Assault Gun III
|Assault Gun III|
StuG III version G with Zimmerit coating in the Defense Technical Study Collection in Koblenz
|Armor and armament|
|Main armament||7.5 cm piece 40 L / 48|
|Secondary armament||1 × 7.92mm MG 34|
|drive||Maybach HL 120 TRM
|Top speed||40 km / h (road)|
|Power / weight||12.6 hp / t|
|Range||155 km (road)|
The Sturmgeschütz III (Sd.Kfz. 142 also StuG III ) was the most-built full-track armored vehicle of the German Wehrmacht . Originally it was developed as so-called assault artillery to provide close support to the infantry . That is why it was called an assault gun and the initially very short cannon. The chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen III served as a platform, partly also by converting battle tanks that were no longer suitable for frontline use. This is where the number of the designation comes from, so it does not indicate any sequence of types of storm guns. In the course of the Second World War , the assault guns often assumed the role of anti-tank defense in the absence of suitable battle tanks . Accordingly, the StuG III was further developed, heavily armored and equipped with powerful long cannons. The Sturmgeschütz III was very successful both in its function as an artillery and as a tank destroyer, whereby the production was cheaper, more resource-efficient and faster compared to battle tanks. The infantry and tank hunting departments soon found themselves in competition for the allocation of vehicles. For the original role of artillery support, variants with weapons of larger caliber were developed.
As early as 1935, the then Colonel Erich von Manstein suggested setting up assault artillery units, which, with their strong armament on chain-driven chassis, serve to directly support the infantry divisions and should be able to destroy enemy bunkers , positions and the like with direct fire. Assault guns could not only be produced faster, lighter and cheaper than regular armored vehicles due to the lack of a turret , the structure also made it possible to install a much more powerful cannon, whereby many assault guns proved themselves in the role of "tank destroyers". The cannon was embedded in the front of the vehicle, for rough alignment the entire vehicle had to be turned, while the fine alignment was carried out using a ball joint . Other advantages besides the lower price (StuG III about 82,000 RM , Panzer III about 105,000 RM) were the lower silhouette and the strong armor in the front area.
A total of around 10,000 Assault Guns III were built between 1940 and 1945. The versions A to E were armed with a 7.5 cm StuK 37 ( caliber length L / 24, called "stub" in soldiers' jargon) and had front armor of 50 mm. From March 1942, the improved version F was put into service, which was armed with the longer and thus more powerful 7.5 cm StuK 40 L / 43 . The even longer 7.5 cm StuK 40 L / 48 was used for the F / 8 and G versions produced from autumn 1942 . The variants with the long cannon were also known as Sturmgeschütz 40 , which had its origins in the new main weapon called Sturmkanone 40. As of October 1943, the used Altmark chain works on the main weapon instead of the previous rolling shutter a diaphragm with basement reject those form later Saukopfblende called. As part of factory overhauls, many older StuG III received some innovations from the current versions, such as the longer cannon or additional armor. Since most of the StuG 40s were used for fighting tanks instead of for the real task of close infantry support , Alkett built the Sturmhaubitze 42 with a 105 mm artillery gun for immediate infantry use. About 1300 vehicles of this variant were built.
|execution||number of pieces||Production period||Manufacturer||Chassis NR.|
|A, (1./s.Pak, Sd. Kfz. 142)||5/36||1937 to 1939 (prototypes) /
January to May 1940
|Daimler-Benz (Berlin)||90216-90220 (prototypes)
|B, (2nd and 3rd / s pack)||320||June 1940 to May 1941||Alkett (Berlin)||90101-90350, 90501-90550|
|C / D (3rd and 4th / pack)||50/150||May to September 1941||Alkett||90551-90600 / 90601-90750|
|E.||284||September 1941 to March 1942||Alkett||90751-91034|
|F (Sd. Kfz. 142/1)||366 + 1 prototype||March to September 1942||Alkett||91035-91400|
|F / 8||250||September 1942 to December 1942||Alkett||91401-91650|
173 converted Panzer III
|Conversion of the PzKpfW III: 1943 to 1944
December 1942 to April 1945
February 1943 to April 1945
|StuH 42 (Sd. Kfz. 142/2)||≈1299 + 12 modifications
+ 1 prototype
|October 1942 to January 1943 (modifications)
March 1943 to April 1945
≈92151 – ≈108920
For anti-tank combat, the tank grenade 39 and the grenade cartridge 38 were initially available for the 7.5 cm StuK 37 L / 24 . At the end of 1941, the hollow charge projectile grenade cartridge 38 HL / A, HL / B and HL / C were introduced. This allowed 100 mm of armor steel to be shot through at distances of up to 1500 m.
For the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L / 48 there were the Panzerranate 39 , Panzerranate 40 and the shaped charge projectile Grenade Cartridge 38 HL / A, HL / B and HL / C. For other targets there was the HE grenade cartridge 34, which had an adjustable impact fuse (0.15 s). There was also the KWK 40 smoke grenade cartridge, even if it was seldom carried in an assault gun. With this a smoke cloud with a diameter of 30 m could be generated for 20 to 25 seconds. The first ammunition equipment of an Ausf. G assault gun included ten smoke grenade cartridges, 130 HE shells and 130 tank shells. Of these, 54 were in the assault gun (half each with high explosive and tank shells), while the rest were in the ammunition squadron. Due to the limited transport or storage options for the cartridge ammunition in the combat vehicle itself, specially developed shortened cartridges (75 × 495 mm R (and cartridge)) were used in place of the otherwise usual PaK grenade cartridges (75 × 714 mm R).
Due to the low construction of the assault gun, targets at a distance of 1000 m could be shot at without the trajectory of the tank shell 39 exceeding a height of 2.50 m. This enabled, for example, the 2.76 m high T-34 /85 to be set up and hit directly. As the following tables show, the penetration performance of the armor-piercing projectiles at a distance of 500 m from the target and an impact angle of 60 ° was very different.
|7.5 cm assault cannon 37 L / 24|
|PzGr. 39||GrPa. 38||GrPa. 38 HL / A||GrPa. 38 HL / B||GrPa. 38 HL / C|
|39 mm||45 mm||70 mm||75 mm||100 mm|
|7.5 cm assault cannon 40 L / 48|
|PzGr. 39||PzGr. 40||PzGr. 40 (W)||GrPa. 38 HL / A||GrPa. 38 HL / B||GrPa. 38 HL / C|
|91 mm||108 mm||69 mm||70 mm||75 mm||100 mm|
|Technical data of the versions of the assault gun III|
|Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. A||Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G|
|Weight||19.6 t||23.9 t|
|length||5.38 m||6.77 m|
|width||2.92 m||2.95 m|
|height||1.95 m||2.16 m|
|Main armament||7.5 cm piece 37 L / 24||7.5 cm piece 40 L / 48|
|Secondary armament||1 × MG 34|
|Ammunition supply||StuK: 44
|Caliber length (KwK)||24|
|front||50 mm||80 mm|
|Rear||30 mm||50 mm|
|Roof / floor pan||19 mm||=|
|Engine (Maybach)||HL 120 TRM
V12 gasoline engine,
|Weight related performance||15.3 hp / t||12.6 hp / t|
|Speed limit road||40 km / h||=|
|Driving range||160 km (road)||155 km (road)|
Notes on the "Technical data" table
- ↑ High-performance motor with dry sump lubrication and magneto ignition
After their introduction, the assault guns III (StuG III) belonging to the assault artillery were initially combined in independent batteries (each with six guns) or from 1941 in assault gun departments (each with three batteries, a total of 18 guns), which are subordinate to the infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht if necessary were.
The first StuG III version A based on the hull of Panzer III, version F were combined in 1940 in the independent assault gun batteries 640, 659, 660 and 665 and used in the western campaign .
Finland acquired StuG III in large numbers from 1943 onwards and used them until 1966. After being deleted from the active list, some were used in fixed positions as artillery defenses at air bases, and some vehicles were also sold to various museums.
The Soviet Union captured several StuG IIIs during the German-Soviet War, which were used under the army designation Artsturm-3 . Some of them were handed over to Syria after the Second World War , and were used there until the Six Day War (1967). However, this conflict showed that the StuG III was outdated and technically inferior. Some vehicles were captured by the Israelis and have been preserved to this day.
- Sturmhaubitze 42 (StuH42) - 10.5 cm balaclava instead of the 7.5 cm cannon, StuG III Ausf. F, F / 8 and G chassis
- Sturminfanteriegeschütz 33 (StuIG 33) - 15 cm infantry gun 33 on a modified StuG III chassis, 24 copies
- Sturmgeschütz III Flammpanzer, 10 F and F / 8 rebuilt in mid-1943; At the beginning of 1944 dismantling in normal StuG
- Ammunition tank assault gun III
- Wolfgang Fleischer: The German assault guns 1935-1945. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, ISBN 3-7909-0588-7 .
- Wolfgang Fleischer: weapons arsenal - German assault guns in action. Volume 176. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, ISBN 3-7909-0659-X .
- Peter Müller, Wolfgang Zimmermann: Sturmgeschütz III - backbone of the infantry. History facts
- StuG - model assault guns Constantly growing source of information about the StuG
- Sturmgeschütz III / IV (Attention tanks !, English)
- Assault guns in Finnish service Informative page on Finnish StuG, (English)
- ↑ Thomas L. Jentz , Hillary Louis Doyle: Panzer Tracts No.23 - Panzer Production from 1933 to 1945.
- ↑ http://www.quarryhs.co.uk/ammotable8.html
- ↑ Wolfgang Fleischer: The German assault guns 1935-1945. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, ISBN 3-7909-0588-7 , p. 75.
- ↑ Wolfgang Fleischer: The German assault guns 1935-1945. Podzun-Pallas Verlag, ISBN 3-7909-0588-7 , p. 19.
- ↑ Archived copy ( Memento of the original from May 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.