Bob's Sturmgeschutz GB Chat thread

Dave Ward

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OK, here's a question - Zimmerit?
I know I can reproduce this with putty & a little rake, but this is rather long winded & messy, what about the alternatives, specifically Eduard PE, and ATAK resin?
Anyone with personal experience, thoughts?
Dave
 

Tim Marlow

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I’m sure Bob will correct me if I’m wrong, but Stugs used the waffle pattern Zim, so need putty and a stamp, rather than a rake. It’s probably the hardest pattern to do, so Atak would be a good call if you can get it for the kit you’re making....
 

Allen Dewire

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Morn Dave,

It would all depend on if you want your kit to have zimmerit or not. StuG IV's built after August 1944 didn't have it applied. If you want to depict an earlier built one, then Tim has a good idea there with the Atak zimm. If you can find it, Cavalier made sheet zimmerit that was also easy to use. Waffle was mostly applied on StuG III's.

DEF also make zimmerit in the form of waterslide decals, but I'm not sure they do some for the StuG IV. Eduard is difficult to use as CA is the only way to attach it and the patterns are quite shallow, but not too bad when properly painted. HTHs

Prost
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Dave Ward

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I should have said StuG IV, it just depends on how common it was for them to have zimmerit, or not - I guess looking through a load of pictures for reference will be the answer.
Dave
 

Jakko

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The pictures of StuG IVs in Spielberger’s book all show the classic ridged pattern, not the waffle pattern of many StuG IIIs, and says that in September 1944, the manufacturers were ordered to stop applying Zimmerit. If you want to be accurate you’d need to pay attention to various external details that more or less go along with whether or not Zimmerit should be applied, but you could also just say, “It’s a StuG IV” and apply Zimmerit or not as you see fit, of course :smiling3:
 

Jakko

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Eduard is difficult to use as CA is the only way to attach it
Also, based on experience with Eduard Zimmerit in 1:72 scale, it has a bad tendency to come off if you handle the model wrong or catch a corner of a panel behind something.
 

Bobthestug

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Dave, the Revell kit you have, had a quick look and it appears to be a mid production, so zimmerit.

Do not feel so well, so will post some zimm photos for you soon. Hope this is ok

Bob
 

SimonT

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IMG_2044.jpg
while watching a documentary on the war in north Africa there was some Pathe footage of British tanks rolling past knocked out and abandoned German armour and trucks - in the middle was this Stug with sandbags on the front
 

Pete Low

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Hi that's good because that's what's going on mine . IMG_20190915_092101661_HDR.jpg
Cheers for the picture :thumb2: .
Pete.
 

Bobthestug

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Thanks Simon

Wonder if thats the one which has been restored?
 

Pete Low

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Hi found this ehe "Italian StuG"

Apennine StuG : Semovente da 75/18

The first months of Italy's participation in WWII showed the weakness of its armour. The 47 mm gun on its M13/40 medium tank was insufficient against the thick armour of the British Matilda tank, and the P40 tank with a 75 mm gun was just being designed. The Italians turned to the experience of their main ally to quickly reinforce their armoured forces.

In the end of 1940, Colonel Berlese from the Artillery Inspectorate proposed the creation of an SPG on the M13/40 chassis akin to the German StuG III, with a 75 mm gun in an immobile casemate. The initiative was approved, and Ansaldo (the manufacturer of the M13/40 tank) received the corresponding order. The "Italian StuG" used the Obice 75/18 modelo 34 mountain cannon, which already proved itself during the fighting in Spain and Greece. On January 10th, 1941, Ansaldo presented its customer with a wooden model of the SPG and received an order for 30 units. After trials and minor improvements, the vehicle was adopted into service.


Main variants

The first model, named emovente da 75/18 su scarfo M13/40 (Semovente M40 da 75/18 as of 1942) used the chassis of the M13/40 tank with the SPA 8T 125 hp diesel. The suspension and lower hull remained unchanged, but the upper hull was radically altered. Instead of a rotating turret, an immobile casemate was installed. The front of the casemate was assembled from two 25 mm thick plates. The sides and rear were 25 mm thick. The roof was 10 mm thick. The armour was held together with bolts and rivets. The M13/40's characteristic side doors were absent. The crew entered the tank through two large rectangular hatches in the roof.

1568619470556.png
Overall view of the Semovente M40 da 75/18 SPG.

The 75 mm cannon was installed in a ball mount in the front of the casemate, offset to the right. The barrel was covered with an armoured sleeve and equipped with a muzzle brake that also doubled as a flash suppressor. The vertical range of the gun was -12 to +22 degrees, the horizontal range was 20 degrees to the left and 18 degrees to the right. The sights were positioned to the right of the gun and were extended through a hexagonal hatch in the roof during combat. The maximum range of the gun was 8000 meters, and maximum direct fire range was 800-1200 meters.

1568619530629.png
The gun of the Semovente M40 da 75/18.

Initially the SPG was meant to support infantry with indirect fire. Since the vehicle was going to be firing with its hatches open, the designers did not include any provision for ventilation. In practice, the Semovente fought like tanks, without the ability to open their hatches. In this situation, the lack of ventilation was a significant drawback.
The ammunition racks carried 44 rounds (HE, AP, and HEAT), but crews often took additional ammunition, which made the already tight fighting compartment even more cramped.
The vehicle's auxiliary armament consisted of a 6.5 mm Breda mod. 30 machinegun (later 8 mm Breda mod. 38). During travel, the machinegun was carried inside the fighting compartment. If necessary, it could be installed on a pintle mount on top of the roof, which allowed it to double as an AA machinegun.
Each vehicle was equipped with an RF 1 CA radio, installed in the left front part of the fighting compartment. The crew of the SPG consisted of three men: the commander/gunner, loader/radio operator, and driver.

Production of the Semovente M40 da 75/18 began in May of 1941. 60 of these SPGs were built in 1941, after which production shifted to the Semovente M41 da 75/18 on the chassis of the M14/41 tank. The biggest differences were the use of the more powerful Fiat SPA 15T 145 hp engine, improved transmission, and new air filters. A portion of the vehicles received improved Obice 75/18 modelo 35 guns (in production since 1941). 162 units of the Semovente M41 da 75/18 were produced.
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The Semovente M41 da 75/18 can be distinguished from its predecessor by longer fenders. On the Semovente M40 da 75/18 they only covered the front part of the tracks.

The Semovente M42 da 75/18 on the chassis of the M15/42 tank with a 185 hp SPA 15TB engine and altered layout of the rear hull (for improved ventilation of the engine) was introduced in late 1942. This SPG had front armour made from one 50 mm plate instead of two 25 mm plates. 205 Semovente M42 da 75/18 SPGs were built by Ansaldo before September 1943.

Commander vehicles

In addition to SPGs, each unit included commander's vehicles. 30 Carro Comando M40 vehicles were built in 1941 (on the M13/40 chassis). These tanks had no cannons, but had three machineguns: a pair of mod. 38s in the front and one mod. 30 on a pintle mount. A large four-piece hatch was installed in the roof. The armour thickness of the Carro Comando M40 was up to 30 mm.

In addition to the RF 1 CA radio, the Carro Comando M40 had an RF 2 CA radio with a range of 20 km. Other special equipment included a direction finder, rangefinder, and binocular telescope. The commander's vehicle was crewed by 3-4 men.

1568619771428.png
Carro Comando M41.

The Carro Comando M41 was produced using the M14/41 tank chassis. Instead of a pair of 8 mm machineguns, this vehicle had one 13.2 mm Breda machinegun in the front, and one mod. 38 AA machinegun. 34 of these vehicles were built in 1942. Before September of 1943, 49 Carro Comando M42 vehicles were build on the M15/42 tank chassis.
 

Pete Low

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Service and combat

The Italian army used Semovente da 75/18 SPGs in two-battery groups (squadrons). Each battery possessed four SPGs and one command vehicle. Two more Carro Comando were used by the HQ battery/ The TO&E of the group contained 220 men (17 officers, 19 sergeants, and 184 privates), 8 SPGs, four command vehicles, 21 light and 2 heavy trucks, 2 ARVs, 1 tanker truck, 2 prime movers, 2 special trailers, and 16 motorcycles.

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Carro Comando M40 at the head of a Semovente M40 da 75/18 battery.

The first self propelled artillery groups formed in the second half of 1941 were designed to reinforce tank division artillery regiments. The 5th and 6th groups disembarked in Tripoli in mid-December, and were included into the 132nd Artillery Regiment of the Ariete division. They arrived at the front lines in January of 1942. The Semovente M40 da 75/18 proved its worth in the first battles it saw. Captain Traniello, sent to Libya to evaluate the new weapon, wrote in his report in March of 1942:

1568619967160.png
Semovente M40 da 75/18 in the Libyan desert.
Both groups took part in the German-Italian counteroffensive of May-June 1942. The Semovente showed themselves well when storming Bir Hakeim, stubbornly defended by the French Foreign Legion. The French managed to destroy over 30 M14/41 tanks in this battle, but only one Semovente M40 da 75/18. The SPG's low silhouette demonstrated its advantage.

The SPGs appeared in another tank division fighting in Libya, the Littorio division, in August of 1942. The Duca d'Aosta artillery regiment received the 554th and 556th groups.

Even though the Semovente da 75/18 were initially envisioned as mobile cannons, they turned out to be most useful when used directly on the battlefield, similar to German assault guns. When fighting alongside tanks, their chances of survival grew significantly. Despite its low muzzle velocity, the EP HEAT shell fired from the 75 mm howitzer could penetrate 50 mm of armour at 1000 meters. Thanks to this, the Semovente da 75/18 could fight against well armoured Grant and Sherman tanks. One of the officers of the 554th group had this to say about his SPG:
Of course, the Semovente 75/18 had its drawbacks. The crews complained about the cramped fighting compartment and poor quality of the armour plates. While nothing could be done about the first item, the second could in part be compensated by hanging spare track links and sometimes even sandbags from the armour.

1568620108665.png
Crews used spare track links to improve protection.

1568620160900.png
If even that seemed insufficient, sandbags were used.

Despite the favourable reviews, the Semovente da 75/18 could not significantly influence the course of fighting in the desert. There were simply too few of them. The Second Battle of El Alamein began on October 23rd, 1942. The 5th group was at the south part of the front lines at this time, the 6th group in the middle, and the 554th and 556th groups in the north. The British could destroy M14/41 tanks with 75 mm cannons on Grant and Sherman tanks without entering the effective range of 47 mm guns. In a few cases, the Semovente da 75/18 indeed acted effectively. For instance, on October 26th, the 554th group destroyed over 20 British tanks. However, the qualitative and quantitative advantages of the enemy, as well as the domination of the skies by British aircraft, left the Italians no chance of success.
Despite the favourable reviews, the Semovente da 75/18 could not significantly influence the course of fighting in the desert. There were simply too few of them. The Second Battle of El Alamein began on October 23rd, 1942. The 5th group was at the south part of the front lines at this time, the 6th group in the middle, and the 554th and 556th groups in the north. The British could destroy M14/41 tanks with 75 mm cannons on Grant and Sherman tanks without entering the effective range of 47 mm guns. In a few cases, the Semovente da 75/18 indeed acted effectively. For instance, on October 26th, the 554th group destroyed over 20 British tanks. However, the qualitative and quantitative advantages of the enemy, as well as the domination of the skies by British aircraft, left the Italians no chance of success.

In the ranks of the Wehrmacht

Individual SPGs were included in the armed forces of the Italian Social Republic after Italy's surrender on September 8th, 1943. For instance, the San-Justo battalion included one Semovente M41 da 75/18, two Semovente M42 da 75/18, and one Carro Comando M41.

1568620282182.png

Carro Comando M41 from the San-Justo battalion.

Most SPGs became German trophies. The Wehrmacht received 131 Semovente da 75/18 SPGs in total (including 11 Semovente M42 da 75/18 captured right at the Ansaldo factory). The SPGs were accepted into service under the name StuG M42 850(i). Command vehicles were called Pz.Bfw.M41 771(i) and Pz.Bfw.M42 772(i). At least 16 command vehicles of both types were captured. In addition, Ansaldo continued to produce the SPGs for the Germans, producing 55 StuG M42 850(i) (8 in 1943 and 47 in 1944) and 41 Pz.Bfw.M42 772(i) (1 in 1943, 37 in 1944, 3 in 1945).

The StuG M42 850(i) was chiefly used by infantry (mountain) divisions fighting in Italy. Often they filled up one company in an anti-tank battalion. The TO&E included six Semovente M42 da 75/18, 8 Semovente M42 da 75/34, and 1 command vehicle, but in practice the formation could differ. In February of 1944, these companies were removed from anti-tank battalions and reformed into assault gun battalions.

1568620338013.png
StuG M42 850(i) from the 278th Assault Gun Battalion of the 278th Infantry Division.
As of December 31st, 1944, Wehrmacht, SS, and police forces possessed 45 StuG M42 850(i) vehicles. They served in five divisions in Army Group C on the Italian front: 5th mountain jager, 114th jager, as well as the 162th (Turkestan), 356th, and 362nd infantry divisions. A small number of StuG M42 850(i) vehicles were used in the Balkans by the 21st SS Mountain Division and in Hungary by the 12th Police Tank Company.

1568620407925.png

A StuG M42 850(i) in German service still painted in Italian camouflage.
Even though the Semovente M42 da 75/18 was widely used by the Wehrmacht, the vehicle was not popular. Crews complained about the low reliability, poor ventilation, and low quality of the radios. The short barrelled 75 mm gun was also no longer suitable.

About 50 Semovente M41 and M42 da 75/18 survived the war in reparable condition. After the war, they were included in the Italian land forces with only minor changes (for instance, replacing the radios with British or Canadian models). These SPGs served in infantry battalions as direct support weapons and were only retired in the mid-1950s.

The Semovente da 75/18 is a typical example of a conversion of an obsolete tank into a decent SPG. With the same firepower as an early StuG III, it was still inferior to the German assault gun in a number of tactical-technical characteristics. This was primarily caused by archaic design solutions used in the chassis of the Semovente da 75/18. However, this was only a starting point for Italian tank building. A whole series of SPGs with more powerful armament, long-barrelled 75 and 105 mm howitzers, stemmed from this design.

Pete.
 

Jakko

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I have an insane desire to scratch build a 120mm/1:15 Stug B but I doubt there would be time due to work getting in the way


Verlinden kits go for around the £450 mark
I went and found the MilMod issue with the build article: Volume 24 No. 1, January 1994:

s-l300.jpg

Pages 12 through 18 have an article about the following kit, by Hilary Doyle and David Parker:

W-Verlinden-Resin-Kit-783-120mm-1-15-STURMGESCHUTZ.jpg

Doyle provides a brief overview of the main corrections needed to the kit, apparently based on looking at photos of it, as well as four-view drawings of two different variations of the Ausf. F/8 with L/43 gun and front and side views of one with the L/48 gun and a front view of an uparmoured F/8 like the kit represents.

Here’s a quick picture of (much of) the kit’s contents:

0783-3.jpg

For those with the idea of buying one and building it, I’ll now do you the favour of paraphrasing the article :smiling3:

Doyle begins with a list that runs from point A to point R about details that are wrong. Some of the more obvious ones:
  • Mudguards lack the channel between the actual mudguard and the hull.
  • Mudguard stays are in the wrong places.
  • Hatches on the front plate are wrong.
  • Bolts on the armour are too small.
  • Gunner’s sight is in the wrong place (right for an L/43, but this is an L/48).
  • Rear engine deck is wrong.
  • Gun cleaning rods and toolbox are missing.
Then follows an actual build report, of which these are some of the highlights:
  • The lower hull is made up of flat plates, but they’re al different widths. Also, because of the open moulds used, the insides are smooth and offer no locating points at all.
  • The torsion bars have no locating pins, so they’re basically butt-joined to the hull sides. You need to prop up the hull to a certain height to get them to fit at the correct angle.
  • The exhaust doesn’t really fit.
  • The wheels are moulded in two halves in a flat sheet (see the picture above). This means having to clean up each wheel half, opening up the holes, then glueing two pieces together, followed by filling and sanding the huge seam this leaves. Repeat for the remaining 39 wheels. All the wheels end up being different widths if you’re not very careful.
  • The wheels can’t fit properly onto the suspension arms because they interfere with each other, requiring surgery to correct.
  • The shape of the drive sprockets looks wrong somehow.
  • The tracks are made from individual links that take a long time to clean up and then turn out to not fit together.
  • The upper hull is a solid casting with the hatches permanently closed.
  • The mudguards have the wrong anti-slip pattern.
  • The hinges on the engine deck are the wrong shape.
  • No rear lights.
He sums it up with the words:
David Parker said:
It is inaccurate and a swine to build
 

Steve Jones

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View attachment 357134
while watching a documentary on the war in north Africa there was some Pathe footage of British tanks rolling past knocked out and abandoned German armour and trucks - the middle was this Stug with sandbags on the front
Its the Ausf D tropical version. I built it a couple of years back. Great project if someone wants to try it
 

SimonT

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John - according to scalemates it is a re-box of the 1994 Dragon Stug
 
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