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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Panzerfeldhaubitze 18M auf GW III/IV SdKfz 165 Hummel "Bumble Bee"; 15 cm S.F.H. 18/1 (sf) Auf GW IV, "Hummel", SdKfz 164

Photos

Dragon Armor
60080:


60189:
Dragon Diecast 1/72 Armor, 60189 German Hummel
60190:
Dragon Armor 60190 Hummel Diecast Model

Design

The Waffenamt wanted to provide artillery support to armored units. They had proposed putting an 105 mm leFH to be mounted on a PzKpfw III or IV chassis but it was found a 15cm gun could be mounted instead. On July 25, 1942, this was changed to mount a 15 cm sFH, since the PzKpfw II could mount the 105 leFH.

Was originally nicknamed the Hummel (bumble bee), but Hitler order that the name be dropped on February 27, 1944.

Armament

Early vehicles had muzzle brake installed but it was found that these were unnecessary and were removed from production in 1944.

The 96 lb HE shell was fired at a muzzle velocity of 1,706'/sec and had a maximum range of 14,490 yards.

Chassis

Built on the Geschützwagen III/IV chassis, which was a hybrid of the PzKpfw III and IV. Developed on a PzKpfw IV chassis that was lengthened and used the drive assemblies, track, and transmission from a PzKpfw III. The engine was moved to the center as the fighting compartment was in the rear.

Crew

Early models had the glacis plate extended and a compartment for the driver was made on the left side. From early 1944 the crew compartment went all the way across the front and the radio operator was also placed in it.

The gun crew was exposed to the elements and some would place canvas covers over them.

Prototype

Alkett presented a prototype to Hitler in October 1942. An order was then placed to have 100 ready by May 12, 1943, in time for the Kursk offensive.

Production

Armor was supplied by Stahlindustrie (Deutsche Röhrenwerke) of Mülheim/Ruhr and Deutsche Edelstahl in Hanover.

  • Hummel: >600, 666, 714
    • Production: 1941 - ?, 1942, December 1942 - June 1944
      • December 1942: 12
    • Manufacturer: Alkett, Deutsche-Eisenwerke, Krupp-Alkett
  • Munitionsträger Hummel: 150 converted, 157 converted

Variants

  • Hummel:
  • Oskette: Had wider tracks for use in the winters on the Eastern Front.
  • Munitionsträger Hummel: Had no gun and used as ammunition carriers as trucks weren't as able to keep up with the Hummels. Carried 40 rounds.

Usage

Issued to artillery formations of the Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions from 1942 on.

Well Liked

The crews of the Hummel liked the vehicle as it has lots of room and was able to keep up with the other vehicles in the division.

Kursk

The Hummels were first used in combat at the Battle of Kursk in July 1943.

Specifications

  Hummel
Crew Driver, gun crew (5)
5
6
Radio FuG Spr f
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 52, 640 lb, 52,911 lb
23,927 kg, 24,000 kg, 24,384 kg
23.5 tons, 23.62 tons, 24 tons, 25.4 tons
Length w/gun 23' 6", 23' 6.3"
7.17 m
Length w/o gun 19' 2", 20.3', 20' 4 1/8"
5.8 m
Height 9' 2.6", 9.4', 9' 3"
2.81 m
Width 9' 5", 9.5', 9' 7", 9' 8.1"
2.87 m, 2.92 m, 2.97 m, 2.95 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 15.8"
Ground contact length 149.6"
Ground pressure 10.8 psi
Armament  
Main 1: 150 mm sFH 18/1 L/30
1: 150 mm howitzer
1: 150 mm FH 18 field howitzer
1: 150 mm siG 33 howitzer
OR 1: 88 mm
Secondary  
MG 1: 0.312" MG
1: 7.92 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm MG34
1: 7.9 mm MG34
MG - hull 1: 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms 2: 9 mm MP38
Quantity  
Main 15, 18, 20
Secondary  
MG 600
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 30, 50
Front: 2"
Side: 1.2"
Hull Front, Upper 10@37°, 30@74°
Hull Front, Lower 30@20°, 30@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 10@16°, 10@90°
Hull Sides, Lower 20@0°
Hull Rear 10@10° & 20@10°, 10@90°
Hull Top Open
Hull Bottom 15@90°
Superstructure Front Gun shield: 10@37°
30@57°
Superstructure Sides 10@76°
Superstructure Rear 10@79°
Superstructure Top Open
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 120 TRM, Maybach
Bore / stroke 4 cycle
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Net HP 265, 300, 300@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 6.5:1
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh
6 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch brake
Steering ratio  
Starter Hand inertia and electric
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt
Normal: 12-volt
Ignition Magneto
Fuel (Type) Gasoline, Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 103 gallons, 159 gallons (in 2 tanks)
470 liters
Road consumption 0.8 mpg
Cross country consumption 0.5 mpg
Performance  
Traverse 12° left, 12° right,
15° left, 15° right
Speed - Road 25 mph, 26 mph, 26.1 mph
42 kph
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph, 16 mph
24 kph
Range - Road 133 miles, 133.6 miles, 134 miles
215 km
Range - Cross Country 81 miles
130 km
Turning radius  
Elevation limits 0° to 39°
-3° to +42°
Fording depth 2' 7.5", 3' 3"
0.99 m
Trench crossing 7.6', 7' 3"
2.2 m
Vertical obstacle 1' 11.6", 2'
0.6 m
Climbing ability 30° (57%) slope
Suspension (Type) Wheels sprung in pairs on 1/4 elliptic springs
Wheels each side 8
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type) Dry pin
Length  
Width 15.75"
Diameter  
Number of links 103
Pitch 4.9"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8.3'

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
  5. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  6. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  7. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
  8. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site