The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV), also known as the Panzer IV, was a German medium tank that was designed in the late 1930s and widely employed during WWII.
Sd.Kfz. 161 was its ordnance inventory designation.
The Panzer IV was the most common German tank and the second-most common fully tracked armoured fighting vehicle during World War II, with 8,553 Panzer IVs constructed in all forms, second only to the StuG III assault cannon with 10,086 vehicles.
Many other fighting vehicles, including as the Sturmgeschütz IV assault gun, the Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer, the Wirbelwind self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, and the Brummbär self-propelled gun, were built on its chassis.
The Panzer IV served in all of Germany's battle theatres, and it was the only German tank to continue in production throughout the war.
It was created to provide infantry assistance, whereas the Panzer III was created to combat armoured fighting vehicles.
The Panzer IV had more growth potential, with a larger turret ring to equip more powerful weapons, when the Germans confronted the deadly T-34, therefore the two traded roles.
It got a number of updates and design changes aimed at countering emerging threats and extending its service life.
Increasing armour protection or upgrading weaponry were the most common alterations, though during the final months of the war, with Germany's desperate need for rapid replacement of casualties, design changes also included simplifications to speed up the manufacturing process.
The Panzer IV was partially replaced by the Panther medium tank, which was created to confront the Soviet T-34, but it remained an important part of German armoured divisions until the war's end.
With roughly 300 sold to Finland, Romania, Spain, and Bulgaria, it was the most extensively exported tank in German service.
Syria acquired Panzer IVs from France and Czechoslovakia after the war, which were used in the 1967 Six-Day War.