The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) was Germany’s second most-produced armoured fighting vehicle during World War II, after the Sd.Kfz.251 half-track. It was built on the chassis of the already successful Pz.Kpfw. III, the turret being replaced by an armoured casemate mounting a more powerful gun. Initially intended as an infantry support weapon, the StuG III was continually modified, and by 1942 was widely employed as a tank destroyer.
The concept for the StuG III was in response to a proposal by the then Colonel Erich von Manstein to General Ludwig Beck as early as 1935. In the following year, Daimler-Benz AG was tasked with developing an armoured infantry support vehicle armed with a 75mm artillery gun. Further requirements were to include a traverse limited to 25°, a fully enclosed superstructure that would afford ample protection for the crew, and a maximum vehicle height close to that of a standing soldier. The ideal base for the vehicle was the chassis and running gear of the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.B, and with the design approved, construction of the prototype was passed to Alkett, who produced five units of the experimental ‘O Series’. These prototypes featured a superstructure made of mild steel, and a Krupp short-barrelled Sturmkanone 37 L/24 75mm cannon.
While there is no shortage of 1/35-scale kits of the StuG III, the prototype version has until recently been ignored. Thankfully, MiniArt