Girls Und Panzer and the Panzer IV!

I absolutely loved watching Girls Und Panzer and cannot wait to explore this anime in more depth.  So to start on this series I wanted to talk about the tank driven by our main protagonists.  The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D or Panzer IV for short is crewed by Miho Nishizumi, Saori Takebe, Hana Isuzu, Yukari Akiyama, and Mako Reizei.  The Paner IV was the most widely produced tank by the Germans in WWII with over 8,000 built.  So why was this tank left with the other “un-sellable” tanks at Ooarai?  Well that is because the Panzer IV was never designed to fight other tanks but was originally planned as an infantry support vehicle.  Its short KwK 37 L/24 gun did not have that penetrating power or the range that other tanks on the battlefield had and couldn’t penetrate the armor of tanks like the Churchill (as seen in the fight against St. Gloriana Girls High School.  During WWII the Panzer III was designed to deal with tanks but failed at this task, resulting in changes to the Panzer IV to beef it up for anti-tank combat.  But, the Panzer IV needed some more fire power if it was to penetrate the armor of the Russian’s T-34s so the KwK 40 was added.  This was added in the Anime before the girls fought Pravda (which means truth in Russian and was also one of the state sponsored newspaper/propaganda tools of the Soviets).  This brought the Panzer IV’s classification to Ausf. F2.  Lastly before the final match against Kuromorimine Girls High School the Panzer IV gets its trademark Schürzen skirts which were basically metal sheets attached with brackets over the treads.  This upgraded the girls’ Panzer IV to the Ausf. H which was basically the final form of the Panzer IV.  While there was an Ausf. J produced it was a simplified model of the Panzer IV to cut down production time at the end of the war.  Also during this time the Panzer IV’s armor was greatly increased which meant the tank would be much slower.  However this was not demonstrated or explored in the anime which I think was a real shame.  Despite showing its ability to drive at the same speed or faster than Maho Nishizumi’s Tiger I it was actually much slower.  The Ausf. H version of the tank could reach speeds of 25 km/h (16 mph) max and only if it was on a nice even road while the Tiger I with its massive engine could reach 45.4 km/h (28.2 mph).  But if the writer’s kept to that then we wouldn’t have gotten to see Ooarai’s victory in the tournament!

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