Sunday, March 22, 2015

8.8cm PaK43/1 (L/71) auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen III/IV (Sf)

History: The Hornisse (hornet) was designed in 1942, to provide an adequate self-propelled mount for the 8.8cm PaK43. In October 1942, it was decided to have 100 Hornisse built by 12 May 1943, in time for the summer offensive. The initial order was for a series of 500, of which 494 were completed.

Specific features: The 8.8cm PaK43/1 was mounted on the same Pz Kpfw III/IV chassis as the Hummel. The Pz Kpfw III/IV chassis used a lengthened Pz Kpfw IV hull as the basic design, but with the motor moved forward to a central position. It retained the basic suspension of the Pz Kpfw IV except for the spacing between components. The drive sprocket was of the type designed for the Pz Kpfw III. The open-topped fighting compartment was enclosed on all four sides by slanted armour plates bolted to the hull. The glacis plate was extended, and a small compartment for the driver was fitted to it on the left-hand side. The Hummel produced from early 1944, had a crew compartment for the driver and radio operator, extending across the full width of the hull. The 15cm sFH18/1 was mounted in the middle over the engine, and this gave the vehicle a very high silhouette. The Munitions Fahrzeuge varied from the Hummel by having a plate bolted over the front of the superstructure to close the gap normally filled by the gun and its shield, and its internal stowage was different.

Combat service: Hornissen were issued to schwere Panzerjager detachments which were independent units attached to a Korps or Armee, to provide a mobile, highly effective tank-killing force. Their first service was with the 655th schwere Panzerjagerabteilung on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1943. Five other heavy tank-hunter detachments were formed, and saw action in Italy and in the West, as well as in the East.

Type Tank destroyer
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Production history
Designer Alkett
Manufacturer Deutsche Eisenwerke
Number built 473
Weight 24 tonnes (52,910 lbs)
Length 8.44 m (27 ft 8 in) with gun
Width 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
Height 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)
Crew 4 or 5

Armor hull: 20-30 mm (.78-1.18 in)
superstructure: 10 mm (.39 in)
8.8 cm (3.46 in) Pak 43/1
7.92 mm MG (carried inside)
Engine Maybach 11.9 litre V-12 gasoline
300 PS (296 hp, 221 kW)
Power/weight 12.5 PS/tonne
Suspension leaf spring
235 km (146 mi)
Speed 42 km/h (26.71 mph)

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