The StuG – Sturmgeschütz SPG in Dozens of Photos

StuG III at Belgrade Military Museum. By Slaven Radovic CC BY-SA 3.0

Sturmgeschütz (or StuG) was a series of self-propelled artillery used by the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. The most common version, the StuG III, was built on the chassis of the PzKpfw III tank and was originally called “StuG.”

However, after the creation of the StuG IV, it received the name StuG III. Over the course of production, more than 10,000 copies of StuG III were created, making it one of the most-produced of the Wehrmacht’s armored vehicles.

The first versions of StuG III came from the Daimler-Benz plant in January and February 1940. However, throughout the production period, the self-propelled gun was modified many times. In February 1943, StuG III Flamm self-propelled guns began to be built on the base of the StuG III Ausf.F.

Finnish StuG III Ausf. G (June, 1944)
Finnish StuG III Ausf. G (June, 1944)

As the main armament of StuG III, a 75 mm StuK 37 L / 24 gun was initially used, which was later replaced by a 75 mm StuK 40 L / 43, and then by a 75 mm StuK 40 L / 48. Later versions of StuG III were also equipped with a 7.92 mm MG-34 machine gun. The number of rounds carried in the tank ranged from 44 to 54 shells and from 300 to 600 cartridges for the machine gun.

With each new modification, the tank’s mass gradually grew. Initially, the frontal reservation of the felling was nearly 2″ thick, the rear armored sheet was 1″, and the side armor 1.2″. However, the armor was later thickened further by welding additional plates to it. Depending on the modification, the weight ranged from 16 tons on the prototype to 23.9 tons.

German StuG in Finland
German StuG in Finland

A 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM engine generating 300 hp drove the StuG III. Its maximum speed was 25 mph, and the power reserve was about 96 miles. The crew consisted of 4 people.

In November 1943, British aircraft bombed Alkett, a large manufacturer of StuG IIIs. As a result, production was significantly reduced. To compensate for the deficit in the production of the StuG III, Hitler approved the creation of the Sturmgeschütz IV. It was created with the Panzer IV chassis and the StuG III superstructure.

the Sturmgeschutz IV gun from the collection of the CSWL Armored Weapons Museum.By Maciej Borun CC BY 3.0
the Sturmgeschutz IV gun from the collection of the CSWL Armored Weapons Museum.
By Maciej Borun CC BY 3.0

The StuG IV had weapons, engine, and armor similar to the 78 of the latest StuG III modification, but thanks to its three fuel tanks with a total capacity of 114 gallons, it had a range of 80-130 miles. In addition, due to a more capacious chassis it could store more ammunition, consisting of 63 shells.

StuGs were simple to produce, and for this reason the Germans used them to replace the losses of standard tanks. They were widely used in the assault, artillery and anti-tank units of the Wehrmacht. StuGs showed weaknesses in the conventional tank role, but they were effective in defensive roles and as tank destroyers.

Sturmgeschutz IV and Stug III Ausf G assault guns, two Marder III Ausf H and Italian Semovente 75/18
Sturmgeschutz IV and Stug III Ausf G assault guns, two Marder III Ausf H and Italian Semovente 75/18

StuGs were actively used on all fronts until the end of the Second World War and many cases of their effective use are known. For example, in January 1943, StuG IIIs of the 184th Battalion of assault artillery destroyed 12 Soviet tanks within 4 days during the fighting near Demyansk.

A number of captured StuGs and Panzer IV were repaired in the USSR and were later transferred to Syria for use against Israel. In the 1950s, StuG IIIs were in service with the Spanish, Egyptian, Romanian and Syrian armies.

Stug III of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 192
Stug III of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 192

 

Sturmgeschutz IV and III. Wreckage of a Flakpanzer 38(t) in the foreground
Sturmgeschutz IV and III. Wreckage of a Flakpanzer 38(t) in the foreground

 

German Sturmgeschutz III of Waffen SS
German Sturmgeschutz III of Waffen SS

 

German assault gun StuG IV of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, Marigny Montrevil France October 1944
German assault gun StuG IV of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, Marigny Montrevil France October 1944

 

StuG III Ausf B Eastern front
StuG III Ausf B Eastern front

 

Abandoned German assault gun StuG IV number 115
Abandoned German assault gun StuG IV number 115

 

Sturmgeschutz StuG III in the Soviet union 1942
Sturmgeschutz StuG III in the Soviet union 1942

 

StuG IV with zimmerit Mielau Poland
StuG IV with zimmerit Mielau Poland

 

Sturmgeschutz StuG III front view
Sturmgeschutz StuG III front view

 

StuG IV with zimmerit Mielau Poland photo
StuG IV with zimmerit Mielau Poland photo

 

German assault gun StuG III Ausf B 2
German assault gun StuG III Ausf B 2

 

StuG IV
StuG IV

 

StuG III Ausf B 2
StuG III Ausf B 2

 

 

 

StuG IV with zimmerit
StuG IV with zimmerit

 

Sturmgeschutz StuG III in Sieradz Poland
Sturmgeschutz StuG III in Sieradz Poland

 

StuG IV tank in Italy
StuG IV tank in Italy

 

StuG III Russia 1941
StuG III Russia 1941

 

Sturmgeschutz IV with zimmerit
Sturmgeschutz IV with zimmerit

 

StuG III assembly line
StuG III assembly line

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Jagdpanzer IV and StuG III in Berlin
Jagdpanzer IV and StuG III in Berlin

Ruslan Budnik

Ruslan Budnik is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE