The Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV) (Sd.Kfz. 167) was a German assault gun variant of the Panzer IV used in the latter part of the Second World War. It was identical in role and concept to the highly successful StuG III assault gun variant of the Panzer III. Both StuG models were given an exclusively tank destroyer role in German formations and tactical planning in the last two years of the war, greatly augmenting the capability of the dwindling tank force available to the German army on the Eastern and Western fronts.
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Used by||Nazi Germany|
|Wars||World War II|
|Manufacturer||Fried. Krupp Grusonwerk AG, Magdeburg-Buckau|
|No. built||1,108 +31 conversions|
|Mass||23 tonnes (50,705 lbs)|
|Length||6.7 m (20 ft)|
|Width||2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)|
|Height||2.20 m (7 ft 3 in)|
|Crew||4 (Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver)|
|Armor||10–80 mm (.39–3.14 in)|
|1 × 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 |
|1 × 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 |
|Engine||Maybach HL120 TRM V-12-cylinder gasoline|
300 PS (296 hp, 220.6 kW)
|Power/weight||13 PS (9.6 kW) / tonne|
|Transmission||ZF SSG 76 Aphon,|
6 forward gears, 1 reverse
|Ground clearance||40.0 cm (16 inches)|
|Fuel capacity||430 liter|
|210 km (130 mi)|
|Maximum speed||40 km/h (25 mph)|
The Sturmgeschütz IV resulted from Krupp's effort to supply an assault gun. As Krupp did not build Panzerkampfwagen IIIs, they used the Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis in combination with a slightly modified Sturmgeschütz III superstructure.
The first known proposal for a Sturmgeschütz on the Panzer IV chassis is in Krupp drawing number W1468 dated February 1943. This initial drawing unitized the outdated Sturmgeschütz Ausf. F superstructure on a Panzer IV chassis. This proposal had a sloped front superstructure with a combat weight of 28.26 tons. Krupp abandoned it in February 1943 because it was too heavy. Plans for the StuG IV were halted.
During the Führer Conference of 19 to 22 August 1943, after the Battle of Kursk, Hitler had seen reports of the StuG III outperforming the Panzer IV when used in an infantry support role and tactical defence. Convinced that a tank-hunter version would be superior to the tank version, Hitler planned to switch Panzer IV production to "Panzerjäger IV" production as soon as possible. It was to mount the same 7.5 cm L/70 used for the Panther. Another manufacturer, Vomag built a prototype Panzerjäger IV with 7.5 cm L/48 gun and demonstrated it on 20 October 1943. It was later re-designated as Jagdpanzer IV Ausf. F. As the Jagdpanzer IV was already being produced by Vomag, the StuG IV may not have materialized, had it not been for the major disruption of StuG III production, and the scarce supply of the 7.5 cm L/70 gun designated for the Jagdpanzer IV.
In November 1943, Alkett, the manufacturer of the StuG III, suffered damage due to an Allied bombing raid. They produced 255 StuG III in October 1943, but in December production fell to just 24 vehicles. A conference held from 6 to 7 December 1943, addressed possible solutions to this problem. Hitler welcomed the suggestion of taking the StuG III superstructure and mounting it on a Panzer IV chassis. The StuG IV could be more quickly manufactured than the Jagdpanzer IV at the time. This restarted the Sturmgeschütz IV project. This time, the superstructure of the StuG III Ausf. G was mounted on a Panzer IV chassis 7, with a box compartment for the driver added. Combat weight was 23000 kg, lighter than the 23900 kg for the StuG III Ausf. G. Between 16 and 17 December 1943, Hitler was shown the StuG IV and approved it. To make up for the large deficit in StuG III production StuG IV production was now given full support.
From December 1943 to May 1945, Krupp built 1,108 StuG IVs and converted an additional 31 from battle-damaged Panzer IV hulls. While the number is smaller than the 10,000+ StuG III, the StuG IV supplemented and fought along with StuG III during 1944–45, when they were most needed.
The StuG IV became known as an effective tank killer, especially on the Eastern Front.
It had a four-man crew, and was issued mainly to infantry divisions.
- Commander in hull left rear
- Gunner in hull left center
- Loader in hull right rear
- Driver in hull left front
There are presently four surviving examples of the StuG IV.
- One in the Muzeum im. Orła Białego (White Eagle Museum) a military museum located in the town of Skarżysko-Kamienna. It is a makeshift restoration using a StuG IV hull and various parts from Stug IIIs and Panzer IVs.
- One in the Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznań. It is complete and in running condition.
- In October 2011, a StuG IV found in a swamp in the former Courland Pocket was restored by a Latvian enthusiast. This vehicle, with no engine or gearbox, was offered for sale on milweb.net at an asking price of 425,000 Euros. It was also listed on eBay with a "Buy It Now" price of 900,000 US Dollars.
- "300 litrów na 100 kilometrów" (in Polish). Moto.onet.pl. 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "German StuG IV Sturmgeschütz IV WW2". eBay. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "STUG IV COMPLETE". Facebook. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.