MANUFACTURER(S): Paris Army Workshop - France / Krefeld Army Workshop - Nazi Germany
WIDTH: 6.07 feet (1.85 meters)
WEIGHT: 8 Tons (7,260 kilograms; 16,006 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x DelaHaye 103TT 6-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine developing 70 horsepower at 2,800rpm.
SPEED: 21 miles-per-hour (34 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 75 miles (120 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the 7.5cm PaK 40/1 auf Geschutzenwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) (SdKfz 135) Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH).
Entry last updated on 10/8/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
By the middle of the war, Germany held something of a mastery of captured weapon systems when it came to reconstituting them for new battlefield purposes. This was the case with the stock of Lorraine artillery tractors taken from the French after the Fall of France in June 1940. In time it was decided to fit the excellent 75mm PaK 40 series towed anti-tank guns of the German Army to these existing machines to produce a new type of self-propelled howitzer - the 7.5cm PaK 40/1 auf Geschutzenwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f) (Army identifier of "SdKfz 135").
The modification process for the program was relatively simple as the original French under-workings remained largely intact. Over the rear of the hull was added a light-armored, open-air superstructure for the gunnery crew and the main gun consisted of the aforementioned PaK 40 which was installed, gun mount and all (including the three-sided gun shield) into the superstructure's frontal facing. The shield was placed outside of the side walls of the superstructure so as to retain the gun's ability to traverse 32-degrees left or right from centerline (otherwise the entire vehicle was to turn into the direction of desired fire). Power was from the French DelaHaye 103TT 6-cylinder gasoline engine of 70 horsepower and road speeds reached 21 miles per hour with operational ranges out to 75 miles (46.5 cross-country).
The FuG.5 radio kit was fitted for communications and the crew totaled four men - the driver, commander and two gun handlers. The gunnery crew resided in the open-air superstructure which exposed them to the elements as well as overhead dangers - the Soviet winter was particularly brutal for these men - but the driver had the luxury of being seated within the hull. Forty rounds of 75mm ammunition could be stowed about the vehicle. The 7.92mm MG34 machine gun was installed for point defense. Overall weight of the complete vehicle was 8 tons.
The conversions were had during 1942 and the program produced some 170 gun carriers. Infantry Division Panzerjager units were some of the first groups issued the type and these were placed in immediate action along the East Front against the Soviet Union. However, the Allied threat emerging from the south and west meant that some of the stock was sent elsewhere in support. As such, some of these weapons saw action in the Normandy Campaign and the series would serve into the war's final weeks (May 1945).
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