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German and Italian self-propelled guns and artillery of WW2

37 mm PAK 36 in action in France 1940History, datas and pictures of the German and Italian artillery and self-propelled guns of WW2.

Self-propelled artillery was very much a product of the type of warfare that evolved during WW2: before 1939 self-propelled artillery scarcely existed (apart from a few trial weapons), but by 1943 it was used by all the combatant nations. The sudden rise of this new form of weapon can be attributed almost entirely to the impact of the battle tank on tactics, for warfare no longer took place at the speed of the marching soldier and the scouting horse, but at the speed of the tank. These swarmed all over Poland, France and eventually the Soviet Union, and the only way that the supporting arms, including the artillery, could keep up with them was to become equally mobile.
Many of the early self-propelled artillery platforms were simply conversions of existing tanks in order to mount artillery pieces, but the measure of conversion varied widely. Some were scarcely more than lash-ups to meet a hasty requirement or were built locally to suit a particular task. Others, however, were carefully designed from the outset and may be regarded as virtually new products.

But two distinct trends can be discerned in the way self-propelled artillery was used in action. One school regarded mobile artillery as a simple adjunct to existing artillery doctrines, and this school designed and used the self-propelled platforms to deliver indirect supporting fire in the usual way. The other school regarded the mobile gun as a form of close-range direct-fire weapon to be used in close support of armour, and this school was responsible for the assault gun. Today both types of weapon are extant, but in the West the modern accent is on the indirect-fire weapon and in the East it is on the close-support assault gun.

Only a selection of the many types of self-propelled artillery that proliferated between 1939 and 1945 can be found in the computer wargame WW2Total. While some important types have been omitted, some 'one-offs' have been included to demonstrate the variety of design concepts that were attempted. The number and approaches of the different designs were enormous before 1945, but only relatively few models actually found their way into action.

105 nm leFH18
105 mm leFH18
150 mm Rocket launcher
150 mm Rocket-launcher
20 mm AA quadruple gun
20mm Flak 38, Flakvierling
88 mm Flak 36
88 mm Flak 36
Anti tank gun 37 mm PAK 36
37 mm PaK 36
150 mm rocket launcher 42
150 mm Rocket launcher 42
150 mm sIG Grille
150 mm sIG Grille
Tank destroyer 38d
Tank destroyer 38(d)
Tank destroyer Hetzer
Tank destroyer Hetzer
Anti aircraft tank Coelian
AA tank Panther Coelian
Sdkfz 7 1 with AA gun
SdKfz 7/1
Sdkfz 124 Wespe
SdKfz 124 Wespe
Assault gun StuG III G
Assault gun StuG 40 G



Semovente M40


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