StuG III Ausf G

StuG III Ausf G

StuG III Ausf G

A StuG III Ausf G during the defence of Germany. A Volkssturm Grenadier armed with Panzerfaust is passing in front of the StuG.

The StuG III Ausf G or 7.5cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf G was a tank destroyer based on the Panzer III. Over 7,000 were built during the Second World War.

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StuG III 40 has been found with a dead crew! Exclusive! UPD Aug. 2020

One of the most popular articles on our website is an article about how in 2002 a German StuG-III 40 ausf G (WWII) with tail number 20 was found in a swamp in Velikiye Luki (Russia). Condition of StuG-III 40 ausf G was perfect both outside and inside the combat vehicle. But until recently, it was believed that the crew managed to leave it before the StuG-III 40 went to the bottom. But we managed to get information that refutes everything that we knew about it earlier. (+ Managed to establish the name of one crew member).

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4 Answers 4

The low silhouette of the StuG III (7 feet high vs 9 feet) made it ideal for ambush tactics. Against the Americans it's likely going to be on the defense and well hidden. It will probably get one or two aimed shots off at an advancing Sherman before the M4 can return fire. The StuG III's 75 mm KwK 40 L/48 gun could penetrate the M4A1's front armor at 1000 meters or more (except the gun mantlet).

Unlike other, heavier Wehrmacht armored vehicles, the StuG III was built in large numbers, over 10,000 though the best information I have says only 1,600 were deployed on the Western Front. And it was mechanically reliable. Unlike heavier German tanks which look fearsome on paper but few were built and many broke down, Shermans faced a large number of Stug IIIs.

The most important variable is the M4A1's gun. Is it using the low velocity M3 75mm/L40 gun or the M1 76mm high velocity cannon? Despite its poor anti-armor performance, the 75mm was retained because of it's superior high explosive shell. US tanks spent most of their time fighting infantry.

If our M4A1 has the 75mm gun, it's in trouble. It will struggle to penetrate the StuG III's 80mm of frontal armor at 500 meters. It is seriously outgunned. Its best bet is to fire a white phosphorous round to blind the StuG III while the M4 maneuvers for a side shot, or withdraws and calls in artillery, or calls in a buddy to flank the StuG III. WP could even cause a German crew to panic and bail out believing their vehicle is on fire.

An M4A1 with the 76mm high velocity gun is in a much better position. With a normal AP shell they can reliably penetrate a StuG III at 1000 meters. With an HVAP (High Velocity Armor Piercing) shell they could do it at 2500 meters. Unlike the Germans, the US was well supplied with specialty ammunition. If they can see the StuG III, they can destroy it.

In a close range fight, the M4 has some clear advantages. Not only does the M4 have a turret, but it has a powered turret allowing it to put the gun on target fast. The StuG III lacked a turret and could only traverse their gun about 25 degrees, and had to do it manually, before they had to turn the entire hull, a clumsy operation after which the gunner would have to reacquire the target.

Armored vehicles, if they're smart, don't operate alone. They operate with infantry. Here, the M4A1 has the advantage. The M4A1 was well suited to fighting infantry with three machine guns (a 30 cal in the bow, another mounted co-axially, and a commander's 50 cal), two of which could be fired while buttoned up. The StuG III G usually had only one machine gun. It was mounted behind a gun shield on top of the vehicle meaning a crewman had to expose themselves to operate it. Some StuG IIIs were modified with a co-axial machine gun as well.

Unfortunately I don't have specific M4 vs StuG III statistics. For further reading you might look into Steven Zaloga's books particularly M10 Tank Destroyer vs StuG III Assault Gun. The M10 was built on the M4 chassis, and carried a 3-inch gun similar to the M4's 76mm. On the other hand, it lacked armor and had an abysmally slow turret.

The “short barrel” series, Ausf.A to E

These versions were known by the Waffenamt as the Sd.Kfz.142.
-Only 36 Ausf.As were produced by Daimler-Benz AG between January and May 1940. The first were delivered in September 1939 and the whole series completed in April 1940. The last six were based on the Panzer III Ausf.G chassis. However, due to numerous production faults, only four batteries (15 vehicles) were sent in France by May 1940.

-The Ausf.B saw a much larger production (300), this time by Alkett, between June 1940 and May 1941. They were nearly identical to the Ausf.A, if not for the slightly larger tracks (380 mm instead of 360 mm). Standard roadwheels were interlocked with external 520x95mm ruberrized roadwheels and both were interchangeable. The early 10-speed transmission, which proved troublesome, was replaced by a 6-speed one. To reduce chances of the tracks being thrown off during tight turns, the forward return rollers were re-positioned even further forward.
-The Ausf.C was only produced for a single month, in April 1941, with 50 vehicles coming out of the factory. Nearly identical to previous versions, they had the main gunner’s forward view port eliminated (it was seen as a shot trap) and replaced by a relocated periscope in the front left of the casemate. The idler was also new. The campaign of France had shown the value of the StuG, and 150 Ausf.Ds were ordered, followed by 500 Ausf.Es.
-The Ausf.D was virtually identical, only receiving an on-board intercom. 150 were delivered between May and September 1941. It was simply an upgrade of the C on the production line. There was, however, a dip in effective deliveries due to the shortage of Maybach HL 120 TRM engines, which were being sent as replacements to the Eastern front depots.
-The Ausf.E replaced the previous version on the production line, with 284 delivered until February 1942. The side superstructure received rectangular armored boxes for extra radio equipment and storing six more rounds (reaching a total of 50), while a MG 34 with 7 drum-type magazines was installed on the right rear side of the casemate for close defense. The commander vehicles were given SF14Z stereoscopic scissor periscopes.

Usage in battles

This tank destroyer is best played as a support vehicle. Unlike its predecessors, it has excellent armour and can be invincible from long ranges. However, if playing with this tank close to the front lines, (for example, capturing points) this armour will not be adequate against the close-range power of most vehicles. Any shot which penetrates the armour will most likely destroy the vehicle due to the small interior layout. The sides are a weak point from any ranges, so take care of that as well. Support teammates from the flanks, attack from long ranges, and never close in the distance even for objectives unless necessary. If properly concealed, the enemy will never know where they are attacked as they concentrate their assault forwards.

Once in a game, choose the spawn point patiently to pick the best area to start accepting firing positions. The open spaces are not good for the StuGs so when repositioning, make sure it is safe before moving ahead. Flank an objective point where the enemies will be capped, but the teammates will be frontally attacking. Be careful not to get detected by the enemy and find a place where the StuG can be in cover and start shooting. Always look around, and if the situation gets bad, relocate to another vantage point. If the StuG III is rooted in the enemy lines and alone, only attack if there is only one enemy. From long ranges, the StuG can always a winner in 1v1 duels if played cautiously. From short intervals, the key is situational awareness, and how fast the StuG III can shoot down the enemy before they fire and hit the StuG.

  • American Tanks: M4 Shermans are easy targets, but in a 600 m area, they could penetrate the StuG's frontal armour if untangled. M4A3E2 Jumbos can lead to stalemates, but getting too close can allow the Jumbo to aim for weak spots. The best way to defeat the Jumbo is to flank and hit them at the side, preferably the lower area at the suspension where it is only 38.1 mm thick.
  • Soviet tanks: T-34 will be dangerous from any ranges. It is easy to penetrate them, so the StuG must detect and shoot them down quickly. From long ranges, angling the StuG slightly might enhance the front armour against the T-34 shells, but angling too much will allow the T-34 to hit the vulnerable side armour.
  • British tanks: The British tanks have some low calibre guns, but their high muzzle velocity and fast reload rate will penetrate and destroy the StuG easily. The Cruiser tanks like Cromwell will be a difficult target, as they are mobile and can flank the StuG easily. Be the first to detect the tank and fire at them while they are trying to position themselves, as their armour could be easily pierced by the 75 mm gun. If faced with a Churchill Mk.VII from the front, it is best to withdraw and call on teammates for support. If the Churchill is distracted, reposition to take aim at the side armour and devastate the interior with an APHE round. Other Churchills (Mk.I or Mk.III) can easily be penetrated frontally.

Pros and cons

  • Powerful 75 mm cannon with decent penetration, great accuracy and velocity, and a piercing APCR: even with the stock AP it can frontally one-shot most opponents like the M4, T-34, Cromwell or even the KV-1
  • Great frontal armour of 80 mm plus 20 mm add-on tracks (100 mm total, same as Tiger I) makes it immune to low-penetrating tanks like the T-34 1942, 75 mm M4 and M24
  • Low silhouette makes the StuG easy to conceal in RB and SB
  • Large side skirts can more or less provide some additional protection, especially against HEAT
  • Multi-role potential: can be effective in city combat or close quarters, or long-range sniping
  • Vertical parts of frontal armour can still get penetrated by tanks like the T-34-57 and M4A1 (76) W, which are commonly seen
  • A penetration through the driver port can knock out the driver, gunner, and commander, resulting in instant death for the StuG
  • Fixed casemate superstructure restricts gun movement to the front
  • Machine gun shield on the roof can compromise low profile and doesn't come with a machine gun
  • A HE shell onto the machine gun shield can send the shrapnel down through the hull roof down into the crew compartment, particularly from the large calibre cannon on the KV-2

Six-Day War

The Six Day War was fought in the Middle East between Israel and a coalition comprising of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria. It lasted from June 5 to 10, 1967.

Golan Heights is a disputed territory in the Middle East. Most of it is currently controlled by Israel and the eastern part by Syria. Both Israel and Syria consider the Golan Heights part of their territory. The UN Security Council recognizes this territory as Syrian.

Stug III Ausf G or Stug 40 Ausf G or how ?!

Post by MaxFax » 09 Aug 2002, 11:09

I am a little bit confuse about the correct name of Stug III Ausf G. I have found also (probably ?) the same Stug as "Stug 40 Ausf G" !
Can anybody tell me what is the correct name and why are there so many "names" ?!
Thanks in advance !

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 09 Aug 2002, 17:14

The Stu.G. III Ausf. G had a 7.5cm Stu.K. 40 L/48 gun, and was meant as an infantry support/tank destroyer
The Stu.H. 40 (which is the actual name for the 'StuG 40 G') had a 10.5cm Stu.H. 42 L/28 gun, and was meant as an assault howitzer.

They are the same

Post by CArlos Martin » 10 Aug 2002, 01:31

The 7.5 cm Sturmgeschütz 40 ausf G was called also in short Stug III ausf G. Both names refer to the same vehicle.

As the gun is a StuK40, the vehicle is called Stug 40 only Stug III ausf F, F/8 and G were called Sturmgeschütz 40 as they carried that gun.

The StuH42 is a different vehicle and was called "10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42" because it was armed with a StuH42. quite logical.

Post by Timo » 10 Aug 2002, 01:35

Stug 40 and Stug III

Post by Hans N » 10 Aug 2002, 01:52

The Stug III had a more boxed mantlet and the Stug 40 had the so-called
"Saukopf" (pighead, a rounded) mantlet.

Both these versions are Stug III:s!

Post by Timo » 10 Aug 2002, 02:17

Sorry Hans, thats incorrect. Carlos is right.

Spielberger writes:
(. ) der Fertigung von Sturmgeschützen 40 der F/8 in Dezember 1942 (. )
Spielberger: Sturmgeschütze, S.83

There were no Saukopf mantlets at that time, yet the StuG 40 is allready mentioned

Post by MaxFax » 10 Aug 2002, 10:34

Thank you a lot for your answers !
Now, there is little more light in my mind
I am interested in this subject, because Romania was using Stug III Ausf. G in WW2 !

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 10 Aug 2002, 17:30

Sorry, my bad (I'm very ashamed) - Carlos is correct.

The diffrence between the F and F/8 versions was that the F had a L/43 barrel, unlike the F/8 with the L/48 barrel.
The Stu.K. 40 was in practice the same gun as the 7.5cm Kw.K. 40 of the Pz.Kpfw. IV

The early Ausf. G vehicles also had the bolted mantle, and the presence of a Topfblende can't therefore be a determining factor as to wheter it's a G or F/8

Sturmgeschütz III

November 1943. German forces were engaged in a desperate battle to retain control of the Crimean Peninsula. They faced assaults to the north on the Perekop Isthmus, to the east on the Kertsch Peninsula and a sea borne assault on Kertsch itself. One of the few armoured units still available to the Germans was the 191st ('Büffel') Sturmgeschütz (StuG) Brigade.

The Germans struggled to keep their forces resupplied with their lines of communication under constant air and sea attack.

Towards the end of November 1943, the German supply ship Sante Fe sailed in convoy Wotan from the Romanian port of Konstanza. The ship was carrying supplies and replacement vehicles for the beleaguered German forces, including the 191st Brigade. Only a few hours short of her destination a torpedo slammed into her. Torn apart by internal explosions she broke in half and sank. 1278 tons of vital military cargo had gone to the bottom including ammunition, fuel, 2 Jagdpanzers and 12 Sturmgeschütze assault guns (StuGs).

In 2002 an ambitious plan was hatched to recover some of the vehicles from the wreck. After considerable risk, effort, and expense, divers succeeded in recovering two StuGs.

We were determined to secure a StuG with German provenance given that the majority of survivors did not serve with German forces during WWII. One of the Sante Fe StuGs fitted the bill perfectly. We had the German service and a spectacular provenance albeit somewhat short.

Once the StuG arrived in the UK, a complete photographic and technical survey was undertaken. This included detailed measurements of every feature, both interior and exterior. As with any such restoration details, production information and history are critical parts of the task. These details are built up over the course of the project. This is crucial to help assist in the repair, replacement or manufacture of components to ensure that they are in keeping with the original condition of the vehicle.

When you become a member, you have access to the full article detailing the work and research in this project and the ongoing issue resolution regarding fittings and detail.


Background Edit

At the time, German (non-light) tanks were expected to carry out one of two primary tasks when assisting infantry in breakthroughs, exploiting gaps in the enemy lines where opposition had been removed, moving through and attacking the enemy's unprotected lines of communication and the rear areas. The first task was direct combat against other tanks and other armoured vehicles, requiring the tank to fire armour piercing (AP) shells. [1]

On January 11, 1934, following specifications laid down by Heinz Guderian, the Army Weapons Department drew up plans for a medium tank with a maximum weight of 24,000 kg (53,000 lb) and a top speed of 35 km/h (22 mph). [2] It was intended as the main tank of the German Panzer divisions, capable of engaging and destroying opposing tank forces, and was to be paired with the Panzer IV, which was to fulfill the second use: dealing with anti-tank guns and infantry strong points, such as machine-gun nests, firing high-explosive shells at such soft targets. Such supportive tanks designed to operate with friendly infantry against the enemy generally were heavier and carried more armour.

The direct infantry-support role was to be provided by the turret-less Sturmgeschütz assault gun, which mounted a short-barrelled gun on a Panzer III chassis. [3]

Development Edit

Daimler-Benz, Krupp, MAN, and Rheinmetall all produced prototypes. Testing of these took place in 1936 and 1937, leading to the Daimler-Benz design being chosen for production. The first model of the Panzer III, the Ausführung A. (Ausf. A), came off the assembly line in May 1937 ten, two of which were unarmed, were produced in that year. [4] Mass production of the Ausf. F version began in 1939. Between 1937 and 1940, attempts were made to standardize parts between Krupp's Panzer IV and Daimler-Benz's Panzer III.

Much of the early development work on the Panzer III was a quest for a suitable suspension. Several varieties of leaf-spring suspensions were tried on Ausf. A through Ausf. D, usually using eight relatively small-diameter road wheels before the torsion-bar suspension of the Ausf. E was standardized, using the six road wheel design that became standard. The Panzer III, along with the Soviet KV heavy tank, was one of the early tanks to use this suspension design first seen on the Stridsvagn L-60 a few years earlier. [5]

A distinct feature of the Panzer III, influenced by the British Vickers Medium Mark I tank (1924), was the three-man turret. This meant that the commander was not distracted with another role in the tank (e.g. as gunner or loader) and could fully concentrate on maintaining awareness of the situation and directing the tank. Most tanks of the time did not have this capability, [6] providing the Panzer III with a combat advantage versus such tanks. For example, the French Somua S-35's turret was manned only by the commander, and the Soviet T-34 originally had a two-man turret crew. Unlike the Panzer IV, the Panzer III had no turret basket, merely a foot rest platform for the gunner. [7]

The Panzer III was intended as the primary battle tank of the German forces. However, when it initially met the KV-1 heavy tanks and T-34 medium tanks it proved to be inferior in both armour and gun power. To meet the growing need to counter these tanks, the Panzer III was up-gunned with a longer, more powerful 50-millimetre (1.97 in) gun and received more armour but still was at disadvantage compared with the Soviet tank designs. As a result, production of self-propelled anti-tank guns, as well as the up-gunning of the Panzer IV was initiated.

In 1942, the final version of the Panzer III, the Ausf. N, was created with a 75-millimetre (2.95 in) KwK 37 L/24 cannon, the same short-barreled low-velocity gun used for the initial models of the Panzer IV and designed for anti-infantry and close-support work. For defensive purposes, the Ausf. N was equipped with rounds of HEAT ammunition that could penetrate 70 to 100 millimetres (2.76 to 3.94 in) of armour depending on the round's variant, but these were strictly used for self-defence. [8]

Armour Edit

The Panzer III Ausf. A through C had 15 mm (0.59 in) of rolled homogeneous armour on all sides with 10 mm (0.39 in) on the top and 5 mm (0.20 in) on the bottom. This was quickly determined to be insufficient, and was upgraded to 30 mm (1.18 in) on the front, sides and rear in the Ausf. D, E, F, and G models, with the H model having a second 30 mm (1.18 in) layer of face-hardened steel applied to the front and rear hull. The Ausf. J model had a solid 50 mm (1.97 in) plate on the front and rear, while the Ausf. J¹, L, and M models had an additional layer of offset 20 mm (0.79 in) homogeneous steel plate on the front hull and turret, with the M model having an additional 5 mm (0.20 in) Schürzen spaced armour on the hull sides, and 8 mm (0.31 in) on the turret sides and rear. [9] This additional frontal armor gave the Panzer III frontal protection from many light and medium Allied and Soviet anti-tank guns at all but close ranges. However, the sides were still vulnerable to many enemy weapons, including anti-tank rifles at close ranges.

Armament Edit

The Panzer III was intended to fight other tanks in the initial design stage a 50-millimetre (1.97 in) gun was specified. However, the infantry at the time were being equipped with the 37-millimetre (1.46 in) PaK 36, and it was thought that, in the interest of standardization, the tanks should carry the same armament. As a compromise, the turret ring was made large enough to accommodate a 50-millimetre (1.97 in) gun should a future upgrade be required. This single decision later assured the Panzer III a prolonged life in the German Army. [1]

The Ausf. A to early Ausf. G were equipped with a 3.7 cm KwK 36 L/45, which proved adequate during the campaigns of 1939 and 1940. [10] In response to increasingly better armed and armored opponents, the later Ausf. F to Ausf. J were upgraded with the 5 cm KwK 38 L/42, [11] and the Ausf. J¹ to M with the longer 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 gun. [12]

By 1942, the Panzer IV was becoming Germany's main medium tank because of its better upgrade potential. The Panzer III remained in production as a close support vehicle. The Ausf. N model mounted a low-velocity 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 gun - these guns had originally been fitted to older Panzer IV Ausf A to F1 models and had been placed in storage when those tanks had also been up armed to longer versions of the 75 mm gun. [8]

All early models up to and including the Ausf. G had two 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 34 machine guns mounted coaxially with the 37 mm main gun and a similar weapon in a hull mount. [8] Models from the Ausf. F and later, upgraded or built with a 5 or 7.5 cm main gun, had a single coaxial MG 34 and the hull MG34. [13]

A single experimental Ausf. L was fitted with a 75/55mm tapered bore Waffe 0725 cannon. The vehicle was designated Panzer III Ausf L mit Waffe 0725. [14]

Mobility Edit

The Panzer III Ausf. A through D were powered by a 250 PS (184 kW), 12-cylinder Maybach HL108 TR engine, giving a top speed of 35 km/h (22 mph). [4] All later models were powered by the 300 PS (221 kW), 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM engine. Regulated top speed varied, depending on the transmission and weight, but was around 40 km/h (25 mph). [15]

The fuel capacity was 300 l (79 US gal) in Ausf A-D, 310 l (82 US gal) in Ausf. E-G and 320 l (85 US gal) in all later models. Road range on the main tank was 165 km (103 mi) in Ausf. A-J the heavier later models had a reduced range of 155 km (96 mi). Cross-country range was 95 km (59 mi) in all versions. [16] [17] [18]

The Panzer III was used in the German campaigns in Poland, in France, in the Soviet Union, and in North Africa. Many were still in combat service against Western Allied forces in 1944-1945: at Anzio in Italy [a] , in Normandy, [b] and in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. [c] A sizeable number of Panzer IIIs also remained as armored reserves in German-occupied Norway [19] and some saw action, alongside Panzer IVs, in the Lapland War against Finland in the fall of 1944. [20]

In both the Polish and French campaigns, the Panzer III formed a small part of the German armoured forces. Only a few hundred Panzer III Ausf. As to Fs were available in these two campaigns, with most being armed with the 37 mm (1.46 in) main gun. They were the best medium tank available to the German military at the period of time.

Aside from use in Europe, the Panzer III also saw service in North Africa with Erwin Rommel's renowned Afrika Korps. Most of the Panzer IIIs with the Afrika Korps were equipped with the KwK 38 L/42 50mm (short-barrelled) tank gun, with a small number possessing the older 37mm main gun of earlier variants. The Panzer IIIs of Rommel's troops were capable of fighting against British Crusader cruiser and US-supplied M3 Stuart light tanks with positive outcomes, although they did less effectively against Matilda II infantry tanks and American M3 Lee/Grant tanks fielded by the British starting from early 1942. In particular, the 75mm hull-mounted gun of the Lee/Grant tank could easily destroy a Panzer III far beyond the latter's own effective firing range, as is true for the US M4 Sherman, which also saw service with British forces alongside Lees/Grants in North Africa beginning in the middle of 1942.

Around the time of the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941, the Panzer III was, numerically, the most important German tank on the frontline. At this time period, the majority of the available tanks (including re-armed Ausf. Es and Fs, plus new Ausf. G and H models) for the invading German military had the 50 mm (1.97 in) KwK 38 L/42 50mm cannon, which also equipped the majority of Panzer IIIs fighting in North Africa. Initially, the Panzer IIIs were significantly outclassed by the more advanced Soviet T-34 medium and KV series of heavy tanks, the former of which was gradually encountered in greater numbers by the German forces as the invasion progressed. However, the most numerous Soviet tanks the Germans encountered at the start of the invasion were older T-26 light infantry and BT class of cruiser tanks. This fact, together with superior German tactical and strategic skills in armoured clashes, [21] sufficient quality crew training, and the generally-good ergonomics of the Panzer III, all contributed to a favourable kill-loss ratio of approximately 6:1 for German tanks of all types in 1941. [ citation needed ]

With the appearance of the T-34 and KV-1/-2 tanks, rearming the Panzer III with a longer-barrelled and more powerful 50-millimetre (1.97 in) gun was prioritised. The T-34 was generally invulnerable in frontal combat engagements with the Panzer III until the 50 mm KwK 39 L/60 tank gun was introduced on the Panzer III Ausf. J beginning in the spring of 1942 (this tank gun was based on the infantry's 50 mm Pak 38 L/60 towed anti-tank gun). This could penetrate the T-34's heavy sloped armour frontally at ranges under 500 metres (1,600 ft). [22] Against the KV class of heavy breakthrough tanks, the Panzer III was a significant threat if it was armed with special high-velocity tungsten-tipped armour-piercing (AP) rounds. In addition, to counter enemy anti-tank rifles, starting from 1943, the Ausf. L version began the use of spaced armour sideskirts and screens (known as Schürzen in German) around the turret and on the vulnerable hull-sides. However, due to the introduction of the upgunned and better armoured Panzer IV, the Panzer III was, after the German defeat at the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, relegated to secondary/minor combat roles, such as tank-training, and it was finally replaced as the main German medium tank by the Panzer IV and the Panzer V Panther.

The Panzer III's strong, reliable and durable chassis was the basis for the turretless Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer, one of the most successful self-propelled guns of the war, as well as being the single most-produced German armoured fighting vehicle design of World War II. [3]

By the end of the war in 1945, the Panzer III saw almost no frontline use, and many of them had been returned to the few remaining armaments/tank factories for conversion into StuG III assault guns, which were in high demand due to the defensive style of warfare adopted by the German Army by then. A few other variants of the Panzer III were also experimented on and produced by German industries towards the last phases of the war, but few were mass-produced or even see action against the encroaching enemy forces of the Americans, British and Soviets.

In 1943, Turkey received 22 Panzer III Ausf. Ms, with Hitler hoping the country, militarily strengthened by Nazi Germany, could possibly threaten the Soviet Union from its southern border (in any case, neutral Turkey did not participate in any form of aggression towards the USSR or the Western Allies, and eventually declared war on Nazi Germany nearing the end of WWII instead, perhaps from Allied pressure). [23] The Army of the Independent State of Croatia received 4 Ausf. N variants in the spring of 1944 and the Ustashe Militia received 20 other Ausf. Ns in the autumn of 1944. [24] Romania received a number of Panzer III Ausf. Ns for its 1st Armored Division in 1943. They were called T-3 in the Romanian army. At least 2 of them were still operational in 1945.

Norway used leftover stocks of ex-German Panzer IIIs (along with similar Sturmgeschütz III assault guns/tank destroyers) abandoned by departing Nazi occupation forces at the end of WWII up until the 1950s. In the Soviet Union, the Panzer III was one of the more common captured Nazi tanks they operated, as with the Panzer IV. At least 200, together with some StuG IIIs, fell into Soviet hands following the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad. The Soviets decided to upgun these captured German vehicles and two resulting designs were produced: the SG-122 self-propelled howitzer and the SU-76i assault gun. The former was not well-designed and was only built in very small numbers, with most not seeing combat action at all, while the latter was regarded as a better option of a Panzer III-based assault vehicle with a larger 75mm main gun. Aside from these locally designed variants of the Panzer III, the Soviets primarily tended to use them as their basic tank version, mainly used as second-line tanks, for reconnaissance and as mobile command posts. [ citation needed ]

The Japanese government bought two Panzer IIIs from their German allies during the war (one 50 mm and one 75 mm). Purportedly this was for reverse engineering purposes, since Japan put more emphasis on the development of new military aircraft and naval technology and had been dependent on European influence in designing new tanks. By the time the vehicles were delivered, the Panzer III's technology was obsolete. [25]


DaveDamerell wrote: Ron that is a great looking Stug, I really like your style. I have never really been able to find Modelkasten track. I bought a few sets at Hannants in the UK ages ago. I mainly use Fruils. Are you using different types. On your first pic I thought they were lightweight final track. Not to sure of the official description but it has a V cut out in the horn. I noticed that yours have cleats. Is that large box at the back scratch built? I have something similar from Atak. How is that spare wheel on the rear fender secured? I hope it’s OK to bombard you with questions,

I have a bit of reference including the Achtung Panzer book, it is a truism that you can never have too much reference or rephrased you will never have enough. I will have to go hunting for Stirling’s references. Are the Muller books good?

Marc’s timeline is good. I have a similar WIP list. I think I got the original from this site. I need to update it with the new material. I understand that production changes and details are more nuanced that the broad brushstrokes of early/mid/late. They can never be hard and fast as the overlap of features is continuous. I think that is what makes building kits like this fascinating. It would be nice if some of the new manufactures got involved. I can’t seem to find the Dragon kits anymore and Tamiya and Bronco kits are a bit limited. As a side project I am committing a Tamiya “early” Stug to major surgery. Not too sure whether the patient will survive.)

No, these tracks are MK SK-22 which are late/final type of chevron tracks you can see on some Pz.Kpfw.IVJ and late StuG IIIs, the only examples in plastic I believe (and expensive at over £50 as I needed 2 sets for this build ), though SpadeAce do them in metal. You can get MK shipped from BNA Modelworld in Australia. The box is scratchbuilt from evergreen/plastikard wood slats and scratched PE, the spare wheels have the standard deck mounts relocated onto some triangular (plastikard) mounts as the real F-G-B ones here:

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