Sturmpanzer II Bison
15cm sIG33 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw II (Sf)
Two types with different gun shield were produced.
On February 18th of 1941, it was decided to built Sturmpanzer II on modified and turretless chassis/hull of Panzerkampfwagen II. In July/August of 1941, first Sturmpanzer II Bison (lenghtened version) was produced. By January of 1942, total of twelve (versuchserie - trial series) was produced by Alkett - 7 were produced in 1941 and 5 in 1942.
Chassis was slightly widened (by 32cm) and lenghtened (by 60cm) in order to make room for the gun and additional sixth roadwheel was added. For vehicle being based on Panzerkampfwagen II , it had only few components in common with the base tank variant. It was powered by Bussing-NAG engine instead of regular Maybach. Unlike the Wespe, there were no protecting sides along the entire length of the superstructure. 150mm sIG 33 L/11.4 heavy infantry gun was mounted in the shield that extended straight across the full width of the superstructure. The gun had a range of 4700 meters and could be elevated vertically by 75 degress. The main armament could be used as a heavy infantry gun or as a heavy mortar, depending on the elevation and initial speed of the projectile. Sturmpanzer II was operated by the crew of 4 (commander, two gunners and driver) and it weighted approximately 16 tons. Its performance was poor as its weak engine overheated and vehicle had poor maneuverability.
All vehicles were grouped into 707th and 708th sIG Kp (Sfl.) - heavy infantry gun companies and were shipped to Libya, North Africa from February to April of 1942. They proved to be prone to constant mechanical breakdowns and only few were operational by using other ones as sources for spare parts. Eight were lost by December 2nd of 1942, while other six served with DAK - Deutsches Afrika Korps until spring of 1943 when last of them was eliminated (abandoned).
It is reported that British captured six abandoned and dismantled Sturmpanzer IIs in one of German workshops. It is also reported that single Sturmpanzer II was pressed in service by Egyptian Army and saw combat once again in the war with Israel in 1948. Based on experiences with Sturmpanzer II, more practical and successful Wespe was developed and produced.
Specifications for Sturmpanzer II Bison