Developed in the late 1930s, the Panzerkampfwagen IV—more commonly called the “Panzer IV”—would see service throughout World War II on every major front. Designed under the guidance of the famous tank General Heinz Guderian, this tank would eventually become the main tank of the German army. The Panzer IV was the only German tank that remained in production during the entire war, and more than 8800 were completed by war’s end.
Originally envisioned as an “infantry tank” that would be deployed to support infantry formations, the Panzer IV was not designed to fight enemy tanks directly. However, when the German army was confronted by superior Soviet tanks, this robust and reliable was quickly upgraded and converted to the role of tank fighter.
The Ausführung D (“version D”) model of the Panzer IV entered production in 1939 featured improved armor protection compared to earlier models and a machine gun for use against infantry. It’s 75mm short-barreled howitzer could fire both high explosive rounds, or Panzergranate armor-piercing shells that could penetrate up to 43mm of armor at ranges up to 700 meters.