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The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) was Germany's most produced assault gun during WW2. It was built on the chassis of the Panzer III, and was initially intended as an infantry support gun before being modified and employed as a tank destroyer. The lack of a turret meant that it was best used in a defensive role, but that same lack made it cheaper and faster to produce than other tanks of the time. It also allowed the chassis to carry a larger gun than it would with a turret. The StuG line of assault guns was used on all fronts, and, collectively, destroyed more tanks than Tigers and Panthers.

Variants

  • StuG III Ausf. 0 - Pre-production model with soft steel used for the superstructure and armed with a 75mm StuK 37 L/24 gun. These never saw combat, and were only used for training purposes.
  • StuG III Ausf. A - Initial run with 50mm frontal armor.
  • StuG III Ausf. B - Widened tracks, different transmission, and re-positioned rollers to reduce the chance of throwing a track.
  • StuG III Ausf. C - Removed the gunner's forward view port due to the fact that it was a shot trap, and replaced it with an opening for a periscope.
  • StuG III Ausf. D - On-board intercom installed.
  • StuG III Ausf. E - Added rectangular armored boxes for radio equipment to the superstructure. This also allowed room for additional ammunition and a MG34 machine gun to protect the vehicle from enemy infantry.
  • StuG III Ausf. F - Replaced the main gun with a 75mm StuK 40 L/43 gun, allowing the StuG to engage most Soviet armor at normal combat ranges. This change was the point where the StuG became more of a tank destroyer than an infantry support vehicle. An exhaust fan was added to the rooftop to enable firing continuous shots.
  • StuG III Ausf. F/8 - Improved hull design with increased rear armor and towing hook holes extending from the side walls.
  • StuG III Ausf. G - The final and most common of the StuG series had a wider superstructure. Side hull skirts were added for additional armor protection, particularly against anti-tank rifles.

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