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10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10 - "Grasshopper" - case report

Kameraden !
      I will take a break in my tanks projects of WWI ... I'll build a WWII self propelled artillery, for a change.
      This time, my project will be the 10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb "Grasshopper" , a German SPG prototype.
The 10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb "Grasshopper"
at the Aberdeen Tank Museum
      The 10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb also known as Heuschrecke 10 (English: Grasshopper 10) was a prototype self-propelled gun and Waffenträger (English: "Weapon carrier") developed by Krupp-Gruson between 1943 and 1944. The official designation of the vehicle was 105 mm leichte Feldhaubitze 18/1 L/28 auf Waffenträger Geschützwagen IVb and was to be built in Magdeburg,Germany. The Heuschrecke featured a removable turret which could be deployed as a pillbox or towed behind the vehicle as an artillery piece.

The Heuschrecke concept 
      Krupp produced only three prototypes from 1942–1943. The Heuschrecke initially made use of a shortened Panzerkampfwagen IV (Panzer IV) chassis, but it was later switched to the Geschützwagen IV chassis, developed for the Hummel self-propelled gun. Mass production of the Heuschrecke 10 was scheduled to start in February 1945, but never occurred.
      Towards the end of September 1939, Krupp designed the "first real self-propelled artillery piece", the Sonderkraftfahrzeug 165/1(Special Purpose Vehicle 165/1, abbreviated Sd.Kfz. 165/1). The Sd.Kfz. 165/1 was similar in design to the Heuschrecke, but did not have the chassis-mounted launching mechanism to remove the turret. After a series of tests, the Sd.Kfz. 165/1 was accepted by the Wehrmacht in early January 1940.
Sd.Kfz. 165/1 - left side
Sd.Kfz. 165/1 - right side
     In 1941, Krupp built prototype vehicles armed with the 105 mm leichte Feldhaubitze 18/1 L/28 (light field howitzer 18/1 L/28, abbreviated leFH 18/1 L/28) cannon based on a shortened Panzer IV chassis. 
      The prototypes were fitted with a smaller six-cylinder Maybach HL66P engine, which had a power capacity of 188 hp (140 kW). Although 200 vehicles were ordered, Krupp completed only 10 prototypes in the final four months of 1942. These saw service on the Eastern Front.
Sd.Kfz. 165/1 in the Russian front
      The design phase of the Heuschrecke began in 1942, when Krupp conceived a new type of self-propelled artillery. In 1943, Krupp produced three prototypes, with serial numbers from 582501 to 582503, which were designated as either Heuschrecke 10 or Heuschrecke IVb.
Krupp Heuschrecke IVb - right side
Krupp Heuschrecke IVb - left side
Krupp Heuschrecke IVb - rear view
      The Heuschrecke designed by Krupp was similar in design to a vehicle built by Alkett and Rheinmetall-Borsig, the 105 mm leFH 18/40/2 auf Geschützwagen III/IV, which was ready in March 1944.
Alkett-Rheinmetall-Borsig  105 mm leFH 18/40/2 auf Geschützwagen III/IV - right side
Alkett-Rheinmetall-Borsig 105 mm leFH 18/40/2 auf Geschützwagen III/IV - rear view
      The competing Rheinmetall-Borsig model had overall slightly better performance than that of Krupps' vehicle. It was decided, however, to utilize an alternate chassis on the Rheinmetall-Borsig model, that of the Panzer IV.
The Krupp Heuschrecke IVb under avaliation, firing the 105mm howitzer
      Production was to start in October 1944, but the chassis choice was changed to that of the Geschützwagen IV in December 1944. Production, in Magdeburg, was then intended to commence in February 1945, but none were produced.
      The Nazi high command thought that the production of the Heuschrecke would disrupt the production of the needed Panzers. The quantity of materials required for the construction of weapon-carriers were so great that companies like Krupp were told to halt production. The majority of weapon-carriers never left the production stage. The Heuschrecke was seen as interesting by the General Inspector of the Panzer Troops, Heinz Guderian, however, Guderian agreed that their development was not worth the disruption to tank production. The development of the Heuschrecke was therefore canceled in February 1943.
Design of the vehicle:
      The distinguishing feature of the Heuschrecke was its removable turret. A lifting gantry attached to the chassis could remove the turret for use on concrete fortifications or the ground.
the turret being deposited on aft of the vehicle
the turret in his trailer, being towed
      Although the howitzer could equally be fired from the chassis, the vehicle was designed to carry the artillery piece to a firing emplacement for removal before usage. The turretless vehicle could be used as an ammunition carrier or recovery vehicle. The prototype turret was armed with the 105 mm leFH 18/1 L/28. The production models, however, were to have the 105 mm leFH 43 L/28.
the turret being lowered to ground (notice the crib)
Turret lowered to ground
Chassis and Engine:
      The Heuschrecke consisted of a welded steel hull, with thickness ranging from 10 to 25 millimeters and sloped armour to deflect incoming fire more effectively. It had a large ammunition stowage, making it one of the chosen ammunition-carriers to help alleviate losses of ammunition that could not otherwise be transported. The original prototype engine was the twelve-cylinder Maybach HL90, but for the production models, the twelve-cylinder Maybach HL100 was chosen.
Surviving vehicle:
      It is believed only one Heuschrecke 10 survived the war. This sole survivor was originally on display at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
The Waffentrager IVb  Heuschrecke when at the Aberdeen...
      It was transferred from there to the Fort Sill Field Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, Oklahoma along with several other World War II self-propelled guns. Shortly after its arrival at Fort Sill in 2012, the Grasshopper 10 was restored by the Fort Sill Directorate of Logistics paint shop.
Waffentrager IVb  Heuschrecke now, at Fort Sill Museum
Specification comparison
SpecsSdKfz 165/1Krupp-GrusonRheinmetall-Borsig
Weight18 tonnes23 tonnes25 tonnes
Crew4 men5 men5 men
EngineMaybach HL 66 / 6-cyl.
188 hp (140 kW)
Maybach HL 100 12-cyl.
410 hp (306 kW)
Maybach HL 90 12-cyl.
360 hp (268 kW)
Speed35 km/h45 km/h45 km/h
RangeRoad: 240 kmRoad: 300 kmRoad: 300 km
Capacity410 liters
Length5.90 m6.00 m6.80 m
Width2.87 m3.00 m3.00 m
Height2.25 m3.00 m2.90 m
Gun105 mm leichte
Feldhaubitze 18/1 L/28
105 mm leichte
Feldhaubitze 18/1 L/28
105 mm leichte
Feldhaubitze 18/40/2 L/28
Ammo60 rounds60 rounds80 rounds
Armor (mm/angle)
  • Front Superstr.: 30/10

  • Front Hull: 30/12
  • Front Turret: 20/20
  • Gun Mantlet: 20/0-70
  • Side Superstructure: 14.5/0
  • Side Hull: 14.5/0
  • Side Turret: 14.5/15
  • Rear Superstructure: 14.5/20
  • Rear Hull: 14.5/10
  • Rear Turret: 14.5/10
  • Top Superstructure: 10/90
  • Top/Bottom Hull: 14.5/90
  • Top Turret: open
  • Front 30/20
  • Side: 16/0
  • Rear: 16/20
  • Top/Bottom: 10/90
  • Front: 30 at 30°
  • Gun Mantlet: 30
  • Side & rear: 16 at 20–25°
  • Top: 0 (Open)
  • Top 10/90
  • Front: 30 at 20°
  • Side: 16/0
  • Rear: 16/20
  • Front: 20/20
  • Side: 20/0
  • Rear: 20/10
  • Top/Bottom: 10/90
  • Front: 10/25
  • Gun Shield: 10/0
  • Side: 10/25
  • Rear: 10/12
  • Top Turret: none
  • Top: 10/90
  • Front : 30/20
  • Side : 10/0
  • Rear: 10/10


10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb  Heuschrecke
TypePrototype self-propelled howitzer
Place of origin                            Nazi Germany
Weight23 tonnes
Length6.00 m
Width3.00 m
Height3.00 m
Crew5 men (commander, 3 gunners and driver)

Armorsee comparison table above
105 millimeter leFH 18/1 L/28
EngineMaybach HL 90 12-cylinder
360 hp (268 kW)
Power/weight15.6 hp/tonne
Suspensionleaf spring
On road : 300 kms
Speed45.00 km/h

The kit:  
      10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb  Heuschrecke - "Grasshopper" from Trumpeter:
Trumpeter's box art
      Funny ... Incredible how the Trumpeter decreased their quality with passing of the years. I remember the kits from the KV family as were well injected and no burrs. But now: Yuck! Many parts with huge burrs and deficient plugins. Your quality has dropped, Ms. Trumpeter. Sorry about that !!!
Cleaning the dirt from the injection ...
Starting by the suspensions...
Cleaning the wheels with dremel and dental tool, like a lathe...
The Girl with legs !!!
The hull and turret
The PE sheet is very good !!!
Rear view...
Talking about failures of Lady Trumpeter ....
       My option: the lifting gantry in open position:
       I hate turrets without locking , because I've had an accident with a falling turret from the hull. I made a locking system, because in the kit the turret is loose ...
Cutting fittings in the hull
Adding locking tabs in the turret
Testing...turret fitted with rotation of  90°
Perfect, free and locked spin. Prevention is better than cure.

Future to prevent silvering and decals : White Four  Elefant

Now, it's time of decal and Future dry...
 Well, Gentlemen ... after almost a month, finally I finished the Grasshopper project. Sorry for the delay, but I was too excited to fix the flaws of the M6A1 that this German girl remained in the background. So, without further ado, let's see the Grasshopper:
Uops...wrong pic...Too many colors !!!
      This is the correct stuff;

10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10
White 4
10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10
with the howitzer in full elevation

10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10
right side

10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10
left side
10.5cm le.F.H.18/1 L/28 auf Waffentrager IVb Heuschrecke 10 with
Kojak and Rover, the dog.

      Vielen dank und sorry für die verspätung, meine Herren !!!
See you, soon !! 

5 comentários:

  1. Again a very strange and interesting panzer. The kit from Trumpeter will be certainly funny to build.
    Happy modeling my friend !

  2. Moi (=Hi)
    Well done, and once again: New data and a new model which is strange to me.
    I'm listening ...

  3. @Alain: eheheheh. I love rare things !!! Thanks again Alain. It is always a pleasure to see you, walking by the Bunker.
    Take care, my Belgian friend !!

    @Maximex: Hi, Maximex...Glad to see you here ... and as always, this is your house ...
    A big hug, my Finnish friend !!