Questions regarding StuGs

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Sgt. Paul, Aug 13, 2007.

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  1. Sgt. Paul

    Sgt. Paul Junior Member

    Hello!

    I have three questions regarding StuGs, and if you could help me with the source or a link to one, to back up the fact I would be most grateful.

    1. How good were StuGs (in general, all kind o versions) in mobile warfare against Tanks, or in other mobile roles?

    2. I have read that StuGs were mentioned as a good tank-destroyer, but how good where thay. As all assault guns they needed the engines on to move hull-mounted gun, did'nt this reveal their position pretty far away?

    3. Did the Stugs actually had the best crew avaible? They were under infantry support, not under Panzer. How did it really work between those two organizations? (Michael Wittman did change)


    I would really appreciate some help!

    Many thanks,
    Paul
     
  2. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Hello!

    I have three questions regarding StuGs, and if you could help me with the source or a link to one, to back up the fact I would be most grateful.

    1. How good were StuGs (in general, all kind o versions) in mobile warfare against Tanks, or in other mobile roles?

    2. I have read that StuGs were mentioned as a good tank-destroyer, but how good where thay. As all assault guns they needed the engines on to move hull-mounted gun, did'nt this reveal their position pretty far away?

    3. Did the Stugs actually had the best crew avaible? They were under infantry support, not under Panzer. How did it really work between those two organizations? (Michael Wittman did change)


    I would really appreciate some help!

    Many thanks,
    Paul

    Paul,

    Pretty opened ended questions. I'll try, any of the real tank heads wanna but in or correct me go straight ahead.

    1.Very good. But limited in offensive operations by poor visability and slow traverse, especially later marks with L48 and L43 gun. Stugs come in two main flavors (apart from 3 and 4 of course) the 7.5 L23 gun was the more strict assult gun, its lower velocity gun had a higher explosive content. The later makrs F onward I think with L48 high velocity gun was more your tank killer with an emphisis on more anti armour role. The lack of traverse, poor side armour would be a major fault as far as offensive operations are concerned where the chances of a flank shot are high. The side armour was only good for 20mm at short range. Even the Soviet anti tank rifles would be a problem. Mobilty was pretty average, track pressure fairly high (but lower than the Pz3). On the whole though they where easily looked after and reialble vehicles. Germanss own studies show that the Stug was inferior to a Pz4 in small scale offensive ops. Prob not far comparison as the Stufg was whole lot simpler and cheaper than a Pz4.

    In a more defensive role the Stug come into its own, its small size, big gun, good optics meant it was easily a match for most allied tanks inc the T34. I have some combat reports somewhere from 42/43 showing fanstastic success against T34's. Later T34/85s had the advantage in range over even the best Stugs. but by then the old Pz3 chassis was getting a bit long in the tooth.

    Guderian mentions in his bio that the later dedicated destroyers like the Jagdpanzers, jagdpanthers where unwelcome diversions and the stug was plenty capable. Personally I think its a victim of its own success. Hilter could leave them well enough alone.

    2. No not really, the engine on isnt a big problem. The maybach engine was petrol engine for a start. Plus how much noise and smoke do you think a large anti tank gun makes? In the scale of things the engine is only small signiture. Was the gun opens fire locating it is easy. I have read some crews removing the muzzle brakes as the gun was so low it would kick up even more dirt.

    The later marks with the 7.5 L48 gun where very capable tank killers I havent got the specs to hand (for what there worth, I tend to take them with pinch of salt) but it was easly able to kill virtually all allied tanks at range and was quite easliy enough in comparison to some monster guns. Modern diesign shows that large calibre guns have to many drawbacks, not least ammuntion capacity.

    3. Open to debate really. I guess your talking about later on when stugs where assigned at battalion level of 8-10 vehicles. By own gut feeling is that giving them to the grunts on the ground suits the whole statagy of the Stug as a cheap, self propelled anti tank and assult gun quite fine . Let the armour ghuys hav their complex tanks. Idont beleive that assigning it to the infantry had an adverse effect.

    Kev
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sarge, I presume you're giving a 'right to ramble' with such open queries, so here goes ;), mostly from Spielberger ;

    Up to the beginning of the Russian Campaign there were a total of 11 on-line [Sturmartillerie] Abteilung & 9 batteries (including those of the Waffen SS).... By the end of the second World War there were 75 Sturmartillerie Batterien, Abteilung and Brigaden which had been deployed in all combat theatres. (From Spielberger's 'Sturmgeschutz & it's Variants)

    So yes, they were considered worthwhile and effective.



    This snippet is from a letter by von Manstein to the Army chief of Staff:
    The Sturmartillerie is, on the other hand, a weapon to assist the normal infantry Division. Their use during the attack corresponds to the Escort Artillery of the last war, that is, the elite of the light artillery.
    You don't (if you can possibly avoid it) put mediocre crews in such an important role, I don't believe there was ever any real 'lower status' for Stug crews, the opposite is often implied by the respect and even affection shown for the sturmartillerie by the Landsers.


    From the same letter:
    Assault artillery fights as escort artillery within the framework of the infantry. It does not attack like the tank, does not break through, but carries the attack of the infantry forward by quickly eliminating the most dangerous objectives through direct fire.... the platoon, or even the individual gun, makes a surprise appearance and then quickly vanishes before it can become a target for the enemy artillery.
    In original concept the StuG was intended in a slightly different role to either attacking or defending SPATG's, placing very useful firepower, either AT, HE, direct or even indirect (Manstein specifies this requirement elsewhere... he does go on) right into the hands of the Infantry and under the same chain of command, eliminating the need for liason (or even negotiation) with another arm of service on their immediate battlefield use. In a pure SPATG/TD role all turretless vehicles have their limitations, but are also much cheaper/easier to produce & maintain, you pays your money and takes your choice.

    Paraphrasing from Spielberger:
    The Stug was almost exclusively reserved for the infantry until Pz.III production ceased in 1943, Pz.IV production would not fill the gap and Panther was dogged by troubles so in May of that year the Panzertruppen were allocated 100 units of monthly stug production, they were used initially to equip the re-formed panzer divisions replacing losses at Stalingrad and were allocated at the rate of 14 Stugs per company.

    There's an interesting after action report of Panzer rgt 36 7/12/43 on Stug usage that outlines most all of their strong and weak points, I'll type it in if I get the urge ;).

    Blah,
    Ramble,
    Blah.
    (Get yourself a copy of the Spielberger book if you're really interested in Stugs mate, very thorough on the technical side, excellently illustrated and with some good stuff on support vehicles and actual usage too.)

    Cheers,
    Adam
     
  4. Sgt. Paul

    Sgt. Paul Junior Member

    Thank you very much for your answears!
    I would like change the question a bit, to compare the StuG in mobile and close battle with a tank with turrets (ex a Panzer IV). What difficulties did the StuGs had compared with a tank with turret (Like a hull-mounted gun, the angle of the gun, need to move the whole gun etc)? If you do know any statesment about it or similair it would be great.

    I hope that you do understand the question.
    Regards,
    Paul
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Senior Member

    Comparing the StuG to the Pz IV on the offense the Pz IV has significant advantages through the H model. The Pz IV has far better visibility in a buttoned or even mostly buttoned (commander minimally exposed) condition. This is due to the Pz IV having a cupola and more vision devices than a StuG. It also helps that the commander is higher off the ground than in the StuG giving a line of sight advantage.
    The Pz IV also has a big engagement advantage in having a rotating turret with power traverse. This will allow a much quicker on-target time than with the StuG where it has to pretty much stop and then lay onto the target and may have to traverse the vehicle for each subsequent engagement. Part of this accrues from the difference in what the gunner is seeing / doing. With the Pz IV the gunner rotates the turret onto target and can see and track the target from information given by the commander. With the StuG the driver has to slew the vehicle onto target and then the gunner has to aquire and track it. This is going to slow down the engagement rate significantly.
    The StuG also cannot be advancing in one direction while engaging targets on another tangent like the Pz IV can.

    With the late StuG IIIG compared to the Pz IVJ many of these advantages tend to vanish. The Pz IVJ lacks power traverse making turret rotation excrutiatingly slow. The late StuG gets a cupola so vision is improved and basically equal now.

    Another advantage that the Pz IV had was two mounted machineguns for engaging targets whereas only very late StuG get a coaxial machinegun instead having to rely on the loader using a machinegun on the roof of the fighting compartment.

    Now, defensively, the StuG has a slight advantage in its lower silouette but this advantage is slight as the Pz IV can fight hull down and negate much of this advantage. Of course, in non-hull down positions the StuG gets an advantage.
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  7. Erich

    Erich Senior Member

    the Stug III proved itself over and over again while in the Batterie/Abteilung/Brigaden level on the Ost front during late 44 till wars end. in fact for many they were the last call up to plug holes and stop the Soviet armor hordes. As discussed in brief the Abteilungs proved themselves with very high scores and there are several good books written in German on the Sturmg units.

    If I may suggest another quite excellent book with many translated first person accts is by Franz Kurowski " Sturmgeschütze vor ! " At least you can opinion from the German unit historians on the units which might help you understand the vehicle and it's men that much better.

    E ~
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Rather nice site on the Sturmartillerie & Panzerjägers:
    Sturmgeschütze vor!

    Excellent site, with some great images. Thanks for the heads-up.
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There's an article on the SdkfZ foundation's Stug in October's Classic Military Vehicle magazine. Looks like it's approaching completion to their usual very high standard - so that's one more piece of original German Armour added to the UK inventory :D... (Once they've worked out how to do the Zimmerit.)

    It's one of the pair recovered from the sunken transport ship 'Santa Fe'.
    I believe this is the other: StuG for sale.
     
  11. deadb_tch

    deadb_tch the deadliest b#tch ever

    I have three questions regarding StuGs, and if you could help me with the source or a link to one, to back up the fact I would be most grateful.

    Paul, you r asking questions that is very good suited for thousands years holy war :D But anyway men above answered well ;) enough for 'em :cowboy_125:
     
  12. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    so that's one more piece of original German Armour added to the UK inventory :D... (Once they've worked out how to do the Zimmerit.)

    I remember I read once that the Zimmerit was some sort of defense for panzers against magnetic mines; am I correct?
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    That was the intention, but I'm still not clear exactly what magnetic mine they can have had in mind other than their own being used against them, a bit of 'Belt and braces' protection I suspect, that was eventually discarded.

    Old Zimmerit thread here:
     
  14. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Thanks, mate.

    Now, for another question about StuGs:

    Why were they so succesful where allied tank-hunters weren´t? I mean, the M10 and M18 had full-turn turrets, decent mobility and respectable firepower, and yet, didn´t have the impact the Nashorn, Elephant and siblings had.

    Why the way, was the Archer a WW2 design? Didn´t mention it the paragraph above because I´m not sure...
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sheer numbers, timescale, and intended role are the primary differences, though I'd be very hesitant to say that Allied TD/SPATGs weren't a success, the M18 & M36 (among others) were formidable devices.
    The StuGs were deployed primarily as Infantry support weapons (excluding the 1943 enforced official use of them in Panzer divisions as mentioned above) and used in great numbers. Russia gave them plenty of opportunity to see service in the most effective intended manner possible.
    They're not really analogous with the TD/SPATGs, more of a multi-role Infantry assault weapon, as likely (much more likely?) to be used as general artillery as in an AT role.

    Archer is a WW2 design.
     
  16. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    So the allied designs were victims of doctrine changes? The US Army abandoned very quickly into the war its concept of the tank destroyer units as the real opponents to Axis armor, but kept gear like the Hellcat on the production lines, even though by then it didn´t have a true role, at least conceptually.

    What about british use of the things? The Bishop and Sexton, together with the fact that they weren´t intended as AT weapons, played an even darker role in the armored struggle (so it seems to me, at least ;))
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    A very recent Stug IV restoration - Poland this time:

    Google Translate - Youtube Sztug IV
    YouTube - sturmgeschutzIVpl's Channel
    YouTube - sturmgeschutzIVpl's Channel


    Spotted while mooching about on that nice Polish 'Discoverer' site:
    Wnêtrze Stug IV - Ogólnopolski miesiêcznik ODKRYWCA
    STUG IV Skar¿ysko Kamienna - Ogólnopolski miesiêcznik ODKRYWCA
    There is more on this unit/museum's vehicle on there (Muzeum Broni Pancernej CSWL) - translates quite well.

    Also a site from it's custodians logging the restoration of this Stug, they seem rightfully proud of it:
    Sturmgeschütz IV (7,5 cm StuK 40 L/48) Sd.kfz 167 - wydobycie i renowacja działa Stug IV z Grzegorzewa
    Google Translation of the above
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Something I never expected to see, a running StuG IV!!!

    Also illustrative the way how a driver is blind as a bat :)

    Also a pleasure seeing people wearing berets in proper style, not that ridiculous American Cowpat style :angry2:

    Thanks Adam!
     
  19. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Great links Adam.

    They still look mean, even today!

    Regards
    Tom
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The US Army abandoned very quickly into the war its concept of the tank destroyer units as the real opponents to Axis armor


    Yes....but look at what they were using for the designated role in those "early days"!!! No wonder they were less than efficacious!
     

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