Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G

The German Wehrmacht remains a source of fascination to many history buffs, especially the array of interesting and imposing armored fighting vehicles.

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Yet Germany’s most produced AFV was the comparatively small StuG III.  Let’s look at the most produced variant of this most produced vehicle.

Even before Germany began retasking obsolete fighting platforms as tank destroyers (jagdpanzers) or support vehicles they modified the ubiquitous Panzer III into armored mobile artillery.  This was primarily to provide motorized and protected artillery support that could accompany infantry formations from right behind the front.
There was some debate over what branch of the army would operate the vehicles; although it superficially resembles a Panzer (tank) that arm was not interested in something being built to support the Infantry.  So it came to be Artillery.

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The armored skirts on the side provide some protection from small arms, but are mostly a response to low velocity, shaped charge weapons like bazooka and PIAT. They would detonate the charge away from the main armored shell of the vehicle.

The first StuG IIIs, with 75mm howitzers saw service in the Battle of France.  Like most weapons with a long service history the StuG III was modified and updated throughout the War.  Fighting in Russia exposed a desperate need, anti-tank support for the Infantry.  So the StuG was fitted with a 75mm high velocity anti-tank gun.  This meant, practically speaking, the artillery piece had become a tank destroyer.

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The Ausf G, the tank destroyer variant, was the most produced sort of StuG and remained in production to the end of the War. It provided good stopping power against all but the heaviest tanks.  In fact, it claimed more tank kills than any other German AFV of the entire War.  Its low profile and heavy frontal armor made for an excellent ambush hunter.

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One complaint about the side skirts was that their attachment points were so fragile they often came off in routine operations.  Indeed, the model was so fragile it didn’t survive its photography session and is already in the trash…

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This example is of a StuG III that fought in Russia, 1943.  It is from the Tamiya kit.

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Family tree.  The Panzer III at left was the original platform.  It was simplified with a bigger, 75mm howitzer in a thickly armored box for the original StuG III.  Then as later needs developed, it was further armored and given a 75mm anti-tank gun.

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The anti-tank gun was added as a response to the large numbers of well protected Soviet tanks like T–34 and KV-1.

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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10 Responses to Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I didn’t get any notifications when you have posted something Dave.
    I have some catch-up reading to do.

  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Which scale Dave?

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    Nice build Dave. Sorry the operation was a success but the patient died.

    I think I read somewhere that the Stug IV only existed because the facility that was making most of the Stug III’s was bombed and production had to shut down for a time, hence the Stug IV, who most might consider the “new or improved” model was actually a stop-gap till Stug III production could resume.

    • atcDave says:

      Once my blood pressure came down I dug it back out of the trash. So it appears tales of the StuG’s demise were greatly exaggerated…
      But if it reappears in another post, it will be will be without those darn skirts!

      Yeah I’d read that about the StuG IV. A number of them fought around Normandy through the breakout. But then, after Falaise, they were replaced with StuG III. I don’t, right off, know production totals or dates.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Glad it survived the trash. I would have gone for the model recycle bin as spare parts…

      I did 2 Panzer IV builds. The second one I left off the skirts after my experience with them in the first build (and this was 1/35th)

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah the Panzer IV I built earlier was carefully chosen for the turret, but no side skirts! Now I’ve done one, so probably no skirts in future!

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