T-3 medium tank
T-3 medium tank.
On 17 October 1942, awared by the poor condition of their allies facing an increasing power of the Soviet armoured force, Germany agreed to deliver twenty-two of their medium-type tanks to the Romanian Army. These included eleven Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf N, the final version of the Pzkpfw III series, produced by Daimler-Benz during 1942-43. The main battle tank of Germany during the first years of war, the Pzkpfw III was in a continuous evolution dictated by the presence on the battlefield of more powerful armoured foes. While the first versions carried a 37mm gun, after the operations in France and North Africa the tank was mounted a more powerful 50mm gun and its armour was increased with plates riveted to hull and turret. In 1941 mounting a long-barreled 75mm gun on the main fighting tanks was required to keep an edge over the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks, but the hull of the Pzkpfw III did not accept such gun. Consequently, the N version was mounted a low-velocity 75mm gun, leaving the main fighting role to the Pzkpfw IV tanks. Thus the Pzkpfw III N was of little value against heavy armoured targets, nevertheless it was far more better armoured and armed than the obsolete R-2 tank that equipped the Romanian Armoured Division by the time. The eleven Pzkpfw III tanks, designated by Romanians "T-3" (T being the acronim of Tank in Romanian), formed up a medium tank company in the 1st Tank Regiment. Another T-3 was delivered to the 2nd Tank Regiment in Romania for training. In the eve of the battle of Don's Bend, the Romanian tank crews were not yet familliar with the new tanks, as the first exercise took place only three days before. Besides massive losses in R-2 tanks, ten of the eleven T-3 tanks were also lost in battle and in 1943 the Armoured Division was withdrawn in Romania. At the beginning of 1944 the two remaining T-3 tanks were assembled into the Cantemir Mixed Armoured Group that was sent to front in February. Cantemir Group operated 55km south of Vinnitsa during the offensive of the 2nd Ukrainean Front (Konev) that achieved a major breakthrough and overran Northern Bucovina. Both T-3 tanks were lost during this operation.

TypeMaybach HL 120 TRM
Fuel/Capacitypetrol, 320 litres
Mileage182 litres/100km
Max road speed40km/h
Max cross-country speed18km/h
Vertical obstacle0.6m
Trench crossing2m
Fording depth0.8m
Road range155km
Cross-country range95km
Main1 x 75mm KwK L/24 gun
Ammunition64 rounds
Secondary2 x 7.92mm MG34 mg
Rear & side30mm

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