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Volume Z Issue 80

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Once Gernany had demonstrated the new pace of annouted,
warfare, most belligerent nations began to develop fully
mechanized divisions. Field, gttns were moutted on tank
chassis and a new generation of armowed fighting vehicles
was born. Self-propelled guns assumed ever-increasing
importance duilng the war, and today have largely
supplante d t owe d artille ry. Arguably the most famous self-
propelled gun of WorldWar II was
Self-propelled artillery was very much a product of the type of warfare the Stumgeschiitz IIL Entering
that evolved during World War II: before lg39 self-propelled artillery service in I 940, it served throughout
the war in a bewildering multitude
scarceiy existed (apart from a few trlal weapons), but by 1943 it was used variants, but its aggressive low
by all the combatant nations. The sudden rise of this new form of weapon silhouette often led to its being
can be attributed almost entrrely to the impact of the battle tank on employed as a cut-price tank.
tactics, for warfare no longer took place at the speed of the marchlng
soldier and the scouting horse, but at the speed of the tank. Tanks
swarmed all over Poland, France and eventually the Soviet Union, and gnrn, Today both types of weapon are extant, but the modern accent is c:
the only way that the supporting arms, including the artillery, could keep the indirect-fire weapon rn the West and the close-support assal:lt gun _::
up with them was to become equally mobile, +L^ F^^+
Many of the early self-propelted artrllery platforms were simply con- Only a selection of the many types of self-propeiled artillery &a:
versions of existing tanks to mount artillery pieces, but the measure of proliferated between 1939 and 1945 can be found in this study. $rce
conversion varied wldely, Some were scarcely more than lash-ups' to tmportant types have been omrtted, while some 'one-offs' have bee::
meet a hasty requirement or built locally to suit a particular task, Others inciuded to demonstrate the variety of design concepts that were
were carefully designed from the outset and may be regarded as attempted, The number and approaches of the different designs came:c
virtually new products. But two distlnct trends can be discerned in the be enormous before 1945 but only relatively few models actually founi
way self-propelled artillery was used in actron. One school regarded their way into actton, Most of them are covered here,
mobile artillery as a simple adjunct to existing artillery doctrines, and
this school designed and used the self-propelled platforms to deliver' AnMZ is seen inaction'somewhere in Europe'during the harshwinter of
tndrrect supporting fire in the usual way. The other school regarded the I944.-5. This vehicle is typical of the period,-being liberaily cluttered with extra
mobile gun as a form of close-range direct-fire weapon to be used in equipment and ration packs, buttheAAmachin-e-gunis manned and the crei
arewellprotected againsttheweather as they sewe the j0i-mm(4. j-in)
close support of armour, and this school was responsible for the assault howitzer.

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' l!- fr'* s..i.],, 6ll,,,.de ls4,ill
reI ITH gg auf Geschiitzwasen One of the tirstGerman selt-
The German infantry battalions each
had a small artillery complement of pr o pelled conver sions was the
four 7.5-cm (2,95-in) light howitzers mounting of a 15-cm slG 33 infantrY
and hvo 15-cm (5,9-in) infantry howit- howitzer onto thehullof aPzKPfw I
zers for their own local fire support lighttank.
The 15-cm howitzer was known as the
schwere Infantrie Geschiitz 33 (sIG 33,
or heavy infantry gnrn) and was a very the vehicle engine mounted forward
useful and versatile weapon, but it was (instead of at the rear as originally lo-
heaw and the only 'equipment' allo- cated) this entailing the movement of
cated to most infantry formations for the fighting compartment to the hull
the mgvement of the weaPons were rear. this was the SdKfz I38/l (SdKfz
horse teams, Thus when an increasing for Sonder Kraftfahrzeug, or special
degree of mechantzation began 1o vehicle) and it was this vehlcle that was
filter through the German army the slG retained as the Gerrnan army's stan-
33 was high on the list for considera- dard slG 33 carrier until the end ofthe
tion. war, The SdKfz 138/l had a crew offour
The first form of mobile sIG 33 was men including the driver, and 15 shells
used during the French camPaign of were carried on the vehicle. There
Mav 1940, It was one of the simPlest was no room for more because the
anci most basic of all the German self- fighting compartment was rather res-
propelled equipments, for it consisted tricted for space,
of ndthing more than a sIG 33 mounted There was one other sIG 33 self-
eomplete with carriage and wheels on propelled version, this ttme on a
to a turretless PzKpfw I light tank as the Pzfbfw ill
chassis. This l5-cm sIG 33
I5-cm sIG 33 auf Geschiitzwagen I auf PzKpfw III appeared ln 1941 and
Ausf B, fumoured shields were Pro- used a large box superstructure on a
vided for the crew offour, and that was PzKpfw III to house the sIG 33, This
that, It was not a very satisfactory con- proved to be rather too much ofa good
version as the centre of gnavity was thing, for the chassis was really too
rather high and the chassis was over- larqe for the weapon which could be
ioaded. Moreover, the armour protec- easlly carried by lighter vehicles' Thus
tion was not good, and so in 1942 the production never qot properly under
PzKpfw II was the subiect for conver- way, being terminated after onlY 12
sion. This lS-cm sIG 33 auf Geschiitz- conversions had been made, These
wagen II ausf C SdKfz l2l conversion vehicles were used in action on the
had the howitzer mounted low in the Eastern Front,
chassis, and was so successful that dur- All the slG 33 self-propelled equip-
inq 1943 a version with a lengthened ments were used for their original role,
hu-ll was produced as the l5-cm sIG 33 i,e, the direct fue-support of infantry
auf Fgst ?zKpfw II (Sf) VerHnget. units in the field, Perhaps the most suc-
The ex-Czech PzKpfw 38(t) was also cessful of these self-propelled car-
converted to act as a slG 33 carrier, In riaoes were the Bison and the later
1942 the flrst of a series of vehicles Sdffz 138/L over 370 of the vehicles
were produced, and they were still in Taken from a German newsreel, this protection and s tow ag e was
known collectively as the lS-cm sIG 33
(Sf) auf PzKpfw 38(t) Bison SdKfz 138 productton in late 1944. shotclearly shows how high and minimal, but it provided the
were ptoduced, The first series had awlcward the mounting of the I 5 - cm G erm ans w ith an indic a tion of what
the sIG 33 mounted forward on the hull howitzer really was on the PzKpfw I would be required in future.
top behind an open armoured suPer- Specification ciassrs. The crew had only limited
stiucture, and this weapor:/vehicle SdKfz I38/l
arrangement proved to be so success- Type: self-propelled tnfantry-support petrol engine developing I I 1,9 kW Performance: maximum road sPeed
ful tha-t it was formalized in 1943 by the howitzer (150 hp) 35 krn/h (21,75 mph); maximumroad
production of a new version. This was a Crew:4 Dimensions: length 4,835 m ( 15 ft range 185 km (115 miles); fording
Weisht: I1500 kg (25 353 lb) 10,4 in); width 2, 15 m (7 ft 0,6 in); heisht 0,9 14 m (3 ft)
iactory-produced model rather than a
convelsion of existing tanks and had Powerplant: one Praga 6-cYlinder 2,4 m (7 ft I0,5 in) Armament: one I S-cm (5,9-in) howitzer

m fiHln"
Even as early as 1939 it was obvious on the PzKpfw II Ausf F chassis and
that the days ofthe little PzKpfw II tank went into action on the Eastern Pront
were numbered, for it lacked both duriner 1943. On this front they were
armament and armour, However, it used by the divisional artillery batter-
was in production and quite reliable, les ofthe Panzer and Panzergnenadier
so when the need arose for self- divisions, They were usually orga-
propelled artlllery the PzKpfw II was nized into batteries of six howitzers
Seiected to be the carrler for the 10,5- withup to five batteries to anlbleilung
cm (4. I3-in) leFH 18 field howitzer. The (battalion).
conversion of the tank hull to carry the The Wespe was so successful in tts
howitzer was quite straightforward, for artillery support role that Hitler himself
the howitzer was mounted behind an made an order that all available
open topped armoured shield towards PzKpfw Il chassis production should
the rear of the hul and the area where be allocated to the Wespe alone, and
the twret had been was armoured the many other improvised weaPons
over and the space used for ammuni- on the PzKpfw ll chassis were droP-
tion stowage, Maxrmum armour thick- ped or thetr armament diverted to
ness was 18 mm (0.7 in). other chassis, The main WesPe con-
The result was the self-Propelled struction centre was the Famo plant in
howitzer known as the Wespe (wasp) Poland, and there production was so
though its full offlcial designation was rapid that by mid-1944 682 examples
rather more cumbelsome: IeFH I8/2 had been built, Some time around that
auf Fgrst Kpfw II (Sf) SdKfz 124 Wespe,
but to everyone it was just the Wespe The SdKfz I 24 Wespe was a PurPose-
1: was a very Popular little self- built carrier tor a I 05-mm howitzer
propelied weapon that soon gained for based on the chassis of the P zKpfw I I
::selJ a reputation for reliability and Iight tank. It was first used during
rrobility. The first of them were based 1 942 and had a crew of five.
Wespe (continued) Self-Propelled Guns of World War II
date manufacture of the Wespe fitted with muzzle brakes) and so used
ceased, but not before 158 had been the same ammunition. They also had
completed without howitzers; these the same range of 10675m (11 675
vehicles had the gap in the armour yards),
plate for the howitzer sealed off, the
space behind the armour berng used
for resupply ammunition needed by
batteries in the front line, Specification
A typical Wespe went into action Wespe
carrying its crew of five, includtng the Type: self-propelled field howitzer
driver, and 32 rounds of ammunition, A Crew:5
Wespe battery was completely Weisht: 11000 kg(24,251 lb)
mobile, although some of the vehicles Powerplant: one Maybach O-cylinder
were soft-skinned trucks for carrying petrol engine developing 104.4 kW
ammunltion and other supplies, The (140 hp)
forward obseruers were usually car- Dimensions: length 4,81 m ( 15 ft 9,4 in);
ried in light armoured vehicles width 2,28 m (7 ft 5,75 in); heisht 2,3 m
although some batteries used ex- (7 ft 6,6 in)
Czech or captured French tanks for Performance: maxrmum road speed
thts purpose, Fireorderswere relayed 40 km/tr (24 85 mph); road range
back to the battery by radio, and fiom 220 km ( 137 miles); fording 0.8 m (2 ft
the battery fire command post the Z,5 in)
orders were further relayed to the gun Armament:one 105-mm (4, 13-in)
positions by land lines, The howitzer howitzer and one 7,92-mm (0,31-in) This shot oI a Wespe on the move Notehow small thevehicle actually
carried on the Wespe was the stan- MG34 machine-oun shows thatthe top of the fighting was compared to the stature of the
dard 10,5-cm leFH 18 as used by compar tment w as open bu t gun crew in the compartment.
towed batteries (althouqh most were protection was provided at the rear.

The self-propelled artillery vehicle
that became known as the
(bumble bee) was a hybrid combinr
components of the PzKpfw IIl a
PzKpfw IV tanks into a new vehrcle
known as the .Geschtitzwagen IIVIV.
The first of these hybrids was pro-
duced during 1941 and used a leng-
thened PzKpfw IV suspension and run-
ning gear combined with the final
drive assemblies, track and transmis-
sion of the PzKpfw 11i, Onto this new
hull was built an open superstructure
formed wrth light armour plates, and
h\to types of weapon were mounted,
Vehicles intended for use as tank des-
troyers mounted a version of the BB-
mm (3,46-in) anti-tank gun, but veh!
cles intended for use as self-propelled
artillery 4ounted a special version of
the l5-cmr(5.9-in) FH 1B field howitzer.
The FH 18 vehicle was the 15-cm
Paruerfeldhaubitze l8M auf GW IIVIV
SdKfz 165 Hummel, and it formed the Above: The Hummel (bumbld bee)
heavy field artillery element of the was a purpose-built German vehicle
Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions that used components from both the
from 1942 onwards, The ordnance was PzKptw III and IV. Used on all fronts,
known as the Panzerfeldhaubitz lB/1, il was a successfu I weapon that
and could fire a 43,S-kg (95.91b) pro- remained in production until the war
jectile to a range of 13325 m (14,572 ended. I t had a.crew of fivd.
yards), The flrst howitzers produced
for the self-propelled role were fltted
wrth large muzzle brakes, but experi- without the howitzer and the divided
ence demonstrated that these were front armour piates replaced by a sing-
nct really necessary and were accor- le plate. These vehicles were used as
Cingly left off later production ver- ammunition carriers for the Hummel
scrs, Maximum armour thickness was battenes, By late 1944 no less than 666
5C mm (1,97 in), Hummels had been produced and the
The Hummel had a crew offlve, in- type remained in production until the
:luding the driver who sat in an end of the war, They proved to be
arnoured position forward, The provi- useful and popular weapons, and were A battery of four Hummels stand demonstrates that the Luttwaffe. had
of an armoured compartment for used on all fronts, Special versions with ready for action on a Fussjan steppe
':-e alone was considered a lux- wider tracks known as Ostkette were in 1942, fftec,losenessof theguns
air superiority at this time, othervise
"{i Ln war-productton terms, but in- produced for use during the winter and.the overall lack of concealment
the guns would have been much
more d.lspersed and camouIlagd,.
s=ad of ehminating this feature the de- months on the Eastern Front, and the
made the whole thing cheaper open superstructures were often co- room for the crews to serve the gun, Powerplant: one Maybach V-12peuci
:l enlarging the armoured position vered with canvas tarpaulins to keep and the carriage gave the howitzerthe engine developing i97,6 kW (265 hpl
employing more flat steel plates, out the worst of the weather, The gnrn desired mobility to enable them to
l:; more internal space was pro- crew generally lived with the vehicle, keep up with the Panzer divisions,
Dimensions: length 7, 17 m (23 ft 6.3 ::l
width2,B7 m(9 ft 5 in); heishr 2.8i r:
for one of the crew members, so many Hummels were festooned not (9 ft 2.6 in)
T:= Hummel could carry only lB only with camoullage of all kinds but Performance: maxrmum road soeec
-::-:s of ammunition so m6re hdd to also with bed rolls, cooking pots and Specification 42 kn/h(26 t mph); roadrangeiZts n:
:€ -<=pt nearby and brought up when ttems of personal krt, Hummel (134 miles); fording 0,99 m (3 ft 3 url
:s:€ssary. Trucks were often of lrttle The Hummel was one of the Ger- T'ype: self-propelled homtzer Armament: one lS-cm (5,9-rn) hc$tzer
.:e-':e ::r thls task, so by late 1944 no mans' best examples of purpose-built Crew:5 andone 7,92-mm
Fs 'i-- i50 Hummels were produced self-propelled artrllery. It had plenty of Weisht:24000 kg (52,911 lb) Qnln
(0. i3-rn)machine.
In the wake of the lightning conquests af 1939-40, the German defensive iornrat:ons sttrng aiong the coastal and internal defences oi:-.
occupred terr tores, t rr-as iiere tnat the atmosphere was rlght for the Gerr- =
army's demands for self-prapelled artillery soon outstripped lasn--p -o,lol sn
factory production. With typical ingenuity, the Getmans Fortunalelv for'.hem, the Germans had a rich stockpile with which to wc:'
utilizdd the mass of fanks they had captured to produce a The victones of 1940 had left ihem \ i rth p les of weapons and equipment oi :
kinds, and these vJere duly passed to the occupatron divisions in France ar:
series of un u sual improvis ation s. 'ot tle Fasterrr I roqL b,I lAal s'
elsewrere. lcms suc"r as tr-c(s v./ere Td?e-
ln n-rany ways the German army's heady successes of 1940 and 1941 were a left large numbers of guns, small arms and tanks that were usuaily qui:.
long-teirn hi:adache for the natron's war planners ..They had not envisaged a serviceible. of th6 captured French arrnour was o'f the 'tankette' type c-
Eur"opean war breaking out before 1943 at the earliest, and both the German consisted of heavrer tanks that had either inadequate arrnament or one-ma.
JtmejO torces and defe"nce industry were badly placed when war began in 1939
turrets that the Germans understandably did not want lo use. But very often the
Hiiteis politrcal gambles at last prbduced a re'ai war when he invaded Poland in hulls and chassis were good enough for further use ancl the 'lash'up' progran-
Sepie*ber 1935. but the huge successes of the.G-eiman armed forces dis- me started
tra[ted from the fact that th-ev were ll-ptepared for the type of Biitzkrieg As many of the German divisions ln France and the occupied countries hac
emptoyeO by tire German general staff . l\,4any weapons were qu te simplrT 'not up only horse-drawn artillery, they understandably wanted to increase rts mobilitv
to the iasks asked of them, and there were never enough weapons ertner rn tne bv il-re introductlon of seif-piodelled mountings, There was no chance that thev
field or in reserve. Many of the major vlctories gained by Gerrnany between would ever see shtny new Wespe or Btson weapons, so these divisrons initlateo
1939 and 1941 were produced as much by their enemies' unpreparedness and a programme that was to proriuce. some of the oddest sei{-propelled artiliery
lack of cohesion as by the tactics and equipment of the German ar'med forces. carriales ever seen. Virtuaily every French and other vehicle were used as- the
A1l this was to be'revealed oenerally once the Germans began 10 lose the carnales for German artillery pieces. The units in. France produced some of the
strategic initiative in 1942, but
then many of the r faulis were seltapparenl. oddesl types, for they.had to hand a diversity of vehicles ranglng f rom ammun -
They quite simply lacked the equipment necessarv to arm the ever"growrng tion ca rriers to tanks. The Chenilette Lorraine; origlnally a small artillery tractor or
nurnb,jr of theii divislons. and the shortages ranged from everyday items like supply carner, was the smallest type arrd this was used to mount howitzers as
lelephone wire to heavy weapohs. This was part cularly true of atlillery, large bs 15 cm (5.9 in). One o{ these conversions involved the 15-cm sFH,13
t.qab most i{ not all of ihe Gbrman artillerv was strll towed, the bulk of it by Jieid howitzer datinq f rom World Wai l, and was considered so success{ul that
horses. The first Sfurngeschtjfze (assault guns) made their debut during ihe some of them end"ed uo rn North Africa. This was unusuaL. for most of the
Fiench campaign, but f5r artillery support of the fast-moving Panzer d visions lash-ups remained for stiictly local deployment. Not all ihe conversrons were for
the German gunners had to rely on what was 1o be the first of a iong str ng ol artillery use only. Many old captured tank and other chassis had antr-tank guns of
equipments ihat can only be descrLbed as 'lash-ups' , one type or another; and many others were simply converted to turretless
Ttie tirrt of these was'a marriage of the very useful 15-cm {5.9-in) slG 33 arti.lerv Lractors or drnrr tl- t o^ ca'r'e's.
infantry support weapon with the chassis of the PzKpfw l.lrght tan k, The PzKpfw
i lracl b'een'designed for use only as a trainrng tank, but lt was sttll stound as a
Ironi-tine vehiclb in 1940 although lt was of very Iimited ccmbat use The
Germans just replaced theturret df this vehicie wrth a slG 33, complete with its
wheels and carriage; a thin armourshield was placed around the gun and that
*ri ,t; tt..,rs, ti',ey Fad something that could keep up,with the tanks, and the first
item of German self-propelled artil ery was in the treld.


TheSdKfz 13811 Bisc;n was acanversianof theCzechSkodaPzKpfw 3B(t) to

carry the 15 cm slG 33 infantry hawitzer for the clase fire'support role. The
Bisan had the howitzer mounted forward; later PzKpfw 3B(t) conversions had
it mounted well to the rear with the engine iorward'
Apart from the antr-tank guns, the German 10.5-cm-(4 13-in) field howitzers
were among the main candidates for extemporized self-propuision The Frencr
tanks such-as the Hotchkiss H-39 wei-e often converted to carry the 10.5-crr
howitzer, and thetr iurrets were cafted off to be set rnto the concrete defences
l:.e conversion of captured French LarrAine tracked vehicles to carry the of the Ailantic Wall. Perhaps the oddest-looking of all these conversrons vra:
3=rnan slG 33 l1-cm infantry howitzerwas so successfuJ lfiat the resu/f that carried out using the French B1 bls as a basis. This had the turretlg1n olvqd li
: t, ii t ta"aard German vehiile known as the S dKfz 3 5 I I' I t had a crew of
1 the usuai way and r6placed by a fixed turret mounting a 10 5-cm leFH 18. Th s
::;:, tncluding
"" the driver. m"Oe ine redultant p'roduct look both too high for coirfort and awkward to a-
extreme. But f or the German gunners lt was such monsters or nothing as far a:
- : - .a atte'n01wasnotaqreatsJCcess, buLserved'orsomeyears llwas sellpropelled artillery was concerned.
:i : '.: , ..-pra"C by more fd.rnal oesigns, rnost oi whrch ate desc;hed inn Frbnih armour was not the only source of conversions, Italy was anoth€-
source. but there conversions were fewer as the Germans simply pressed lni:
=' - .,..ut brrapa it'Jrom the self-propeiled German equipmentsdiscussed
.:- j, ti:ere were many mole thai deserve mention. Few of them were
-l :: action anv ltalian weapons they could f ind. This usually me_antlhe various ltal a-
' :es,gns in the sense that they passed through the Lrsual stringent semoveitethat were not far rbmoved f rom the German StuG lll in armour ai:
, :. .' .:s-: -q staqes. lnstead Lhey wete 'nocl.ed logether by un ts rr 1ne
The lash-ups were many and varjous. Not all of them concerned artillery'
:-l : : -- ' de ihemielves with locafdefence or support weapons'
rocket proieitors, flamethiowers and even command vehicles had their orrg : '
, ., .u \.\'as the result of two main factors. One has alrbady been men-
' . : : -,^^:lv the inability of Germany's defence industries to supply weapons in local'conversions. Mortar carriers were another product
.t -, n the quantities reciuired; after 1941 the demands of the Apart from the Chenilette Lorraine conversion with the sFH 13, few of l:'
- ;" :'^'. r.e:e such'that it alone was allocated nearly all of the pioduction lash:ups saw servtce outside therr originai localities. There they were usec
, j-:.,'-: s.I demanded more and more produce The otherfronts had totakewhat th;ir driginal command and organization stlucture alongslde-the-other unc:'
.1.,, --s::..,rve wlth what they could themselves, and this was verted tdwed artillery batteri€s.When rt came to the cru nch rn 1 944 f ew of th = - =
=, '
. .' . :--: alcng the Atlantic Wall once the Eastern Front campargns-were lash-ups presented iheir opponents wtth any trouLrle. lr4ost of them were vril-:
aeatfrltrabs f or their crewi,' but the even less welcome aliernative was 10 i:: -
-: -:: . .. -a,. tne second factor arose: in such theatres the German forces
the Allied wrth horse-towed weapons, German industry was unable tc':
. . -'-' : ::'."i li what they could get The new production rnaterial wen'tto

. :.,'.-- :':-: and noth no could be spared for what were seen as purelY lhem in anv way.
reI rhe'waffentraser Self-Propelled Guns of World War II
The Waffentrager (literally weapons projects that were rn turn overtaken by
carrier) was a novei concept for the the end of the war,
Germans when it was first mooted dur- These late- 1944 and early- 1945 Waf-
ing 1942, The idea was that the Waffen- fentrdger all adopted the removable
trager was to be not so much a form of turyet concept used rn the 1942 Heu-
self-propelled artillery but a means ol schrecke IVB, They had a variety of
carrying an artiliery piece rn a turet chassis, including both the modifled
into action, where it would be re- PzKpfw IV and Geschiitzwagen IIVIV,
moved from the tank, emplaced, used The artillery pieces involved ranged
in action, and picked up again when no from 10,S-cm to l5-cm (5,9-in) howit-
Ionger required, The exact tactical re- zers, One that got as far as model form
quirement for thrs arrangement is still was to have carried either the 10,S-cm
uncertain, for in 1942 the Panzer divi- or lS-cm howrtzer on a cruciform car-
sions were still dictating mobrle war- riage that would have been used with
fare to all opponents and the need ior a the '43' series of weapons had they
static artillery piece seems remote, ever advanced further than the pro-
Be that as it may a series of eight totype stage, These howitzers were
vehicles known generally as Heu- mounted in an open-backed turret,
schrecke IVB (locust) were produced and could be flred from the carrier or
during i942, These vehicles were con- from a ground mounting. They could
verted PzKpfw IV tanks wrth a gantry also be rowed behind the carrrer on
at the rear to lift off the turret mountingr their field carriages, It was all rather
a 10,S-cm (4 13-in) light fleld howitzer, comphcated and overengineered as it
The turret could be emplaced on the involved the use of ramps and wrn-
ground for action or it could be towed ches, and the concept was typrcal of
behind the vehicle on wheels carried many that never got to the hardware The Heuschrecke was one of a lower the piece to the ground for
on the rear specifically for this pur- stage, But a few such equipments were number of e x perim e nt al G er man tiring. The Heuschreckewas the onhy
pose;this arrangement allowed the built only to be overtaken by the end of vehicles thatwere meant to carry an one of many similar designs to be
vehrcle to be used as an ammunition the war, being broken up or scrapped artillery piece to afiring site and then produced in any numbers.
carrier for the turet tn the post-war years,
The eight vehicles produced were
no dbubt used in action, for one ofthem Specification
was captured and is now to be seen in HeuschreckelVB
the Imperial War Museum in London, Type: sellpropelled howitzer carrier
but at the time no more were re- Crew:5
quested, But by 1944 thlngs had Weight: 17000 ks (37,479 Ib)
changed somewhat, The German Powerplant: one Maybach petrol
army was everwvhere on the defen- engine developing 140,2 kW (1BB hp)
sive and anything that could hold up Dimensions: length 5,90 m (19 ft 4,3 in);
the advancinq Alhes was investigated, width 2,87 m (9 ft 5 in); height 2,25 m
The Waffentrager concept came with- (7 ft 4,6 in)
in this category, and more designs Performance:.maximum road speed
were initiated, One was an interim de- 45 km/h (28 mph); roadrange 250 km
sign in which a normal field howitzer, a (155 miles)
10,5-cm leFH 18/40, was carried in an Armament:one 10,S-cm (4, 13-in)
armoured superstructure on top of a howitzer
modified Geschiitzwagren IIVIV (nor-
mally used for the Hummel), The
trowitzer could be fired from the vehi- This Heuschrecke prototype wasone
cle, but it was also designed to be re- in which a 1 05-mm field howitzer was
moved from the carrier using a block carried on a chassis produced from
and tackle and mounted on the ground PzKpfwlll and IV components in
as a normal field piece once the order for it to be lowercd to the
wheels and carriage trails had been ground when at the firing position.
fitted, This design did not get far for it The howitzer could be fired trom the
was overtaken by a series of design vehicleif required.


Karl series
The weapons known as Karl were ori- were massive items, The 60-cm shell
ginally devised as anti-concrete werghed no less than 2l70kg (4,784
hreapons for the demolition of the 1b), although a lighter version was also
Maginot Ltne forts and other such for- used, The 54-cm shell weighed
tfied locations, They were produced 1250ks (2,756 Ib),
Cwing the 1930s following a great deal Both Karl weapons were massive,
:i mathematical and other theoretical ponderous brutes, Although technical-
s:udies carried out during the 1920s. ly self-propelled, their mobility was Ii-
|- ',Vork on the actual hardware began mited by their sheer weight and bulk
l''tring 1937, and the first equipment and the tracked carriaqes were meant
-;;as ready by 1939, for only the most local of moves, For
The Karl series must be regarded as long-distance travel they were carried
:--inq the largest self-propelled artil- slung between special railway trucks,
-::-y weapons ever produced. There Shorter moves were made by remov-
;;:re two versions, One was the 60-cm ing the barrel from the carriagTe and
Morser Gerit 040 which mounted a 60- placing both the barrel and the car-
::: (23,62-in) barrel and the other the riage on separate special trailers
5.i-cm M6rser Gerit 041 which towed by heavy tractors, Assembly
:-:rnted a 54-cm (21,26-in) barrel.
-,:-: weapons flred special concrete- The Karl howitzers were intended to
;-=:lrng projectiles, The range of the smash the MaginotLine forts, but
le:l: 040 was 4500 m (4,92 I yards) and were instead usedaga.msf ffie
:-: :f the Ger2it 041 6240m (6,824 Sevastopol defences and later
I--) Both could penetrate between against Warsaw in I 944. They fired
-: --r 3.5 m (8,2 and 11,5 ft) of con- special anti-concrete projectiles that
::=:= before detonating to produce exploded onlywhen they had
:-=-::im effect, These projectiles pe ne tr ate d their targets.
Karl series (continued)

and break-down was carried out using and most were destroyed bY their
specral mobile gantrres, The whole crews in the last stages of the war, Only
process was difficult to an extreme, but a few of the special PzKpfw IV
the Karl weapons were not intended ammunition carriers produced to car-
for mobile warfare, They were pro- ry projectiles for the Karls survived for
duced to reduce fortresses and that Allied intelligence staffs to examine. It
meant a long, planned approach to the is possible that one example of the Karl
firing site, a slow rate of flre (the best may survive as a museum piece in the
was one round every 10 minutes) and a Sovret Union, but that is all,
steady withdrawal once the fortress
had been reduced,
The Karls were too late for the Magi-
not Line, which fell along with the rest
of France in 1940, Their first real en- Specification
gagement was the siege of Sevastopol Gerit04l
in exactly their designed role, Follow- Type: self-propelled siege howitzer
ing the successful end of that siege Crew: not recorded
more Karls were used the War- Weight: 124000 ks (273,373 lb)
saw uprising when they were used to Powerplant:one V- 12 Petrol engine
demolish the centre of Warsaw and developins 894,8 kW ( 1,200 hP)
crush the Polish underground fighters, Dimensions: length of barrel6,24 m
Bythenitwas 1944, Mostof theearlY (20 ft 5.7 in); lengthofcarriage 1 1,15 m
60-cm barrels had then been replaced (36 ft 7 in); track 2.65 m (8 ft 8,3 in)
by 54-cm barrels, but Warsaw was Performance: not recorded
their last period in action, The increas- Armamenti one 54-cm (21,26-in) The massive 60-cm and 54-cm KarI had to be carried to the tiring
ing mobile warfare of the last year of howitzer/mortar howitzers were really fortification- positions by special trailers in pieces
the war gave the Karls no chance to smashing equipm ents, an d they had and assembJed on site.
demonstrate their destructive powersl only limited tactical mobility. They

Despite their overall success, the StuG infantry units, The vehicles moved for-
tll assault guns were considered by ward with the first waves of attacking
1943 as bein! too lightly armoured for troops and provided fire to reduce
the assault role, and a new heavY strongrpoints and smash bunkers. In-
assault vehicle was required, The ex- fantrv had to remain close to prevent
isting 15-cm (5,9-in) slG 33 self- enemy tank-killer squads from coming
propelled equipments lacked the too close to the Brummbiir vehicles,
armour protection required for the which were always vulnerable to
close-support role and so, with the close-range anti-tank weapons, espe-
PzKpfw IV tank graduallY bernq re- ciallv as some of their side armour was
placed by the Panther and Tiger tanks, as tliin as 30 mm (1, tB in). Brummbdr
there was the chance to Produce a vehrcles were generally used in ones
purpose-built vehicle using the later and twos split up along an area of
versions of the PzKpfw IV as a basis attack, As defensive weaPons theY
The flrst examples of this new vehi were of less use, for the short howitzer
cle appeared during 1943 under the had only a limited Performance
designation Sturmpanzer IV Brumm' against armour as its prime mission
bAr (grizzly bear), The Brummbdr was the delivery of blast effect HE pro-
used a box structure formed from slop- iectiles, One factor that restricted the
ing armour plates set over the front ofa overall mobility was its
turretless PzKpfw IV, and moulted a weight, which gave the vehicle a
specially developed howitzer in a ball rather ooor ground-pressure'foot-
mountino on lhe front plate, This howit- print': it was nippy enbugh on roads'
,.t *as [nown as the Sturmhaubitze 43 but across country rt could get bogged s e lf- pr opelled
M os t G em an the rcsufit was the heavily'armoured
and was a shortened version, onlY 12 down in soft ground, eguipmenfs ca rried only light B rummb 6r. T he B rummbdr w as
calibres long, of the 15-cm slG 33, The Brummbiir was a well-liked armour, so when a call was made for often used for street fighting, as this
fumour was provided all round (the vehicle that often provided exactly the aspecial c/ose -support assault gun captured example shows'
foontal armour being 100 mm/2,54 in degree of fire support required by in-
thlck), so the crew of five men were fantry formations, On the debit side it
well protected, Later stand-off side was hearry, rather Ponderous and the
armolu was added, and most vehicles early examples lacked close-in pro-
acquired a coating of Zimmerit plaster tection. But they were well protected
paste to prevent maQlnetlc charges against most weapons and they car-
being stuck on to the hull by close-in ried a powerful howitzer.
tank killer squads, A machine-gnln was
mounted on the hull front plate on late
oroduction models, earlier verstons
:aving lacked this self-defence Specification
,';eapon, Brummbir
The roomy fighting comPartment of Type: self-propelled heavy assault
re Brummbiir could accommodate uP howitzer
:: 38 rounds of lS-cm ammunition, The Crew: 5
:ommander sat to the rear of the howit- Weioht 28200 kq (62,170 Ib)
:er using a roof-mounted periscope to Pow6rplant: one Maybach V- I 2 petrol
:elect targets, T\['o men served the enqine developrns 197.6 kW (265 hp)
;;:r and handled the ammunition,
-,';:Je another acted as the gnrn layer,
Dimensions:lehgth 5,93 m (19 ft 5 5 in);
width 2,88 m (9 ft 5,4 in); height 2 52 m
l:e dlver normallY remained in his (B ft 3,2 in)
sea: at the left front. Most targets were Performance: maximum road sPeed
provsion 40 km/h (24,85 k.m,/h); maximumroad
=:.;aged with direct fire, but
-,'.'- made for indirect fire, range 210 kn (130 miles); fording
T he B rummb dr was norm aLly used plasterJike substance known as
-ibout 313 Brummbdr vehtcles were 0,99 m (3 ft 3 in) lzimmerit' that prevented magnetic
::::uced before the war ended, and Armament: one 15-cm (5,9-in) howitzer when infantry tank-killer squads
and one ortwo 7,92-mm (0,31-in) were likely to be encountered. It was charges from sticking to the hull'
:.:s: appear to have been used in therefore liberally coveredwith a
:-:e:r support of Panzergrenadier and machine-gnrns

M $l['*,ig"t
Stalingrad taught the German army intenor, Once inside overhead rails
Self-Propelled Guns of World War II

many lessons, not least of which was assrsted in the movement of the rock-
that the Germans were ill-equrpped ets to and from their racks alongi each
for the art of close-quarter street side, and loadrng into the projector
fighting, In typrcal fashion they de- was carried out using a loading tray.
cided to meet any future urban warfare Although the Sturmtigrer prototype
requirements by a form of overkill by was ready by late 1943, it was not untrl
using a super-heavy weapon that August 1944 that production of this
would do away with the need for massive vehrcle got under way, Only
house-to-house flghtinq by simply about l0 were ever produced, and
blowing away any defended houses or these were used rn ones and twos on
structures, This they decided to do most ftonts but in situations where their
wtth a land versron of a naval weapon, powerful armament was of little advan-
the depth charge. tage, Consequently most were soon
In 1943 the Germans produced a either knocked out in action or simply
version of the Tiger tank known by abandoned by their crews once their
several names rncluding 38-cm Sturm- fuel allocation had been used.
mdrser, Sturmparzer VI and Sturmti- Used as they were in isolation and in
ger, Whatever the designation, the such areas as the North ltahan cam-
weapon was a Tiger tank with the tur- pargn, the hulks fascinated the Allies
ret replaced by a large box-shaped who encountered them and many de-
superstructure with a short barrel pok- tailed intelligence reports were writ-
ing through the front sloped plate, This ten on them. Most realized that the Above: This side shot of a Sturmtiger Below : Largest of all the German
barrel was not a gun but a 38-cm Sturmtiqer was a highly specialized shows the large armoured close-support weapons was the
(14,96-in) Raketenwerfer 6l rocket weapon that was simply pushed into superstructure, mounting the 38-cm Sturmtiger, carrying a 38-cm rocket
projector of an unusual type, for it fired the field during the latter staqes of the ( I 4.9 6-in) rocket proj ector with the projector that fired a form of naval
a rocket-propelled depth charge that war in the German effort to get any roof-mounted craneneeded to load depth charge to demolish buildings.
weighed no less than 345 kq (761 lb), weapon into action. If the Sturmtigers the projectiles into the interior This example has been captured by
As this projectrle was based upon the had been used as rntended for street through a hatch at the rear. Americantroops.
design of a naval depth charge nearly fighting, they would have been formrd-
all the weight was high explosive; the able weapons, lnstead, by the time
effect of this upon even the stoutest they were reirdy the time of concen-
structure can well be imagined, The trated urban warfare had passed,
rockets had a maximum range of
5650 m(6, iBO yards), and the projector
barrel was so arranged that the rocket
efflux gases were diverted forward to Specification
vent from venturi around the muzzle Sturmtiger
ring. The Sturmtigrerwas exceptionally Type: assault gmn
well armoured, with I50 mm (5,9 in) at Crew:7
its front and between B0 and 85 mm Weisht 65000 ks (143,300 lb)
(3,15 and 3,35 in) at the side, Powerplant: one Maybach V- 12 petrol
The Sturmtiger had a crew of seven engiine developing 484,7 kW (650 hp)
including the commander, a fire Dimensions: lenqth 6.28 m (20 ft
observer and the driver. The other 7,25 in); width 3,57 m (11ft 8.6 in);
four men served the rocket projector, height 2.BS m (9 ft 4,2 in)
Because of their massive stze, only 12 Performance: maximum road speed
projectiles could be carried inside the 40 lan/h(24.86 mph); roadrange
superstructure, with the possibihty of 120 kn (75 miles); fordrng L22 m(4 ft)
one more inside the projector. Load- Armament: one 38-cm (14,96-in) rocket
inq the rockets into the vehicle was projector and one 7.92-mm (0,31-in)
helped by a small crane jib mounted machine-gun
on the superstructure rear, and a small
hatch nearby allowed access to the

g $ilrl*g"schiitz III
Following from its experiences rn III (or StuG IIl) series was a
schiitz were armed with the powerful 10,S-cm produce, and in war-time German.;
World War I, the German army saw gradual programme oI upgunning. (4, 13-in) Sturmhaubitze, a specral that mattered a lot. Thereiore il-.i
ihe need for an armoured mobile qun The origrnal short 75-mm gun was an assault howrtzer produced for the StuG senes was built in some numbers alid
irat could follow infantry attacks and U24 weapon (i,e. the length of the bar- III fiu l0.5-cm StuH 42 The first ofthese numerrcally lt was one of the mosl u---
provide fire support and the firepower rel was 24 times the calibre) and had was completed in 1943, but manufac- portant German armoured vehicles
:c h-rock out strongpoints and bunkers. limitations against many tarQrets except ture of this variant was initially stow.
D'.nng the late 1930s such a gmn was at shofi ranges. Thus it was replaced Instead the versron with the 75-mm l-,/
jeveloped using the chassis, suspen- by longer gnrns with improved per- 48 gmn was rushed off the production
.-:n and runmng gear of the PzKpfw III formance, flrst an U43 (StuG III Ausf F) lines for the Panzer divisions,
:::k. This armoured grun was known as and then an U4B gmn (StuG III Ausf G). The StuG ili had a crew of four and
:: Sturmgeschiitz III though its formal The latter Enrn also provided the StuG extra machrne-guns were often car- Specification
::signatton was Gepanzerte Selbst- III series with an antitank capability, ried behind a shield on the roof The StuGIIIAusf E
iahrlafette ftu Sturmgeschi.itz 7.5-cm and thrs was in a way to the detriment prolective mantlel tor the marn grun Type: assault gmn
Karone SdKfz 142, (assault gn-rn model of the original assault-support concept, underwent many changes before en-rt Crew:4
: -rd it had the usual upper hull and for it was far easier to produce a StuG ded up as a Saukopf (literally 'pig's Weight 23900 kq (52,690 lb)
--:r=t of the tank replaced by a thick than it was a tank, so many StuG IIIs head') mantlet which proved very Powerplant: one Maybach V- l2 pe:: -
:-apace of armour with a short 75-mm with i./48 guns were diverted to the good protection. More protection engine developing 197.6 kW (265 rc
: :--in) qun mounted in the front, This Panzer divisions in place of battle agtainst short-range hollow-charge Dimensions: len g|h 6.77 m (22 it 2.5 :-
' :noon was first issued for servrce rn tanks, Used as a tank-killer the StuG IIi warheads was provrded with the addi- width 2,95 m (9 ft B in); height 2. 16 r:-
-:1: :StuG III Ausf A) and was soon had rts moments, but rt lacked traverse tion of Scrhifzen (literally 'skirts') along (7 ft 1 rn)
:- -:-,', ed by a whole series of vehicles and adequate protection for the task. lt both srdes, These were simply sheets Performance: maximum speed
:--: gradually incorporated overall had to be retained as such, however, of stand-off armour to detonate the 40 km/h (24.85 mph); road range
-,: ;;:en
-:. ie:arl improvements, to the extent
the war ended in 1945 many
for German industry srmply could not
supply enough tanks for the Panzer di-
warheads before they hit the vehicle 165 km(102miles); fordinqO B m 12 -.
armour, and were used on many Ger- 7.5 in)
;r=:: s:ill in sewice on all fronts. The v$lons. man tanks after 1943. Armament:one 75-mm 12.95-rn, ;-:
- l= - :.:Cels were the StuG III Ausf B, C As an assault gun the StuG III series As a close-rangre assault support and two 7,92-mm (0.31-rn) macl-r.=-
=-: D -whrle the slightly improved was far more successful. Eventually weapon the StuG III series was an ex- guns
S;:G IIi Ausf E appeared in 1942. the type was upgunned to the stage cellent vehicle/weapon combination.
- -,: :::arn change to the Sturmge- late in the war when many StuG ills It was also reiatively cheap and easy to
:,":.') _,1: r /;143
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'ihe n:.ain roaaion lor this r,uas Llre rlai-.r1illi r-,j' Po iet Lital 1-; t i'a: t'):\ , a., a '
iii:rnran inciu.stly ic nic-,ducr: the,:t: ,:ri Wa: I
nili-::-:i;'r:-, I r, : t'r,;'.'
'l ', ir ) i .. t , "'::
ar.i .iliier diriisi :i-r.s, e;,recia,li.v ;-liic:.r Ilirt r, L-rt:
ill+rinan gen€-:ral stall pianoelr; |ad llrr,r,rlrg
ioperl ioi: al Shorl sharc r.rvii.r bLlt r|ri1: ihr-.: iirr,'rL
lron oi iire So rloL l-lnion in i94 L ( tjpc relilrr r rlar r-
b:,,,ri:lra') tire coi:rse ol lhe .,lial rna3 iilea:r.l/ 3eL
to: a. long ilne liir: lr,vasjon '.,;ii'rre lltvje1 I-lrriorr
rire icne,i. the I-antrrcrrveri anai rnaier:re1 ,-l:r..s.|
iltn L;er.nan .-rrnecl. iilices to the ljtrii ;r,:r.j r-;Li,r,r
ior crrr:r: incrieasinLl qrierrrtiires,:i i:ai!-r.iDrilr,.nl iral
aaine fr:intic /.titrii i:'r_
'l-.he Clei:niair almy 'r.rnli, u,1;11 r;Crr aoj.l:lrjej
.r bie pllcrir Ly over otller secior:s oi ihe ai.r.r | , 1.r L- 'l lliige si.-.,ti,r,11|t:,,)i )t- ii i:: :.r:r.i.-r.rti:
is ihe il.Llssiair lel:raiir. ancl the !i:li lirn)i ' 'l-n
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lil'll the Ceriir;rn delence indu:rili..:s -we ro not \'f.)a. \j:i.: I :il llr'l.i,.. .r1,ir..1
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rini<]iowr:1, ;lnd eiien lhe iank. iaciore: cr-ir .','',','
iii^rod ic rrrorl:. at a pace ihat realizeci rIil:,. a
sni;i, p.-)rcenlaiqer Ol jiieLr ii[e 1.-]rocluc,;l;cri
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::.;:.2+-.-:-;:.-=::=::-:?.-:.::.:.,) j:;-=ii:::
The Sturmgeschiitz in Action

Sturmgeschtitz ill

The Sturmgeschiitz Sdktz 142 was based on the

chassis of thePzKpfw III with thegunmounted in
the hull. The driver's stationwas unaltered from
that of the tank, but behind him now was a large
but cramped fighting compartment. I nitially fitted
with a short 75-mm (2.95-in) 9un, the F model
shown here was introduced in I 942 and carried a
Iong 7 1-mm weapon, significantly improving anti'
tank capahility. The G model with its 7 5-m L/ 48,
heavier armour and smoke dischargers,was
designed more as a tank destroyer than a self-
propelled gun. By contrast, as early as 1941
variants were in production mounting a 105-mm
(4.1-in) howitzer. Armoured skirtswere titted as
standardfrom 1943.


RTER sAQSr.i-:t..
A StuG r's seen on the Eastern Front against a
distant target.In order to better obsewe the fire,
one of thegan crew is using the hull rooffor
obsewation. Note that the vehicle is equipped with
T-,vo StuG III move forward in the Soviet Union in the wide 'Ostkette' tracks for use over snow and
i 944. They are armedwith long75-mm anti-tank soft to improve traction.
!runs and are ca rrying extra track links for added
protection. More protection comes from the stand-
off side plates lcnown as 'Schiitzen' (skirts) carried
to defeat close-range hollow charge anti-tank

The GermanStuG III, seen

here armed with a long 75-
nn gun, was aclosefire-
supportversion of the
PzKpfwlll tankandwas
pr oduced in consider able
numbers, someft'mes
taking the place of battle
tanks in Panzer
formations. Itwas a
pow erfu I suppor t weapon
that usually fired over
open sights.

The trouble was that although the'introduc- appeared the Stucs could adopt a tank-killer the interror, Just in front of the commander and
::.n of the StuGs made the figures look better, role, though only if the target was to the front, If aimost in his lap sat the gnrn layer with his gnrn
-iey .i/ere no reai substitute for the tank, It an enemy tank appeared on a flank the StuGs controls, His outlook was limited to what he
-ecked the full 360" gnrn traverse that was so were often sittlng targets, for they infrequently could see through his sightlng devlces: a small
for armoured warfare, and in an had time to turn the whole vehicle to brlng the panoramic telescope was set in the roof for
.rnoured action it took too much time to move gnrn to bear before the enemy could open fire. laying indirect fire and a telescope was placed
-:.:c a firing position, whereupon it lacked the Moving into action in a StuG III cannot have in front for direct aiming,
to switch from one target to another with been a very pleasant experience. Like those of Given the noise of the engine, the constant
,<peed and ease. If it was in the right position at most armoured vehicles, the interior of the jolting from the suspension, and the fumes and
::re correct time the StuG could knock out an StuG III was cramped and uncomfortable, smells of the gnrn and fueL life for the StuG
Much of the interior of the main fightlng com- crews must have been very unpleasant, But
--:emy tank easily enough, but to get into that partment was taken up by the breech of the they could take heart from the fact that they at
place in a hurry often took too long, The only
-::igt-term result of this tnfusion of assault guns 7,5-cm gun, Ammunition racks lined the lower least had more armour around them than most
'::c the Panzer divisions was that they lost a portlon of the white-parnted walls, while radios of their tankborne colleagues, and that many
lreat deal of their earher punch and fiqhting and other black boxes occupied what was left tank interiors were even more unpieasant and
eCge while offering the Nazi hierarchy a false of the bulkhead space. The driver sat in hisown cramped than that of the StuG II1.
-::pression of combat capability, The new position to the left front, most of the time peer- When the war ended the StuGs were used
tank/StuG formatlons could not have the ing through his armoured vision slrts and trying mainly by the Panzer formations. Some StuGs
=:-xed' to make out where he was going, Generally the had been produced specificaiiy for use by in-
of 'ail tank' formations, and the combat
-pact driver was gnrided by orders from the comman- fantry untts and fitted with 10,5-cm (4. l-in)
lc.ential of the Germany army suffered as a
:es,.r-lt. der, who sat under hrs cupola behind the driv- howltzers ln place of the guns. But iew of these
With the Panzer divisions the StuGs were er. When possible the commander kept hiS were burlt rn comparison with the StuG IIIs with
::en forced to adopt their original role of close hatch open and raised hls head for better vi- 7.5-cm guns. By the time the war ended StuG III
1e support. An attack would commence with sion, but in action and closed down he could carapaces were even being fitted to surplus
-:i:.g-range (sometimes indrrect) flre, laid often see llttle more than the driver. The loader PzKpfw IV hulls By 1944 the PzKpfw IV was
l:-,',n by the StuG IIis' 7.5-cm guns on the posi- sometimes aimed and fired the 7.92-mm (0 31- consrdered to be well past its prime as a battle to be attacked. This opening fire was in) machine-gnrn by controls from within the tank, so the production line was converted to
':s;.ally carried out rn concert wtth the forma- vehicie, This machine-gun was an MG34 or produce yet more assault guns to join those still
-::::s towed or self-propelled artillery batter- MG42, and when occasion allowed this was trylng desperately to stem the advances of the
-:s As the attack moved forward the Stucs usually used from behind a shield on the rooi Allied and Red armies. By then the Allled tide
::-lcwed ln the main body of armour, using To the right of the commander sat the loader, had grown to such an extent that not even
:er guns to reduce strongpoints such as bunk- who had his own overhead hatch that was sel- heavier self-propelled weapons could stop it,
e:s cr defended houses and to lay down cover- dom used in actloni he also had a small hatch tn but the StuG crews and thetr Panzer coileaglres
::g ire as the tanks and their motorized infantry the rear wall through which spent cases were did their best right up to the end,
:::-,-ed up to their objectives. If enemy tanks despatched to avoid cluttering up the floor of
E Type 4 HO-RO Self-Propelled Guns of World War II
The Japanese were behind in
armoured warfare development
thoughout all thelr World War II cam-
paigns, Their early military excursions
lnto China and Manchuna misled them
mto disregarding the need for heaqr
armowed vehicles, and instead they
concentrated on what were regarded
elsewhere as iight tanks and tankettes,
This approach was supported by the
state of Japanese industry, whrch was
still in a relatively early state of indust-
rial development and lacked large-
scale production capability. Thus it
was that the Japanese army fell way
behind in the development of self-
propelled artillery, and ultimately only
a smali number of equipments were
One of these was the Type 4 HO-RO,
a self-propelled howitzer that allied
the Type 38 150-mm (5.9-in) howitzer Above : The Type 97 mounted a shor t
with the Type 97 medium tank. The TYpe 38 howitzer with limited range,
conversion to the self-propelled role but the I apanese were never able to
was a straightforward design task in produce the numbers required and
'fihrch the howitzer was mounted in a they were mainly used in ones and
shreld which provided forward and twos as local fire-support weapons.
side armour protection while leavrng
the top and rear open; the side armour, sions to mass production, Even then
:: rs worth noting, did not extend even the Japanese drd not concentrate on
ic the rear of the fighting compartment. the Type 4 HO-RO alone, for they also
lhe howrtzer dated from 1905 and was produced a version known as the Type
denved from a Krupp desrgn, It f,red a 2 mounting a 75-mm (2.95-in) gmn and
35.9-kq (79,15-1b) projectile to a range desigmed to double as a self-propelled
:f 5900m (6,452 yards), but most of
-.:lese weapons were so old
arttllery platform and a tank-killer.
and worn Again oniy small numbers were pro-
rat they had been withdrawn from duced.
;:eneral use after about 1942. They had The TYpe 4 HO-RO vehicles appear
a slow rate offire as a result of the type not to have been organized into any-
:f breech mechanism employed, but thing larger than four-howitzer batter-
-rey were apparently thought good ies, No records survive of larger
::iough for the self-propelled role. formations, and most accounts refer to
The chassis used for the Type 4 was these vehicles being captured or
:e Tlpe 97 CHI-HA, a medrum tank knocked out ln ones or twos. Very
:yr Japanese standards and dating often they were assigned for island de-
:rm 1937, lt was a mobile enough fence in the amphibious campaign
;ehicle, but showed a relative lack of ieading to the Japanese mainland, and
trevelopment in its thin armour, whrch only a few were captured lntact.
ras only about 25mm (1 in) thick on
-:e gun shield frontal armour, and in its Specification
:-,-erall riveted construction. The use of ?ype4HO-RO
:lets in tank construction had else- Tlpe: self-propelled howttzer
:t::ere long disappeared, but the Crew: 4 or 5
,=panese had no option but to retain Weight: not recorded, but about
-:e method as they lacked any other 13600 ks (29,982 ]b) The Type 97 had its I 50-mm
j::rn of construction capability. howitzer meant to be used as a form of mobile
Powerplant: one V- l2 diesel mounted in place oI the turret field artillery but was normally used
They also lacked the abrlrty to pro- developins 126.8 kW (170 hp) normally carried. The howitzer was as c/ose suppor t ar tillery.
:;:e the Type 4 HO-RO in anything Dimensions: lengrth 5.537 m (lB ft 2 in);
:::: small numbers, Even those.were width 2.286 m (7 ft 6 rn); height to top of Performance: maximum road speed Armament: one I 50-mm (5, 9-ur)
--::ually hand-built, with few preten- shield 1.549 m (5 ft I in) 38 knr/h (23,6 mph) howitzer

f H*ou"nte da L4g/40
l:e ltalian army was not far behind the The long, lean lines of the I talian
Jernans in realising the need for I 49/40 can be seen at the Aberdeen
r=sault gmns, and developed a string ol Proving Grounds in Maryland, USA,
;::rcles that outwardly resembled the still lookingvery serviceable as a
irman StuG III. These ltalian assault modern artillery weapon despite the
t:::s were produced in appreciable Iack ofcrew protection and stowage
::nbers, for they were better on the vehicle for ammunition and
::::oured and in relative terms qulck- otheritems.
:: :c produce than contemporary lta-
-:- :anks. But by the time significant
-::lcers had been issued Italy was vefied some of its precious develop-
:iactively out of the war, and most of ment facilities to desigm a powerful
:=e Itahan assault guns fell into Ger- artillery weapon that could be carried
--:: hands, on a trucked chassis. In the end Ansal-
-:e majorityof Italianself-propelled do plumped for an existing weapon,
;reapons, known as semorente, the long Canone da 149/40 modello 35,
-':':nted 75-mm (2.95-in) or 105-mm and decided to place it on a much-
{ -3-in) gmns and howrtzers of varying modifred Carro fumato M, 15/42 tank
since these were direct-
=:i..}s, butthe
i:::nounts ltalian artillery arm still
chassis. The selectiori of these firvo
items of equipment was made in order
::fuired self-propelled artillery to produce as good a carriage/weapon
ffi:apons to support the armoured combination as possible, but the snagr
r:=ations, Accordingiy Ansaldo di- was that the italian army was already
Semovente da 149/40 (continued)

crying our for large numbers of both to absorb some ofthe recoil forces pro- certainly a useful weapon: it could fire Specification
the gun and tank. Italian industry qulte duced on firing, It was late 1942 before a 46-kq (101.4-lb) projectile to a ranqe semovente da 149/40
simply could not keep up with the ex- the flrst prototype was ready for pro- of23700 m (25,919 yards), at which drs- Type: self-propelled grun
lsting demdnds and so the new self- longed flring trials, but even before tance the lack ofprotection for the gmn Crew: (on gnrn) 2
propelled weapon, known as the these were over ursuccessful attempts crew would have been of relatively Weishfl 24000 kg (52,911 lb)
Semovente da 149/40, erot offto a shaky were being made to start productton, little importance. Powerplant: one SPA petrol engine
start, Before the lines could start rolling the The prototype survled the war, and developins 186,4 kW(250 hp)
The Semovente da i49/40 was a Italians surrendered to the Alltes, and can now be seen at the Aberdeen Pro- Dimensions: length 6,60 m (21 ft 7,8 in);
completely unprotected weapon as the Germans took over what was left of vrng Grounds in the USA. It still looks a width 3,00 m (9 ft 10 in); heisht 2,00 m
the long gmn barrel was placed on an the Italian economy, Thus the thoroughly modern piece of equip- (6 ft 6,7 in)
open mounting carried on the turret- Semovente da 149/40 prototype re- ment that would not be too out of place Performance: maximum road speed
less tank chassis, The gnrn crew stood mained the sole example of what in many modern gnrn parks. 35 km,itr (21.75 mph)
in the open to serve the gnrn, which had seemed to be a promising design. The Armament: one i49-mm (5,87-in) gun
its trunnions mounted dght to the rear gun of the Semovente da i49/40 was

During the desperate days of 1941 the
Red Army lost so much materiel.that
Soviet planners were forced to list
mass production as their top priorlty,
and in order to cut down the numbers
of equipments being produced only a
few types were selected for future use.
One of these types was the superlative
ZIS-3 76.2-mm (3-in) qun, which was
not only an excellent field ptece but at
that period also a good anti-tank gun.
Thus when it was decided to adopt the
ZIS-3 in quantity the Red Army had a
very good weapon for the future, espe-
cially when the chance arose to make
the weapon a self-propelled one.
The events of 1941 had shown the
Red Army that rts light tanks were vir-
tually useless, and the type was sche-
duled for withdrawal from production
and sewice. A productron line was in TheSovietSIJ-76was awartime andrather rushedconversionot theT-70light tank tocarry a76-mmfield gun, and
exlstence for the T-70 light tank, atthoughitwas producedinlargenumbers itwas littleliked by its crews,whocalled itthe'Bitch'.
however, and it was decided to con-
vert the T-70 to take the 215-76 gnrn as a
hlghly mobiie anti-tank weapon. Thus
was born the SU-76 (SU for Samokftod-
naya Ustanovka, or self-propelled
mounting), The conversion to take the
76,Z-mm gnrn and 62 rounds of ammunl-
tion was a simple one, but the T-70
chassis had to be widened somewhat
and an extra road wheel was added to
take the extra weight. The first exam-
ples had the gnrn mounted centrally,
but later models had the gun offset to
the left. Maximum armour thickness
was 25 mm (0.98 in),
It was late 1942 before the first SU-
76s were produced, and it was mid-
1943 before they were in Red Army a wartime expedient vehtcle wiih no Dimensions: lengfth 4.BB m (16 ft 0. I in); SU-76s wait to take partin one of the
sewice in any appreciable numbers. crew comforts whbtsoever. Apart from width 2.73 m (Bft 11.5 in); height2, 17 m massive artillery actions that usually
By that trme the ZIS-3 gnrn had lost a few examples thalhad an armoured 17+l dih\ took place betore any maior Red
much of its edge aqainst the ever- rool the crew compartment of the SU Performance: maximum road speed Army action. The open structure of
thickening German tank armour, and 76 was open to the elements and the 45 km,h (28 mph); road range 450 km the SU-76 must have made life very
thus the Su-76 was gradually phased driver had to sit next to the hvin en- (280 miles); fording 0.89 m (2 ft l I in) uncomfortable for their crews under
over to the direct fire-support of Red gines with no intewening bulkhead. Armament: one 76.2-mm (3-in) qnrn and such conditions, as only tarpaulin
Army infantry formations. Some antr The Red Army knew the SU-76 as the one 7,62-mm (0,3-in) machine-gun covers were carried.
tank capability was retained when Sukamr (bitch),
new anti-armour ammunitton was in- Thus the SU-76 started life as a
fioduced, but by the end of the war the mobile antr-tank weapon and ended
SU-76 was being phased out ln favour up as an artillery support weapon, it
of vehicles with larger-calibre gnrns, was no doubt a very useful weapon in
Many SU-76s were pressed into other the latter role, but essentially it was a
roles by 1945. The usual processwas to hasty expedient rushed into produc-
remove the gn-rn and then use the vehi- tion at a time of desperate need. Sur-
cle as a supply and ammunition car- prisingly, the type may still be encoun-
rier, as an artillery tractor and as a light tered in odd pafis of the world.
armoured recovery vehicle, Some
were fitted with anti-arrcraft cannon.
After 1945 there were still many.SU-
76s to hand, and the Soviets handed
them on to many friendly nations in- Specification
cluding China and North Korea, with su-76
whom the type saw another bout of Type: self-propelled Qn;n
action during the Korean War that Crew:4
started in 1950, More went to some of Weisht: 10800 kg (23,810 kg) Red Army soldiers attack under the really means. By I 945 the SU-76 was
the Warsaw Pact armed forces, It ts Powerplant: two GAZ 6-cylinder petrol close supporting fire of SU-76 76-mm used almost exclusively in this role
doubtful that the new recipients wel- engines each developing 52,2 kW guns, providing a graphic ex amp le after being used atonepointas
comed the SU-76, for it was very much (70 hp) of what close-range artillery support mobile field artiL|ery.

l 594
f itu- tzz and,Isu-tsz
The flrst of the heavy Soviet self- anti-aircraft machrne-gun. This first
Self-Propelled Guns of World War II
originally known as the ISU-152. To the 122-mm version was potentraill ''e
propelled artillery carrrages was the vehicle was intended for use as much average observer the SU-I52 and ISU- more powerfi:l weapon as it firec
SU-152, which first appeared in 1943, as an anti-armour weapon as a heavy 152 were visually identical, but the higher-velocity projectile rha:- =
just in time to take part in the tank assault weapon, for the Red Army ISU-152 mounted a more modern =e
heavrer 152-mm weapori, wtuch :el:ee
battles at Kusk. It was built onto a KV-Z made no differentiation between anti- howitzer known as the ML-20S (with 20 more upon shell werght for its eiec=
heavy tank chassis and was typical of tank and other weapons when it came rounds), technically a gun-howitzer During 1944 and 1945 the ISU--:2
later World War II desigms in that the to tactics, The SU-152 relied upon and a very powerful weapon, especial- and ISU-I22 were rn the vangua:l ::
tank chassis was taken virtually un- sheer projectile weight and power to ly at the assault ranges favoured by the Red Army advances througe Ce:-
changed and a large armoured box defeat enemy armour, Red fumy tactics. The weapon was many towards Berhn, Some of the i:s
was built on to the front of the hull, The When the KV tank series was re- protected by an armoured box made Red Army units entenng Berlin -.,re:e
weapon was a 152-mm (6-in) M-1937 placed in production by the IS series, up from sloping plates of thick armour, ISU-152 units, whrch used their ho'n::-
howitzer mounted in a large and heavy these too were used for the SU self- wtth hand rails around the edge of the zers to blast away stongpoints at ciose
mantlet on the front superstructure propelled role,The conversion fol- roof for use by 'tank descent' infantry ranges and clear the way to 'Jre re-
plate and there were roofhatches, one lowed closely that of the original SU- who used the vehicles to carry them mains of the city cenfie.
of which had provision for mounting an 152, and the lS-based conversion was into action, Maximum armour thick- If the lSU weapons had a fault i: n?s
ness was 75 mm (2,95 in). that they lacked intemal amm'rruE3:-
The ISU-152 was joined by the ISU- stowage space. Thus they had to h;ve
122, a virhrally identical vehicle car- a virtual constant supply of ammunr:c:
rying a powerful 122-mm (4.8-in) Smn brought foward by armoured carr:ers
known as the M-1931/4 or A-19S (with which was often a hazardous undertak-
30 rounds), the ordnance being a mod- ing. But the massive weapon carnei
ification of the then-standard 122-mm by the ISU vehicles was corsidered:c
M-1931/37, though there was also be of great value in the direct suppcr:
another gun known as the D-25S which of Red fumy tank and motorDed rdar-
was ballistlcally identrcal to the A-19S try dlisions, and both types went on ro
but differed in the way it was con- be used for some years after the wa:
structed. Numerically the ISU-122 was
less important than the ISU- i52, but the

ISU-l SZswere still in front-line the lacko{ traverse proved a serious

service in 1 956 when the Red Army disadvantage, The gan mechanism
ruthlessly crushed the Hungarian was never modernized ; elevation
uprising. In the streets of Budapest and loading were done by hand.

An ISU-152 crosses ariver during the Specification

latter stages of World War II. These ISU-r22
vehicles appeat to be catrying their Type: self-propelled assault grun
crew membets on the root, but in Crew: 5
action they would be carrying Weighfi 46430 ks (102 361 lb)
The SU-l 22 was a conversion of the squ ads of ' tank descen I' essa uJf Powerplant: one V-12 diesel
T-34 tank to accommodate a front- infantry instead, Note the size of the developins 387.8 kW (520 hp)
mounted I 22-mm howitzer in a well- howit zer's mu z zle br ake. Dimensions: lengrth overall 9.80 m (32 1
armoured and we ll-slope d 1,8 ln) and hull 6,805 m (22 ft 3,9 rn)
superstructure. Itwas produced in width3,56 m(11 ftB,2 in); heisht2.52 n:
large numbers fot the close-suppott (8ft32in)
role, but could beused for'stand-otf Performance: maximum road speeci
artilleryfire. 37 km/h (23 mph); road range 180 ls::
(l 12 miles); fording 1.3 m (4 ft 3.2 n)
Armament: one 122-mm (4, 8-rn) gun
and one 12, 7-mm (0. S-rn) machrneai::

The ISU- 1 52 was a straight{orward

anversionof an IS-2 tanktocarry a
I52-mm howitzer as a powerful
close-support artillery weapon; it
zvas also a powertulbnkkiller.The
howitzer was housed in a thick
supercEucture with dense frontal
armour that made it a difficult vehicle
lo btockout.
Gunsof theAllies
Apart from Germany, the greatest
exponents of self-propelled artillery tion was channelled to accept such changes
wrthout any major disruption of production tot-
were the Russr'ans, who produced als and norms, Thus Soviet armour designs
excellent vehicles in vast numbers. The tended to be strictly orthodox and based on a
British had to start from scratch, as did system of evolutionary change rather than a
the USA, but the latter proved faster at succession of new designs, one after another,
p r oducing a viable de s ign. Self-propelled artrllery had a place in Red
Army philosophy from tts earliest days, Soviet
It may seem strange to regard the Allies and milrtary leaders were thinking in terms oI tank
the Sovlets separately for the years between armies while planners in the West were tinker-
1939 and 1945, for from 1941 onwards they were ing with cardboard tanks and small numbers of
allied agarnst the common German foe; but tankettes, Fortunately for the West, Soviet in-
such was the isolation of the Soviet Union dur- dustry was still in a formative stage durtng that
ing much of the war that the Sovrets can be period, but by the end of the 1930s armour was
considered as being militarlly distrnct for most flowing from the newly-instttuted production
praciical purposes. Soviet armour develop- hnes in an increastng torrent, Among these
ment and its equivalent among the 'Atlantrc' products were early attempts at self-propelled The crew of an SU- I 22 looks out for a potential
nations proceeded along entirely separate artillery, Many of these early design efforts target. The thick armour of the I 22-mm howitzer
lines, and from different motivating factors. were little more than destgn studtes, for as a mantlet is evident, alongwith the rather rough (but
rule most Sovret tanks carried larger guns than adequate) standard of finish of many Soviet
Thus although the Soviets and the Western weapons. The howitzer used was a modification of
Allies both produced self-propelled artillery, their Western counterparts, They were usually a standard tield piece.
their products were qurte different, srmple conversions oi existing tank chassis to
To start with the Soviet standpoint, it must be carry pieces of ordnance already in produc-
realized that armoured warfare had always fea- tion, Only one form of artillery on tracks got into with many sources of strategic raw materials
tured large in Soviet long{erm planning, From productron at this period and this demons- What industrial potential there that remarned in
I9l7 onwards the Red Army had been re- trated, for all rts faults, the thinking that tnflu- Sovret hands was uprooted and shifted at enor-
garded as the vanguard of the Revolutton and enced Sovret self-propelled artiilery design. mous physical cost to areas east of the Urals
the missionary element that was to take the The weapon was the KV-Z, which was in where they were simply dumped and told to
Soviet form of socialism to ali corners of the many respects a cross beiween a heavily- resume production, This disruption ied to a
earth, so it had to be equipped to carry through armed tank and a close-support assault drastic intensification of production priorities
the class struggle, Amongst other iactors, this weapon, The KV-2 carried a short l52-mm (6- and arms: a stringent programme of choosing
meant for the Red Army planners the use of rn) howitzer in a large slab-stded rotating tur- only a relatrveiy few end producis was im-
armoured warfare on a large scale, Over the ret. Known to its crews as the 'dreadnought', posed so that industry could concentrate on
USSR's early years this armoured ideal was the KV-2 was intended to move forward with massive production of those alone; no djversion
sought but remained unrealized, for the simple other tanks and supply direct supporting f,re at was possible. Ammunrtion supply followed the
reason that the decades after the Revolution close ranges. This concept of heavy weapons same lines to the extent that only a few calibres
were beset by international power struggles employed well forward was to recur in later were selected for front-hne use, so that produc-
and by the problems associated with the up- designs, and although later weapons were tion and logistic supply were made as easy as
grading of Soviet industry to a pltch where tt sometimes capable of indirect frre, Sovlet self- possrble, In the field of armour the same policy
could supply the weapons required for the propelled artillery was generally used tn the was followed, although existing production
forthcoming struggle. These strictures had direct-fire role and at the close ranges that vehicles and lines were retained, Thus the KV
several important results, One was a form of demanded heavy protective armour for crew tank series remained in manufacture and the
tactical and design orthodoxy that would not and weapon survival, T-70 liqht tank lines were revised to produce
offend leaderJ sensibrlrties or demand so The KV-2 was not a success as its awkward the far more useful SU-76, but the main concen-
many innovations that large-scale production and bulky turret made it an easy target during tration was on the new T-34 tank, which also
of hardware would be slowed, Instead a steady its main period of action, the follow- became the basis for one ol the Red Army's
programme of evolutionary development was ing the German lnvasion of 1941, During thts most important self-propelled artillery
adopted, whereby one established design was invasion the Soviet Union lost nearly all its main weapons,
used as the basis for another, and mass produc- industrial base in European Russia, together This was the SU-122, a T-34 tank altered to
carry a 1.2Tmm (4 8-in) howitzer rn a well-
sloped superstructure, It could be produced
with relatrve ease on the T-34 lines, and it gave
the Red Army armoured formations a powerful
fire-support weapon, The SU-122 was used in
exactly the same way as the earlier KV-Z: well
forward with the front waves of attackinq tanks
(usually T-34s) to blast away strongpoints or
anything else that stood rn the way ol the adv-
ance, If an SU-122 broke down it could take
parts from any drsabled T-34 tank, and if
ammunition ran out more could be picked up
from any 122-mm howitzer battery rn the vicin-
The SU-122s were usually organized within
regiments that contained two SU-122 batteries
and two SU'76 batterres, The SU-76 was orlgi-
nally intended to be a stop-gap anti-tank
weapon mounting a 76-mm (3-in) gun, but in-
creases in German tank armour gradually rele-
gated it to the close-support role, The SU-76

An M I 2 chacked securely in place with the rear

firing spadelowered. The US Armywas reluctant
ta take theMl2 into service atfirst, butitproved to
be invaluable, leading to the many later American
desr'gns. The Ml2 remained in service until 1945,
Self-Propelled Guns of World War II

A parade-ground shot of an early M7, A Bishop is seen in action during the latter stages alter taking itfrom ammunition limbers, one of
recognizable by the three-piece hull front- later of its operational career, close loJVap/es. The gun which can be seen intheforegroundand normally
.node/s used a on e-piece casting. The boxes on the number is passing ammunitionintothe gun turret towed behind the vehicie when on the move.
tull in front of the driver's position were for spare
track links.
The campaign of May t94O changed all thaL service before the end of the war, for thereai:er
had one thinq in common, and The Panzer drvisions swept across France and the Brrtrsh gunners relied on the output of Ser-
=C the SU-122
-j-at'ivas that they made no concessions what- demonstrated the catastrophic arrrval of a new tons from the Canadian factories and numbers
:.:ever to crew comfort or convenience. Their concept of warfare, based on the tank, But if the of American weapons, especially the Ml
::ews went into action in vehrcles that were future pace of warfare was to be dictated by known to the British as the Priest.
::rghly but adequately finished and rnslde or the tank, it was abundantly clear that all other The M7 was the outcome of an earlier Amer-
::nind armour that was usually poorly venti- arms had to keep up with them, and that in- ican programme in whrch a 105-mm (4 l3-rr.
--.ed, cramped and generally uncomfortable. cluded the arljllery. For the Bntrsh army during howitzer was placed on a halftrack and desig-
-::le consideration was given to access to the days after Dunkrrk sheer survrval and re- nated Tl9, (The earlier 75-mm haiftrack was
-:::..nunition ]ockers or to ease of handlinq, as equipment were the paramount factors, and the T12 ) These saw service durrng the T\-rr-
:-= overwhelming need for mass produciion matters such as new forms of artrllery had to sian campaign, in which they were joined i:i-
,:--Ce such apparent luxuries unthinkable, walt. the MZ Priest. Burlt on the M3 medium tan-<
This trend contrnued with the SU-152 on the The USA started war production for the Bnt- chassis (and later the M4) the M7 was a grea:
:,-,- tank chassis (mounting a 152-mm/6-in ishand French dunngearly 1940, butthe natron success and carried a 105-mm howitzer
:-:-,';itzer) and the later ISU-i52 (and rts close deluded itself that it could remain aloof from Although rt had been manufactured using a:-
::'jnterpart the ISU-122) based on the IS tank events across the oceans until Peari Harbor existing chassis, the M7 used spare productic:
::assis. The ISU-122 was produced mainly be rnflicted the awful truth, The USA then perforce potential as it appeared at a time when the lv1:
:=:se there were stocks of 122-mm hrgh- entered the war, and the world's miqhtiest in- was belng phased out, and it dlifered in ma::-;
:.:-ccity guns ready to hand. dustrial nation swung into action almost over- ways from its Sovret equivalant,
,rvlth these few vehicle and weapon com- nrght. Within weeks tank and weapon factories First there was the taciical role that the lvi-
:-::ations the Red Army carried the war into the were being burlt all over the nation, even was supposed to play: whereas the Sovre:
--=art of Germany by 1945, None of the vehlcles though it had not been decided what form or weapons were supposed to produce direc:
type of weapons were to be produced rn them, close-up supporting flre, the M7 and the la:el
-:C in the self-propelled artillery role was
::-'.:hrng other than a modification of a vehicle Before long new types oltank were flowing off Allied designs were designed to act as tru.,,-
.'-eady in mass production, and the number of the brand-new lines, though it soon became mobile pieces of fleld artillery for long-range
--es was kept as small as overail production obvrous that good as some of these new de- lndirect fire, and as such played no direct pa:.
:-.-5 Were enormous, signs were, they lacked any form of longterm in assault or close combat, Nerther drd the_.'
design or tactical experience for guidance: by have an anti-tank role, although if a targei pre-
The WesternAllies 1941 the Soviet Union and Germany were sented itself lt was usually engaged, Thus .&e
3i contrast with the Soviets, the Western already mass-producing tanks from scratch, armour ol the M7 was much hghter than :he
-:--es were ill-organized for war, A long lapse whereas the USA was at the stage of virtually essential carapaces of the Soviet assault gurs
:- .: political thinking that regarded future wars hand-buildrng test prototypes Thus compared The M7 and lts close Canadran counterpart had
== al best unlikely led their treasuries into re-
with many contemporary German or Soviet de- oniy lght front and side armour and no ove:-
--=rng only hmrted defence fundrng, and as a signs, some ol the early American equipments head cover at all,
:=::1t very little armoured warfare deveiop- were underqunned and overengineered, but The M7 was lust one of many American sel-
:-::-: was carried out in erther the USA or the they had the priceless advantage that they propelled artillery designs, A hsting ol all :re
----:ed Krngdom during the I920s and 1930s. were available in potential masses. prototypes and trial models produced by :re
-:-: Britrsh army did make a tentative stab at The first Allied attempi aL self-propelled Amerrcans would cover pages, and fe'* c-
::','eloping self-propelled artillery with the artillery came from the USA, where World War them ever got past the 'one-off stage. But ihe-,-
:-:::i Guns dunng the late 1920s, but the effort I 75-mm (2 95-rn) guns were placed on half- all had one thing in common, apart from ::ie
-.r::e lo nothlng when the money ran out. What tracks and rushed into service of a sort, purely anti-tank versions, rn that they were a
,--:: became the Western Alhes did make although none saw other than limited action. A intended only for the indirect fire roie. The-;
;==: sleps towards mechanizatton, to the point Britrsh equivalenr (:n awkwardness rf not were nearly all superbly produced and de:a--
,"',-=le the httle BEF that went to France in 1939 cahbre) was the odd 25-pdr Bishop, which engineering reached down as far as crew cc=-
r--:re only fully-mechanized component olall equalled many of the later German lash-ups in forts, So there cannot be any close compars::-
-lhed lorces facing Germany But the artil- strange appearance and lack of tactical utility, between Soviet and Western desigrs. :ie-.-
.::-- -,', as strll towed, albeii behind mechanized as when it was first mooted no one could de- were the results of dilierent concepts of pl:-
'.:: r::rs, Self-propelled artrliery dld not feature crde if it was to be a heavy-gun tank or self duction thrnking, and in the end were r-rsed :::
-- .' in the armies of 1940, apart from a few propelled artillery, The Btshop was the only wholly different tactical purposes.
-,'-::- j War I weapons still in use by the French, type of Bntish self-propelled artillery to see
ftl 3[ho"
During early 1941 the British Purchas-
ing Commission in Washrnqton asked
the Americans if the M7 Priest could
be altered to allow it to carry the British
25-pdr (87.6-mm/3.45-in) gun-
howitzer, While the Bntlsh appreci-
ated the amenities of the M7 Priest, it
had the major disadvantage of mount-
ing a 105-mm (4, I3-in) howitzer that
was not a standard British weapon
calibre at that time, The Americans
accordingly produced the MZ with the
25-pdr and named it the T51, but at the
same time announced that there was
no, way that they could produce it in
quantity as they had their production
hands fuIl already, The British accor-
dingly looked around and noted that
the Canadians had set up a production
line for the Ram tank, a type that was
soon to be replaced by the .American
M3 and M4, The Ramwas accordingly
altered to accommqdate the 25-pdr,
and thus was born the Sexton.
The Sexton used the overall layout of
the M7 Priest, but many changes were Above: The Sexton mounted the
introduced to suit British require- British 25-pdr gun and was a well-
ments. These included the movement Eked and reliable vehicle thal served
of the driver's posltion to the right- on for many years afler World War II
hand side, The Sexton lacked the pro- with many armies, I t is still used by
nounced 'pulpit' of the M7, but the India.
fighting compartment was left open
with only a canvas cover to provtde Position Officer command vehicle;
weather protection for the crew, The there was usually one of these to a
Sexton hadbqrew of six, and much of battery. In post-war years some Sex-
the interior wab taken up with lockers tons were handed over to nations such
irr ammunitron and some of the crew's as ltaly who preferred the 105-mm
personal kit; more stowage was pro- (4,13-in) howitzer; in this instance the
vided in boxes at the rear. Maximum 2S-pounders were replaced with Ger-
armour thickness was 32 mm (1,25 in), man 105-mm howitzers,
The 25-pdr gnrn-howrtzer was car-
ried in a special cradle produced by Specification
the Canadians specifically for the Sex- Sexton
ton, This allowed a traverse of 25" left Type: seif-propelled cnrn-howitzer
and 40' right, which was very useful for Crew: 6
the anti-tank role (18 AP rounds) but in Weisht 25855 kg (57,000 lb)
the event the Sexton had little need of Powerplant: one Continental 9-
this faciiity, Instead it was used almost cylinder radial piston engine
exclusively as a field artillery weapon Ilu'sSexton is n ow a preserved Wiltshire. I t originally came trom developing298.3 kW (400 hp)
(87HE and smoke rounds) supporting 'runner' maintained by the Royal Portugal, where it was sent during Dimensions: Ieng'th 6, 12 m (20 ft.1 in);
the armoured divisions in North $est S chool of Ar tillery at Lar khill, theyears after 1945. width 2.72 m (8 ft I I in)t height 2,44 m
Europe from 1944 onwards, There (8 ft 0 in)
were several variations, all of theih rn- llable cn:n and weapon comblnation There were a few in-service Performance: maximum road speed
corporating the production changes that proved so successful that many variants ofthe Sexton, some being con- 40,2 krn/h (25 mph); road range 290 km
progresslely introduced on the lines are still in use in odd corners of the verted to 'sl'vim' for possible use on (180miles); fording 1.01 m(3 ft4 in)
of the Montreal Locomotive Works at world to this day. The British army D-Day, but none appear to have been Armament: one 25-pdr gnrn-howitzer,
Sorel. Production continued there until . used the type until the late I950s, and used in this role on the day. A more two unmounted 7.?-mm (0,303-in) Bren
late 1945, by which time 2, 150 Sextons one is presewed as a museum piece al common conversion was the replace- Guns and (on some vehicles) one
had been manufactured. the Royal School ofArtillery at Larkhill ment of the gun-h0r,\ntzer by extra rnap pintle-mounted 12, 7-mm (0. S-in)
The Sexton was a well-liked and re- in Wiltshire, tables and radios in the Sexion Gun Browning machine-gnrn

The British Wnners nicktaned the

iitz priest American M7 the'Priest' after seeing

Experience gained with l05-mm (4, 13-
in) howitzers mounted on halftracks
enabled the US Army to dectde that it
the' puMt' that housed the I 2.7 - mm
m achine gun f or AA d eten ce.

wouid be better if the howitzer was

mounted in a fully. tracked car-
riage,and accordingly an M3 medium
tank chassis was modified to take such
a weapon, The M3 chassts was con-
siderably reworked to provide an
open-topped superstructure with the
howitzer mounted in its front, The de-
velopment vehicle was known as the
T32, and following trials which added a
machine-gnrn molnting to the right-
hand side of the fighting compartment,
lhe vehicle was adopted for sewice as
the Carriage, Motor, I05-mm Howitzer,
Itfil. Maxmum armour thickness was
25.4 mm (l in),
The first production examples were
for the US Army, but many were soon
diverted to the l,end-Lease program-
me for the Allies, among them the Bril

MZ Priest (continued) Self-Propelled Guns of World War II
tsh Army. The British soon named the An MZ in action in the Ardennes,
M7 the Priest, legend having it that the I 945, with the open fighting
prominent machine-gun mountrng compartment covered by a tarpaulin
gave the impression of a pulprt, The to keep out the worst of the bitter
British gnrnners adopted the M7 with weather. The tank obstacles behind
alacrity, and the type first went into the M7 are part of the infamous
action with them at the 2nd Battle of El Siegtried Line defences that in the
Alamein in October 1942, The British event were taken withou t too mu ch
asked for 5,500 MZs to be produced for trouble,
tlieir use alone by the end of 1943, but
ts order was never completed in full, career in a revised formr the howitzers
The flgnrre nonetheless provides an in- were removed and the hulls were
Crcation of the success of the MZ with used as armoured personnel carriers
:he British gLlnners, They appreciated nicknamed Kangaroos, This soon be-
'.he space and mobility of the carriage came a normal fate for unwanted MZs,
and also the extra space for personal and the idea soon spread to ltaly.
stowage, The one snag was the howit- The US fumy also made wide use of
zer, which was not a standard British the M7, although productlon for the US
Army typer thus ammunition (stowage Army was not a constant process. After
was provided for 69 rounds on each 1942 MZ production proceeded in fits
-rehicle) had to be supplied separately and starts. At one stage the origrnal M3 yards), Throughout their sewice life cylinder radial piston engine
:br the M7 batteries, which made for a chassis was replaced by the later the M7s have always showed outstand- developins 279,6 kW (375 hp)
consrderable logistic complicatron, M4A3 Sherman chassis, and these M7s ing reliability, and have demonstrated Dimensions: Iength 6,02 m (19 ft 9 in):
This was not resolved until the first were knovrn by the designation MTBL their ability to cross all types of rougrh width 2,BB m (9 ft 5,25 in) height 2.54 m
Sextons with the 25-pdr weapons be- After 1945 large numbers of M7s terrain, (B ft 4 in)
gan to be issued in 1944, Until that time were handed over to other countries, Performance: maximum speed
:he British M?s were used all through and some remain in use to thjs day in Specification 4l,B kmih (26 mph); maximumroad
:he ltalian campaign, and some were such nations as Brazil and Turkey, The M7 range 201 km ( 125 miles); fording
landed in Normandy in June Ig44 I05-mm howitzer is still a standard Type: self-propelled howitzer 1,219 m (4 ft)
'-;:ough they were soon replaced by weapon all over the world, and thus the Crew:5 Armament:one 105-mm (4, 13-in)
:extons, MZs continue to flre a 14,97-kg (331b) Weight: 22967 kg (50,ma b) howitzer and one 12,7-mm (0.5-in)
The M7 then began a new service shell to a range of 11430m (12,500 Powerplant: one Continental 9- machine-gun

Although the M40 arrived on the

scene later in the war, itwas one of
'the best of
allwartime self-propelled
equipments and went on to a long
post-war career./f used lfie cfiassrs
€ Sarriage, Motorn of theM4 tankasa basis.

155-mm Gun, M40

The first 155-mm (6.I-in) self-
oropelled gnrn produced in quantity by
'ie Americans during World War II
ivas the M12, a design originally
k'rown as the T6 and built on to a con-
';erted M3 medium tank chassis, In-
:jally this weapon was not considered
:cr service as it used an obsolescent
World War I ordnance that had be-
come available once the type's origin-
aI carnages had become too worn for
:rrther use, However, once accepted
seryice, they gave good perform-
ance although it was agreed that a new
:rdnance was requrred if a long-term
7,'eapon was to be procwed,
Startrng in December 1943 a new
-,';eapon/carriage combination was in-
::1ated, The €un was the 155-mm MIAI
<nown as the 'Long Tom' (with 20
:cunds) and the carriage was based on M40s took part in the bombardment of some years, More were used by na- signed to provide protection for the
:e chassis of the M4A3 medium tank, Koln and the short campaigninq after tions such as France, with whom the crew. The M40 proved beyond doubt
:ough much widened and fitted with this. Behueen January and May 1945 no type saw extensive service in Indo- that the only proper protection comes
:ie latest high volute suspenSion less than 31 I M40s were built, and pro- China, from an armoured turret, and most
springing, The englne was moved duction continued after the war, The There was one vadant of the M40, modern self-propelled weapons now
:cm the rear to a new forward posi- M4O was to see its most concerted use the T30 Cargo Carrier. As its designa- use such an arrangement,
:cn, and to absorb some of the recoil durinq the Korean conflict, where it tion lmplies, it could be used as a
a spade was added to the rear; proved to be an excellent weapor/car- general supply carrier though tts nor-
' latter could be raised for travell- riage combination, mal deployment was for the ammuni- Specification
-::9. A working platform under the On the M40 there was no protection tion supply of M40 batteries, Not many M40
creech was also provided. The gnrn for the crew as the type was desigmed were built as most of the manufactunng Tlpe: self-propelled gnrn
--ad a range of 23514 m (25,715 yards) for use so far behind the front line that potential was concentrated on produc- Crew:B
:::d fired a projectile weighing 43. I kg none would be necessary, The M40 ing gnrn carriers. weishr 37195 ks (82,000 Ib)
.35 Ib), which made it a very usetul had a crew of eight, and there was One of the main claims to import- Powerplant: one Continental 9-
trcunterbattery and long-range bom- provisron on the carriage for their ance of the M40 was that it paved the cylinder radial piston engine
weapon. Maximum armour weapons and kit. The same carriage way for the current generation of self- developrng 294,6 kW (395 hp)
---:ckness was 12.7 mm (0,5 in) was also used to mount a 203-mm (8-in) propelled weapons, It was produced Dimensions: length overall9,04 m (29 i
The development of this Carriage, howitzer, but this rlersion (the Car- at a time when nuclear warfare was B in)andhullonly6,65 m(21 ft 10 in);
Motor, 155-mm Gun, M40 took rather riage, Motor, 8-in Howitzer, M43), was just making its debut, and the need for width 3. 15 m (10 ft 4 in); height 2.84 rn
-:lger than expected, so it was not not used in gneat numbersj only 48 protection against this new battle /O ft I ih\
'::trl January 1945 that the first produc- were built. hazard was particularly noticeable on Performance: maximum speed
:on examples rolled off the lines, They After 1945 M40s were distnbuted to the M40 with its open fighting platform, 38,6 km/h (24 mph); range 161 hl(103
rere rushed across the Atlantic in time many other armies. The British Army The type was therefore used exten- miles); fording L067 m (3 ft 6 in)
:: see the end of the war in Germany. accepted a number and used them for sively for trials and experlments de- Armament:one 155-mm (6, I-in) gun

I lc3
ffi tirnop
The vehicle that became knovrn as the stages of the campaign in that theatre, The Bishop also demonstrated slow to keep up with the armoured
Bishop was conceived at a time when by which time the 25-pdr was no 1on- things to avoid in future designs. The formations.
25-pdr batteries in the North A-frican ger in use as an anti-tank gmn, so the most obvious one was for the gmn to A1l these things were put right when
desert were perforce used as anti-tank vehicles were used as self-propelled have its full range of movement if it was the gmnners were issued numbers of
weapons and were taking a terrible artillery wrth no distractron and the to be of any use; addrtionally, more MZ Priests. The gmnners took to the
poundinq as a result. It was decided to Royal Artillery learned a lot from their room was needed to seffe the gmn, for Priest with a will, and before long the
place the 25-pdr on a mobile carriage use, The type was eventually named the turret of the Bishop was cramped Bishops had been discarded, They
to increase protection for the gun Bishop, and it went on to be used in and ill-ventilated, More rnternal may have been less than perfect, but
crews, and it was soon clear that the Sicily and Italy during the opening ammunitron stowage was needed and they taught the gunners a lot and the
Valentine infantry tank would make a stages of that campaign, Throughout the carrier had to be fast enough to Bishop has the distinction of being the
good basis for such a conversion, Un- these campaigrns the Brshop demons- keep up with tanks, Bernq an infantry British Army's first self-propelled artil-
forh:nately the exact role of this grun/ trated all its several drawbacks, but tank, the Valentine chassis was too
tank combination was uncertain from also provrded an rndication of the
the start, The tank exponents saw it as potentral of self-propelled artillery for
a variant of the heavy-gmn tank theme, rt was the first British self-propelled
while the gunners wanted a self- weapon to see actlve service, The
propelled carnage. These arguments need for supporting loQdstics was more
were never really solved, and the re- than emphasized, as was the need for
sult was something of a compromise improved radio links with forward
even thoueth the gunners won in the observers.
The Valentine 25-pdr emerged as a
straightforward conversron (officially
the Mounting, Valentine, 25-pdr Gun
Mk I on Carrier, Valentine, 25-pdr
Glm, Mk I) the usual turret being re-
placed by a much larger turret mount-
rng the 25-pdr, Thts new turret was
fixed, and was a large slab-sided de-
sigm too large for battlefield conceal-
ment and too small to allow much room
inslde for the gn-m crew, The turret de-
sigm also had one major disadvantage
for the gnrnners in that it restricted the Above: This Bishop in 'factory' state attempt' design there was confusion
elevation of the barrel and thus cur- clearly shows the high and bulky as towhether the Bishopwas a heavy
tailed range to only 5852 (6,400 yards) outline ol the fixed turret mounting gun tank or a self-propelled gun, but
wluch was a considerable reduction the 25-pdr gun. As this was a'first in the end the gunner's view prevailed.
from the normal 12253m (13,400
yards). The only way to increase this
performance was the tedious and tacti-
cally-hamperinql construction of earth
rarnps up which the vehicle could be
dnven to increase the elevation angle.
T?averse was also severely restricted,
to a maxrmum of 4" to each side, Inter-
nalammunition stowage was 32 rounds Above: A Bishop on the ranges with
but more could be carried in a limber the gun detachment commander
towed behind the vehicle, Armour outside the fixed turret, as there was
varied in thickness from B mm room for only two gunners inside.
(0,315in) to 60 mm (2,36 in), The fixed turret restricted the barrel
The 25-pdr Valentine went into ac- elevation and thus range.
hon in North Africa during the latter

Below: The Bishop was an early

British attempt to produce self-
propelled artillery by placing a 25-
pdr Wn onto aValentine tank
cfiassrs. The gun was mounted in a
frxed turret with only limited
elevation and the resultwas not a
succest bejngr replaced in seruice
by the P r ies t as soon as posst'b/e.

Above : Ammunition s toc kta king as space inside the fix e d turret w as
takes place on a Bishop with the cramped. The projectiles are 25-pdr
projectiles laid out on the engine HE shells, the normal round fired,
covers for counting. The Bishop although smokecould also he
could carry only 32 rounds internally, canied.

Type: self-propelled gn-rn-howitzer
Crew: 4
Weisht: 7911 kg (i7,440 lb)
Powerplant: one AEC 6-cYlinder
diesel developing 97,7 kW (131 hP)
Dimensions: lenqth 5,64m (lBft 6in)
width 2,77 m (9 ft I in); height 3,05 m
(10 ft)
Performance: maximum road sPeed
24km/h (15 mph); road range 177 kn
(110 miles); fording 0.91 m (3 ft)
Armament: one 25-pdr (87, 6-mm/3, 45-
in) gmn-howitzer


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