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Germany's Wespe, SdKfz 124

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Design

The Wespe used a PzKpfw II Ausf F chassis that was lengthened and the engine was moved forward.6 The fighting compartment was at the rear and was open to the top and rear.6

Was named the Wespe but Hitler ordered the name dropped on February 27, 1944.

Armament

The muzzle velocity was 470 m/s / 1,542'/s.5 The HE shell weighed 32.7 lbs and was fired at a muzzle velocity of 1,772'/sec.4 The range was 11,679 yards.4 If the gun was fitted with a muzzle brake and an Fernladung (extra charge) then the range was 13,450 yards.4

Production

  • Wespe: 6762, 6835
    • Production: 1942 - 19445, February 1943- July 19442, 1943 - 19445
    • Manufacturer: FAMO2,5 at Warsaw
      • Chassis: MAN-Alkett4
      • Superstructure: Alkett
      • Howitzer: Rheinmetall-Borsig4
  • Ammunition Carrier: 1585, 1591

Variants

  • Wespe; le FH 18/2 auf Fgst PzKpfw II (Sf) Wespe; GW II für 10.5cm le FH 18/1 Wespe; Leichte Feldhaubitze 18/2 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II (SF) Wespe, SdKfz 124, "Wasp"; 10.5 cm Le.F.H. 18/2 auf Fahrgestell Panzer II (sf) Wespe; 10.5 cm L.F.H. 18/2 auf GW II, Wespe:
  • Ammunition Carrier: Had a plate in the gun slot that could be removed in the field and a 105 mm gun placed. Could carry 90 rounds.5 It carried a driver and 2 gunners.

Usage

These were usually used by divisional artillery batteries of the Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions. Wespes were organized into batteries of 6 howitzers with up to 5 batteries to an Abteilung (battalion).

Battle of Kursk

The Wespe first entered service at Battle of Kursk in 1943.

Specifications

  Wespe, SdKfz 124, "Wasp"
Crew Driver, gun crew (5)
51,2,3,4,5,6
Radio FuG Spr f2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 24,660 lb, 24,251 lb3
11,000 kg1,3, 11,480 kg
10.8 tons1, 11 tons2, 11.5 tons5,6, 12.1 tons4
Length w/gun 15.8'4, 15' 8"5, 15' 9.4"1,3
4.79 m5, 4.81 m1,2,3
Length w/o gun 15' 8"5, 15' 9"
4.79 m5
Height 7' 6.5"1, 7' 6.6"3, 7.6'4, 7' 7"5, 7' 10.5"
2.3 m1,2,3, 2.32 m5
Width 7' 3.5", 7' 5.75"3, 7' 5.7"1, 7' 4"5, 7.5'4
2.24 m5, 2.28 m1,2,3
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 13.4"4
36 cm
Ground contact length 94.5"4
2.4 m
Ground pressure 10.9 psi4
0.82 kg/cm2
Armament  
Main 10.5 cm leFH8M L/282
10.5 cm howitzer1,6
105 mm leFH 18 field howitzer3
105 mm Howitzer, 18/15
10.5 cm leFH 18/2 L/28 howitzer5
10.5 cm L.F.H. 18/2, L/284
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG342,3
7.92 mm MG1
7.9 mm MG344
Side arms 2: MP384
Quantity  
Main 321,2,4,5, 405
22: HE, 8: HC
Secondary  
MG 600
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 183, 301
Front: 0.7"4
Side: 0.6"4
Hull Front, Upper 10, 20@30°2, 20@60-75°5
Hull Front, Lower 10, 30@15°2, 20@75°5
Hull Sides, Upper 15@0°2, 15@90°5
Hull Sides, Lower 15@0°2
Hull Rear 8@0°2 & 15@10°2, 20@90°5
Hull Top 10@90°2
Hull Bottom 5@90°2
Superstructure Front 12, 10@24°2, 12@69°5
Superstructure Sides 10@17°2, 10@73°5
Superstructure Rear 8, 10@16°2, 10@74°5, open6
Superstructure Top open2,5,6
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 62 TR1,2,4,5
Maybach3
Bore / stroke 4 cycles4
Cooling Water4
Cylinders I-64, 63, R-65
Net HP 1403,5, 140@2,600 rpm4
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 6.5:14
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh4, SSG/46
6 forward, 1 reverse2,4
Steering Clutch brake4
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric4
Electrical system 12-volt4
Ignition Magneto4
Fuel (Type) Gasoline3,4
Octane  
Quantity 37 gallons5, 45 gallons4
170 liters5
Road consumption 1.9 mpg4
Cross country consumption 1.3 mpg4
Performance  
Traverse 10° each way, ±20°4
17° left, 17° right2,5
Speed - Road 25 mph4,5, 24.85 mph3, 24.8 mph1
40 kph1,2,3,5
Speed - Cross Country 12.5 mph5
20 kph5
Range - Road 87 miles4,5, 127 miles, 136 miles, 136.7 miles1, 137 miles3
140 km5, 220 km1,2,3
Range - Cross Country 59 miles4,5
95 km5
Turning radius 4.8 m
Elevation limits -5° to +42°2,4
Fording depth 2' 7.5"3,4, 3'
0.8 m3
Trench crossing

5.6'4, 6'
1.7 m

Vertical obstacle 1', 1' 4.5"4
42 cm
Climbing ability 30° (57%) slope4
Suspension (Type) Each wheel attached to a movable arm which is attached to a 1/4 elliptic spring and rests next to a roller on the hull4
Wheels each side 54
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type) Dry pin4
Length 7' 10.5"
Track width 11.8"4
28 cm
Diameter  
Number of links 1064
Pitch 3.6"4
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 6.2'4, 6' 2"
1.88 m

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  5. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  6. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
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