Sturmgeschütz IV

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sturmgeschütz IV
Sturmgeschutz iv Muzeum Broni Pancernej CSWL 2.JPG
The StuG IV owned by the Muzeum im. Orła Białego, Poland
Type Assault gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1943-1945
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Fried. Krupp Grusonwerk AG, Magdeburg-Buckau
Produced Late 1943 - 1945
Number built 1,108 +31 conversions
Specifications
Weight 23 tonnes (50,705 lbs)
Length 6.7 m (20 ft)
Width 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
Height 2.20 m (7 ft 3 in)
Crew 4 (Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver)

Armor 10 - 80 mm (.39 - 3.14 in)
Main
armament
1x 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48
63 rounds
Secondary
armament
1x 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
600 rounds
Engine V12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM
300 PS (296 hp, 220.6 kW)
Transmission ZF SSG 76 Aphon
Suspension leaf spring
Ground clearance 40.0 cm (16 inches)
Fuel capacity 430 liter
Operational
range
210 km (130 mi)
Speed 40 km/h (25 mph)

The Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV) (Sd.Kfz. 167), was a German assault gun variant of the Panzer IV used in the mid-late period of the Second World War. Identical in role and concept to the highly successful StuG III assault gun variant of the Panzer III, both StuG models were quickly transitioned to a full-time tank destroyer role in the German retreats following the Battle of Kursk.

Development[edit]

A StuG IV destroyed and abandoned in Normandy, 1944.

The Sturmgeschütz IV resulted from Krupp's effort to supply an assault gun. As Krupp did not build Panzerkampfwagen IIIs, they used the Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis in combination with a slightly modified Sturmgeschütz III superstructure.

The first known proposal for a Sturmgeschütz on the Panzer IV chassis is in Krupp drawing number W1468 dated February 1943. This initial drawing unitized the outdated Sturmgeschütz Ausf. F superstructure on a Panzer IV chassis 9. This proposal had a sloped front superstructure with a combat weight of 28.26 tons. Krupp abandoned it in February 1943 because it was too heavy. Plans for the StuG IV were halted.

During the Führer Conference of August 19–22, 1943, after the battle of Kursk, Hitler had seen reports of the StuG III performing superior to the Panzer IV within certain restraints of how they were deployed. Convinced that a tank-hunter version would be superior to the tank version, Hitler planned to switch Panzer IV production to "Panzerjäger IV" production as soon as possible. It was to mount the same 7.5 cm L/70 used for the Panther. Another manufacturer, Vomag built a prototype Panzerjäger IV with 7.5 cm L/48 gun and demonstrated it on October 20, 1943. It was later re-designated as Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F. As the Jagdpanzer IV was already being produced by Vomag, the StuG IV may not have materialized, had it not been for the major disruption of StuG III production, and the scarce supply of the 7.5 cm L/70 gun designated for the Jagdpanzer IV.

In November 1943, Alkett, the manufacturer of the StuG III, suffered damage in a bombing raid. Alkett produced 255 StuG III in October 1943, but in December production fell to just 24 vehicles. A conference held December 6–7, 1943, addressed possible solutions to this problem. Hitler welcomed the suggestion of taking the StuG III superstructure and mounting it on a Panzer IV chassis. The StuG IV could be more quickly manufactured than the Jagdpanzer IV at the time. This restarted the Sturmgeschütz IV project. This time, the superstructure of the StuG III Ausf. G was mounted on a Panzer IV chassis 7, with a box compartment for the driver added. Combat weight was 23000 kg, lighter than the 23900 kg for the StuG III Ausf. G. On Dec. 16-17, 1943, Hitler was shown the StuG IV and approved it. To make up for the large deficit in StuG III production StuG IV production was now given full support.

From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls. While the number is smaller than the 10,000+ StuG III, the StuG IV supplemented and fought along with StuG III during 1944-45, when they were most needed.

Design[edit]

The StuG IV became known as an effective tank killer, especially on the Eastern Front.

It had a four-man crew, and was issued mainly to infantry divisions.

  • Commander in hull left rear
  • Gunner in hull left center
  • Loader in hull right rear
  • Driver in hull left front

Surviving vehicles[edit]

There are presently three surviving examples of the StuG IV.

  • Poland.
    • Held by the Muzeum im. Orła Białego (White Eagle Museum) a military museum located in the town of Skarżysko-Kamienna. It's a makeshift restoration using a StuG IV hull and various parts from Stug IIIs and Panzer IVs.
    • Held by the Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań. It's complete and in running condition.[1]
  • Latvia.
    • In October 2011, a StuG IV that was found in a swamp in the former Courland Pocket was restored by a Latvian enthusiast. This vehicle with no engine or gearbox, was offered for sale on milweb.net at an asking price of 425,000 Euros. It was also listed on eBay with a "Buy It Now" price of 900,000 US Dollars.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "300 litrów na 100 kilometrów" (in Polish). Moto.onet.pl. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "German StuG IV Sturmgeschütz IV WW2". eBay. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 

External links[edit]