Sunday, March 29, 2015

38cm RW61 auf Sturmmorser Tiger


During the fighting in Russia, it became apparent that a self propelled armoured mortar was needed to destroy buildings and fortifications that proved impossible to destroy for normal tanks. For this, the Sturmpanzer (based on the Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis) was developed. This vehicle served the purpose well, but a weapon mounted on the Tiger chassis was wanted.

On a meeting on 27 May 1943, the Waffenkommisionen mentioned the possibility of a self propelled 380mm mortar. The Tiger chassis was chosen, and specially designed hulls were to be delivered from Krupp. The weapon mounted was to be the 38cm Mörser - a weapon originaly developed by the Kriegmarine for use against submarines, and re-named 38cm Sturmmörser for the purpose. A trial version (in soft steel, with a 50mm metal plate bolted to the hull) was shown to Hitler 20 October 1943, and the first hulls were meant to be ready by December, and the first vehicles by February 1944.

Prior to this, a conceptual design for a Pz.Kpfw. VII 'Bär' had been made, using a 305mm weapon - in reality, the Tiger-M¨prser would fill its role.

Technical history

The hulls were originally to mount the engine in the front and the superstructure in the rear - much like the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) 'Ferdinand'/'Elefant'. It was decided, however, that the Tiger hull would serve the purpose fine, and the superstructure was developed according to this by Alkett. This superstructure mounted the 38cm StuM in a cast ball mount on the center of the front plate, along with a MG-34 operated by the radio operator.  Unlike the Tiger, the superstructure used sloped armour, which gave added protection. (The sloped 150mm armour, same thickness as the Tiger IIs frontal armour, was inpenetratable by any Allied weapons). There were also 2 vision ports in the front plate, as both the drivers vision slot and gunners aiming device was located here.

The 38cm StuM used fin-stabilized 345kg rockets. This meant that the Panzersturmmörser was the most powerfull vehicle of the war in terms of firepower, is the mobile heavy mortars are not counted in. These rockets were not only very usefull for buildings; they were also capable of immense destruction among tanks. One confirmed kill of 3 Shermans in one shot have been recorded. The price for this was a very large cloud of dust - about 2-3 times the size in heifght and width as the vehicle - and an easy-to-spot projectile (from the flame of the rocket). This gave away the position of the vehicle immidiately. The size of the projectile only allowed for 14 rockets to be stored, one of whice was located in the barrel. The weight also called for a crane to be mounted for loading. The rockets were not kind to the back of the loaders, but at this late stage, this was of low importance.

The tip of the barrel mounted various counter-weights to stabilize the barrel - either 4 small weights or a complete circle was mounted. There were also a number of 'canals' in the barrel, varying from vehicle to vehicle, which helped the gasses from the blast get away.

It was, as stated above, originally intended that the hulls should be made specifically for the vehicle. Delays in the production occurred, and halted the production to such an extent that Hitler decided on 19 April 1944 that hulls with damage to the turret were to mount the superstructure. At the same time, he ordered 12 superstructures to be prepared.

During August 1944, 3 Tiger-Mörsers were completed, with a furter 7 on the way in September. This goal was surpassed, and 10 were produced, with another 5 in December, giving a total of 18. Hitler ordered 300 rounds to be produced each month for the Tiger-Mörser in late August 1944, a bit optimistic considering all.


There were no real modification to the vehicle, although most vehicle veried from each other. Most vehicle, despite the late appearence, mounted Zimmerit, side skirts are know on some vehicles, and the barrel veried as mentioned earlier.

Operational history

On 13 August 1944, the first Tiger-Mörser unit was created - the Sturm-Mörser-Kompanie 1000. It was equipped with only 2 Tiger-Mörsers, and sent to Warsaw to fight down the uprising on 13 August 1944. Here, they were quite success in destroying houses and roadblocks.
In September 1944, Sturm-Mörser-Kompagnie 1001 was formed, followed by Sturm-Mörser-Kompagnie 1002 in October. By medio december 1944, the three units now in existance were equipped with 4 Tiger-Mörsers. After this, Sturm-Mörser-Kompagnie 1000 and 1001 were sent to the western front to participate in the Ardennes offensive. After this, they were employed randomly, as there were no real major offensives to support.

The vehicle had great psycological effect, even when operating alone. One US soldier remember, during an encounter with a Tiger-Mörser, that it destroyed the accompanying Shermans, and made holes in the ground the size of the vehicle itself. This soldier also remembers the crew as being Waffen-SS, but wherter this is true, or a misconception due to interchange of uniforms, is unknown at the moment. As for now, the crews are believed to be Wehrmacht, but any information is welcome.


Although the Tiger-Mörser didn't have any realy effect on the war as a whole, it was a vehicle that served its role very well. The metal used to make the superstructures cannot be said to have been wasted, as it was so small a quantity. On the other hand, the administrative costs and efforts to make the vehicle could very well have been devoted to making other vehicles. The largest waste must be said to be the 300 rounds produced a month - for all of the rounds to have been fired, each vehicle would have had to fire about 4 rounds every day, from August to April, which was highly unlikely to ever happen.


Production statistics
Technical data table
Detailed production statistics for Panzersturmmörser 'Tiger-Mörser'
Month, year:
Number produced:
August 1944

September 1944

December 1944

Technical data table for Panzersturmmörser 'Tiger-Mörser'
Length (with gun)
Length (without gun)
65 tons
Automotive specifications:
Maybach HL 230 P45 V-12 water cooled 23 liter gasoline
650 @ 2500 rpm
OG 40 12 16
Track length
Track contact surface
Track width
Tread surface
Links per track
96 links
Track type
Kgs 63/725/130
Suspension type
Torsion bars
Number of roadwheels on each side
Road wheel type
Steel with rubber tires
Road wheel size
Automotive capabilities
Speed (maximum)
Speed (on road)
Speed (cross-country)
Range (on road)
Range (cross-country)
Climbing (step)
Climbing (degrees)
Trench crossing
Fording depth
Ground clearaence
Ground pressure (hard surface)
?? kg/cm²
Ground pressure (when sinking 20cm)
1.24 kg/cm²
Steering ratio
Weight-to-power ratio
10 hp/ton
Fuel capacity
540 liters
Fuel consumption (on road)
4.5 liters/km
Fuel consumption (cross-country)
6.35 liters/km
Minimum turning radius
Weapons data: 
Primary weapon
38cm StuM
14 grenades
Gun sight
'Pak Z.F.' 3x, 8°
-0° - +65°
10° to both sides
Firing height
Secondary weapon(s)
7.92mm MG-34
7.92mm MG-42
2x9mm MP 40
Gun sight
Radio (internal)
Radio (external)
Fu. 5
5 (Driver, Radio operator, gunner, commander and loader)
Front upper hull: 60mm/10°
Front lower hull: 100mm/-65°
Front lowest hull: 60mm/-25
Rear upper hull: 80mm/81°
Rear lower hull: 60mm/40°
Hull roof: 25mm/0°
Floor: 25mm/0°
Hull side: 60mm/90°
Front superstructure: 150mm/45°
Superstructure roof: 40mm/0°
Rear superstructure: 80mm/-90°
Superstructure upper side: 80mm/90°
Superstructure lower side: 80mm/20°

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