At the beginning of WWII, as the German army was on their rapid offensive, the need arose for a highly mobile infantry support vehicle that could provide heavy firepower to help infantry breakthrough defenses. The Sturmgeschutz III was designed to meet this requirement, with the Ausf.B being the first mass produced variant.
Featuring a well armored crew compartment with 50mm front and 30mm side armor and armed with a 75mm StuK 37 L/24 gun, these vehicles were used during the invasion of the Balkans as well as in Operation Barbarossa. As the war went on, the StuG III found itself evolving into a tank destroyer in addition to its assault gun role, and were often used as replacements for actual battle tanks.
Overall, Sturmgeschütz series assault guns proved very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and tank destroyers. Although Tigers and Panthers have earned a greater notoriety, assault guns collectively destroyed more tanks. Because of their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were easy to camouflage and a difficult target. Sturmgeschütz crews were considered to be the elite of the artillery units. Sturmgeschütz units held a very impressive record of tank kills—some 20,000 enemy tanks by the spring of 1944.