|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Overall, Sturmgeschütz series assault guns proved very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and tank destroyers. Although Tigers and Panthers have earned a greater notoriety, assault guns collectively destroyed more tanks. Because of their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were easy to camouflage and a difficult target. Sturmgeschütz crews were considered to be the elite of the artillery units. Sturmgeschütz units held a very impressive record of tank kills – some 20,000 enemy tanks by the spring of 1944.As of April 10, 1945, there were 1,053 StuG IIIs and 277 StuH 42s in service. Approximately 9,500 StuG IIIs of various types were produced until March 1945 by Alkett and a small number by MIAG.
In terms of the resources expended in their construction, the StuG assault guns were extremely cost-effective compared to the heavier German tanks, though in the anti-tank role, it was best used defensively, as the lack of a turret would be a severe disadvantage out in the open. As the German military situation deteriorated later in the war, more and more StuG guns were constructed in comparison to tanks, in an effort to replace losses and bolster defences against the encroaching Allied forces.
In 1944, the Finnish Army received 59 StuG III Ausf. Gs from Germany (30 Stu 40 Ausf.G and 29 StuG III Ausf. G) and used them against the Soviet Union. These destroyed at least 87 enemy tanks for a loss of only 8 StuGs (some of these were destroyed by their crews to avoid capture). After the war, they were the main combat vehicles of the Finnish Army until the early 1960s. These StuGs gained the nickname "Sturmi" which can be found in some plastic kit models.
StuG IIIs were also exported to other nations like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain.
Many German Sturmgeschütz IIIs were captured by Yugoslav Partisans. After the war, they were used by the Yugoslav Peoples Army until the 1950s.
After the Second World War, the Soviet Union donated some of their captured German vehicles to Syria, which continued to use them at least until the Six Days War (1967).
Today, examples have been kept in running condition, including one seen in the movie Mr. Bean's Holiday.
StuG III Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1; Dec 1942– Apr 1945, 7,720 produced, 173 converted from Pz.Kpfw. III chassis): The final, and by far the most common, of the StuG series. The Ausf. G used the hull of the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M. Upper superstructure was widened: welded boxes on either sides were abandoned. This new superstructure design increased its height to 2160mm. From May 1943, side hull skirts (schurzen) were fitted to G models for added armor protection particularly against anti-tank rifles. Side skirts were retro-fitted to some Ausf. F/8 models. Side skirts were also to be fitted to all front line StuGs and tanks by June 1943 in preparation for the battle of Kursk. Mountings for side skirts proved inadequate, many were lost. From March 44, improved mounting was introduced, as a result side skirts are more often seen with late model Ausf G. From May 1943, 80mm thick plates were used for frontal armor instead of two plates of 50mm+30mm. However, backlog of completed 50mm armors exited. For those, 30mm additional armors still had to be welded or bolted on, until Oct 1943.
This is another of Dragon's fine Smart Kit productions. These kits provide you with photo-etch (and in this case that includes very nicely done steel side skirts) and individual track links in the box. This means that for most modelers, there is no need for expensive aftermarket items. This kit has all of the features required to represent the December 1943 production and that includes the cast gun mantlet and hubcap-less sprockets. Below is a full list of features.
- Newly tooled 80mm front armor plate
- New road wheels and sprocket w/accurate details
- Side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Cannon can be elevated up or down
- StuG.III Mid-Late Production MG gun shield
- StuG.III Mid-Late Production fighting compartment authentically produced
- Gun w/full breech assembly
- Slide-molded mantlet w/internal surface detail
- Chamfer in lower part of mantlet
- Slide-molded gun sleeve
- Gun breech and recoil guard are fully produced
- Recoil and recuperator cylinders are truly represented
- Gun sight and hand wheels are included
- Complete gun mount is represented
- Slide-molded muzzle brake
- One-piece barrel
- Roof armor w/accurate weld seams
- Screw heads are accurately reproduced
- Upper hull w/easy assembly
- Multi-piece upper hull for maximum detail
- Multi-directional slide-molded superstructure w/bolt detail
- Engine deck w/interlocking structure has realistic weld seams
- Radio set and seat are included
- Steering-brake inspection hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Floor treadplate pattern is correctly done
- Commander's hatch w/interior details - can be assembled open/closed
- Fully detailed hull bottom weld seams
- One-piece slide-molded lower hull w/superb details
- Driver's vision port w/clear-plastic part
- One-piece driver's vision port armor w/nut details
- Hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Air deflector truly represented
- Photo-etched mesh is included
- Cooling-air intakes are slide molded
- Photo-etched air-intake grills
- Commander's cupola periscopes made from clear parts
- Detailed track tension adjuster
- Idler wheels w/photo-ethced parts
- Final-drive housing covers are separate parts for maximum detail
- Jack is reproduced w/multiple parts
- Notek light included
- Fenders made from slide molds w/both upper and lower surface details
- Fender pattern is accurately portrayed
- Fender details made from photo-etched parts
- Antenna base w/correct shape
- Slide-molded periscopic gun sight is made from clear part
- Detailed injection-molded on-vehicle tools
- Engine and radiator hatches and vent covers accurately produced
- Slide-molded hydraulic shock absorbers possess extremely good detail
- Detailed suspension swing arms
- Toolbox w/padlock produced by slide molds
- Exhaust pipes w/hollow ends
- 40cm Magic Tracks
Markings are provided for three vehicles. Starting at the top is a vehicle from StuG. Bridage 226 in East Prussia during 1945. Next, on the lower left is from StuG. Kp. 1019, 19 Luftwaffen Felddivision, Ukraine 1944. The last option is from Pz.Jg.Abt.2, 12 Pz.Dv. in Estonia during 1944.
Here is yet another fine kit from Dragon and at a price that is quite reasonable for all you get in the box. These vehicles sell well so get yours while the getting is good.
March 2012 Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page