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StuG III Thread (and also other German vehicles I guess)


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A rare point of unqualified praise for WW2 German vehicles, and especially anything touched by Kniepkamp:




The layout of the Pz III is compact and efficient given the components it carried. So I can see why the engineers pinned so many hopes on making it the only medium tank in production, especially when compared to the zoo that the Germans ended up with in practice. Pity about the small turret ring, though. And the endless issues in getting the suspension and transmission right.

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interesting Rheinmetall patent i found, in which part of the frontal turret armour is attached to the gun, and recoils with it, to reduce the recoil path.

An additional patent shows a more complicated version of this that is supposed to also manage the vertical component of recoil when the gun is elevated. But honestly i am to dumb to understand that version.

i find it interesting that there seems to be a bunch of patents from around this time about reducing the required space for recoil and elevation of an MBT gun. I would guess with a perspective of integrating larger calibre guns without increasing turret volume.

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On 10/29/2022 at 11:58 AM, SH_MM said:

Below is a marketing photo from Eurosatory 2022, showcasing a Dedrone RF360 sensor on a RCT-30 turret mounted on a Boxer. The sensor would detect radio signals as used to control (micro-)UAVs within a 5 kilometres range and determine the direction from which the UAV is approaching. The software updated to the FCS would then allow (probably automatically) tracking the drone and engaging it.

interesting that the pictures from the test show the turret without the MUSS infrared jammer while in the marketing material it is present

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  • 3 weeks later...

The upgrade of the rest of the Puma IFVs to the Puma S1 configuration has been funded. In Q1/2023, a second batch of Puma IFVs will be ordered. Rumors suggest that it was significantly reduced in terms of quantity (~50 instead of 150-266 new Pumas)... because the Inspecteur of the German Army is a big supporter of the wheeled Boxer heavy weapons carirer/"IFV in everything but name".

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6 hours ago, SH_MM said:

Rumors suggest that it was significantly reduced in terms of quantity (~50 instead of 150-266 new Pumas)... because the Inspecteur of the German Army is a big supporter of the wheeled Boxer heavy weapons carirer/"IFV in everything but name".

Personally hoping the rumours are untrue... but only time will tell.

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It is a very odd story. As reported by Thomas Wiegold, the unit in question went to the exercise without most/some of the specialized tools required for maintaining/repairing the Puma IFV without spare parts. The mail from Major General von Butler also states that the Leopard 2 was given priority for "overnight repairs".


The original Der Spiegel article (cited by n-tv.de and others) already points out that von Butler's behaviour is weird. He only reported on the issues in a long, detailed e-mail (instead of using a more direct way of communication earlier) that he send to multiple recipients, as if he wanted it to be leaked towards the press.

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@SH_MM If you have time to spare, would it be possible to ask you for a comprahensive breakdown of what went wrong with Puma VTJF? I've seen a few articles but none were really concrete in their claims and would just repeat each other. I've also seen some suggest Puma might be entirely axed and replaced with either KMW's or Rheinmetall's indigenous developments (hard to believe) - and, what do you think the future holds for the IFV?

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@Sheffield: I don't know if you're asking for a full account of the Puma program in its whole breadth, but apparently in the recent exercise, there were multiple instances of electronic failures and "defects" on the unmanned turrets. Most concerning is that one Puma saw wiring in the driver's compartment catch fire, forcing the crew to bail out.


SH_MM might have more details, though.

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I cannot provide an exact break-down of what went wrong with the Puma VJTF. Don't have data on that.


But based on various news reports, the following happened:

  • Puma VJTF completes three exercises with acceptable availability (two with more than 80%, one with just 67%)
  • to the fourth exercise, the unit did not - maybe they could not, maybe they weren't allowed or wanted to simulate worst case - spare parts and most of the tools required for fixing the Puma VJTF
  • priority for over night repairs was given to Leopard 2A7V (makes somewhat sense, if you don't have spares/technicians/tools for other vehicles...)
  • fourth exercise results in no vehicle being left operational, a complaint e-mail is written by major general von Butler and leaked "by accident" to the press. A photograph showing error messages on a Puma VJTF IFV's screen was apparently also shared
  • big media fall-out regarding "bad, broken Puma IFV"
  • apparently ten of the 18 Puma VJTFs were just shy of their scheduled maintenance, while two already had missed it. Apparently the Puma VJTFs were passed from multiple times from one company to another, resulting in a loss of maintenance
  • industry mentions that they have not been given access to the vehicles to fix them (even though specialists from industry were on-site); they complain that the German Army intentionally waited until all vehicles were broken down (maybe for the headlines?)
  • an investigation is launched, eight vehicles are sent to Rheinmetall's facility in Unterlüß for further inspections, the other ten return to Regen in Bavaria (unit's garrison location)
  • industry claims that all vehicles can be fixed within 2-3 weeks (in one statement, they even said until end of the year 2022)

Now German newspapers - based on industry sources - claim that only two Puma VJTF IFVs are seriously broken/"badly damaged":

  • the heavily damaged vehicles are one vehicle as a result of a cable fire and one with damaged turret ring (previously incorrectly translated as "sprocket", because the newspapers use the wrong terminology)
  • in one vehicle, a fuze was blown
  • in another vehicle, a screen stopped working after being accidentally kicked
  • in one case, the unit report that the auxiliary heating did not work... but the crew only forgot to turn it on :rolleyes:
  • in one case, a screw of a missile launcher was loose


Most vehicles can be repaired until January 2023.


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More details have been revealed by different news outlets regarding the Puma VJTF story. According to German media, several unnamed persons involved in determining why the Puma VJTF had issues, stated that the German Army already had been warned about potential issues with the Puma VJTF as several vehicles were within "maintenance intervals" (according to earlier sources, ten were shortly before scheduled maintenance while two others had already missed scheduled). Two different teams of technicians from Rheinmetall and the German MoD's own HIL GmbH were on-site, but they were not asked to fix the vehicles. Though apparently the team from HIL GmbH was not trained on repairing the Puma VJTF, because due to lack of capacity for at the German Army's technical/engineering school (all spots were taken up by German soldiers).


An investigation focuses on the durability of individual high-tech parts and the cable fire in one of the Puma VJTF IFVs. In general, the lack of proper training (due to there being too few Puma IFVs in the VJTF variant, that have been shared between different units) and maintenance are considered the main culprits of the Puma's failure in the December exercise.


Supposedly the parts of the German Army and the government overreacted - mostly the German minister of defence, the very unpopular Christine Lambrecht. The "confidental" damage protocol (that somehow was leaked to German media) made by Rheinmetall, KMW and HIL GmbH suggests that of 76 reported errors, 44 were false alarms. A quarter of the 32 real errors already existed before the exercise and should have been fixed during maintenance beforehand. Supposedly the unit knew that not all of their Puma IFVs were fully functional when starting the exercise.

The cable fire is blamed on an error during a maintenance procedure and not a design fault. The rest of the errors has been blamed on in-proper use and described as supposedly fixable in the two lowest levels of maintenance directly by the Puma IFV's crews or assigned maintenance units during the exercise.



There is probably a bit more to the story, as it this is based on the leaked report from one side (industry & maintenance company), while the German Army likely has a bit of a different opinion. However there has been no reaction or denial of these claims from the official side.



In an unrelated statement, Esa Rautalinko (CEO of Patria) has declared that his company wants to partner with Rheinmetall and/or KMW for production of the CAVS, if it was selected by the German Army as Puma Fuchs replacement. Apparently Patria does not have the production capacity for the projected German order (they can only produce 40 vehicles per year); increasing the production capacity for the expected German order is financially less attractive for the Finish company than to cooperate with the German defence industry.

Rheinmetall is at the moment competing against the CAVS, pitching a heavily upgraded Fuchs as Fuchs replacement. GDELS also wants to win the contract, offering the Pandur EVO.

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1 hour ago, SH_MM said:

In an unrelated statement, Esa Rautalinko (CEO of Patria) has declared that his company wants to partner with Rheinmetall and/or KMW for production of the CAVS, if it was selected by the German Army as Puma replacement.

i think that should be Fuchs shouldnt it?

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On 12/30/2022 at 5:15 PM, SH_MM said:

17 out of the 18 "broken" Puma VJTF IFVs have been fixed. Damage was minor and sometimes related to incorrect use.


Latest update: in a common press conference, the German MoD, the German Army, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann declared that the Puma will remain the future IFV of the German Army (and Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger even called it "the best IFV of the world" - wonder if he tells potential Lynx customers the same).


The Marders assigned to the VJTF 2023(L) will be replaced by the Puma VJTF once the all of them have been fixed and maintained. The conclusion of the investigation apparently was that issues have been largley overblown and a mix of training issues, lack of maintenance and some sub-optimal components. Vincorion was awarded a contract to redesign the electrical power systems of the Puma.



Meanwhile there are new infos regarding Rheinmetall's HX3 10x10 based artillery system being primarily aimed at the German Army's wheeled SPG program. The turret itself is based on Elbit Systems' SIGMA 155, Rheinmetall "europeanizes" it by adding a different gun/elevating mass, FCS, and mounting it on the HX3 truck using a Rheinmetall-developed artillery truck interface.



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