Sunday, 1 February 2015
PzIII Skirt Effectiveness
The Germans were fans of putting extra armour on the PzIII and PzIV. First, screens were bolted on or welded on, later they introduced skirt armour for hulls and turrets. This armour was very thin, only 5 mm, but it was placed some distance away from the tank's main armour. The result was significant deformations of brittle fast-moving projectiles, such as APCR shells and anti-tank rifle bullets. The following scans are from Andrei Ulanov's lecture on infantry anti-tank measures.
"Photo #14. PzIII with screens after being shot in the side by 15P-II and RKS anti-tank rifles."
"Photo #15. Side. Armour thickness: 30 mm. 15P-II anti-tank rifle, OKB-44 bullets.1 and 2: range of 100 meters. Dents in the main armour after penetrating the 5 mm armour screen."
As you can see, this measure was very effective against rifles. However, by the time these armour screens were introduced, the original reason for anti-tank rifles (to supplement losses of light anti-tank guns) was remedied, and infantry units could face enemy tanks with 45 mm cannons, which were unaffected by 5 mm screens.