Armored vehicles of Germany in the Second World War. 150-mm self-propelled howitzer "Hummel" ("Bumblebee")

15 cm Panzer-Haubitzer 18 / 1 auf Fahrgestell GW III / IV Hummel / Sd.Kfz.165 / "Hummel"

Structurally, the self-propelled howitzer is similar to the Nashorn self-propelled anti-tank gun, but instead of the 88-mm anti-tank gun, the rocking part of the 150/18 field 40-mm howitzer with a barrel length of 30 cal is mounted on the machine tool. The howitzer could fire high-explosive fragmentation projectiles weighing 43,5 kilograms at a range of 13,3 thousand meters. Since they used separate loading shots, its rate of fire was relatively low. The vertical guidance angle was 42 degrees, and the horizontal - 30 degrees. To reduce the force of recoil, muzzle brakes were installed on some of the howitzers. For fire control, sights were used, which were usually used in field artillery, since the self-propelled howitzer was mainly used as a field artillery weapon and was in service tank divisions in artillery regiments. The self-propelled howitzer was produced in series. In total, in the period from 1943 to 1944, more than 700 self-propelled guns "Shmel" were manufactured.

Armored vehicles of Germany in the Second World War. 150-mm self-propelled howitzer "Hummel" ("Bumblebee")
Muzzle brake prototype

"Hummel" was the last heavy self-propelled artillery installation, developed by Alkett, and installed on spec. GW chassis III / IV.

The engine, as in the case with the Nashorn ACS, was located in front, which made it possible to reduce the height of the crew compartment. The gun barrel was at a height of 2300 mm, which was a good indicator for machines of this type.

Deutsche Eisenwerke, from 1943 to 1945, released 666 units. this effective and extremely powerful weapons, which was intended to complete the tank battalions in tank divisions. The self-propelled gun could destroy any targets and therefore the demand for a self-propelled howitzer, as a means of fire support, was very high. But the industry could not fully satisfy the demands of the army, and these self-propelled guns entered service only in the elite units.

The prototype guns were equipped with muzzle brakes, but the serial machines didn’t have them - the shortage of high-quality steel let itself be known. In addition, the release of muzzle brakes required additional resources and time, which was not. No assembly line also made itself felt.

However, Speer did not represent the assembly line of armored vehicles as a virtue, saying that "German industry does not accept the American and Russian conveyor method, but relies mainly on qualified German labor."

Although it was precisely the lack of large enterprises that was the reason why German industry could not stand the competition with the tank building of the antifascist bloc. German-made serial armor was divided into several groups according to steel grade and thickness. Along with heterogeneous armor, it was still more homogeneous. According to the production technology, the armor plating plates were divided into surface-hardened armor and uniformly hardened. After the loss of the Nikopol basin in Germany, the flow of manganese decreased. Nickel was delivered only from the north of Finland.

The constant lack of alloy steels is the reason that the quality of serial armor has sharply deteriorated. The front sheets of the Royal Tiger or Panther corps were often simply cracked when Soviet 100-millimeter or 122-millimeter armor-piercing shells hit. Tried to eliminate this disadvantage by hanging protective screens, increasing the angle of inclination and the thickness of the armor plates. Of the armor grades of steels with reduced durability, they did not find a constructive material of satisfactory projectile resistance.

The ammunition of the self-propelled howitzer was limited to 18 shots placed in the combat compartment in the packs. Therefore, it was necessary to use carriers of ammunition, which were the same ACS, however, do not have weapons. Four self-propelled howitzers were serviced by approximately one ammunition transporter, but this was clearly not enough. The production of a much larger number of auxiliary machinery chassis tanks simply was not enough.

Self-propelled installation "Hummel" never used as an assault gun. For this self-propelled gun was supposed to be part of the artillery units, which had the equipment to control the fire. There was no need for this support in tank units, but there the self-propelled gun became an additional fire weapon capable of direct fire on targets that were visible to the gunner. Despite the fact that "Bumblebee" in this role showed itself perfectly, its use in this role was tantamount to shooting sparrows from a cannon. But the Eastern Front in 1943 was such a theater of war, where fire power was taken into account in the first place.

The name of the self-propelled gun - "Hummel" - was harmless and neutral, but 27.02.1944 Hitler ordered by the German army to use the word to designate the machine.

In the army, the first SPGs appeared in May 1943, and their baptism of fire took place near Kursk in the summer of the same year. First, self-propelled guns entered service with the SS, and then the Wehrmacht. In the German troops as of 10 on April 1945, there were 168 machines of this type.

In the course of production, minor changes were made to the machine, mainly due to the development of a reserve of some components or the start of production of new ones. Machines can be divided into ACS of early and late editions. Analysis of photographs of self-propelled howitzers "Hummel" allows us to establish the following external differences:

Self-propelled howitzers early release
- sloths from PzKpfw IV modification D;
- exhaust pipes are stacked over the sloth on only one fender;
- on the frontal armor plate reinforced by one supporting spare skating rink;
- Bosh headlamp installed on each slat;
- drive wheels are the same as on tanks PzKpfw III modification E;
- the supporting rollers of the caterpillar are rubberized, similar to the rollers of the PzKpfw IV tank of modification D;
- engine ventilation grilles in the left and right cabin armor plates;
- over sloths folding flaps.

Self-propelled howitzers late release
- sloths used on PzKpfw IV modification F;
- exhaust pipes are laid on both sides of the fenders;
- a pair of spare track rollers are placed on the stern armor plate;
- One Bosh headlight is installed on the front left slat;
- drive wheels are similar to wheels of PzKpfw III modification J;
- supporting steel rollers are similar to rollers of PzKpfw IV tanks of modification H;
- engine ventilation grilles cover the slat system;
- folding slats are not installed above the sloths.

The deployment of self-propelled artillery "Hummel" and the organization of units in which the ACS "Hummel" is in service.

The organization of the artillery regiments of the Panserdivisies was regulated by the Kriegsstarkenachweisung staff list (KStN 431), the equipment of the artillery regiments was regulated by the Kriegsausrustungsnchweisung staff list (KAN 431), two schedules were approved by 16.01.1943; 01.06.1944 approved a new state - KStN 431 fG (Frei-Gliederung). One of the 3-x infantry battalions in accordance with the schedule of KStN 431 (in most cases, the first) was re-armed with ACS. Two of the three batteries of the artillery regiment of the tank division received self-propelled Wespe units; Each battery consisted of six self-propelled guns and a 1 – 2 Munitionstrager ammunition conveyor.

The third battery received 6 self-propelled guns “Hummel” and 2 Munitionstrager machines created on the basis of this machine. The headquarters of the battery in service had two Panzer-Beobachlungwagen (artillery spotter) vehicles based on the PzKpfw II and PzKpfw III. At the end of the war, the artillery batteries of the panzergrenadier separate divisions also received the Wespe and Hummel self-propelled guns. For the first time, the Hummel self-propelled guns were used in the summer of 1943 near Kursk; at the end of 1943, the Hummel were used on all sectors of the front. The new SPGs in 1943 showed high combat effectiveness and reliability.

Marking and camouflage

In the first months of 1943, gradually, the newly built armored vehicles of Germany began to paint in a new dark yellow base color - Dunkelgelb. The same color was painted with “Hummel”, however there are photographs of self-propelled artillery mounts “Wespe” and “Hummel” from the ninth SS Panzerdivisia, where it can be seen that self-propelled guns are painted in gray base color, on which are painted with green spots.

Since the Hummel self-propelled guns were intended for firing from closed positions, which are located a few thousand meters from the front line, there was no urgent need for sophisticated camouflage. Most of the pictures show that the ACSs are painted in the base color Dunkelgelb (dark yellow), on top of which with the help of a spray paint RAL6013 (green) and RAL8017 (brown) are painted. In winter, self-propelled guns were fully painted in white. New camouflage stains were applied in the second half of 1944. In some cases, in 1945, camouflage was applied at the factory, and not only with the use of the spray gun, but also with a brush. It is almost impossible to determine the exact color from black-and-white photographs of the Second World War.

Common to all self-propelled installations "Hummel" was the place of application of the cross - identification mark - on board the deckhouse about one meter behind the engine ventilation grilles.

Instead of the three-digit numbers used on the tanks, the letters from “A” to “F” were applied on the sides of the self-propelled guns, as is customary in artillery units, and vehicles with the letters “G”, “O” and “R” were also encountered. In most cases, the letters were printed on frontal and stern armor plates of logging. "Tank" three-digit numbers are extremely rare to meet on self-propelled guns "Hummel", in particular, so marked the self-propelled guns of the artillery regiment of the second tank division of the SS "Das Reich" and the one hundred and sixteenth artillery regiment of the fifth tank division (Pz.Ar.R. 116). There is a photograph of a self-propelled gun with the number "158" included in the fifth pancerdivization. The number stands for the first company, the fifth platoon, the eighth car. However, the "tank" numbers on self-propelled artillery regiments remained a rarity.

A registration number (such as TZ-04) was affixed under the identification letters, in some cases the number was written on the front left slat.

The letter "A" indicated the number in the battery.

In the second half of the Second World War, divisional emblems were rarely applied to German armored vehicles, and Hummel does not present any exceptions. Crews wrote their own installation names on the gun trunks by hand. Usually self-propelled guns were called by the names of wives, beloved girls or famous figures.

Surviving self-propelled guns "Hummel"

Today in the world there are 5 surviving self-propelled artillery installations "Hummel". Perhaps a few more SAUs of this type are located in Syria.

Performance characteristics of the 150-mm Hummel (Bumblebee) self-propelled howitzer:
Model - "Hummel";
The military index is Sd.Kfz.165;
Manufacturer - "Deutsche Eisenwerke";
Chassis - GW III / IV;
Combat weight - 23,5 t;
Crew - 6 man;
Highway speed - 45 km / h;
Country speed - 28 km / h;
Cruising on the highway - 21 km;
Power reserve on the ground - 140 km;
Fuel tank capacity - 218 l;
Length - 7170 mm;
Width - 2950 mm;
Height - mm 2850;
Clearance - 400 mm;
Track width - 400 mm;
Engine - "Maybach" HL120TRM;
Power - HP 300;
Cannon - sPH 18 (M);
Caliber - 150 mm;
Barrel length - 29,5 calibers;
The initial velocity of the projectile - 595 m / s;
Ammunition - 18 shots;
Additional weapons - MG-42;
Reservations –20-30 mm.

Gunner SAU "Hummel"

German self-propelled gun "Hummel" 13-th artillery regiment of the 13-th Panzer Division, destroyed by Soviet troops in Hungary. The armor around the bova compartment is torn off by an explosion, part of it lies near the car

The German 150-mm self-propelled gun "Hummel" based on the "universal" GW III \ IV chassis, destroyed by an explosion of ammunition after hitting the sabot 57-mm projectile. The number of the Soviet trophy team "273"

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    1. +1
      12 September 2012 10: 10
      However, Speer did not represent the assembly line of armored vehicles as a virtue, saying that "German industry does not accept the American and Russian conveyor method, but relies mainly on qualified German labor."

      As they say, no comment.
      1. Prohor
        12 September 2012 10: 22
        Comments - on the wall of the Reichstag!
    2. Skavron
      12 September 2012 10: 19
      Perhaps the treated German self-propelled howitzer
    3. valiant
      12 September 2012 10: 29
      Add my five cents on the topic:
      1. SdKfz 165 Hummel from the 9th SS Panzer Division of Hohenstaufen

      2. The self-propelled guns Vespe and Hummel (in the background), destroyed by the troops of the 1st BF near Brandenburg
    4. sergey05
      12 September 2012 10: 29
      Good article and good self-propelled gun. It is a pity we had no analogue. For critics, the su152 is an assault gun.
      1. 0
        12 September 2012 11: 18
        There are critics; there are such originals here.
        1. Skavron
          12 September 2012 11: 32
          Duc, and what to criticize? Hummel is a pure howitzer for shooting from closed positions, 152 is a more versatile self-propelled gun, but less "sharpened" like a howitzer.
          1. +2
            12 September 2012 11: 44
            There are originals here who believe that the USSR like sau could not afford, the Red Army personnel were illiterate and could not master such heavy equipment, there would also not be enough shells for their supply and logistics. I will not repeat this opinion.
            I believe that it would be possible to reduce the number of T-34s in order to obtain self-propelled howitzers in the composition of tank and mechanized units.
            1. Skavron
              12 September 2012 11: 58
              Well, it was just that initially the emphasis was on towed artillery, by the way very high quality.
              1. +3
                12 September 2012 14: 02
                Initially, the emphasis was on the number of tanks, to the detriment of everything basic.
                1000 tanks sounds menacing, but 1000 trucks (tractors, other equipment, including artillery) do not sound. How long will 1000 tanks last without "support"? 41 years old showed this, however, at 45 they worked mainly with tanks.
            2. Prohor
              12 September 2012 11: 59
              I believe that it would be possible to reduce the number of T-34s in order to obtain self-propelled howitzers in the composition of tank and mechanized units.
              And thereby reduce the loss of the same T-34, destroying anti-tank artillery using self-propelled howitzers.
            3. Brother Sarych
              12 September 2012 17: 20
              It could be! The tank is not able to cope with all tasks, and powerful support was simply necessary ...
        2. 0
          12 September 2012 11: 38
          Karsrepair avatar? wink laughing
          1. 0
            12 September 2012 11: 40
            Quote: datur
            avatar on repair?

            I do not understand. It seems to be in place.
        3. Kibb
          12 September 2012 11: 50
          Oh, the third series - I read better, nerves are not iron
          1. +2
            12 September 2012 12: 03
            but in the course of the last. 17cm K72 on a self-propelled base in the series was not given.
            Although maybe about American Priest, Gorilla and King Kong will make articles.

            And so, according to elementary math, Hummels didn’t live at all. Our ML-20 had greater range, but they didn’t fight and so the Germans almost had a fight for them (self-propelled guns). Suggests?

            By the way, I there the photo from the M-30 based on the French Loren as part of an armored train threw.
            1. +2
              12 September 2012 20: 24
              An interesting photo nashol, sorry no escort
    5. +1
      12 September 2012 11: 24
      smart self-propelled gun, smart article
    6. AlexMH
      12 September 2012 12: 06
      The self-propelled gun is good, the Germans generally had good artillery - modern, accurate, with fire control systems, sound metering and more .... But the very idea embedded in German cars of this type is vicious. There was a gigantic war, tens of thousands of tanks were needed, hundreds of thousands of guns — simple, technological, and massive. And the Germans persistently developed specialized vehicles on a variety of chassis, produced them in several hundred copies, taking power from tanks, which they also lacked. Such a concept would be suitable for small wars or for peacetime, when quality is more important than quantity. In conditions of total war, such a strategy is an impermissible luxury. For example, the Soviet Union during the war had in serial production virtually 3 tank chassis (t-70, t-34 and kv-is) and 6 types of self-propelled guns on them. Yes, we lacked artillery and anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, but the quantity! You read any book about German armored vehicles — dozens of chassis, German, French, Czech, trophy, and even more vehicles based on them — assault, artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft, repair, transporters, and so on. So how did it help? :)
      1. +1
        12 September 2012 12: 23
        Quote: AlexMH
        and even more vehicles based on them - assault, artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft, repair, conveyors and so on. So how did it help? :)

        Well, given that Germany essentially fought against most of the world with giants such as the USSR, the USA, England, which did not feel a lack of resources, especially the USA, it helped. With our strategy, it would be possible they would have lost earlier and the USSR would not have hit 96.5 thousand tanks and sau destroyed .73.3% of the total number and 427% of the park as of 22.06.1941
        while Germany retained in April 1945
      2. Brother Sarych
        12 September 2012 17: 23
        And what's the point in quantity? The Germans had a forced situation - what happened was thrown into battle ...
        And specialized machines are simply necessary ...
    7. borisst64
      12 September 2012 12: 47
      The issue of the presence of a muzzle brake once again confirms the complexity and importance of this part of artillery systems. The latest Russian guns are equipped with a new muzzle brake, it looks unusual, but good characteristics are announced.
      1. Prohor
        12 September 2012 13: 12
        To be honest, I don’t understand the lack of muzzle brakes on tank guns, for which every centimeter of recoil is important!
        Usually they say that they create a lot of dust in front of the tank, to me such an argument seems weak. Here for the BPS sectors, perhaps, there will be problems ....
    8. AlexMH
      12 September 2012 13: 43
      It is assumed that the muzzle brake increases the twitching of the barrel, which reduces the accuracy of shooting and worsens the operating conditions of the stabilizer. In addition, he unmasks the tank when shooting due to a dust cloud, worsens the working conditions of the gunner due to the same cloud, increases the dimensions of an already very long gun, and can damage his infantry if it is nearby. But on the artSAU the muzzle brake is more than justified, unless, of course, it does not fire direct fire, which is extremely undesirable :)
    9. +1
      12 September 2012 15: 11
      Interesting from the memoirs of Grabin about the capabilities of the F-34. I have never heard (read) about the use of the T-34 as divisional guns, such as "self-propelled guns".

      A tired Cucumber appeared from the tank. Nikolai Semenovich was happy: his theory was brilliantly confirmed, the F-34 tank guns, if necessary, can successfully replace divisional artillery. By the way, during the war there was a case when General Ogurtsov used the cannons of T-34 medium tanks - our F-34 - to conduct artillery fire on distant targets from closed positions, that is, as divisional cannons. The shooting results were effective. Such use of tank artillery could be more widespread with better theoretical and practical training of tankers for such firing. This was especially important at the beginning of the war, when the army was acutely aware of the lack of divisional guns. Author: Grabin Vasily Gavrilovich - Book: "The weapon of victory" - Page 98
      1. Brother Sarych
        12 September 2012 17: 24
        I also remembered it - just not from a really big mind! Use expensive tanks as cheap divisional cannons!
        1. Yemelya
          12 September 2012 19: 54
          T-34 is unlikely to have time to use up its guns resource. And if possible, why not use it?
      2. Yemelya
        12 September 2012 19: 51
        Quote: igordok
        with the best theoretical and practical training of tankers for such firing
        1. +1
          12 September 2012 19: 57
          Oh, yes, it’s very necessary for the tankers. Especially with an elevation angle of +25 degrees. There is also a 76,2 mm OFS with an explosive mass of 800 grams. This wasn’t where the direct shot was, and when shooting at areas it’s a little strange.
          Take the same M-30 122 mm mass of explosives 3.8 kg.
          1. Yemelya
            12 September 2012 20: 15
            "... in the role of divisional guns ..." - and divisional guns were then 76,2mm ZiS-3, the elevation angle of which, by the way, was 27 degrees on the first modifications.
            1. 0
              12 September 2012 20: 23
              Quote: Emelya
              "... in the role of divisional guns ..." - and divisional guns were then 76,2mm ZiS-3

              This is bad because they were divisions. Therefore, our tanks went to the unsupported positions of the Germans.
              and as for the elevation angle, it was up to ZIS-3 and when it was written by the Kutaks (the beginning of the war is mentioned) there were F-22s with a large elevation angle of up to 75 degrees, but there was no particular sense with a unitary shell.
              1. Prohor
                13 September 2012 08: 35
                Yes, unfortunately, at the beginning of the war, the stereotypes of the previous World War I and the Civil War were strongly affected, where there was nothing really apart from the three-inch ones.
                In Afghanistan and Chechnya, respectively, they acted according to the canons of the Great Patriotic War. Walking the rake - in our blood, it’s good to at least quickly rebuild how to rebuild! wink
      3. 0
        13 September 2012 17: 37
        I read that before the attack, American tankers fired one ammunition as part of the general artillery bombardment. They were shooting essentially at random, in the general direction, but due to the mass effect a useful effect took place.
    10. Brother Sarych
      12 September 2012 17: 25
      We can only rejoice that the Germans did not have large episodes!
    11. 0
      12 September 2012 21: 15
      Good SPG. Sufficiently mobile and powerful.
    12. 0
      22 October 2012 16: 22

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