Stug III vs. Stug IV

German weapons, vehicles and equipment 1919-1945.

Moderator: sniper1shot

Post Reply
Bob from Accounting
New Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:37 pm

Stug III vs. Stug IV

Post by Bob from Accounting » Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:41 pm

Aside from the chassis upon which either vehicle was based, is there any major substantive difference between the Stug III and Stug IV assault guns? I built the Academy kit of the Stug IV recently, and I'm curious.

User avatar
Patrick
Enthusiast
Posts: 593
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 8:35 pm

Post by Patrick » Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:38 pm

Not much. The quote below is from achtungpanzer.com
In December of 1943, Stug IV was introduced, it was essentially a slightly modified Stug III superstructure (such as extended driver's compartment) mounted on Panzer IV chassis. From December of 1943 to March of 1945, 1139 such "hybrids" were produced by Krupp-Gruson at Magdeburg (chassis number 89324 to 89382 and 100001 to unknown). Stug IV (Sd.Kfz.167) was armed with 75mm StuK 40 L/48 gun mounted in cast "saukopf" mantlet. It was operated by 4 men crew. Majority was issued in companies to infantry divisions with few exceptions. Some source apply designation Sd.Kfz.163 to Stug IV.
The full page may be found here:

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/stug.htm
Cheers,

Patrick

When I was single, I had three theories on raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.

Alkie
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles

According to "The Russian Front, 1941-1945"....

Post by Alkie » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:47 pm

....(page 96) in 1943 the Alkett factory, which produced Stug III's, was carpet bombed by the USAF. It resulted in devastating the factory's ability to produce large numbers of Stugs for several months. It was at that time that Stug IV was either put into production or production was accelerated as a stopgap measure to supply assault guns to the various fronts. 1500 of this model was produced, and it was called the Stug III/IV.

Since they carried the same 75mm L48 gun, their effectiveness should be somewhat similar, although possibly the frontal armor of the Stug IV may have been thicker.

As an aside, can anyone quantify the losses suffered by Germans from a production standpoint to their panzer and assault gun production by the allied bombing campaign? There are numerous posters on various boards (many Russian), who claimed the strategic bombing campaign did little to hamper German industrial production. It is true that production increased tremendously until late 1944. The question is, how much higher would it have been without the destruction of the transportation infrastructure and many of the factories themselves?

Roger Griffiths
Associate
Posts: 925
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:24 am
Location: UK

Post by Roger Griffiths » Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:29 am

Yes, the Stug IV was built as a result of the bombing of the Alkett factory. Then the whole thing goes pear shaped. Adolf in late 1943 requests that Stug IV's should be issued to panzer units 'if possible', and they were. I can't think of any Stug Abteilungen that had them. Panzer(Stug)Abteilungen of 4 and 17 SSPGD's, 5SSPD later (2 coys. of I Abteilung) all had them. They were also issued to some army PGD's and not a few ID's.

Reichsminister Speer said in his memoirs that 30% of war production was lost through aerial bombardment. He ought to have known, but I wonder. I have seen the production statistics, and would have expected to see big drops for a month or so after particular factories were destroyed. No such trends are apparent. Speer himself said that after the first 1,000 bomber raids, it was feared that production would cease, but then noticed that although the roof and windows had all gone, the heavy machines were still intact. The real Achilles heel of the Third Reich was the fuel supply. The American's only latched onto this in March 1945.

Roger

Roger

User avatar
kramer
Supporter
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:43 am
Location: U.S.A.

Post by kramer » Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:49 am

Was'nt it Guderian who requested more StuGs production over tanks? Alkie, I've seen those 'posters' you mention and there are a couple here,too.Tank producton was still high considering. Yet roads,railways,trucks, parts factories, petrol stations were damaged/destroyed. You have to get the equipment to the Front..
kramer.

Roger Griffiths
Associate
Posts: 925
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:24 am
Location: UK

Post by Roger Griffiths » Sat Sep 25, 2004 7:02 am

Kramer, Guderian tried to get hold of Stug production for PD's and PGD's in April 1943 on being appointed Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen. There was a big conference and the Artillery Arm saw him off. Adolf said 'They're all against you so I can only go with them' Democracy in action. However, Stugs. did start going into PD's and PGD's and the practice spread as time went on.

Roger

Alkie
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Concentrated bombing of Synthetic Fuel factories...

Post by Alkie » Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:27 pm

.....started in the early fall of 1944. At least it did according the charts I've seen. Luftwaffe fuel supplies really began to drop rapidly after that.

As far as how bombing hurt production of armored vehicles. It had to be at least 30%. Well over 200 StugIII's were geing produced a month at the Alkatt factory prior to the bombing. I know Jagdpanther production was also severely limited by allied bombing. Many factories were completely destroyed, and heavy machinery along with it. Steel production was curtailed, railroad yards and bridges destroyed, ball bearing production severely cut. The list goes on and on.

Alkie
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Guderian and Assault guns.....

Post by Alkie » Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:41 pm

There is some controversy about Guderian and how truthful his memoirs are. I happen to think he was one of most capable generals and military theorists of the 20th Century.

He was also a man with common sense. The bottom line is that once an army is on the defensive, it is very hard to carry your artillery with you while in headlong retreat, especially in Russia where the roads were so difficient. Anti-tank guns and their crews had very little chance of lasting longer than a single engagement, where a withdrawal was forced. The guns were either destroyed or abandoned.

A Stug or tank destroyer (often they are classified differently or simply called assault guns) had several advantages over a ATG. First they could be rapidly withdrawn when an army was in retreat, and since they were not stationary, the could quickly be deployed to threatened areas of the front, meaning they needn't be as numerous as stationary anti-tank guns. Guderian realized the advantages of assault guns and wanted all anti-tank units equipped with them. By 1945 however, only 1/3 of the units could be supplied with them. Even this modest number was due in no small part to the Hertzer. It was produced in quantity (over 200 a month), and it's Czech factory managed to evade destruction from allied bombs until the end of the war.

Finally there was another reason why Guderian wanted Stugs/Assault guns in Panzer Divisions. The reason for this was numbers. Hertzers and Stug III's could not be made as tanks capable of surviving on the Eastern Front. They could not carry a 75mm L48 gun (turret ring too small) as tanks but could as assualt guns, along with heavier (and sloped) frontal armor. Since Germany was producing over 500 of these vehicles a month, and panzer divisions were being bled dry, Guderian of course wanted to resupply them with these two models. As Roger said however, "everyone was against Guderian". Assault guns were the only vehicles that would let artilleryman win a Knight's Cross, and that argument seemed to carry a good deal of weight with Hitler believe it or not.

User avatar
kramer
Supporter
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:43 am
Location: U.S.A.

Post by kramer » Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:17 pm

quote;The reason for this was numbers. Hertzers and Stug III's could not be made as tanks capable of surviving on the Eastern Front. They could not carry a 75mm L48 gun (turret ring too small) as tanks but could as assualt guns, along with heavier (and sloped) frontal armor. I'm confused. StuGs did survive on the Eastern front. They did have the 75mm gun[later versions]. Do you mean the PanzerIII which the Stugs were based on? I had thought the primary reason for the StuG was its simpler to build[no turret] and had a lower profile[smaller target to hit].
kramer.

Roger Griffiths
Associate
Posts: 925
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 9:24 am
Location: UK

Post by Roger Griffiths » Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:54 pm

I can't pick many holes in what you guys are writing but consider this. Stugs started off as artillery vehicles with short 75's. They had AT capability out to 800m but the primary purpose was to neutralize strongpoints. In 1942 the StuK40 L43 or 48 became available. This tended to pull the vehicle towards an AT role. The high velocity guns were not that important in the initial role. Production rates were better than for panzers IV and V. So production continued until the end of the War. It was still an effective weapon in 1945 but would have been obsolete within 2 years after that.

It did not really matter where they were deployed, either in Stug. units or in PD's and PGD's. except in what numbers. In Stug units the total numbers should have been 70 or more and in PD/PGD's 22 per company. They were not. Theoretically, SP guns were vulnerable with limited traverse but I have seen film of Stugs. and Panzer IV for that matter post WWII and they could turn on a sixpence.

The JP38 or Hetzer as it is usually called (I have yet to see an official German document referring to it as a Hetzer) had been ordered as early as March 1943 but first units were not supplied until July 1944. They became increasingly common by the end of 1944. Trouble was that they were spread around so much. They were in ID's, PD's and PGD's. as well as army troops abteilungen.

Roger

Alkie
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles

responses about Assault guns.....

Post by Alkie » Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:14 pm

First, assault guns came into their own for a number of reasons. Kramer, as far as the silhouette, you are right, it was very low with the Stug III, Stug IV (Guderian's Duck) and the Hertzer. It was a little higher with the JadgPanther. The point I was making about the chassis of the Stug III and Hertzer (translation: "Troublemaker") is that the tank turrents that previously resided on these chassis could not support a capable anti-tank gun, or thick sloped armor. This became terribly obvious when the 6th Panzer Division with about 150 long-barrel 50MM Panzer III's (and a small number of effective long barrel 75MM Pz IV's) led the relief effort to break the Stalingrad ring, with the help of the seriously understrength 11th panzer division, made up of smaller numbers of primarily of Panzer III's. When they came up against very large numbers of T-34's in long range engagements near the Aksai River, they suffered very very high casualties. On December 17, 1942, the primary battle group in the relief effort lost 90 of their 120 available panzers (although some were repaired and fought again). This basically ended any realistic opportunity of freeing the 6th Army. Based on these experiences, the report made by the 11th Panzer division on January 22, 1943 regarding the Panzer III was:

"The Panzer III is in no way equal to the demands of the War in the East. Its armor is too thin, the calibre of the gun is inadequate. In contrast, the assault gun has proved to be an outstanding success in the Steppe war, even though it lacks a movable turret. The reason for it's success lays in it's considerably stronger armor and more powerful gun."

After this report, Panzer III's were quickly phased out and all production capability was redirected towards Stugs. 2150 50MM Panzer III's were produced in 1942. Only 22 of these tanks were made in 1943, although about 210 short-barreled 75MM Panzer III's were also produced. Meanwhile, Stug III production increased from 700 in 1942 to over 3000 in 1943.

As Roger points out, the assault gun began it's life as an infantry support weapon and was well suited for this. However, it's adaptability of carrying a higher calibre gun than a turreted tank on the same chassis, along with it's low silhouette and heavier armor (which was also sloped, making it more effective) than it's tank eqivilant, made it an ideal anti-tank weapon. It was also relatively cheap and easy to build in existing production facilities with little retooling.

As far as Stug III's and Hertzers being obsolete in two years, that is mostly correct. However up until early 1945 when the first 90mm American tanks began arriving, the L48 gun was as good or better than anything the Western allies had. Only the Sherman firefly (which was available in small numbers) could compare with it. It could also take out a T-34 fairly reliably at ranges inside of 1000M, and Shermans at even longer ranges. In other words as long as T-34s and Shermans were on the battlefield, they would still be somewhat effective. The JadgPanther and JadgTiger were responses for the need of a more powerful anti-tank oriented assault gun to take out heavier tanks. The JadgPanther was in most expert's eyes the best tank destroyer of the War. It's 88mm L71 gun was a more powerful version of the Tiger I's 88mm gun, and was extremely lethal, along with having extremely thick frontal armor. Unfortunately it's factory was ravaged by allied bombers and only about 400 of these could be produced.

Hope this clarifies things.

Cheers,

Alk

User avatar
SvenW
Contributor
Posts: 334
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2004 7:19 am

Post by SvenW » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:04 am

...
Last edited by SvenW on Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alkie
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:44 pm
Location: Los Angeles

An Agitator is pretty much the same as a troublemaker

Post by Alkie » Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:38 am

I think we are splitting hairs here.

twsecrest
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 1:54 pm

Re: Stug III vs. Stug IV

Post by twsecrest » Fri May 18, 2018 1:57 pm

I like Stugs.

Post Reply