In post-Soviet area it had been called “T-3” for quite a long time but with the advent of the computer games its real name became known.“Panzer III” was shortened to Pz III and the gamers simply called it “pazik”.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of liberation of Belarus from Nazi invaders a new building for the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War was built in Minsk, where a tank ram monument became the exhibit’s centrepiece. A T-34 and a Panzer III were both restored by “The Stalin Line” tank restoration team.
Unlike it was with the T-34, it was not easy to find missing details for the Panzer III. So our tank restorers had not only to restore the tank which had been in a swamp for a long time, but also make new caterpillar tracks, plates above track and new turret with a gun. All this took us two months of hard work.
Here you may compare the inside look of the tank before and after the restoration, and see how our tank restorers turned the badly mangled hull into a beautiful and fully operational vehicle, even knowing that it is just going to be a part of the exposition and nobody will be able to get inside. But due to the people who managed to take these photos now we can take a look at the inside of the tank before and after the restoration.
It should be noted that the Panzer III turret has very specific and easily recognisable features. It is quite hard to draw it, and it is even harder to make it. I have been drawing this tank many times before and even saw a real Panzer III once in Kubinka.Its proportionality and unforgettable silhouette are so impressive, that you will easily recognise even a slightest distortion in any replica if there is one (which is quite a common thing both for our and foreign tank restorers). The Panzer III which was restored at “The Stalin Line” looks so real, that I thought that its turret was original! You can’t imagine my surprise when I found out that it was made by the “The Stalin Line” tank restoration team! And what is even more surprising, it was made from scratch without any technical drawings, and a few photos was the only source available to the restorers! I was really impressed with such high quality of their work.
Now I know how extremely qualified our tank restorers Alexander Mikalutsky, Vladimir Jakushev and his sons Alexey and Maxim are, but then I simply could not believe that they made this turret from scratch. So it’s no surprise that Wargaming chose our team to build a MC-1 tank, which also had to be built from zero.
The second most typical feature of the Panzer III is its caterpillar tracks. First we mounted the tank on Soviet caterpillar tracks from an amphibious tractor PTS-M, but right before finishing the work special caterpillar tracks were cast in Mozyr. They were cast on the pattern of the original German catepillar tracks which were taken from a StuG III assault gun which now is a part of “The Stalin Line” exhibition.
The inspection board was satisfied with the quality of the Panzer III replica and now this tank with the T-34 is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
Here in the photos you may see different tank parts before and after the restoration.