Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pz Kw IV "Infanterie-Sturm-Steg"

Pz Kw IV "Brückenleger"

Of the Special variants on the Pz Kw IV chassis two are particularly worthy of mention: the Pz Kw IV "Brückenleger" (Bridgelayer) and the Pz Kw IV "Infanterie-Sturm-Steg" (Infantry Assault Footbridge), which were intended for the Tank Engineer Battalions. Although Army General Orders of 1941 state that the proposed bridge laying vehicles would be discontinued in the near future because suitable chassis were not available and could not be produced in the immediate future prototypes of Pz Kw II and Pz Kw IV bridge layers were built. Individual examples of the Pz Kw IV Infanterie-Sturm-Steg were however used in France and Russia, mainly for the capture of strongly fortified defences. 

Sixteen Ausf. D chassis were set aside for use as Brückenleger in September 1939. Based on the given month, these were probably the first sixteen chassis produced. They were submitted for approval in March or April 1940. All sixteen were converted to regular tanks during August 1940 and May 1941.

In 1939, having in mind the problems faced when assaulting fixed fortifications, the Waffenamt (Ordnance Department) ordered two Infanterie Sturmsteg built  onto Pz Kpfw IV chassis. The bridge was built by Magirus on the same principle as a fire-fighting ladder of approximately 50m. Two bridges placed side-by-side were intended to form beams for a walkway. The two Pz Kpfw IV chassis were from Ausf C production, set aside in August 1939. Delivery of the Sturmsteg took place in February 1940, in time for the campaign in the West.

 Pz Kw IV "Infanterie-Sturm-Steg"

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