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Main differences concerned gun and armour upgrades. These had a great importance on their roles in combat.

Early in the war, PzKpfw IV was an infantry support tank and III had an AT role with its high velocity 50mm gun.

These roles change, however. In 1942 Panzer IV got the high velocity 75mm L/43, and a bit later the even more powerful L/48 gun. Thus it became a capable tank killer.

Meanwhile, late war Pz III's (M and N models) were equipped with the 75mm L/24 gun - the same as the early war Pz IV. So they were intended to give close support for infantry.

Here's a couple of useful links:

http://www.wwiivehicles.com/index.htm

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/

And for Russian armour:

http://www.battlefield.ru/

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Pz-IIIN is 75mm/L24. M is 50mm/L60.

Here's the way I do it. YMMV;)

In both cases the first thing I look at is the gun.

Pz-IV:

75mm/L24 - strictly infantry support unless you have no other choice.

75mm/L43 - reasonable mid-war AT capabilities, and 75mm is a good caliber for infantry support.

75mm/L48 - really a good gun, except for taking on things like IS-2s.

The problem is the Pz-IV will die like a bug if you try and use it in a true MBT role. The armor just isn't adequate. The best way to use Pz-IVs is as shooters trailing behind a Tiger or a Panther, something that will absorb the heat while the IV plinks away with its gun.

Pz-III:

50mm/L42 - great early war tank, high ROF, good accuracy, good penetration chance against early T-34s at reasonable ranges. Unfortunately it often takes two or three 50mm rounds to score a kill. Not terribly much good for infantry support, the 50mm round has a very low blast effect.

50mm/L60 - Reasonable mid-war tank, can still beat T-34s at medium ranges. The 2 or 3 hits for a kill still applies, as does the low blast effect. By late war, though, these guys are best in light environments or using ambush tactics, and crossing their fingers. Anything more than T-34/76, it's shoot and scoot time.

Of course now someone will come and explain how, with a platoon of Pz-IIIMs, you can defeat six battalions of IS-2s, if you just use them correctly ;)

As for armor, the Pz-III is actually the better-armored of the two until we get to the Pz-IVG mid, when the Pz-IV goes up to a 50+30 hull. However, the III's 50/curved turret seems to be superior to the 50/10 turret of the IV, all the way to the end of the war. So if you have mixed IIIs and IVs, it's usually best to lead with the IIIs.

That's my story at least, and I'm sticking with it. Unless I change my mind.

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Originally posted by Vossiewulf:

75mm/L48 - really a good gun, except for taking on things like IS-2s.

Lies! I've learned the hard way that four time out of five any German tank with the 75L48 gun will knock out an IS-2 in a duel. This is because the IS-2 turret front cannot handle the better 75mm rounds; also the German tank has a ROF nearly four times faster than the excrutiatingly slow Russian 122mm gun.
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It all depends on gun, armor, range and opponent.

Note that the PzIV never gets a 80mm turret front (only front hull) and thus is always in danger of getting killed by a T34/76 - especially when hull down (a bug it shares with other tanks in the game. The chance to hit the turret is bigger for a hull-down tank than for a hull-up tank. So if the turret is weak and the hull impenetrable, the tank should stay hull-up).

The 50+20mm front of a PzIII is impenetrable for vanilla T34/76s at ranges above 500m, but it takes long to get a kill.

The 50mm front turret of a PzIV is a weak spot, but the 75mmL43 (/L48) can kill almost anything.

If you have both tanks, use the PzIII to engage the Soviets and once the Soviets are committed bring in the PzIV - hoping the T34s don't switch targets. If they switch targets you hopefully engaged the T34s from the flank and once they turn to face the PzIV the PzIII gets flank shots.

PzIIIa-f: 3,7cm gun. Nice vs. Soviet tin-cans

PzIIIg, h, j("short", early and late): 50L42 gun. Slight chance vs early T34. Flank shots preffered. g and j (early, short) have 5cm armor, h has 30+30mm. j (late, short) has 50+20 armor

PzIIIj (long, early and late) 50L60 gun, armor is 50 (early) and 50+20 (late)

PzIIIL, m: Seems the only significant difference to the IIIj(long, late) is the amount of MG ammo, maybe the amount of T-ammo and the rarity.

PzIV:a-f1 short 75L24. Armor increases from a to f1.

PzIVf2: the first with a long 75L43. Armor like IVf1.

IVg: 75L43. "early" is just like f2. late has the 80mm hull front and is IMHO the best PzIV in CM. Dunno from memory if it has skirts.

IVh: gets 75L48 gun, but IIRC the armor quality drops. Has skirts.

IVj: has skirts and IIRC even less armor quality then IVh.

The IVf1/2 and the IIIj came in the same period. Seems somebody halted the renumbering process. Or they got problems in a transitional/experimental period: How to number a IIIj (early, 50L42) that got 2cm of additional armor and later even a new gun in the factory. Same for the IVf. Maybe there were other components that changed and were more important to the factories than the guns. Guess some hulls just got new turrets (with minor mods for the hull) and they were IVf and thus stayed IVf.

Once production was set for the 50L60 and 75L4x, the numbers increased as before.

Gruß

Joachim

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The 75/L48 can knock out the IS-2 only at short ranges, and with a good shot on the turret.

Meanwhile, that heavy soviet tank is one of the best way to knock out 75mm Pillboxes or anything which is equipped with that gun at more than 800m. (It works perfectly and the IS-2 can take all its time to reload smile.gif )

Paulus

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Originally posted by Von Paulus:

The 75/L48 can knock out the IS-2 only at short ranges, and with a good shot on the turret.

Meanwhile, that heavy soviet tank is one of the best way to knock out 75mm Pillboxes or anything which is equipped with that gun at more than 800m. (It works perfectly and the IS-2 can take all its time to reload smile.gif )

Paulus

I prefer the Sturmtiger vs 76mm pillboxes. Range above 100 yards, of course. Not for fear of the 76mm.

Gruß

Joachim

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Originally posted by Von Paulus:

The 75/L48 can knock out the IS-2 only at short ranges, and with a good shot on the turret.

Meanwhile, that heavy soviet tank is one of the best way to knock out 75mm Pillboxes or anything which is equipped with that gun at more than 800m. (It works perfectly and the IS-2 can take all its time to reload smile.gif )

Paulus

No, the best thing in CM against pillboxes, especially the concrete ones, are 20mm autocannon vehicles, by far.
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Originally posted by Redwolf:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Von Paulus:

The 75/L48 can knock out the IS-2 only at short ranges, and with a good shot on the turret.

Meanwhile, that heavy soviet tank is one of the best way to knock out 75mm Pillboxes or anything which is equipped with that gun at more than 800m. (It works perfectly and the IS-2 can take all its time to reload smile.gif )

Paulus

No, the best thing in CM against pillboxes, especially the concrete ones, are 20mm autocannon vehicles, by far. </font>
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Originally posted by Joachim:

It all depends on gun, armor, range and opponent.

especially when hull down (a bug it shares with other tanks in the game. The chance to hit the turret is bigger for a hull-down tank than for a hull-up tank. So if the turret is weak and the hull impenetrable, the tank should stay hull-up).

Gruß

Joachim

Why would the chance to hit the turret be any greater if hull-down vs hull-up? I understand that the to hit % increase if hull-up on the entire tank but the % to hit the turret should be no more than when hull-down. So overall effect is that it should be a smaller % chance to hit the target when hull-down (of course the only hit possible is to the turret). Your statement makes it sound as if the Pz IV has a better chance to survive if it remains hull-up? Or is this another one of those game quirks?
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On the other hand the Pz IV gets unfair disadvantages, because

1) the real turret was comparably smaller in relation tot he hull than with other tanks, in CM it has the same portion of the sihuette

2) the real turret has a substancial portion covered by the gun mantlet and heavily angled (the lower forward edges).

The actual amount of 50mm plate on the forward profile is very small, much smaller than turret front usually are. But in CM it is treated as if there was a full-size plain 50mm front.

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Originally posted by FM Paul Heinrik:

Also, why doesn't all gunners aim at the most vunerable areas like Tiger or KV1 tracks, especially at close ranges.

BFC had that in a pre-CMBO beta and it created "killer bees" which would be unrealistically effective underdog AFVs.

You can still see traces of it when people exploit absolute spotting and unit fearlessness to open fire with 12x 20mm guns on KV-2, driving it into secure gun dmage within a turn. Imagine the same trick works 10 times as good.

Activating a feature like that would require more reliance on the TacAI to simulate screwing up in realsitic ways, something it is not very good at.

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Originally posted by Redwolf:

On the other hand the Pz IV gets unfair disadvantages, because

1) the real turret was comparably smaller in relation tot he hull than with other tanks, in CM it has the same portion of the sihuette

2) the real turret has a substancial portion covered by the gun mantlet and heavily angled (the lower forward edges).

For the sake of having an argument, let's compare the profiles of T-34 and Pz IV:

tankfronts.jpg

It doesn't look to me like Pz IV would have an "unusually small" turret in comparison to its hull. Actually the IV turret is bigger, so if anything, T-34 (and many other tanks) should be given the same benefit. And the non-angled elements of the turret front are far fewer in area than on T-34 turret.

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Well, sorry but the T-34 ist just "the other" tank with a very small turret front, if you only count the unangled part. It would have needed the same corrections as the Panzer IV. Didn't we go over all of this in CMBB times? May have been somebody else.

Compare Shermans, Churchills, Pz III, Tigers, Panthers. Even a T-34/85 will do.

Also note the area on the Pz IV turret covered by the mantlet. It is pretty big and has true double armor except right next to the fun. Part of what you see in the diagram is also the roof.

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Originally posted by FM Paul Heinrik:

Elaborate please.

The engine places too much weight on firing slit penetrations: even though the 20mm flak could never damage the actual armor of the bunker, its high ROF means that it'll score a slit penetration within the first minute. This is usually enough to cause the bunker crew to bail out.
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Originally posted by FM Paul Heinrik:

Elaborate please.

Missed that question before. There was a CMBB thread started by me about it, shortly after CMBB release.

Basically the concrete pillbox dies faster than the wooden one because it is modeled with a bigger firing slit and a bigger profile and hence is easier to hit.

The logic totally escapes me. In CM a concreate pillbox dies faster than a wooden one and a wooden pillbox dies faster than a MG nest without fortification. I would be surprised if anybody comes up with history examples to support this.

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In reply to the original question, the quickest rule of thumb is this: in any given period of the war, the Germans will have long-barrelled tanks and short-barrelled tanks. The short-barrelled tanks are for infantry support, as they have better HE and probably lack good (or much) AP ammo. The longer-barrelled tanks are mainly for fighting other armored vehicles, but still have some use (though not as much) for infantry support.

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