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Hummel was a self-propelled gun based on the Geschützwagen III/IV chassis and armed with a 15 cm howitzer. It was used by the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War from early 1943 until the end of the war.
The full name was Panzerfeldhaubitze 18M auf Geschützwagen III/IV (Sf) Hummel, Sd.Kfz. 165. On February 27, 1944, Hitler ordered the name Hummel to be dropped as it was deemed inappropriate for a fighting vehicle.
The Hummel was designed in 1942 after the need for mobile artillery support for tank forces had been demonstrated during the invasion of the USSR. The self-propelled artillery already in service with the Wehrmacht had proven of limited value.
The first option considered was mounting a 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer on a Panzer III chassis, rejected in favour of the same gun on a Panzer IV chassis. One prototype was built.
This design was rejected in favour of mounting the more powerful 15 cm sFH 18 L/30 howitzer on the specially designed Geschützwagen III/IV, which combined elements of both the Panzer III (driving and steering system) and Panzer IV chassis (suspension and engine). The same chassis was also used for the Nashorn tank destroyer.
The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle to make room for an open-topped lightly armoured fighting compartment at the Rear housing the gun and crew. Late models had a slightly redesigned driver compartment and front superstructure offering more room to the radio operator and driver.
The Hummel first participated in large scale combat at the Battle of Kursk, when some 100 served in armored artillery battalions (Panzerartillerie Abteilungen) of the Panzer divisions. They were formed into separate heavy self-propelled artillery batteries, each with six Hummel and one ammunition carrier.
Romania received one unit from the Red Army after the war ended. This was assigned to the 2nd Armoured Regiment with the registration number U069009. It was officially known as the Hummel TAs self-propelled gun in the army inventory. The gun could not be used because it was missing the lock. It was shown to the public on the 10th of May Bucharest parade in 1946 with Romanian markings.
All German armour units in Romania had been scrapped by 1954.
Six Hummel survive in museums, at the Munster Deutsches Panzermuseum, the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung in Koblenz and the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany, the Musée des Blindés in Saumur, France and the Fort Sill Field Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and one has been reconstructed at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum and is awaiting the Winterketten track.