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Despite the cancellation of the Selbstfahrlafette für 12,8cm K 43 und 15cm sFH 43 Project, Krupp continued work on a Panther-based weapon carrying vehicle. The result was the Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18.
Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 V1 Model

Conceptual model of the Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18, for unknown reasons, the chassis is not that of a Panther. Perhaps originally it was intended to use a custom chassis. This design has often been misidentified as the Heuschrecke 15.

On January 20th, 1944, Krupp produced drawing SKA 879 for the Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 (Self-propelled vehicle with dismountable 15cm sFH 18). The vehicle was basically a normal Panther chassis with a wheelbase of 3,920mm; however the rear of the hull was lengthened slightly to support a rear mounted artillery turret. The turret rested on a metal box; the turret and box forming the fighting compartment. Using metal beams apparently attached to the idler wheel, the entire assembly could be lifted up and off the vehicle by driving a few feet in reverse. Once off the chassis the gun assembly could be used as a standalone artillery piece.

Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 V1

Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 Version 1 (Drawing Copyright Hilary Louis Doyle)

On February 3rd, 1943, Krupp presented a second design with drawing SKB 891. This version had the turret centrally mounted with the engine in the rear. The turret, which looks remarkably similar to that of the Heuschrecke 10, was lifted off over the front of the tank in the version 2, as opposed to over the rear as in the version 1. A wooden mockup of the Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 version 2 was built, but neither design progressed past this point.

Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 V2 Mockup

Selbstfahrlafette mit Absetzbarer 15cm sFH 18 Version 2 Wooden Mockup

SourcesEdit

  1. Special Panzer Variants: Development - Production - Operations - Hilary Louis Doyle and Walter J. Spielberger, 2007
  2. Panther Variants 1942-1945 - Osprey New Vanguard, 1997
  3. Panther & Its Variants - Walter J. Spielberger, 1993