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Hummel Self-Propelled Howitzer



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In 1942 plans were made to equip each German Panzer Division with two batteries of light howitzers and one of heavy howitzers, and each Panzer Corps was to have a further two heavy batteries. The light batteries were to be equipped with Wespe self-propelled howitzers, and a new vehicle mounting the 15cm sFH 18/1 (schwere Feldhaubitze, heavy field howitzer) was required for the heavy batteries.
The GW III/IV chassis with a centrally mounted engine was used for the new vehicle, as for the Nashorn. The prototype that appeared in late 1942 was based completely on PzKpfw IV Ausf F components and had a muzzle brake fitted to the howitzer. Production vehicles had PzKpfw III Ausf J final drive components, engines and transmissions, as used on late production Nashorn tank destroyers, and were not fitted with muzzle brakes. Deutsche Eisenwerke produced 666 examples of this vehicle, known as Hummel (Bumble Bee), at its Mulheim factory in the Ruhr. A further 150 vehicles were built without a gun and with the gun aperture plated over. These were used as Munitionsträger Hummel ammunition carriers for the Hummel batteries and could be converted in the field to normal vehicles if required. Hummels were issued to front line units from the autumn of 1943 and were standard equipment until the end of the war. The name ‘Hummel’ was dropped from the vehicle according to Hitler’s order of 27 February 1944, but it was not given a new name as had happened to the Nashorn.
Early production vehicles had a raised compartment for the driver whilst the radio operator had a hatch in the glacis plate. From mid-1944 a new compartment was introduced which extended to the full width of the glacis and housed the driver and radio operator. The Nashorn stopped production at about this time so it did not receive this modification. Some early production Hummels were fitted with PzKpfw IV Ausf E eight-spoke idler wheels. Very late production vehicles were fitted with steel return rollers and armoured shields over the engine louvers on the superstructure sides.

Model Id:
195
Manufacture:Deutsche Eisenwerke AG, Duisburg, Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (Sole manufacturer)


1) Panzermuseum, Munster, Germany

Number of Photos:
0
Sample Photo from Album Number 187

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Unique ID: 187
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This Hummel was one of two Hummels that originally came to Fort Knox via Aberdeen Proving Ground; they were part of the original Patton Collection pieces that arrived in 1946 (source: D. Moriarty).

2) U.S. Army Artillery Museum, Fort Sill, USA

Number of Photos:
7
Sample Photo from Album Number 189

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Unique ID: 189
Serial Number: 3206 (source: D. Moriarty)
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This Hummel was one of two Hummels that came to Fort Knox via Aberdeen Proving Ground; they were part of the original Patton Collection pieces that arrived in 1946 (source: D. Moriarty). The other Hummel is now in the Panzermuseum at Munster, Germany. This example went to Fort Benning in March 2010, and then to Fort Sill early in 2012 (source: P.-O. Buan/AFVNDB).

3) The Tank Museum - Reserve Collection, Bovington, Britain

Number of Photos:
0
Sample Photo from Album Number 2064

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Unique ID: 2064
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New entry. Put on the museum books in 1951. Marked ‘GONE’ in museum record.