Stug III or Sturmgeschütz III Best German Tank Destroyer of World War 2
Stug III or Sturmgeschütz III Best German Tank Destroyer of World War 2

Stug III or Sturmgeschütz III: Best German Tank Destroyer of World War 2

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The Sturmgeschütz III, commonly known as StuG III, was a German assault gun developed during World War II. Designed primarily for infantry support, it quickly became one of the most successful armored vehicles of the war.

With its low profile and solid firepower, the StuG III proved to be a deadly weapon on the battlefield.

The StuG III was first introduced in 1940 and it remained in production until the end of the war in 1945. It was based on the chassis of the Panzer III tank, but instead of a turret, it featured a fixed gun in a casemate-style superstructure. This design allowed for a lower silhouette, making it less susceptible to being hit by enemy fire.

Armed with a 75mm StuK 40 L/48 gun, the StuG III had excellent anti-tank capabilities. It was capable of penetrating the armor of most Allied tanks at medium range. Additionally, it also served as a highly effective infantry support vehicle, delivering devastating blows to enemy positions.

The StuG III saw action on all fronts during World War II, from the deserts of North Africa to the Eastern Front and the Western Front. Its simplicity, reliability, and firepower made it a valuable asset for the German army, earning it a fearsome reputation among Allied forces.

Now, Tracks of Steel take you on a journey of this amazing weapon! Join us, continue reading!

Erich von Manstein, father of Sturmartillerie concept<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_von_Manstein#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-H01757,_Erich_von_Manstein.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Erich von Manstein, father of Sturmartillerie concept Source

Development of Stug III Assault Gun

During World War I, German experiences revealed infantry’s inability to effectively engage fortifications on the Western Front. The existing artillery, being heavy and immobile, failed to keep up with advancing infantry and destroy bunkers, pillboxes, and minor fortifications directly.

General Erich von Manstein is credited as the “father” of the Sturmartillerie (assault artillery), proposing its use in direct-fire support for infantry divisions of the German Army. On June 15, 1936, Daimler-Benz AG received an order to develop an armored infantry support vehicle with a 7.5 cm caliber artillery piece mounted on a fixed casemate superstructure. The vehicle’s height was to match that of an average soldier.

Panzer III chassis served as started point for the assault gun <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/panzer-iii-tank/Panzer_III_assembly_line_Berlin-Spandau_1940.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Panzer III chassis served as started point for the assault gun Source

Design and Prototypes

Daimler-Benz AG utilized the chassis and running gear of the Panzer III medium tank as a basis for the new Sturmgeschütz. Alkett produced five prototypes in 1937, featuring mild steel superstructures and a 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 cannon with a howitzer-like appearance. Production vehicles with this gun were designated “Gepanzerte Selbstfahrlafette für Sturmgeschütz 7.5 cm Kanone Ausführung A bis D (Sd.Kfz.142)”.

The question arose regarding which land combat arm would handle the StuG; it was agreed to integrate it into the artillery arm. StuGs were organized into battalions, later renamed “brigades”, and followed their own doctrine, primarily focusing on infantry support through direct fire and later emphasized anti-tank roles.

StuG III assembly line <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stug_iii/StuG_III_assembly_line.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
StuG III assembly line Source

Technical details of Sturmgeschütz III

Dimensions

The final vehicle measured 6.77 meters in length, 2.95 meters in width, and 2.16 meters in height, with a weight of 23.9 tons. The range of the “G” variant was 155 km.

Stug III dimensions, weight, lenght, width height table
Stug III dimensions, weight, lenght, width height table

Armour

For protection for the crew the vehicle’s armor consisted of a 50 mm gun shield, 30 mm turret, 30 mm glacis, 80 mm bow, 30 mm upper hull side, 50 mm upper ear, and 50 mm lower hull rear.

Suspension of Sturmgeschütz III: six travel wheels on each side, sprung with torsion bars.
Suspension of Sturmgeschütz III: six travel wheels on each side, sprung with torsion bars. Source: Wikimedia

Suspension

The StuG III’s suspension featured six travel wheels on each side, sprung with torsion bars. The travel wheels had a diameter of 520 mm and were equipped with rubber tires for a smoother ride. The double wheels allowed the tracks’ guide teeth to pass through the gap between them.

Stug IIIs 520 mm travel wheels with rubber tires. Gap helps the track's guide teeth to go through.
520 mm travel wheels with rubber tires. Gap helps the track’s guide teeth to go through. Source: Wikimedia

To handle the stress during driving, the first and last driving wheels had additional shock absorbers. At the front was a toothed drive wheel with circular relief holes, while the back had a tension wheel. The upper part of the belt was supported by three return rollers with a diameter of 310 mm.

Starting from StuG III Ausf. B, the first return roller was moved slightly forward to reduce the risk of track derailment. To enhance mobility, slightly wider tracks, increased from 380 to 400 mm, were used on the Ausf. B. Additionally, a wide rubber rim was added to the six doubled road wheels to extend their service life. Some vehicles still retained the older type sprockets, showcasing a visual difference.

Maybach HL120 engine, source of 265 hp for Stug IIIs and Panzer IIIs.
Maybach HL120 engine, source of 265 hp for Stug IIIs and Panzer IIIs.

Engine and transmission

The Stug Ausf.B utilized a modified twelve-cylinder, 12-liter, water-cooled Maybach HL 120 TRM engine, delivering 265 hp at 2,600 rpm. This engine was also used in Panzer IVs, Elefants (2 per vehicle), and Nashorns.

The StuG III Ausf.A featured a complex Maybach Variorex SRG 32 8 145 semi-automatic transmission with ten forward and one reverse speed. While theoretically capable of reaching speeds up to 70 km/h, it proved unreliable with frequent breakdowns. This impractical transmission was quickly replaced with a more straightforward Zahnradfabrik SSG 77 six-speed manual gearbox from the Ausf B model onwards.

Ausf G’s off-road speed reached 20 km/h, while it achieved 40 km/h on-road.

Stug III Engine Transmission maximum road speed table
Stug III Engine Transmission maximum road speed table

Cost-Effectiveness and Production

Sturmgeschütz vehicles were cheaper and faster to manufacture than contemporary German tanks due to the omission of a turret. A StuG III Ausf G cost 82,500 RM, compared to 103,163 RM for a Pzkpfw III Ausf. M. By the end of the war, around 11,300 StuG IIIs and StuH 42s had been produced overall.

Main gun of Sturmgeschütz III assault gun of the Third Reich
Main gun of Sturmgeschütz III assault gun of the Third Reich

Evolution of the 75 mm Gun of Sturmgeschütz III

Early StuG models were equipped with a low-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 gun, akin to the early Panzer IV versions. However, after the German Army encountering Soviet tanks like the KV-1 and T-34, the StuG received upgrades. It was equipped with a high-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 main gun in spring 1942, followed by the slightly longer 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun in autumn 1942. These high-velocity guns were identical to those mounted on the Panzer IV for anti-tank purposes but carried less explosive and had a lower blast effect against infantry or field fortifications. These versions were known as the 7.5 cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf.F, Ausf. F/8, and Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz.142/1).

Armour and Main Gun table
Armour and Main Gun table

View through the Sturmgeschütz III gun sight Sfl. ZF1 to a burning T34
View through the Sturmgeschütz III gun sight Sfl. ZF1 to a burning T34. Image source: Reddit

Sight for the Sturmgeschütz III’s Main Gun

The assault guns use two different sights:

StuG III Ausf. A-E versions used Sfl. ZF1 + Rbl. F32 sight, all other StuG III Ausf. F-G: used Sfl. ZF1a + Rbl. F36.

Many StuG III/IV, Hetzer, and Jagdpanzer used this sight/drum combo—a common item. It’s field repairable, containing 3 periscopic lens elements. Swapping a damaged piece was quick, though zeroing might be needed.

Unlike articulated sights in Panzers, the Sfl. ZF1a allowed easy replacement. But if damaged, panzer sights became ineffective for ranged shooting. The Sfl. ZF1a’s roof had a curved slot to move with the gun’s motion.

Weapon Enhancements

Starting with the StuG III Ausf. G in December 1942, an added 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun could be mounted on a shield atop the superstructure for anti-infantry protection. Later in the war, some F/8 models were retrofitted with a shield. By 1944, an additional coaxial 7.92 mm MG34 became standard on all production models.

Stug III Variants

Stug prototypes

In 1937, five StuG III prototypes were produced on Panzer III Ausf. B chassis. By December of the same year, two of these vehicles were in service with Panzer Regiment 1 in Erfurt. These samples featured eight road wheels per side with 360-millimeter (14 in) wide tracks and a 14.5 mm thick soft steel superstructure. They were armed with a 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 gun. Although not fit for combat, they served as training vehicles until early 1941.

Side drawing of he Sturmgeschütz III Ausf A Assault Gun.
Side drawing of he Sturmgeschütz III Ausf A Assault Gun.

The StuG III Ausf. A (Sd.Kfz. 142)

The Ausf. A (Sd.Kfz. 142), produced by Daimler-Benz from January to May 1940, saw service during the Battle of France. It featured a modified 5./ZW chassis (Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. F) with reinforced front armor measuring 5 cm.

The production included 30 vehicles initially, with the last six using chassis diverted from Panzerkampwagen III Ausf. “G” production.

StuG III Ausf. B from Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 201, the Wehrmacht on a bridge collapsed by it's weight
StuG III Ausf. B from Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 201, the Wehrmacht on a bridge collapsed by it’s weight

StuG III Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 142)

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf. B model featured a modified 7./ZW chassis (Panzer III Ausf. H) with widened tracks (380 mm). The road wheels had two rubber tires, widened from 520 × 79 mm to 520 × 95 mm each, and were interchangeable. The troublesome 10-speed transmission was replaced with a more reliable 6-speed one. To improve track stability, the return rollers were re-positioned further forward, reducing vertical movements before reaching the forward drive sprocket and minimizing track throwing. During production, the original eight-round-hole drive sprocket was replaced with a new cast drive sprocket featuring six pie slice-shaped slots. This new drive wheel accommodated both 380 mm and 360 mm wide tracks. Spacer rings allowed the older sprockets to use 380 mm tracks.

StuG III Ausf. B Sd.Kfz 142 entered production on June 1940, and manufactured to May 1941, with sum of 300 units.

Side view of StuG III Ausf C and Ausf D
Side view of StuG III Ausf C and Ausf D Source: Wikimedia

StuG III Ausf. C (Sd.Kfz. 142)

The gunner’s forward view port, which posed a shot trap, was removed and replaced with an opening for the gunner’s periscope on the top. Additionally, the idler wheel was redesigned.

50 units of Ausf. C, Sd.Kfz. 142 maded in April 1941.

StuG III Ausf. D Sd.Kfz 142_1 <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stug_iii/Stug_early.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Ausf. D Sd.Kfz 142_1 Source

StuG III Ausf. D (Sd.Kfz. 142)

Essentially a contract extension of the Ausf. C. It featured an on-board intercom installation and added transmission hatch locks, remaining otherwise identical to the Ausf. C.

150 units of Ausf. D, Sd.Kfz 142 produced in May to September period of 1941.

Sturmgeschutz StuG III Ausf E <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stug_iii/Sturmgeschutz_StuG_III_Ausf_E.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Ausf E Source

StuG III Ausf. E (Sd.Kfz 142)

Produced from September 1941 to February 1942, featured extended rectangular proteceted boxes on the sides to accommodate radio equipment. This modification allowed for six additional rounds of ammunition for the main gun, providing a maximum of 50 rounds, along with a machine gun. To protect the vehicle from enemy infantry, one MG 34 and seven drum-type magazines were stored in the right rear side of the fighting compartment. Officially, vehicle commanders were equipped with SF14Z stereoscopic scissor periscopes.

284 “E” models (Sd.Kfz 142) vehicles manufactured in the period of September 1941 to February 1942.

German StuG III Ausf F assault gun among destroyed tenement houses in Stara Rusa. October, 1943
German StuG III Ausf F assault gun among destroyed tenement houses in Stara Rusa. October, 1943

StuG III Ausf. F Sd.Kfz 142/1

This version saw a significant upgrade with the longer 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 gun. Using the Panzergranat-Patrone 39, it could penetrate up to 91 mm of armor inclined at 30 degrees from vertical at 500 m, making it capable of engaging most Soviet armored vehicles at typical combat ranges.

The addition of an exhaust fan on the rooftop facilitated continuous firing by evacuating fumes from spent shells. To enhance protection, additional 3 cm armor plates were welded to the existing 5 cm frontal armor from June 1942, increasing it to 8 cm thick.

Further improvements were made in June 1942, when Ausf. F models were mounted with a 13-inch longer 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun. Using the same ammunition, the longer L/48 gun could penetrate up to 96 mm of armor at 500 m, increasing its anti-tank capabilities. This upgrade solidified the StuG’s role as a tank destroyer rather than just an infantry support vehicle.

This Sd.Kfz 142/1 version was in production in the period from March to September 1942, overall 366 produced.

StuG III Ausf. F_8 Sd.Kfz 142_1 <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stug-3/StuG_Ausf_F8.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Ausf. F/8 Sd.Kfz 142/1 Source

StuG III Ausf. F/8 Sd.Kfz 142/1

Introduced an improved hull design based on the Panzer III Ausf. J/L, with increased rear armor. This version marked the 8th iteration of the Panzer III hull, hence “F/8” designation. Towing hook holes extended from side walls. Starting from October 1942, additional 30 mm thick armor plates were bolted (previously welded) to expedite production.

The 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun became standard from F/8 until the last of the Ausf. G. Some L/48 guns on F/8s lacked double baffle muzzle brakes and were fitted with the single baffle ball type used on the Pzkpfw IV Ausf. F2/G. New StuG III Ausf. F/8 Sd.Kfz 142/1 was in production line from September to December of 1942, sum 250 produced.

Sturmgeschutz StuG III Ausf E <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stug-40/StuG_40_Ausf_G_with_spaced_armour_plates.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
Ausf E with extra side protection Source

StuG III Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1)

This was the final and most prevalent variant of the StuG series, in production from December 1942 to April 1945, with approximately 8,423 units manufactured. It was based on a modified Panzer III Ausf. M and 142 units built were manufactured, with 173 others converted from existing Pz IIIs. The most noticeable change was the widened upper superstructure, eliminating the welded boxes on the sides and increasing its height to 2,160 m.

In this new superstructure design, the back wall of the fighting compartment was straightened, and the ventilation fan was relocated to the back. As of March 1943, the driver’s periscope was no longer included. During February 1943, MIAG joined Alkett as the second manufacturer of StuG III Ausf. G.

Sturmgeschütz III Ausf G with Schürzen extra sie armour
Model “G” with Schürzen extra sie armour

From May 1943, side hull spaced armor plates, known as “Schürzen”, were added to the G models. These plates provided protection against Russian anti-tank rifles and hollow-charge ammunition. Some Ausf. F/8 models were retrofitted with side plates in preparation for the Battle of Kursk.

Initially, the mountings for the Schürzen proved inadequate, leading to many losses in the field. However, an improved mounting was introduced in March 1944, resulting in more frequent appearances of side skirts on late-model Ausf. G. Additionally, the frontal armor was upgraded to 80 mm thick plates from May 1943, replacing the previous two plates of 50 mm + 30 mm.

Nevertheless, a backlog of StuGs with 50 mm armor existed, and an additional 30 mm plate needed to be welded or bolted on until October 1943.

For the “G”, a rotating cupola with periscopes was added for the Commander. However, due to a lack of ball bearings caused by USAAF bombing of Schweinfurt, cupolas were welded on from September 1943.

Ball bearings were reinstalled from August ’44. Shot deflectors for the cupolas were initially installed from October 1943 in one factory, and then on all units from February 1944. Some vehicles without shot deflectors used wired track pieces around the cupola for added protection.

Starting from December 1942, a square machine gun shield for the loader allowed an MG34 to be factory installed on a StuG for the first time. The shield folded back when stowed, partially overlapping the front half of the loader’s hatch cover. A welded curved protrusion guided the hatch cover to engage a latch point on the shield, supporting it in its deployed position without exposing the loader to forward fire.

F/8 models received retro-fitted machine gun shields from early 1943. The loader’s machine gun shield was later replaced by a rotating machine gun mount operated by the loader through a periscope. In April 1944, 27 of these mounts were tested on the Eastern front. Positive results led to their installation as “remote” machine gun mounts from the summer of 1944.

Starting from October 1943, G versions of StuGs featured the “Topfblende”or “Saukopfpot mantlet, renowned as “Pig’s head,” without a coaxial mount. This sloped and rounded cast mantlet proved more effective at deflecting shots compared to the original boxy “Kastenblende” mantlet, which had varying armor thickness. The trapezoid-shape boxy mantlet, however, continued production until the end.

“Topfblende” mantlets were predominantly fitted to Alkett-produced vehicles.

From June 1944, a coaxial machine gun was added to boxy mantlets, and later in October 1944, to cast “Topfblende” mantlets during their production. By autumn 1944, all StuGs carried two MG 34 machine guns. Some previously completed StuGs with a boxy mantlet underwent retrofitting to add a coaxial machine gun hole.

However, “Topfblende” mantlets produced from November 1943 to October 1944 without a machine gun opening remained unaltered.

From November 1943, all-metal return rollers of various types were used due to a shortage of rubber supply. Zimmerit anti-magnetic coating, protecting vehicles from magnetic mines, was applied from September (MIAG facility) or November (Alkett facility) 1943 until September 1944

StuH 42 front view Winterketten tracks. Note the short barrel. <a href="https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/germany/tanks/stuh-42/StuH_42_front.jpg" rel="nofollow"> Source</a>
StuH 42 front view Winterketten tracks. Note the short barrel. Source

StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2)

During 1942, a variant of the StuG Ausf. F emerged, featuring a 10.5 cm true howitzer instead of the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 cannon. These new vehicles, known as StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2), were specifically designed to support infantry while the increased number of StuG III Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. Gs focused on the anti-tank role. The StuH 42 utilized a modified version of the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer, with electrical firing and a muzzle brake. Production models were built on StuG III Ausf. G chassis. However, due to resource scarcity in later war stages, the muzzle brake was often omitted. Alkett produced 1,299 StuH 42s from March 1943 to 1945, with the initial 12 vehicles built on repaired StuG III Ausf. F and F/8 chassis between autumn 1942 and January 1943.

StuG III (Flamm) (Sd.Kfz. 142/2)

In 1943, ten StuG IIIs were converted to the StuG III (Flamm) variant, replacing the main gun with a Schwade flamethrower. These refurbished chassis comprised various pre-Ausf. F models. However, there are no records of them being used in combat, and by 1944, all were restored to Ausf. G standard at the depot level.

Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B

During late 1941, the StuG was chosen to mount the 15 cm sIG 33 heavy infantry gun. These became the Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B vehicles. Out of the twenty-four rebuilt on older StuG III vehicles, twelve saw action in the Battle of Stalingrad but were either destroyed or captured. The other twelve were assigned to the 23rd Panzer Division. Last strength report share five remaining in September, 1944.

Combat archieves of Stug III Panzer

The Stug III’s historical impact is undeniable, with a commendable combat record. An Artillery Inspectorate report from September 1944 praised its operations on the Eastern Front from January to August 1944. During this period, Stugs destroyed 4,667 enemy tanks, with 713 losses. The report estimated an astonishing total of 18,261 Russian tanks destroyed by Stug IIIs on the Eastern Front until August ’44. This number likely increased by the war’s end, as Stug units in the Western Front and Africa achieving many more victories. As the war progressed, Stug IIIs were even assigned to tank units, filling in for Panzer IVs and joining tank destroyer units due to equipment shortages.

Memory of meeting a Stug in Normandie

During his time in Normandy, France, American paratrooper Ed Shames, from the 3rd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, had a memorable encounter with a StuG III Ausf F/8 or “G” vehicle.

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.

Operational History

The Stug III-series proved highly successful, serving on all fronts of World War II. From Russia to North Africa and Western Europe to Italy, they acted as assault guns and tank destroyers. Thanks to their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were challenging to spot and hide, making them difficult targets. As of April 10, 1945, Germany had 1,053 StuG IIIs and 277 StuH 42s in service. These assault guns were cost-effective compared to heavier German tanks like the Tiger I and Panther, but were better suited for defensive anti-tank roles due to their fixed superstructure and thin armor.

A well camouflaged Stug III in Italy, 1944.
A well camouflaged Stug III in Italy, 1944.

Stugs in Italy

In Italy, tank crews valued all variants for fighting Allied armor, but it faced mechanical unreliability, especially in its delicate final drive units. Italy received only three StuG IIIs during WWII.

Stug III serving in Finnish Army, Tienhaara, Hanhijoki 23.06.1944 Source
Stug III serving in Finnish Army, Tienhaara, Hanhijoki 23.06.1944 Source: Wikimedia

Stug Operations in the Finnish Army

The Finnish Army received 59 StuG III Ausf. Gs from Germany in 1943 and 1944, using them against the Soviet Union. Alongside 30 StuG IV assault guns provided simultaneously, these 59 vehicles proved formidable, destroying 87 Soviet tanks while only losing 8 StuGs. Post-war, they remained the primary combat vehicles of the Army until the early 1960s, earning the nickname “Sturmi.”

Stugs in Romania

Romania received 100 StuG III Ausf. Gs in the autumn of 1943, officially known as TAs in their inventory. By February 1945, 13 were still in use with the 2nd Armoured Regiment. Most were likely StuG III Ausf. Gs, along with a few Panzer IV/70 (V) (TAs T4), supplied by the Red Army or repaired by Romania. All German equipment was scrapped by 1954, replaced with Soviet armor.

Sturmgeschütz served in Hungary and Bulgaria

StuG IIIs were exported to friendly nations, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, and Spain. Hungary used them against Soviet forces in 1944-45, while Bulgaria transitioned to fixed gun emplacements on the Krali Marko Line.

Yugoslavia and Spain

Yugoslav partisans captured StuG units during and after the war, later used by the Yugoslav People’s Army until the 1950s. Spain received a small number, selling some to Syria in the 1950s.

Stugs in Syria and Israel

After WWII, abandoned StuG IIIs were found in countries occupied by the Germans, like Czechoslovakia, France, Norway, and Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union donated hundreds to Syria.

Syria used these weapons and other surplus armored vehicles from the USSR or Czechoslovakia until the 1960s. During the Six-Day War in 1967, many were destroyed, scrapped, or used as pillboxes on the Golan Heights.

Some remained in service until the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Today, none remain in service; some have become war memorials in Israel or rust away on former battlefields.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Sturmgeschütz III

What is a Sturmgeschütz III?

A Sturmgeschütz III, commonly called as StuG III, is a German tank destroyer and assault gun developed and used during World War II. It was based on the chassis of the Panzer III tank.

What does “Ausf” mean when referring to Sturmgeschütz III Ausf variants?

The term “Ausf” is an abbreviation for “Ausführung” which means “model” or “version” in German. Since Stug III has slightly different production variants it’s more accurate to refer the variant of the vehicle, such as Sturmgeschütz III Ausf A, Ausf B, etc.

What was the role of the Sturmgeschütz III?

The Sturmgeschütz III served as both a tank destroyer and an infantry support vehicle. It was designed to provide direct fire support to German infantry units and to engage enemy tanks and fortified positions.

Was the Sturmgeschütz III a tank or a self-propelled gun?

The Sturmgeschütz III was classified as an assault gun. While it shared similarities with tanks, it was primarily designed for infantry support and lacked a rotating turret like traditional tanks. Instead, it had a low-profile hull structure that housed the limited horizontal and vertical moving main gun.

Who developed and produced the Stug III?

The StuG III was developed by the German company Alkett and produced by various manufacturers, including MIAG, Daimler-Benz, and Alkett themselves. Production started in 1940 and continued until 1945.

What were the main features and armament of the Stug III?

It had sloped armor for improved protection and a 75 mm main gun that served as its primary armament. It also had secondary armament consisting of machine gun(s). It had a crew of four.

How effective was the Stug III in combat?

It proved to be highly effective in combat, particularly in the early stages of the war. Its combination of firepower, mobility, and low profile made it a formidable weapon against enemy tanks and fortifications. However, as the war progressed and more advanced tanks were introduced, it became less effective against heavily armored Allied enemies.

How does the Stug III compare to other German tanks of the time?

Since was based on the Panzer III and shared many components with it. However, it had a lower profile and a fixed-gun casemate, which made it more suitable for defensive operations and ambush tactics compared to other German tanks like the Pzkpfw V Panther or Pzkpfw VI Tiger.

 

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