Assault Gun III. Backbone of the German Infantry, Volume I / StuG III, Vol. I
As the sources available were giving a lot of information and as the envisaged structure was in two parts, we decided to publish our Assault Gun book in two volumes.
Volume I, History:
Development, Production and Deployment
Volume II, Visual Appearance:
Identification, Restoring and Modelling
The first Volume of >Assault Gun III . Backbone of the German Infantry puts the weapon in its historycal context and supports information about production and combat of the Sturmggeschuetz III. Volume II will provide information for identification of variants and their production monthes. Both volumes together will give the readers a full survey of the technical development of the Assault Guns and Assault Howitzers.
For the publication >Assault Gun III . Backbone of the German Infantry there were about 400 documents and document series processed, taken off from a much bigger number of historycal files available. These choosen documents were the base for a new view on the history of that important weapon system of the Wehrmacht. Our documentation is illustrated by some 125 fotographs, some of them unpublished hitherto, 70 graphs and plans about the Assault Gun and has some 500 source references (not references to the literature)! Our documentation >Assault Gun III . Backbone of the German Infantry contains 316 pages of 20x28 cm.
To make orientation easy, documents and illustrations are arranged in chapters that follow the historic pass off: Technical devlopment of the Sturmgeschuetze, series production, the variants of the Assault Guns and their deployment with Heer, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS.
Rounding off the publication is an annex giving details of production, acceptance and delivery of the Sturmgeschuetze. For the fist time it was possible to research the production numbers down to the number and to express the production numbers in a way, the reader can recalculate it. A list of literature, covering four pages, closes the appendix of the documentateion >Assault Gun III . Backbone of the German Infantry . The list of the used sources is, because of its size, not printed in the book but available for download on this website only.
Here some reading samples, fragments from the chapters of volume I:
- Tables of Contents
- Table of contents (14 KB)
- Development Assault Gun III
- Devlopment of StuG III (168 KB)
- Series produktion of Assault Gun III
- Production of StuG III (153 KB)
- Variants of Assault Gun III
- Variants of StuG III (371 KB)
- Combat of Assault Gun III
- StuG III in action (247 KB)
- Appendix (Sample: Production)
- Appendix (32 KB)
- Information about book
- Book back (455 KB)
- Sources (288 KB)
... it would be interesting to know the wartime history of this vehicle. The first question is when and where was this StuG III Ausf.G built? Based on Peter Müller & Wolfgang Zimmermann's second volume on the Sturmgeschütz III I believe it is possible to identify this vehicle as having be built by the Mühlenbau und Industrie A.-G. (Miag) in Braunschweig, Germany between November 1943 - January 1944. The detailed text and photos in Müller & Zimmermann's book compared with the Port of Galveston photos and Chris De Haven's Austin Armor Builders Society photos allows the identification of the vehicle's manufacturer and the three month period of when the vehicle was built.
The following are a few sections from Peter Müller & Wolfgang Zimmermann's Sturmgeschütz III Vol.2 that apply. It should be noted that the book includes excellent photos which clearly illustrate each text description...
A number of other sections in the book apply to this vehicle, but together the sections referenced above and photos that go with them support the claim that this is a Miag vehicle built between Nov-43 and Jan-44. They also show that this vehicle was not a pieced together from the wrecks of a number of vehicles build by different manufacturers at different times.
Not knowing the vehicle's Fahrgestell number makes it difficult to determine the exact month of manufacturing, but narrowing the possible dates to a three month window is a start.
Michel Manuel (Nice, France)
I ordered the two books after reading article from Toni Canfora in On Display: Stug III. ...They are really fantastic: all you need to make a correct model, and more. The table in supplement of volume II is a great tool ( I liked particularly references to Modelkasten and Friul tracks).
I'm eagerly waiting books about Panzer IV and Panther.
I have just finished reading the wonderful Sturmgeschutz III from Muller and Zimmermann...
Dean Allison (Durkham, UK) on amazon.co.uk
This is the best single reference book you will find about the Stug III. The book covers the full spectrum of production with accompanying photos to help identify the changes as the respective factories introduced them. This is the bible of the Stug III and a book of indispensable use to serious model builders or vehicle historians and restorers.
An excellent book highly recommended, don't be put of by the price, you will pay four times this collecting other reference and still be short by a mile.
Lorente i Solivellas Antoni (Inca-Mallorca, Spain)
I recently purchased both volumes about the Stug III, you did an really great job, they are the best books about the Stug, so please receive my sincere congratulations.
Eric Reits (on missing-lynx.com)
I have both books (in German)and are the best books I have on the StuG (having many others including the great Spielberger etc). Especially for the modeller the second volume is excellent, showing the many changes in all details in time (and factory) by pictures, which allows you to identify a StuG picture but also get all details right when building one...
A unique set of books and i am looking forwards to the PzKpfw IV series...
Guy Deyoung (in Abebooks.com)
This book [Vol. II] is outstanding. It is clearly written with great information on the development of the Stug. III with excellent pictures to illustrate the text. If you are a model builder then you will find this book invaluable as a reference when building a Stug.
Gunnar Jansson (Sandviken, Sweden)
A friend had this book [Vol II] and I had the opportunity to have a look at it before I ordered it and I must say I was really impressed, VERY nice, keep up the good work.
Raoul Kunz (ipmsusa3.org)
offers his opinion of this detailed work on the StuG.III Vol I: This is the first Volume of the comprehensive documentation of the German Sturmgeschütz III self propelled gun in World War II by Peter Müller and Wolfgang Zimmermann. Descriptively subtitled "Development Production Deployment" this magisterial study provides insight into exactly these aspect in considerable depth.
...so I will try and give a little insight and reflection on how the specific topics are treated... "Background" tackles the oft discussed raison d'être of this specific weapon system, giving a brief history of the "Begleitartillerie" of World War 1, the perceived need to deploy this direct infantry support weapon on a self propelled platform and the initial development contract for it. "Technical Development" provides an overview of the, well, the technical development of the weapon. This section gives us the general trends of StuG development until '45, touching on such fields as the increase of armour, the upgrades of the armament (secondary as well as primary), introduction of armoured skirts, the evolution of the Jagdpanzer concept from the StuG and even never followed up on tendencies such as the development of a Flakpanzer III to provide the Sturmartillerie with an AA capacity since the Flakpanzer IV series went to the Panzer divisions.
"Series Production" chiefly concerns itself with the industrial background of StuG production such as how the change from the L/24 short barrelled weapon to the L/43 and L/48 long barrelled guns affected and was implemented by the producing factories as well as how external factors such as allied bombing and the rising lack of resources affected production. "Design Variants A to G" is a case of "exactly what it says on the tin": It's a fairly short overview of the differences and changes from the initial Ausführung A to the final versions of the Ausführung G. I suppose it is kept brief because Volume II is concerned with pretty much nothing else. "Assembly Plants" provides some interesting insights into who produces these vehicles when and where. Essentially it provides fact sheets of Daimler Benz, Alkett and Miag, their respective factory locations as well a giving us an overview of the ton of subcontractors and what they produced. "Combat" concerns itself with, probably contrary to expectations, primarily with the way the StuG's deployment and its combat role changed over the course of the war, moving away from the dedicated infantry support platform and moving more and more into the tank destroyer territory and the deployment as a surrogate tank in the Panzer formations.
"Combat Records" is where the first hand experience expected a section earlier comes into play. This chapter essentially consists of a commented collection of first hand combat reports of front line officers and a short section on the exploitation of these successes by the propaganda agencies. "Conclusion" it is what its name implies: a two page conclusion on the studies of the volume. "Appendix" contains a surprising amount of material for what the reader could reasonably expect to be little more than a selection of sources and a glossary. These are there, don't worry, but also a wealth of production graphs, statistics, specifications, a whole section on the changing terminology of the weapon system, a section, richly illustrated with the original German WW2 graphs, on the many different types of ammunition and a type by type set of fact sheets of the ballistic attributes of the various shells as well as an overview and explanation of the various abbreviations in which German military terminology exceeds to the point of caricature (e.g.: KStN => "Kriegsstärkennachweis" => organisational table of war strength of specific units).
While this is without question a well researched book with an academic level depth of research, and the reliance only on primary sources makes this a magnificent title, the question remains 'do you need it'? If you want a highly detailed technical and deployment history of specifically the StuG III, this title is for you. If you feel the need to get a truly comprehensive history of this vehicle, again it's a book for you. If you are interested in the Sturmartillerie and it's combat deployment, a unit history, such as Bruno Bork's one on the Stugbrigade 191, might be more to your liking, especially if you are more interested in accounts from personal experience. If you are interested in building the perfect StuG model, Volume II provides you with everything you need. A quick note on the differences between this edition and the German version: Since the translation is perfect and every little term explained, this edition is better than the German language version, simply by virtue of being a hard cover edition for the same price as the German soft cover version!
MODEL MILITARY UK, 2010-09-01
…thorough and impeccably researched…two of the best vehicle history books I have ever seen.
Andrew Birkbeck (ipmsusa.org)
...Volume Two, the subject of this review, “provides the means with which to precisely identify specific vehicles”, and is almost exclusively photographs and line drawings.
The concept behind this volume is very sound. It takes the Sturmgesschutz III, and covers each variant (Ausf. A through Ausf. G) with detailed line drawings in 1/35th scale: front, rear, side, aerial. Included with the line drawings are written details covering which firm manufactured the variant, dates of production, and specific characteristics of the particular variant. This written description and line drawings are supplemented with period black and white photographs. A second section covers vehicle characteristics... Each characteristic is covered via photographs, and written text. The particular Ausfuhrung (Variant) with this given characteristic is listed, which manufacturer produced such vehicles, and during which time periods.
I don’t know what more a modeler would want!
If you are a fan of the Stug III, then this book, together with its companion, is for you. My thanks to Casemate Publishing for providing IPMS/USA with the opportunity to review this excellent book.
Don Barry (ipmsusa3.org)
This is the first of a 2 volume set detailing the history, tactical development, and use of the various marks of the Sturmgeschutz III, commonly referred to as the StuG III. Volume 1 is predominately text, whereas Volume 2 is mostly photographic in content. This book offers a wealth of data for the modeler as well as those more interested in the technical aspects of this weapons system...
Due to the requirements of the conflict, a weapon developed to support the infantry with mobile heavy firepower, evolved into a premier tank killer and improvised tank replacement. A howitzer-armed version, the Sturmhaubitze, was introduced to remedy this, with limited success mostly due to the limited numbers produced. All the major production companies are listed, with their full and abbreviated names, and in many cases, their addresses. Subcontractors are also listed, with the items they produced. Production figures are provided for each variant, as well as the date range of each.
Ample text and photographs show the effects of the Allied bombing campaigns against German industry, and the resulting shortages of vehicles and parts. Added to this, Hitler’s interference in the technical development of the StuG system often further tangled production. All the different types of ammunition used are described and illustrated, including the markings on the base plates. The various howitzer rounds are treated in similar fashion. The list of references consulted runs to four pages, providing ample further research resources. Modelers may prefer the photo volume for reference, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, especially for the insights it provides regarding troop use. Highly recommended.
Scott Danis (inscale.org)
What a modeller like me would say: Taken from the books forward: "We have designed a series of publications aimed specifically at historian, history enthusiasts,editors,restorers and modellers" This is so true for this publication has information for everyone in the line above. For model builders that wish to make an authentic build and require identification of variants and their production months will find this book gives a wealth of information that would be needed. This is truly a bible of sorts for anyone planning on building and Sturmgeschütz III of any variant... As one can see from looking at the Table of Contents that this book covers a lot of information for each of the different Sturmgeschütz III variants all packed into 296 pages. The subject has been well researched by the authors and it shows with every small detail backed up with photos.
Overall, I would say this is probable the best book you can find on the StuG III and well worth the price as it will provide the modeller with an indispensable amount of usable information when doing their builds. The way this publication has been laid out and written makes it very easy for everyone to understand and find what one needs to without any trouble. On top of this it also comes with a supplement (poster) which presents all 90 characteristics in a tabulated overview. With the number of photos with many full page or half page images and 1:35 scale line drawings in this book a modeller can not go wrong having this book on the shelf. Highly Recommended!
This publication [Volume I] documents the developmental history, mass production, deployment and combat operations of Germany’s Sturmgeschütz III during World War II. In order to provide a better appreciation of the historical significance of the Sturmgeschütz III, this study first examines its technical design and development, production, modification and the fielding of the different versions, ranging from models A through G, as well as a survey of Sturmgeschütz III production assembly plants at Daimler-Benz, Alkett, and MIAG, where more than 10,500 of these vehicles were produced between 1940 until the end of the war in Europe. Other chapters cover the Sturmgeschütz III’s operational history, including its combat debut and remarkable success as an antitank weapon. As the reader will discover, the German General Staff’s and upper echelons of the Wehrmacht’s growing appreciation of this remarkable weapons system ultimately led to an overestimation of its capabilities, contributing to Germany’s defeat as both Sturmgeschütz III crewman and vehicles themselves were over-committed to the point of collapse.
In this study, the authors have drawn almost exclusively on primary source material rather than the existing body of secondary literature, tapping into a vast reservoir of original files, reports and operational records. In all, some 400 different sources were used during the production of this reference work and are listed in the bibliography. The authors have verifed production figures by cross-referencing and recomputing dozens of original source documents, resulting in the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the Sturmgeschütz III’s to appear in print. To round out this volume, it includes 125 historical photographs, many of them reproduced for the first time, as well as seventy charts and tables that verify the authors’ conclusions.
Volume 2 of Sturmgeschütz III provides a selection of images that illustrate in striking and unique detail the evolution and operational employment of this potent weapons system. Reliable documentary evidence, such as the date the image was made, location and unit of assignment is provided for many of these photographs, allowing the reader to precisely identify specific variants of the Sturmgeschütz III. The quality of research displayed throughout this volume makes it an ideal reference work for vehicle restoration, for historically accurate modelling or for diorama building. The superb photographs in this volume also illustrate a tremendous amount of technical information for historians most interested in tracing the continuous development of one of the most significant armoured vehicles to see action during World War II.
Within this volume, the photographic evidence is used to accurately present 90 specific identifying characteristics of the Sturmgeschütz III and how each of the weapon system’s unique features arose during design and development. Accompanying timelines illustrate when different versions of the Sturmgeschütz III were manufactured, using documentary evidence such as the original records that list chassis serial numbers assigned for each assembly plant as well as other primary source information. It also includes a supplemental chart that provides a quick and handy reference to the various versions of the Sturmgeschütz III that saw service. Volume 2 also systematically covers unusual configurations of the Sturmgeschütz III, including field modifications, backed up by tabulations for easy reference. Superb four-level cutaway technical drawings illustrate the characteristics of each of the wartime production runs of the Sturmgeschütz III at precisely defined points in time. High-quality photos compliment each of the drawings.
This volume also accurately documents for the very first time the evolution of the appearance of the Sturmgeschütz III from 1940 to 1945 on a month-by-month basis, enabling the historian or modeller to interpret other Sturmgeschütz III photographs and place them in their proper historical timeframe and operational context.
Tamiya Model Magazine 10/10 (MN)
... now it's time to look at the second in History Facts' two-part set on the many modifications made to this effective assault gun turned to tank destroyer, and oh boy, were a lot of changes made! In the 293+ pages of this handsome hardback we find a full third of the book is given over to the description (in word and photos) of the profusion of the subtile and obvious defferences between the various versons and the value of this exhaustive listing to the modeller can not be overstated... the book ist worth its weigth in gold. Add to that a generous collection of known an less known wartime photos (reproduced large and to a very good standard) plus scale drawings, each with a list highlighning the details shown and this book is on the verge becoming the StuG III modeller's bible!
Very highly recommended
Model Military International 09/10 (Alastair Bowie)
... Fans of German armour have always had the luxury of excellent reference on their pet subjects an I have to say that as references go, this is at the top of the class. Everything about these two volumes is first rate. The amount of work that has gone into these books is reflected by the excellent presentation of facts and the collation of the production changes must have been a nightmare to sequence but a godsend to the modeller, enthusiasts and historian alike... These two volumes are thorough and impeccaably researched. The infirmation within is amazing in its breadth and presented in a digestible and logical format. They are quite simply the best vehicle history books I have ever seen. These set a very high benchmark for future authors in this busy genre and as such I highly recommend these as a definitive history of the Sturmgeschutz III Assault Gun.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest the StuG III or German armour of World War II, whether they are modeller, historian, collector or even a restorer.
www.ipmsusa.org 07/10 (Don Barry, IPMS # 46771 )
Backbone of the German Infantry, Volume 1, History
... This book offers a wealth of data for the modeler as well as those more interested in the technical aspects of this weapons system. Chapters cover background, technical development, series production, design variants A thru G, the factories involved in production, and combat records and troop reports.
There is a full developmental section, where the evolution of tactics is examined. Due to the requirements of the conflict, a weapon developed to support the infantry with mobile heavy firepower, evolved into a premier tank killer and improvised tank replacement. A howitzer-armed version, the Sturmhaubitze, was introduced to remedy this, with limited success mostly due to the limited numbers produced.
All the major production companies are listed, with their full and abbreviated names, and in many cases, their addresses. Subcontractors are also listed, with the items they produced. Production figures are provided for each variant, as well as the date range of each. Ample text and photographs show the effects of the Allied bombing campaigns against German industry, and the resulting shortages of vehicles and parts. Added to this, Hitler's interference in the technical development of the StuG system often further tangled production.
All the different types of ammunition used are described and illustrated, including the markings on the base plates. The various howitzer rounds are treated in similar fashion. The list of references consulted runs to four pages, providing ample further research resources.
Modelers may prefer the photo volume for reference, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, especially for the insights it provides regarding troop use.
www.ipmsusa.org 09/10 (Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS #27087)
Volume Two, the subject of this review, “provides the means with which to precisely identify specific vehicles”, and is almost exclusively photographs and line drawings. The concept behind this volume is very sound. It takes the Sturmgesschutz III, and covers each variant (Ausf. A through Ausf. G) with detailed line drawings in 1/35th scale: front, rear, side, aerial. Included with the line drawings are written details covering which firm manufactured the variant, dates of production, and specific characteristics of the particular variant. This written description and line drawings are supplemented with period black and white photographs.
A second section covers vehicle characteristics, broken down thus: Hull Nose Characteristics (Bow armoring; Inspection hatch details etc); Superstructure Characteristics (Driver’s visors, hatch details, cupola details, antenna mounts etc); Rear Hull Characteristics (starter crank, engine air outlet, exhaust muffler etc); Running Gear Characteristics (drive sprocket, road wheels, return rollers, idler wheel, shock absorbers, tracks etc); Main Armament; Tool and Accessory Characteristics (horn, axe, spade, fire extinguisher, etc); Track Guard Characteristics (front and rear mud flaps, tail lights etc). Each characteristic is covered via photographs, and written text. The particular Ausfuhrung (Variant) with this given characteristic is listed, which manufacturer produced such vehicles, and during which time periods.
I don’t know what more a modeler would want!
If you are a fan of the Stug III, then this book, together with its companion, is for you.
www.missing-lynx.com 09/10 (Frank V. De Sisto)
Note: normally I report on books individually, but in this instance, these two titles are so closely related that I think it makes more sense to keep them together and present my opinions in one posting
Modelers are always trying to determine what features are seen on a particular AFV, so that their replica can be as accurate as can be. To do so, the modeler usually needs to consult multiple sources and then do some careful cross-referencing; then the building can commence with confidence. This two-volume set seeks to ease the process described immediately above. And, as is by now well known, it does this extremely well. The authors take their time in presenting their material. There is much explanation given as to their research and presentation methodology...
After setting the stage, the first volume then jumps immediately into the conceptual and technical development of the Sturmgeschütz III, and then it goes on to the production of the assault gun series. Design variants are covered and information is provided on the assembly plants. Combat use by the troops is detailed and then conclusions are drawn. The final segment of the text provides various appendices to include tables and graphs, a glossary and a bibliography. There are a number of organization charts provided in this section, as well as graphs that show production and loss trends, and unit issue status. The illustrative content consists of a combination of B&W photographs and line drawings. These allow for a concise overview of the physical aspects of the various Sturmgeschütz III models and set the stage for what comes in the second volume.
The second volume concerns itself almost solely with visual appearance of various Sturmgeschütz III models. A large number of thumb-nail images detail each and every visible external fitting as seen on nearly every single variation. These are annotated with chassis numbers where known. This in turn has allowed the authors to pin-point when certain changes were seen and also which factory produced them. To compliment this section, a large, poster-sized, pull-out section allows for easy access to an incredible amount of data, all in tabulated form. This is pure gold to a modeler, to be sure!
Another segment describes camouflage colors and covers all of the changes to specifications that are known. In addition to providing photos to illustrate the point, B&W half-tone color chips are provided, seemingly to allow the reader to determine how to figure out what color he is seeing in a B&W image. Three more groups of photographs show overall views of each model from Ausf.A to Ausf.E, then Ausf.F and Ausf.F/8, then Ausf.G. Interspersed between these segments are 1/35th-scale four-view line drawings, spread over four pages each; three pages contain drawings, one contains comments. Again, all models and several sub-variants are amply covered, with the drawings being extremely crisply reproduced.
Overall, the photos are well-reproduced, but the paper stock is not coated or glossy; including the latter would have improved reproduction somewhat, but also probably would have caused a price increase in these books. Captions are usually concise, yet informative.
The way in which these two volumes are broken down will allow the modeler on a budget to choose to purchase only the second one, if his main interest is the physical appearance of the Sturmgeschütz III. If the modeler also has an interest in the technology and actual combat use of the Sturmgeschütz III, than volume one should also be in his library. Regardless, this set is a benchmark in the realm of reference books for modelers and historians. I eagerly look forward to this teams up-coming treatment of the Panzerkampfwagen IV.