Lorraine 150mm Self Propelled Gun
(List of photos at bottom of page).
This German vehicle was based on the chassis of French Chenillette Lorraine military tractors. The Germans mounted WWI vintage 150mm howitzers to the hull of the Chenillette Lorraines creating a hybrid self-propelled gun. The Chenillette Lorraines were captured during and after the Fall of France. According to the plaque in front of the vehicle at Aberdeen Proving Grounds "This vehicle had a crew of four and could reach a road speed of 22 miles per hour. The Germans used these self-propelled guns at the Battle of El Alamein. The Alllies captured this vehicle and three others like it in North Africa." The vehicle was initially married up starting in 1942, had a crew of four and had a combat weight of 9.4 tons.
For the Germans it was easier to take existing captured vehicles and use them as the chassis to make self-propelled guns than the make them from the ground up. Thus they improvised a number of self-propelled guns on the hulls of obsolete French or Czech tanks (and even German tanks). Creating a design from the ground up would have meant taxing and retooling already heavily used production lines (and perhaps other resources such as design staff) since the Germans were not yet in a state of total war. Also the reason for using these chassis for self-propelled guns rather than actual tanks is that the hulls were too narrow to accomodate turrets capable of handing larger guns. But these smaller vehicles were fully capable of handling larger guns in a fixed superstructure.
It was only later in the war that the Germans designed purpose built self-propelled guns.
Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Lorraine 150mm Self Propelled Gun 483
Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Lorraine 150mm Self Propelled Gun 484
Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Lorraine 150mm Self Propelled Gun 486
Photos from US Army Ordnance Museum/Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Please email me for high resolution photos for publication. US Army Ordnance Museum/Aberdeen Proving Grounds photo portfolio by Narayan Sengupta.