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Posted on May 14, 2008 in Stuff We Like

The Tank Museum Auction

By Armchair General

The Panzer III

Panzer IIIThe PANZERKAMPFWAGEN III Ausf L (Panzer III) was the workhorse of the German Army in the early years of World War Two.

Introduced in 1937, the Panzer III was one of the most versatile tanks in the Germany Army. Over a five year production period it more than trebled its maximum armour thickness and the size of its gun increased from 37mm to 75mm.

Approximately 6,140 Panzer III tanks were built; production ending with the Aus N in August 1943. However the Panzer III chassis continued in production until 1945 as the basis of the Sturmgeschutze III assault gun.


The Ausf L was introduced in June 1942 and a total of 653 tanks were manufactured before it was superseded by the Ausf M in December 1942. Features of the Aus L include even thicker armour on the turret front as well as spaced armour on the gun mantlet and superstructure front.

The Museum’s Panzer III was built in 1942 and issued to the 8th Panzer Regiment, part of the 15th Panzer Division. The Division was sent to the front line in July, but by 16 October had lost 26 of their 65 tanks. Our vehicle was captured by British forces at the battle of Alam Halfa, late in the summer of 1942.

It was soon shipped back to Britain for evaluation, and then stored at the School of Tank Technology at Chertsey until 1951 when it was gifted to The Tank Museum.

The Tank Museum Workshop staff have restored the tank to running order, restored the interior to its 1942 condition complete with sights, radio and other ancillary tools, and it has been repainted it in its original camouflage and markings. It is now arguably the best preserved example of a working Panzer III to be found anywhere in the world.

The Vickers Medium III

Vickers Medium IIIThe Vickers Medium was the main British tank during the inter-war period, its chief period of service being between 1923 until 1935.

In 1923 Vickers Ltd. of Sheffield and Newcastle, started to manufacture tanks for the British Army. They were the first representatives of a new generation of tanks, designed to fight on the move and restore mobility to the battlefield. The Medium Mark I was the first British tank in service with a sprung suspension and rotating turret. The Medium Mark II, which appeared in 1925, was an improved version of the Mark I. It was powered by an air-cooled Armstrong-Siddeley V8 engine.

The Vickers Medium, Mark II* tank has a 3 pounder gun in the turret; a Vickers machine-gun in each side of the hull and a third Vickers machine-gun mounted alongside the main gun. Using these tanks the Royal Tank Corps established standards of gunnery which, in their day, were never equalled.

Vickers Medium tanks formed the backbone of the Experimental Mechanised Force of 1928, a revolutionary combat formation that carried out manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain. Some of these tanks served with the RTC in Egypt and a few were buried, as part of the fixed defences of Mersah Matruh, during the early part of the desert war. Others, supplied to the Soviet Union, fought briefly in the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1940/41.

This tank was one of 13 ordered on the 5th of January 1926, and following its official period of service she was employed as a training tank at Bovington in the early years of the Second World War.

Our vehicle is the best preserved and one of only a handful still in existence, being almost certainly the only running example remaining.

For more information, please contact Nik Wyness, PR Officer
Phone: 01929 405096 ext234.

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