Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank
A Panzer IV IST lurking in a storm's shadows
|Unit Cost||420, 60, 8|
|Upkeep per Minute||-8.06|
|Prereq.||Panzer-Support Kommand: Support Kommand Upgrade|
|Produced By||Panzer-Support Kommand|
|Primary armament||7.5 cm KwK 37 gun|
|Max. Speed||5.5 m/s|
The Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank or Panzer IV IST is an anti-infantry medium tank, fielded by the Panzer Elite in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. An older model of the Panzer IV, this tank has a short 75mm cannon that fires high-explosive shells, primarily useful against infantry though it can penetrate rear tank armor at close ranges. As one of the better-armored core vehicles in the Panzer Elite arsenal, it is often the lead unit in any attack.
Near the end of their tech-tree, the Panzer Elite can finally field their first true tank - the Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank or Panzer IV IST for short. Although not very powerful for destroying other tanks, it is nonetheless an armored vehicle capable of both withstanding enemy firepower and delivering its own, something earlier units in the tech tree are less capable of.
The Panzer IV IST is produced from the Panzer-Support Kommand, for the price of 420, 60, 8. It is one of the most expensive Panzer Elite units, and often only a few can be fielded due to the high Population Cap cost.
This tank is a variant of the Wehrmacht's Panzer IV, an older model in fact. It is armed with an atypical 7.5 cm KwK 37 cannon, an older cannon that by 1944 was all but phased out. This cannon lacks the Penetration required to reliably pierce another tank's front armor, though it does stand some chance to pierce rear armor and delivers a respectable punch.
However, the tank's primary prey is enemy infantry. The shells its cannon fires are high-explosive, rather than armor-piercing, and so create a lot of splash damage. Though a bit inaccurate, a hit in the general area of enemy infantry will surely kill them or at least injure them severely. This is particularly useful against infantry in buildings as well as Weapon Teams. The explosive charge is also quite useful against enemy light and medium vehicles.
Furthermore, the tank's anti-infantry capabilities can be augmented by two upgrades. One adds an MG42 Gunner in the tank's turret, while the other fortifies the tank's sides with additional armor to protect against infantry-carried anti-tank weapons and high explosive charges.
In combat, the Panzer IV IST can lock itself down, reassigning its crew from driving and operating the tank's subsidiary functions, to increase reload rates. The tank's cannon can fire three times faster in this mode (though less accurately), while the tank itself becomes immobile. This ability allows the tank to quickly destroy large groups of infantry or light vehicles.
The Panzer IV IST carries a fairly normal set of weapons for a tank: a cannon and a machine gun, both mounted on the turret.
The cannon, a 7.5 cm KwK 37, is very unusual for a tank; It's much shorter than most tank cannons, and fires low-velocity high-explosive shells, making it an excellent anti-infantry and anti-building weapon, but not against heavier vehicles.
The machine gun is a fairly standard 7.92mm MG42 Light Machine Gun, and is initially unmanned. The MG42 Gunner upgrade has to be purchased to make use of it. It's good mainly for suppressing infantry, again making this vehicle a great anti-infantry weapon.
Note that the 3D model of the Panzer IV IST has what appears to be a hull-mounted machine gun on the front left side. However, this weapon does not actually work, and will not fire at any target.
7.5 cm KwK 37 General Purpose CannonEdit
This 75mm cannon is a short, low-velocity gun. It's considerably older than the cannon on a regular Panzer IV, having been mostly phased out of Axis service by 1944 due to a lacking of strength in punching through armor. Despite this, it actually has a very different advantage: it fires high-explosive shells.
High-explosive shells are built to make a large blast, rather than a pin-point punch like common tank shells. As such, they lack the Penetration to reliably go through a tank's front armor. In fact, the 7.5 cm KwK 37's shells have a 1-in-50 chance of going through a M4 Sherman's front, and only about 1-in-3 through the sides or back. These shells are simply not designed to destroy enemy heavy vehicles, which is why most of the KwK 37 cannons were replaced.
To make matters worse, the low velocity of the shells gives this cannon a range of only 30 meters; 5 meters less than sight-range. Most tank cannons have a range of 40 meters, and some tank-destroyer cannons can fire up to 65 meters. This puts the Panzer IV IST at a disadvantage in any long-range firefight. The cannon's lack of accuracy at 30 meters complicates the issue further
However, the reason why Panzer IV ISTs are still equipped with this cannon is that they are not meant to battle other tanks at all. As the name suggests, this is an infantry-support tank, and as such is armed with a weapon that is designed to destroy enemy infantry - and it does this very well indeed .
The trick is in the High-Explosive shells, and their 3-meter wide blast radius. Units within the first meter from the shell's impact point receive a good 87.5 points of damage from this explosive, easily killing infantry on the spot. Units up to the 3-meter mark receive less, anywhere down to 30 points of damage, which is still impressive. As a result, when firing at infantry squads or garrisoned infantry, this cannon has a good chance of hitting someone, if not more than one target. Light vehicles too will receive impressive damage from these explosions - especially when hit dead-on.
Additionally, the KwK 37's accuracy is best at ranges between 15 and 25 meters - the common engagement range for infantry. Therefore it is accurate enough to reliably kill off enemy infantry units, making this an excellent offensive and defensive weapon against them.
MG42 Light Machine Gun Edit
This is a belt-fed automatic weapon, which is commonly installed on many Axis vehicles and infantry units. There are many variations of this weapon, with slightly different statistics. The MG42 installed on a Panzer IV IST is roughly average compared to other variants.
This weapon fires in 15-30 bullet bursts, with an interval of 3 to 4 seconds between bursts. It is reasonably accurate at ranges between 15–25 meters (the normal infantry combat range). Each hit causes 4 damage, a little lower than the average MG42's damage output, but still deadly.
This MG42 is mounted on a pintle at the top of the turret. It can rotate 360 around to engage targets at any direction.
This weapon is primarily used to suppress enemy infantry, making them easier targets for the tank's KwK 37 cannon. It will kill enemy infantry in the open though, and will cause some damage to light vehicles.But its low velocity shells would just bounce off the armor of heavy tanks e.g the M26 Peshing Tank
The Panzer IV IST has only one combat ability, called Rapid Fire, which increases the tank's firing speed dramatically at the expense of mobility and accuracy. It allows the tank to quickly engage and destroy large groups of infantry at close range.
Rapid Fire Edit
- Costs nothing.
- Activation: Immediate.
- Permanent until deactivated.
- Cooldown: 10 seconds (activate/deactivate)
When Rapid Fire is activated, the Panzer IV IST's driver will abandon his post, instead assisting with the reloading of the tank's main cannon, increasing its firing speed.
Once the ability button is clicked, a white circular pattern will appear around the tank, signifying that it is "locked down". The tank immediately becomes completely immobile - only its turret can move at all (turning to engage targets).
After a delay of 4 seconds, the tank's main cannon receives a massive 3x bonus to its firing speed. In other words, it will fire 3 times as fast, taking only about 1-1.5 seconds between each shot. This is a dramatic increase, and can help the tank deal with large groups of enemy infantry, especially anti-tank infantry coming to kill it.
The main cannon's accuracy is also reduced by 15% since the crew spends less time aiming it properly. Fortunately, this is not much of a problem, because at the short ranged in which the tank's KwK 37 cannon is supposed to be used (~20 meters) it is already very accurate anyway.
These bonuses and penalties persist as long as the tank remains in Rapid Fire mode. It will be able to kill off many soft targets during this time, especially infantry (whether exposed or in a building), destroy light vehicles, and damage structures. If "parked" closely behind an enemy tank, the increased firing rate will ensure that a more reasonable number of shells penetrate the enemy tank's rear armor (though most will still glance off).
To deactivate this ability, simply press the button again. Note that the tank requires 10 whole seconds to return to "normal" operations, and cannot drive off until that process is completed. Therefore, you should never activate Rapid Fire unless you are reasonably sure that it won't need to drive away quickly afterwards.
Use this ability by driving the tank close to an enemy position and then activating Rapid Fire to wipe them all out quickly. It is also quite useful when the tank is ambushed by anti-tank infantry, in which case it will kill them before they can launch more than one or two rockets at it. Remember however that the tank cannot get away easily, so you may need to support it with other units - especially if an enemy tank shows.
The Panzer IV IST has two available upgrades, both of which are designed to increase its effectiveness and survivability against enemy infantry units. The MG42 Gunner upgrade enables its roof-mounted machine gun, which can suppress enemy infantry and make them easy targets for the main cannon. The Armor Skirts upgrade protects the tank from infantry-deployed anti-tank weaponry.
MG42 Gunner Edit
When this upgrade is completed, a new crewmember is added to the tank. This crewman will pop out of the tank's top hatch, and man the MG42 Light Machine Gun at the top of the turret.
The MG42 is not too useful as an offensive weapon, and will take a while to kill an infantry squad. Its primary purpose is to suppress enemy infantry, forcing them to slow down and seek cover, allowing the tank's main cannon to destroy them easily with its high-explosive shots.
Armor Skirts Edit
These armor plates are not heavy enough to stop armor-piercing munitions, but they do protect the vehicle from the accurate close-range hits of most infantry-borne anti-tank weaponry, which often targets the treads or the exposed mechanism of the turret.
As a result of this upgrade, the tank receives protective modifiers against a specific number of weapons. These modifiers are listed below. This is probably not a complete list, as it would be difficult to track down all of the weapons affected by this upgrade.
|Weapon Type||Commonly carried by||Modifier|
|Sticky Bomb||Riflemen Squad||-50% Penetration|
|M18 Recoilless Rifle||Airborne Squad||-50% Damage|
|M1 Bazooka||Ranger Squad||-50% Damage|
|M3 90mm Cannon||M26 Pershing||-66% Penetration|
This generally makes the Panzer IV IST a little more survivable when faced with anti-tank infantry, giving it more time to kill those infantrymen with its own weapons. It is unknown why the Pershing receives such a massive reduction to Penetration (when all other tank and anti-tank cannons are not affected). This may have been an oversight by the developers.
Also note that this upgrade makes the tank slightly easier to hit with other tank cannons. Normally, most tanks have a -6% accuracy penalty when firing at a Panzer IV IST. That penalty seems to disappear when the Armor Skirts are installed.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Panzer IV IST can attain 3 levels of Veterancy, by accumulating experience points from the killing of enemy units. As it gains levels, its performance will increase proportionally.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Panzer IV IST uses the Panzer Elite Shared Veterancy system to accumulate Veterancy points. In this system, units share experience from their kills with each other, within a certain radius.
Each kill the Panzer IV IST makes will grant it 100% of the experience value of the killed unit.
In addition, it will pass 50% of that value to any Panzer Elite units within 35 meters of itself.
Vicariously, the Panzer IV IST receives 50% of the experience value of kills made by other Panzer Elite units within 35 meters.
Every time the Panzer IV IST gains a level, you'll be asked to choose which Veterancy Upgrade you wish to apply to it - either a Defensive bonus or an Offensive bonus, but not both. You can choose a different bonus at each Veterancy level, if you want.
The bonuses described below are specific to each level. Due to the way they are applied on top of each other, when computed together (see below) they may or may not add up as you may expect.
When these bonuses are computed together with each other as well as the unit's basic statistics, the results at each level are as follows:
* Click the button at the top-right corner to view the entire table.
Selecting Veterancy bonuses for the Panzer IV IST relies mainly on the purpose you need this vehicle for, as well as personal style. The faster reload times and accuracy will significantly boost the tank's combat performance, playing right into the vehicle's strengths. However, if you need the Panzer IV IST as a shield to spearhead your assault forces, increased resilience may be more appropriate.
Whatever you choose, like most other Panzer Elite vehicles, it's usually best to at least take the first level in Defensive Bonuses, because it has the most effect and increases the vehicle's chance to reach higher veterancy levels alive.
The Panzer IV IST is used differently from most other core tanks. In a face-to-face combat with another tank, the Panzer IV IST will almost certainly lose. Its cannon is simply not designed to penetrate enemy armor. However, the Panzer Elite have several other units available for fighting tanks - so what is the Panzer IV IST for, anyway?
The answer is in the title: it is an Infantry Support Tank. Instead of taking on enemy tanks in battle, it is meant to protect other tank-fighting units from enemy infantry. When coupled with tank-destroyers or anti-tank infantry platoons, it can both soak up damage those units cannot afford, and keep enemy infantry units from charging the force and taking out the fragile tank-destroyers.
This is done in different ways depending on the situation and the composition of the tank-hunting force. The Panzer IV IST usually drives in front of the enemy force, striving for contact with the enemy. Once the enemy is encountered, the Panzer IV IST draws the enemy's attention. This gives anti-tank infantry the time to flank the enemy, and gives tank-destroyers a forward spotter to help them aim their long-range weaponry. Meanwhile, the Panzer IV IST can lock itself down, raining fire on any enemy infantry units that might try to thwart the advance.
Infantry Support Edit
A Panzer IV IST attached to a Panzer Grenadier platoon is a very useful weapon; after all, it is called an "Infantry Support Tank".
As with other similar units, such as the Churchill Tank, the Panzer IV IST drives at the front of the infantry force, and needs to make first contact with the enemy. If infantry are encountered, the tank can deal with them on its own, allowing the infantry platoon to stay behind in safety.
The Armor Skirts upgrade is very useful for this, as it will protect the unit from enemy anti-tank infantry. The reduction in damage/Penetration of infantry-borne anti-tank weapons against it will ensure that the tank can survive direct encounters with such units while its main cannon slaughters them. If the enemy group is large enough, try locking the tank down for Rapid Fire in order to annihilate the enemy faster. The infantry platoon can take up positions a little further back behind the tank, to ensure that any enemy infantry trying to flank it will meet a wall of firepower.
If the combined infantry platoon meets an enemy tank, then the Panzer IV IST serves as a meat shield. Enemy tanks will generally want to fire at it, taking their attention away. This buys time for your infantry to flank them and destroy the enemy tank.
Infantry as Bait Edit
The roles of the Infantry Platoon and Panzer IV IST can be reversed in order to trick the enemy. This can yield you a large number of kills, assuming the enemy is stupid enough to fall for the trap.
In this maneuver, an infantry platoon assaults a low-value, lightly-defended enemy sector. Taking up cover positions, they engage any weak units present, but not with the goal of destroying them quickly. Instead, they are hoping to lure enemy units to the area. The Panzer IV IST is kept a little further behind, out of sight.
When the enemy sees the infantry attacking his position, he will usually respond by sending his own anti-infantry units, including Weapon Teams and light Vehicles. Once these units reach the combat zone, the Panzer Elite player rushes his Panzer IV ISTs in, quickly taking out whatever units the enemy has sent.
This is a bit of a gambit, especially if the enemy decides to respond with tanks (unlikely, since tanks are less useful and more vulnerable to infantry in the first place). Still, if the enemy is not savvy to this sort of trick, you can obliterate an entire anti-infantry task force with relatively minimal losses.
This tactic is particularly useful as a decoy strike. If this is successful, the enemy's next step will be to send in a larger force to take out your Panzer IV ISTs and infantry, which will give you the opportunity to attack them from another direction using your heavier anti-tank force. It's basically a one-two-punch which, if successful, can weaken the enemy force considerably.
As a Spotter Edit
The Panzer Elite army fields several powerful tank destroyers. Unfortunately, they are all rather lightly-armored, and cannot survive direct confrontation with enemy tanks. However, their cannons have an impressive range.
To support a tank-destroyer fleet, the Panzer IV IST once again drives at the front of the advance, with the tank destroyers some way behind it. When enemies are encountered, the tank's purpose is to act as a spotter. It can engage and kill infantry, but its primary task is to draw enemy armor into the area, which the enemy player will soon send to destroy it. Any tanks that show up to take out your Panzer IV IST will then become easy targets for the tank-destroyers lurking behind it.
In the meanwhile, the Panzer IV IST absorbs the firepower from the enemy tanks, and can destroy any enemy infantry units attempting to make a run for the tank-destroyers. In effect, it again acts as a meat-shield and anti-infantry blockade, allowing the tank-destroyers to operate comfortably behind its protection.
When used in this way, the Panzer IV IST exposes itself to being destroyed by enemy tank fire, so it is often wise to have it escorted by engineering units. If possible, use two or more tanks for such an assignment, so that if one tank is near destruction it can pull back, receive repairs, and then return to the firing line.
Defensive Group Edit
With its effective anti-infantry firepower, the Panzer IV IST can serve as one of the two components required to set up a defensive group to protect a vulnerable or valuable front-line sector.
To achieve this, park a Panzer IV IST and Marder III Tank Hunter close to each other, locked-down and facing the most likely avenue of advance the enemy will use to attack you. While the Marder III provides accurate and destructive anti-tank firepower, the Panzer IV IST can fend off infantry and light vehicles.
In this manner, the two (or more) vehicles are basically acting as Defensive Structures, since they are both immobile but quite destructive. Remember however that neither the Panzer IV IST nor Marder III are strong enough to withstand an artillery strike, so keep them a little apart and do not hold the same position for very long. This is only a stop-gap measure that can buy you some time while constructing and repairing your assault forces. It is not a permanent defensive solution.
Although its gun is good at destroying soft targets, the KwK 37 gun on a Panzer IV IST has little chance of destroying enemy tanks - it just doesn't have the power to break through their armor. Always use it in conjunction with tank-destroyer troops (infantry or vehicle, as available). It will protect them from enemy infantry, and they will protect it from enemy tanks.
When in Rapid Fire mode, the Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank is also vulnerable to artillery strikes, because it takes some time (around 10 seconds) to become mobile again. By the time it moves, the artillery shells will have already rained down upon it and potentially destroyed it.
Historical Data Edit
The Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank (PanzerKampfWagen IV Ausf. F1) was a series of the Panzer IV Ausf. series intended to be the infantry support tank of the German army while the Panzer III as the assault tank during the early campaign of World War II. But as the war progressed, it is found that the Panzer III was inadequate performing its role and the need for better armor penetration capability. The Panzer IV took its role as the primary battle tank during 1943. The Panzer IV ausf. F1 was the last to be armed with low velocity cannon, nevertheless it saw action until the end of the war.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature that differentiates this Panzer IV variant from other Panzer IVs are the short barreled 75mm gun; this was usually changed to a longer-barreled, higher velocity model to improve anti-tank performance and range.
- "Driver get back in your God Damned Seat"
- " Panzer Here!"
- "It's Time To fucking move!"