Panzers I and II production dominated the prewar years. The Panther and Tiger tanks production took hold in 1943 with increasing rates in 1944. However, it was the Panzers III and IV that made up the bulk of German armored fighting vehicle production.
Table of Contents
The Panzer I was a light tank that was first introduced in 1934. Its name is short for Panzerkampfwagen I (German for “armored fighting vehicle mark I”), Germany produced around 2,000 Panzer I tanks from 1934 to 1942. Strengths: Fast and agile, Weaknesses: Thin armor and small gun.
The Panzer II was a light tank that was first introduced in 1935. The Panzer II was considered an intermediary tank until the Panzer IIIs and IVs could be produced. Given that it stayed in service throughout the war. Germany produced around 10,000 Panzer II tanks from 1935 to 1943. Strengths: Fast and agile, Weaknesses: Thin armor and small gun.
The Panzer III was a medium tank that was first introduced in 1936. At the launch of Operation Barbarossa in June 1943 the Panzer III was the most common front-line tank for the Germans. Germany produced around 5,774 Panzer III tanks from 1939 to 1943. Strengths: Good mobility and firepower, Weaknesses: Thin armor and inadequate gun for later stages of the war.
The Panzer IV was a medium tank that was first introduced in 1937. The Panzer IV had a crew of five which included the commander, gunner, loader, driver, and radio operator. In contrast the Soviet T-34 had a crew of four and radios were a rarity in Soviet tanks early in the war. Germany produced around 8,500 Panzer IV tanks from 1936 to 1945. Strengths: Good firepower and mobility, Weaknesses: Limited armor protection.
The Tiger I was a heavy tank that was first introduced in 1942. Each Tiger was calculated to cost RM250,800 (Reichsmarks) to build compared to just RM117,100 for a Panther and RM103,462 for a Panzer IV. Germany produced around 1,347 Tiger I tanks from 1942 to 1944. Strengths: Excellent armor and firepower, Weaknesses: Slow, mechanically unreliable, expensive and difficult to maintain.
The Tiger II was a heavy tank that was first introduced in 1944. A total of 211 Tiger II tanks were lost in noncombat scenarios, versus 159 in combat, and 110 losses were uncategorized (1). Germany produced around 492 Tiger II tanks from in 1944 and 1945. Strengths: Excellent armor and firepower, Weaknesses: Slow, mechanically unreliable, expensive and difficult to maintain.
(1) Ankerstjerne, Christian, “Tiger Losses”, https://panzerworld.com/tiger-losses, Data accessed March 11, 2023.
The Panther was a medium tank that was first introduced in 1943. Germany postponed Operation Citadel, which would become known as the Battle of Kursk, for several reasons the major being delivery of the new Panther tanks. The Panther at the time was still undergoing teething problems and this resulted in many losses due to mechanical issues during the Battle of Kursk. Germany produced around 5,975 Panther tanks from 1943 to 1945. Strengths: Good mobility, firepower, and armor protection, Weaknesses: Mechanical unreliability.
Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III)
The StuG III was a self-propelled gun that was first introduced in 1940. The StuG III was Germany’s most-produced fully tracked armoured fighting vehicle during World War II. Germany produced around 10,000 StuG III units from 1940 to 1945. Strengths: Good mobility and high rate of fire, Weaknesses: Limited armor protection and small gun.
Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV)
The StuG IV was a self-propelled gun that was first introduced in 1943. When the StuG III Alkett factory was bombed Germany combine a StuG III upper structure with a Panzer IV lower structure and the StuG IV came into being. Germany produced around 1,100 StuG IV units from 1943 to 1945. Strengths: Good mobility and high rate of fire, Weaknesses: Limited armor protection and small gun.
The Jagdpanther was a self-propelled gun that was first introduced in 1944. The Jagdpanthers first saw action on July 30, 1944, in an engagement with Churchill tanks near St. Martin de Bois. Germany produced around 413 Jagdpanther from 1944 to 1945.
German Production of Armored Fighting Vehicles Data
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Source: Wikipedia. ‘German armored fighting vehicle production during World War II’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_armored_fighting_vehicle_production_during_World_War_II, Data accessed on July 7, 2022
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