Sturmgeschütze

I'll have the bacon cheesburger please

Schildkröte

The idea of a StuG is quite simple; just look at Leonardo da Vinci's designs. It's basically the lower half of a Panzer III, plus a big gun in a box. A StuG can take a bigger gun than a turreted tank of equal size but ofcourse a turret can turn, where a StuG crew must aim the whole vehicle. The series was generally very successful, both in the infantry and tank hunter role. Although the Panzers are generally much more famous, the StuGs destroyed many more tanks, some 20,000. Because of their low silhouette they were easy to camouflage and difficult to hit.

StuG III ausf. D

PzKpfw III ausf. E
  • somewhere in Russia
  • July 15th, 1941
  • "25", 2nd Co, StuGAbt 12

Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Jaenicke raided a Russian station with his StuG platoon, just when an unknown Soviet unit was offloading. In the ensuing chaos, they destroyed 12 BT-2 tanks and numerous trucks, tractors and other equipment.

StuG III ausf. D

PzKpfw III ausf. E
  • Tunis
  • 1942
  • Sonderverband 288

Sonderverband 288 was similar to the British LRDP: a very small unit, made up of the most capable people in the region. It was tasked with taking over the Arabian oil fields - with three StuGs and a camel! - but that was never going to happen. So the unit was sucked up by the DAK and shared its fate.

StuG III ausf. F

PzKpfw III ausf. E
  • Osinovski, near Rostov on Don
  • September 3rd, 1942
  • 1st Co StuGAbt 244

Oberwachtmeister Kurt Pfreundtner destroyed with his StuG 9 Russian tanks in 20 minutes. Possibly this was the most successful action of a StuG ever, and Kurt got the knight's cross for it.

I know what Kurt did...

StuG III ausf. G

PzKpfw III ausf. J
  • Russia, USSR
  • July 15th, 1943
  • 2nd StuGAbt, 2nd SSPzDiv "Das Reich"

Sturmbannführer Walter Kniep's unit apparently destroyed 129 Russian tanks between 5 July 1943 and 17 January 1944, losing only two StuGs of their own.

StuG IV ausf. G

PzKpfw III ausf. J
  • railway guard house, Omschoorweg, Raamsdonk, the Netherlands
  • October 31st, 1944, approximately 11 a.m.
  • PzJgAbt 256

Because there weren't enough PzKfw III chassis in the long run, StuG III-like armor started to be built on PzKfw IV chassis. They were built by Krupp in Magdeburg. This early StuG IV participated in the Short but Heroic Battle for the Reformed Church in Raamsdonk.

Stug IV ausf. G (spät)

PzKpfw III ausf. L
  • Vigy, near Metz, Lorraine, France/li>
  • September 4th, 1944
  • StuGAbt 200, 21st PzDiv

This StuG IV of StuGAbt 200 defended Vigy from the American 3rd Army, under Patton. The terrain was in favor of the Germans - the Moselle is a fast flowing river with steep banks, which makes crossing more difficult, and the weather was bad so American fighter bombers could not take off.

SdKfz. 165 "Hummel"

PzKpfw III ausf. M
  • Korsun, Russia, USSR
  • February 8th, 1944
  • 7th MotArtReg, 1st PzDiv, 3rd PzCor

Gruppe Stemmerman was basically a bunch of units caught in a kessel. As they slowly started to withdraw, they were supported by airdrops from Ju-52s. Finally, the 1st PzDiv managed to conquer the only intact bridge towards safety, preventing a total disaster.

SdKfz. 166 "Brummbär"

PzKpfw III ausf. N
  • Perwoje Ponyiri, Kursk, Russia
  • July 3rd, 1943
  • "53", StPzAbt 216, JpzAbt 656

Sturmpanzer Abteilung 216 and Jagdpanzer Abteilung 653 (with the Ferdinands) were tasked with taking Hill 257.7 ("Panzerhöhe") near Meloarchangelsk. Together with the 292nd Infantry Division, the units headed for Ponyiri -about 20km- under the command of a Major Kahl. The combination of both vehicles was sucessful but the attack wasn't; the Soviets soon pushed back.

SdKfz. 166 "Brummbär"

PzKpfw III ausf. N
  • Lake Velençei, Hungary
  • December 20, 1944
  • StPzAbt 219

In January 1945 StPzAbt 219 took part in the battle for Budapest as part of the 23rd Panzer Division. By March they had lost all their Brummbärs, and 219 was sent to (then) Czechoslovakia where they were equipped with 10 Bärs and some captured Russian tanks. In that form they became part of the Panzerjagd-brigade "Trumpa" in Waidhofen, Germany.

FlakPz "Wirbelwind"

PzKpfw III ausf. N
  • Trois-Ponts, Belgium
  • December 18, 1944
  • KG Peiper, 1e Waffen-SS PzDiv "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler"

his Wirbelwind was tested by the LSSAH during the Ardennes Offensive and was able to return to the factory undamaged. It proved nearly completely ineffective against Allied aircraft, but it turned out to perform miracles against infantry units.

Bergepanzer IV

PzKpfw III ausf. N
  • the bridge over the Danube, near Floridsdorf, Vienna, Austria
  • February 15th, 1945
  • 1st Co PzJgAbt 510, 2nd SS PzDiv "Das Reich"

Between October 1944 and March 1945 21 damaged PzKfw IVs were converted to Bergepanzer. Standard equipment included: a 2-ton crane, towing ropes and ropes, pulleys and a gutter, wooden beam. This Bergepanzer had to fish Oberscharführer Barkmann's Panther out of a shell hole during the retreat from Prague to Vienna.

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This is me

    Martijn aka. Nine. All-round nice man, “Can we do it? – Yes, we can!”, classical biker, armchair historian, Knight of Löwensenf to Chilichutney – but also cook, father, writer and general pusher of buttons. Somehow has a tattoo of a Soyuz TMA on his arm.

    If you have something interesting to say, I can be reached at martijnproper@gmail.com

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