The Panzer III/IV is theoretical tank. The idea for this tank existed, but the tank never became a reality. The theory was to create a tank using components from both the Panzer III and Panzer IV. It is the first major hypothetical tank I have played in World of Tanks, and it is a German Tier V medium tank.
Given the name, one might think it plays like a combined Panzer III and Panzer IV. This is not the case. The Panzer IV is a sniper, while the Panzer III resembles more a sort of heavy scout. The Panzer III/IV is researched directly from the Panzer III, and this is appropriate since it plays much more similar to that tank.
This is not to say the Panzer III/IV is a scout. While I am sure it can do some scouting, it is just a bit too big and not quite agile enough to pull it off. This is not to say it is cumbersome, because it is a quite nippy tank to drive. This is an excellent tank to either charge ahead to a strategic piece of ground and try to hold the enemy off until slower, heavier reinforcements arrive; or to make a sudden break towards an enemy’s artillery once the front-line tanks have already been engaged.
This tank cannot go head to head with an opposing heavy. It is, after all, a medium. That said it has the nimbleness to generally be able to outmanoeuvre the slower heavies, peppering it with shots whilst out-turning the heavy’s turret; or darting around the side of a building.
Of course, in reality the role of this tank varies alot with the matchmaking, and with the the specifics of the tanks on either side in a particular battle.
In matches dominated by higher tiers one can to some degree scout and/or strike out in front of the main force. In particular while playing El Halluf on Encounter this is a great tank to get in behind the rock that sites in the middle of the base. I did that once, which panicked the opposing team a little bit and thus allowed my team-mates to destroy quite a few of them as they exposed themselves trying to get at me.
If anything Tier V matches, or matches where there are only a handful of higher tier tanks, are actually harder to play. One thinks one is more of a top-dog, but you don’t have the armour to soak up punishment like a heavy, nor quite the same sort of punch as a Panzer IV. Therefore one has to play with a bit more care, because one’s loss actually has a greater impact on the team. One has to time one’s attacks and pick one’s spots. Despite what I said above, you are not made of paper – you just have to choose the moment to expose yourself and make that moment count.
Of course, if you are facing up against most Tier IVs or IIIs you can hope to bounce a fair number of shells – just beware of the tank destroyers that can still ruin one’s day (my Marder II has taken out a few Panzer III/IV in my time, and damaged many more).
Ultimately I have thoroughly enjoyed playing this tank. My record currently (all played previous to the current update) is 42 battles (23 victories, 18 defeats), with 28 enemy tanks destroyed, and one Top Gun and four Sniper Battle Honours. I will be selling the tank however in due course to make way for the first of the German Tier VI tanks.