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The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish Service

The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Ps.531-33 restored and showing all the modifications made during the (late) summer of 1944.

The reason for and idea behind this article is to try to provide accurate information about the "Sturmi", the Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service. I will concentrate on the more technical side of the Sturmi, while leaving the WWII-history of Finland and the Finnish Armoured Forces to be discussed elsewhere.

© Andreas Lärka 2001 - 2014

Purchase and production types

In 1943 Finland bought 30 Sturmgeschütz 401) G -assault guns from Germany. The first batch of 10 arrived in Finland on July 6th 1943, the next batch of 8 on August 10th 1943 and the last batch of 12 on September 3rd 1943. Four of the 1943 batch StuG's were delivered directly to Asevarikko 6 ("Gun depot number 6") in Jyväskylä to be stored as reserve-vehicles. On delivery the StuG's were painted all German Dark Yellow with German markings.

The 1943 -batch StuG's were early production (but not the initial) G models with the square gun-mantlet, rubber-tyred return rollers, drive-sprockets with the "hubcaps", the loader's MG-shield, the loader's hatch opening up to the front and to the back, rotating periscope-ring on the commander's cupola and early type fendersupports (of two kinds; the "plain pipe" beeing from Alkett and the "pipe with triangular support" beeing from MIAG). Some StuG's had the early substructure with the bolted on armour in the front of the vehicle and the "straight-welded" rear armour. Some had the new substructure with the all 80mm welded front armour and "interlocked-welded" rear armour. And there was at least one vehicle (Ps.531-30 from MIAG) with the newer 80mm front + interlocked rear but with the older "square-welded" engine-deck.

The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Square gun-mantlet
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Drive-sprockets with "hubcaps" and rubber-tyred return-rollers
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Loader's MG-shield
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Early loader's hatch
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Rotating commander's cupola
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Early type fendersupports
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Bolted on armour
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
80mm welded armour

10 of the vehicles were made in the Alkett (Altmärkische Kettenwerk GmbH) -factory in Berlin, 19 in the MIAG (Mühlenbau und Industrie AG) -factory in Braunschweig and 1 in the M.A.N. (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg) -factory.

Alkett: Ps.531-1, -2, -5, -9, -10, -12, -13, -15, -16 and -18.
MIAG: Ps.531-3, -4, -6, -7, -8, -11, -12, -14, -19, -20, -21, -22, -23, -24, -25, -26, -27, -28, -29 and -30.
M.A.N.: Ps.531-17.

Please see below in the Notes -section for my theory on how to tell from which factory a specific vehicle is.

In 1944 Finland bought another 29 Sturmgeschütz III1) G's from Germany. The first batch of 5 arrived in Finland on June 29th 1944, the next batch of 7 on July 2nd 1944, the next batch of 3 on July 6th 1944, the next batch of 6 on August 3rd 1944 and the last batch of 8 on August 6th 1944. Also these were delivered painted all German Dark Yellow and with German markings.

The 1944 batch StuG's were "late middle / early late" production G models with the Topfblende / "Saukopf" gun-mantle, all-steel return rollers (Alkett and MIAG), drive-sprockets with the wheel-bolts showing, loaders hatches opening to the sides, deflecting armour for the commander's cupola, solid (non-rotating) periscope-ring on the commander's cupola, late type fendersupports, typical German rear deck stovage-racks and Zimmerit.

The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Topfblende / "Saukopf" gun mantlet
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Drive-sprocket with the wheel-bolts showing and all-steel return rollers
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Loader hatch opening to the sides
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Deflecting armour for the commander's cupola
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Solid commander's cupola
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Late type fendersupports
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Rear deck stovage racks
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Zimmerit

24 of the vehicles were made in the Alkett (Altmärkische Kettenwerk GmbH) -factory in Berlin and 5 in the MIAG (Mühlenbau und Industrie AG) -factory in Braunschweig.

Alkett: Ps.531-31, -32, -33, -34, -35, -36, -37, -38, -39, -40, -41, -42, -43, -44, -45, -46, -49, -52, -53, -54, -55, -56, -57 and -58.
MIAG: Ps.531-47, -48, -50, -51 and -59.

Most of the 1944 batch StuGs had the base for the remote-controlled machine-gun and the hole in the roof for the self-defence grenade launcher (the "Nahverteidigungswaffe"), but none of the Finnish StuGs had either of them. The StuGs left the factories without this equipment and the holes in the roof plugged.

Apparently the roofs were already manufactured but the above mentioned equipment hadn't arrived from some other armament factory in time for the delivery. The Finns welded a small stand for the DT-machine gun to the bolted on plug.

The 1944 batch StuG's were manufactured in either the Alkett- or the MIAG -factories. The zimmerit makes it easy to spot the manufacturer of the vehicle, with the "Waffle-pattern" zimmerit beeing a vehicle from Alkett and the "tile-pattern" zimmerit beeing a vehicle from MIAG.

It seems like the Alkett-vehicles all had the pressed fendersupports, Topfblende / "Saukopf" -gunmantlet, the hole for the "Nachverteidigungswaffe" plugged from below, and either rubber-tyred return-rollers (Ps.531-38, -41, -42 etc.) or the "holes but no spokes" all-metal return-rollers.

All the MIAG-vehicles had the square gunmantlet, the MIAG fendersupports, "spokes but no holes" all-metal return-rollers, the hole for the "Nachverteidigungswaffe" plugged from the top and Pilze-mounts.

Modifications during 1943 and early 1944

Between the arrival of the 1943 batch StuGs at the Panssarikeskus ("Tank-Center") in Varkaus and their first "official appearance" in Enso (Svetogorsk) June 4th 1944 the following changes had been made:

The German MG 34 was changed into the Russian DT tank-machinegun and the crew's MP 40 sub-machinegun was changed into the Suomi sub-machinegun. The loader's shield had to be modified with a larger hole and a different stand for the DT tank-machinegun. The protective shields on the sides, "Schurzen", were removed. Apparently because they were deemed impractical.

During the spring of 1944 the spare roadwheels on most vehicles were moved from their original place at the rear of the tank and placed on the sides of the fighting compartment. At the same time a large wooden stowage box was put on the rear of the tank where the sparewheels used to be3). The split-lid box had a large (Soviet type, often seen on the T-34) saw attached to the front of it, and one grab handle per side. The stowage box was held in place by metal racks, sort of a shortened version of the German stowage racks. The start-crank was moved to the rear of the tank.

In Varkaus the StuG's also got their tank numbers4) painted to the front and the rear of the vehicles and also punched into a small metal plate on the sides of the fighting compartment. As national markings the Finnish tank-swastika was painted on both sides of the fighting compartment, on the rear and front armourplates and on top of the gun-mantlet. The swastika on top of the gun-mantlet was probably painted from the front, i.e. the swastika was facing the front of the vehicle.

The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Larger hole and DT-stand
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Moved spare-wheels
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
The rear equipment box
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Moved start-crank

The StuG's were painted in the 1943 standard Finnish "hard-edge" - (brushpainted) camoflage colour scheme of: Moss Green, Sand Brown and Light Grey. The StuG's were painted in a similar pattern, however each one got an individual scheme.

During 1943 and early 1944 Finland lived in a state of waiting. The troops had stopped their attacks in early 1942 and were regrouped for defence. Now the bulk of the troops were "doing nothing but playing cards...".

One of the few exceptions was the Finnish Armoured Division, and especially the Rynnäkkötykkipataljoona where the training and excercise with the new StuG's never stopped. Still none of the 1943 batch StuG's saw any action before the Soviet mass-offensive in the Summer of 1944.

Modifications during the summer of 1944

The Soviet mass-offensive on the Karelian Isthmus had begun on June 9th 1944, and the StuG's was the only modern equipment Finland had to put up against the Soviets. After suffering the first 5 losses in Kuuterselkä on June 15th 1944 and 2 losses in Tali-Ihantala on June 28th 1944, orders were given on July 2:nd 1944(?) that the modifications mentioned below was to be done to the remaining StuG's. Resulting, together with re-newed battle skills and tactics, in only one StuG lost in Vuosalmi July 11th 1944.

  • The celluloid covers for the periscopes in the commander's cupola were to be removed.
  • Extra-protection logs were to be attached to the sides of the fighting-compartment.5)
  • The stowage box were to be lowered.
  • Extra track-links were to be added to the lower front armour.
  • Concrete reinforcements were to be put beside the main gun, on top of the front of the fighting-compartment.
  • And last but not least, the crews were allowed to paint victory-rings on the gun-barrel in additions to the nick-names painted earlier on the driver's visor.

The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
The celluloid periscope-covers
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Extra protection-logs
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Extra track-links
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish service
Concrete reinforcements


Later on the following changes were done in addition to the ones mentioned above. These modifications were probably done at the Panssarikorjaamo ("Armour repairshop") in Enso.


Many of these modifications were made at the Panssarikeskus or the Panssarikorjaamo, but also on the field. As many wartime pictures show, the modifications were made when time allowed, but the most part of the 1943 batch StuG's were modified with most of the modifications mentioned in the first part of the list before the battle of Vuosalmi (I'm not so sure about the concrete). In August 1944, when the fighting had slowed down and was almost over, nearly all of the 1943 batch StuG's had all of the modifications while a few of the later 1944 batch StuG's still didn't have any modifications at all (Ps.531-56).

From the 1944 batch of StuG's none probably ever fired their guns in anger. Most of them arrived too late to see any real action, as the first of the 1944 batch StuG's that arrived were used as reserves and for securing the rear areas. The 1944 batch StuG's did not get the Finnish three tone camoflage-scheme, only a light overspray of dark green and the 1944 modifications mentioned above. Some photos from September of 1944 show all green StuG's of the 1944 batch StuG's with the all the 1944 modifications, but with German Dark Yellow fighting-compartment sides, German crosses and a yellow track-link pattern up front where the logs and extra track-links had been during overspraying!

As amoung others (the unlucky) Ps.531-13 had been stripped for spare parts and a few others of the 1943 batch StuG's served as reserves, a fair estimation would be that only about 20 of the 1943 batch StuG's were operational and saw action during the summer of 1944.

The battles took place at Kuuterselkä June 14th - 15th 1944, Perkjärvi June 16th 1944, Tali-Ihantala June 25th - 29th 1944 and at Vuosalmi July 11th - 21th 1944. The first victory is noted on June 15th 1944 and the last on July 13th 1944. All in all, taking into consideration re-grouping etc., the StuG's only saw about three weeks of front-line duty and only about seven days of tank fighting.

Finland lost 8 of the 1943 batch StuG's. (Ps.531-1, Ps.531-2, Ps.531-3, Ps.531-5, Ps.531-17, Ps.531-23, Ps.531-24 and Ps.531-29). The Soviets lost 87 tanks and an uncounted number of anti-tank guns, anti-tank rifles, trucks etc. thanks to our StuG's and their crews. Quite a remarkable result for such a small force!

After the armistice with the Soviets in September, all the StuG's were loaded on trains going off to fight the Germans in the Lapland War. As the StuG's were not suitable for wading (the Germans destroyed all the bridges and so much of the roads as they could) the StuG's finally returned to base in October - November 1944. They were not involved in any Lapland War fighting.

Post-War modifications

After the war the StuG's were stored for possible war-time use. Most were still wearing their war-time modifications, concrete and all. Only the colour was changed into "Kimmo Kenttävihreä" all green and the tank-swastika was changed into the Finnish roundel that is still used today. Some StuG's (less than 10) were used for training but the bulk of both batches were serviced and stored.

In the early 1950's the following changes were made to most or all of the remaining StuG's:

  • The remaining concrete and the Zimmerit was removed.
  • The on-vehicle equipment was changed into a standard configuration with a big stowage-box on the right side of the fighting compartment, a box-like hinged "lid" for the fire-extinguisher beside the loader's front armour and a "cage" for the tarpaulin on the left side of the fighting compartment.
  • The sparewheels were moved back to their original place.
  • The crow-bars and the vehicle jack were moved to the rear of the vehicle.
  • New tiedowns for axes were added to the front fenders, tiedowns for showels on the rear fenders and tiedowns for towing wires to the front armour.
  • The drivers visor was kept as it was and on some vehicles the loader's armour got about 50 mm of concrete in front of it.
  • A new headlight and a rear light covered with sheet metal was added to the left fender.
  • Extra track-rails were added to the lower hull sides or to the bolted-on armour-plates on the lower hull sides.
  • All the maintenance-hatches were given handles.
  • Furthermore some StuG's got gun travel-locks like the ones featured on some of the 1944 batch StuG's.
  • Some of the 1943 batch StuG's got welded-on deflecting armour for the commander's cupola.
  • The 1944 batch StuG's got loader's shields (made from, among other things, the lower hull armour on the BT-7's Finland captured during the war!) similar to them on the 1943 batch StuG's.

As the spare-parts were impossible to get after the war many StuG's were used for spare-parts for the others when they broke down. Therefore the StuG's in post-war pictures can feature a mish-mash of parts from both the 1943 and 1944 batches. One quite typical feature on Finnish post war StuG's is, that the track-links are put on "backwards". Apparently this was done to prolong the use of the tracks and even out the wear and tear.

In 1958 about 20 ex-German Panzer III's, one StuG, 10 engines, tracks and other spare-parts were bought from Norway.
In 1960 the StuG's were taken out of storage and a total of 45 remaining operational StuG's were used for training.

The last StuG's were removed from the inventory in 1966. A few still served on as dug in artillery beside strategic air-fields until the 1980's (!) and some were sold to or exchanged with museums in Finland, England and Germany. And quite a lot were used for target practice...

Surviving Finnish StuG's

This list is gathered and modified from the many excellent references mentioned in the Sources-section on the About -page. Most of the battle- and "location now" info is taken from Erkki Käkelä's book "Laguksen rynnäkkötykit" while many pieces of small but equally important info is from Esa Muikku's and Jukka Purhonen's book "The Finnish armoured vehicles 1918 - 1997" and of course from my own research and contacts.

Please note, that the Finnish Army was not familiar with the new Soviet IS-2 tanks in 1944 and therefore often referred to them as "KV" -tanks. The Soviets used both the T-34 and the T-34-85 during the fighting and therefore any mention of the "T-34" in the list below might as well refer to the T-34-85.

1943's Victories and location now
Ps.531-1
"Aune"
Served as a command-vehicle.
Destroyed in Kuuterselkä, June 15th 1944.

Took at least one hit destroying the tracks and the suspension. The commander had shortly before been seriously wounded by a schrapnel from an AT-gun and the crew had to abandon the StuG.
Ps.531-2 Destroyed in Nurmilampi, Tali, June 28th 1944.

Suffered a malfunction. Hit a Finnish AT-mine while reversing to safety, destroying the engine and the left hand side suspension. The StuG had to be abandoned.
Ps.531-3
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
2 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Savela Staff Sergeant P. Hyytiäinen
2 total
Destroyed in Nurmilampi, Tali, June 28th 1944.

Took a hit shortly after destroying a Soviet tank. Continued fighting until another three hits destroyed amoung other things the drive sprocket. The StuG had to be abandoned.
Ps.531-4
"Lisbeth"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
1 ISU-152 Portinhoikka June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal V. Piiparinen Sergeant P. Nertamo
1 T-34 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Lance Corporal H. Kauhanen Lieutenant A. Peltonen
2 total
Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Ps.531-5
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
4 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Corporal O. Taponen Corporal I. Koskiniemi
1 ISU-152 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Corporal O. Taponen Corporal I. Koskiniemi
1 T-34 Portinhoikka June 25th 1944 Corporal L. Leppänen 2nd Lieutenant Y. Ruokkola
6 total
Destroyed in Vuosalmi, July 11th 1944.

Took a hit to the fighting compartment. The driver corporal Pirttinen was seriously wounded. The commander sergeant Rastas and the gunner lance corporal Rajamäki were wounded. All managed to bail out except for the driver. The commander returned to get the driver out, but the StuG took another hit killing the driver. The loader sergeant Kuismin was reported MIA. He was probably killed by Soviet small arms.
Ps.531-6
"Liisa"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
3 T-34 Portinhoikka June 25th 1944 Corporal O. Taponen Lieutenant O. Aulanko
1 T-34 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Lance Corporal T. Juomoja Corporal O. Taponen
Lieutenant O. Aulanko
3 ISU-152 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Lance Corporal T. Juomoja Corporal O. Taponen
Lieutenant O. Aulanko
1 Unknown No location No date Lance Corporal T. Juomoja Corporal O. Taponen
Lieutenant O. Aulanko
8 total
Took a hit to the loader's front armour (near the roof-line) in Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944, killing the loader armourman Paavo Havu. Continued fighting the same day with a new temporary loader and the hole in the front armour uncovered! Repaired and returned to normal service.

Repainted in a nice-looking but probably made-up war time colourscheme.
Normally stored at the Finnish Armour Museum in Parola, for the moment on loan at the Tykistömuseo in Hämeenlinna.
Ps.531-7
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
3 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal L. Leppänen Sergeant E. Vartia
1 KV-I Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal L. Leppänen Sergeant E. Vartia
4 total
Took a hit in the fighting compartment in Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 wounding the commander sergeant E. Vartia and the loader lance corporal L. Makkonen. Sent to the Panssarikeskus for repairs, but written off on October 24th 1944 and used for spare-parts.

Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-8
"Aili"

Featuring different sized front maintenance-hatches opening up to the front, like on the Panzer III.

Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
5 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal H. Kauhanen Lieutenant A. Peltonen
2 T-34 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Armourman A. Tingvall Captain Y.K.K. Talvitie
7 total
Served as a command-vehicle.

Repainted in the original wartime colour-scheme.
Located at the Reserviupseerikoulu's museum in Hamina.
Ps.531-9
"Toini"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
1 T-34 Perkjärvi June 16th 1944 Lance Corporal K. Muona Lieutenant M. Kiuasperä
1 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 26th 1944 Lance Corporal K. Muona Lieutenant M. Kiuasperä
1 ISU-152 Leitimojärvi June 26th 1944 Lance Corporal K. Muona Lieutenant M. Kiuasperä
3 T-34 Portinhoikka June 29th 1944 Lance Corporal K. Muona Lieutenant M. Kiuasperä
1 T-34 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Lance Corporal K. Muona Lieutenant M. Kiuasperä
7 total
Destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-10
"Bubi"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
4 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Soimala 2nd Lieutenant B. Brotell
1 ISU-152 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Soimala 2nd Lieutenant B. Brotell
2 T-34 Portinhoikka June 29th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Soimala 2nd Lieutenant B. Brotell
1 T-34-85 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Soimala 2nd Lieutenant B. Brotell
3 T-34-85 Vuosalmi July 12th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Soimala 2nd Lieutenant B. Brotell
11 total
Restored and repainted in the original wartime colour-scheme.
Located at the Panssariprikaati -garrison in Parola.
Ps.531-11
"Airi"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
3 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal V. Gullman Sergeant N. Kuismin
1 ISU-152 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal V. Gullman Sergeant N. Kuismin
4 total
Restored and repainted in an awful made-up "Finnish" camoflage-scheme.
Displayed at the Panzermuseum Munster, Hans-Krüger-Straße 33, 29633 Munster in Germany.
Ps.531-12
"Lea"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
4 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal M. Kokkonen Corporal S. Karukka
2 "Light tanks" Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal M. Kokkonen Corporal S. Karukka
1 T-34 Portinhoikka June 29th 1944 Lance Corporal M. Kokkonen Corporal S. Karukka
2 ISU-152 Vuosalmi July 12th 1944 Lance Corporal M. Kokkonen Sergeant V. Kuusisto
9 total
Restored.
Located at the Kuljetusvarikko in Kalkku, Tampere.
Ps.531-13 Used for spare-parts already in 1943.
Ps.531-14
"Vappu"..?
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
3 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 25th 1944 Armourman E. Paakkinen Sergeant A. Merivirta
2 T-34 Portinhoikka June 29th 1944 Armourman E. Paakkinen Sergeant A. Merivirta
5 total
Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Ps.531-15 Stored at a Finnish Army Depot
Ps.531-16 Transfered from the 3rd company to the 1st company on June 30th 1944. Out of order July 11 - July 15th 1944. Used as reserve vehicle during July and as a command-vehicle in August 1944.

"Bob Fleming's StuG". Recently sold to: Jacques Littlefield, The Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, Portola Valley, California, U.S.A.
Ps.531-17
M.A.N.

Build on a Panzer III chassis. Equipped with "wading-proof" exhausts.

Destroyed in Kuuterselkä, June 15th 1944.

Took one hit destroying the gearbox and another destroying the main gun. The driver armourman K. Väisänen and the loader armourman E. Partanen were wounded. The StuG was blown up by the crew.
Ps.531-18
"Kirsti"..?
Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Ps.531-19
"Marjatta"
7)
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
4 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal O. Lagus Lieutenant M. Sartio
2 T-34 Portinhoikka June 25th 1944 Lance Corporal R. Anttila Lieutenant M. Sartio
1 Unknown No location No date Lance Corporal R. Anttila Lieutenant M. Sartio
7 total
Served as a command-vehicle.

Repainted in a made-up wartime-like colour-scheme.
Displayed at the Finnish Armour Museum in Parola.
Ps.531-20
"Meeri"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
1 T-34 SouthEast of Murokallio June 27th 1944 Lance Corporal H. Hyvämaa Captain T. Kumlin
1 KV-1 SouthEast of Murokallio June 28th 1944 Lance Corporal H. Hyvämaa Captain T. Kumlin
2 total
Served as a command-vehicle in August 1944.

Stored at a Finnish Army Depot.
Ps.531-21 7) Served as a command vehicle. Took a hit in the superstructure in Portinhoikka on June 26th 1944 killing lieutenant Matti Siitonen and lance corporal Onni Sundqvist. Converted into a driver's training vehicle, a Stu 40 K, with a new roof and no gun. Given a new registration number, Ps.631-1 in the spring of 1956. Re-converted into a normal StuG in 1959 when it again was given it's old registration number. The gun added was of the "Saukopf" -type.

Stored at a Finnish Army Depot
Ps.531-22 Stored at a Finnish Army Depot
Ps.531-23 Served as a command-vehicle.
Abandoned in Kuuterselkä, June 15th 1944.

The crew bailed out after a grenade hit close to the front of the StuG. Apparently the StuG was still in full working condition.
Ps.531-24 7)
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
1 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
1 ISU-152 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
1 KV-1 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
3 total
Destroyed in Kuuterselkä, June 15th 1944.

Advanced further than the other StuG's. Got stuck on a pile of stones by the trenches. Blown up by the crew to avoid capture by the attacking Soviets.
Ps.531-25 7)
"Kyllikki"
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
2 T-34 Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
1 ISU Vuosalmi July 11th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
1 KV-1 Vuosalmi July 13th 1944 Armourman S. Vuorela Sergeant E. Halonen
4 total
Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-26
"Mikki"

(a post-war name)
Restored and repainted in a made-up but probable wartime colour-scheme.
Located at the Oulun sotilasläänin esikunta's garrison area in Hiukkavaara, Oulu.
Ps.531-27 Destroyed during target practice after the war.
To be sold at an auction in September 2007.
Ps.531-28 Sent to the Panssarikeskus for repairs, but written off on October 24th 1944 and used for spare-parts.
Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-29
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
2 T-34 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal V. Haapamäki Captain C. B. Kvikant
1 ISU-152 Kuuterselkä June 15th 1944 Lance Corporal V. Haapamäki Captain C. B. Kvikant
3 total
Served as a command-vehicle.
Destroyed in Kuuterselkä, June 15th 1944.

Took a hit destroying the StuG.
Ps.531-30 Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Kills scored but StuG unknown
Kills Tank Location Date Gunner Commander
1 T-34 Leitimojärvi June 26th 1944 Lance Corporal S. Kanniainen Unknown
1 T-34 Vuosalmi July 12th 1944 Corporal U. Tammi Unknown
1 KV-1 Vuosalmi July 13th 1944 Corporal V. Haapamäki Unknown
3 total
1944's Location now
Ps.531-31 Restored.
Located at the Maasotakoulu (Maanpuolustusopisto) in Lappeenranta.
Ps.531-32
"Hellevi"
Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-33
"Marjo"..?
Restored into the configuration the vehicle had during late summer 1944.
Located at the Karjalan Prikaati -garrison in Vekaranjärvi.
Ps.531-34 Located at the Garrison area in Kouvola.
Ps.531-35 Stored at a Finnish Army Depot.
Ps.531-36 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-37 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-38 Restored.
Located at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr, Olbrichtplatz 2, 01099 Dresden in Germany.
Ps.531-39
"Hellikki"
Restored.
Located at the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung des Bundesamtes für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung, Mayener Str. 85-87, 56070 Koblenz (Lützel) in Germany.
Ps.531-40 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-41
"Karoliina"
Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-42
"Milla"
Restored and repainted in a German wartime colour-scheme.
Displayed at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim, Obere Au 2, 74889 Sinsheim bei Heidelberg in Germany.
Ps.531-43 Stored at a Finnish Army Depot
Ps.531-44
"Maija"
Repainted in a made-up German wartime colour-scheme.
Located at the The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, BH20 6JG in Great Britain.
Ps.531-45 Restored and in running condition.
Displayed at the Finnish Armour Museum in Parola.
Ps.531-46 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-47 Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Ps.531-48 Stored at the Finnish Armour Museum's storage in Parola.
Ps.531-49 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-50 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-51 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-52 Converted into a Stu 40 K in 1948. Given a new registration number, Ps.631-2 in the spring of 1956. Re-converted into a normal StuG in 1958 when it again was given it's old registration number.

Restored
Located at the Panssarivarikko in Ilveskallio, Hattula.
Ps.531-53 Sent to the Panssarikeskus for repairs, but written off on October 24th 1944 and used for spare-parts.
Cut open in 1952 and used for training mechanics.

Displayed at the Finnish Armour Museum in Parola.
Ps.531-54 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-55 Destroyed during target practice after the war.
To be sold at an auction in September 2007.
Ps.531-56 Probably destroyed during target practice after the war.
Ps.531-57 "Re-Zimmerited" and repainted in German colours to portray a 1944 StuG before the modifications.
Displayed at the Finnish Armour Museum in Parola.
Ps.531-58 To be sold at an auction in September 2007.
Ps.531-59 Repainted in a made-up winter camoflage but otherwise in rather bad condition.
Located at the Savon Prikaati -garrison in Mikkeli.

Notes

1)

StuG 40 G or StuG III G?
The first batch of StuG's were: Gepanzerte Selbstfahrlafette für Sturmgeschütz 7,5-cm Sturmkanone 40, Ausführung G also called: 7,5-cm-Sturmgeschütz 40 or abbreviated like we are used to today: Stu-40 Ausf. G.
The second batch were: Sturmgeschütz III für 7,5-cm-Sturmkanone 40 (L/48) abbreviated StuG III.

The difference was that the StuG IV had "hit the market" during the time for the second batch and therefore it was important that the two different-hulled StuG's easily could be told apart from each other. That's why the StuG's III's were named after the hull they were made on, the Panzer III hull.

2)

- obsolete -

3)

At least Ps.531-12 remained with the spare-wheels on the rear of the tank during the summer of 1944. This was later changed.

4)

"Ps.531-8" Ps. = "Panssarivaunu" or 'Tank', "531" = the StuG's vehicle-type number and "8" is the vehicle serial number.

5)

In the beginning the logs were attached with steel wire, but later on the logs were placed in "J" -shaped holders made from metal stripes.

6)

Please note that the track-rails are post-war modifications!

7)

The four StuG's that were delivered directly to the Asevarikko 6 to serve as reserve-vehicles were: Ps.531-19, -21, -24 and Ps.531-25. In April 1944 these were changed into four other StuG's that had already been "broken in". These four were Ps.531-2, -12, -18 and Ps.531-26.
The StuGs that were sent to AV6 in April 1944 did not receive any of the modifications we normally keep as "Finnish mods", i.e. the moved spare wheels, the wooden box etc. Modern examination of -12, -18 and -26 shows us that there are no weldmarks on the superstructure sides where the sparewheel holders should have been.
Beside this little curiosity (modelbuilders can build a Finnish StuG without the "Finnish mods") we can draw the conclusion that probably the "Finnish mods" were done to the other StuGs between April and June of 1944.

The theory below was written down around the year of 2003. At that time there were no "proper" books (beside Spielberger's) and studies available regarding the StuGs. I am glad to notice that modern studies have proved my more than 10-year old theory to be accurate! - Andreas Lärka 2014

I have a theory on how to spot the manufacturer of the StuGs. The key is the fender-supports! The theory goes like this:

Acording to Spielbergers "Sturmgeschütz & It's Variants" the Alkett -factory started making the StuG 40 G in December 1942 and MIAG started in February 1943. Furthermore, Alkett started making the newer "interlocked-welded rear + all 80mm welded front hull armour" -substructures in May 1943, while MIAG used up the stock of already manufactured "straight-welded rear and 50 + 30mm bolted on front armour" -substructures. The last vehicles with the older parts left the MIAG factory in October 1943.

If we take a look at wartime photos of the 1943 -batch of StuGs that came to Finland we can see that all except one (Ps.531-12 - made by Alkett) of the StuGs with the bolted on front armour have the "pipe and triangular support" fendersupports and all except one (Ps.531-30 - made by MIAG) of the StuGs with the welded front armour have the "plain pipe" fendersupports.

I claim - when looking at the manufacturing dates mentioned below, the chassis-numbers and dates of arrival of the Finnish StuGs - that the StuGs with the "plain pipe" -fendersupports were made in the Alkett-factories and the ones with the "pipe and triangular support" fendersupports were made in the MIAG-factories.

One must remember that Alkett had earlier manufactured the StuG F/8 etc. with it's "plain pipe" -fendersupports. MIAG started manufacturing StuGs with the StuG 40 G. Apparently the MIAG engineers thought that the "plain pipe" wasn't good enough and changed it into the "pipe and triangular support" -fendersupport.

In late 1943 Alkett changed their fendersupports to the pressed ones. MIAG didn't change their fendersupport at all. I believe that the MIAG factory kept their fendersupport throughout the war (along with the earlier gun-mantlet - but that is another story).

Furthermore - and here is the real "evidence" - the easiest way to tell the difference between the manufacturers is when the StuGs were Zimmerited. Everybody knows the diffrence between Alkett's Waffle-type zimmerit and MIAG's tile-type zimmerit. Until this day I have never seen a photograph of a zimmerited Alkett StuG with the "pipe and triangular support" fendersupport nor a photograph of a zimmerited MIAG StuG with the "higher pressed" fendersupport on the front right.

Chassis-numbers:
Alkett 91.651 - 94.250 and 105.001 - ?
MIAG 95.001 - 100.000
M.A.N. 76.111 - 76.210 and 77.351 - 77.450



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