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Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär Assault Gun



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During September 1942 preliminary requirements were discussed for a heavy assault vehicle. Street fighting in the cities of Russia, particularly Stalingrad, had revealed that the small calibre weapons of contemporary tanks and assault guns had proved ineffective against well-constructed buildings. Studies were ordered into the feasibility of mounting heavy infantry guns in either the Sturmgeschütz III or PzKpfw IV chassis.
In October 1942 Hitler ordered that the SiG 33 heavy infantry howitzer should be fitted in the PzKpfw IV chassis, and this was carried out by Alkett of Berlin. The result was the Sturmpanzer IV, the first heavy assault gun specially designed for close combat in built up areas.
The vehicle was armed with the StuH 43 L/12 which was based on the original SiG 33. This was housed in a large ball mounting and fitted in the front plate of a large, angular superstructure mounted on the PzKpfw IV chassis. This superstructure had six sides and was armoured from 60mm at the rear to 100mm at the front.
In April 1943 the first Sturmpanzer IV’s went into service and they soon received the name Brummbär (Grizzly Bear). These early models were based on the Ausf F chassis and were fitted with a short collar on the gun, a Fahrerblende 80 driver’s visor as used on the Tiger tank, and a one-piece roof. A similar version was built on the Ausf G chassis and this type saw service on the Russian and Italian fronts in 1943. These early models were very overloaded and so had somewhat reduced mechanical reliability.
Subsequently the Ausf H and J chassis were utilised and so the vehicle benefited from the ZF SSG 77 transmission introduced in these models of the PzKpfw IV. These later types appeared on the Italian front in May and June 1944 and subsequently in Normandy. They were distinguishable from earlier models by the use of the later sprockets, idler wheels and steel return rollers of the Ausf H and J. They were also fitted with a longer collar on the gun, the driver’s visor was replaced with a periscope, as used on the Sturmgeschütz IV assault gun, and they had a different roof layout.
All models of the Brummbär had a pistol port in each side of the superstructure, towards the front. It would appear that later models had an additional one built into each side towards the rear of the superstructure. This was possibly done to improve the vehicle’s defences against attack by infantry.
Most later examples of the Brummbär were fitted with Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste on all vertical surfaces, including the exposed hull sides above the roadwheels. They also carried Schürzen armour plates bolted to the sides.

Model Id:
205
Manufacture:Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Chassis manufacturer)
Deutsche Eisenwerke AG, Duisburg, Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (Vehicle assembly 1943-44)


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

Number of Photos:
5
Sample Photo from Album Number 193

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Unique ID: 193
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: “211” in black with white edging and German crosses painted on superstructure sides. Overall painted in a wavy brown over sand camouflage scheme.

This Brummbär was transferred from the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground in about November 2012; it had previously been on show in the Display Park. In October 2013 it was being stored near the Fort Sill logistics paint shop.

Brummbär Abschlusserie

The final version of the Sturmpanzer IV, Brummbär Abschlusserie, mounted a simplified superstructure extending to the full width of the vehicle. It had four sides, with a protruding section in the rear plate, and a two-piece roof. It had an MG 34 machine gun in a ball mounting, similar to that of the Tiger tank Ausf E, on the upper left front plate of the superstructure. This was added to improve the vehicle’s defence against infantry attack. Other improvements included the addition of a new cupola and the facility for carrying an MG 34 on the roof for anti-aircraft defence.
Zimmerit was sometimes used on this model. Schürzen was now attached by quick-release hooks and brackets so that collisions no longer tore the plates but simply knocked them off. It would appear that some, but not all, Brummbär Abschlusserie vehicles had all-steel roadwheels. They were either fitted entirely with steel roadwheels or had them in the front four stations each side.
The Brummbär was very successful in its limited role of assaulting entrenched positions and served with the heavy infantry gun companies of Panzergrenadier regiments, armoured artillery battalions and army tank battalions. A total of 313 was built.

Model Id:
207
Manufacture:Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG, Nibelungen, Sankt Valentin, Austria (Chassis manufacturer)
Deutsche Eisenwerke AG, Duisburg, Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (Vehicle assembly 1944-45)


2) Panzermuseum, Munster, Germany

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 194

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Unique ID: 194
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

The photograph previously shown for this vehicle actually depicted the example that remained at Saumur.

3) Museé Des Blindés, Saumur, France

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 1007

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Unique ID: 1007
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

New entry.