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Friday, June 6, 2014

The Wonderful World of the StuH 42

By Eric aka "Das Riha!" aka "The Mathmagician" Riha

On the off-chance you haven't received your invitation to the StuH party, consider this your RSVP. We're going to take an in-depth look at the mighty StuH 42 and compare its Flames of War combat effectiveness to the old standby StuG III G - all through the lovely lens of statistics! (I know - big surprise!)

Oh yeah! StuH party!

Real World Numbers

(from Wikipedia)

In 1942, a variant of the StuG III Ausf. F was designed with a 105 mm (4.1 in) howitzer instead of the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/43 cannon. These new vehicles, designated StuH 42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2), were designed to provide infantry support with the increased number of StuG III Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. Gs being used in the anti-tank role. The StuH 42 mounted a variant of the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzer, modified to be electrically fired and fitted with a muzzle brake. Production models were built on StuG III Ausf. G chassis. The muzzle brake was often omitted due to the scarcity of resources later in the war. ~1,299 StuH 42 were produced by Alkett from March 1943 to 1945, the initial 12 vehicles were built on repaired StuG III Ausf. F and F/8 from autumn 1942 to January 1943.

Flames of War Numbers

The StuH 42 is nearly identical to its far more ubiquitous cousin StuG III G. The StuH 42 retains the
Front Armor 7, Side Armor 3, Top Armor 1 from the StuG III G, and also keeps Schurzen options where given.

Where it differs, of course, is in armament. The RoF 2, AT 11, FP 3+ main gun of the StuG III G is swapped for a RoF 2, AT 10, FP 2+ main gun. At first glance, it seems like a pretty even trade - however, the StuH 42 howitzer also picks up the Breakthrough Gun rule which makes all the difference in the world.

The StuH is the guy in the upper right corner. If you don't have 4, I might recommend this box (GBX25).
(Edit: I've been informed that this box only includes 3 StuH 42 barrels. The faux pas could have been avoided, had I simply read the text in the picture....)


Since V3's release, we've all been somewhat aware of what Breakthrough Guns can do, and we know enough to blow up those lousy SU-122s as soon as we see them. However, many folks are not completely aware of how brutal these guns can be. With that in mind, let's look at the numbers!

*While all other numbers are "per RoF", the Infantry in Open figures take into consideration the StuG III G's Hull MG, which allows is to maintain parity with the StuH on the move.

This chart examines some common targets for the StuH 42, but the main thing we are looking at is the % change versus the StuG III G. Remember, the StuH and StuG have identical point costs (or nearly identical costs, depending on the book), so any change between them is very significant.

What we see against Dug-In infantry is that the StuH 42 massively outperforms the StuG III G. A 275% increase in effectiveness is incredible - You would need a company of 11x StuG Gs to match the dug-in infantry destroying firepower of a platoon of 4x StuH 42s.

The StuH 42 performs significantly better than the StuG G against gun teams at long range, mainly artillery pieces or anti-tank guns.

We can also see that it is marginally better against light armored vehicles (less than FA 5), but worse against medium to heavy armored vehicles (FA 6 and greater).

While most of us knew the StuH 42 is better than the StuG III G against unarmored targets, I think many of us underestimated exactly how much better the StuH 42 is. The difference, at least to me, is quite staggering.

Deceptively Sexy, much like me?


The StuH 42 is an unarmored target killing machine. While it can still perform AT duties in a pinch, the numbers show us that this unit is best deployed as a support platoon to a list with other Anti-Tank capabilities. Against other common late war foes - like the T-34/85 and Sherman 76mm with Front Armor 7 - the StuH 42 is greatly outmatched.

In the German arsenal, there are few other units as cost-effective at dismembering dug-in infantry teams as the StuH 42, while also being able to resist medium AT fire. The Sturmtiger is technically more proficient per shot and certainly more survivable, but suffers from slow rate of fire, low platoon count, and poor availability.

The StuH 42 is not seen in as many company diagrams as the StuG G assault gun, but when available I highly recommend it. Fortress Italy brings StuH 42s (and their poor man's cousin, the Semovente 105/25) back to the fore front with wide availability across nearly all Axis lists. Even better, the StuH 42 platoon is a Herman Goering platoon, so they'll automatically get a re-roll on platoon morale checks! Buy some and get them in your list! (Or if you're lazy like me, just chop down the barrel on any existing StuG G - muzzle breaks were commonly left off production vehicles to save on war resources.)

"Dammit, Hans, I knew it. They're totally having a StuH party over there."


I like to put my StuHs in Mobile Platoon slot #2, where I would normally put my secondary AT asset (Marders, Pak40s, etc). Point limitations often leave you with a platoon of 3 vehicles, but that should be plenty as long as you don't try to use them as front-line tanks.

While this does reduce the overall AT capabilities of a list, it often helps balance a German list's ability to take out Allied artillery platoons, Towed Tank Destroyer platoons (both the jeeps AND the gun teams), and Bazooka laden infantry platoons.

In fact, there is no greater joy than to drop your StuHs out of ambush to nail all 3 Jeeps in a TTD Security Section (Sorry, Luke!).

Also remember that hits from a Breakthrough Gun against transports also impacts passenger saves. Unarmored transports are destroyed automatically along with all passengers. Passengers inside an Armored Transport are also automatically destroyed if their transport is destroyed by a Breakthrough Gun.

So remember kids, while Disco Stu doesn't advertise, Disco StuH always knows where the party's at!

"StuH production numbers increased by 400% in the year ending 1944. 
If that trend continues.....Ayyyyyy!"

"Eric Riha is a total jerk and probably doesn't want to hear your comments, but I guess if you wanted to leave some you can drop them off in the WWPD Forums."

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