|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B was a German self-propelled heavy infantry gun used during World War II. A new, fully enclosed, and heavily armored boxy casemate superstructure was built on the chassis of the Sturmgeschütz III. It mounted the improved sIG 33/1 infantry gun, offset to the right side, for which 30 rounds were carried. It could only traverse 3° left and right, elevate 25°, and depress 6°. A Maschinengewehr 34 machine-gun was fitted in a ball mount on the left side of the superstructure with 600 rounds. Its traverse limits were 15° left and 20° right, and it could elevate 20° and depress 10°.
Sources differ as to the development history. Chamberlain and Doyle say that Alkett was ordered in July 1941 to convert a dozen Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. E chassis and that these were finished in December 1941 and January 1942 - but not issued. On 20 September 1942, another dozen Sturmgeschutz IIIs were ordered to be converted, and the existing vehicles were rebuilt. Trojca and Jaugitz contend that all twenty-four were built by Alkett starting in September 1942 from repaired Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. B, C, D and E chassis.
The first dozen were delivered by the end of October 1942 and assigned to Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen (Assault Gun Battalions) 177 and 244, then fighting in Stalingrad. The remaining dozen vehicles could not be delivered to Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen 243 and 245, also fighting in Stalingrad, after the Soviets surrounded the German 6th Army on 21 November. Instead, the vehicles were formed into Sturm-Infanterie-Geschütz-Batterie/Lehr-Bataillon (Assault Infantry Gun Batterie/Demonstration Battalion) XVII. The battalion was assigned to the 22nd Panzer Division as the Germans attempted to relieve the trapped 6th Army. The Division was virtually wiped out in the fighting and the battery was assigned to the 23rd Panzer Division where it became the Sturm-Infanterie-Geschütz-Batterie/Panzer-Regiment 201 (also known as 9. Kompanie/Panzer-Regiment 201) for the rest of the war. The last strength report to mention them lists five remaining in September 1944. Only one survived at the Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection at Russia.
Dragon has added another interesting AFV to their ever-growing catalogue with this StuG III based SPG. In line with the base vehicle, this one comes with a full torsion bar suspension with nicely detailed suspension and wheels/sprockets/idler. This is topped by a nice set of DS tracks so those who are not fond of individual link tracks will not have to deal with them. As you might expect, a goodly portion of the kit is from the StuG so you will have quite a few parts left over. There is some modification that will need to be done, but the instructions show you what is required. This is all topped off by an aluminum barrel. This kit does not have an interior as the fighting compartment is closed. Here is a full list of features:
● Newly tooled slide-molded engine deck
● Newly designed 15cm Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33 rendered w/intricate details
● Newly produced 40cm DS tracks
● s.IG.33 cannon can be assembled in different elevations
● Realistic stowage boxes installed
● Gun travel lock reproduced
● One-piece slide-molded lower hull w/exquisite detail
● Fully detailed weld seams on hull bottom
● Full detail on lower hull sides
● Superstructure produced by 3-directional slide mold
● Slide-molded engine deck
● Slide-molded cooling-air intake
● Photo-etched air intake grills
● Injection-molded fender and support for maximum realism
● Photo-etched deflector plus starter crank port cover can be assembled open/closed
● Fenders w/pattern detail on both top and bottom surfaces
● Aluminum gun barrel designs for s.IG.33
● Slide-molded hydraulic shock absorbers are fully detailed
● Detailed suspension swing arms
● Exhaust pipes w/hollow ends
● Final-drive housing covers are separate parts for maximum detail
● Accurate drive sprockets
● Road wheels w/accurate detail
● Delicate idler wheels and track tension adjusters
Markings are included for two vehicles. One is the box art version from PzRgt 201, 23 Pz Div on the eastern front in 1943. The other is in overall panzer grey with remnants of a winter wash from StuG.Abt.177 in 1942. The small decal sheet is well done and provides insignia and vehicle numbers where required.
Thanks to the DS tracks, the parts count on this one (about 440 parts) is reasonable for a vehicle like this and adds all the detail you might want. It is another fine SPG and will add to your collection of German vehicles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturm-Infanteriegesch%C3%BCtz_33B July 2013
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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