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|| |
| HE||12 lb. 9 oz.|
| Smoke||13 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
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
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.