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Wespe


Sd.Kfz. 124


Overview


Wespe

Wespe self-propelled howitzer in the field.

Source: Unknown author - © Copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Nazi Germany
Type
Self-propelled howitzer
Entered service
1943
Status
Out of service
Development
1942
Developer
Nazi Germany - Alkett
Production
February 1943 - June 1944
Producer
Nazi Germany - FAMO Ursus
Number produced
676 or 683 Wespe
158 Munitionsträger
Designations
Wespe
Official nickname, German for "wasp"
Leichte Feldhaubitze 18/2 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf.)
Official designation
Sd.Kfz. 124

Description


Introduction

The Wespe is a self-propelled howitzer of Nazi German origin. It was widely used during the last years of World War 2. The Wespe was developed to provided mobile indirect fire support for armored units. It was developed at the same time as the larger Hummel, which is armed with a larger caliber howitzer.

Layout

The Wespe is based on the chassis of the Panzer II Ausf. F. The Panzer II was a reliable vehicle, but in the later stages of World War 2 no longer relevant in combat as a tank. The chassis is modified by making it longer and moving the engine to the middle. The ordnance is mounted in the middle of the vehicle and operated from the open roof rear compartment.

Firepower

The Wespe is armed with the 105mm leFH-18/2 howitzer. This 28-caliber howitzer with muzzle brake is similar to the towed variants, of which over 22.000 were produced. A total of 40 rounds of ammunition are carried. The maximum effective range is 12.3 km. The rate of fire is about 4 rpm.

Protection

The Wespe is an armored vehicle, but is not meant for frontline warfare. The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. The rear compartment has no roof, leaving the majority of the crew somewhat exposed.

Mobility

The Panzer II chassis was proven and reliable. The small size makes the vehicle somewhat cramped. The upside is the limited fuel consumption compared to larger vehicles. A Maybach petrol engine provides up to 140 hp. This allows of a maximum speed of 40 km/h and an operational range of about 220 km.

Users

The Wespe was produced in 1943 and 1944, with well over 600 vehicles produced. The production of the Wespe ended earlier than the Hummel. The main reasons are the lack of Panzer II production and less effectiveness than the more powerful and spacious Hummel. These mostly operated in support of panzer divisions. Two batteries with each 6 Wespe combined with 6 Hummels would make up a battalion.

Details


Wespe

Wespe self-propelled howitzer on display in a museum.

Source: baku13 - © Public domain

Facts Wespe
General
Origin
Nazi Germany
Type
Self-propelled howitzer
Crew
5 (commander, driver, gunner, 2 loaders)
Dimensions
Weight
11.5 t
Length
4.81 m
Width
2.28 m
Height
2.3 m
Main armament
Type
10.5 cm leFH-18/2 28-caliber howitzer
Ammunition
32 to 40 shells, plus associated charges and fuzes
Max range
12.3 km
Rate of fire
4 rpm
Secondary armament
Type
7.92mm MG34 machine gun
Mount
Flexible pintle mount
Ammunitions
600 rounds, 100 ready to fire
Propulsions
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, 5 roadwheels, drive sprocket front and idler rear
Suspension
Leaf spring
Engine
Maybach HL 62 TR
Engine type
6 cylinder petrol engine
Power output
140 hp
Mobility
Max speed
40 km/h on roads
24 km/h in the field
Range
220 km on roads
140 km in the field
Power/weight ratio
12 hp/t
Protection
Armor type
Steel
Armor thickness
18 mm front
15 mm sides and rear
10 mm superstructure
Roof
Open

Media


Related articles


Hummel

The Wespe served alongside the larger and more powerful Hummel. The combination of these vehicles provided tank formations with mobile fire support.