Some AFVs look like something right out of Looney Toons, perhaps none more so than the German Sturmtiger.
Let’s take a look at an armored monster.
As the name suggests, the Sturmtiger was a development of the Tiger I. Its official designation was Sturmmorserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW61… So we’ll stick with “Sturmtiger”.
The original idea was for a building destroyer used by combat engineers. But the Battle for Stalingrad revealed limitations in existing hardware for this. Mostly this took the form of a Stug III with a heavy howitzer. A Sturmpanzer IV was also built, that put a heavy gun on a Panzer IV chassis. But it always seemed to be the German way to build bigger and more ridiculous. The Wehrmacht decided it needed something with a huge gun, and enough armor to resist current anti-tank weapons, obviously that meant something on the Tiger platform.
The first gun considered was a 210 mm howitzer, but this gun did not become available. So they looked at something new, a 38 cm rocket launcher that was developed from a navy depth charge thrower. This is a huge weapon. 38 cm for Americans is about 16 inch; that’s like a battleship gun. Now before I get too outrageous about this I need to go back to mentioning its from a depth charge thrower. So the warhead was up to 800 lbs, about half of the comparable naval artillery. It could fire high explosive or shaped charges, this was still about destroying buildings.
The weapon is a breach loading rocket launcher. Velocity and accuracy are considerably less than a more conventional gun. Only 14 rounds could be carried internally, which is why a crane is permanently mounted to the superstructure. Loading ammunition was a continuous process in combat. An armored ammunition transport also derived from the Tiger chassis was designed, but only one was built. 18 Sturmtigers were built by the end of 1944, I think these were all new construction (not conversions).
The first use of the Sturmtiger was in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. This would prove to be type’s only use in its designed function as the Wehrmacht found itself more and more on the defensive.
They were organized into three companies of four vehicles each and were mostly used for infantry support; like a big Stug. Two companies fought in the Battle of the Bulge before switching over to mostly defensive operations. One other operation of note was that after the bridge at Remagen had fallen, two Sturmtiger companies (the same two that fought in the Ardennes) were deployed to destroy the bridge. It was discovered they lacked the accuracy to actually HIT the bridge, but were otherwise useful for infantry support.
This is the Tamiya kit. I think its the only thing I’ve ever built with no national, unit, tactical, or maintenance markings of any sort. Not even a decal sheet in the box! Like most late-war German armor it was first painted in overall dark yellow, then had green and brown disruptive colors applied in a variety of interesting “ambush” schemes. But apparently any markings were considered unimportant at this late date.