Along with the Soviet T-70 light tank, Tide of Iron: Stalingrad brings a new armored vehicle to the German order of battle: the Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B, or the sIG 33B assault gun. Built on the StuG III chassis, it mounted a 150mm sIG 33/1 infantry gun in an armored superstructure. It was designed specifically for destroying buildings and other hardened targets.
Only twenty-four were ever made, all of which were sent to the Eastern Front. Twelve were delivered to units within Stalingrad, Sturmgeschütz-Abteilungen (Self-propelled Gun Battalions 177 and 244). The other twelve arrived after the Germans were encircled and were formed into a battalion that was attached to the 22nd Panzer Division. After 22nd Panzer was wrecked in the drive to relieve the city, the assault gun battalion was assigned to the 23rd Panzer Division, which had five sIG 33Bs left by September 1944.
The massive destructive power of the sIG 33/1 gun was further augmented by the use of the Stielgranate 42 artillery round. This unusual piece of ordnance was attached to a driving rod that was loaded by hand into the muzzle of the gun while the rest of the round projected beyond the muzzle of the gun, much like an oversized rifle grenade. This meant that in order to reload a Stielgranate 42 in combat, a crewman had to leave the vehicle and stand on the bow of the vehicle.
So how is all this firepower represented in the TOI: Stalingrad expansion? First, the sIG has a very healthy anti-tank capability, equal to the T-34. However, against infantry, it has one of the most powerful guns in the game, with a range of 8 and firepower of 10. When the Stielgranate 42 is fired at a building or fortification the sIG’s real power is revealed. The Stielgranate 42 adds an additional 6 firepower to the sIG’s already healthy anti-tank firepower of 8. This means that during a Concentrated Fire action at normal range, you are rolling a minimum of fourteen dice. Keep in mind that it only takes six hits to destroy a single-story building, and you can put a serious hurt on those Heroes of the Motherland that you’d otherwise have to dig out by a risky and costly assault.
I hope you all have as much fun using the sIG 33B as we did in developing it.