Friday, July 17, 2015
Sturmgeschütz IV First Production
The Pz.Kpfw.IV was also converted to an assault gun (Sd.Kfz.167) after a bombing raid severely damaged the ALKETT plant producing the StuG III. The turret and superstructure from the Pz.Kpfw.IV was replaced by a modified StuG III Ausf.G superstructure. Since the Pz.Kpfw.IV hull was longer than that of the Pz.Kpfw.III, it was necessary to create a new driver's position by extending the left side of the superstructure front forward. This new driver's position was topped by a pair of periscopes and an access hatch. The cast gun mantlet was introduced in February 1944. Later production vehicles were also fitted with the naehverteidigunswaffe close-in defense weapon, and starting in December 1944 some StuG IV were only fitted with three track return rollers per side. Other modifications to the Pz.Kpfw.IV and StuG III Ausf.G were also grafted onto StuG IV, like the Pz.Kpfw.IV's flash suppressing mufflers and the remote-control external machine gun mount.