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"German 150-mm SP Field Howitzer" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. intelligence report on the German 150-mm self-propelled gun was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 42, January 13, 1944.

[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.]


a. General

In Tactical and Technical Trends No. 36, p. 12, this gun was illustrated in error as a 105-mm light SP howitzer. A correction was printed in No. 39, and the sketch is reprinted here with the correct caption. The gun is a 150-mm, 31 caliber medium (although the German nomenclature calls it "heavy") howitzer on a Pz Kw 4 mount. A muzzle brake may be fitted but whether or not this is standard equipment is still not definitely known. One German magazine photograph shows a group of guns which are thought to be of this type, without such brakes.

The reported German nickname is Hummel, which is translated, "humble (US, bumble) bee." British nomenclature refers to it as simply the "Bee". Another German magazine also referred to the short assault howitzer described in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 41, p. 16, as the Hummel, although it is elsewhere known as the Brumbear or Grizzly Bear. Hummel, or Bee is probably the correct title for the 150-mm medium howitzer here illustrated. The SP-105 -- l.F.H. 18 (m) on the Pz Kw 2 chassis -- is named the Wespe or Wasp.

[Hummel: German 150-mm Medium Field Howitzer, Self-Propelled]

b. Description

The following are the particulars for the 15-cm s.F.H. 18 on Pz Kw 4 chassis. The equipment is known as 15-cm s.F.H. 18/m Sfl* IV Hummel (150-mm medium field howitzer 18/m, self-propelled mount 4, the Bee) i.e. the Bumble-Bee. This should not be confused with the 10.5-cm l.F.H. 18/m Sfl. II Wespe (105-mm light field howitzer 18/m, self-propelled mount Pz Kw 2 Wasp).

(1) Gun

Nomenclature (German)     15-cm s.F.H. 18
Actual caliber149 mm
Overall length15 ft 7 1/2 in
Overall length including muzzle brake17 ft. 4 1/2 in
MV charge 61,020 fs
MV charge 71,375 fs
MV charge 81,965 fs
Maximum range, charge 610,550 yds
Maximum range, charge 712,140 yds
Maximum range, charge 814,380 gds
Elevation0° - 39°
Traverse each side16°
Weight of barrel1.96 tons
Weight of breech ring266 lbs
Weight of projectile95.75 lbs

NOTE: Charge 8 must not be used without the muzzle brake.

(2) Chassis

(a) Dimensions

Length     20 ft 4 1/2 in
Width9 ft 4 1/2 in
Height9 ft 4 in
Width between tracks7 ft 10 1/2 in
Length of tracks on ground 11 ft 6 1/2 in
Width of track15 in
Ground clearance15 3/4 in

(b) Weight

Weight in action     25 tons (approx)
Weight in draught 25.4 tons (approx)

(c) Engine

EngineMaybach model H.L. 120/TRKM**
No. of cylinders     12
Fuel capacity123.6 gal (US)
Fuel consumption roads .79 mpg
     cross country.55 mpg

(d) Performance

Maximum speed     25 mph
Radius of action roads96 miles
Radius of action cross country62 miles
Fording capacity2 ft 7 1/2 ins

*Selbstfahrlafette -- self-propelled mount
*Engine identification symbol


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