Meeting of the Grouch and Tiger. German Premium SPG speculation.
The World of Tanks team adds more and more tanks with each upcoming Patch. I still remember the humble beginnings of the simple “linear” German and Soviet tank trees. Today, together with more nations being introduced, there is much more complexity and choice. But the choice is not only limited to tanks you can research, but also the Premiums. In this article I would wish to focus on two Premium SPGs which will be added to the Germans (check the German Tank Tree here), some time in the future. The Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär (it means Grouch, not Bear) and Sturmpanzer VI Sturmtiger.
As the 2nd World War progressed Germany and its allies found themselves more often than not on the defensive. The original use of Assault Tanks/Guns (Even though the translation would be “Assault Tank” the military classification was Assault Gun) was their assisstance and support in bombing enemy defences so that the enemy could safely advance. The merit of both the Brummbär and Sturmtiger was their armour plating, which provided substantial protection to their crews. Like any other tank crew, these Assault Tanks also needed a crew of five, including two loaders. When we look at each of these tanks from the “World of Tanks” perspective they are perfectly suitable as SPGs. Although they might not look the part, historically their main guns had an effective range of over 4,000 meters. Let us look at each tank in part, and speculate what they might look like, once introduced into the game.
Sturmpanzer IV Brummbär
The Brummbar was first produced in 1943, as mentioned before, in order to aid in infantry assaults. With the quickly changing situation on the frontline the Brummbär was assigned into the Anti-Tank role and as an almost stationary gun. Considering its armor and gun it could perform exceedingly well under most circumstances. Its front plating measured 100mm in thickness, its 15 cm gun, with shells weighting 25 kg had to be reckoned with. It could hold a total of 38 rounds for its main gun, and needed a crew of five to operate properly (commander, driver, gunner and two loaders). It could reach a top speed of 40km/h on roads and 24 km/h off-road. According to the information I could dig up, it could penetrate 160mm of armor plating at a range of 100 meters (the same site states it could do the same at 2,000 meters). It also weighed approx. 28 tonnes (half the weight of a Tiger I).
From all the information gathered here, and by looking at historical photographs, we can piece together a very nice “picture” of what will the Brummbär look like in World of Tanks. With its 100mm front plating (which is not at all high), 38 round capacity, 40 km/h (top speed) although good penetration at low ranges we have a decent low to medium range SPG. My scepticism comes from the possible angle of elevation of its gun. historically the maximum top elevation was 30 degrees. If this will be the case “in-game”, the Brummbär will have a problem using cover to hide itself, since its gun might not be able to fire over said cover.
So, on one hand, this SPG might have decent plating (no other SPG has such tough plating, thus far), but its lack of elevation makes it restricted to an almost semi-TD (Tank Destroyer) role. If I were to guess, it could be a Tier VII SPG (the GW Panther E has a similar 15 cm gun). The plating, gun and still decent speed make it a dangerous foe. What will we get in reality? We will have to find out.
Sturmpanzer VI Sturmtiger
The Sturmtiger was produced later than the Brummbär (1944). The chassis coming from the Tiger I allowed the Sturmtiger to take on a heavier load, in this case its impressive gun, the 38 cm Stu M RW61. This gun was first used as a naval gun, and when mounted on the Sturmtiger could penetrate 2.5 meters of concrete. How does that translate into tank plating? No idea, but I expect it to be a dangerous weapon. Just like the Brummbär, the Sturmtiger had a top speed of 40km/h on roads and 12-24 hm/h off-road. The front plating of the Sturmtiger was 150mm thick. Just like in the case of the Brummbär a crew of five was needed (Commander, Driver, Gunner and two Loaders). It could only hold 13 to 14 rounds, but the weight of each shell was a massive 376 kg. It needed its own crane to reload efficiently. Unlike in the case of the Brummbär, the Sturmtiger could have a maximum top elevation of 85 degrees.
This will have to be an SPG which plainly says “I will hit something with this shot, or you will be bored for the next three minutes of my reloading.” The massive gun will have to be capable of dealing some incredible damage, even if lacking in penetration (there were never any Armor Piercing shells available). Its armor should provide it with adequate cover, and perhaps it might even keep its top speed, but I imagine two problems. Firstly, it is heavy. It is almost equivalent in weight to the King Tiger, meaning its speed and manoeuverability will be highly limited. Secondly, its gun. It might be big, but there would have to be both very low storage capacity and a very long reload. Since it is more heavily armored than the Brummbär, with a bigger gun and being overall bigger what Tier could it be? At least a Tier VII. Although it has its setbacks, it is most definitely not a lower tier SPG. Even if it does have extremely low velocity in “Real life”, it was stated recently that the SPG firing system will not change (no slow-flying shells).
I expect both of these SPGs to be higher tiers. This is not only due to their armor, but also the size of their guns. Although the Brummbär would have to be a lower tier than the Sturmtiger both of them are more heavily armored than all the other SPGs. The question is who will act as the Radioman? Like in most tank with limited crews and roles I would guess the Commander will dual role. The unique quirk about these two SPGs might be their frontline role as TDs. They might not have the best frontal plating, but the fact that it is still mildly thick (and angled) should permit them to sit in wait for enemy tanks. The Brummbär might make a better semi-TD than the Sturmtiger (due to its historical use), but both appear to be good choices for such a role.
What will we get in the end? We have yet to find out. Whether it will come in Patch 7.4 or a much further patch, nobody knows. If I do ever end up sitting in front of a Sturmtiger though I will wish I was a T-50-2 (Drive like the wind!). If you want to verify some of the historical information used here, I used Wehrmacht History.com and Wikipedia for basic information.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski