|Produced By||Panzer Command|
|Primary armament||7.5 cm KwK 40 L/48|
|Secondary armament||3× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34|
|Max. Speed||5.5 m/s|
The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Inventory Designation Sd.Kfz 161), shortened to the PzKpfw IV or simply Panzer IV, was created in 1936. The concept was born from the theories of Heinz Guderian, who called for a Universal Tank, which became the Panzer III, accompanied by an Infantry Support Tank, which was the Panzer IV. It was armed with a cheap, plentiful, short 75mm howitzer (not meant for use against enemy tanks) and designed to be as cheap and easy to build as possible.
While in its Infantry Support Tank incarnation, the Panzer IV proved to be a moderate success, after early issues mostly surrounding its armor were addressed. However, after shocking encounters with the T-34 on the Eastern Front, which were resistant to the existing 37mm cannons of the Panzer III as well as the upgraded 50mm model, it was decided that a Tank carrying the equivalent of the PaK 40 AT gun was necessary to take on this threat.
When the Panzer III proved unsuitable for this modification, it was discovered that the Panzer IV's turret- already holding a 75mm gun, after all- could use the gun, so long as a counterweight was present on the opposite side of the turret. With very few changes to the rest of the design, the Panzer IV quickly took over the "Universal Panzer" role, and served with the Wehrmacht until the end of the war, becoming their 2nd most common tank overall.
The model present in Company of Heroes is most likely the Panzer IV Ausführung (or Ausf., meaning Variant) H, the last model of it designed as a main-line tank and the most common variant present in the invasion of Normandy.
In Company of Heroes, the Panzer IV is a Medium Tank available from the Panzer Command after upgrade to the Battle Phase. It is armed with the 75mm Kwk 40 L/48 gun high velocity gun, and mounted MG 34 machine guns in the hull and turret. As with its allied counterparts, the Sherman and Cromwell, the Panzer IV is a balanced, all-rounder design with a focus on firepower, armor, and mobility. Its proven and reliable chassis is the basis of many variants- including the Ostwind and Wirbelwind Flakpanzers.
The Panzer IV's main gun will make short work of any light vehicles, including Armored Cars and Light Tanks, often killing them in just one shot. Enemy Tank Destroyers and Medium Tanks will prove to be more challenging foes, able to challenge the Panzer IV on nearly equal terms, making positioning and veterancy an important part of using this tank. While not a purely Infantry Support-based vehicle like its Panzer Elite ancestor, it still has a very good degree of chemistry with Infantry. Grenadiers or Stormtroopers will help deal with enemy Anti-Tank Guns as well as Infantry with their small arms, and can adopt the Panzerschrek to assist the Panzer IV in tank vs. tank battles, while the Panzer IV can clear out occupied buildings, enemy Machine Guns, and Anti-Infantry weapons like the Bofors. It is also recommended to support your Panzer IV with a Pioneer Squad equipped with Minesweepers, to repair the vehicle when necessary as well as prevent unnecessary damage from enemy Mines.
Just like every other unit in the Wehrmacht, the Panzer IV can be upgraded with Veterancy from the Kampfkraft Centre. The first level of Veterancy lowers all received damage by 15%, giving the vehicle a large advantage over enemy Tanks in particular, as well as making sure that an encounter with an enemy AT Gun will not be quite as deadly. The second (activating the MG34 on the Turret) and third (adding thin Schürzen armor plating on the sides and turret) both help it deal with Infantry- the MG offensively against them, and the Schürzen giving it protection from Infantry AT weapons. Also, with the Blitzkrieg Doctrine, using the Blitzkrieg Assault ability will increase its reloading speed and movement speed for a short duration. In addition, it can also crush infantry beneath its treads while this power is active.
75mm KwK 40 L/48 Edit
The Panzer IV's main weapon is the 75mm Kwk 40 L/48, a variant of the PaK 40 Anti-Tank Gun specifically designed for use in turrets. A shot from this weapon will do up to 87.5 health worth of damage, with a short reload time of 5 seconds. As with most German guns, the big focus is on accuracy and penetration, and the KwK 40 has no shortage of either- except against Infantry, where a lower accuracy and lack of High Explosive rounds make it just an average weapon.
7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 Edit
The Panzer IV's secondary weapon is the direct predecessor of the feared Maschinengewehr 42, the Maschinengewehr 34. As a weapon to deal with Infantry, it has no use against enemy Tanks, but every single hit from this weapon drains up to 6 health on an unarmored target. The MG will fire 15-25 rounds before reloading for 3-4 seconds. While reliable, the MG34 seen on the Panzer IV is not a fantastic weapon, and for real Anti-Infantry power, it is recommended to pair a Panzer IV up with Infantry- the Knight's Cross Holders being particularly well suited to this job- or an Ostwind.
- With no Veterancy bonuses, the Panzer IV will fight on nearly equal terms with a 75mm Sherman or Cromwell with no commander. These battles will almost always come down to positioning and support from other units.
- Though well suited to work alongside Infantry, this vehicle is far faster than most foot soldiers- on larger maps, utilize the SdKfz 251 Halftrack to help your Infantry keep pace and stay at full strength.
- In Tank vs. Tank battles, especially against a Pershing, the Panzer IV works great as a support for another heavier tank- while the Tiger or Panther fights the enemy vehicle(s) from the front, the Panzer IV can use its mobility to attack from the sides and back.
The Panzer IV is classified as a heavy vehicle, and gains veterancy through researching Tank veterancy upgrades available at the Kampfkraft Center. These bonuses are cumulative and effect both new and existing units.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
A commander using a strategy involving even minor use of the Panzer IV would be well advised getting at least the first level of Veterancy, to give it an edge over enemy Tanks in combat. The second and third levels are most useful in dealing with a lot of enemy Infantry-based Anti Tank weapons, but are not as essential unless you plan on making heavy use of this vehicle.
The Panzer IV's multitude of strengths make it useful for nearly any situation on the battlefield. When supported well, few Allied units will be able to touch it alone- therefore, your priority with the Panzer IV, especially if you do not yet have or outright plan to build any heavier tanks, is to make sure it is alone as seldom as possible. Other units are needed to help deal with enemy Anti-Tank Guns, as well as deal with Rangers, Sappers or Commandos with PIATs, or any Allied infantry armed with dropped AT weapons. The Panzer IV will be able to deal with almost anything else.
Though the Panzer IV's main gun and mobility are quite good, its Armor isn't quite as good as the more expensive Wehrmacht tanks or even its Allied counterparts, only really being average. Anti-Tank guns will quickly put the vehicle out of action, especially the British 17 Pounder, which outranges the Panzer IV's main gun and does considerable damage to the vehicle, while not taking particularly much damage from the Panzer itself. If the enemy captures a Flak 36, any Panzer IV in its range will be in dire straits- so Wehrmacht commanders must make sure this doesn't happen, and if it does, take it out with Infantry or Artillery quickly.
In addition, while a good match for the M10 Tank Destroyer as well as the Allied contemporary Medium Tanks, the 76mm Gun upgrade for the Sherman or a tank commander with a Cromwell will make both very threatening, especially to a non-veteran Panzer IV. Sherman Fireflies and the M26 Pershing will make short work of the Panzer IV in any 1v1 scenario, so make sure to have Panthers or Tigers ready to fight these vehicles.