StuG IV/ Sturmgeschütz IV (7.5cm StuK40 L/48)

The Sturmgeschütz IV or StuG IV was an assault gun developed at the end of 1943 to make up for lost StuG III production in the aftermath of an air raid which badly damaged the Alkett factory.

The idea of combining the chassis of the Panzer IV with the superstructure of the StuG had first been examined in February 1943, but at that time Krupp had reported that there would be no weight saving over the standard Panzer IV, and that the project was thus not worthwhile. Indeed the eventual StuG IV was the same weight as the Panzer IV, and with a height of 2.2m was only 40cm shorter than a turret armed Panzer IV.

While the later StuG III with the long 7.5cm L/48 was a much more potent weapon than the Panzer III with the 5cm KwK39 L/60, the StuG IV was armed with the 7.5cm StuK40 L/48, a very similar gun to the 7.5cm KwK40 L/48 used in later Panzer IVs. The Jagdpanzer IV, which entered production one month after the StuG IV, was a rather more effective weapon, with a height of only 1.85m and the capacity to carry an even longer gun.

StuG IV in Greece StuG IV in Greece

In November 1943 the Alkett factory producing the StuG III was bombed, and production badly disrupted. At a meeting on the night of 6-7 December 1943 Hitler decided to rush the StuG IV into production to make up some of the slack. Production began very quickly – 30 StuG IVs were built in December 1943, 1006 during 1944 and 102 in the first three months of 1945.

The new vehicle was officially named the Sturmgeschütz IV für 7.5cm Stu.Kan.40 (L/48) to distinquish it from the earlier Sturmpanzer IV (Brummbär), one of whose names was StuG IV mit 15cm StuH43.

The StuG IV had a very similar appearance to the StuG III. The easiest way to tell the two vehicles apart is to count the number of road wheels – six for the StuG III and eight for the StuG IV. The StuG IV also had a distinctive driver’s cab, which was visible as a rectangular box on the front left of the vehicle, lacked the viewport on the front, and was topped by two periscopes.

During its production run the StuG IV received all of the changes that were made to both the Panzer IV hull and the StuG III Ausf G superstructure. Some StuG IVs were also given extra armour in the form of 6in concrete slabs in front of the superstructure, which on other vehicles a 30mm thick sheet of armour was mounted at an angle in front of the driver’s cab.

Most StuG IVs were issued to independent StuG brigades, to StuG detachments in infantry or Panzer divisions or to Panzerjäger detachments. The StuG IV was also sometimes used to equip the third battalion of Panzer Regiments, where the use of many of the same spare parts as the Panzer IV made maintenance easier.

Name
StuG IV
Sturmgeschütz IV (7.5cm StuK40 L/48)
Gerät 820

Stats
Number produced:  31 converted then 1,108 built from new
Produced: December 1943-March 1945
Hull Length: 6.7m
Hull Width: 2.95m
Height: 2.2m
Crew: 4
Weight: 23 tons  
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM & TRM112
Max Speed: 38km/hr
Max Range:  210km
Armament: One 7.5cm StuK40 L/48 and one 7.92mm MG13s

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Superstructure

80mm/ 3.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

 11mm/ 0.45in

Hull

80mm/ 3.2in

30mm/ 1.2in

20mm/ 0.8in

 10mm/ 0.4in

Gun mantlet

80mm/ 3.2in

 

 

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 August 2008), StuG IV/ Sturmgeschütz IV (7.5cm StuK40 L/48) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_StuG_IV.html

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