Saturday, 18 December 2010

WWII German SPG's - 1/144 Scale

Returning to my collection of miniatures of WWII, which I use regularly in wargames, I present to you some of my German SPG's . 
Have fun!
 Wargames-South Miniatures - 1/144 Scale
The Hummel was designed in 1942 out of a need for mobile artillery support for the tank forces, the lack of which had first been felt during Operation Barbarossa. There were some self-propelled artillery vehicles already in service with the Wehrmacht at the time, but most were of limited value.
The first option looked at was to mount a 10.5 cm leFH17 howitzer on a Panzer III chassis, but this was rejected in favour of the same howitzer on a Panzer IV chassis. One prototype was built of this design.
This design was again rejected, this time in favour of a more powerful solution: mounting the 15 cm sFH 18 L/30 howitzer on the specially designed Geschützwagen III/IV, which took elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine). The same chassis was also used for the Nashorn tank destroyer.
The Hummel had an open-topped lightly armoured fighting compartment at the back of the vehicle which housed both the howitzer and the crew. The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle to make room for this compartment. Late model Hummels had a slightly redesigned driver compartment and front superstructure, to offer more room to the radio operator and driver.
SdKfz 164 Hornisse / Nashorn Tank Destroyer
Dragon kits - 1/144

The mammoth SdKfz 164 was an imposing tank destroying platform for Germany in the Second World War. With the obsolete Panzer III and Panzer IV chassis still in inventory or on production lines, it was decided to put them to better use by modifying them to become self-propelled guns mounting the powerful 88mm PaK 43 series. To accomplish this, the hull was lengthened to accommodate the new gun and the engine relocated while armor was removed in an effort to keep the vehicles weight at a respectable level.

The main gun was fitted into a high superstructure which provided the vehicle with a tall profile and its turretless design meant that the entire vehicle would have to be turned in order to engage the enemy. The turret also offered no protection to the firing crew and commander from above or to the rear as it was an open-top design. As such, crews had to resort to battlefield modifications to keep the elements or shrapnel out and were issued small arms and a machine gun for self-defense work. Power was derived from a Maybach HL 12-cylinder engine producing some 300 horsepower and a crew of five personnel could man the system with the driver being the only one to benefit from any type of armor protection.

In its initial form, the SdKfz 164 appeared with the designation of "Hornisse" (meaning "Hornet") though this was later changed at Hitler's request with the name of "Nashorn" (meaning "Rhinoceros") as he required a more imposing name attached to the vehicle. Early Hornisse models were fitted with the standard PaK 43 L/71 main gun while later Nashorn models sported the new and improved PaK 43/1 L/71 occurring from 1944 onwards. Both vehicles were similarly designed and constructed apart from their main armament.

Once in combat, the SdKfz 164 proved its worth against Soviet armor of all classifications, engaging and defeating them some 2,000 to 4,000 meters away. After action reports dictated how the sheer velocity of the 88mm round could simply tear apart the Soviet T-34s like paper with a single direct hit. Mobility of the system did play a part in its usefulness however and the tank destroyer most always performed better when dug into a prepared position. The Hornisse/Nashorn series would later be superceded by the purpose-built Jagdpanther and Jagdpanzer tank-killing designs.


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