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Feb 20, 2013

Lesser known German TD's/Assault guns

Hello everyone,

Jagdpanther. Ferdinand. Jagdtiger. Everyone here has heard of those monsters and a lot of people even play them in World of Tanks. Lot of people knows also about the E-series and - at least generally - about Waffenträgers. But there were others. Some where products of improvisation and German engineering, others were born of sheer desperation - but they existed. Let's have a look at some not that many people have heard about - well, at least not those who don't own the fabled Panzer Tracts from Mr. Jentz and Mr. Doyle. Please note that I completely skipped halftrack and armored car TD designs, as those have zero chance of implementation in WoT.

10,5 cm LG 5.240 auf Gepanzerter Munitionsschelepper VK 3.02

This is a project from September 1941 by Rheinmetall-Borsig (gun) and Krupp (turret) to arm the VK 3.02 ammo carrier with a 105mm recoilless gun. Only a mock-up was ever built.

Armor: cca 15mm
Engine: Borgward 6M
Speed: cca 37 km/h
Weight (ammo carrier alone): 3,7 tons
Weapon: 105mm recoilless LG 5.240

Another conversion concieved in 1941 included a 50mm PaK 38 cannon on the same platform, which was concieved as a light tank destroyer for infantry and parachute forces. The development however got delayed and only two prototypes were built and sent on 1.7.1942 to 19th Panzer Division for testing. However, their performance remains a mystery, as the relevant paperwork disappeared.

3,7cm PaK 36 auf R35(f)

A 37mm PaK mounted on captured Renault R-35 tank. There is no additional info available on this vehicle, as only this picture seems to exist. There were more such 37mm conversions, usually unique, for example the 37mm PaK 35/36 mounted on Panzer I chassis which was used for training:

3,7 cm PaK 36 auf Selbstfahrlafette Bren(e)

After the Dunkerque operation a number of British Brencarriers (Universal Carriers) was captured. A few of them were armed with 37mm PaK and used for secondary duties (patrolling captured territories and such) and for training. As far as it is known, none have ever seen any combat. This is however not the only Brencarrier conversion. Germans also modified an unknown number of Brencarries with (also captured) British 2pdrs. Considering the fact this vehicle was obsolete by the time it was "introduced", it was most likely also used for policing and training. This is how it looked:

37mm PaK 36 auf  T-20

Another interesting German conversion - a 37mm PaK mounted on the Soviet T-20 "Komsomolec" artillery tractor. It's worth noting the Soviets had something like this, called the ZiS-30 (which is scheduled to appear as a premium Soviet tank destroyer), mounting a 57mm gun. This vehicle was used in combat on the eastern front (as can be seen from the "kill rings" on the barrel of the vehicle on the second picture), but it's unknown how many were made and it's also clear that the combat value of such a conversion was very low - it was most likely a stopgap measure.

37mm TaK auf Hanomag WD-25

This is a 1923 Hanomag Raupenschlepper tractor, selected in 1927 by Reichswehr to be a weapons carrier. The number in its name means it had 25 horsepower (there was a 50 horsepower version called WD-50). This is the great-grandfather of German tank destroyers actually.
The weapon it carried was the early 37mm Tankabwehrkanone (anti-tank gun) from Rheinmetall, firing 0,7kg shots at 760 m/s. The elevation and depression was -5/+15 degrees and the gun could be tilted 30 degrees to both sides. The crew was practically unprotected - only the gun shield provided some sort of cover. The vehicle was never build in series and due to the Versailles treaties, it was tested in Russia.

Armor: none
Engine: Hanomag VD 25hp
Speed: unknow, presumed 5 km/h
Weight (ammo carrier alone): 3,3 tons
Weapon: 37mm Rheinmetall TaK L/45

50mm KwK38 L/42 auf Matilda(e)

This was a unique conversion of one Matilda tank, captured by Germans either in Africa, or (from the LL) in Russia. One such vehicle had its turret removed and a 50mm L/42 cannon installed, probably a leftover from some knocked-out Panzer III. It was used for training in 1942 in occupied Holland. The tank was originally intact, it was converted by the end of 1942. The vehicle was probably scrapped later.

50mm PaK38 auf Brückenleger IVc

Another interesting conversion of a bridgelayer Panzer IV vehicle, probably unique. The tank was allegedly serving with 18th Panzer Division and 3rd Panzer Division and it was photographed in winter 1941/1942 near Kharkov.

5cm PaK auf Panzer II Ausf.G

This is an interesting vehicle. This time, it was no stopgap field conversion, this is the "real deal". In July 1940, the German army ordered a new light tank destroyer developed on the chassis of Panzer II Ausf. G, armed with a 50mm gun, mounted in an open turret. Two prototypes were supposedly built in September 1941 and transferred for testing to the unit designated 3.Kp./Pz.Jg.Abt. (Sfl.)559. They fough on the eastern front and one vehicle is listed as operational on 20.8.1942. After that their traces disappear.

Various 50mm conversions

There were various platforms used to carry the 50mm cannon of several versions. Here's the old French Schneider (licensed Caterpillar) tractor converted by Germans to carry the aforementioned gun. The vehicle surrendered near La Rochelle

The 7,5cm PaK 40 Lorraine37L conversions are known. But one unique vehicle was equipped with the 50mm cannon instead. It was used by the French resistance unit designated 1.Groupement Mobile de Reconnaissance - in fact it's not clear whether it was the Germans who made this conversion, or the French themselves.

And another such an unique conversion was made by 23rd Panzer Division (Pz.Jg.Abt.128) - this time, a Panzer II was converted to carry the 50mm gun. It was clearly inspired by the Marder vehicle series.

7,5 cm PaK 40 auf Fgst. PzKpfw.39H(f)

This conversion, not unlike the PaK 40 auf FCM (which is better known) was built by the Germans on the Hotchkiss H-39 light tank chassis - these light tanks were captured in significant numbers during the fall of France. 62 were made in 1942 and from what I remember, they took part during the battles in France.

75mm PaK auf Light Tank Mk.VI (Mk736(e))

Probably a single prototype of this 75mm armed vehicle was built, unknown where or when. The basis was the MkVI chassis - some of these vehicles were captured in the aftermath of the Dunkerque operation and used (amongst other things) to mount German 105mm howitzers to serve as improvised SPGs (although to my knowledge they never really fired in anger).

75mm PaK 40/4 auf RSO

This vehicle usually pops up from time to time in the "most ridiculous tanks" forums threads all over the internet. It's basically a Steyr RSO artillery tractor, converted to carry a 75mm PaK. Around 80 were made in 1944 and they served both in the west and in the east. It obviously wasn't a very successful design, the crew was completely exposed, the only advantage it had was that the crew didn't have to carry the AT PaK thru mud and snow by themselves.

Armor: none (the gun shield was 4mm thick)
Engine: Steyr V8, 70hp
Speed: cca 17 km/h
Weight (ammo carrier alone): 5,4 tons
Weapon: 75mm PaK 40/4

75mm L/70 VK1602 Leopard 

Although I don't really have a scanned picture of that, there was a project to actually create a light tank destroyer with the KwK 42 Panther gun based on the Leopard chassis from autumn 1942 (designated Sturmgeschutz auf Leopard (L/70)). The project was cancelled when the VK1602 Leopard was scrapped. Another design was concieved actually - to mount the same gun on the VK903 light tank chassis. Also stayed on the drawing boards.

7,5 cm PaK 97/38 auf T-26(r)

Yet another very interesting conversion - this time of the captured Soviet T-26 tanks. In 1943 10 pieces were made by removing the T-26 turrets and replacing them with a French 75mm Mle 98 AT gun. The crew was practically unprotected, because the suspension couldn't carry the weight of additional steel plates. These vehicles served with the 3.Kompanie 563.PzJägAbt. In march 1944, they were declared as obsolete and phased out of service.

7,5-cm Selbstfahrlafette PaK (Škoda) (also VOSS I)

A quite obscure project from 1941/1942 by Škoda. Based on the obsolete T-21/T-22/T-23M Czech medium tank chassis, it was supposed to carry the 75mm Škoda A16 cannon on the top of the hull. Very little is known of the development, but it suspected Škoda developed it on direct request by the Wehrmacht, even though the company hoped to offer the vehicle to foreign countries for export. The development was later stopped. Please note that the gun was NOT autoloaded. A VOSS II version existed with 150mm short howitzer mounted instead of the AT gun (the very same weapon, that was produced in Czechoslovakia for the Sturmpanzer IV vehicles)

Armor: 10-50mm max
Engine: V8, 260hp
Speed: cca 50 km/h
Weight: 18 tons
Weapon: 75mm Škoda A16

So, this is it for now. There are many more designs - an insane number of Waffenträgers, the halftracks, further prototypes... all kinds of stuff. Let me know if you are interested.


  1. Awesome article!

    "SerB" once stated that there was enough German TD's to have five full trees.

  2. -Did they called it "TaK" 'cause the term "Pak" wasn't introduced in this time?( I see it was ordert by the Reichswehr, so I think yes :/)

    I do like the RSO, it's kinda legend where I live. ;)
    One of them is in the german tank museum. ( if I remember right)

    I would like to hear next from the Waffenträger ('cause they are going to introduced) or the halftracks ('cause the germans had advanced projekts).

    Thanks for the article

    1. Yes, the early term was Tankabwehrkanone (before the German term "Panzer" was generally used). The halftracks weren't that advanced tho, the classic APC had the 37mm, 28mm SpezB, 75mm L/24 and Pak 40 versions, but there was nothing too fancy about them. There was a halftrack heavy carrier (normally used for hauling loads) version with 75mm L/70, 88mm FlaK and even 128mm, but all were very rudimentary.

    2. Oh, sorry I thought you meant things like the Sd.Kfz 251, Panzerwerfer and so on.

    3. I do mean those. Sd.Kfz 251 and 250 were the APC halftracks, those had in their "Stummel" configuration mounted various AT weapons up to 75mm PaK 40

    4. Panzerhanz and me wanna visit the tank museum near prag, is it worth a visit, or do u got any other ideas?

    5. Lešany? Sure go ahead it's nice :)

    6. Thanks, sounds good :)

  3. "It's worth noting the Soviets had something like this, called the ZiS-30 (which is scheduled to appear as a premium Soviet tank destroyer), mounting a 57mm gun."
    Any way of finding out more on this? Not that we need another Soviet Premium TD, but this one sounds very interesting.

    1. Check the current Soviet tree, it's listed as a TD (ZIS-30)

  4. Are you sure that the 3,7cm PaK 36 auf R35(f) wasn't a forerunner to the Marder I? I know that some Marder Is were based off of the same chassis (the Renault R35).

    1. No, definitely not, this was a one-time conversion from what I know.

  5. Very,very interesting!

    I read your blog daily and so far this is the most interesting post you added,I would be very happy if you would add more info about German Tanks,especially TDs.

  6. You are doing the community a great service by doing this blog, something that the devs should be doing already for the other servers. Thank you.

    With that said, do you imagine any of these German designs ever being implemented into the game?

    And seeing some of the Waffenträgers and prototypes would also be intreseting to see as well.

    1. Sure. I actually suggested the Hanomag WD-25 for tier 2 assault gun branch (there was one more design, basically a short howitzer chassis suitable). Most of these could fit at T2-T3. The only exception is the recoilless ammo tractor - no recoilless guns.

    2. I would really like to see a tier 2 or 3 German premium TD.

      While it wouldn't be a good money maker or crew trainer it would be a very funny tank.

      Just imagine how awesome would be to drive a tier 2 TD with a 4 skill crew,fully equipped with gold ammo,consumables and equipments!

  7. Love the blog and I'd like to take the chance to thank you for taking the time to read and translate all the info from the Russian forums. I really enjoy these historical posts too so please keep them coming :D

  8. Intresting , i demand more :)), wrealy :)

  9. Always longing dor more info about tank-related stuff! Great job SS, really, love this blog.

  10. Germans were using any equipment they could from conquered countries. However, it also added pain in the a$$ from logistic point of view.

  11. Please more of this cool designs :D


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