In WWII a number of German command tanks containing long-range radios were created based on standard gun tanks, and one of these was the Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf.H. As its name denotes, it was based on the Ausf.H chassis, the first Panzer III version to be fitted with a 5cm KwK L/42 cannon. However, on the Pz.Bef.Wg. version no 5cm gun was fitted, with just a single MG34 for self-defense and a dummy gun to fool the enemy. A total of 145 such Ausf.H command tanks were produced from November 1940 till September 1941, plus an additional 30 from December 1941 to January 1942.
This new 1/35 SMART KIT of the Pz.Bef.Wg.III Ausf.H depicts a command tank fitted with its fixed turret and dummy gun. While it wisely utilizes parts from recent Panzer III kits, it also features entirely unique components. Indeed, this kit has a special appearance compared to other members of the Panzer III family tree. For example, it has a brand new turret, and the upper hull is also new. Because the turret was fixed rather than rotating, the cutout is differently shaped to the round shape needed for the usual turret race. Installed on the engine deck is a characteristic large frame antenna for the long-range radio, and the vehicle looks most impressive when the turret-mounted telescopic antenna is shown extended. This Panzerbefehlswagen III H is produced to the very best engineering levels. All in all, it represents a commanding performance, and fills a niche in Dragon’s Panzer III lineup.