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StuIG33B – The Bummbär’s Mother

Fielding the StuIG33B: The Brummbär’s Mother
with Mark Nisbet

The Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B (Assault-Infantry Gun 33B) was a German self-propelled heavy assault. A new, fully enclosed, and heavily armoured boxy casemate superstructure was built on the chassis of the StuG. It mounted an improved version of the 15cm infantry gun. It had a very poor traverse, though the firepower of the charge was sufficient enough to demolish small buildings.

Iron Cross
By the end of 1941, the German blitzkrieg had swept across open plains of the Soviet Union and stopped at the gates of Moscow as winter set in. The halt was only temporary as the Germans were back on the offensive in the summer of 1942. The attack sliced into the southern front, aiming at the oilfields of the Caucasus. Two army groups charged forward, one heading to the mountain country in the south, the other focussed on a small city on the Volga River called Stalingrad. The unstoppable German offensive was pushing Soviet morale to a breaking point as the most pivotal battles on the Eastern Front were about to be fought on the streets of Stalingrad and in the Russian Steppe.

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The origins of the StuIG 33B are a little vague, with historians differing in opinions on which factory was actually charged with producing exactly how many examples of the vehicle. It is agreed though that the arms manufacturer ‘Alkett’ (A manufacturer of the StuG Assault Gun, Panzer, and developer of a few Late War vehicles) was responsible for producing the first batch of these, using existing StuG III E chassis, and mounting the raised fighting compartment and infantry-gun thereon.

The first dozen were delivered by the end of October 1942 and assigned to Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen (Assault Gun Battalions) 177 and 244, then fighting in Stalingrad. The remaining dozen vehicles could not be delivered to Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen 243 and 245, also fighting in Stalingrad, after the Soviets surrounded the German 6th Army on 21 November. Instead, the vehicles were formed into Sturm-Infanterie-Geschütz-Batterie/Lehr-Bataillon (Assault Infantry Gun Batterie/Demonstration Battalion) XVII. The battalion was assigned to the 22nd Panzer Division as the Germans attempted to relieve the trapped 6th Army. The Division was virtually wiped out in the fighting and the battery was assigned to the 23rd Panzer Division where it became the

Sturm-Infanterie-Geschütz-Batterie/Panzer-Regiment 201 (also known as 9. Kompanie/Panzer-Regiment 201) for the rest of the war. The last strength report to mention them lists five remaining in September 1944.

Though eventually removed from service either by choice or by losses, the legacy of the StuIG 33B is the Brummbär Sturmpanzer, which features as a support choice in Ghost Panzers.

Sadly, due to the hectic nature of the fighting in Stalingrad, not an awful lot is known of the combat record of the StuIG 33B. Only that they moved in support of the infantry, as did the StuG batteries. Anything I would write, or add here would most likely do a dis-service to the vehicle, and will leave it as is.

In Flames Of War
The StuIG 33B is an excellent infantry support weapon; allowing the effective and efficient 15cm Infantry Gun to become mobile, armoured, and adaptable. Essentially an earlier version of the Brummbär, the StuIG 33B is very similar in abilities to its direct descendant; with fairly strong front armour, and a devastating gun.

Mounting 80mm of Front armour, compared to the Brummbär’s impressive 100mm of armour drops the rating from a formidable ‘9’, to a more manageable but still impressive ‘7’. Unlike its descendant, the StuIG did not mount bazooka skirts to protect the return rollers and road wheels from anti-tank shots.

On to the gun, and the StuIG mounted a version of the usually-trail-mounted 15cm sIG 33. The charge in the shell weighing almost 40kg, and packing a devastating punch; a feature which made the gun deadly in the cramped city-fighting in and around Stalingrad. The advantage that the StuIG had over the earlier versions of the Brummbär was the retention of a self-defence machine-gun, mounted beside the main gun, and fired by the loader. This disparity would be rectified in later models of the Brummbär, notably the Brummbär IV in early 1944.
StuIG33B – The Bummbär’s Mother StuIG33B – The Bummbär’s Mother

In terms of the Mobility of the StuIG 33B; the added weight of the fighting compartment, and the heavier gun weighed the tank down causing it problems when crossing uneven terrain, compared to the relative ease the StuG found, in part due to the low profile too. Despite this, the tank was for all intents and purposes a StuG, and therefore had the speed of it.

Finally, the StuIG 33B retains all the ratings as for the Brummbär; a ‘Hit On’ rating of 3+ to reflect the unfamiliar fighting style imposed on the crews of this new type of vehicle, but retaining the skill rating of Veteran, as the experienced German Commanders were adept at utilizing their vehicle well once engaged.

Fielding The StuIG33B In A German Force
The StuIG 33B is a support choice for a German Army from Iron Cross. You may choose to field a unit of StuIG 33B instead of the StuG (Early) support options, as based on the limited information we have on the vehicle they were intended to be replacements for the depleted Sturmgeschütz Batteries in Stalingrad.

If you wish to field a unit of StuIG 33B in Ghost Panzers, to represent the few remaining units that supported the German Army before 1944, a unit of StuIG 33B may be fielded in place of The Brummbär Assault Tank Platoon, but may not be fielded using the Command Card; Brummbär Assault Tank Company.

StuIG33B – The Bummbär’s Mother StuIG33B – The Bummbär’s Mother

Although far more expensive than the StuG, the StuIG is more adaptable, easily slotting into a light anti-tank, artillery, or direct fire role. Its heavy 15cm gun making short work of gun and infantry, teams, either from distance as artillery, or directly; utilizing the devastating ‘Brutal’ special rule to clear out stubbornly dug-in positions, before the infantry sweep in to clear out the survivors in a flurry of melee.

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Last Updated On Friday, March 15, 2019