Engage wrote:The armored plates on the side are Schuerzen. They were anti-bazooka armored plates put on the sides of German tanks during WWII. The most famous tank with Schuerzen was the German Panzer III Ausf.M/N (Ausf. basically means model or type). I'm not exactly sure if the Shuerzen actually helped bazooka protection, the plates look so thin that a shaped charge could just blow through them. Battle effectiveness or not, they look pretty cool.
And thanks GP for the lineart!
The spaced armor on PzKpfw III/IV and the StuG III were actually first designed and tested before the Germans ever met the US Bazooka for the first time in North Africa.
It was invented to defeat the Russian copies of the Hartkernmunition
, the tungstin cored APCR projectile. It stripped off the aluminum sabot in a uneven manner which would cause the round to yaw and hit the hull sideways, drasticly cutting its penetration.
Most vehicles sent to North Africa had the side plates removed (or they were never fitted) because it was beleved that the sand would pack under them and cause them to shed tracks. Because of this the US Bazooka got a very good reputation at first.
The US and British encountered the Shurtzen armored Panzers for the first time in Sicily- they were units that had been rushed from the Eastern Front, so their tanks were "fully equipped".
The poor paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Divison who were tasked with delaying the German response to the landings got a very nasty surprise when their primary anti armor weapon now failed.
Against the shaped charge warhead, the plates worked by causing the warhead to detonate too far from the main hull for the hollow charge to focus its energy properly. Only a 1 foot space was needed to nullify the effect of the 2.36in Bazooka round that would otherwise penetrate 80mm of steel plate.
The skirts were only 8mm thick, from the begining they were deisgned to be sacrificial. So they were bolted on, not welded. When they got too full of holes they were thrown away and new ones bolted on.
The current decendent is the "slat" armor fitted to US Army Stryker 8x8 APCs and also to some British Warrior IFVs on their sides.
The slat armor triggers RPG warheads to explode too far away from the hull to penetrate even the Strykers thin armor. Unlike the original German design there is no reqirement to defeat kenetic energy rounds so spacing rails just close enough togeather to keep the RPG grenade from passing between them works just as well as a solid plate with a very large savings in weight.