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Brummbär Sturmpanzer IV "Brummbär" - Part Two

By Wolf Höpper

Deployment history
On 19th April 1943 it was ordered that a Sturmpanzer Abteilung had to be established by May 20th 1943. The initial Kriegsstärkenachweis (K.St.N., war strength report) No. 1150 called for a staff company of two command tanks.

Read about the development of the Brummbär here (in Part One)...

Each of the three combat companies was to deploy 13 Sturmpanzer IV, according to K.St.N 1175, dated November 1st 1941.1 But after their special status was recognized by Hitler, new K.St.N were issued, No. 1156, 1160 and 1164.

Initially the staff company was intended to field 3 Panzer III command tanks, but this was later changed to 3 Brummbär. Each company would consist of 3 platoons (each 4 Brummbär strong) plus 2 for the company commander and his second in charge.

Although the K.St.N. called for Panzer III command vehicles, even later in the war, they were never issued to any of the established formations. Therefore the planned strength of a Brummbär Abteilung amounted to 45 Sturmpanzer IV.2
Brummbär StuPz Abt 216
(Assault Tank Batallion 216)

On 19th April 1943 the Panzer-Ausbildungs- und Ersatzabteilung 5 (tank training and replacement battalion) in Neuruppin received the order to raise an assault tank battalion. Knights Cross holder Major Bruno Kahl was given command of the new unit.

At the beginning of May 1943 the whole unit was moved to Amiens, France. Here they received their 45 Brummbär and started to exercise, train and familiarize themselves with their new equipment.
The unit employed a very different numbering system, in which the battalions staff vehicles were numbered I, II and III, the companies vehicles were consecutively numbered from 1 to 14 (1st company), 15 to 28 (2nd) and 29 to 42 (3rd). They also received 6 Panzer IV ammunition carriers.

On June 8th 1943 they were integrated as the III. Abteilung of the just established s.Pz.Jg Rgt 656 under Oberstleutnant Dr. Ernst von Jungenfeldt. The staff of this regiment was drawn from Panzer-Regiment 35. Besides the Brummbars were two wireless controlled panzer companies (Funklenkpanzer Kompanie) 312 and 313 of Funklenk-Abt. 301 integrated into the regiment. They had 72 Borgward BIV demolition charge carriers available.
After the plans for Operation “Zitadelle” were finalised, the battalion was moved between June 11th and 17th from Amiens through Chalons-sur-Marne, Epernay, Bad Kreuznach, Frankfurt/Main, Cottbus, Warsaw, Brest-Litowsk, Minsk, Brjansk, Karatschew to Orel. The final destination point was the train station Smijewska, 35 km south of Orel.

The whole s.Pz.Jgd regiment was assigned to XVI. Panzer Corps under General Harpe. Starting July 1st they moved towards their jump-off areas. On July 3rd they were stationed near the Orel-Kursk railway.3
Ferdinand of s.Pz.Jg Rgt 656
Operation "Zitadelle"

In July 1943 the battalion received 10 replacement vehicles, which were numbered 46 to 55, which were also not using the 3-digit standard used by other armoured formations.4

For July 4th the s.Pz.Jd.Reg 656 had the following vehicles available:

Type Available Operational Repair
SdKfz 250/5 5 5  
SdKfz 251/8 3 3
SdKfz 301 (assigned to 3rd company/sPzjgd Abt 653) 72 72
StuG III 10 10
Command Pz III L/42 5 5
Command Sturmpanzer IV 3 3
Sturmpanzer IV 42 39
Ferdinand 89 83
Pz III L/42 12 10
Pz III L/60 7 7
Pz III 7.5 cm 3 3
Pz II 3 35
A Sturmpanzer IV from the 3rd Company The initial assembly area of StuPzAbt 216 was as the second echelon behind the 292nd and 86th Infantry Division. The attack was aimed against height 257.7, nicknamed “Panzerhöhe” (tank height). This point marked the corner stone of the Soviet defensive system around Malo-Archangelsk and Olchowatka. This area was defended by the Soviet 29th Rifle Corps with 15th and 81st Rifle Division as the first line of defence. The corps 307th Rifle Division was positioned as a reserve right behind the other two divisions.6
Parts of  StuPzAbt 216 were assigned to assist sPzJgdAbt. 653. For the attack on Ponyiri on July 5th, the dispersed companies are reunited and attack in conjunction with 292nd Infantry Division. They take Perwoje Ponyiri and advance towards the small city itself. Although the enemy resistance starts to weaken, Major Kahl reorganizes his forces. In the morning some of the Sturmpanzers intend to attack in concert with their own infantry and Ferdinands of the sPzJgdAbt 654 (6 vehicles from 2nd company). But the attack is postponed to the next day. On 9th July, 0600 hours, the battlegroup attacks under command of Major Kahl.    
Although the infantry and panzers attack constantly, the battle is ultimately a failure. During the ensuing defence against the Russian counteroffensive at the Orel area, parts of StuPzAbt 216 are surrounded at Wassiljewka, but are relieved by the Ferdinands of sPzJgd Abt. 654. Although the combination Ferdinand/Brummbär during combat situations proved to be a great success, many commanders were not satisfied with the obvious supply problems.7

The area was heavily mined and the Borgwards, intended as mine sweepers, proved a failure. Another factor for this failure was the constant strong Soviet artillery bombardment.
12 BIV were lost due to Soviet artillery. Also the intended marking of the cleared mine areas by pioneers was not accomplished. Therefore many Ferdinands and Sturmpanzers were damaged because they simply drove into un-cleared areas. The main reason was that the relatively light BIV didn’t leave clear track signs on the dry and sun-baked ground. On July 5th 28 BIV were lost in the area of  I/sPzJgd.Reg 656 and another 11 with II/sPzJgdReg 656.8
On July 24th the regiment had the following vehicles at their disposal:

Type Available Operational
Ferdinand 54 25, 4 of that only partially
Sturmpanzer IV
41 189
Mid Production Sturmpanzer IV “Brummbär”

During the operation and the following defensive fighting at the Orel area, the Ferdinands and Sturmpanzers were divided and mixed into small panzer battle groups.10

Constant Defence

At the beginning of August 1943 the unit, still designated III/s.PzJgd.Reg 656, was transferred with the rest of the regiment to Brjiansk and on August 25th, after a Führer order, to Dnjepropetrovsk. Here some long due maintenance and repair works were undertaken at the nearby tank plant at Tritosnaja.

This break didn’t last too long. The repair facilities were moved to Nikopol. The fighting parts of the unit were transferred to the bridgehead of Saporoshje. On September 10th the regiment was ordered to attack the Soviets at that point with all available forces. For that purpose two battlegroups were established, group North under Major Baumunk with the s.PzJgd Abt. 653 and Group South under Major Kahl with the Sturmmpanzers. During that time, Kahl’s 2iC became Major Horstmann, who resumed command during September. At beginning of September the regiment still had 50 Ferdinands available.11
After s.PzJgdAbt. 654 had suffered great vehicle losses during “Zitadelle“, their remaining 19 Ferdinands were transferred on 25th August 1943 to s.Pz.Jgd.Abt. 653. The personal is moved to Orleans for refit/retraining. Later here they received their Jagdpanthers. So after that the regiment only had two battalions available for the upcoming combat actions. A transfer of the remaining regimental units is proposed by Hitler, but the idea later aborted, since the situation at the Eastern Front was worsening.12 Although the regiment was transferred to Brjiansk, the repair companies detected several severe problems that complicated their maintenance ability. Brummbär
Nonetheless, 10 vehicles were repaired at Brjiansk before the transfer to Dnjepropetrovsk.13 Additionally StuPzAbt. 216 received two independent repair companies (No. 545 and 552).14 They prove very helpful in the coming months. By September 2nd 15 Ferdinands and 25 StuPz had been repaired.15

The regiment was assigned directly to the XXXX Panzer corps under General Henrici as a mobile reserve. He had 6 divisions at his disposal: 123rd, 125th, 294th, 333rd and 335th Infantry Division, 16th Panzergrenadier Division.

The following list gives the regimental distribution/actions amongst the employed divisions:

Number and Assigned Unit
Oct. 1st 8 at disposal of XXXX Panzer Corps; 6 to 16th PGD
Oct. 2nd 3 vehicles to each 333rd and 123rd ID
Oct. 5th Combat action around Wassiljewski
Oct. 7th Combat action at 16th PGD with 20 vehicles
Oct. 9th 6 Ferdinands defending against enemy penetration near Saporoshje-Krugilik, 19 vehicles available
Oct.10th 9 Ferdinands fighting at Krinitschnyj; A group of Ferdinands was dispatched to 125th ID
Oct.11th 14 vehicles operational, 4 in short term, 30 in long term repair condition
Oct.15th Assigned to s.PzAbt. 506, establishment of combat group North at Marjewka and South at Shirokoje with 16th PGD
Oct.16th 15 operational, 5 in short term and 28 in long term repair16

On the other side, the 3rd Guards, 8th Guards and 12th Army along with two tank corps and one complete air army under General Malinowskis 3rd Ukrainian Front stood ready to liberate Saporoshje and gain control of the dam. For the first time the Soviets employed complete artillery divisions to maximize their artillery preparation on the intended breakthrough areas.

On the morning of October 10th, 0400 hours, the Soviets attack. Following a gigantic bombardment the infantry, supported by tanks, attack. They are repulsed.

Even on the second and third day of the fighting, the Germans only loose minimal ground, but maintain their overall cohesiveness. The old fashioned Stukas provide great support for repelling the Soviet attacks on October 11th.

The front situation deteriorated and of the 40 available Ferdinands nearly all and two thirds of the Sturmpanzers were under repair. But nonetheless they continued their defensive actions and managed to repulse the Soviet attacks. For example on October 10th near Nowo Alexandrowna the battlegroups were able to destroy 48 Russian tanks.

On October 13th a breakthrough is finally achieved by the Soviets. The German front is in great danger of collapse. Eight T-34 and two rifle regiments are already 5 kilometres behind the main front line, when Brummbär of StuPzAbt 216 arrive and knock out 3 of the enemy tanks. After the infantry is shelled by the 15cm guns, they start to retreat.

Brummbär The situation worsens. The Soviets attack constantly with their superior numbers and the German losses are felt daily. General Henrici therefore demands in a phone call with the commander of 1st Panzer Army, Generaloberst von Mackensen, the blasting of the dam, but this demand is denied, however he prepares it for destruction.

October 14th the Soviets achieve another deep penetration towards the dam. This time combat groups of 16th PGD and Grenadier Regiment 421 (125th ID) are able to seal off the attack.
The bridge and dam are finally blown up, after the German units retreat, during the night of October 14th/15th.18
The regiment was withdrawn before that, on October 13th, crossing over the Dnepr.19

The whole Panzerjäger Regiment destroyed the following enemy equipment from July 5th to November 5th

582 tanks
344 anti-tank guns
133 artillery pieces
103 anti-tank rifles
3 aircraft
3 armoured cars
3 assault guns20

Their next combat mission saw the StuPzAbt 216 in the Nikopol area. The Abteilung, along with the regiment, arrived there on November 13th. The fighting lasted from November 20th to 27th. The villages Marjewka (20th Nov) and Katerinowka (23rd Nov) were culminating points in these battles. During the tank battle of Koschasowka/Miropol (26th/27th Nov), the regiment (3 Ferdinands!) destroyed 54 Russian tanks and 10 anti-tank guns within a few hours. Leutnant Franz Kretschmer in his Ferdinand attributed to 21 of them. Altogether the Soviets lost 112 tanks during that battle.21
On November 22nd the first battalion (Ferdinands) attack towards Scheftschenko and destroyed 9 Soviet tanks. The third (StuPzIV) also destroyed 5 tanks within two days.

This success has to be estimated even higher, when the dispersion of the regiment is examined closely. The regiment was divided amongst three different Corps:

- 14 with LVIIth Army Corps near Kriwoj Rog, of that 6 Ferdinands were assigned to 11th PD. They successfully hinder the Soviets from capturing that economically vital city.
- 4 vehicles are detached to XXXth Army Corps
- 3 vehicles are assigned to XVIIth Army Corps.22

As several veterans accounts, combat reports, etc. indicate, the regimental vehicles, Ferdinands and StuPz IV, were often intermixed, and the tasks accordingly divided: The Ferdinands engaged the tanks and the Brummbär shelled the accompanying infantry. 

The balance for November 29th although gives the following strength:

I/656: 4 Ferdinands fully operational, 8 on short term repair, 30 long-term repair, and 4 total losses.
III/656: 2 StuPzIV’s fully operational, 43 long term repair.

Thereafter the StuPzAbt 216 was split from the regiment and transferred back to St. Valentin, near Vienna, Austria. The Ferdinands were withdrawn December 10th to St. Pölten, Austria.

Between December 1943 and February 1944 the St. Nibelungen panzer plant was able to repair all of the Brummbär. From that point, the StuPzAbt 216 was finally a fully independent unit.23

New Fronts - Italy 1944

During spring 1944 the StuPzAbt 216 raised a 4th company and received 5 Panzer II for reconnaissance purposes. During February the battalion had a strength of 57 StuPz IV and 5 Pz II. But this 4th company was deleted in September the same year and transferred to Döllersheim, Germany to provide the core of the newly established StuPzAbt 219.24
In the morning of 22nd January 1944 the American VI Corps landed at Anzio and Nettuno (Operation “Shingle“).
The Flak platoon of the staff company s.PzJg Abt 653 was transfered to StuPzAbt 216 on February 6th and remained with that unit the end of the war.

To repel the invasion a panzer combat group under Panzer Stab 69 (regimental staff from panzer regiment 69, Oberst Schmidt), LXXVI Panzer Corps, was set-up

Besides the StuPz Abt 216, the following units were collected:

Ist/PzReg 4 (ca. 76 Panthers, detached from 13th PD being reequipped in France)
sPzAbt 508 (Tiger Ie under Major Hudel)
1st/sPzJgd Abt 653 (11 Ferdinands)
IInd/PzReg 26 (Pz IV and Pz V)
Fernlenk Pz Abt 301 (Borgward IV C and 30 StuG III)25

In Italy they were first assigned to 14th Army, Army Group C.26

The second German attack started on 28th February 1944 at 0400 hours against the American bridgehead after the first attack, lasting from 16th to 18th February, was repulsed by the American troops.27

During the fighting at Anzio, the StuPzAbt 216 was employed near Aprilia, height 92 at Cisterna and in the woods surrounding the beach head They often worked in conjunction with the other tank formations, especially the Tigers of s.PzAbt 508, and provided strong anti-infantry support.28

Brummbär in Italy
April 7th 1944 the battalion was transferred to the Pisa area, where they received new Sturmpanzers and personal. They also participated in the defence of that area.

At the end of May the unit was fighting around the Rome area at the Via Aurelia and Via Cassia as support for II/Fallschirm Regiment.11   

After this hard fight, they were forced to retreat with the rest of the German forces. The path followed the line Civita Castellana, Nepi, Orbetello, Rocecastarada and the Bolsena Lake to Sienna. The remaining StuPz IVs fought south of the Arno riverbank.29

Late Production Sturmpanzer IV The End

After the long retreat, the Abteilung was replenished completely at Reggio Emilia and Piacenza. From the end of July 1944 until New Years day 1945 the unit had to defend against partisan attacks.

In January 1945 the StuPzAbt 216 was taken over by Hauptmann Schewe as new commander.

January 1st 1945 the battalion had a strength of 43 StuPz, one Pz II, one 2cm quad AA gun, two 2cm single barrel AA guns and two Italian 2cm AA guns.30
StuPz Abt 217 (Assault Tank Battalion 217)

In April 1944 the establishment of StuPz.Abt 217 was ordered, and executed during May/June 1944  at the training ground Grafenwöhr, Germany.32

The following employment of the Abteilung during the Normandy fighting was written by Niklas Zetterling ("Normandy 1944, German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness". ISBN 0-921991-56-8), with publication permission granted by Mr. Zetterling to the author.

"At the end of June the unit was still located in Grafenwöhr, Germany.1 On 24 June it was intended to send the battalion to the Conde - Le Beny Bocage - Vire area in Normandy2, but on 18 July, the battalion had still not arrived3. The battalion seems never to have been employed in Normandy as a complete unit.

On 21 July one company (probably the 2nd) had arrived in 21. Pz.Div. area4. Two days later the 2nd company was subordinated to 21. Pz.Div.5 On 24 July, the company had 11 StuPz IV operational and 2 in short term repair6. Later, on 29 July, the company was subordinated to Leibstandarte (1. SS-Pz.Div.) and one day later its strength stood at 9 vehicles operational and 2 in short term repair7.

The first document found where the 3rd company is mentioned is dated 30 July. It is stated that the 3rd company is transferring from II. SS-Pz.Corps area to the 74th Corps.8 2nd company remained with 1. SS-Pz.Div. and had 10 StuPz IV operational 31 July9. That number was unchanged on 1 August10, but had risen to 12 on 3 August11, when the company still was subordinated to 1. SS-Pz.Div12. Both strength and location was unchanged on 4 August13.

On 6 August 2nd company was with II. SS-Pz.Corps and had 3 StuPz operational14. Simultaneously 13 runners were with 89. Inf.Div15.
Three days later ten were operational with 12 SS-Pz.Div. and just one with 89. Inf.Div.16 This shrunk to just 5 operational with 12. SS-Pz.Div. on 10 August17. On 11th it was unchanged18. This day it was also reported that the 1./Stu-Pz.Abt. 217 was subordinated to 271. Inf.Div.19

One report, dated 16 August among the files of the Inspector-General of Panzer Troops, reports the battalion had 17 operational StuPz IV and 14 in short term repair (within three weeks). The casualties 1 - 15 August amounted to 10 killed in action, 33 wounded and 12 missing. The authorized manpower strength was 772 men, but it was short of 69 men."21
Additional Information Provided by Richard Hedrick

The battalion was attached to 49 Grenadier Division from 20th – 25th September, with 183 Volkgrenadier Division from 3rd – 7th October and with 246 Volkgrenadier Division from October 13th – 16th 1944. During the second half of September 1944 they had about 10 Sturmpanzer available.
On 1 October, the battalion had a strength of 603 men, while casualties during September was 13 killed, 57 wounded and 53 missing.22 Only 11 men had arrived at the battalion as replacements and 36 men had left the battalion for other reasons than being casualties.23 This indicates that the battalion had over 700 men on 1 September, which means that it was far from destroyed.

Late Production Sturmpanzer IV
The deliveries of StuPz IV to the battalion were24:

24 May 19 StuPz IV
25 June 2 StuPz IV
10 July 7 StuPz IV
18 August 10 StuPz IV
16 September 10 StuPz IV
26 September 4 StuPz IV

On 1 October the battalion had 14 combat ready StuPz IV, while 5 were in short term repair. The number in long-term repair is not known.25

1.  Gen.Inp.d.Pz.Tr. Org.Abt. (III) Nr. 7557/44 geh 28.6, BA-MA RH 10/70.
2.  Ob.West Ia Nr. 4927/44 geh.Kdos. 24.6.44, T311, R25, F7029822.
3.  Gliederung Pz.Gr. West 18.7.44, BA-MA RH 21-5/50.
4.  Pz.Gruppe West Ia Nr. 517/44 g.Kdos. v. 21.7.44. , BA-MA RH 21-5/50.
5.  Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 557/44 geh. von 25.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 24.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50.
6.  ibid.

7.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 665/44 g.Kdos, 31.7.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 30.7, T313, R420, F8714049.
8.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 665/44 g.Kdos, 31.7.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 30.7, T313, R420, F8714049.
9.  Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 678/44 geh. von 1.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 31.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50.
10.  Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 704/44 geh. von 2.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 1.8., T313, R420, F8714069.
11.  Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 734/44 geh. von 4.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 3.8., BA-MA RH21-5/50.
12.  ibid.
13.  Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 758/44 geh. von 5.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 4.8., T313, R420, F8714096.
14.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 801/44 g.Kdos, 7.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 6.8, T313, R420, F8714118.
15.  ibid.
16.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 853/44 g.Kdos, 10.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 9.8, T313, R420, F87141177.
17.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 890/44 g.Kdos, 11.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 10.8, T313, R420, F87141181.
18.  Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 899/44 g.Kdos, 12.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 11.8, T313, R420, F87141187.
19.  PzAOK 5 Ia Nr 899/44 g.Kdos, 12.8.44, T313, R420, F871487.
21.  Report from 217. Stu.Pz.Abt. to the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppe 16.8.44, BA-MA RH 10/219.
22.  Gen.Kdo LXXXI. A.K., Zustandberichte T314, R1597, F000066.
23.  Ibid.
24.  Lieferungen der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, BA-MA RH 10/349.
25Gen.Kdo LXXXI. A.K., Zustandberichte T314, R1597, F000066.

In the middle of August, parts of the unit were trapped in the Falaise cauldron. Nonetheless, the main body escaped to the Netherlands, were they were gathered around the Venlo/Arnheim area. Later the battalion was moved to the Aachen area, where they participated in the defensive fighting there.33 There they were directly under command of LXXXI Army Corps. Although the unit’s number is not very precisely stated, the OOB lists twelve 150mm self-propelled armoured guns. So since the PzBrigade 108 had only 6 self-propelled 15 cm sIG  (Sfl kp. 2108) in their unit establishment,34 this might be the battalion. On the other side an assault gun battalion 217 with 9 mixed vehicles is mentioned.
So probably the 217th received some StuGs as replacement vehicles, since no assault gun battalion 217 existed. Therefore the actual combat strength cannot be verified.35

After a short regrouping break at Grevenbroich, Germany, the StuPz Abt 217 was transferred to the Hurtgenwald area, where they largely contributed to the German defensive efforts. During that time, the battalion was down to 22 Brummbär. Therefore the tank less 3rd company was sent back to the Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 18.36

During the Battle of the Bulge, StuPzAbt 217 were assigned to 6th Panzerarmee, where they were able to advance to St. Vith.37

The battalion started the operation with 31 StuPzIV and received until December 19th 14 further vehicles.38 Starting January 1945 StuPzAbt 217 was constantly on the retreat and only scarcely employed. Between Bonn and Remagen the unit crossed the Rhine.

After a short refitting in the Bergisch-Gladbach area, the Abteilung was finally committed in March 1945 against the advancing American troops in the Siegen area. The Abteilung surrendered to allied troops in the Ruhr pocket.39

StuPz Abt 218 (Assault Tank Batallion 218)

For a limited employment the Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 218 and Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 2/218 (z.b.V. = for special purposes) were initially formed in August 1944.40

Initially it was planned to form the unit from the survivors of assault gun brigade 914, but the plans were never executed.41 On August 8th 1944 Sturmpanzer-Kompani z.b.V. 218 was transferred with 10 StuPz IV to Army Group Centre, where they were employed in the down fighting of the Warsaw uprising. Here the company was assigned to Panzer-Abteilung (Fkl) 302, which used wireless controlled Borgward BIV C demolition charge carriers and StuG III. After that employment the company was intended to be withdrawn for the establishment of Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 218, but during the Soviet offensive in the middle of January the company was completely destroyed in action. The few survivors were integrated with other remnants from other small units into Panzer Corps “Grossdeutschland” and were later annihilated with them in East Prussia.42

Sturmpanzer-Kompanie z.b.V. 2/218 was established in 1944 and transferred with 10 StuPz IV to the Paris area under command of Army Group F. If the company was employed during the Normandy fighting it cannot be confirmed. The personal was transferred during December 1944/January 1945 to Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 18 at Kamenz.

Guderian finally ordered the Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 218 to be established on January 6th 1945. The usual equipment of staff company, 3 combat companies with 45 Brummbär was to be established, but never accomplished.
In February 1945 the order was issued, instead of StuPz IV, StuG III should equip the unit as a stopgap measure. On 18th March 1945 the Abteilung was combat ready with 43 StuG III at their disposal. They fought around the Berlin-Kladow area.43 At the end of that month and the start of March they were united with PanzerAbteilung 2108 (ex PzBrig. 108) and Panzerabteilung Potsdam into Panzer-Abteilung Krampnitz. The unit was re-designated as a Panzerjagdverband on 24th April. This ad-hoc unit was used in the middle of April to rebuilt 7th Panzer Division.44

With that panzer division, the survivors surrendered to US/British troops at Schleswig-Holstein.45

StuPz Abt 219 (Assault Tank Battalion 219)

The Abteilung was established in September 1944 from the remnants of assault gun brigade 237 and the 4th company StPz Abt. 216 at the training ground at Döllersheim, Germany. The unit was intended to be equipped like the other StuPz Abt, but initially received only 22 StuPz IV.

When the uprising plans in Hungary became known, the 1st company was transferred in October 1944 to Budapest.

The company didn’t see any action and was therefore redirected to St. Martin in Slovakia, where they reunited with the rest of the battalion. In the beginning of December 1944 the Abteilung was transferred to the Velence Lake area in Hungary.46 For December their strength was raised to 28 StuPz IV.47

Starting January StuPz Abt 219 was assigned to 23rd PD and participated with that unit under 6th SS Panzer Army in the failed relief attempt of Budapest.
Brummbär During March the battalion lost nearly all of its Sturmpanzers, and was transferred to Czechoslovakia. There it was intended to equip the unit with captured Russian tanks. On 6th April 1945 Army Group South reported, that the unit had 30 captured tanks available, mainly T-34’s. But combat deployment was rejected on April 10th, since the necessary ammunition was not at hand.

End of March 1945 the 2nd company received 10 StuPz IV and was again transferred to Hungary. There the company was assigned to schwere Panzer-Abteilung “Feldherrnhalle” (heavy tank battalion). On April 26th the 3rd company was also assigned to that regiment.
During the beginning of 1945 the Abteilung received stocks of malfunctioning ammunition, which resulted in the explosion of several vehicles.

In April the tank-less remnants of the Abteilung were transferred to Waidhofen, where they formed the core of Panzer-Jagd-Brigade 123 (tank hunter brigade). They surrendered at Zwettl.48

Evaluation and Conclusion

Although the Brummbär proved many times its combat value, certain points hindered their overall success:

Overweight: The Panzer IV chassis design certainly at its end pushing the upper end of its weight load. Many times vehicles broke down due to the great stress that was put on the road wheels. Even the later introduction of all steel wheels didn’t solve that problem satisfactory. Later designs based on this chassis, like the Panzerjäger IV faced similar problems.
Poor Self-Defence: The first two models were not equipped for self-defence, except for the pistol ports. This feature was definitely not sufficient and resulted in the installation of the ball-mounted front MG, after the deficiency became obvious. So for the early employment of the Sturmpanzers it was absolutely necessary that the actions were closely coordinated with supporting infantry. Another problem in close combat situations were the early versions poor visibility for the crew. For a vehicle intended for urban combat actions the basic design lacked this vital condition.
Brummbär Organization: Like with the Tigers and most of the assault gun units, the organization of Sturmpanzers into independent battalions proved to be a definitely draw-back, since the extra maintenance and staff personnel made their employment more difficult with their integration into a division. The result, particularly during the later years, was a lack of training with the regular infantry decreasing the coordination between the branches. The permanent integration of the Sturmpanzers into divisions would have surely also improved the logistical aspects.
Lacking Numbers: Although this can be said for any German combat vehicle during WWII, it became very apparent in this design. The German infantry lacked throughout the war the inherent ability of mobile fire support. Since the Sturmpanzer was intended in this role, and the assault gun units shifted their attention to anti-tank duties, the produced numbers and raised units (only 4 battalions), could not make up for the needs of the “forgotten” infantry. The German pre-war planning never took it into account, that for a future conflict, combined with modern mobile warfare, that the infantry had to be equipped equally. This became even more obvious in the lost arms race to counter allied, in particular Soviet, tank forces. The same holds true for the concept of the mobile fire support.

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Carell, Paul  “Verbrannte Erde“
    Ullstein Verlag, Frankfurt/M, Germany 1966

Engelmann, Joachim  “Bison und andere Geschütze auf Selbstfahrlafette“
    Waffen-Arsenal Issue 76
    Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, 6360 Friedberg, Gemany, 1982
Jentz, Thomas L.  “Die deutsche Panzertruppe” Band 2
    Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, 61200 Wölfersheim-Berstadt, Germany1999
    ISBN 3-7909-0624-7

Jaugitz, Markus  “Der Sturmpanzer IV “Brummbär“
    Waffen-Arsenal Issue 160
    Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, 61200 Wölfersheim-Berstadt, Germany 1996
    ISBN 3-7909-0567-4

Kleine, Egon/   “Tiger, Die Geschichte einer legendären Waffe 1942-45“
    Kühn, Volkmar  Motorbuch-Verlag, Stutthart, Germany 1991
    ISBN 3-87943-414-X

MacDonald, Charles  “A time for trumpets“
    Bantam Books, New York, 1984
    ISBN 0-553-34226-6

Münch, Karl-Heinz (2) “Die Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 216 im Einsatz” in
    Steelmasters No. 15,
    VDM, 66482 Zweibrücken, Germany 1999

Münch, Karl-Heinz (3) “Einsatzgeschichte der schweren Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 1943 - 1945“
    Selbstverlag (self printing), Schwetzingen, Germany 1996
    Copy of Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte, Stuttgart inventory no. 54A 2776

Münch, Karl-Heinz  “Einsatzgeschichte der schweren Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 1943 - 1945“
    Selbstverlag (self printing), Schwetzingen, Germany 2002
    Copy of Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte, Stuttgart inventory no. 53A 1126

Spielberger, Walter J.  “Der Panzerkampfwagen IV und seine Abarten“
    Motorbuch-Verlag, 7000 Stuttgart 1, Germany 1975
    ISBN 4-87943-402-6

Stoves, Rolf   “Die gepanzerten und motorisierten deutschen Grossverbände 1935 – 1945“
    Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, 61200 Wölfersheim-Berstadt, Germany     1994
    ISBN 3-7909-0279-9




1. Jentz p. 72
2. Jentz p. 72
3. Münch p. 22 & 23
4. Münch p. 25
5. Münch 2 p. 37
6. Kleine/Kühn p. 78
7. Münch 2 p. 39 and Münch 3 p. 56 – 58, 64
8. Münch 2 p. 41 - 43
9. Münch 2 p.49
10. Münch 2 p. 56
11. Münch p. 23 and Münch 3 p. 66
12. Münch 2 p. 58
13. Münch 2 p. 60 & 61
14. Münch 2 p. 62
15. Münch 2 p. 74
16. Münch 2 p. 76
17. Münch p. 24
18. Carell p. 331 – 336 and Münch 2 p. 93 ff
19. Münch 2 p. 75
20. Münch 2 p. 77
21. Münch p. 24 and p. 77/78
22. Münch 2 p. 76. Unfortunately the source doesn´t state, if these numbers were only Ferdinands or a mix with StuPz IV
23. Münch p. 24
24. Jaugitz p. 21
25. Münch 2 p. 104 and Stoves p. 94 & 157
26. see http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/
27. Münch 2 p. 104

28. Münch p. 24, many pictures show the StuOz´s and Tigers during that time period
29. Münch p. 24
30. Münch p. 25
31. Münch p. 24 and Jaugitz p. 21 and Jentz p. 143
32. Jaugitz p. 38
33. Jaugitz p. 38
34. Stoves p. 300
35. Dirk Blennemann in Command magazine No.33, p. 70
36. Jaugitz p. 38
37. Jaugitz p. 38 and MacDonald p. 648
38. Jentz p. 201
39. Jaugitz p. 38
40. Jaugitz p. 40
41. http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/
42. The sources don´t state although, if any StuPz IV´s were surviving
43. http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/
44. Jaugitz  p. 40 and Jentz p. 244
45. Stoves p. 63
46. Jaugitz p. 42
47. Jentz p. 218
48. Jaugitz p. 42 + 46 and http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/ and Jentz p. 245

Last Updated On Wednesday, April 7, 2010 by Blake at Battlefront