Heuschrecke 10 Waffentraeger (Weapon Carrier)


10.5cm leFH 18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager GW IVb
Heuschrecke 10
Heuschrecke 10

Heuschrecke 10 at Aberdeen, USA.

Picture provided by Jon Cuneo, New Hampshire.

In 1942, Krupp-Gruson began design work on very interesting self-propelled gun (Waffentrager – weapon carrier) based on Geschutzwagen IV chassis (as used by Hummel). It had fully rotating turret that could be removed.  Removal would be done by the use of the crane mounted in the back of the vehicle (by hydraulic mechanism or by hand). Turret could be removed and mounted on the wheeled cart/carriage (carried on the vehicle) and moved to a designated position by either prime mover or even horses. It could also be removed and placed next to the vehicle on a prepared concrete base as an armored pillbox. At the same time, the turretless vehicle could be used as ammunition carrier or recovery vehicle. The vehicle was seen as a planned replacement for Wespe starting from May of 1944.   The concept was very interesting as the vehicle would be both a mobile artillery unit as well as a recovery and/or ammunition carrier.  Its main drawback was the complexity of the vehicle along with additional equipment required for the removal of the turret.  As the war progressed and situation on all fronts worsened, entire concept was no longer viable and priority was placed on mobile artillery units such as Hummel or 15cm Schweres Infanteriegeschuetz 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf H (Sd.Kfz.138/1) / Grille and 15cm Schweres Infanteriegeschuetz 33/1 auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf K/M Sd.Kfz.138/1 / Grille. 

Heuschrecke 10
Heuschrecke 10

Heuschrecke 10 with its turret being removed to be placed on the cart.

Prototype turret was armed with 105mm leFH 18/1 L/28 (light field howitzer), but for production models newer 105mm LeFH 43 L/28 (light field howitzer) was planned to be used. The armament was the same as in 10.5cm leFH 18/1(Sf) auf Geschuetzwagen IVb, but was mounted in fully traversible turret. Its 5 men crew (commander, 3 gunners and driver) was protected by armor that ranged from 10mm to 30mm thickness. Prototype was fitted with 12-cylinder Maybach HL90 engine producing 360 horsepower, but production models were to be powered by 12-cylinder Maybach HL100 engine. The vehicle was based on the Geschutzwagen IV chassis originally developed for Hummel. In 1943, Krupp produced only 3 prototypes (Serial Numbers 582501 – 582503) that were designated as Heuschrecke 10 or Heuschrecke IVb. This design never reached the production stage although the development lasted from May of 1943 to May of 1944, and was ready for production.  The war situation and the demand for panzers meant that there was no room for such vehicles in the German arsenal.

Similar design by Alkett/Rhinemetall-Borsig – 10.5cm leFH 18/40/2 auf Geschuetzwagen III/IV (Sf) was built in competition with Krupp’s Heuschrecke 10. It is overall performance was slightly better than that of Krupp’s vehicle and prototype was ready in March of 1944. It was decided to utilize Alkett’s design by placing it on Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis and production was to start in October of 1944. In December of 1944, it was then decided to produce vehicle based on Geschutzwagen IV chassis and production was to start in February of 1945, but none were produced.

There were also similar projects by Skoda based on their project of T-25 medium tank and on VK1602 Leopard. Finally, it was decided that Panther chassis will be used to create Heuschrecke 15, which was also never realized due war’s end.

In general, concept behind Heuschrecke 10 was to provide mobility for artillery pieces, while they could also perform the role of fixed artillery if required. Recently, the new German Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 based on Leopard 2 is a continuation of wartime designs such as Heuschrecke 10.

Alkett/Rhinemetall-Borsig
Alkett/Rhinemetall-Borsig

Alkett/Rhinemetall-Borsig’s design – 10.5cm leFH 18/40/2 auf Geschuetzwagen III/IV (Sf).
Picture provided by Marco Hoveling, Rotterdam, Holland.
Imperial War Musuem, Duxford, UK.

Specifications

Model: Krupp-Gruson Rheinmetall-Borsig
Weight: 23000kg 25000kg
Crew: 5 men 5 men
Engine: Maybach HL 90 / 12-cylinder / 360hp Maybach HL 90 / 12-cylinder / 360hp
Speed: 45km/h 45km/h
Range: Road: 300km Road: 300km
Lenght: 6.00m 6.80m
Width: 3.00m 3.00m
Height: 3.00m 2.90m
Armament: 105mm leFH 18/1 L/28 105mm leFH 18/40/2 L/28
Ammo: 105mm – 60 rounds 105mm – 80 rounds
Armor (mm/angle): Front Superstructure: 30/20
Front Hull: 30/20
Front Turret: 30/30
Gun Mantlet: 30/round
Side Superstructure: 16/0
Side Hull: 16/0
Side Turret: 16/20
Rear Superstructure: 16/20
Rear Hull: 16/20
Rear Turret: 16/25
Top Superstructure: 10/90
Top/Bottom Hull: 10/90
Top Turret: open
Front Superstructure: 30/20
Front Hull: 20/20
Front Turret: 10/25
Gun Shield: 10/0
Side Superstructure: 10/0
Side Hull: 20/0
Side Turret: 10/25
Rear Superstructure: 10/10
Rear Hull: 20/10
Rear Turret: 10/12
Top Superstructure: 10/90
Top/Bottom Hull: 10/90
Top Turret: open

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