- "The gun won't turn right?"
- ―Hippo Team
The StuG III (its official designation being Sturmgeschütz III and its ordnance inventory being Sd.Kfz. 142) was a German assault gun (hence the name), to which goes the honour of being the most produced German tank design during the war. In the anime, it was first seen during a flash-forward in Episode 1, and appeared in Episode 2.
HistoryAlready in the Great War, the problem had arisen on how the artillery tended to lag behind the advances of infantry; to solve this problem, then-Colonel Erich Von Manstein suggested in 1935 to create an armoured self-propelled mount that would serve as a close infantry support vehicle. It was decided to use the chassis and running gear of the recent PzKpfw III, on which a fixed casemate would house the low-velocity 75 mm gun. These vehicles were usually attached to the artillery arm, therefore they were not part of the Panzerwaffe.
They first saw service during the German invasion of France or "Fall Gelb", serving in six vehicle batteries, four batteries participated in the invasion. They were Sturmbatteries 640, 659, 660 and 665. They were found to be the perfect for dealing with light bunkers and pillboxes. They saw again action during the German invasion of the Balkans, Greece and later that year Russia. As the Germans advanced eastwards, they eventaully came up to a line of defensive bunkers called the Stalin line. it was a network of concrete artillery and machinegun emplacements. The StuG lll had very thick frontal armor for the time and so one tactic the German infantry used was to have the SPG roll straight at the Pilbox and fire its 75mm into the firing slot of the pillbox. This was safe enough to do as the 45 mm K-54 AT guns the Russians had emplaced in these pillboxes weren't powerful enough to penetrate the StuGs frontal armor.
The first vehicles were ready to participate in the Battle of France, but its first real service came during Operation Barbarossa. The StuG proved inferior, as every other German tank of the time, to the most modern Soviet designs like the T-34 and the KVs. When the PaK 40 was introduced in Spring 1942, it lacked mobility to be used effectively and therefore, as part of the general upgrading of the armoured vehicles in the Wehrmacht, the StuG III was selected to receive a long-barreled 75 mm gun in 1942. Thus, it became the staple of the Panzerwaffe from that time on. The first model to receive this new gun was the Ausf.F with an improved fighting compartment design than it's predecessors. The prolific model the Ausf.G had a commander's cupola, a shield for either an MG 34 or 42 machine gun and a Schürzen spaced armor on its sides. Additionally, late war modifications include a "Saukopfblende" a pig/boar-head shaped cast mantlet, a remotely controlled turret, and concrete frontal armor. It was the most numerous of all the models of the StuG III.
With the armament upgrade, the StuG III saw its role shift from assault gun to tank destroyer (although it could still perform successfully in the former task), and, since it was cheaper and easier to produce than a conventional tank (due to its not having a revolving turret), it was produced in the tens of thousands; thus, it was the most common German AFV on the battlefield, especially as the war progressed and the Wehrmacht deployed large numbers of StuGs in an attempt to quickly replace their massive losses on the Eastern front.
It's production is also a crucial factor for the effectiveness of the StuG. It's a way more cheaper alternative to other German tanks like the Panzer IV, Panther, and even the Tigers I and II. Also, it's production was increased throughout the war despite the efforts of Allied bombing in Germany on factories and fuel, which was to greatly cripple the Panzerwaffe and the Luftwaffe throughout the war.
This shift from its original assault gun role also led to the development of the StuH 42 as an replacement. It used the same chassis as the StuG III but instead of the 75 mm StuK 40 it used the 10.5 cm Sturmhaubitze 42 which was based on the standard artillery piece of the Wehrmacht the 10.5cm leFH 18. This meant that it could engage enemy units and fortifications up to 5400 meters with a higher explosive payload. So while it was very effective against infantry and fortified positions it lacked penetration and rate of fire for use against most tanks.
Its low silhouette and the powerful gun meant that, up to the end of the war, it was a match for any Allied or Soviet tanks, except the heaviest and best-protected ones (like the IS-2). Used in the defensive role, it proved to be a deadly weapon, in 1944 Sturmgeschütz units claimed some 20,000 tank kills, more than those claimed by the more famous and glamorous Panzers (like the Panther or the Tiger I).
It was also supplied to Germany's allies during the war, especially Romania (under the designation TAs), Hungary and Finland (under the name Sturmi and saw service during the Continuation War) and it met with similar success. It also served as inspiration for many vehicles fielded by many belligerents, such as the Soviet SU-122 and SU-85, and the Italian Semovente da 75/18.
After the war the StuG III was used by the Yugoslav People's Army until the 1950s. the Soviet Union also donated some captured StuG IIIs to the Syrian military which were used during the war over water in the mid 1960s, however unlike the Syrian panzer IVs, these never saw action during the six days war.
In Girls und PanzerA StuG III Ausf. F was found in the bottom of a lake during the search of Ooarai's long-lost tanks, and was assigned to Hippo Team.
From the beginning, it affirmed itself as one of Ooarai's "heavy-hitters", and one of the most successful tanks in their arsenal. During the training match against St. Gloriana it was the only tank (besides Miho's own Panzer IV) to defeat a heavily protected Matilda, albeit soon after that it got disabled due to its crew's ill-thought flamboyancy (which negated the advantage given by its low silhouette with easily spotted flags). After returning to a more conventional paint scheme, it followed on on its favourable record; against Saunders it was one of the first to knock out an M4 Sherman in an ambush, for which was ideally suited.In the battle against Anzio, as depicted in the manga, it served as the flag tank, and was part of the central force that held through Anzio's trap to give time to the rest of Ooarai's tanks to flank and take down the opponents. In the OVA it engaged in a one-on-one duel against Carpaccio's Semovente; despite being more powerful and protected than its Italian opponent, the StuG found a match in the Semovente, to the point that when both teams went for a killing shot, it ended with both of them defeating each other (the only instances, other than the training match against St. Gloriana and the finals against Kuromorimine, in which the StuG was taken down).
In the semi-finals match against Pravda it proved yet again critical to victory, surviving a potentially fatal hit in its tracks and then dealing the killing shot against Pravda's T-34 flag tank after hiding in the snow. In the finals, it performed well against Kuromorimine's tanks in the first part of the match, but it was effortlessly taken out by the massive super-heavy Maus tank.
A StuG III is owned by the Nishizumi Family, and is used by Maho during the battle between the two sisters.
At least one StuG III Ausf.G is used by Count High School under the Romanian designation TA.
- Main article: StuG III/Gallery
- For unknown reason in the manga until the end of the mock-up match in chapter 1 & 2, the StuG was identified and drawn as an Ausf.E, with the short 75mm StuK 37 L/24. In chapter 3 and foward the StuG become a Ausf.F again.
- On the front of Ooarai's StuG III (colorful paint job) is one of Julius Caesar's quotes: Veni, vidi, vici ("I came, I saw, I conquered").
- During the match against Pravda, the StuG is the only Ooarai tank to have a winter camouflage.
- When entering service with the Finnish Army, it became known as "Sturmi". This was also one of the tanks of the Jatkosota High School.
|Light Tanks and Tankettes||7TP • AMR-35 • BT-42 • Crusader • CV.33 • FT-17 • Harry Hopkins • M22 Locust • M24 Chaffee • Mark VI • Panzer II • Panzer 38(t) • R35 • T-60 • T-70 • Tetrarch • TK Tankette • Type 94 Tankette • Type 95 Ha-Go • Type 97 Te-Ke|
|Medium Tanks||Centurion • M3 Lee • M4 Sherman • M13/40 • Matilda II • P26/40 • Panzer III • Panzer IV • Panzer V "Panther" • SOMUA S35 • T-34 • T-44 • Type 89B • Type 3 Chi-Nu • Type 97 Chi-Ha|
|Heavy Tanks||ARL 44 • B1 Bis • Black Prince • Churchill • IS-2 • KV-2 • M26 Pershing • Mark IV • Panzer VI "Tiger" • Panzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II" • Panzer VIII "Maus" • VK45.01 Porsche Tiger|
|Tank Destroyers||Elefant • Hetzer • ISU-152 • Jagdpanzer IV • Jagdpanther • Jagdtiger • Mareșal • Semovente da 75/18 • StuG III • T28 Super-Heavy Tank|
|Self-Propelled Artillery||Karl-Gerät 040|
|Main Battle Tank||Type 10|