Sturmtiger Units of theWehrmacht

By Russ Folsom, Dr. Leo Niehorster, and James A. Broshot

Introduction:

The 38cm RW61 Sturmmörser was actually a shelved naval weapon, still in the developmental stage when picked up by the Waffenamt in mid-1943 for mating on the Tiger I chassis (late) to fulfill a proposed need for a mobile heavy assault gun to destroy fortified positions. It fired a 38cm rocket (gas)-propelled shell a distance of 5600m. The chassis was produced by Alkett in Berlin and the superstructure for the vehicle was manufactured by Brandenburger Eisenwerke. The first prototypes were ready for testing at Kummersdorf in October 1943 [and the type was first demonstrated for Hitler and the General Staff on 10 Oct 1943].

Operationally, two vehicles of the newly formed (Heeres) Sturm Mrs.Kompanie. 1000, but manned by Alkett factory personnel, were sent to Warsaw in the summer of 1944 to battle the 'Armia Krakowja' (Polish Home Army) in the brutal close-quarter city fighting for which they were designed. But this is as close as they ever came to the Eastern Front, or fighting the Red Army. The Soviets sat this particular battle out on the east bank of the Weichsel river, in the suburb of Praga; watching the Germans destroy General Bor's Armia Krakowja (and what might have been a future Polish adversary), building by building, block by block. Shortly thereafter, tentative plans were made to send a full Tiger-Mörser Kompanie to Bratislava (Pressburg) to quell the September 1944 Slovak uprising against the government of fascist strongman Tiso, but the situation was in hand before the unit was sent.

The Sturmtigers (or Tiger-Mörser), whose numbers never rose beyond 18 manufactured units, were assembled per order of the OKH into 3 Sturm Mörser Kompanien (1000 thru 1002) beginning in August of 1944: abbreviated 'Panz.Stu.Mör.Kp.'.

When all is said and done, though an impressive weapons platform, the 38cm Sturmtiger was a waste of resources and effort. Other than its brief use in Warsaw, it never properly performed the function it was built to fulfill. Because of numerous mechanical and supply difficulties, it was no more than semi-mobile artillery for the rest of the war on the Westfront; and a more lumbering and high-maintenance piece of weaponry (other than perhaps the Jagdtiger or Maus), would have been hard to find in the German arsenal in early 1945.

Unit Histories

Sturm-Mörser-Kompanie 1000
Sturm-Mörser-Batterie 1000 (23 Jan 1945)
[commander: ?]
13 Aug 1944 ordered formed as Panzertruppen unit
14 Aug 1944 ordered to Heeresgruppe Mitte
15 Aug 1944 - 18 Aug 1944 one Zug [Platoon] with two vehicles manned by factory personnel sent to Warsaw
25 Aug 1944 one Zug arrived Meaux-France
10 Sep 1944 one Zug with two vehicles attached to Panzer-Brigade 109 in Hungary
23 Sep 1944 combat-ready (?)
20 Oct 1944 St.Mrsr.Kp. 1000 sent from Budapest to Warsaw
22 Oct 1944 St.Mrsr.Kp. 1000 ordered to refit
13 Nov 1944 refitting at Tr.Ub.Pltz. Sennelager
15 Dec 1944 Wacht Am Rhein: initially assigned to 15. Armee (3 vehicles), then LXVII. Armeekorps, 6. Panzer-Armee in Elsdorf-Gemünd area [intended for reduction of Liege]
23 Jan 1945 reassigned and redesiganted as Artillerie unit; authorized strength increased to 6 vehicles

Operational Summary:

With only three operational vehicles, was dispatched along with St.Mrs.Kp.1001 in mid-December of 1944 from 15. Armee to the assault eschelons of 6. SS-Panzer Armee for participation in the Wacht am Rhein offensive in the Ardennes. Because of transportation and mechanical difficulties, the vehicles of Stu.Mrs.Kp.1000 never reached their jumping-off points, and some sources place one vehicle of this Sturmtiger unit in Alsace in January 1945 for participation in the abortive Nordwind offensive.

Sturm-Mörser-Kompanie 1001
Sturm-Mörser-Batterie 1001 (23 Jan 1945)
[commander: Hauptmann v. Gottburg]
23 Sep 1944 ordered raised as Panzertruppen unit
28 Sep 1944 1. Zug combat ready
5 Oct 1944 2. Zug combat ready
22 Oct 1944 St.Mrs.Kp. 1001 combat ready (?)
10 Nov 1944 sent to Oberbefehlshaber West
15 Dec 1944 Wacht Am Rhein: initially assigned to 15. Armee (3 vehicles), then LXVII. Armeekorps, 6. Panzer-Armee in Elsdorf-Gemünd area [intended for reduction of Liege]
23 Jan 1945 reassigned and redesiganted as Artillerie unit; authorized strength increased to 6 vehicles

Operational Summary:

Did reach the assembly area [for Wacht Am Rhein], and was briefly active on the Eifel front around Duren and Euskirchen in late December of 1944. Departing from the front in the general retreat from the Ardennes salient, they retreated across the Rhine, taking up positions on the east bank for a last minor engagement outside of Bonn near Drolshagen in early 1945. Because of problems with vehicle maintenance, the remaining 3 Sturmtigers were destroyed by their crews, and overrun by the advancing Allies shortly thereafter.

Sturm-Mörser-Kompanie 1002
Sturm-Mörser-Batterie 1002 (23 Jan 1945)
[commander: Leutnant Zippel]
22 Oct 1944 [ordered raised - Jentz]
14 Nov 1944 [ordered raised - Niehorster]
Dec 1944 sent to Oberbefehlshaber West
23 Jan 1945 reassigned and redesiganted as Artillerie unit; authorized strength increased to 6 vehicles

Operational Summary:

Started on the Westfront with 4 Sturmtigers at the bloody battle of the Reichswald. Pulling back in March 1945 across the Rhine river at Rheinberg, they were engaged briefly near Kirschellen. Retreating east, the unit fired on the advancing Allies while making a stand near Polsum; again at Marl, and in the vicinity of Datteln. Shortly thereafter, they ran out of fuel, lubricants, and ammunition. In late March, near Minden, the crews destroyed their last two vehicles and surrendered to the Allies.

Unit Organization:

KstN 1161 Panzer-Sturm-Mörser-Kompanie "Tiger" (15 Sep 1944)
Personnel:79
Vehicles:4 Sturmpanzer VI mit 38cm Mörser RW 61, Sturmtiger

1 SPW (SdKfz 251/18 Beobachtungswagen)?

11 Lkw.

4 Zgkw.
Company Headquarters:1 motorcycle

1 motorcycle w/sidecar

1 light car (cc)

1 SPW (SdKfz 251/18 Beobachtungswagen)
Platoon x 2:1 motorcycle

2 Sturmpanzer VI mit 38cm Mörser RW 61, Sturmtiger
Maintenance Section:1 light car (cc)

2 trucks (3-ton)
Trains:1 motorcycle w/ sidecar

1 light car

9 trucks (3-ton)

Vehicle Characteristics:

Sturmpanzer VI mit 38cm Mörser RW 61, Sturmtiger
combat weight:68 tons
road range: 120km
off-road range:85km
fuel consumption per 100km:450 litres
length (overall):631cm
width (overall):373cm;
height (with crane):346cm
engine:1x 700hp 12-cylinder Maybach HL 230 P 45
armament:1x 38cm Mörser RW 61 with 13 rounds

1x 7.92mm machine gun
crew:5
number built:18 (beginning Aug 1944)*

*von Senger und Etterlin also says 10
one captured by US Army 28 Feb 1945

Bibliography:

Chamberlin & Doyle. Encyclopeadia of German Tanks
Jentz, Thomas. Panzer Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation and Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1945
Pallud, Jean Paul. The Battle of The Bulge: Then and Now
Parker, Danny S. Battle of the Bulge: Hitler's Ardennes Offensive
Schneider, Wolfgang. Elefant, Jagdtiger, Sturmtiger; AFV NEWS, Vol.11, No.5 (Sep 1976)
Spielberger, Walther. Der Pzkpfw."Tiger" und Seine Arbaten


Return to Panzerkeil.

Return to Obscure Combat Formations of the Heer