Sturmhaubitze

The Sturmhaubitze or StuH was a version of the StuG assault gun, armed with a 105mm light field howitzer. It was originally designed in 1941 to provide the assault gun detachments with a more powerful weapon that could be used as both an infantry support weapon and as a bunker buster. By the time it entered service the standard StuG had developed into a powerful anti-tank weapon, firing armour piercing rounds, leaving the Sturmhaubitze to provide more of the infantry support fire.

In March 1942 Alkett mounted an experimental le.FH.18 howitzer in the chassis of a StuG III Ausf.E, and the first nine of the development series had been completed by October 1942. They were then sent to 3.Batterie/Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 185 (third battery of assault gun detachment 185), and saw combat south of Leningrad in late November.

StuH, September 1944 - side plan
StuH, September 1944 - side plan

These trials were encouraging, and in December 1942 Hitler set a production target of 24 StuHs per month. The first ten production vehicles were completed by March 1943, and 204 had been completed by the end of the year. The peak of production came between August and November 1944, when at least 100 were produced per month. During the production run the superstructure and chassis of the StuH received the same updates as the StuG III Ausf G.

The StuH had a very similar layout to the StuG. The only changes were to the gun mounting, which had to be modified for the larger gun. Its low position did limit the elevation of the gun to the range -6 to +20 degrees, meaning that the howitzer in the StuH was never fired at its ideal elevation of +45 degrees. The StuH carried 36 rounds, normally a mix of high explosive and shaped charge rounds.

The Sturmhaubitze received a series of official names. It was developed as the Sturmgeschütz leichte Feldhaubitze, before becoming the Sturmgeschütz III für 10.5cm Stu.Haub.43 (Sd Kfz 142.2). The name Sturmhaubitze was only officially adopted in August 1944.

The StuH was issued to existing Sturmgeschütz detachments starting in 1943, which each detachment getting nine StuHs to support its StuGs. Only 68 had reached Army Groups Centre and South at the start of the Kursk offensive, but in any case the StuH was at its best in a defensive role, when it became a power anti-tank weapon – the limited traverse of the gun limited the effectiveness of both the StuG and the StuG as offensive weapons.

Names
Sturmgeschütz III für 10.5 cm Stu.Haub.42
Sturmhaubitze
Sd Kfz 142/2
10.5 Stumhaubitze 42
StuH42

Stats
Number produced:  1,211
Produced: October 1942-February 1945
Length: 6.14m
Hull Width: 2.95m
Height: 2.16m
Crew: 4
Weight: 24 tons   
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM
Max Speed: 40km/hr
Max Range:  155km/ 95 miles
Main Armament: One 10.5cm StuH L/28
Machine Guns: One or two 7.92mm MG34s

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Superstructure

50mm+30mm  or 80mm

30mm

30mm

11-17mm

Hull

50mm+30mm  or 80mm

30mm

50mm

16mm

Gun mantlet

50mm or
50mm+30mm or
80mm

30mm

 

30mm

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 August 2008), Sturmhaubitze , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_StuH.html

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