German Tank Production during World War II

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German Armour production during World War II

This article lists German tank production during World War II. AFVs on a tank chassis are also included. Where figures for production in 1939 are given, they refer to September 1939 onwards; that is, they only count wartime production.

Panzer I

The Panzer I wasn't intended as a combat vehicle, but more to familiarize industry and the army with tanks. By the time production had ended in 1937, a total of 1867 Pz I hulls had been produced, of which 1493 were fitted with turrets, and the rest used as command or training vehicles.

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Panzer II

The Panzer II was a heavier vehicle, designed to replace the Panzer I. It was armed with a 20 mm cannon which had some anti-armour capability. Before the war started, 1223 had been built.

             1939  1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945
Pz II          15     9   223   322
Pz II (f)       -    84
Marder II       -     -     -   372
Wespe           -     -     -     -   514   162

Note:

  • Pz II (f) = flamethrower tank
  • Marder II = 75 mm Pak 40 gun on Pz II chassis (SdKfz 131)
  • Wespe = 105 mm light field howitzer on Pz II chassis (SdKfz 124)

Panzer 38(t)

In March 1939 Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia and took over the Czech arms manufacturing industries. The LT-38 tank, then in production, was renamed Panzer 38(t) ("t" standing for Tschechisch, German for Czech). Prior to the start of the war, 78 Pz 38(t) tanks had been produced.

Germany continued producing the Pz 38(t) during the war. By early 1942, it was clearly obsolete. However, the production lines were already running, the vehicle was mechanically reliable, and the factory would have had difficulty moving over to larger tanks. So it was decided to find other uses for the Pz 38(t) chassis.

              1939  1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945
Pz 38(t)       153   367   678   198
Marder 138       -     -     -   110   783   323
Marder 139       -     -     -   344
Grille           -     -     -     -   225   346
Hetzer           -     -     -     -     -  1687  1335

Notes:

  • Marder 138 = Marder SdKfz 138, 75 mm Pak 40 gun on Pz 38(t) chassis
  • Marder 139 = Marder SdKfz 139, captured Russian 76.2 mm gun on Pz 38(t) chassis
  • Grille = SdKfz 138/1, 150 mm heavy infantry gun on Pz 38(t) chassis (figures include munition-carrying versions of the Grille)
  • Hetzer = Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, 75 mm L/48 Pak39 gun on a widened Pz 38(t) chassis

Panzer III

The Panzer III was designed as a medium tank, with a high-velocity 37 mm gun. Pre-war production was 98 vehicles. During the war, the Pz III was upgunned to a 50 mm gun, then to an even higher velocity 50 mm gun, in order to improve its anti-tank performance. A low-velocity 75 mm gun was also fitted, but since the tank wasn't big enough to fit a high-velocity 75 mm gun, production was halted mid-war, although the chassis continued to be used to build assault guns.

The Panzer III was the first tank to have a 3-man turret: the commander didn't have to double up as a loader or a gunner, so he could concentrate on commanding the tank.

              1939  1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945
Pz III         157   396
Pz III (50)      -   466  1673   251
Pz III (50L)     -     -     -    64  1906
Pz III (75)      -     -     -   450   213
Pz III (f)       -     -     -     -   100
StuG III         -   184   540    90
StuG III (l)     -     -     -   702  3011  3850   863

Notes:

  • Pz III = Panzer III with 37 mm gun
  • Pz III (50) = Panzer III with 50 mm L/42 gun
  • Pz III (50L)= Panzer III with 50 mm L/60 gun
  • Pz III (75) = Panzer III with 75 mm L/24 gun
  • Pz III (f) = Panzer III with flamethrower
  • StuG III = Sturmgeschutz 40, 75 mm L/24 assault gun on Pz III chassis, SdKfz 142
  • StuG III (l) = Sturmgeschutz 40, 75 mm L/43 or L/48 assault gun on Pz III chassis, SdKfz 142/1

Panzer IV

The Panzer IV was designed alongside the Panzer III. The Pz IV was a slightly larger and heavier tank, and with its large calibre low velocity gun, it was designed to break through enemy positions. Pre-war production was 211 tanks.

              1939  1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945
Pz IV (short)   45   268   467   124
Pz IV (long)     -     -     -   870  3013  3126   385
StuG IV          -     -     -     -    30  1006   105
Jagd IV          -     -     -     -     -   769        
Jagd IV/70       -     -     -     -     -   767   441
Sturm IV         -     -     -     -    66   215    17
Hummel           -     -     -     -   368   289    57
Hornisse         -     -     -     -   345   133    16
Mobelwagen       -     -     -     -     -   205    35
Wirbelwind       -     -     -     -     -   100     5
Ostwind          -     -     -     -     -    15    28

Notes:

  • Pz IV (short) = Panzer IV with short 75 mm gun
  • Pz IV (long) = Panzer IV with long 75 mm gun
  • StuG IV = Sturmgeschutz IV (SdKfz 167), superstructure of StuG III on Pz IV hull; armed with 75 mm L/42 or L/48 gun
  • Jagd IV = Jagdpanzer IV (SdKfz 162) with 75 mm L/48 gun
  • Jagd IV/70 = Jagdpanzer IV with 75 mm L/70 gun
  • Sturm IV = Sturmpanzer IV (Sdkfz 166) Brummbaer with 150 mm gun
  • Hummel = 150 mm field howitzer on Pz IV (sometimes Pz III) chassis (SdKfz 165)
  • Hornisse = 88 mm Pak43 auf PzKw IV, known as Hornisse, later known as Nashorn. Note: some Hummels/Hornisses used the Pz III hull instead of the Pz IV hull, but I don't know how many.
  • Mobelwagen = 37 mm AA on Pz IV chassis
  • Wirbelwind = quad 20 mm AA on Pz IV chassis, with armoured turret
  • Ostwind = 37 mm Flak43 AA on Pz IV chassis, with armoured turret

The Panzer IV was originally armed with a low-velocity 75 mm L/24 gun. In 1942 this was upgraded to a 75 mm L/43 gun, and later to a 75 mm L/48 gun; both these guns are classed as "long" in the table.

Elefant

The Elefant (SdKfz 184) used the chassis of Porsche's losing entry for the Tiger competition. On top of this chassis, a forward-facing 88 mm L/71 gun was mounted. A total of 90 Elefants were produced, all in 1943.

The Elefant was also known as the Ferdinand, after its designer, Dr Ferdinand Porsche.

Panzer V (Panther)

             1943  1944  1945
Panther      1768  3777   439
Jagdpanther     -   226   198

Notes:

  • Panther had a 75mm L/70 gun
  • Jagdpanther (SdKfz 173) had an 88 mm L/71 Pak43 gun

Panzer VI (Tiger)

On May 26, 1941 Hitler ordered the Henschel and Porsche firms to design a new heavy tank. Franz Xaver Reimspiess developed the Panzer Tiger. Reimspiess was the leader of the Nibelungen Panzer factory in Upper Austria. The Henschel design won the competition and became the Tiger; the Porsche design became the Elefant.

             1942  1943  1944  1945
Tiger I        78   649   623
Tiger II        -     3   377   100
Jagdtiger       -     -    61    16

Notes:

  • Tiger I (Panzer VIE) was armed with an 88mm L/56 gun
  • Tiger II (Panzer VIB, also known as Königstiger) was armed with an 88 mm L/71 gun
  • Jagdtiger (SdKfz 186) was armed with a 128 mm L/55 Pak44 gun

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