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In early 1942, German arms control ground forces initiated the development of self-propelled artillery mounts on the chassis, designed for use Panther tank components. Parallel work on projects led the company Fried.Krupp AG Essen and Rheinmetall Borsig Düsseldorf.

project by Krupp

The first attempts to develop a firm Krupp ACS based on the tank Panther with removable tools are in July 1942: it Gerät 5-1528 ( sFH43 (Sfl.) Kp .I ) Bauelemente Fgst.Panther and Gerät 5-1211 ( 12.8 cm K.43 (Sfl.) Kp.I [1,999,006]) Bauelemente Fgst.Panther .
The first self-propelled gun was armed with a 15-cm howitzer sFH43 L / 35.5 [1,999,006]. The design provides the circular rotation and maximum range of 18 km. An interesting feature was the use of a piston valve, caused by the lack of materials for the production of sleeves. 12.8 cm gun K.43 proposed by Krupp, also rotates through 360 ° and has been equipped with a piston seal. Both guns were muzzle brake.

In November 1942, was completed a full-size wooden mock drafts SAU second series – sFH43 Sfl. ( Grille 15 ) and 12.8 cm K.43 Sfl. ( Grille 12 ). The guns can be removed and rotated full circle. Chassis Panther tank was extended – the length of the wheelbase is 4.2 m become.

In February 1943 identified by the official name of self-propelled guns:
[1,999,005] Heuschrecke 12 – 12.8 cm K43 (Sfl.) Kp.I
[1,999,005] Heuschrecke 15 – sFH43 (Sfl .) Kp.I
Grille 12 – 12.8 cm K43 (Sfl.) Kp.II ,
[1,999,005] Grille 15 – sFH43 (Sfl.) Kp.II .

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
Wooden layout 12.8 cm K.43 (Sfl.) Kp.II, official name – Grille 12

In April 1943, the construction was ordered by one of ACS Grille 12/15 construction as Heuschrecke 12/15 was canceled in May. Krupp had promised to complete the prototype in November. After some time, was replaced by a set of arms 15 cm sFH44 and 12.8 cm K.44 L / 55 equipped with wedges. The latter instrument was generally the same as what is at Jagdtiger .

In October 1943, the company Krupp was informed of the need to complete work on the Grille 12/15 and Heuschrecke 12/15 to redirect time and materials to more important projects.

In spite of this, Krupp continued to design new self-propelled guns on the chassis that use the Panther. In January 1944 it has been prepared by the self-propelled guns drawing Sfl. mit absetzbarer s.F.H.18 . 15-cm howitzer with a muzzle brake was installed in a compact tower at the stern of the machine. To a tower on either side of the machine fastened beams with which the tower could be nominated and lowered back to the ground. The wheelbase is the same as that Panther – 3,92 m. The second version of the ACS provided the central position of the tower, and it was put forward in advance.

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
Sfl. mit absetzbarer s.F.H.18 [1,999,003]

The project entitled mittlerer Waffenträger appeared in September 1944. It was a 15-cm howitzer sFH18 established in the hexagonal tower at the front of the chassis slabobronirovannogo component-based Panther. The second option Waffenträger sFH18 / Panther provided for the arrangement of the same tower in the middle of the machine. As was proposed installation gun 12.8 cm K.44 L / 55 equipped with a muzzle brake on the same chassis, which tower was significantly increased; the machine had the notation 12.8 cm K.44 auf Panther . The third option – mittlerer Waffenträger sFH18 / Panther (dünnwandig) – had thinner armor and reduced from 60 to 50 rounds of ammunition that has lowered the weight of 7 tons; the shape of the tower was replaced by a cylindrical.

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
mittlerer Waffenträger sFH18 / Panther, the second option [1,999,003]

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
12.8 cm K.44 auf Panther [1,999,003]

Projects the company Rheinmetall Borsig

Simultaneously with the Krupp firm in July 1942 Rheinmetall company presented its projects on the basis of ACS Panther with removable tools: Gerät 5-1530 (sFH43 (Sfl.) Rh.B.) [1,999,005] Bauelemente Fgst.Panther and Gerät 5-1213 (12.8 cm K.43 (Sfl.) Rh.B.) Bauelemente Fgst.Panther .

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
Wooden layout 12.8 cm K.43 (Sfl.) Rh.B. Bauelemente Fgst.Panther

Rheinmetall also took up the second series of self-propelled guns, their projects have appeared in January 1943 sFH43 Sfl. , 12.8 cm K.43 Sfl. [1,999,006] and 12.8 cm P .43 Sfl. guns located in the tower in the middle of the body of the tower is removed and can be rotated around by car and on the ground. Compared to normal chassis Panther, the wheelbase has been extended to 4.22 m.

firing range gun 12.8 cm K.43 L / 51 by Rheinmetall – 22 km, and the tools 15 cm sFH43 L / 34 – 15 km. Flitches both guns provided traverse of 360 °. 12.8 cm P.43 L / 54 – a powerful anti-tank gun, fires a 14-kg piercing projectiles at a speed of 1175 m / s.

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
12.8 cm K.43 Sfl. [1,999,003]

The following projects Rheinmetall – 12.8 cm Skorpion (Panther Bauteilen) and sFH43 Sfl. mit Panther-Bauteilen April 1943. The chassis had a wheelbase of 4.025 m and with minor modifications was used in all subsequent developments of the company.

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
12.8 cm Skorpion (Panther Bauteilen) [1,999,003]

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
15 cm sFH43 mit Panther-Bauteilen [1,999,003]

After the fall of 1943 were canceled work on the original Grille, Heuschrecke and Skorpion, in January 1944 Rheinmetall presented projects on the basis of ACS Panther, armed 15-cm howitzer sFH18 . The last of them, sFH18 Sfl. auf Panther Bauteilen has a particularly high fire line at zero elevation angle of weapon – 2.75 m, which should increase the maximum angle of elevation.

Тяжёлые САУ на базе Panther
sFH18 auf Panther Bauteilen [1,999,003]

The existence of further development of the company Rheinmetall self-propelled guns based on the Panther unknown.

In December 1944, due to the lack of production of tanks Panther German command it was decided to abandon the mandatory conditions of the circular rotation of the instruments and possibilities to take it off and await the outcome of developments in the ACS chassis components using light tank PzKpfw 38 (t) . Both firms Krupp and Rheinmetall took up a new series of projects.

«Panther Variants» Hilary Doyle, Tom Jentz

(c) 2015 [1,999,192] Aces gg [1,999,194]

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