Forward to the front! What is holding us up? Oh, another traffic jam…
A Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. B is idling while someone hopefully speeds up the vehicle column. That it’s an early version of the StuG III assault guns is apparent from the short-barreled, low-velocity 7.5 cm StuK 37 L/24 gun and the gunner’s view port (to the right, above the driver’s position). The latter was omitted from Ausf. C onwards, as it had proved to be a shot trap. The StuG family was considered self-propelled artillery, used for support in infantry assaults. It fired high explosive shells, which were effective against soft-skinned vehicles and fortifications, but not armored vehicles. Later versions were fitted with longer, more powerful guns, capable of taking on enemy armor.
Assault guns were easier and cheaper to produce, and it became common to replace lost tanks with assault guns later in the war. The low profile made them eminently suitable for ambushes and defensive fighting. More than 10,000 (all versions) were produced, making it the most common German armored fighting vehicle. 300 StuG III Ausf. B were produced between June 1940 and May 1941.
An original StuG III Ausf. G can be seen in the video below. It is recognized by the longer gun and the Saukopf gun mantlet. Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste covers the hull, and Schürzen armor side-skirts provide some protection against shaped-charge projectiles. This was the final and most numerous version; 8423 were built until the last weeks of the war.