For the Record: Panzer IV Hydro – short review
Hello everyone, today, we will have a look at another mythical creature few have seen in battle, the Panzer IV Hydro. It’s really difficult to find something to write about, because this vehicle is simply a form of the Panzer IV tank. Historically, one prototype of this vehicle existed: by the end of the war, there was a project to equip Panzer IV with hydrostatic control systems (hence the “hydro”). Historical info from wot-wiki states: In late 1943, Zahnradfabrik Augsburg equipped normal (turretless) Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G/H with newly developed hydraulic steering system. Thoma (non-liquid) oil drive transmission was installed and drive sprocket was replaced with the new one. The power train consisted of twin oil pumps driven by Maybach HL 120 TRM engine. In order to accommodate all the changes, entire engine deck and rear was modified. In mid 1944, this prototype was fitted with modified hydraulically operated turret. Tests were carried on but were never concluded and for testing purposes the only prototype was send to Russia and served with the Waffen SS unit. At the end of the war, this vehicle was captured by the US Army and was sent to United States for further examination. Tests were never concluded and this vehicle is still at Aberdeen U.S Army Proving Grounds in Maryland. Other sources state that the vehicle this tank was build upon was Panzer IV Ausf.H specifically and that it has never seen combat, because it was breaking down constantly. Panzer IV Hydro was introduced into the game very long time ago (about a year and a half) along with the SU-85I Soviet tank destroyer. What was the purpose of its introduction is not known, but neither vehicle ever made it to live servers and somehow got stuck in development “limbo”. Currently, there is no way to see it in battle apart from using press, supertester or developer accounts and as far as I know, there are currently no plans for introducing it, although it is possible it might appear at one point as a reward vehicle of some sort, maybe for some difficult mission, or for historical battles. Statistically, this vehicle, despite its curious looks, is very similiar to Panzer IV and if you like how Panzer IV drives, you will like it too. There are some differences though. For one, it only has 50mm of frontal armor, not 80mm like the original Panzer IV (50mm was the historical value of the earlier models, 80mm was achieved by adding – either by bolting or by welding – an additional 3cm plate towards the front). Turrets are practically identical (Hydro has less viewrange – 330 compared to the original 350), which is weird, because the turrets were the same even historically, but it’s a balance feature after all. Hydro on the other hand has more health (550 compared to 460 of Panzer IV). Both vehicles have the same (top) gun (KwK 40 L/48) with the same parameters, but Hydro fires a bit slower (13,95 ROF compared to 15 ROF of PzIV), giving it less DPM. Hydro also has a tiny bit worse accuracy on the move, but it has better depression (-10 compared to -8 of Panzer IV). Hydro also has worse radio (620m compared to 710m of Panzer IV). Mobility-wise, Panzer IV Hydro weights less (23,7 tons compared to 25,1 tons of Panzer IV), but it has a weaker engine (300hp, compared to 440hp Maybach of Panzer IV). On the other hand, it has better terrain resistance, so all in all, the mobility of both tanks is the same, both are very agile and even though Hydro can’t take as much punishment thanks to its thinner armor, it behaves more or less the same. Other than its weird rear looks, it has no special features actually. It’s just a good premium tank and I actually enjoyed driving it. It had no weird glitches or quirks as far as I could notice, it plays well and generally speaking, I have no idea, why it wasn’t introduced into the game (unlike the broken MTLS). In my opinion it is balanced well for a premium, it’s effectively a bit worse Panzer IV with less armor. With a tiny little bit of ROF nerf it would be perfect, but that’s subjective. I hope we will actually see this vehicle one day in the game – perhaps as a mission or historical battle reward?