Panzer III L

German medium tank Mark 3 with long 5cm KwK39 L/60 gun.
History, development, service, specifications, statistics, pictures and 3D model.

Panzer III (SdKfz 141/1)
Panzer III (SdKfz 141/1) with long 5cm KwK39 L/60 in Panzer Museum Munster (Germany).

Panzer III Ausf L (SdKfz 141/1)
Type: Medium tank.


In March 1942, a study was undertaken to determine whether the Panzer IV turret would fit on the Panzer III superstructure. Analysis revealed that the resultant weight was excessive, and numerous modifications would be necessary. The idea was dropped, and production of the Panzer III with the 5 cm KwK39 L/60 continued.

The original order for 1,100 Ausf L was reduced by an order, early in June 1942, to mount 450 7.5 cm KwK L/24 in the Panzer III. 447 Ausf L were used to mount the short 7.5 cm gun and thus became Ausf N. One Ausf L was completed with an experimental, tapered-bore KwK0725.

Improvements to the Ausf L included increasing the armor on the turret front from 30 mm to 57 mm, installing a torsion-bar counter-balance instead of a coil spring for the main gun, and altering the air-intake louvres and hatches on the rear deck. All Ausf L had 20 mm spaced armor on the superstructure front, and most had 20 mm spaced armor on the gun mantle. Early in the production run, the hull escape hatches on the hull side, the loader’s vision port on the gun mantle and the turret side ports were deleted. A system designed to transfer heated engine coolant from one vehicle to another was also introduced with the Ausf L.


From late in June 1942, at the start of the summer offensive in Russia, there were approximately 600 Panzer III mounting the 5 cm KwK L/60 with units at the front in Russia. Apart from replacing losses, Ausf L were issued to the newly-formed Panzer regiments of the 1st SS-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, 2nd SS-Division Das Reich and 3rd SS-Division Totenkopf (all now Panzergrenadier divisions), and the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland.

Users: Germany, Hungary, Spain, Turkey (for all variants).

Animated 3D model Panzer III L (SdKfz 141/1)

Specifications for Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L (SdKfz 141/1)


Panzer III L Specification
Typemedium tank
EngineMaybach HL 120 TRM gasoline engine with 300 hp
Gearbox 6 forward, 1 reverse
Length6.28 meters
Width2.95 meters
Height2.50 meters
Weight22.7 tons
Maximum speed25 mph
Cross-country speed11 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 miles 350 liters on road; 530 liters cross-country
Fuel320 liters
Road radius100 miles
Cross-country radius55 miles
Vertical obstacle0.60 metrer
Trench crossing2.30 metres
Fording depth1.30 metres
Turning circle5.85 metres
Climbing power30°


Panzer III L mmangle
Turret front5715 °
Turret side3025 °
Turret rear3012°
Turret top1083-90 °
Superstructure front709 °
Superstructure side300 °
Superstructure rear5017 °
Superstructure top1879-90°
Hull front5021°
Hull side300 °
Hull rear509 °
Hull bottom1690°
Gun mantlet700-45 °

Armament and Equipment:

Panzer III L Specification
Main armament 5 cm KwK39 L/60
Traverse360° (by hand)
Elevation-10° to +20°
Muzzle velocity Pzgr835 m/s
Muzzle velocity Pzgr40 1,180 m/s
Shell weight Pzgr 2.06 kg
Shell weight Pzgr40 0.925 kg
Secondary armament one 7.92mm MG 34 coaxially to gun, one 7.92mm MG 34 in front hull (together 4,950 rounds)
RadioFuG5 (2.5 miles range)
Telescopic sightTZF5e (1.86 miles aiming)

Penetration mm at 30° armour plates of the gun:

RangePzgrPzgr40 (available only limited numbers)
Penetration 100 metres67 mm130 mm
Penetration 500 metres57 mm72 mm
Penetration 1000 metres44 mm38 mm
Penetration 1500 metres34 mm-
Penetration 2000 metres26 mm-


Panzer III L figures
Productionfrom June 1942 to December 1942
Price per tank RM 96,200 (early models) - RM 103,163 (Ausf M) [= $ 43,290 - 46,423 = £ 9,172 - 9,835]
Total production figure653

Service statistics of all Panzer III variants:

before 1939-71-
193998 (1.9.)206?
1940348 (10.5.)858?
1941 1,440 (1.6.)1,713 782
1942 1,849 (1.1.) 2,608 1,501
1943 2,944 (1.1.) 315 2,458
1944 950 (1.1.) -134
Total- 5,771 4,875 (only Jan 41 - Jan 45)

Video from the action with Panzer III N in video games

Mission with Panzer II H and Panzer III N at a ‘Realistic Ground Battle’ of the free2play game War Thunder:

Who does not know the F2P tank and plane war game War Thunder can download it from here for free:


References and literature

Kraftfahrzeuge und Panzer der Reichswehr, Wehrmacht und Bundeswehr (Werner Oswald)
Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two (P.Chamberlain, H.L.Doyle)
Panzer und andere Kampffahrzeuge von 1916 bis heute (Christopher F. Foss, John F. Milsom, Colonel John Stafford Weeks, Captain Georffrey Tillotson, Richard M. Ogorkiewicz)
Panzerkampfwagen des 1. und 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
Krieg der Panzer (Piekalkiewicz)
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)

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