Friday, July 17, 2015
In October of 1942 Sturmhaubitze 42 was produced by Alkett, its design was based on Stug III Ausf F and F/8's chassis and it was armed with 105mm StuH 42 L/28 (L/30) howitzer. From 1943 onwards StuH 42 was built on Ausf G's chassis. Vehicles of this type were modified in the same way as Ausf Gs were. Early vehicles were fitted with muzzle brakes but since September of 1944, it was decided that it wasn't needed.
In August of 1940, Sturmartillerie units were reorganized into Abteilungen (battalions) with 18 assault guns in three batteries (with 6 assault guns each). In early 1941, the battalions were renamed - Sturmgeschuetz Abteilungen and batteries to Sturmgeschuetz Batteries. In March/April of 1941, all Sturmgeschuetz Batteries had the number of assault guns increased to seven. In 1942, with the introduction of long-barrelled Stug III (75mm L/43 and L/48), Sturmgeschuetz Abteilungen were reformed and number of assault guns was increased to 28 per battalion. Each battalion still had three batteries but number of assault guns in platoons was increased to three. In November of 1942, Sturmgeschuetz Abteilungen were reformed again and number of assault guns was increased to 31 per battalion with three additional assault guns for battery commanders. This type of organization often referred to as Sturmgeschuetz Brigade remained in use until the end of the war. In June of 1944, new organization scheme was introduced - Sturmartillerie Brigade with 45 assault guns, including 33 Stug III/IV (75mm L/48) assault guns and 12 Sturmhaubitze 42 (105mm L/28) assault howitzers. Brigade had three batteries with 2 Stug IIIs for each battery command, while each battery had two platoons of four Stug IIIs and one of four StuH 42s. This organization scheme was used alongside the Sturmgeschuetz Brigade scheme to the end of the war. In practice, these ideals were hardly ever achieved and then only highly favoured formations received the full complement.
In 1942, a variant of the StuG III Ausf.F was designed with a 105 mm (4.1 in) howitzer instead of the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 cannon. These new vehicles, designated StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2), were designed to provide infantry support with the increased number of StuG III Ausf F/8 and Ausf Gs being used in the anti-tank role.
The StuH 42 mounted a variant of the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer, modified to be electrically fired and fitted with a muzzle brake. Later models were built from StuG III Ausf. G chassis as well as StuG III Ausf. F and Ausf. F/8 chassis. The muzzle brake was often omitted due to the scarcity of resources later in the war. 1,211 StuH 42 were produced from October 1942 to 1945.
The early models got the old boxy gun mantlet armor without a machinegun and the machinegun behind the classic shield which had to be operated from the outside. Late models were fitted with the Topfblende (pot mantlet) (often called Saukopf (Pig's head)) gun mantlet without coaxial mount. This cast mantlet with organic shape was more effective at deflecting shots than the original boxy mantlet armor of varying thickness between 45 mm and 50 mm. Lack of large castings meant that boxy mantlet was also produced until the very end.
Coaxial machine gun was added first to boxy mantlets and then to cast Topfblende, in the middle of "Topfblende" mantlet production. With an addition of coaxial, all StuGs carried two MG 42 machine guns from fall of 1944. Later, the Topfblende mantels are be produced without machine gun opening so there are two verions of the late models. The machine gun on the roof, could now be operated via inside. Also a smaller armor plate was provided for the protection of the weapon.
In 1942, a variant of the StuG III Ausf. F was designed with a 105 mm (4.1 in) howitzer instead of the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 cannon. These new vehicles, designated StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2), were designed to provide infantry support with the increased number of StuG III Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. Gs being used in the anti-tank role. The StuH 42 mounted a variant of the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer, modified to be electrically fired and fitted with a muzzle brake. Production models were built on StuG III Ausf. G chassis. The muzzle brake was often omitted due to the scarcity of resources later in the war. ~1,299 StuH 42 were produced by Alkett from March 1943 to 1945, the initial 12 vehicles were built on repaired StuG III Ausf. F and F/8 from autumn 1942 to January 1943.