SdKfz 124 Wespe

The SdKfz 124 Wespe was a self-propelled artillery piece fielded by the Wehrmacht in 1943. Developped from the Panzer II chassis, it featured a 105mm howitzer, which was mounted in an open turret. The gun was operated by a 4-man crew and had a rate of fire of up to 7 round per minute and it was fitted with a hydro-pneumatic recoil system. It fired 14.8-kg high explosive shells to a maximum range of 10 km. With a total weight of 11 tons, the Wespe was powered by a Maybach HL-62-TR 6-cylinder gasoline engine that delivered 140 hp. It had a maximum speed of 40 km/h and range of 230 km.

The SdKfz 124 first saw combat action in Operation Citadel in mid 1943, on the Eastern Front, deployed by the 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf. From then on, it was fielded in growing number by other Waffen-SS divisions. It was usually deployed close to the front line to fire massive barrages over enemy positions; thus, to soften up the terrain prior to the infantry attack. The Wespe also moved foward along armored units during a breakthrough the enemy lines. Although it was fast and effective when used in massive formations, the SdKfz 124 had two drawbacks: it was lightly armored and had a high silhouette over the horizon.



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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.