Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.62cm PAK 36(r) (SdKfz 139, Marder III)

The Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.62cm PAK 36(t) was the first of three variants of the Marder III and was an anti-tank vehicle produced by mounting captured Soviet guns on the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)

Soon after the invasion of the Soviet Union the Germans began to encounter new well-armoured tanks such as the T-34. The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) with its 3.7cm gun was almost instantly made obsolete, as were most existing German tanks. The medium term solution was to mount more powerful guns in the Panzer IV, but one of many stop-gap measures was to mount captured Soviet guns on otherwise obsolete tank chassis.

Marder III captured at Tripoli
Marder III
captured at Tripoli

In the case of the Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.62cm PAK 36(t) (SdKfz 139) the gun chosen was the Soviet 7.62cm gun and the tank was the Pz.38(t). The turret and superstructure top plate were removed from the tank, creating an open fighting compartment. The Soviet gun had a cross-shaped ground mounting, and this was used to mount it into the tank by welding the ends of the cross onto the front, back and sides of the superstructure. The crew were partly protected by a gun shield made from 10-15mm armour plate.

The gun was modified to fire German ammunition. Thirty rounds were carried in unprotected bins. The vehicle had a crew of four.

The first prototype was built in December 1941. A production order for 17 per month was placed on 22 December, with production to start in March 1942 and rise to 30 per month from July. In July 1942 the design had been successful enough for Hitler to order that all future Panzer 38(t) production be as self-propelled guns rather than as tanks.

A total of 344 were built from new, 194 on the Ausf G chassis and the remaining 150 on the Ausf H chassis (or 176 on the Ausf G and 168 on the Ausf H - sources differ), with a more powerful engine. These were built between April and October 1942. Another 19 were produced by converting existing Pz.38(t) tanks during 1943.

Although the Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.62cm PAK 36(t) was a fairly crude conversion it did give the Germans some effective mobile anti-tank weapons at a time when the heavily armoured Soviet tanks posed a serious threat to the under gunned German armoured forces. It was followed by two models of the Marder III armed with German guns - the Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.5cm PAK 40 ausf H and Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.5cm PAK 40 ausf M, both with the designation SdKfz 138.

The majority of the vehicles produced served in Russia, but 66 went to North Africa. The first six arrived in May 1942 and served with the headquarters. The remaining sixty arrived between July and November 1942 and served with the 15th Panzer Division and the 39th Panzer-jägerabteilung.

Names

Stats
Production: 344
Hull Length: 5.85m/ 19.2ft
Hull Width: 2.16m/ 7.09ft
Height: 2.5m/ 8.2ft
Crew: 4
Weight: 10.67 tons
Engine: Praga EPA or EPA/2
Max Speed: 42km/hr/ 26mph
Max Range: 185km/ 115 miles
Armament: One 7.62cm PaK36(r) and one 7.92mm MG37(t)

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Superstructure

50mm

16mm

10mm

10mm

Hull

50mm

15mm

15mm

18mm

Gun shield

11mm

11mm

Open

Open

German Weapons of World War II, Stephen Hart . Covers a wide range of the weapons used by the Third Reich during the Second World War, from the pistol up to the battleship Tirpitz, and including a wide range of tanks, armoured vehicles, aircraft, artillery etc. All supported by a mix of full colour illustrations and contemporary photographs, giving an idea of vast range of weapons produced by the Germans during the war (Read Full Review)
cover cover cover

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2013), Panzerjager 38(t) fur 7.62cm PAK 36(r) (SdKfz 139, Marder III), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzerjager_38_sdkfz_139.html

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