Grille (artillery)

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Grille Ausf. M
Grille Aberdeen.00044ijk05.jpg
Grille Ausf. M on display at the US Army Ordnance Museum.
Type self propelled artillery
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1943 - 1945
Wars World War II
Production history
Produced 1943 - 1944
Number built 389
Variants ammunition carrier
Specifications
Weight 11.5 tonnes
Length 4.95 m (16 ft 3 in)
Width 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)
Height 2.47 m (8 ft 1 in)
Crew 4

Armor 10 mm - 15 mm
Main
armament
15 cm sIG 33
15 rounds
Secondary
armament
7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
600 rounds
Engine 1 x Praga AC, 6-cylinder petrol engine
147 hp (110 kW)
Suspension Leaf spring
Operational
range
190 km (120 mi)
Speed 35 km/h (22 mph)

The Grille (German: "cricket") was a series of self propelled artillery vehicles used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Grille series was based on the Czech Panzer 38(t) tank chassis and used a 15 cm sIG 33 infantry gun.

Development[edit]

The original order for 200 units of the Grille, was to be based on the new 38(t) Ausf. M chassis that BMM (Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik) was developing, however delays caused production to start on the 38(t) Ausf. H chassis.

Grille Ausf. H[edit]

The first variant of the Grille was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. H chassis,[1] which had its engine in the rear. Instead of a turret the vehicle had a low-slung superstructure and fighting compartment.[1] The 15 cm schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (heavy infantry gun) was mounted in the front of this armored compartment. Being built on a tank chassis, its hull armour was 50 mm (front) and its superstructure armour was 25 mm (front)[1]

A total of 200 (including one prototype) were produced in the BMM (erstwhile ČKD Praga) factory in Prague from February to June 1943, further 10 were built in November 1943. The official designation was 15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H (Sd.Kfz. 138/1).[citation needed]

Grille Ausf. K[edit]

The second Grille variant was based on the Ausf. M chassis which was specifically designed for self-propelled mounts. The engine was relocated to the center of the vehicle, permitting the gun to be mounted at the rear. The fighting compartment at the rear of the vehicle was somewhat smaller and higher than in the previous version. The main gun was also the 15 cm schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33.

From December 1943 to September 1944 a total of 162 vehicles were produced. Further 17 vehicles were built in 1945 for an overall production of 179.[citation needed] The official designation was 15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33/1 auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) (Sf) Ausf. M (Sd.Kfz. 138/1)

Ammunition carrier[edit]

As the Grille had limited ammunition storage, a dedicated variant of the Grille Ausf. K was built as Munitionspanzer 38(t) (Sf) Ausf. K (SdKfz. 138/1). It carried ammunition racks instead of the main gun but could be converted back to normal configuration in the field by mounting the 15 cm gun onto it. Production totaled 102 vehicles.[citation needed]

Combat history[edit]

Both versions were intended to take service in the schwere Infanteriegeschütz Companies within the Panzergrenadier Regiments, inside Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions, in their heavy infantry gun units. Each detachment had six available.

Surviving vehicles[edit]

  • A "Grille" Ausf. K is on display at the US Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen, USA.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rickard, John. "Grille/ 15cm sIG33 (Sfl) auf PzKpfw 38(t) ausf H, M". http://www.historyofwar.org. Retrieved 29 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chamberlain, Peter, and Hilary L. Doyle. Thomas L. Jentz (Technical Editor). Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A Complete Illustrated Directory of German Battle Tanks, Armoured Cars, Self-propelled Guns, and Semi-tracked Vehicles, 1933–1945. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1978 (revised edition 1993). ISBN 0-85368-202-X; rev. ed. ISBN 1-85409-214-6.

Further reading[edit]

  • Trewhitt Philip, 1999, Armoured Fighting Vehicles, p 104
  • Jentz, T. L. (2002). Artillerie Selbstfahrlafetten. 15 cm s.I.G.33 auf Pz.Kpfw. I (ohne Aufbau) to Karl-Geraet (54 cm). Panzer Tracts № 10. Boyds, MD: Panzer Tracts. ISBN 0-97084-075-6. 
  • Edmundson, Gary (2005). Modelling the German 15cm SIG 33 Bison and Grille. Osprey Modelling № 19. Oehler, Robert. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781841768403. 

External links[edit]