German Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) included but not limited to; tanks, command vehicles, flamethrower vehicles, tank destroyers, self-propelled anti-tank guns, self-propelled artillery, and half-tracked armored vehicles. German AFV production from 1939-45 approximately 28,000 were tanks, 5363 were tank destroyers, 2545 were self-propelled anti-tank guns, and 2109 were self-propelled artillery totaling 46,857 units.
Table of Contents
Germany had some of the most advanced armored fighting vehicles of World War 2, including:
The Panzer II, III, and IV were the main German tanks early in the war. The Panther and Tiger tanks were later heavy tanks with powerful guns and thick armor. The Panzers were fast, well-armed, and instrumental in the blitzkrieg invasions of Poland, France, and the Soviet Union.
This was a successful assault gun or tank destroyer armed with a 75mm gun. It provided close fire support for infantry and could take on most Allied tanks. Over 10,000 were produced during the war. The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) evolved considerably during WW2:
Sturmgeschütz III Early Models (A-D)
Entered service in 1940-41. Armed with a 75mm gun and light armor. Used in infantry support and anti-tank roles. Approximately 660 were produced from 1940-41.
Sturmgeschütz III Later Models (E-G)
Produced 1942-44. Had increased armor and the more powerful 75mm StuK 40 gun. The StuK 40 made it a formidable tank destroyer, able to defeat Soviet T-34 and KV tanks. Approximately 1,200 models E and F were produced in 1942 and 7,800 model Gs were produced from 1942-45.
Sturmgeschütz III Final Models (H-J)
Produced 1944-45. Had additional armor to counter Soviet anti-tank weapons. Some were fitted with longer-barreled 75mm guns or rare 105mm howitzers. Approximately 1700 were produced from 1944-45.
This was a half-track armored personnel carrier that could carry up to 12 troops. It saw use on all fronts of the war, transporting infantry and supporting attacks.
This was an 8-wheeled armored car armed with a 50mm gun. It was used by Germany for reconnaissance, and was one of the heaviest and best-armed armored cars of the war.
German AFV Usage
Germany’s armored fighting vehicles showcased a blend of mobility, firepower, and armor protection. Early Panzer successes were instrumental to conquests early in the war, but Allied forces eventually overwhelmed the Germans with greater numbers and more powerful tanks and anti-tank weapons. The Allied forces overcame Germany’s armored fighting vehicles in several ways:
The Allied forces, especially the Soviets and Americans, eventually produced far more tanks and anti-tank weapons than Germany. Having greater numbers allowed the Allies to overwhelm the German armored forces, even if some of the German vehicles were more powerful.
More powerful weapons
The Allies fielded more powerful anti-tank weapons, like the Soviet 122mm gun and American 90mm gun, that could take on the heavy German tanks like the Panther and Tiger. The Allies also had tanks like the Soviet IS-2 and the British Sherman Firefly that could go toe-to-toe with the German heavies.
The Allies employed combined arms tactics, using artillery, airpower, infantry, and tanks together to overcome German armored defenses. Coordinating these different forces was key to cracking the powerful German armored formations.
Flaws in German strategy
Germany’s armored forces were not effectively used late in the war, as Hitler micro-managed their deployments. Armor was not concentrated for a decisive strategic push, but instead dispersed across multiple fronts, allowing the Allies to defeat them in piecemeal fashion.
So, through a combination of numerical, technological, tactical, and strategic advantages, the Allied forces were able to overcome the powerful but outnumbered armored forces of Germany late in World War 2.
German Annual AFV Production, 1939-45 Data
The above graph can be downloaded as an image.
To download the data shown below from which the graph was developed click on the icon below corresponding to you desired format. Note: to ensure all data is downloaded choose the ‘All’ selection in the Show Entries dropdown list. Otherwise only the data visible on the screen will download.
Source: McNab, Chris. “Hitler’s Masterplan.” Editor: Spilling, Michael, Amber Books, 2011, Page 170
Other Armored Fighting Vehicle Production Data
This website, ww2data.com, has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party internet websites referenced. Nor does ww2data.com guarantee that any content on such websites are accurate or will remain accurate.