Sturmgeschütz III

By Christian Ankerstjerne

Use of Assault Guns

German Sturmgeschütze (assault guns) were created as a close support weapon for infantry. They would advance alongside infantry, and would fight enemy strongpoints and armored vehicles. Assault guns would also supplement infantry guns and anti-tank guns in defensive operations, and were considered as a possible replacement for anti-tank guns.

While Sturmgeschütze were organized in brigades, they were not intended to fight independently on the brigade level. Rather, they would fight on the platoon level with the infantry.

After encountering Russian heavy tanks, Sturmgeschütz armor and armament was increased to allow them to fight the heavy Russian tanks. This did not signify abandoning the original concept; the upgrade was merely a necessity to allow them to continue to fight the tanks they were likely to encounter.

Later, as Panzer production struggled to keep up with losses, Sturmgeschütze were pressed into service as Panzerjäger (tank destroyers). Even so, Sturmgeschütz-Brigaden continued to fight as such, fighting alongside infantry in both offensive and defensive operations.

Production

Production numbers for the Sturmgeschütz III.
Month Ausf. A through Ausf. E Ausf. F and Ausf. G Total
1940
January 1 0 1
February 3 0 3
March 6 0 6
April 10 0 10
May 10 0 10
June 12 0 12
July 22 0 22
August 20 0 20
September 29 0 29
October 35 0 35
November 35 0 35
December 29 0 29
1940 total 212 0 212
1941
January 36 0 36
February 30 0 30
March 30 0 30
April 47 0 47
May 48 0 48
June 56 0 56
July 34 0 34
August 50 0 50
September 38 0 38
October 71 0 71
November 46 0 46
December 46 0 46
1941 total 532 0 532
1942
January 45 0 45
February 45 0 45
March 0 3 3
April 0 36 36
May 0 79 79
June 0 70 70
July 0 60 60
August 0 80 80
September 0 70 70
October 0 84 84
November 0 100 100
December 0 120 120
1942 total 90 702 792
1943
January 0 130 130
February 0 140 140
March 0 197 197
April 0 228 228
May 0 260 260
June 0 275 275
July 0 281 281
August 0 291 291
September 0 345 345
October 0 395 395
November 0 295 295
December 0 174 174
1943 total 0 3011 3011
1944
January 0 227 227
February 0 196 196
March 0 264 264
April 0 294 294
May 0 335 335
June 0 341 341
July 0 377 377
August 0 312 312
September 0 356 356
October 0 325 325
November 0 361 361
December 0 452 452
1944 total 0 0 3840
1945
January 0 391 391
February 0 189 189
March 0 235 235
April 0 48 48
1945 total 0 863 863
Total 834 8416 9250

Technical Information

Technical details of the Sturmgeschütz III
Ausf. A Ausf. B though E Ausf. F Ausf. F/8 Ausf. G
Crew
Crew
  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
Physical Characteristics
Weight 20.7 t 22.0 t 23.2 t 23.9 t
Length 5.38 m 5.40 m 6.31 m 6.77 m
Width 2.92 m 2.95 m
Height 1.95 m 2.15 m 2.16 m
Ground clearance 0.39 m
Ground pressure 0.95 kg/cm² 0.96 kg/cm² 1.01 kg/cm² 1.04 kg/cm²
Armor
Hull, front 50 mm 50-80 mm
Hull, sides and rear 30 mm 30-50 mm
Hull, top 10-25 mm
Hull, bottom 15 mm
Performance
Maximum speed 40 km/h
Road speed 20 km/h
Cross-country speed 12-15 km/h
Maximum grade 30°
Trench crossing 2.30 m
Vertical obstacle 60 cm
Fording depth 100 cm 80 cm
Fuel capacity 310 l
Mileage (road) 1.94 l/km 2.21 l/km 2.00 l/km
Mileage (cross-country) 3.10 l/km 3.65 l/km 3.26 l/km
Cruising range 160 km 140 km 155 km
Cross-country range 100 km 85 km 95 km
Engine
Make and model Maybach HL 120 TRM
Type Water cooled
Cylinders 12
Displacement 11 900 cc
Fuel Gasoline
Max. governed speed 2600 rpm
Net h.p. 265
Armament
Main weapon 7,5 cm Kan L/24 7,5 cm Stu K 40 L/48
Secondary weapon - 7,92 mm M G 34
Auxillary weapon 9 mm M P (2)
Ammunition Storage
Main weapon 44
Secondary weapon - 600
Auxillary weapon 384

Additional Reading

Web Links

Sturmgeschütz III photographs (external link)
Photographs of the Sturmgeschütz III at Panzerphotos.
Pz Kpfw III
Information about the Panzerkampfwagen III.
Sturmgeschütz IV
Information about the Sturmgeschütz IV.

Books

Sources

  1. Heereswaffenamt. Panzer hilfen Dir : Was der Grenadier vom gepanzerten Kampffahrzeuge wissen muß. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1944. 40 p. Merkblatt 18b/38.
  2. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 8 - Sturmgeschuetz : s.Pak to Sturmmoerser. Darlington, MD : Darlington Productions, 1999. 60 p. ISBN 1-892448-04-X.
  3. JENTZ, Thomas L., DOYLE, Hilary Louis & SARSON, Peter. New Vanguard 19 - StuG III Assault Gun, 1940-1942. Oxford : Osprey Publishing, 1996. 48 p. ISBN 1-85532-537-3.
  4. JENTZ, Thomas L., DOYLE, Hilary Louis, FULLER, Mike & SARSON, Peter. New Vanguard 37 - Sturmgeschütz III & IV, 1942-45. Oxford : Osprey Publishing, 2001. 48 p. ISBN 1-84176-182-6.