Hummel (German: "bumblebee") was a self-propelled artillery gun based on the Geschützwagen III/IV chassis and armed with a 15 cm howitzer. It was used by the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War from early 1943 until the end of the war.

The full designation was Panzerfeldhaubitze 18M auf Geschützwagen III/IV (Sf) Hummel, Sd.Kfz. 165. On February 27, 1944, Hitler ordered the name Hummel to be dropped as it was inappropriate for a fighting vehicle.

Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Deutsche Eisenwerke
Production Period 1943 - 1945
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1943
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1943 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Deutsche Eisenwerke 1943 1945 100 View

The Hummel was designed in 1942 out of a need for mobile artillery support for the tank forces, the lack of which had first been felt during the invasion of the USSR. There were some self-propelled artillery vehicles already in service with the Wehrmacht at the time, but most were of limited value.

The first option looked at was mounting a 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer on a Panzer III chassis, but this was rejected in favour of the same howitzer on a Panzer IV chassis. One prototype was built of this design.

This design was again rejected, this time in favour of a more powerful solution: mounting the 15 cm sFH 18 L/30 howitzer on the specially designed Geschützwagen III/IV, which took elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine). The same chassis was also used for the Nashorn tank destroyer.

The Hummel had an open-topped lightly armoured fighting compartment at the back of the vehicle, which housed both the howitzer and the crew. The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle to make room for this compartment. Late model Hummels had a slightly redesigned driver compartment and front superstructure, to offer more room to the radio operator and driver.

The Hummel first participated in large scale combat at the Battle of Kursk, when some 100 Hummel were in service. They served in armored artillery battalions (Panzerartillerie Abteilungen) of the Panzer divisions, forming separate heavy self-propelled artillery batteries, each with six Hummel and one ammunition carrier.

Foreign use

Romania received one unit from the Red Army after the war ended. This was assigned to the 2nd Armoured Regiment with the registration number U069009. It was officially known as the Hummel TAs self-propelled gun in the army inventory. The gun couldn't be used because it was missing the lock. It was shown to the public on the 10th of May Bucharest parade in 1946 with Romanian markings.

All German armour units in Romania had been scrapped by 1954.

Formal Designation15cm Schwere Panzerhaubitze auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen III/IV
(SdKfz 165), Hummel, Gerät 807
Manufacturer(s)Alkett, Deutsche-Eisenwerke
Production Quantity100+Production Period1943-1945
TypeSP GunCrew6
Length /hull (m)7.17Barrel Overhang (m)n.a.
Width (m)2.97Height (m)2.81
Combat Weight (kg)24000Radio EquipmentFuG Spr f
Primary Armament150mm sFH18/1 L/30Ammunition Carried18
Traverse (degrees)Manual (15° L - 15° R)Elevation (degrees)-3° to +42°
Traverse speed (360°)-SightRblf36
Secondary Armament1 x 7.92mm MG34 (loose)Ammunition Carried600

Engine Make & ModelMaybach HL120TRMNo. of Links/Track104
Type & DisplacementV12, 11.9 litersTrack Width40 cm
Horsepower (max.)300hp@3000rpmTrack Ground Contact380 cm
Power/Weight Ratio12.5 hp/t0Ground Pressure12.1 psi
Gearbox6 forward, 1 reverseGround Clearance (m)0.40
FuelGasoline (Petrol)Turning Radius (m)5.92
Range on/off road (km)215/130Gradient (degrees)30°
Mileage (liters/100km)219 on roadVertical Obstacle (m)0.60
Fuel Capacity (liters)470Fording (m)1.00
Speed on/off road42/24 km/hTrench Crossing (m)2.35
Armor DetailFrontSideRearTop/Bottom
Gun Shield10mm@63°---

End notes