The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun was Germany's second most-produced armoured fighting vehicle during World War II after the Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track.
It was built on the chassis of the proven Panzer III tank, replacing the turret with an armored, fixed superstructure mounting a more powerful gun. Initially intended as a mobile assault gun for direct-fire support for infantry, the StuG III was continually modified, and much like the later Jagdpanzer, was employed as a tank destroyer.
Beginning with the StuG III Ausf. G from December 1942, a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun could be mounted on a shield on top of the superstructure for added anti-infantry protection. Some of the F/8 models were retrofitted with a shield. Many of the later StuG III Ausf. G models were equipped with an additional coaxial 7.92 mm MG34.
The vehicles of the Sturmgeschütz series were cheaper and faster to build than contemporary German tanks; at 82,500 RM, a StuG III Ausf G was cheaper than a Panzer III Ausf. M, which cost 103,163 RM. This was due to the omission of the turret, which greatly simplified manufacture and allowed the chassis to carry a larger gun. By the end of the war, ~11,300 StuG IIIs and StuH 42s had been built.