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15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Lorraine Schlepper (f)


Photo from D-Day Tank Warfare


After the Blitzkreig through the low countries and the fall of France in 1940, a large amount of British and French equipment was captured. One vehicle captured in quantity was the Tracteur Blindé 37L. A total of 387 of these tracked carriers were built by Société Lorraine between 1937 and May of 1940. Many were never issued to the troops, and after the French capitulation, over 300 of them had been stockpiled by the Germans.

Most of the conversions made to captured French equipment were initiated by Alfred Becker. He was an artillery officer who served in France in 1940. Alfred's family had several industrial contacts, and he managed to have a plethora of captured vehicles sent back to Alkett in Berlin-Spandau for conversion to self-propelled artillery and Panzerjäger.

During early 1942, Rommel required a mount for the 15cm SH for special operations in North Africa. It was therefore ordered to divert some of the Tracteur Blindé from Panzerjäger production to this purpose. An initial order for 40 was placed, but ultimately a total of 94 (or 72 depending on reference) were converted in July 1942. The superstructure was constructed at Alkett, but assembly took place in Paris. As a result, the original Lorraine chassis was largely unmodified save for slight strengthening of the suspension. The vehicles were later overhauled with a lengthened recoil spade.

Initially several of these vehicles served with 21. Pz. Div. in North Africa. After the end of this campaign, the survivors were used to equip the "Verstarken Schnellen Brigade West." In summer of 1944 (the time of the Normandy invasion), 45 were attached to Pz. Art. Rgt. 155 of 21. Pz. Div. Serving alongside the converted Schleppers were 43 similarly converted Hotchkiss H-35/39 tanks.

15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Lorraine Schlepper (f)
Crew: 4 Armament: One 15cm sFH13/1 L/17
Weight: 8.49 tons Traverse: 5o left 5o right
Length: 5.31 meters Elevation: -0o +40o
Width: 1.83 meters Engine: DelaHaye 103TT
Height: 2.23 meters Gearbox: 5 forward, 1 reverse
Radio: FuG Spr f Speed: 34 km/hr


Sources:


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