Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär (SdKfz 166, StuG IV mit 15cm StuH43)
Typ: German assault infantry gun on tank chassis.
History of Brummbär
After the heavy 15-cm infantry gun had already been used on the chassis of the Panzer I, the Sturmpanzer II, the Sturminfanteriegeschütz 33B and the self-propelled gun ‘Grille’, the Sturmpanzer IV was developed by Alkett and Krupp. Alkett designed the superstructure, while the modified chassis of the Panzer IV G was contributed to the design by Krupp.
After Hitler saw Alkett’s plans on October 20, 1942, he ordered that forty to sixty of these Brummbär assault tanks be built as soon as possible. On February 7, 1943, it was then decided that forty vehicles would have to be completed by May 12, 1943, and another twenty in a subsequent production run.
After this initial production run from April to May 1943, it was decided that long-term series production would begin in November 1943 and continued until the end of the war.
The Brummbär had a box-shaped superstructure that housed the 15-cm StuH43 (assault howitzer), derived from the 15-cm sIG33 (heavy infantry gun), and was mounted on a normal Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis.
The first series was built with 52 new PzKpfw IV Ausf G chassis, and eight refurbished Ausf E and F chassis.
Instead of 80-mm armor on the front, the first sixty vehicles had a 50-mm armor plate bolted onto the standard 50-mm hull front. This first series also had a sliding visor for the driver, which was similar to the one on the Tiger tank.
In the later series, the driver was fitted with a periscope and the StuH43/1 was installed.
The last series, which was built from June 1944, had a redesigned superstructure with a machine gun in ball bearing in the right corner of the upper front panel and a commander’s cupola.
Sturmpanzerabteilung 216 was the first to receive the Brummbär and was thrown to the Eastern Front for the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. The unit was also still in action in the defensive battles around Zaporizhzhya until October 1943.
Three other assault tank detachments, numbered 217, 218, and 219, were formed with the Brummbär while the war was still in progress and fought on all major fronts in the east and west, as well as in Italy.
Animated 3D model of Brummbär (late series)
Specifications for Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär (SdKfz 166)
|Sturmpanzer IV (SdKfz 166)||Specification|
|Engine||Maybach HL 120 TRM (max 300 PS)|
|Gearbox||6 forward, 1 reverse|
|Length||19ft 5.46in (5.93 m)|
|Width||9ft 5.39in (2.88 m)|
|Height||9ft 9.32in (2.98 m)|
|Maximum speed||25 mph (40 km/hr)|
|Fuel consumption per 100 km||260 litres on road, 380 litres cross-country|
|Road radius||112-130 miles|
|Cross-country radius||75 miles|
|Vertical obstacle||ca 1ft 11.62in (0.60 m)|
|Trench crossing||ca 7ft 6.55in (2.30 m)|
|Fording depth||3ft 3.37in (1.00 m)|
|Turning circle||19ft 8.22in (6 m)|
|Climbing power||35 °|
|Sturmpanzer IV (SdKfz 166)||mm||angle|
|Superstructure front||100 mm||40 °|
|Superstructure side||50 mm||15 °|
|Superstructure rear||30 mm||25 ° and 0 °|
|Superstructure top||20 mm and 10 mm||83 ° and 90 °|
|Hull front||80 mm||12 °|
|Hull side||30 mm||0 °|
|Hull rear||20 mm||10 °|
|Hull bottom||10 mm||90 °|
Armament and Equipment:
|Sturmpanzer IV (SdKfz 166)||Specification|
|Main armament||15cm StUH43 L/12|
|Traverse||10° left to 10° right (by hand)|
|Elevation||-5° to +30°|
|Muzzle velocity Gr39 H1/A||918 ft/sec (280 m/sec)|
|Shell weight Gr39 H1/A||55.11 lb (25 kg )|
|Secondary armament||1 x 7.92mm MG34 on the commander's cupola or loose in the vehicle; late version from June 1944 additionally 1 x 7.92mm MG34 on the top right in the front panel (600 rounds)|
|Radio||FuG5 + FuG2 (2.5 miles range)|
Penetration mm at 30° armor plates of 15cm StuH43 L/12::
|Penetration 100 meters||160 mm|
|Penetration 500 meters||160 mm|
|Penetration 1,000 meters||160 mm|
|Penetration 1,500 meters||160 mm|
|Penetration 2,000 meters||-|
|Sturmpanzer IV (SdKfz 166)||figures|
|Production||April and May 1943 (40+20) and November 1943 to March 1945|
|Combat service||July 1943 (Kursk)|
|Price per tank||?|
|Total production figure||298 + 8 converted from Panzer IV|
Service statistics for Brummbär:
|1945||188 (1.1.)||14 (Jan-Mar)||1 (Jan)|
References and literature
Kraftfahrzeuge und Panzer der Reichswehr, Wehrmacht und Bundeswehr (Werner Oswald)
Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two (P.Chamberlain, H.L.Doyle)
Panzer und andere Kampffahrzeuge von 1916 bis heute (Christopher F. Foss, John F. Milsom, Colonel John Stafford Weeks, Captain Georffrey Tillotson, Richard M. Ogorkiewicz)
Panzerkampfwagen des 1. und 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
Krieg der Panzer (Piekalkiewicz)
Brummbär in War Thunder
Status of the information: January 2021.
In the F2P game War Thunder, the Brummbär (‘Growler’) is a premium tank destroyer and has been on the popular Battle Rating (BR for short) 4.3 for some time. This range of BR 4.0 and 4.3 is very popular among players with German vehicles, as it reliably provides good victory rates.
The model used in the war game is modeled on the middle construction series.
In its BR range and even much higher – the author still uses the Brummbär in the German line of BR 5.7 together with the Panzer V Panther Ausf A – the relatively rare and therefore for most enemy players surprisingly appearing assault tank is just as rarely ever knocked out head-on. The most likely damage is to the cannon, and of course you have to be careful not to get hit in the vulnerable side or rear.
At the same time, the powerful HE (explosive shell) puts at least every enemy out of action for some time, if the hit was not already immediately lethal. Then you have enough time to reload a hollow charge shell with 180 mm penetrating power at any distance and finally destroy the already incapacitated tank.
Reloading the heavy 150 mm howitzer is also surprisingly fast and the hollow charge shell with its high penetrating power is usually sufficient to immediately finish off most enemies with armor below 180 mm – although the author himself has already penetrated the frontally heavily armored turret of the M4A3 Jumbo and thus immediately destroyed the heavy tank.
All in all, the Brummbär is the ideal vehicle for close street combat, where skillful use allows you to cover the weak points – i.e. the sides and the rear – with buildings on the flanks. A bit of angling and turning, swiveling the gun to the side, as well as a bit of back and forth when reloading leaves the enemy tank in front of you preparing to fire with hardly a chance of an effective hit.
Over longer firing distances, however, with the inaccurate and slow-flying shell, some practice is needed to hit a target. For some targets, however, a close hit with the explosive shell is enough to at least damage it and bring it to a halt.
Also, as heavy artillery in indirect fire role with explosive shells on enemy vehicle concentrations, positions or just occupied CAP zones, the Brummbär can be used by skilled players.
In addition, the assault tank is a premium vehicle, which earns more research progress and in-game currencies. Just taking plenty and mostly ineffective hits in street combat already earns you a lot of points !
Video of action with the Brummbär in War Thunder
The advantages and tactics just described for the proper use of the Brummbär in War Thunder can be watched nicely in the following video with 8 kills in 8 minutes:
Victory rate and BR uptiers
From October to December 2020, the author fought a total of 116 battles with his German line of BR 4.3 and the Brummbär. Of these, 71 battles (61.2%) were won.
30 battles (25.8%) took place on the ideal battle rating of 4.3 as a ‘top tier’ vehicle, of which a whopping 26 – or 86.7% – were won. Both values are thus excellent and therefore the German BR-4.3 line is highly recommended !
44 battles (37.9%) had an upgrade to BR 4.7, 17 battles (14.7%) had an upgrade by two levels to BR 5.0 and 25 battles (21.6%) took place on the least favorable battle rating of BR 5.3 as ‘low-tier’.
On average, the author managed just over 2.37 enemy vehicle kills per battle with this vehicle line.
Which vehicle line has proven itself for Germany BR 4.3 ?
To say it in advance: besides the German BR 4.0 line, there are also a lot of good and proven premium vehicles for BR 4.3. Their use results in high Silver Lion yields (the in-game currency in War Thunder) and also good research progress. However, for the premium vehicles for BR 4.3 presented here now in the following, there are also useful, free alternatives from the normal German tech tree, which are also mentioned.
The following is a summary of a proven line for Germany on BR 4.3, using the maximum possible number of 10 vehicle slots.
As always, the right mix of main battle tanks for combat or conquest scenarios as well as aircraft, tank destroyers and anti-aircraft vehicles is crucial for a successful outcome of the battle.
In addition to the Brummbär, the following vehicles are also suitable:
Tank destroyer Panzer IV/70(A) (Premium, BR 4.3)
The Panzer IV/70(A) is the alternative for the Brummbär when it comes to accurate shooting over longer distances. This tank destroyer is also a premium vehicle and features the same highly effective gun of the Panther or Panzer IV/70(V) (both only from BR 5.3).
Unlike the latter vehicle, the Panzer IV/70(A) has a slightly taller silhouette and a weak point with the horizontal armor plate below the gun, but is otherwise nearly identical and a whole Battle Rating lower. And here, even in close combat, it is nearly impossible to crack head-on by most opponents. At the moment, the author is approaching his best kill-to-loss ratios with this tank, which so far are only surpassed by the Char B1 ter and KV-1B.
If you don’t have this premium tank, you can also use the Hetzer, which has also been on the BR 4.3 for some time. For longer firing distances, high impact and positions behind hilltops, the ‘Dicke Max’ in the line is also a good choice.
Medium Battle Tank T-34 747(r) (Premium, BR 4.0)
The German captured T-34 is used as a medium battle tank for missions requiring higher mobility and a rotating turret. The Premium medium battle tank has the same ‘trolling’ armor as its Soviet counterpart, the same 76 mm gun with the ‘over-effective’ armor-piercing shell, which is less precise about the angle of the hit armor, and is extremely mobile at the same time. Moreover, since it is not fired upon by German guns in War Thunder’s ‘Realistic Battles’, it is extremely effective and successful.
Those who do not have this premium tank can use the Panzer IV H from the normal tech tree instead.
Heavy Battle Tank KV-1B (Special, BR 4.0)
Actually the Finnish captured tank KV-1B is a special vehicle, which can be unlocked only during special events. The heavy tank has one of the best kill ratios and victory rates in War Thunder and is also still well suited for the frequent battles on the ideal BR 4.3 as a heavy assault tank with turret. Only the Soviet KV-1 with the ZIS gun on this Battle Rating should not be messed with easily, as you can only penetrate it at weak points, while the ZIS-KV penetrates the Finnish KV-1B practically everywhere.
Alternatively, the German Premium-Churchill (also BR 4.0) or captured KV-2 (BR 3.7) is also suitable as a heavy battle tank for this line. If you don’t have any of these premium vehicles, you can use another PzKpfw IV (Ausf G or F2), StuG III G, the self-propelled gun with 88 mm gun Flak or the ‘Dicker Max’ together with the Hetzer.
Tank destroyer StuG III F (BR 3.7)
Of the necessary spawn points of a tank destroyer for this BR line, the StuG III Ausf F (statistically in 75% of all engagements) or the Marder III (BR 3.0) are the cheapest, which always cost only the minimum of 90 spawn points for a tank (at the start of an engagement).
Such a cheap tank destroyer is useful if you were shot out of the game and do not have enough spawn points for a stronger tank. In this case, a StuG III F or Marder III still makes more sense for tank combat than trying it with an anti-aircraft tank.
Tank destroyer SdKfz 234/4 ‘Pakwagen’ (Special, BR 3.0)
The SdKfz 234/4 ‘Pakwagen’ (anti-tank gun carrier), known as well as hated by the players in the opposing team, serves as a tank destroyer and especially as a fast vehicle for occupying CAP points. Its 7.5-cm Pak with ammunition, which was used only in the last year of the war, easily copes with almost all enemy vehicles in this area of the ‘Battle Rating’ and can also scout them, marking them on the map for your own teammates and giving you points and discounts on spawning aircraft when they are destroyed by them. So a very useful vehicle, especially in the opening part of the match.
However, the ‘Pakwagen’ is a premium vehicle that can only be unlocked during special missions. If you don’t have it, use the normal Puma armored car variant instead (BR 2.7).
Anti-aircraft tank Wirbelwind (BR 3.7)
The well-known ‘Flakpanzer Wirbelwind’ (Whirlwind) serves as an anti-aircraft vehicle and can also take out lighter armored vehicles, especially from the side and rear. Recently, the SdKfz 251/21 has also been added as a new anti-aircraft vehicle on the BR 3.3, which guarantees the fewest entry points with a full battle rating below this line. However, the Whirlwind has better penetrating power against tanks. If you only have one anti-aircraft tank in your line, you should equip it with spawn vouchers, as two of these vehicles can easily be used in one battle.
Fighter Plane P-47D (Premium, BR 4.3)
As a pure fighter aircraft, the (never by the Germans) captured P-47D Thunderbolt is used in the author’s line. This premium aircraft is not available for much longer and those who don’t have it yet should acquire it soon. The P-47 is one of the fastest aircraft (around 330 mph or 530 km/hr in low-level flight) in this range, and is also heavily armed with eight Browning 0.5in heavy machine guns with a large ammunition supply. This can be used to fire at enemy aircraft even at long ranges and to fly countless low-level attacks on ground vehicles. Some light tanks, open tank destroyers and anti-aircraft vehicles can be easily destroyed with the 0.5in MG’s and for the better armored targets you will collect points as kill aids if they were destroyed by other team members. In any case, the targets shot at in low-level flight are marked on the mini-map to your own team members. The only thing you should not get involved in with a P-47 is a dogfight !
A good alternative without premium, but with an additional 250 kg bomb, is the Me 109 G-2/Trop from the BR 4.3 from the German research tree.
Heavy fighter Heinkel He 219 Uhu (Premium, BR 4.3)
The ‘Uhu’ was originally a night fighter, but serves as a ground attack aircraft in War Thunder. With its heavy machine cannons, it can easily destroy the thinly armored Allied tank destroyers, as well as medium tanks like the T-34. In addition, it is also very feared in frontal air combat. However, it is not overly maneuverable and has no tail armament, so an enemy fighter in the rear usually spells the end.
The He 219 Uhu is a premium aircraft and those who don’t have it can easily make do with a Me 110G (BR 3.7) with a 1,000-kg bomb, equally powerful frontal armament and a rear gunner.
Bomber Ju 88 A-4 (BR 2.3)
Until BR 4.7 with the Do 217, there has not been a good German bomber for tactical ground attack since the Ju 88 A-4 of BR 2.3 for a long time. While the Ju 88 A-4 has a good bomb load of a 1,000-kg and a 500-kg bomb, dive flaps for accurate dive attacks, and a tail gunner, it is unfortunately very fragile and quickly shot down by both AA-guns and fighters. The He 111 versions, however, are quite immobile and thus inaccurate when dropping bombs on tanks, while the Ju 87 Stuka versions, while obviously more robust compared to the Ju 88, are also too slow to arrive quickly at the focal point of battle.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect bomber solution for this BR range.