The History of the Sturmtiger

The Sturmtiger is represented in the WW2: War Stories exhibition by its massive 380mm gun.

The Sturmtiger, also known as Stummörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61, was effectively a 380 mm rocket launcher built onto a Tiger I chassis. Only 18 were manufactured by the Alkett company in Berlin. They were born out of the experience of fighting in the Russian city of Stalingrad in 1942, with the idea of destroying buildings with a single shot.

The first three were complete on 20th February 1944, and further delays meant that full production did not occur until August 1944. Three companies of these vehicles were formed in the final months of the war but saw very little action since they rarely found suitable targets.

A black and white image showing a close-up of projectile in rocket launcher.
Close-up of projectile in rocket launcher ready for firing with US Private 1st Class, Samuel Belcher of Bluefield, Virginia.

The weapon is an RW16 mortar of 380mm calibre, firing a rocket-propelled bomb. It is said to have been developed as a shore based, anti-submarine weapon but 18 of them were installed in converted Tiger Tanks. The tanks had their turrets removed and replaced by an armoured superstructure, 150mm thick at the front. There was an access hatch in the back, a loading hatch in the roof and a small crane for handling the rounds.

A black and white image of the Sturmtiger.
Top-down view of Sturmtiger, showing loading hatch open, crane and thick armoured mantlet.

The rocket launcher fired short-range, rocket-propelled projectiles with either a high explosive charge or a shaped charge. The shaped charge was used against buildings and could penetrate up to 2.5 meters (8ft 2 in) of reinforced concrete. The Sturmtiger was used during the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944. It later saw action in the defence of Germany against Allied forces.

The tank carried 14 rounds. The weapon was loaded through a sliding breech and when it was fired the blast from the rocket was expelled through a series of tubes that may be seen around the muzzle. The weapon had a range of 4,600 metres.

A captured example came to Britain at the end of the war where it was tested and then scrapped. Only the weapon survived.


Crew: 5
Maximum Armour: 150mm (5.9in)
Max sustained speed on road: 40 Km/h (25mph)
Weight: 65 tons
Weaponry: 1 x 380 mm, 1 x 7.92 mm MG
Fuel Capacity: 634.5L (140 Imp Gallon)
Service Dates: 1945
Manufacturer: Alkett

Find out more about other tanks in the Tiger family here.

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