Sunday, March 22, 2015

15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Geschutzwagen lorraine Schlepper (f) (Sd Kfz 135/1)

History: During the early months of 1942, many decisions were taken in an effort to get self-propelled anti-tank guns to the front line as soon as possible. More than 300 French 'Tracteur Blinde 37L' had been captured and stockpiled after the campaign in the West in 1940. It was intended to use these only for the Panzerjäger, but in May 1942, Hitler ordered that 40 be used to mount a 15cm sFH which was needed for special operations under Rommel in North Africa. The superstructures came from Alkett, and assembly took place in Paris. In July, a further 78 Lorraine Schlepper were made available, and Keitel decided that 30 were to be immediately fitted with 15cm SFH at Krefeld, while the remainder be divided between Panzerjäger and 15cm sFH, and were to be assembled in Paris. In May 1942, sixty 10.5cm leFH18/4 were ordered to be mounted on the Lorraine Schlepper, but, only 12 were completed. One such vehicle, refitted with a Russian 122mm howitzer, was part of an armoured train captured in Burgundy in September 1944. 

Specific features: The original Tracteur Blinde 37L was unmodified except for slight strengthening of the suspension units. Overhauled vehicles, encountered in 1944, featured a lengthened recoil spade, which, like the gun travel rest, could be operated from within the fighting compartment. 

Combat service: First issued to the Panzerartillerie Abteilung of the 21st Panzer Division in North Africa. At the beginning of 1944, there were still fifty-four 15cm sFH in service on the Western Front.

 Lorraine 37L(f) Schlepper
- Gefechtsfeld-Versorgungsfahrzeug Lorraine 37L (f)
- Großer Funk- & Beobachtungspanzer Lorraine (f) (30 produced)
- 4.7cm Pak181(f) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (this is a French production in fact, not a German conversion)
- Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper
- 7.5cm Pak40/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
- 10.5cm leFH18 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (24 produced), Wespe-equivalent based on Lorraine 37L
- 12.2cm Kanone (r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (f) (1 produced)
- 15cm sFH13/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (102 produced), Hummel-equivalent based on Lorraine 37L

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