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"German 75-mm Assault Gun" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on German assault guns was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 7, Sept. 10, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


This assault gun is a self-propelled gun mounted on a standard Mark III tank chassis. In 1940 a relatively small number took part in the Battle of France and it was first used extensively in the summer of 1941, when it played an important tactical role in the first battles on the Russian front.

The guns are organized into independent battalions, although it is now possible that they are organic within the motorized and Panzer divisions and are attached to front-line infantry divisions. Normally only direct fire is used.

An assault gun captured in the Middle East is described below.

The gun and mount weigh about 20 tons.

The gun itself is the short-barreled 75-mm tank gun originally mounted in the Mark IV tank. The range drum is graduated for HE up to 6,550 yards and for AP up to 1,640 yards. Elevation and traverse are hand-operated. Some other details are these:

Length of bore     23.5 cals.
Muzzle velocity (estimated)1,600 f.s.
Depression 5°
Weight of projectiles 
   HE12 lb. 9 oz.
   Smoke13 lb. 9 oz.
   AP (with ballistic cap) 13 lb. 9 oz.
   AP (hollow charge)not known
Estimated penetration of AP
   (with ballistic cap)
55 mm. (2.16 in.) at 60° at 400 yds.

It is believed that this low-velocity gun is being replaced by a high-velocity 75-mm gun with a reported length of bore of about 43 calibers. The Germans are also apparently making a similar change in the armament of the Mark IV Tank. (See this publication No. 4, page 15.)

As stated above, the hull is that of the standard German Mark III tank with normal suspension system. The turret has been removed. The length is 17 ft. 9 in., height 6 ft. 5 in., and width 9 ft. 7 in. In general the armor is 51 mm. (2 in.) at the front and 32 mm. (1.25 in.) on the sides and at the rear. An added 53-mm plate is fitted to the rear of the front vertical plate, apparently between the driving and fighting compartments, and is braced to the front plate by two 31-mm. plates, one on each side of the opening for the gun. For detailed arrangement of armor plate see accompanying sketch.

[7.5 cm Sturmgeschütz (75-mm Assault Gun)]

The sides of the hull are reported to be vulnerable to the British 40-mm antitank gun at 1,500 yards, but this gun can penetrate the front only at very short ranges, and even then only the driving compartment.

The engine is a Maybach V-12-type rated at 300 horsepower. The gears provide for six speeds, and steering is hydraulically controlled. The capacity of the gasoline tank is 71 gallons, which is consumed at the rate of about 0.9 miles per gallon at a cruising speed of 22 miles per hour. The radius of action is about 70 miles, the maximum rate of speed about 29 miles per hour.

As in German tanks, this vehicle is equipped to carry extra gasoline in a rack on the rear of the vehicle, which should hold about 10 standard 5-gallon gasoline cans.

The captured vehicle contained metal boxes for 44 rounds of ammunition, and 40 rounds were stacked on the floor at the loader's station. Ammunition is also carried in an armored half-track which tows an armored ammunition trailer. There was also a rack for 12 stick grenades, and the usual smoke-candle release mechanism for 5 candles was fitted to the rear. For communication there were two radio receivers and one transmitter. For observation a scissors telescope was provided.

As spare parts the 11-mm. sloping plates over the track guard (see sketch) carried two spare bogie wheels on the right side and one on the left side. Two spare torsion rods were also carried, one in each side of the hull above the bogies.

The crew consists of four men -- a commander, gunner, loader, and driver.


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