Sweden’s Artillery Self-propelled Assault Gun
The Sav m/43 can be seen as the German Hetzer tank destroyer’s big Swedish brother. It is also sometimes referred to as the Swedish Marder. It was based on the same Czech designed tank chassis but was armed with a 75 mm (2.95 in) howitzer that was later upgraded to a 105 mm (4.13 in) gun.
On the 27th of September 1941, the Swedish Army issued a requirement for the construction of self-propelled artillery vehicles that could keep up with the tank and infantry units across country over the Swedish terrain, even in the harshest winter conditions. They were required to be able to give close support as well as indirect artillery fire. Tests were conducted on different tank chassis as well as types of guns, barrel lengths and calibers. This was a lengthy process.
The Swedish Army Stormartillerivagn m/43 (Sav m/43). It was equipped with a 10.5 cm (4.13 in) gun.
One of the problems found during trials was that the longer barrel kept hitting tree trunks in the Swedish forests. This hindered laying the gun on target quickly. It would also have meant that a new law would have had to be passed in the Swedish Parliament. The traffic law at that time stated that no part of the vehicle should protrude over its front. This is why a shorter barreled weapon was used.
In March 1944, the Army finally ordered 36 Sav m/43 self-propelled artillery guns from the Swedish Scania-Vabis tank manufacturer. This company was already producing Strv m/41 SII tanks. This was a license-built Czech TNH medium tank. They converted the last batch of 18 tank chassis into the new SPGs. The Swedish word Stormartillerivagn translates as storm artillery vehicle: a better translation would be self-propelled assault artillery.
The Sav m/43 was powered by a Scania-Vabis 603/2 in line 6-cylinder water cooled over head valve engine that produced 162 hp. It had a maximum road speed of 28mph (45 km/h) and a 4 man crew. It was fitted with a Praga-Wilson 5-speed preselect gearbox. The armor ranged from 8 to 50 mm (0.31-1.97 in) thick. In total, 36 were produced between 1944-1947. They remained in service until 1973.
Notice the different roof construction on this Swedish Army Sav m/43 tank destroyer
The Swedish Bofors 75 mm (2.95 in) m/02 gun was fitted to the first 18 Sav m/43 self-propelled artillery guns to come off the production line whilst the new Bofors 105 mm (4.13 in) m/44 gun was being developed. The first Sav m/43 were issued to the A9 Artillery Regiment at Kristinehamn.
The tank crews meant to man these new vehicles had already been chosen in April 1944. They started their training on using the 75 mm (2.95 in) gun whilst still waiting for the new SPGs to be delivered. There were problems in the production line which meant they did not arrive until January 1945.
SAV m/43 105mm SPGs being reversed back onto a railway flat-back wagon. (Photo Arne Andersson – Bohuslans Museum)
The Swedish Army split their new mobile weapons between two Assault Artillery Divisions, each with three batteries. They underwent winter battlefield exercises in the countryside around Dalarna in February 1945. The reports from officers involved and some Senior Army Officers were very positive. They were deployed operationally along the Norwegian border until the end of WW2 and the German surrender.
After the end of WW2, the Bofors 105 mm (4.13 in) cannons became available. The eighteen Sav m/43 SPGs were sent to the workshops to be upgraded. A further order for eighteen more SAV m/43s was placed at the end of 1945. These would also be armed with the new 105 mm (4.13 in) gun. The final vehicle of this new batch was delivered at the end of 1947.
The removable square block on the front of the hull is used for resting the lifting jack on so it does not sink in the ground.
Sav m/43 specifications
|Dimensions (L-W-H)||5.05m x 2.14m x 2.29 m
(16ft 9in x 7ft 2in x 7ft 6in)
|Total weight, battle ready||12 tons|
|Crew||4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)|
|Propulsion||Scania-Vabis 1664/13 (142 hp), Scania-Vabis 603/2 (162 hp)|
|Max road speed||45 km/h (28 mph)|
|Armament||7.5 cm (2.95 in) Kan m/02 or 10.5 cm (4.13 in) L/21 m/44 Sav|
|Armor||From 15 mm to 50 mm (0.59-1.97 in)|
The prototype vehicle was designated Pansarartillerivagn m/43 (Pav m/43), but was later re-designated to Stormartillerivagn m/43 (Sav m/43). It was equipped with the 7.5cm Kan m/02 gun.
Stormartillerivagn m/43 105mm SPGs
The railway system was used in Sweden to transport the Stormartillerivagn m/43 105mm SPGs (photo Arne Andersson – Bohuslans Museum)
The track links stored on the side of the Stormartillerivagn (Sav) m/43 Swedish SPG gave added protection. Arsenalen Tank Museum, Strängnäs, nr Stockholm Sweden.
Stormartillerivagn m/43 – Rex and Rod Cadman Collection, UK
Stormartillerivagn Sav m/43 – Association Föreningen P5, Boden Sweden