Marder (Marten) Series


Marder (Marten) Series
(1942-44)

Germany’s Waffenamt started development of the Marder series of self-propelled anti-tank guns in late 1941 to increase the mobility of Pak (anti-tank) weapons by mounting them on a variety of available chassis. The Germans saw a need for this vehicle type in the summer of 1941 with the appearance of new Soviet armored fighting vehicles, especially the T-34/76 series of medium tanks and the heavy KV series tanks. It was another "interim solution" implemented to fill the gaps until more effective and perfected designs could be developed. Vehicles of the Marder series were based on proven chassis of obsolete tanks, as well as on those of captured French tanks. They were armed with either German-made Rheinmetall-Borsig 75mm PaK 40 series anti-tank guns, or Soviet 76.2mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field guns, which were captured in large numbers in the summer of 1941. The German 75mm gun was able to penetrate 116mm of armor at 0 degrees with armor-piercing ammunition at the distance of 1,000 meters. Captured Soviet guns were modified by Rheinmetall-Borsig and re-chambered to accept the German 75mm PaK 40 ammunition. They could penetrate 108mm of armor at 0 degrees at a range of 1,000 meters using armor-piercing ammunition. In all cases, the main armament had a limited traverse, forcing the vehicle to change its position to face the enemy and aim the gun. In all vehicles, the main armament was fitted with a ZF3x8 telescopic sight.

All of these designs were based on the idea of using and modifying existing components. A high production output was reached, with 2,812 vehicles manufactured from April 1942 to May 1944. Vehicles of the Marder series were not introduced in order as their designations would imply and Marder II Sd.Kfz.132 was the first of the series. The entire Marder series suffered from a rather high profile, making them vulnerable, and their crews were not effectively protected against anything heavier than small-arms fire. All vehicles were open at the top and carried canvas covers for protection from weather during rest and transport. Despite their disadvantages, they successfully provided Panzer, Panzergrenadier and Infantry Divisions (issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen) with mobile and powerful anti-tank weapons (eg, as of 1943, in theory each Panzerjäger Abteilung was equipped with 51 Marder II Sd.Kfz.131/132). The first Waffen SS divisions to receive the Marder II and III were 1st Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 2nd Das Reich, 3rd Totenkopf and 5th Wiking. As a class, the Marders were eventually replaced by more powerful purpose-designed panzerjägers, but many Marders remained in service until the end of the war.

 


Marder I / Sd.Kfz.135

Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Tracteur Blinde 37L's chassis
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Tracteur Blinde 37L's chassis
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Tracteur Blinde 37L's chassis #2
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Tracteur Blinde 37L's chassis #2

In May 1942, the Germans decided to convert a number of captured French Tracteur Blinde 37L (Lorraine) personnel carriers/artillery tractors to self-propelled anti-tank guns. They had captured some 315 new and used vehicles after the fall of France. The new vehicle was armed with the 75mm PaK 40/1 L/46 anti-tank gun. This new panzerjäger was designated 7.5cm PaK40/1 auf Geschutzwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f), SdKfz.135. It was also known as the Marder I. The conversion replaced the original transport crew compartment with a new superstructure with a large gun shield to protect the gun. The lightly-armored superstructure offered little protection for the five-man crew. The main armament could be traversed 32 degrees to the left and right. In addition to the main armament, a 7.92mm MG 34 was carried inside the fighting compartment. Forty rounds of ammunition were carried for the main gun. Armor protection ranged from 5mm to 12mm.

One hundred seventy 37Ls were converted by Captain Alfred Becker’s Baukommando in Paris, and at Krefeld (in cooperation with Alkett in Berlin) in July and August 1942. The 7.5cm PaK40/1 auf Geschutzwagen Lorraine Schlepper(f) was first issued to Panzerjäger units of Infantry Divisions on the Eastern Front, but they eventually returned to serve in France with the occupation forces. In 1943, 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend", then forming in France, received some three Marder I tank destroyers for training purposes. Also, 21st Panzer Division’s Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 200, commanded by now Major Alfred Becker, fielded some 24 Marder Is in the Normandy battles. They proved very effective, and Allied troops often reported them as self-propelled 88mm anti-tank guns. In spring 1944, 17th SS Panzer-Grenadier Division "Götz von Berlichingen" received a company of 12 Marder Is. These were all lost during the fighting in Normandy. In early 1944, there were still some 131 in service, and six were still in use in mid-March 1945.

Similar vehicles mounting howitzers were also used. Both the 10.5cm leFH 18(Sf) auf Gw Lorraine Schlepper(f) and the 15cm sFH 13/1(Sf) auf Gw Lorraine Schlepper(f) Sd.Kfz.135/1 were produced in limited numbers.

 

Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Hotchkiss H 39's chassis
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135) Built on Hotchkiss H 39's chassis

The Germans captured some 600 Hotchkiss light tanks after the fall of France. In 1942, 24 (some sources state 60) captured French Hotchkiss H-39 (including at least one H-35) light tanks were converted to self-propelled anti-tank guns. The new vehicle was armed with the 75mm PaK 40 L/46 anti-tank gun. The new panzerjäger was designated 7.5cm PaK40(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen 39H(f). This vehicle, too, was known as the Marder I. In this conversion, the armament was mounted in an open-topped fighting compartment. A four-man crew operated the vehicle. The main armament could be traversed 30 degrees to the left and right. In addition to the main armament, a 7.92mm MG 34 was carried inside the fighting compartment. Armor protection ranged from 10 to 34mm.

Conversions were done by Captain Alfred Becker’s Baukommando in Paris and at Krefeld (in cooperation with Alkett in Berlin) as well. New vehicles served with units stationed in France, including the 8th Panzerartillerie Abteilung and Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 200, commanded by Major Alfred Becker.

Turrets of vehicles converted to weapon carriers were used in fortifications along with some tanks dug in as fixed bunkers. Similar vehicles carried a 105mm howitzer in place of the PaK 40, and were known as 10.5cm leFH 18(Sf) auf Gw 39H(f).

 

Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135). Built on FCM36's chassis
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135). Built on FCM36's chassis
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135). Built on FCM36's chassis #2
Marder I (Sd.Kfz.135). Built on FCM36's chassis #2

The Germans captured some 50 FCM36 medium tanks after the fall of France. In 1943, ten captured French FCM36 tanks were converted to self-propelled anti-tank guns armed with 75mm PaK 40 L/46 anti-tank guns. The new vehicles were designated 7.5cm PaK40(Sf) auf Geschutzwagen FCM(f) and were also known as Marder I. It had a layout similar to the other Marder I variants – the main armament was mounted in an open-topped fighting compartment. A four-man crew operated the vehicle. Armor protection ranged from 10 to 40mm.

Captain Alfred Becker’s Baukommando in Paris and at Krefeld (in cooperation with Alkett in Berlin) did conversions as in the case of the other two Marder I variants. They served in France as part of "Schnelle Brigade West", which was incorporated into the 21st Panzer Division in 1943. It then served with 21st Panzer Division’s Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 200, commanded by Major Alfred Becker.

Similar self-propelled howitzer was also used. 10.5cm leFH 16/18(Sf) auf Gw FCM(f) was also produced in limited numbers.

 

Specifications for Marder I on Tracteur Blinde 37L’s chassis

Weight: 8200kg
Crew: 4-5 men
Engine: DelaHaye 103TT / 6-cylinder / 70hp
Speed: 34-38km/h
Range: Road: 135-150km
Cross-Country: 90km
Fuel Capacity: 111 liters
Length: 5.38m
Width: 1.88m
Height: 2.00m
Armament: 75mm Pak 40/1 L/46
1 x 7.92mm MG34
Ammo: 75mm – 40 rounds
7.92mm – 600 rounds
Armor: 5-12mm

 

 


Marder II / Sd.Kfz.131

7.5cm PaK40/2 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II (Sf)

Marder II (Sd.Kfz.131)
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.131)
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.131) #2
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.131) #2

The Marder II was a self-propelled anti-tank gun based on the obsolete Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf A/B/C and F light tank. It was armed with the 75mm PaK 40/2 L/46 anti-tank gun. It was designated 7.5cm PaK40/2 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II (Sf). This conversion used both new and used chassis and components of the Panzerkampfwagen II light tank, which at the time, was taken out of active service as being inadequate in a combat role. The vehicle used the standard Ausf F hull and superstructure, on which a new fighting compartment was mounted. A three-man crew operated Marder II. The vehicle carried 37 rounds of ammunition. As with other Marders, it offered minimal crew protection, as its fighting compartment was open at the top and rear. The main armament could be traversed 32 degrees to the left and 25 degrees to the right. In addition to the main armament, a 7.92mm MG 34 was carried inside the fighting compartment. Armor protection ranged from 5 to 30mm.

From June 1942 to June 1943, FAMO, MAN and Daimler-Benz produced 576 Marder II vehicles. In addition, 75 were converted from July 1943 to March 1944. All Marder IIs were issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen and served on all fronts from July 1942 to the end of the war.

There was also an experimental self-propelled anti-tank gun based on the Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf A/B/C light tank. It had a superstructure similar to that of the Marder II and was armed with a 50mm PaK 38 L/60 anti-tank gun (due to a shortage of 75mm PaK 40 guns). It was designated 5cm PaK38 L/60 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf) and very few were made.

 

Specifications

Weight: 10800kg
Crew: 3 men
Engine: Maybach HL 62 TRM / 6-cylinder / 140hp
Speed: 40km/h
Range: Road: 190km
Fuel Capacity: 200 litres
Length: 6.36m
Width: 2.28m
Height: 2.20m
Armament: 75mm Pak 40/2 L/46
1 x 7.92mm MG34
Ammo: 75mm – 37 rounds
7.92mm – 600 rounds
Armor: 5-30mm

 

 


Marder II / Sd.Kfz.132

Panzer Selbstfahrlafette 1 für 7.62cm PaK36(r) auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II Ausf D1 und D2

Marder II (Sd.Kfz.132)
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.132)
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.132) #2
Marder II (Sd.Kfz.132) #2

This self-propelled anti-tank gun was based on the Panzerkampfwagen II light tank, but on the Ausf D/E and Flammpanzer II variants. It received a designation of Panzer Selbstfahrlafette 1 für 7.62cm PaK36(r) auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II, Ausf D1 und D2, but was also known as LaS 762. The Ausf D1 designation was reserved for vehicles based on the Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D/E, while the Ausf D2 model was based on the Flammpanzer II. This Marder II was armed with a captured Soviet 76.2mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field gun, designated as 76.2mm PaK 36(r) L/51 anti-tank gun, and rechambered to accept German 75mm Pak 40 ammunition. Some guns were not fitted with a muzzle brake. The fighting compartment was created by extending the height of the front and sides of the superstructure, which resulted in a high silhouette. The main protection for the four-man crew was provided by an extended gun shield. Thirty rounds of ammunition were carried. The main armament could be traversed 50 degrees to the left and right. In addition to the main gun, a 7.92mm MG 34 was carried inside the fighting compartment. Armor protection ranged from 5 to 30mm. Three redesigned versions were produced, depending on the chassis used and the modifications introduced during production. All varied in gun shield and superstructure design.

Development of Marder II started in December of 1941. Alkett and Wegmann converted 201 vehicles from April 1942 to June 1943. Marder IIs were issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen and served mainly on the Eastern Front from April 1942 to early 1944, when they were taken out of service.

 

Specifications

Weight: 11500kg
Crew: 4 men
Engine: Maybach HL 62 TRM / 6-cylinder / 140hp
Speed: 55km/h
Range: Road: 220km / Cross-Country: 140km
Fuel Capacity: 200 litres
Lenght: 5.65m
Width: 2.30m
Height: 2.60m
Armament: 76.2mm Pak 36(r) L/51
1 x 7.92mm MG34
Ammo: 7.62mm – 30 rounds
7.92mm – 900 rounds
Armor: 5-30mm

 

 


Marder III / Sd.Kfz.138

7.5cm PaK40/3 auf PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf H / Panzerjäger 38(t) mit 7.5cm PaK40/3 Ausf M

Marder III Ausf H (Sd.Kfz. 138)
Marder III Ausf H (Sd.Kfz. 138)

 

 

Marder III Ausf M (Sd.Kfz. 138)
Marder III Ausf M (Sd.Kfz. 138)

The Marder III was produced in two variants – Ausf H and Ausf M. They were based on the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf H and Ausf M light tank chassis, respectively. They were designated as 7.5cm PaK40/3 auf PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf H, and Panzerjäger 38(t) mit 7.5cm PaK40/3 Ausf M. Both were armed with the 75mm PaK 40/3 L/46 anti-tank gun and operated by four-man crews. The Ausf H (Heckmotor-rear engine) had the fighting compartment in a central forward location, while the fighting compartment of the Ausf M (Mitte-mid engine) was at the rear. The fighting compartment of the Ausf H was open at the top and rear, while that of Ausf M was open only at the top. The Ausf H carried 38 rounds of ammunition, while Ausf M had only 27 rounds. The main armament could be traversed 30 degrees to the left and right in the Ausf H and 21 degrees to the left and right in the Ausf M. Both vehicles also had additional armament – the Ausf H had a 7.92mm MG 37(t) mounted in the front hull, and the Ausf M carried a 7.92mm MG 34 or MG 42 inside the fighting compartment. Armor protection for the Ausf H ranged from 8 to 50mm, while armor for the Ausf M ranged from 8 to 20mm. Ausf M was the final variant of the Marder series and was a significant improvement over previous models, with its lower silhouette, sloped armour and much more functional fighting compartment.

From November 1942 to April 1943, BMM made 243 Ausf H models, and an additional 175 vehicles were converted in 1943. From April 1943 to May 1944, BMM produced 975 Ausf M models. Ausf M was modified during production, and early and late models can be identified by their unique features. The Ausf H was first issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen in late 1942. They also served with Waffen SS (e.g. Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in Russia, 1942) and Luftwaffe (e.g. Herman Göring Division in Tunisia and Italy, 1943) units. In April 1944, 18 Ausf H were also exported to Slovakia. Ausf M was first issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen in May 1943. It fought on all fronts, and there were still 350 in service as of February 1st 1945.

The Marder III Ausf H and Ausf M were also used to produce self-propelled guns armed with 150mm sIG heavy infantry guns and designated as Grille/Bison Ausf H and Ausf M. There was also a proposed project to mount a Panzerjäger 38(t) Ausf M with a 75mm PaK L/60 anti-tank gun, but it was never produced.

In 1945, a number of Marder III Ausf H and Ausf M models ended up in use by the Czechoslovak Army as ST-II (Stihac Tanku II).

 

Specifications

Model: Ausf H Ausf M
Weight: 10800kg 10500kg
Crew: 4 men 4 men
Engine: Praga EPA/2 / 6-cylinder / 140hp Praga AC / 6-cylinder / 140hp
Speed: Road: 35km/h Road: 42km/h
Cross-Country: 24km/h
Range: Road: 240km Road: 185km
Cross-Country: 140km
Fuel Capacity: 218 litres 218 litres
Lenght: 5.77m 4.95m
Width: 2.16m 2.15m
Height: 2.51m 2.48m
Armament: 75mm Pak 40/3 L/46
1 x 7.92mm MG37(t)
75mm Pak 40/3 L/46
1 x 7.92mm MG34
Ammo: 75mm – 38 rounds
7.92mm – 1200 rounds
75mm – 27 rounds
7.92mm – 1200 rounds
Armor: 8-50mm 8-20mm

 

 


Marder III / Panzerjager 38(t) / Sd.Kfz.139

Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r)

Marder III (Sd.Kfz. 139)
Marder III (Sd.Kfz. 139)
Marder III (Sd.Kfz. 139) #2
Marder III (Sd.Kfz. 139) #2

This Marder III was also based on Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) light tank. It was designated Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62cm PaK36(r), and was armed with a captured Soviet 76.2mm PaK 36(r) L/51 anti-tank gun rechambered to accept German 75mm PaK 40 ammunition. Some guns were not fitted with a muzzle brake. The standard Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) light tank, with its turret and top superstructure removed, was fitted with a superstructure to form the fighting compartment for a four-man crew. The fighting compartment was open at the top and rear, and the slightly extended gun shield offered the only protection for the crew. The vehicle carried 30 rounds of ammunition. The main armament could be traversed 21 degrees to the left and right. In addition to the main gun, a 7.92mm MG 37(t) was mounted in the front hull. Armor protection ranged from 10 to 50mm.

From April to November 1942, BMM produced 344 units (177 based on Ausf G and 167 on Ausf H), and an additional 19 were converted in 1943. Marder IIIs were issued to Panzerjäger Abteilungen and served mainly on the Eastern Front, but 66 were also delivered to North Africa from July to November 1942. In North Africa, the Marder III served with the 15th Panzer Division (33rd Panzerjäger Abteilung) and 39th Panzerjäger Abteilung. It proved to be very effective against British Matilda II tanks, and was often thought to be a mobile version of the 88mm gun.

In 1945, a number of Marder III vehicles ended up in use by the Czechoslovak Army as ST-II (Stihac Tanku).

 

Specifications

Weight: 10670kg
Crew: 4 men
Engine: Praga EPA / 6-cylinder / 125hp
Praga EPA/2 / 6-cylinder / 140hp
Speed: 42km/h
Range: Road: 185km / Cross-Country: 140km
Fuel Capacity: 218 litres
Length: 5.85m
Width: 2.16m
Height: 2.50m
Armament: 76.2mm Pak 36(r) L/51
7.92mm MG37(t)
Ammo: 7.62mm – 30 rounds
7.92mm – 1200 rounds
Armor: 10-50mm


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