A Pzkpfw IV Ausf J equipped with Drahtgeflechtschürzen, Wehrmacht developed wire mesh side armor.

Pzkpfw IV Ausf J equipped with Drahtgeflechtschürzen

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A Pzkpfw IV Ausf J equipped with Drahtgeflechtschurzen Wehrmacht developed wire mesh side armor

A Pzkpfw IV Ausf J equipped with Drahtgeflechtschürzen, Wehrmacht developed wire mesh side armor.

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During World War II, the German Wehrmacht was the pioneer in employing cage armor for their tanks. They utilized Drahtgeflecht-Schürzen, commonly referred to as “wire mesh skirts,” to reinforce their tanks against shell fire. Surprisingly, this wire mesh armor was found to be just as effective as the steel plate Schürzen that were also in use. In March 1943, Adolf Hitler issued an order mandating that all new Sturmgeschütz, Panzer III, IV, and Panthers should be equipped with Schürzen, whether they were of the wire mesh or steel plate variety.

Producing wire mesh Schürzen was not as straightforward as manufacturing steel plate Schürzen or armored skirts. In response to the formidable German Panzerfaust, the Soviet Red Army equipped their tanks with “bedspring” armor, constructed from expanded metal mesh grating panels.

Despite their effectiveness against Soviet PTRD-41 anti-tank rifles, Schürzen were not as successful in tests against Bazooka and Panzerschreck anti-tank rockets conducted by the US and German forces.


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Commander, a passionate writer and historian, delves into the captivating world of tanks in World War II, uncovering their stories and honoring their indomitable spirit.
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