The SdKfz 124 Wespe (“Wasp” in German) was a self-propelled artillery vehicle developed by Germany during World War II. It was also known as Leichte Feldhaubitze 18 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II ("Light field howitzer 18 on Panzer II chassis") and was equipped with a 10.5cm leFH 18 Howitzer of the Panzer II.
During the battle of France in 1940, the Panzer II was widely used as the main battle tank of the German forces. Though highly reliable, the vehicle’s armament and armour were too insubstantial and it soon became apparent that it was by no means, an effective power for the war. Hence, it was only natural to withdraw the Panzer II from frontline service and remodel it into a self-propelled artillery vehicle.
The design for the Wespe was based on the chassis of the Panzer II Ausf. F, which involved a replacement of the Panzer II turret with a 10.5cm leFH 18 Howitzer and a gun-shield. Production was carried out at factories mainly in occupied Poland, and improvements to the Wespe continued from February 1943 until the middle of 1944.
The Wespe’s first foray into combat was in 1943 on the Eastern Front and it proved to be an excellent vehicle thanks to its great mobility and firepower. It garnered so much success that Hitler instructed all production of the Panzer II to be directed to the Wespe.
The Wespe as well as the Hummel with a larger self-propelled Howitzer were both used in the Armored Corps. A total of 662 Wespes were produced and apart from that, an additional 158 were manufactured as unarmed ammunition carriers.
Crew: 5 men
Engine: Maybach HL 62 TRM / 6-cylinder / 140hp
Speed: Road: 40km/h, Cross-Country: 20km/h
Range: Road: 140-220km, Cross-Country: 95km
Fuel Capacity: 170 litres
Armament: 105mm leFH 18/2 L/26 (early) & 7.92mm MG34, 105mm leFH 18/2 L/28 (late) & 7.92mm MG34
Ammunition: 105mm - 32-42 rounds
Front Upper Hull: 20/30
Front Lower Hull: 30/15
Front Superstructure: 10/24
Side Upper Hull: 15/0
Side Lower Hull: 15/0
Side Superstructure: 10/17
Rear Upper Hull: 8/0
Rear Lower Hull: 15/10
Rear Superstructure: 10/16
Upper Hull Top / Bottom: 10/90
Lower Hull Top / Bottom: 5/90