All these changes would work if one was willing to accept a tank with twisted torsion bars that would constantly break down from mechanical strain. There was a limit on weight that could be mounted on Pzkpfw III chassis.Destroyer500 wrote: ↑04 Oct 2022 00:06I would personally give the late versions of the panzer 3 an extra 20mm spaced plate on the hull and turret front,or make both external spaced plates 25 and 25mms and have it reach 100mm of spaced armor. - - - Finaly i believe they should modify the schurtzen on the late panzer 3s to be like on the stuh 42 and on the panzer 4 H were you could have both the ost-winterketten and the schurtzen attached at the same time.I would also probably make the schurtzen double the thickness to not have them fall off on every encounter with a bush or random rock and to offer better protection.Why not even even have 2 spaced (with a small distance between them) schurtzen on each side or both the turret and hull ? No HEAT shell or bazooka is getting through that !
Schurzen were designed as additional protection against small caliber AT-rounds (14,5 mm Soviet AT rifles in particular), because the Pzkpfw III & IV had only 30 mm lower hull side armour and 14,5 mm could penetrate up to 40 mm at 100 meters. Original German report (1942) includes this info and they were also tested against 14,5 mm AP and 76 mm HE with reasonable results (Feb 1943). In 1945 they started using wire mesh panels instead because they were cheaper, lighter and just as effective in this regard as full steel skirts. The purpose of schurzen was to mess up the shell trajectory so it could be defeated by the main armour.
The case of schurzen also demonstrates the issues with changing an existing tank design: why did they just not add 11-12 mm armour to the 30 mm armoured areas? Yep, not that easy to do in practice - perhaps a comprehensive redesigning is required as the dimensions change, maybe the chassis could not take the weight etc.