Considering the fact that the Panzer III was a product of the 1930s, this German medium tank did well to serve so long in WWII. It was obviously supplanted by the Panzer IV and later the Panther in the tank-versus-tank role, but it did find a niche in the infantry support role. This is most clearly expressed in the final Pz.Kpfw.III variant to enter service – the Ausf.N, of which 700 were manufactured or converted. The Panzer III N entered service in June 1942 and production continued until August 1943. Key characteristics of the Ausf.N were its basis on the Ausf.J or M chassis, and the fitting of a short-barreled 7.5cm KwK37 L/24 gun. Ironically, this was the weapon fitted to older Panzer IV A-F1 tanks. Thus equipped, the Panzer III N was used in the close-support role in Tiger battalions or Panzergrenadier divisions.
Dragon’s Armor Pro series is releasing its second 1/72 scale kit of the Panzer III Ausf.N. The first item to be available (No.7386) was a vehicle serving with the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) in North Africa, and since this new kit is based upon that successful release, it can be expected to assemble easily and accurately. Amongst the many features of this latest kit is a full set of turret and hull Schurzen – 5mm-thick armored skirts that were fitted to original vehicles from March 1943 onwards to protect against enemy anti-tank weapons. On this kit, the hull and turret Schurzen and associated support brackets involve brand new toolings. This is an exciting new 1/72 kit of an important Panzer III variant – an ideal vehicle to accompany a Tiger tank into battle!