StuG III file photo [7786]

Sturmgeschütz III

CountryGermany
ManufacturerDaimler-Benz AG
Primary RoleAssault Gun

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe Sturmgeschütz (StuG) assault guns were developed in 1936 as the German Army requested armored infantry support vehicles capable of carrying guns large enough to destroy opposing bunkers and other field fortifications. The development was done by Daimler-Benz AG, which mated 7.5-centimeter guns with the chassis of Panzer III medium tanks to come up with the answer for the German infantry. The first five examples were built in 1937, and mass production began in 1940. They first saw combat during the invasion of France and the Low Countries, during which StuG crews praised their effectiveness and low silhouette. The French campaign would also pose a threat for StuG assault guns, however. Much of the credit for the quick victory in France was given to fast-moving tanks, and thus Heinz Guderian and other like-minded generals were able to successfully lobby a limit in the production of StuG guns in favor of tanks. Despite the limitations, production would grow. At the start of 1942, factories were turning out only 45 units per month; by the end of 1942, the figure would grow to 120; by 1944, at the peak of StuG output, the highest monthly figure was 500. At that time, as Guderian became the Chief of the General Staff, he again limited StuG III production, this time placing a cap of 45 per month. Although StuG assault guns were initially designed for infantry support, the German infantry did not have the resources to re-organize its units to take in these new vehicles, thus they were assigned to the artillery organizations. The German Army artillery arm used them both as indirect and direct fire weapons, thus StuG would take on additional roles as tank destroyers, especially after they became equipped with the higher velocity guns, but they would still be used in their primary roles. To illustrate, between Dec 1943 and May 1944, StuG vehicles fired 315,280 rounds in combat, and only 16.3% of which were targeting enemy armored vehicles. In 1942, the variant design Sturmhaubitze 42 was developed; the StuH 42 vehicles were equipped with 105-millimeter howitzers, which re-focused their role as infantry-support vehicles. Between Oct 1942 and 1945, 1,211 StuH 42 vehicles were built. In late 1943, Germany began manufacturing assault guns based on the Panzer IV tank chassis; to distinguish the two different models, the StuG assault guns built on the Panzer III chassis were re-designated StuG III assault guns in early 1944, while the new Panzer IV-based ones were called StuG IV assault guns. In total, between 1940 and Mar 1945, 9,408 StuG III assault guns were built; this figure excluded StuH 42 production. StuG III guns accounted for 20,000 enemy tanks disabled or destroyed by spring of 1944.

ww2dbaseAmerican paratrooper Ed Shames of the 3rd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment recalled encountering a StuG III Ausf F/8 or Ausf G vehicle in Normandie, France:

As the [American M5] tanks came up beside me, I rose to my feet and trotted alongside, using them as a shield from the German machine gun fire.... Suddenly a couple of 75mm rounds went through the lead vehicle and into the tank directly behind it. The shots had been fired at point blank range and the lightly armored M5s didn't stand a chance.... The third tank started backing out and as it did so I picked myself up and ran.

ww2dbaseIn 1944, the Finnish Army received 29 StuG III assault guns from Germany for use against the Soviet Union. Together with the 30 StuG IV assault guns also given at the same time, the 59 assault guns destroyed 87 Soviet tanks at the loss of only 8 StuG vehicles. After WW2, they remained in Finnish service until the 1960s. A few StuG III assault guns were also exported to other German-friendly nations such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain.

ww2dbaseA number of StuG III assault guns were captured by Yugoslavian partisans during and after the European War. The Yugoslav Peoples Army used some of these captured vehicles until the 1950s. During the course of the war, the Soviet Union also captured a number of StuG III assault guns; some of the Soviet-captured examples were given to Syria, who used them during the Six Days War of 1967.

ww2dbaseSources:
Ian Gardner and Roger Day, Tonight We Die as Men
Steven Zaloga, M10 Tank Destroyer vs. StuG III Assault Gun
Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Jun 2009

SPECIFICATIONS

Ausf A (SdKfz 142)
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 265hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x75mm StuK 37 L/24 gun (44 rounds), 2x9mm machine pistols
Armor10-50mm
Crew4
Length5.38 m
Width2.92 m
Height1.95 m
Weight20.7 t
Range160 km

Ausf E
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 265hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x75mm StuK 37 L/24 gun (44 rounds), 2x9mm machine pistols
Armor10-50mm
Crew4
Length5.40 m
Width2.95 m
Height1.95 m
Weight22.0 t
Range160 km

Ausf F (SdKfz 142/1)
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 265hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x75mm StuK 40 L/43 gun (44 rounds), 1x7.92mm MG 34 machine gun, 2x9mm machine pistols
Armor10-50mm
Crew4
Length6.31 m
Width2.95 m
Height2.15 m
Weight23.2 t
Speed20 km/h off-road; 40 km/h on-road
Range140 km

Ausf F/8 (SdKfz 142/1)
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 300hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x75mm StuK 40 L/48 gun (44 rounds), 1x7.92mm MG 34 machine gun, 2x9mm machine pistols
Armor10-50mm
Crew4
Length6.31 m
Width2.95 m
Height2.15 m
Weight23.2 t
Speed20 km/h off-road; 40 km/h on-road
Range140 km

Ausf G (SdKfz 142/1)
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 300hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x75mm StuK 40 L/48 gun (54 rounds), 1x7.92mm coaxial MG 34 machine gun, 1x7.92mm hull MG 34 machine gun
Armor50mm gun shield, 30mm turret, 30mm glacis, 80mm bow, 30mm upper hull side, 50mm upper hull rear, 50mm lower hull rear
Crew4
Length6.14 m
Width2.95 m
Height2.16 m
Weight23.9 t
Speed20 km/h off-road; 40 km/h on-road
Range155 km

StuH 42 (SdKfz 142/2)
MachineryOne Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cyl water-cooled gasoline engine rated at 265hp
SuspensionTorsion bar
Armament1x105mm howitzer
Armor10-50mm
Crew4
Length6.00 m
Width2.95 m
Speed20 km/h off-road; 40 km/h on-road
Range140 km

Photographs

Camouflaged Sturmpanzer, Panzer V Panther, and two Sturmgeschütz III vehicles, Italy, Apr-May 1944German StuG III assault gun on a plain in Bulgaria, Apr 1941German StuG III assault gun in Stalingrad, Russia, Sep 1942, photo 1 of 3German StuG III assault gun in Stalingrad, Russia, Sep 1942, photo 2 of 3
See all 26 photographs of Sturmgeschütz III Assault Gun



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Dec 2009 03:44:56 PM

Coming out from the Cold, Old Warriors Find New Homes. Finland auctions off 20 World War II German Assault Guns and Tanks. The vehicles sold for a total of 916,000 US Dollars. One Sturmgeschuetz, StuG III,Ausf.G sold for 260,000 US Dollars. The StuG III was built in the largest number and went into production in December of 1942 1,114 were built. Production continued to the end of the war. It was armed with the 3 inch/75mm gun and one 7.92mm Machine Gun many StuG III's also served with Germany's Allies. After World War II many countries in Europe used the StuG III for years. Finland continued to use this vehicle into the 1950's. The Russians captured thousands of German Tanks and other Armored vehicles, among them were the StuG III's, that were later passed on to Soviet Client States. Total production of all StuG Assault Guns: 7,900.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Dec 2009 04:19:53 PM

Twenty two German Tanks have lain forgotten in a Bulgarian field for decades, are now up for auction starting price 100,000 Euros. Panthers, Assault Guns, and Panzer Mk IV's.
3. Anonymous says:
4 Nov 2017 02:47:52 PM

Bill, you're mistaken. Indeed STuG III was most produced armour vehicle in Germany but your numbers're way off. Around 10.000 were produced, prototypes were built in 1937 and went in full production in 1940. Most produced series was StuG III Ausf. G. They made around 8000 of them from autumn 1942 till the end of the war. Greetings.

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Sturmgeschütz III Assault Gun Photo Gallery
Camouflaged Sturmpanzer, Panzer V Panther, and two Sturmgeschütz III vehicles, Italy, Apr-May 1944
See all 26 photographs of Sturmgeschütz III Assault Gun




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