German Panzer-Artillery II »Wespe« Self-Propelled Gun, 1943–1945

German Panzer-Artillery II »Wespe« Self-Propelled Gun, 1943–1945

The 10.5 cm le.FH 18 was the standard light field howitzer of the Wehrmacht, deployed in batteries of four pieces, either horse-drawn or towed. Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions had artillery battalions of five batteries of six le.FH 18, either towed or self-propelled. The most successful self-propelled version of the le.FH 18 was based on the chassis of Panzerkampfwagen II Ausführung F, and it was known as the Panzer-Haubitze Wespe. The first of approximately 680 Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F were converted to the Wespe configuration in 1942, and the newly created batteries saw their first major action at the Battle of Kursk in June of 1943.

Wespe production stopped in 1944, when the FAMO factory in Poland was overrun by the Soviet Army, but existing vehicles continued to serve until the end of the war. In addition to its role as armoured artillery, Wespe often engaged in direct anti-tank fire, using armour piercing shells or anti-concrete hollow-charge projectiles. The latter penetrated 128 mm of vertical armour plate at ranges of 0-100 meters.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • Wespe, 1:35 DRAGON 9027 D
  • Wespe, 1:35 Tamiya 35200
  • Wespe, 1:72 ESCI 8004
  • Wespe, 1:72 Italeri 7061
  • Wespe, 1:76 Matchbox 40077
  • Wespe, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GE141
  • Wespe, 1:285 GHQ G20
  • Wespe, 1:300 Heroics & Ros G059

Technical Specifications

  • Sonderkraftfahrzeug 124 (Wespe), 10.5 cm le.FH 18/2 auf Geschützwagen II
  • Engine: Maybach HL62 TRM, 6-cylinder, 6191 cc, 104.5 KW @ 2600 rpm
  • Maximum Speed: 40 km/h on roads; 24 km/h cross-country
  • Fuel Capacity: 170 liters
  • Fuel Consumption: 120 liters/100 km on roads; 180 liters/100 km cross-country
  • Average Range: 140 km
  • Length: 4810 mm
  • Width: 2280 mm
  • Height: 2320 mm
  • Weight: 11800 kg
  • Armament: 10.5 cm L.26 howitzer with 36 rounds, 7.92 mm MG 34
  • Firing Range: 12325 m
  • Rate of Fire: 4 to 6 rounds per minute
  • Gun Elevation: -5 to +42 degrees
  • Gun Traverse: 56 degrees
  • Crew: Commander, Driver, and three Gunners
  • Conversion: 1942–1944

Historical Employment

  • German Army, March 1943 – May 1945

Modern armoured and mechanized formations depend on self-propelled artillery to provide fire support in the course of a mobile engagement. Self-propelled guns and howitzers are easier to move and deploy than horse-drawn or towed weapons of the same calibre. The armoured fighting compartment offers the crew much better protection than a typical gun shield. One disadvantage of the armoured self-propelled gun is that the cramped fighting compartment holds only a few rounds of ready ammunition, requiring additional vehicles to supply a battery in combat.

Frequently Asked Questions

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