Grille (Ausf. H)

The Grille (German: "cricket") was a series of self propelled artillery vehicles used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Grille series was based on the Czech Panzer 38(t) tank and used a 15 cm sIG 33 infantry gun.

Grille (Ausf. H)
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer BMM
Production Period 1943 - 1944
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1943
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1943 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
BMM 1943 1944 383 View

The original order for 200 units of the Grille, was to be based on the new 38(t) Ausf M chassis that BMM (Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik) was developing, however delays caused production to start on the 38(t) Ausf H chassis, using, in some cases, the older 38(t) tanks returned for factory refit.

Grille Ausf. H

The first variant of the Grille was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. H, which had its engine in the rear. The turret of the tank was removed and replaced by a low-slung superstructure and fighting compartment. The 15 cm schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (heavy infantry gun) was mounted in the front of this armored compartment. Being built on a tank chassis, its hull armour was 50 mm (front) and its superstructure armour was 25 mm (front)

A total of 91 (including one prototype) were produced in the BMM (erstwhile CKD Praga) factory in Prague from February to April 1943. The official designation was 15 cm Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H (Sd.Kfz. 138/1).

Both versions were intended to take service in the schwere Infanteriegeschütz Companies within the Panzergrenadier Regiments, inside Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions, in their heavy infantry gun units. Each detachment had six available.

GENERAL DATA
Other Designations15cm Schweres Infanteriegeshütz 33 (Sf) auf PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. H, 
Grille (SdKfz 138/1)
Manufacturer(s)BMM
Production Quantity90Production PeriodFeb.-Apr. 1943
TypeSP GunCrew5
Length /hull (m)4.61Barrel Overhang (m)n.a.
Width /with skirts (m)2.16Height (m)2.4
Combat Weight (kg)11500Radio EquipmentFuG16
FIREPOWER
Primary Armament15cm sIG33/1 L/12Ammunition Carried15
Traverse (degrees)Manual (5° L - 5° R)Elevation (degrees)-3° to +72°
Traverse speed (360°)-SightRblf36
Secondary Armament1 x 7.92mm MG34
(Loose)
Ammunition Carriedn.a.

MOBILITY CHARACTERISTICS
Engine Make & ModelPraga EPA/2No. of Links/Trackn.a.
Type & DisplacementLiquid, L6, 7.8 litersTrack Widthn.a.
Horsepower140hp@2500rpmTrack Ground Contactn.a.
Power/Weight Ratio12.2 hp/tGround Pressuren.a.
Gearbox5 forward, 1 reverseGround Clearance (m)n.a.
FuelGasoline (Petrol)Turning Radius (m)n.a.
Range on/off road (km)185Gradient (degrees)n.a.
Mileage (liters/100km)n.a.Vertical Obstacle (m)n.a.
Fuel Capacity (liters)n.a.Fording (m)n.a.
Speed on/off road35 km/hTrench Crossing (m)n.a.
ARMOR PROTECTION
Armor DetailFrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Hull50mm@75°15mm@90°15mm@74°8mm@0°
Superstructure25mm@78°15mm15mm@80°open
Mantlet15mm@78°---

End notes