German Tank PanzerKampfWagen IV Ausf H
This kit was produced at around 1975. At that time, Tamiya usually produced three options of kit for their tank models, and this is the "deluxe" or the top option kit which is equipped with dual motor wired remote control system, the motors were included in the kit and were factory assembled in the metal gear box. In addition, instead of the rubber tracks commonly found in earlier motorized kits, this kit comes with fully detailed plastic tracks.
In spring, 1935, Krupp, Rheinmetall, and MAN all submitted designs to fit the specifications for a support tank drawn up by the Heereswaffenamt. This vehicle, in the 20 ton Class, was the VK 2001, known under the code designation of BW (Battaillonsfuhrerwagen), and the Krupp design was chosen for production. The prototype trials took place at Ulm and Kummersdorf in 1937.
As with the smaller Pz Kpfw III, some pre-production models were built in small numbers for "troop trials." Three models, Ausf A, B, and C had been built by 1939 and the few available vehicles took part in the Polish Campaign. There was much less variety in detail of these, and the relative unimportance of the Pz Kpfw IV as originally conceived and ordered is that only one contractor was involved as against eight for the Pz Kpfw III. In the event, however, the Pz Kpfw IV was destined to supplant the Pz Kpfw III as the mainstay of the Panzer Divisions its larger size allowed it to be more effectively up-gunned and up-armored when the urgent need arose for a more effective answer to the new Soviet and American tanks of 1942-43. The Pz Kpw IV, indeed, had the distinction of remaining in production throughout the war, both as a battle tank and as a major basis (with all the other standard types) for the dozens of self-propelled guns and tank destroyers which the Germans produced.
The Panzer IV hall was a comparatively simple design. All joints were austenitic steel welds, and the plates were high-quality chromiummolybdenum steel made by the electric furnace process. Two bulkheads separated the hull into three compartments - driving, fighting, and engine.
The front driving compartment housed the transmission and final drive assemblies, in addition to seats for both driver and radio operator/hull gunner. Three petrol (gasoline) tanks with a capacity of approximately 105 gallons were located beneath the floor of the centre fighting compartment. A most noticeable and characteristic feature of the vehicle was the superstructure of welded construction, bolted to the top flange of the hull. To accommodate the rather large turret race, it projected well beyond each side wall of the hull. One bolted and two hinged maintenance hatches wee provided in the front glacis plate; access hatches for drive and radio operator were provided in the roof plate, though there were many detail changes incorporated in later models.
The 7.5 cm gun was mounted on a trunnion axis. The forward end of the recoil mechanism projected through the mantlet to afford additional protection. The commander's cupola set well back on the turret roof, had five observation ports equally spaced around it, with the front port pointing directly forward in line with the gun.
The Pz Kpfw IV, took over the role originally foreseen for the Pz Kpfw III as the principal battle tank, and was truthfully described as the "workhorse of the Panzer Divisions." Though inferior in shape and equipment to the T-34 and the post-1942 German designs, the Pz Kpfw IV has virtues like the Allied Sherman Tank - it was reliable and relatively simple to maintain.
The Pz Kpfw IV Ausf E was a major production type. The Ausf F (later re-designated Ausf FI) was an up-armored model like the Pz Kpfw III it had a simplified idler wheel and widened tracks.
The major development, however, was the Pz Kpfw IV Ausf F2, the original F re-armed with a long high velocity 75 mm gun, and produced specifically to restore the balance of fire-power to the Afrika Korps in 1942 when the Americal-built tanks with 75 mm guns were entering service with the British. this vehicle was exceptional and most effective - known to the British troops as the "MK IV Special" - but rommel could never get enough of them to restore the Panzer divisions of the Afrike Korps to their original dominating position on the battlefield. The Pz Kpfw Ausf G was a similar vehicle, but built from the start with the high velocity gun, and with an improved, up-armoured turret, and detail changes.
By mid 1943 the vehicle was further refined with the appearance of the Pz Kpfw IV Ausf H. It was similar to the G model but had a jet more powerful 75 mm gun, the L/48, which was about 15 inches longer than the L/43. It has also a new cupola with 100 mm armour thickness, and some vehicles had 30 mm plates of extra armour welded or bolted on the nose. Later vehicles were built new with 85 mm thick frontal armour. Simplified suspension components were used to reduce production costs. For protection from follow-charge antitank projectiles of the "bazooka" type, mild steel skirt armour plates were suspended from rails attached to the superstructure, for bazooka-type weapons were now in Allied service on an increasing scale. Zimmerit anti-magnetic compound also made its appearance at this time to stop the placement of magnetic charges on the vehicle.