Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung Großdeutschland - Part 3
Uniform & equipment
Fieldgrey Assault Artillery Wrap (Sturmartillerie Feldbluse)
Above is the now classic StuG wrap introduced on the 29th May 1940. You will instantly notice that it has exactly the same cut as the Panzer version however cut from a wool and rayon blend field grey cloth rather than black cloth. Having already successfully tested the earlier panzer wrap in the confines of a tank it was naturally a simple decision to use the same uniform for StuG crews however the black uniform is rather conspicuous on the battlefield where crews would often be out of their vehicles meeting with field commanders making close observations of the enemy and providing very close support during assaults. So the decision was made to use field grey to help blend these crews in with the rest of the fighting soldiers around them.
dfh.b headset & kmf.b throat mike
Early StuG’s of the Ausf A to C models had no intercom system for all the crew members and instead used very crude voice pipes to communicate instructions to the driver only the vehicle commander and radio operator used the dfh.b (2000 ohm) headsets & kmf.b (Carbon filament) throat mikes.
This was quickly improved upon by 1941 on the Ausf. E to G models with the introduction of throat mikes for all crew members, who would plug into the PanzerKasten 23, 23a or 24 (a type of junction box) to relay voice exchanges and listen in on all communications inside the vehicle via a loudspeaker.
Sfl.Z.F.1a Main Gun Optic
Featured here along with its transit case is a classic example of the periscope type Sfl.Z.F. 1a (Selbstfahrlafetten-Zielfernrohr) main gun sight used for the StuG III and StuG IV series of assault guns. It was also successfully employed on the Hetzer, Jagdpanzer IV/70 and the Sturmpanzer IV (otherwise known as the Brummbär). The reticule had a magnification 5x with 10° of vision, the reticule aim pattern consisted of 7 triangles laid in a horizontal row, each separated by 4 mils. Placing the target on the point of a triangle allowed the gunner to aim without obstructing his view of the target. The distances between triangles were used to lead moving targets. The triangle height and separation distances in mils were also used as an aid in estimating the range to a target. The sight was mounted to the left of the main gun with the head just protruding through the roof of the armoured superstructure which can be often seen in many original pictures as being the case.
The optic manufacturer can be deciphered by using the code found on the optic body; typically these would be ‘ccx’ for Optische und Feinmechanische Werke, Hugo Meyer & Co, Görlitz or as in this example ‘beh’ for Ernst Leitz, Wetzlar.
Article submitted by Simon Garner
Illustrations by Neil Barlow