With the Girls und Pazner Anzio OVA release date approaching, we thought it might be a good idea to do a “primer” for the OVA. The anime only showed a short scene of a defeated Anzio and an exuberant Oarai, but the actual battle was not shown. The OVA covers events leading up to and the actual 2nd round Sensha-do Tournament match between Oarai and Anzio itself.
Prior to the OVA’s Anzio match, Oarai had just managed to defeat a tough Saunders Prep team via an almost miraculous shot by sharp-shooter gunner Hana in the Panzer IV Ausf. D. During that upset victory, all the Oarai teams performed quite well overall – a noticeable improvement over their thrilling exhibition match loss to St. Gloriana. Well, maybe except for Mako since Mako was already about as good of a tank driver as you could be from the start. One of the most noteworthy improvements was made by the Rabbit Team (freshman) who overcame their fears and stayed in the entire match. Despite being taken out by Saunders marksman gunner Naomi in the M4 Sherman Firefly, their sacrifice did help to hold off Saunders just long enough for Hana to make her game winning shot. The other notable change was Miho overcoming her self-doubt as Oarai team captain with the help of her teammates. In part this was due to the other tank crews looking to her for leadership and becoming enthusiastic about learning Sensha-do. Her own team also steps in to help with the training of the other crews. That was a critical early step in Miho’s journey regaining her love of Sensha-do and to becoming quite arguably the best Sensha-do team captain in any school. At this point though, we have to wonder how she willing she will be to exercise her authority and demand the teams follow her direction.
When watching the OVA, keep in mind that while Oarai did find the Char B1bis and Tiger (P) just prior to the the Anzio match, they were not in running condition let alone had a crew assigned. Same goes for Panzer IV upgrade to the Asuf. F2 version featuring a much better 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun compared to the Asuf. D’s underpowered, short-barreled 75mm KwK 37 L/24 gun. That upgrade took place prior to the semi-final match against Pravda. The Type 3 medium tank wasn’t found until after the Pravda semi-finals match. In short, Oarai’s tanks and teams are exactly the same for the Anzio match as they were for the match against Saunders Prep. This is different from the manga where Oarai fielded the Char B1Bis during the Anzio match.
Tanks Fielded by Team
Tank Data Notes:
- Several factors which would normally be discussed are excluded because, well, this is anime. For example, the Type 89A was an infantry tank with a top road speed of 16mph (26km/h). Yet in the anime, it zooms around just as fast as any other tank on the field. Same goes for riveted armor. BAD thing in real life, in the anime it doesn’t matter due to the special protective carbon lining.
- Data, particularly for armor thickness and gun armor penetration, is “best effort”. WWII tank/TD data isn’t always available for some tanks/specific specifications, and even it if is, frequently inconsistent. So figures should be considered approximate rather than exact.
- Armor penetration figures are for “standard” anti-tank (AP) rounds (i.e. NOT HEAT or HVAP) against 30° sloped, homogeneous armor.
- Armor thickness stats are basic for simplicity.
Panzer IV Ausf. D
• Main Gun: low velocity 75 mm KwK 37 L/24. Armor penetration 43mm @ 500m, 40mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness 30mm (front), 20mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 20 tons (metric)
• Notes: The Panzer IV was the main German tank throughout WW II and saw many upgrades, most significantly starting with the Ausf. F2 and culminating in the Asuf. J model. The Ausf F2 is a significant upgrade since it adds a much better KwK 40 L/43 AT gun along with improved (thicker) armor. Later models featured additional armor upgrades and an improved KwK 40 L/48 AT main gun.
Panzer 38(t) Ausf. B/C
• Main Gun: 37.2 mm L/48 Skoda A7. Armor penetration: 33mm @ 500m, 28mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness: 25mm (front), 15mm (side & rear).
• Weight: 9.8 tons (metric)
• Notes: Originally a Czech pre-WW II designed tank, at the start of WW II, the 38(t) was a pretty good tank which compared favorably to many of its contemporaries. The Germans quickly adopted it into their army in 1939 after the fall of Czechoslovakia and many were used in the blitzkrieg against France. However, by 1941, the 38(t) was rapidly becoming obsolete. Certainly it was no match for newer, better designed tanks. Its 37mm L/48 gun offered less armor penetration and effective range compared to other 37mm AT guns of the time let alone compared larger caliber AT guns. Armor, was inadequate as well though later models attempted to address the problem. The strengths of the 38(t) were its excellent maneuverability, fairly high speed (for early WW II), and good overall reliability.
• Main Gun: low velocity 57 mm L/15 Type 90 gun. Armor penetration: 20mm @ 500m
• Armor Thickness: 17mm (front), 17mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 11.8 tons (metric)
• Notes: The Type 89 I-Go medium tank was a pre-war designed tank intended for anti-infantry use with its short barreled, low-velocity 57mm cannon, slow top speed (16mph) and thin armor. Simply put, it was obsolete by the start of WW II, and was one of the worst tank designs in WW II for tank vs. tank combat.
StuG III Asuf. F Self Propelled Gun (SPG)/Tank Destroyer (TD)
• Main Gun: 75 mm StuK 40 L/48. Armor penetration: 96mm @ 500m, 85mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness: 50-80mm (front), 30mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 21.6 tons (metric)
• Notes: The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) SPG assault gun was Germany’s most produced armored fighting vehicle during World War II. It was built on the chassis of the proven Panzer III tank, replacing the turret with a fixed casemate and mounting a more powerful gun – the 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon (essentially same gun as in the Panzer IV Ausf. D). Initially intended as a mobile, armored light gun for direct-fire support for infantry, the StuG III was continually modified and widely employed as a TD. When its primary role became that of a TD, a much better and more powerful 75 mm StuK 40 L/43 gun was added starting with Ausf. F model. That was further upgraded to a 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 starting with late Asuf. F models (06/1942-09/1942) and standard on Asuf. F/8 and later models. (NOTE: Confirmed via Yukari’s Tank Corner BD extras, the anime’s StuG III is a late Ausf. F model and does have the StuK 40 L/48 main gun).
• Main Gun (in sponson): 75 mm L/31 M2. Armor penetration: 60mm @ 500m, 52mm @1000m | Secondary “AT” Gun in turret: 37mm Gun L/53 M5 (L/56 different site) M5. Armor penetration: 50mm @ 500m, 46mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness: 38-51mm (front), 38mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 27 tons (metric)
• Notes: Design in mid-1940, the first M3s were operational in late 1941. The M3 Lee was intended as stop-gap tank – something the US could produce in number while awaiting design completion and production of the much better M4 Sherman (which used the same chassis, but had a traditional turret and better 75mm L/40 M3 main gun). The M3 Lee was well armed and armored for 1941, but due to design flaws (high silhouette (10’ tall!), archaic sponson mounting of the main gun, below-average off-road performance) it was simply not a good tank and was withdrawn from front line duty as soon as the M4 Sherman became available in large numbers.
Anzio’s team in the OVA is comprised of three Italian tanks: the Carro Armato P40, the Semovente 75/18, and the Carro Veloce L3/33 Tankette. There are three (3) Semoventes 75/18s and six (6) Carro Veloce L3/35 tankettes along with the single Carro Armato P26/40 for a total of 10 Anzio tanks/TDs/tankettes.
Carro Armato P40 (officially P26/40)
• Main Gun: Ansaldo 75 mm L/34 cannon. Armor penetration (estimate): 68mm @ 500m, 55mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness: 50mm (front), 40mm (side), 40mm (rear)
• Weight: 26 tons (metric)
• Notes: This “heavy” tank (as it was designated by intended role) was Italy’s best tank of the war, so naturally it is the best tank Anzio has. That being said, it wasn’t anywhere near the top for best WW II tanks. The P40 was very similar, if somewhat inferior, to the US M4 Sherman. Its main gun had a bit less velocity and armor penetration than the Sherman’s 75mm L/40 M3 gun, and the tank slightly less armor overall than the M4 Sherman. It also lacked other “modern” features for the time such as welded armor, adequate suspension, and a cupola for the commander. Still, it was the only Italian tank design that was comparable to mid-war Allied and German medium tanks.
Semovente 75/18 Self Propelled Gun (SPG)/Tank Destroyer (TD)
• Main Gun: low velocity 75 mm Obice da 75/18. Armor penetration: 48mm @ 500m, 37mm @1000m
• Armor Thickness: 50mm (front), 25mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 13 tons (metric)
• Notes: This was an inferior copy of the German StuG III. As the name suggests, it featured a 75mm, 18 caliber length (short barreled) low muzzle velocity howitzer type gun which offered slightly better performance than the Panzer IV Ausf D’s short barreled 75mm KwK 37 L/24 main gun. Compared to StuG III, the Semovente 75/18 had thinner armor which still used obsolete rivet manufacturing. On the plus side, despite its turret-less design, the Semovente’s gun was surprisingly maneuverable with 40° traverse compared to the StuG III’s 25° traverse. No question that the StuG III Ausf. F/8 (which is technically Oarai’s model) was superior to the Semovente 75/18 though later models, particularly the Semovente 75/46, narrowed the gap considerably.
Carro Veloce CV33 (L3/33) tankette
• Main Gun: None. Twin 8mm machine guns (MG). Armor penetration (most likely not sloped): Best guestimate based upon .30-06 M2 AP ammo = 10-11mm @ 100m.
• Armor Thickness: 15mm (front), 9mm (side & rear)
• Weight: 3.2 tons (metric)
• Notes: The original version of the CV33 featured featured only one 6.5mm machine gun (“MG”) where you can clearly see two MGs on the anime versions. Starting in 1935, Serie II models featured twin 8mm MGs which were a standard feature of the CV35 (L3/35) model, and earlier model CV33s were upgraded with twin 8mm MG armament. That being said, it’s not like the upgrade to twin 8mm MGs is going to make any real difference. This “tankette” was a pre-war design and obsolete before the war began. If you thought the Type 89 was a bad, obsolete tank, this makes the Type 89 look pretty good.
In my opinion, Oarai is the favorite when it comes to hardware. A nice change of pace. 😀 However, I was surprised by how closely the teams match up – due in large part to the flag tank assignments. Make the StuG III Oarai’s flag tank and it’s a much less competitive match. For me, the two standout tanks of the match are the Carro Armato P40 for Anzio and the StuG III for Oarai with the M3 Lee being a bit of a wild card. Definitely some room here for the Rabbit team to shine. The Panzer IV in its Ausf D version can be effective – certainly more so on paper here than versus Saunders’ fleet of M4 Shermans. Still, miracle shots aside, it simply becomes much better in terms of tank combat later in the anime with the Ausf. F2 (Pravda) and Ausf. H (KMM) upgrades. Like always, the Type 89 is absolutely useless against the opposition’s flag tank, but for once it actually has some offensive potency thanks to the tankettes.
To be honest, I am a little bit disappointed with Anzio’s line up. The Carro Veloce L3/33 tankettes are pretty much worthless outside of scouting or use as a onetime disposable shield. One or two are fine as “tank candy”, but that’s about it. The Semovente 75/18 is just good enough to be competitive given Oarai’s line up at this point in the story, but the later 75/34 and 75/46 versions are much more logical choices for Sensha-do. Just how poor is Anzio that they can’t afford to upgrade to the 75/34 model? The P40 is one of the, perhaps the, best tanks/TDs in the entire match, and Anzio will need to rely heavily upon it. Personally, I would have liked one more different Italian tank. Substitute an M15/42 or M14/41 for 3-4 of those worthless tankettes, or even one of the Semovente 78/18s.
Quibbles and tankettes aside, this is shaping up to be quite a competitive match – more so than I initially expected. Given Girls und Panzer’s track record, I have little doubt that the OVA battle will be exciting and fun to watch. I’m definitely looking forward to it.
[7/14 Update: Having just watched the OVA, the addition of one more tankette changes nothing in my analysis, but the addition of another Semovente 75/18 does make a material difference. I still give Oarai a slight edge in terms of hardware advantage based mostly upon the StuG III and its best in match 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 main gun, but the two teams are close to even IMO with that extra Semovente 75/18.]
The manga only had three of the tankettes and included 3 M13/40s. I don’t understand why they didn’t maintain the lineup that they had in the manga version. As diakama points out what about the M14/41 or m15/42? As diakama questioned, how poor is Anzio? The PV seems to be implying the P26/40 is a new addition to their team. Just how poor are they? How did they even make it to the second round? What has the director got against the Italians? If it wasn’t a capture the flag game I could see where it might be frustrating for the Oarais to get them all, but the tankettes would seem to be worthless or just annoying otherwise. No way they can realistically take out a tank short of some ridiculously lucky shot. Shouldn’t even be allowed in Sensah-do IMO.
If you remember the names of the St Gloriana’s team (Darjeeling, Orange Pekoe) were names of teas. The Aznio team names are following a similar pattern (Anchovy, Pepperoni). I had to looki it up but Carpaccio is the name of a dish of raw meat or fish. Of course their insignia is a pizza.
Based on the PV, the girls of Anzio look really cute in their school uniforms and Anchovy looks to be as funny and fun an opponent as Katyusha was when they went up against Pravda. The PV shows a number of differences from the manga version so it will be interesting to see how many changes there are when we finally see the OVA. The PV definitely has me excited to see the full battle.