Panzerkampfwagen 38(d)

The Panzerkampfwagen 38(d) was a modified and expanded version of the Panzer 38(t) that was to have been used as the basis for a family of new weapons during 1945 but that never reached production.

The Panzer 38(d) chassis (d for Deutsch, so it would have been a German variant on an aging Czech design) would have been similar to the later versions of the Panzer 38(t), but slightly larger to make it more flexible and using a German TATRA 12 cylinder air-cooled diesel engine that would have produced 210-220hp. The new engine would also have required a new drive train and new drive and sprocket wheels.

By the middle of 1944 the Germans were planning to phase out production of the Panzer IV chassis (as used on the StuG IV) and replace it with a combined Panzer III/IV chassis. This change wasn’t to have taken place until the summer of 1945, but in the autumn of 1944 the Panzer III/IV was cancelled and most future armoured vehicles (apart from the Panther and Tiger families) were to be built on either the Panzer 38(t) or Panzer 38(d) chassis.

The Panzer 38(d) was designed to be able to carry the 7.5cm PAK 42 (L/70) as used on the Panzer IV/70, the PAK 39 (L/48) and StuH 42 (allowing it to replace the StuG III) and a powerful anti-aircraft turret with two 20mm guns and three 30mm cannon, which would have replaced the Panzer IV-based Kugelblitz. An expanded version of the chassis was also used as the basis of a tracked personnel carrier that could have carried eight passengers.

The Panzer 38(d) was also to have been the basis of two self-propelled artillery vehicles, the Leichter Einheitswaffentrager, which could have carried a 10.5cm or 88mm gun and the Gerat 578 Waffentrager, which had the potential to carry a wider range of vehicles.

A number of prototypes were built of some of these designs, but no vehicle based on the Panzer 38(d) ever entered production. 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 August 2013), Panzerkampfwagen 38(d) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzerkampfwagen_38d.html

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