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Weapons of World War Two

Sturmgeschutz III

Version depicted: Ausf G

Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G

In June 1935, the High Staff of the German Army asked from Daimler a type of armored vehicle that, until that moment, had not been taken much into consideration by the projectors of the diverse armies. It was about to achieve an armored vehicle composed of an artillery piece installed in the hull of a normal tank. But the cannon had to be able to perform a certain vertical and horizontal movement. This solution would not force the crew to aim the weapon by turning the entire vehicle, as it happened with many vehicles of that time.

Among other things, the suppression of the rotatory turret would eliminate many inconveniences, among those the mechanical attrition that the rotation bearings of a normal turret received when firing. This would allow to use cannons of rather larger caliber than those normally adopted. It should be noted that the structure of a self-propelled not fitted with a rotatory turret would be of faster construction, more robust, less exposed to enemy fire (because of lower profile) and finally more economical than that of a normal tank.

However the technical problems that emerged were many, and it was not easy to overcome them. Because of this, the prototype of the new armored vehicle, which soon was deemed as satisfactory, was not ready before February 1940. The Sturmgeschutz III (Assault Cannon III) had no comparison with the tanks of its time in that it had not the peculiar characteristics of a normal tank, nor it could be defined as self-propelled artillery, for it could open fire while moving. It was, more properly, a combat vehicle obtained from the hull of the Panzer III. Upon this one it had been welded a carrier structure of vertical plates, on which the armor had been riveted.

In the initial versions (A, B, C, D and E) the armament comprised a short cannon of caliber 75/24; the diverse versions differed only in small modifications. From the F it was adopted a 75/43 cannon and the structure of the casemate was modified. And later, in the F 8, a 75/48 cannon would be adopted. So we arrive to the G, the most widespread version of this excellent armored vehicle, which appears in the illustration. During the entire war, from the campaign in France to the ferocious combats in Berlin, were used more than 10000 StuG of the diverse types, of which 7000 belonged to the version G.

This one had a Rheinmetall-Borsig 75/48 cannon, rather more powerful than its predecessors, fitted with two strong recoil brakes and a muzzle brake destined to reduce the recoil stroke in the reduced space inside the casemate. A machine gun position, protected by a folding shield, completed the armament. The set of characteristics of the StuG III made of it the ideal weapon to support the infantry and to ambush and hunt other armored vehicles. Fairly appreciated by the crews that operated it, this assault cannon would achieve a terrible fame in every front. Some dozens of them, slightly modified, would remain in service with the Finnish Army until the 1960s.

Year: 1942

Weight: 23.9 tonnes

Length: 6.70 meters

Width: 2.90 meters

Height: 2.10 meters

Ground clearance: 39 centimeters

Maximum armor: 80 millimeters

Engine: Maybach HL 120 TRM of 300 horsepower

Maximum speed: 40 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 170 kilometers

Crew: 4

Armament: One 75-millimeter cannon; one 7.92-millimeter machine gun

Ammunitions: 54 of 75 millimeters; 600 of 7.92 millimeters

Maximum surmountable trench: 2.30 meters

Maximum surmountable step: 60 centimeters

Maximum surmountable slope: 30 degrees

Fording: 90 centimeters

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