A dream for big kids. There is no other way to describe what was created with the help of HERA Arms. "Yes, we have replicated an assault gun, or rather we were there to help with it," was the answer to the question about the new development. And curiosity was immediately aroused as to what the assault gun in question was all about..
The origin of the StuG III from HERA Arms
As quickly as the schedule allowed, we went to Triefenstein, in Germany, where HERA Arms is based. Andreas and Thomas Nöth from HERA Arms led the group across the courtyard into the sanctuary where the replica was slumbering. And it can be said without hesitation: it's unbelievable! At first glance, you might think that you are really looking at a veteran from the Second World War.
We obviously asked the inevitable question already during the devotional walking around the tracked vehicle – how does one come up with such an idea? "That was actually another idea that came up by chance. A business partner from overseas was visiting us. In the evening we discussed a lot about technology and then we came across tracked vehicles. Then the idea came up how great it would be to build a StuG, just for fun and to use it in movies, because there was often a hair-raising treatment of the equipment. But this proposal soon took on a life of its own. The StuG III was one of the most famous vehicles. However, not many of them exist anymore and the idea never left us until we started to get the project off the ground," explains Thomas Nöth.
The history of the StuG III
The idea of the assault gun was based on a development in the 1930s. The German full-track armored vehicle was originally intended to provide close support for the infantry. The basis for the StuG III was the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen III tank, hence the name. During the war, however, the assault gun grew out of its role. Since it did not have a rotating turret, aiming it was accordingly cumbersome. Nevertheless, the vehicle proved its worth, also being cheaper and more resource-efficient to produce. The assault guns were used as tank destroyers or in defensive combat. Series production of the StuG III started in 1940. The prototype was so successful that it was continued to be built until the end of the war. About 10,000 units rolled off the assembly lines, which made the StuG III the most produced German full-track vehicle of the World War 2.
The new edition of the assault gun from HERA Arms
If you now take a closer look at the replica StuG, you will notice that there is probably not a full agreement on the version. Some details show the A version, others the B version. "We then oriented ourselves to the aesthetics. But extensions can be designed to match the respective version," explains Andreas Nöth. Together with the Stammheim Museum and one2one-Industries (a subsidiary of HERA Arms), the StuG was created to be sold to film companies or to big kids who always wanted something like this for themselves. Also about the markings or the unit, there is actually nothing to be desired. "We chose a real unit and a real model from the war," explains Thomas Nöth, "but we deliberately did not take a unit that belonged to the Waffen-SS or any other such formation."
And then the big moment had come. Climbing the side skirt we went up and into the StuG. And here the differences became clear eventually. Inside, two Kola engines do their job and set the tracks in motion. "When we chose the power system, we wanted something simple. Above all, these engines are easy to repair or replace if necessary," explains Andreas Nöth. The interior of the new vehicle has little in common with the old one in other respects either. Sheet metal, aluminum and other materials ensure that it weighs only a fraction of the original.
The stub gun is of course also just a dummy. In general, the most modern techniques were used in the replica. 3D-printed Notek lamps, milled hinges, laser-cut metal sheets, plus state-of-the-art computer graphics – all components of this modern vehicle.
But what does the fun cost? An origina assault gun is simply unaffordable. But in this case we have an almost exact 1:1 copy that would certainly be worth considering. For about 150.000 euro (depending on equipment) you can buy this nice piece. And don't worry about the registration. "You can reassure everyone. We are not talking about a military vehicle, but about a replica that only looks like one. The StuG is registered as a mobile working platform with the appropriate permits," explains Thomas Nöth.
But where do we go from here? "Next, we want to build a Panzer III replica based on the StuG III. After all, we have the chassis for this. So all that's missing is the turret," he says, providing the corresponding outlook for the future. That promises to be an exciting time in any case. But will HERA Arms now focus on building replicas? Thomas Nöth laughs at this question and says: "No, we will continue to remain true to small arms, even with innovations, as we have proven.” Nevertheless, expectations are growing for the new men's toy.
For further information please visit the HERA Arms website.
Not only the StuG III is new in the Triefenstein-based company offer. Many new products for sports shooters and hunters from HERA Arms are presented here.