. The Panzer IV, still equipped with its short-barreled howitzer, performed unremarkably against the heavily-armoured tanks of Britain compared to the Panzer III. It was only until August 1942, with the introduction of the new long-barrelled 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 main gun, that its anti-tank capabilities were satisfactory; the new anti-tank gun was able to knock out the American and British tanks that were fielded during the campaign.

On the Western Front, the now-rapid increase of the production of the Panzer IV meant that it comprised over half of the German Armoured Forces prior to the Invasion of Normandy. The bocage countryside permitted German tanks and AT guns to inflict heavy casualties on Allied tanks, however the rugged terrain enviromental advantages laso easily tore off Schürzen, armored plates featured on the Ausf. G and H variants. Its main opponent, the M4 Sherman, had a fighting chance against earlier versions of Panzer IV until the up-armored heavier later variants started arriving. The Panzer IV's superiority in combat ended with the introduction of the British Firefly and its 17 pounder gun and the American 3-inch M1 gun-fitted Shermans that achieved parity in firepower with the Panzer IV. Many of the 750 Panzer IVs that were committed in Normandy were lost during the cataclysmic Falaise Pocket and the Seine crossing.

The Panzer IV's last engagement in the Western Front was during the 1944-45 Ardennes Offensive, where many of the tanks were either survivors of the Normandy Campaign or reinforcements of the Panzer IV retrograde, the Ausf.J. Remarkably, most of the fighting vehicles were lost, not due to enemy attacks, but to the fuel shortages that plagued Nazi Germany during the final stages of the war.

Finland, still allied with Germany, purchased fifteen Panzer IV Ausf. J tanks. However, the tanks arrived too late to see action against Soviets but were ironically used against Germans themselves during the 1944-45 Lapland War. Bulgaria had 88 Panzer IV in service under designation "T-IV" in 1944. After the war Bulgaria incorporated its surviving Panzer IVs, alongside T-34s and StuGs as defensive bunkers on the Krali Marko Line at the border with Turkey which remained in use until the fall of communism in 1989. Romania acquire several Panzer IVs under designation T.4 but most of them were lost during combat in 1944 and 1945 leaving only two operational. They were supplied with fifty poor shaped Panzer IV by Red Army after the war until they were decommissioned in 1950 and scrapped in 1954. Syria also received 17 Panzer IVs after the war from different countries (France, Czechoslovakia and Spain) and saw combat during the 1964-1967 Water War and the 1967 Six-day War.

Soviet Union captured several Panzer IVs under designation T-4 and were either used in combat or as a training tank. At least one Panzer IV was used by Polish 2nd Corps in Italy in 1944 and another one by French FFI in December 1944.

In Girls und Panzer

Anime

The Panzer IV was found by the newly-formed Sensha-dō club in the former club hangar in very poor condition and was assigned to Team A, the progenitor of the future Anglerfish Team.

JSDGF Captain Ami Chōno organized a mock-up match during which it fought under Team A. Due to Miho's experience, all other teams formed a temporary coalition against Team A. While the Panzer IV was dangerously trapped in a rope bridge encircled by every other team, Miho assumed de-facto leadership, and guided the team to success by knocking out (in descending order): the StuG, the Type 89 and the Panzer 38(t). The M3 Lee comically self-destructed in mud.

During the training match against St. Gloriana Girls College, the Panzer IV was chosen to lure St. Gloriana's tanks into a deadzone, where all allied tanks would fire upon the enemy tanks using the ridge as a height advantage. The plan was foiled when an impulsive Momo fired upon the Panzer IV, revealing the trap to Darjeeling. With the plan now unraveled, St. Gloriana shot the tracks off of Turtle Team and intimidated Rabbit Team into fleeing their vehicle. Under constant fire, the Panzer IV retreated into the city with Hippo and Duck Team. After a catastrophic failure of the usage of geurilla tactics, Panzer IV, now seemingly alone, was found at the mercy of the Churchill and three Matildas only saved by the surprise intervention of Turtle Team. During the confusion, the Panzer IV took out one Matilda and retreated further into the city, knocking out two more Matildas using blind spots, leaving only the British Churchill in action. The Panzer IV was ultimately destroyed after a failed attempt to flank the Churchill by drifting and shooting its turret side armor at point-blank rang. Darjeeling, having seen through the Panzer IV intentions to drift, rotated the turret and delivered a final shot on the German tank.

During the tournament first round match against Saunders University High School, the Panzer IV was part of Ooarai's main force to be encircled in the forest, they manage to break the encirclement without harm and set a trap during which a M4 Sherman was destroyed by joint fire from the Panzer IV, the StuG and the M3 Lee. During the flag tank pursuit, the Panzer IV then on adjacent hills to have a better fire window on the flag tank but by doing so it expose itself to Saunders' killing machine, the Firefly. Once on the high grounds the Panzer IV get a clear shot a the M4A1(76) seconds before being jammed out by the Firefly.

During the tournament quarter-finals match against Anzio Girls High School, the Panzer IV spend much of its time protecting and escorting their flag tank, the Panzer 38(t). After crossing the Anzio's flag tank the P26/40, the Panzer IV shot down its tankette escort and will leave the Panzer 38(t) as a bait for the P26/40 while taking position on a hill to wait the unsuspected flag tank. Once the P26/40 lured in the killzone, the Panzer IV deliver an upper shot on the Anzio tank negating its sloped armor and destroys it.

Between the quarter-finals and the semi-finals the Panzer IV was upgraded with a longer 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun and additionnal armor, thus becoming a Panzer IV Ausf.F2.

During the tournament semi-finals match against Pravda Girls High School, after the beginning of the match the Panzer IV took down one T-34/76, used by Pravda as a bait to Ooarai. During the ambush in the village a shell damaged the Panzer IV turret ring render it unable to move the turret. After some repairs, Ooarai tanks decided to broke Pravda's siege, during the pursuit the Panzer IV and the StuG separate from the other in search of Pravda's flag tank. Once found they destroyed its protection, the mighty KV-2 and the Panzer IV took pursuit of the flag tank, they finally destroyed it when the StuG buried itself in the snow while the Panzer IV making sure the unsuspecting T-34 would fall in the trap.

Between the semi-finals and the finals the Panzer IV was again upgraded with a longer 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun, additionnal armor and Schürzen, thus becoming a Panzer IV Ausf.H.

During the tournament final match against Kuromorimine Girls Academy, the Panzer IV acted as the flag tank. At the beginning of the match, Ooarai tanks were taken under heavy fire by Kuromorimine's tanks and the Chi-Nu, due to its clumsiness, fortunately took a shot from Erika's Tiger II destined to the Panzer IV what would have ended the match if occurs. They managed to retreat to a high hill using smoke screen and entrenched themselves at the top establishing a reinforced position, during the Kuromorimine ascension the Panzer IV disposed of one Jagdpanzer. After escaping encirclement on the hill and retreat into an abandoned town, it falls in a trap following a lone Panzer III to bump into the mighty Maus. During a uneffective barrage fire from remaining Ooarai tanks on the Maus, one shell (presumably from the Panzer IV) hit the carelessly Panzer III waving from behind the Maus and thanks to the cooperation of other tanks to expose the Maus air intake, the Panzer IV make a direct hit on it, terminating the behemoth. At the end of the match the Panzer IV manage to get isolated with Kuromorimine's flag tank, the Tiger I, thanks to their heavier and most powerful tank, Leopon Team's Tiger (P) blocking the access to the two dueling tanks. After a game of Hide and Seek and missed shots, the Panzer IV gets the last shot by bizarrely drifting behind the Tiger and shooting out engine, immobilizing the Tiger. The Tiger, remarkably, barely hits, crumpling a corner of the Panzer IV's front glacis.

The Panzer IV is later seen parading with other tanks in the streets of Ooarai.

Manga

The Panzer IV was found in working condition in the former Sensha-dō club hangar and was assigned to the future Anglerfish Team.

The mock-up match occurs like in the anime one, except that the Panzer IV destroyed all its opponents (except the M3 Lee) "after" leaving the bridge.

During the alternate training match against St. Gloriana Girls College, the Panzer IV was still the one that was supposed to lure St. Gloriana's tanks into a killzone. Just like in the anime match, the Panzer IV, the Type 89 and the StuG escape to town after the failed ambush. Once its teammates destroyed, the Panzer IV get cornered by the Churchill and two Matildas (one having effectively being destroyed by Duck Team) but manage to destroy one Matilda during the confusion caused by the Panzer 38(t). The Panzer IV then destroy the last Matilda by shooting its track while being at full speed sending it crashing into a nearby building but met its fate by the gun the Churchill, when trying to flank it by drifting but it was intercepted and destroyed after shooting once at the heavy tank.

During the alternate tournament first round match against Saunders University High School, the Panzer IV is only shown delivering the final shot to Saunders flag tank from the front at close range.

Between the first round and the quarter-finals the Panzer IV was upgraded with a longer gun and additionnal armor, thus becoming a Panzer IV Ausf.F2.

During the alternate tournament quarter-finals match against Anzio Girls High School, the Panzer IV stood with the main force for almost the entire match, until they're took under heavy fire by the P26/40. Thus Anglerfish and Turtle Team split from the group to inspect each hillside looking for Anzio's sniper, the Panzer IV found it first and quickly dispose of it, depriving Anzio of their most powerful tank and support.

During the tournament semi-finals match against Pravda Girls High School, the Panzer IV performed just like in the anime.

Between the semi-finals and the finals the Panzer IV was upgraded with additionnal armor and Schürzen, thus becoming a Panzer IV Ausf.H.

During the tournament finals match against Kuromorimine Girls Academy, the Panzer IV performed just like in the anime.

Der Film

During the friendly match against St. Gloriana and Pravda, the Panzer IV acted as the Ooarai and Chi-Ha-Tan team flag tank. During the battle at the golf course the Panzer IV destroyed one of St. Gloriana's Matilda entrenched in the bunker then after Ooarai had to retreat after Chi-Ha-Tan reckless charge, the Panzer IV was persued by the Crusader squad and destroyed three of them. The Panzer IV spend most of the match being chased by Nonna, Katyusha and Rosehip until they locate the enemy's flag tank near the beach. The Panzer IV then cornered the Churchill at Aqua World, shot it but hit's Katyusha's T-34 instead leaving time to Darjeeling to land a shell and destroying it.

During the battle against the All-Stars University Team, the Panzer IV acts as the head of Dandelion Team and overall commander of the compound team. The Panzer IV alongside Dandelion Team struggle with Rumi's platoon in the wetlands but with no harm for any of the teams, after the retreat to the Amusement Park the Panzer IV remains at the Central Plaza providing reconnaissance. When the University Team stormed the park, nearly all Ooarai Team tanks were trapped at the amphitheater, the Panzer IV tried the help but was pinned down and held back by Pershings but thanks to Rabbit Team they were all freed. The Panzer IV and the Hetzer will lure Rumi's tanks in a maze where it took down one Pershing. At the climax of the battle, the Panzer IV and the Tiger I regroup in the Central Plaza against the two remainings Pershing and the Centurion, during the showdown with the help of her sister, Miho manages to shoot down Azumi's Pershing and was then destroyed alongside the Centurion.

Little Army

The family's Panzer IV Ausf.D was used by Miho and her friends, Hitomi Yuzumoto, Chihiro Yusa and Emi Nakasuga. During the practice match against her sister Maho, the Panzer IV was hardly shaked by two shots from the StuG one cutting a tree that saved the tank and fall on it. During the rest of the match the StuG and the Panzer IV exchange fire, until the Miho attempted a point-blank range shot but while the Panzer IV misses by hitting a tree, the StuG didn't and destroyed the tank.

Little Army 2

Ooarai Girls Academy fielded their Panzer IV during the Commemorative Cup repechage match against Bellwall Academy. During the match the Panzer IV was persued by Emi's Tiger, the Jagdpanther and the T-44 in a highway interchange to get rid of its persuers by jumping from one interchange to another. It later comes into a fierce duel with Tiger ending by the destruction of the two tanks.

Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot Battle!

During mocked-up matches the Panzer IV, with Saori as commander due to Miho being summoned by the Student Council, was destroyed by either the StuG, the M3 Lee and even by the Type 89 due Saori's inability to command a tank and her frequent bursts of panic.

During the practice match against Maginot Girls' Academy, the Panzer IV was part of the main force that bombard Maginot's entrenched position. When their opponent revealed their new mobile warfare, the situation went snafu and the Panzer IV ended persuing the B1 Bis and a SOMUA that were chasing the M3 Lee, after breaking from Maginot's grasp and some uncanny events the was relentlessly tailed by Eclair's SOMUA. Miho ordered Mako to climb a slope then once at the top make a U-turn and charge at full speed the SOMUA, while speeding Saori hit the ground with the MG to create a dust screen to feint their opponent, the SOMUA shot in the dust but realize too late that it didn't hit anything before being flank-shoted by the Panzer IV.

Phase Erika

Jatkosota High School fielded one Panzer IV Ausf.J against Kuromorimine Girls Academy, where it first participates on the kill on Bauer's Panther after she escaped Jatkosota's flooding trap. It then stays with the main group shelling Kuromorimine's flag tank, but when Kuromorimine regain the initiative by taking down their ace's tank the Panzer IV was likely destroyed with the rest of its team.

The Fir Tree and the Iron-Winged Witch

Count High School fielded one T.4 (Panzer IV Ausf.G) as flag tank (callsign Tank N°1) against Saunders University High School. It was seen firing on sheltered Shermans but without scoring any hits and was about to be destroyed when its T.3 escort acted as a shield. During the ensuing firefight the T.4 finally had to retreat after the destruction of its last T-38 escort and of their main asset the Mareşal, it was last seen retreating in the column of remaining Count's tanks back covered by Noemi's T.3.

Gekkan Senshado Magazine

Blue Division High School and Jatkosota High School both fielded one Panzer IV (Ausf.J for Jatkosota and Ausf.H for Blue Division) during the tournament first round match. Blue Divison's Panzer IV was used as spearhead to breakthrough Jatkosota lines but were slow down by the muddy terrain and was ultimately destroyed by either T-34s, the Sturmi or Jatkosota's Panzer IV which was used as fixing force to Blue Division's vanguard.

Yogurt Academy fielded one Panzer IV Ausf.G/H (hybrid of Ausf.G and Ausf.H version) during the tournament first round match against Waffle Academy. Its role during the match is unknown.

Yogurt again fielded their Panzer IV during the tournament quarter-finals match against St. Gloriana Girls College. Its role during the match is unknown.

Jatkosota again fielded their Panzer IV during the tournament quarter-finals match against Kuromorimine Girls Academy. It was ordered by Mika to provide covering fire to the BT squad from behind a dune, but it was ultimately destroyed by the overwhelming power of their opponents heavy tanks.

Trivia

Anglerfish Panzer

The Anglerfish Panzer IV Ausf. H in the PlayStation 4 release of World of Tanks.

  • Anglerfish Team's Panzer IV was featured as a Skin Mod along with the other tanks as a Collaboration Event of Girls Und Panzer and World of Tanks
    • Anglerfish Team's Panzer IV was also featured in World of Tank Blitz as a Premium Tier V Japanese tank named Panzer IV Anko Special while the regular long-barreled Panzer IV is a Tier V German tank.
    • Their Panzer IV Ausf. H also appears as a limited edition, stand-alone Premium tank in the PlayStation 4 release of the game. It was available for acquisition after earning 20,000 Tank XP while using a regular Ausf. H in a collaboration event. It would later also see a limited-time release on Xbox as a stand-alone tank in the premium tank shop.
    • Panzer IV was featured in World of Tanks as a German Medium Tank, in two variants: Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. D (Tier 4) and Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H (Tier 5)
  • The Panzer IV was the only German tank to remain in both production and combat during the entire conflict.
  • In the manga the Panzer IV is equipped with the longer gun after the match against Saunders instead of after the match against Anzio.
  • Despite the Ausf.H having a longer gun that the Ausf.F2, is Ooarai isn't seen finding a new gun.

Gallery

Main article: Panzer IV/Gallery
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