StuG III Ausf. G

7.5cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf. G (SdKfz 142/1) was an armored vehicle (assault gun, AFV or armoured fighting vehicle) in combat use during the Second World War (World War II or WWII) in the European theater. The Sturmgeschütz III was a fully tracked all-terrain vehicle designed for military operations. StuG. III Ausf. G was produced and deployed by the German Army (Heers) of Nazi Germany (the Third Reich). The technical drawing (plan, layout or profile) shows the general appearance characteristics of the specified model (version) of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G assault gun for purposes of identification and reference. For more detailed information about this armored fighting vehicle, refer to StuG III Ausf. G.

StuG III Ausf. G
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Alkett
Production Period 1942 - 1945
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1942
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Alkett 1942 1945 7893 View
MIAG 1942 1945 7893 View

The Sturmgeschütz III originated from German experiences in World War I when it was discovered that, during the offensives on the western front, the infantry lacked the means to effectively engage fortifications. The artillery of the time was heavy and not mobile enough to keep up with the advancing infantry to destroy bunkers, pillboxes, and other minor obstacles with direct fire. Although the problem was well known in the German army, it was General Erich von Manstein who is considered the father of the Sturmartillerie ("assault artillery"). This is because the initial proposal was from (then) Colonel Erich von Manstein and submitted to General Ludwig Beck in 1935, suggesting that Sturmartillerie units should be used in a direct-fire support role for infantry divisions. On June 15, 1936, Daimler-Benz AG received an order to develop an armoured infantry support vehicle capable of mounting a 75 mm (2.95 in) calibre artillery piece. The gun mount's fixed, fully integrated casemate superstructure was to allow a limited traverse of a minimum of 25° and provide overhead protection for the crew. The height of the vehicle was not to exceed that of the average soldier.

Daimler-Benz AG used the chassis and running gear of its recently designed Panzer III medium tank as a basis for the new vehicle. Prototype manufacture was passed over to Alkett, which produced five prototypes in 1937 on Panzer III Ausf. B chassis. These prototypes featured a mild steel superstructure and Krupp’s short-barrelled, howitzer-like in appearance, 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon. Production vehicles with this gun were known as StuG III Ausführung (version) A to E.

While the StuG III was considered self-propelled artillery, it was not initially clear which land combat arm of the Wehrmacht Heer would handle the new weapon. The Panzer arm, the natural user of tracked fighting vehicles, had no resources to spare for the formation of StuG units, and neither did the infantry branch. It was agreed, after a discussion, it would best be employed as part of the artillery arm.

The StuGs were organized into battalions (later renamed "brigades" for disinformation purposes) and followed their own specific doctrine. Infantry support using direct-fire was its intended role. Later there was also a strong emphasis on destroying enemy armour whenever encountered.

As the StuG III was designed to fill an infantry close support combat role, early models were fitted with a low-velocity 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 gun to destroy soft-skin targets and fortifications. After the Germans encountered the Soviet KV-1 and T-34 tanks, the StuG III was first equipped with a high-velocity 75 mm StuK 40 L/43 main gun (Spring 1942) and in Autumn 1942 with the slightly longer 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 gun. These versions were known as the Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausführung F, Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. G.

When the StuG IV entered production in late 1943 and early 1944, the "III" was added to the name to separate it from the Panzer IV-based assault guns. All previous and following models were thereafter known as Sturmgeschütz III.

Beginning with the StuG III Ausf. G from December 1942, a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun could be mounted on a shield on top of the superstructure for added anti-infantry protection. Some of the F/8 models were retrofitted with a shield as well. Many of the later StuG III Ausf. G models were equipped with an additional coaxial 7.92 mm MG34.

The vehicles of the Sturmgeschütz series were cheaper and faster to build than contemporary German tanks; at 82,500 RM, a StuG III Ausf G was cheaper than a Panzer III Ausf. M, which cost 103,163 RM. This was due to the omission of the turret, which greatly simplified manufacture and allowed the chassis to carry a larger gun than it could otherwise. By the end of the war, ~11,300 StuG IIIs and StuH 42s had been built.

Overall, the Sturmgeschütz series assault guns proved very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and tank destroyers. Although Tigers and Panthers have earned a greater notoriety, assault guns collectively destroyed more tanks. Because of their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were easy to camouflage and a difficult target. Sturmgeschütz crews were considered to be the elite of the artillery units and claimed to have knocked out 20,000 tanks by 1944. As of April 10, 1945, there were 1,053 StuG IIIs and 277 StuH 42s in service.

The StuG assault guns were cost-effective compared to the heavier German tanks, though in the anti-tank role they were best used defensively, as the lack of a traversable turret was a severe disadvantage in the assault role. As the German military situation deteriorated later in the war, more StuG guns were built compared to tanks, to replace losses and bolster defences against the encroaching Allied forces.

In 1943 and 1944, the Finnish Army received 59 StuG III Ausf. Gs from Germany and used them against the Soviet Union. Thirty of the vehicles were received in 1943 and twenty nine in 1944. The 1943 batch destroyed at least 87 enemy tanks for a loss of only 8 StuGs[8] (some of which were destroyed by their crews to avoid capture). The 1944 batch saw no real action. After the war, the StuGs were the main combat vehicles of the Finnish Army until the early 1960s. These StuGs gained the nickname "Sturmi", which can be found in some plastic kit models.

100 StuG III Ausf. G were delivered to Romania in the autumn of 1943. They were officially known as TAs (or TAs T3 to avoid confusion with TAs T4) in the army inventory. By February 1945, 13 units were still in use with the 2nd Armoured Regiment. None of this initial batch survived the end of the war. 31 TAs were on the army inventory in November 1947. Most of them were probably StuG III Ausf. G and a small number of Panzer IV/70 (V), known as TAs T4. These TAs were supplied by the Red Army or were damaged units repaired by the Romanian Army. All German equipment was scrapped in 1954 due to the Army's decision to use only Soviet armour.

StuG IIIs were also exported to other nations, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, and Spain.

Many German StuG IIIs were captured in Yugoslavia by Yugoslav partisans. These were used by the Yugoslav People's Army until the 1950s.

After the Second World War, the Soviet Union donated some of their captured German vehicles to Syria, which continued to use them along with other war surplus armoured fighting vehicles (like long-barrelled Panzer IVs and T-34/85s) during the 1950s and up until the War over Water against Israel in the mid-1960s. By the time of the Six Days War, all of them had been either destroyed, stripped for spare parts, or interred on the Golan Heights as static pillboxes.

Formal Designation7.5cm Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf. G (SdKfz 142/1)
Manufacturer(s)Alkett, MIAG
Production Quantity7720+173 converted from PzKpfw IIIProduction PeriodDec. 1942 - Mar. 1945
TypeAssault GunCrew4
Length /hull (m)6.85Barrel Overhang (m)1.43
Width (m) /with skirts2.95Height (m)2.16
Combat Weight (kg)23900Radio EquipmentFuG15 or FuG16
Primary Armament75mm StuK. 40 L/48Ammunition Carried54
Traverse (degrees)Manual (10° L, 10° R)Elevation (degrees)-6° to +20°
Traverse speed (360°)-SightSflZF1a
Secondary Armament1 or 2 x 7.92mm MG34 (loose)Ammunition Carried600

Engine Make & ModelMaybach HL120TRMTrack Links93/track
Type & DisplacementV12, 11.8 litersTrack Width40 cm
Horsepower (max.)300hp@3000rpmTrack Ground Contact286 cm
Power/Weight Ratio12.6 hp/tonneGround Pressure13.5 psi
Gearbox6 forward, 1 reverseGround Clearance (m)0.39
FuelGasoline (Petrol)Turning Radius (m)5.85
Range on/off road (km)155/95Gradient (degrees)30°
Mileage (liters/100km)200 on/326 off roadVertical Obstacle (m)0.6
Fuel Capacity (liters)310Fording (m)0.8
Speed on/off road40 km/hTrench Crossing (m)2.45
Armor DetailFrontSideRearTop/Bottom


End notes