The Finest Half Hour: Leningrad


Episode 14 of our World War II podcast series,  "The Finest Half Hour," is now available! Leningrad, the deadliest siege in the history of the world. It's a story of terror and heroism, privation, and hope.  How much can one city endure? Find out as we talk about a city cut off from the rest of the world, surviving on the thin lifeline of supplies and munitions brought over a frozen lake. Listen as Leningrad tries to hold out against the Nazi menace and the still struggling Red Army tries to relieve the city.

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To help tell the story, we’ve partnered up with The Tank Museum, Bovington to showcase the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. A. It was originally designed as a close-support tank for infantry divisions, while the Panzer III would take on enemy tanks. In the Winter of Winter of 1941-1942, the Panzer IV was upgraded after encountering the Soviet T-34. The Panzer IV had a larger turret ring than the Panzer III, which enabled it to be fitted with the longer, more powerful 75 KwK 40 gun. The Panzer IV thus took over the anti-tank role of the Panzer III. The Panzer IV was eventually succeeded by the Panther, but it continued as a significant part of German armored forces until the end of the war.

The Tank Museum’s Panzer IV was completed as an Ausf. D, with 30 mm extra armor on the superstructure front and 20 mm armor on the hull and superstructure sides before it even left the factory. In 1943 additional armor was put on the front and the original 75 mm KwK L/24 replaced with the KwK 40 L/43 and this may well have been as part of the development of these various changes. It was used as a driving instruction vehicle.

German troops outside Warsaw
The Tank Museum’s Panzer IV (back left), currently part of the "War Stories" exhibition.
(Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington)
Undated photo, North Africa. The closest tank is a Panzer IV. When armed with the short barreled 75 mm KwK 37 howitzer like this they were used as support tanks to fire High Explosive shells at unarmoured targets. They supported the other tank in this photograph, the Panzer III.
(Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington)

The Finest Half Hour is a podcast series that dives into the history and stories of World War II. It is brought to you by Wargaming and narrated by British Army veteran, and armored warfare instructor, Richard Cutland.

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Close the hatch, brace yourself, and prepare for the Finest Half Hour!

Richard "The Challenger" Cutland