Amid war Wehrmacht in dire need of as many as possible of tank destroyers, forcing the German designers go on improvisation. Some improvisations were successful, some not. One of the hasty creation of attempts tank destroyer was the adaptation of a self-propelled gun carriage, which was initially developed for the installation of its strong 150-mm field howitzer sFH 18. This was called the self-propelled gun carriage — Geschtitzwagen III / IV, because the car was based on the chassis of a medium tank Pz IV with the introduction of a huge number of nodes of the tank Pz III. As a result, combining the self-propelled gun carriage with 88-mm long-barreled gun Cancer 43 came to light tank destroyer. The car began to come into force in 1943 and was first called Hornisse (Hornet), but since 1944 its official title was Nashorn (Rhino).
In 1943, on the Eastern Front, German troops faced with the problem of deploying new anti-tank guns Cancer 43/1 88 mm caliber. They had to make up the base of antitank defense Wehrmacht. These guns had a wheeled carriage and were very languid (weight about 4.5 tonnes), for this reason, they lacked tactical flexibility. In order to change the firing position, had to lure special equipment to tow and a huge number of people. All this was quite in order to significantly reduce the advantages of this tool.
That’s why the German army stood on the agenda of the day or the question of how to make this a self-propelled gun. To realize this goal has been taken as the base tank Pz IV. With all this tool was very weary of it, and even with the introduction of wide track ground pressure was pretty huge. Because talk of a harsh booking ACS does not even stand. At that time, Germany has experienced a lack of high-quality steel, because of the already rather weak booking ACS «Nashorn» deteriorated introduction of non-hardened steel, making it more vulnerable to self-propelled guns.
The highest silhouette, which had ACS «Hummel», built on the basis of a self-propelled gun carriage — Geschtitzwagen III / IV, was for her uncritical, because she was shooting from the closed position. But the fighter tanks this shortcoming significantly complicated the life and masking machines transformed crew in a very non-trivial puzzle. In most cases, Nashorn drink items that have been removed from the enemy at a distance of over 2 km. While the vast majority of tank destroyers were usually used with much of least distances.
Taking this into account, the Germans gave the value in the production of 150-mm self-propelled howitzer, «Hummel». During the war, was built 724 «Hummel» and 494 «Nashorn». Massive anti-tank gun with a decent ballistics made «Nashorn» stern tank destroyer, with all this self-propelled guns had very bolshennymi size and, in contrast to the «Ferdinand», had protivosnaryadnogo reservation. Only the lack of specialized machines forced the Germans to use the «Rhino» in the role of the tank destroyer. Closer to the end of the war to replace the «Nashorn» came more advanced Tank Destroyers «Yagdpantera.»
At the request of arms Berlin company «Alkett» has developed a body such as wide as that of the hulls of the tank PzKpfw III (a bit wider than the tank PzKpfw IV). The components and assemblies recent ACS, including the drive wheels, differentials and the box were taken from the tank PzKpfw III. The engine with a cooling system, radiators, silencers from a medium tank PzKpfw IV Ausf.F. Self-propelled chassis components: support and track rollers, track pads, sloths were also taken from the PzKpfw IV.
ACS Nashorn was equipped with a 12-cylinder internal combustion engine «Maybach» HL120TRM. V-twin engine with a carburetor in the collapse of the cylinders 60 degrees had a working volume to 11,867 cm3 and developed the high power of 300 hp at 3000 rev / min. The engine is mounted in the central part of the case ACS, and the «floor» of him was very reinforced in order to locate problems without artillery tool near the center of mass «Nashorn».
Fuel housed in 2 tanks total volume of 600 l .. Razmesheny tanks were underneath the crew compartment, and casting their mouths were placed inside the crew compartment. So Makar, refueling with fuel could be produced even under enemy fire. Also in the bottom of the case are special drain holes that should have been in the event of an emergency fuel withdraw from the case ACS. These devices are only locked the crew in case of forcing aqua-bottlenecking wading.
Crew ACS consisted of 5 people. Ahead of the body in an isolated cabin was a driver ACS, 4 crew members, including the commander, were in the fighting compartment wheelhouse. Front, back and sides were covered with thin bronelistami. Cutting the top was open, as required by her could stretch canvas.
The spacious crew compartment was taken to the stern of the ACS. Barrel of the gun was located at a height of 2.24 m above the ground, which itself is small, at 0.6 meters higher than the standard level when placing guns on its standard cruciform gun carriage. Specifically, a very great height was a major shortcoming «Nashorn». The side walls of the fighting compartment was mounted vertically and had a total of only 10 mm. thickness and therefore could not provide reliable protection of crew. Endplate cabin had a good ballistic profile, but her book is also not exceed 10 mm. A distinctive feature of the ACS were motor air intake louvers, which were placed on both sides of the cabin around the middle of the machine body. They were placed on the fender and were slightly recessed inside the crew compartment. In general, ACS Nashorn was the best carrier for the 88-mm anti-tank gun, although very vulnerable to direct fire.
The bridge ACS Nashorn with the top of the mast was installed 88-mm gun StuK 43/1 (self-propelled gun variant Rak43 / 1) with a longish barrel in 71 gauge. Structurally, it was like a version of the towed guns, but the shape of the gun shield was performed rounded in order to ensure the ability to rotate instruments inside the cabin. The gun had a heat recovery (recuperation — the return of the energy that is consumed by manufacturing processes) which was mounted on the gun-barrel recuperator was located under the barrel. Along the edges of tools were special kontrbalansirovochnye cylinders. In the vertical plane of the gun had pickup angles from -5 to +20 degrees. Sector traverse was 30 degrees (15 degrees in both directions).
The main part of the gun ammunition, which consisted of 40 rounds, was placed in the racks on the sides of the crew compartment cabin. I Gunner in possession had several sights, including artillery and panoramic sight. For self-defense on the ACS was used MG-34 machine gun, and the crew had more than 2-submachine gun MP-40.
Features of use
ACS «Nashorn» were used in the specialized divisions of tank destroyers (Panzerjaeger Abteilung). These divisions were independent combat units that are not part of the organizational structure of the armored divisions. They have all been converted into the headquarters of the corps or army, and were attached to different parts in the form of strengthening, if necessary.
Divisions of the armed Nashorn SPG had the highest mobility and, despite the rather weak armor protection of the crew, often did not need the support of tanks. In addition to their appearance Wehrmacht infantry units have at their disposal mobile and better protected (as opposed to field anti-tank guns) the means of defense and anti-tank fire support. In most cases, these anti-self-propelled guns were used pobatareyno, sometimes on the same section of the front could meet the entire piece in full, this occurred only in extraordinary cases. Greater efficiency, being a powerful tool in the firing direct fire at a distance of up to 3.5 km, SAU achieved when the platoon in the battalion communications and surveillance that was due time to find the enemy and to notify the crew.
In most cases, with the assistance of tanks ACS «Nashorn» followed their battle formations far enough and sought to suppress enemy tanks and self-propelled guns of ambushes and previously elected positions. They are also often used as a mobile anti-tank reserve, structure and strength of which varies based on the situation. In general, they were a combined means of defense and attack, both in collaboration with tank and infantry units from the Wehrmacht. In fact, the crews Tank Destroyers Nashorn, maintaining a certain distance fight, had the opportunity to produce a variety of combat tasks, is rapidly moving from the 1st tactic to another. They were able to storm the ambush, use method of «hit-and-retreat» to produce an incorrect cover the retreat, and more.
The performance properties: Nashorn
Weight 24 tons
Length 8.44 m, width 2.95 m, height 2.94 m
Crew: 5 people.
Reservation: 10 to 30 mm.
Armament: 88-mm gun StuK43 / 1 L/71, 7,92-mm machine gun MG-34
Ammunition: 40 rounds, 600 rounds of ammunition.
Engine: 12-cylinder internal combustion engine is liquid cooled «Maybach» HL 120TRM, 300 hp
The highest speed: on the highway — 40 km / h
In store Speed: 260 km.