While trying to work out ideas from the previous thread I put this table together to help identifying what combinations of items would possibly be found on any Ausf J at any given time (I was amazed how many there were).
The table may be too logical a way to work out the complex nature of an industry going into meltdown. There will definitely be vehicles that dont fit snugly. The initial period of implementation for most orders was most probably a grey area as old bits and left-overs were used up or as new items became available. Some of these cross-over period appear longer than others so the table can only really be a visual aid and not a definitive answer. As it only deals with months it lacks a certain subtlety. The dates indicate the introduction of these features they do not infer that all vehicles after this date had them.
The dates come from New Vanguard, Panzer Tracts 4 and a few from Achtung Panzer IV. The production figures are also from New Vanguard and are there purely to suggest relative incidence. Some publications describe the start of the Ausf J production as Feb44 and some as March44. The orders for the deletion of the engine and muffler appeared to have been implemented from Feb.
PzKpwIV ausfJ PRODUCTION CHANGES
KEY TO GRID
1. Filtzbalgvorschaltluftfilter deleted Feb 44
2. Deletion of auxillary engine and muffler Feb 44
3. Turret and door pistol/vision ports welded shut May 44*
4. Second grab handled added to engine deck ??
5. Turret and door Pistol/vision ports deleted May 44/not completed
6. Ostkette available from May 44
7. Pilzen added to roof June 44
8. Radiator filler cover squared off June 44
9. Fuel tank added July 44 not working until Sept 44
10. Roof fan cover up-armoured July 44
11. Roof up-armoured to 16mm & 25mm July44
12. Deletion of 3 individual track links on rear plate ??Jun-Aug
13. Addition of 3 hooks on rear plate ??Jun-Aug
14. Flammentoerer exhausts fitted Aug 44
15. Zimmerit stopped Sept 44
16. Wire Schuerzen Sept 44
17. Lid pivots flat on commanders copola Oct 44/ retro to all in Dec 44
18. Nahverteidungswaffe hole cut but plated over Jan 44
19. Nahverteidungswaffe added to roof Oct 44*
20. Up-armoured Roof fan cover cut to fit Nahverteidungswaffe Oct 44
21. Extending and drilling hull sides Oct 44
22. Plate for returning loose track pins Nov 44*
23. welded not bolted hinges on driver & r/o hatches no idea
24. Poison gas detector brackets added ??
25. Reduction in number of bolts in suspension base ??
26. Superstructure lifting hooks replace with welded wire hoops ??Nov/Dec 44
27. Welded rear tow-bar added Nov*Dec 44
28. 3 return rollers Dec 44
29. Deletion of front turret vision port ??
30. Simplification of brake access cover with handles ??
*Dates from Achtung Panzer IV
I have been unable to find specific reference to dates for 8 changes but have indicated possible dates with ?? by referencing them in photographs with other items with specific dates or colour schemes etc.(SEE POST 4).
For examples take items 12 & 13 (no dates available).
Item 13, the 3 rear hooks are seen in image 1 on the further away vehicle, which has a squared radiator filler cover (after June) and horizontal exhaust stack (before August). The other vehicle in the foreground has item 12, the 3 individual links and a horizontal exhaust stack as well as slanting sides on its radiator filler cover. Putting the possible date of this change over some time between June and August 44.
Can anyone narrow it down further?
As an aside this may also go some way to explain the purpose for these 3 mysterious hooks. If they were a replacement for the 3 individual links then presumably they were fulfilling a similar function. (SEE POST 3)
Other uncertain items on the list are; the welded superstructure lifting hoops that replaced the bolted on cast hooks. However as Image 2 is commonly attributed to the Ardenne offensive (Is this correct?) then they must have been in production by Nov/Dec 44.
Image 3: also deleted turret vision port, anyone know a date for this photo?
The reduced number of bolts on suspension system. Im sure I have seen this info out there somewhere I just cant relocate it at this time. Is it the same time-frame as the PzIV/70(V)?
When were the bolts omitted and when were the holes no longer drilled?
Images 4: Bolts omitted
Images 5: Holes no longer drilled
I have found no reference to the second grab handle added to the engine deck but it was an early addition.
One thing I was not sure about adding to the grid was the simplified pattern on the fenders. Two preserved late Ausf Js show the same style of ribs running the length of their fenders instead of the standard crisscross tread-plate pattern. To a large extent they have the same tool attachments.
Was this a late war adaptation or a post war alteration by the new owners?
Images 6 & 7
And finally but not on the grid, why after introducing cast idler wheels in late 43 were welded ones still being used in very late Js?
ALL THIS INFORMATION IS FROM PUBLISHED SOURCES AND NOT GAINED BY ANY PRIMARY RESEARCH FROM ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.
I hope the table is useful, I certainly found it a benefit when trying to visualise connections.
All comments are welcome and any help on filling the final gaps would be appreciated.
your my new best friend
In August i got to photograph Sofia's pz IV and the final mod survivor in Bucharest .E-mail me and we'll compare notes.The grab handles on the brake inspection hatches came in during march 45 (Sofia vehicle) .Vimy's jagdpanzer IV/70(V) has this feature (in Canada).I've seen two photo's of pzIV's with tree return rollers and sheet metal schurzen!!!The pivoting commanders cupola lid came in earlier than Jentz and Doyle said.
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Re: your my new best friend
the pivoting lid was retro fited in Dec'44 which would mean it could appear on older models
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