A Jagdpanzer too far?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by davebender, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Jagdpanzer IV. Entered production January 1944.
    36122-Jagp-web.jpg
    24 tons. 300hp engine.
    Simple leaf spring suspension.
    7.5cm/48 main gun. Plus one or two machineguns.
    60mm frontal armor. Nicely sloped.
    6.85m long x 3.17m wide x 1.85m high.
    …..Suspension aside I think this vehicle was state of the art at the time it entered service. Main gun could defeat contemporary threats. Very low profile plus excellent armor made it difficult to kill with weapons available during 1944. Unlike the 15 ton Hetzer this vehicle was large enough to allow ample crew space. Power to weight ratio similar to many contemporary armored vehicles and it was mechanically reliable. Like the Hetzer it was designed for inexpensive mass production.




    Kanonenjagdpanzer.
    Entered service 1965.
    4164-3082010.jpg
    27.5 tons. 500hp engine.
    Torsion bar suspension.
    9cm/40 main gun. Plus two machineguns.
    50mm frontal armor. Nicely sloped.
    6.24m long x 2.98m wide x 2.09m high.
    …..Would this vehicle be competitive vs T-62 tanks? I have my doubts. It may be a Jagdpanzer too far.
     
  2. starling

    starling Member

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    Hey guys,I think(although it's a great T.D)the jagdpanzer4 arrived at a time when the stug 3 long barrelled 75mm assault gun already proved itself in the A/T role.I think more mk4 panzers could have been produced,instead of the jagdpanzer4.Starling.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Consider the time frame.

    Panther tank was supposed to completely replace Panzer IV production during 1944. It didn't happen because the German economy started falling apart during 1944 but that was the plan.

    Jagdpanzer (with 7.5cm/48 main gun) was supposed to replace the StuG III. Originally it was to be built on the Panzer III chassis using the same production facilities. However the StuG III G was considered so valuable that Germany could not afford to temporarily shut down production and retool for the improved Jagdpanzer. So they decided to build the Jagdpanzer on the Panzer IV chassis as that tank was supposed to end production anyway.

    IMO German armor production plans for 1944 were logical but like so many plans they didn't survive enemy contact.
    - The Panther was an excellent tank and it was inexpensive to mass produce.
    - Jagdpanzer was superior to StuG III (especially armor protection) and it was less expensive to produce.



    The 1965 Kanonenjagdpanzer looks a lot like a dusted off and updated 1944 Jagdpanzer. I'm not convinced that was smart even if the vehicle was inexpensive to mass produce. It could probably kill BMPs but main battle tanks would make short work of it.
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    I would tend to agree with dave’s title post, i.e.: “too far” the Jagdpanzer IV. It was developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian, the inspector general of the Panzertruppen. Developers had intended it as a replacement for the Sturmgeschütz III. Guderian objected because its development and production caused a needless diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production. Guderian felt that the Stug III and IV, though not “state of the art” were still more than adequate for their role as tank destroyers. Additionally the installation of the much heavier Pak 42 meant that the Jagdpanzer IV was nose heavy, especially with the heavy frontal armor. This made them less mobile and more difficult to operate in rough terrain, leading their crews to nickname them Guderian-Ente "Guderian's duck". The nose-heavy Sd.Kfz 162 often caused the rubber rims of the roadwheels to become dislocated by the weight of the vehicle. As a result some later versions had steel roadwheels installed on the front.
    They were very successful tank destroyers but performed badly when used out of role as substitutes for tanks or assault guns, as most tank destroyers were. In the later stages of the war however, they were increasin
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1.85m Jagdpanzer IV/48 vehicle height.
    2.85m Jagdpanzer IV/70 vehicle height.
    It also significantly increased vehicle height which decreased vehicle survivability.

    IMO Germany should have left well enough alone and mass produced the Jagdpanzer with a 7.5cm/48 main gun right to the end of the war. That weapon was powerful enough to kill T-34s and Sherman tanks @ 1,000 meters.

    Better yet Germany should have introduced the Jagdpanzer during December 1942 ILO the StuG III G on the Panzer III chassis as originally planned. That way you get a better chassis with torsion bar suspension. By the spring of 1943 all Panzer III production capacity should have been churning out inexpensive (and badly needed) Jagdpanzer. Won't win the war by itself but life for Allied tanks will become even more dangerous.
     
  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #6 mikewint, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
    Now if you want to carry the "too far" idea to its extreme conclusion one only has to look at the Jagdtiger
    Tiger ace Otto Carius in his memoir Tigers in the Mud stated that Jagdtigers were not utilized to their full potential due to several factors: (1) Allied air supremacy made it difficult to move. (2) The massive gun needed to be re-calibrated from jarring after traveling off-road for even short distances. The types manufactured with the more modern Henschel type suspension system did not have this particular problem. (3) It was slow and consumed 5L of gasoline per Km. (4) Transmissions and differentials broke down easily because the whole 72 tonne vehicle needed to rotate to traverse. (5) The massive gun had to be locked down, otherwise mounting brackets would have worn too much for accurate firing. (6) A crewmember had to exit the vehicle in combat and unlock the gun before firing. However, there are positives to such a massive vehicle and gun (1) A 128 mm projectile went through all the walls of a house and destroyed an American tank behind it. (2) Near Unna, one Jagdtiger climbed a hill to attack five American tanks six-hundred meters away and below; two withdrew and the other three opened fire. The Jagdtiger took several hits, but they could not penetrate the 250 mm (9.8 in) frontal armor. (3) On 17 January 1945 two Jagdtigers used by XIV Corps engaged a bunker line in support of infantry near Auenheim. On 18 January they attacked four secure bunkers at 1,000 meters. The armored cupola of one bunker burned out after two shots. A Sherman attacking in a counterthrust was set afire by explosive shells. The total combat included 46 explosive shells and 10 anti-tank shells with no losses to the Jagdtigers. (4) During April, s.Pz.Jäg.Abt.512 saw quite a great deal of action. On the 9th of April 1945, the 1st company managed to engage an Allied column of Sherman tanks and trucks from dug-down positions, and managed to destroy 11 tanks, with some of the enemy tanks having been knocked out from a distance of more than 4,000 m away. The combat unit only lost 1 Jagdtiger in this incident as Allied ground attack P-47s appeared. During the next couple of days the 1st company managed to destroy a further five Sherman tanks before having to surrender at Iserlohn. (5) On the 19th of December 1944 in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge. Two Jagdtigers were overwatching the town of Noville. An American armored column consisting of eighteen Shermans were on their way to counter attack the attacking German forces, according to military records nine Sherman tanks were destroyed and three were disabled from a range greater than 2 miles. The Sherman column never identified what was engaging them and were forced to fall back.
     

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  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    The 24 ton Jagdpanzer /48 was effective, reliable and inexpensive to mass produce. Leave well enough alone and churn them out like hot rolls. Germany did not need the Panzerjager Hornisse, Jagdpanzer /70, Jagdpanther or Jagdtiger. If Germany produces enough Jagdpanzer /48 they won't need the dirt cheap but inferior Hetzer either.
     
  8. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I might argue that point. While the Jagdpanzer 38(t) was certainly a “light” German tank killer, the 75 mm PaK 39 L/48 gun of the little Hetzer was able to destroy nearly all allied or soviet tank types in service at long ranges (except heavy tanks) and its fully enclosed armor protection made it a safer vehicle to crew than the open-topped Marders II and III. It was available in relatively large numbers and was generally mechanically reliable and its small size made it easier to conceal than larger vehicles. Additionally the later versions mounted a remote-control machine gun mount which could be fired from within the vehicle which was highly appreciated by its crews. Unfortunately reloading the gun required a crewmember to exit the vehicle exposing himself to enemy fire.
    The little “hunting dog” also gave Hitler his wish for a flame-thrower “tank”. In November 1944 a number of Jagdpanzer 38(t)s were refurbished straight from the factory with a Keobe flamethrower and accompanying equipment instead of the normal gun. The flame projector however, was easily prone to damage. Less than 50 of these vehicles, designated Flammpanzer 38, were completed before the end of the war, but they were used operationally against Allied forces on the Western Front.
     

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  9. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    #9 Denniss, Jul 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
    1) Don't mix up ton with tonne, 24t for the L/48 vehicle and 25.8t for the L/70 vehicle (also known as Panzer IV/70).
    2) It's for me a mystery how the L/70 variant gained 1m of height unless it's somewhat related to the 70A variant with superstructure bolted onto a standard Panzer IV chassis. The 70V variant had the same dimensions as the L/48 vehicle regarding height.
    3) It was not really developed against advice by Guderian, it was actually him who changed the vehicle from "Sturmgeschütz neuer Art" to "Jagdpanzer", otherwise he would not gained control over development and use (StuGs were under control by the Artillery guys).
    4) The cannon was a rather bad choice for the Kanonenjagdpanzer, although 90mm caliber it had only a caliber length of 40 so it was in no way comparable to the excellent Panther or Tiger II gun and was ineffective against T-64 and T-72 (only at ranges of 1000m or less)
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That pretty well sums up why Germany should build the 24 ton Jagdpanzer rather then the 15 ton Hetzer. Both vehicles have similiar weapons and armor protection. However the additional 9 tons allows the Jagdpanzer to have a well laid out compartment for the gun crew.

    Amazingly enough the 24 ton Jagdpanzer is lower in height then the 15 ton Hetzer. Lower = more survivable.
    1.85m Jagdpanzer /48
    2.17m Hetzer
     
  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Denniss, the ton - tonne confusion usually occures when the words are pronounced. The tonne or metric ton is somewhat of an oxymoron mixing weight and mass. The tonne is 1,000 kilograms of mass. At or near the Earth's surface a kilogram weighs about 2.2 avoirdupois pounds. The tonne has been standardized to 2,205 avoirdupois pounds. The TON (actually short ton) is an English unit of weight and is 2,000 avoirdupois pounds. so the two, tonne and ton, are close at or near the Earth surface.
    The LONG TON or 35 cubic feet of salt water, used in ship displacement, is 2,240 avoirdupois ponunds.
    Avoirdupois pounds, are of course not to be confused with TROY pounds. Thus a pound of feathers is much heavier than a pound of silver. Thus 12 shillings (silver) to an English Pound (silver). Ain't the English system FUN!!!
     
  12. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    #12 Denniss, Jul 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
    The 38(t) chassis did not really have sufficient space to mount the gun thus they were forced to increase height. It was rather cheap to produce, Skoda and associated facs were able to mass-produce it and it stayed within the weight limits of the factory cranes. It wasn't possible for Skoda et al to produce heavier vehicles because their factory buildings were not able to cope with the increased weight. (cranes or buildings too weak for the increased weight?!?)

    EDIT: a difference of 204.6 pounds is noticable just for one ton/tonne, gets even worse the higher the weight of a vehicle is. The situation is similar with PS and hp - most often you find a literal translation from one to the other instead of a proper transformation/recalculation.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Probably a misprint from a secondary source.

    The gun used the same cartridge case as as the 90mm gun in the M-47 and M-48 tanks and some of the same projectiles although the HEAT (shaped charge) projectile may be different. Part of it's "problem" is a too protracted development ( prototypes were running in 1960 which means initial design started several years before) and peace time budgets which meant equipment was often kept in service several years after it had ceased being really useful.

    When considering some of these vehicles there seems to be some confusion as to the roles of some of these "anti-tank" vehicles. Since both doctrine and actual use changed,even within the same army, several times during WW II, and not all these vehicles were even intended for the same role it is hard to say that one or two vehicles could or should have replaced all the others.

    It is way too simplistic to say their role was to kill enemy tanks. That is sort of obvious. It is how, under what circumstances, and under who's control that that show the differences. Some of them were intended to support the regular tanks by carrying a bigger gun and firing from longer ranges than the tanks themselves could manage. Some, in desperation (lack of suitable numbers of tanks) were used as ersatz tanks to fill out tank formations/units. Some were intended as self propelled anti-tank guns for mechanized or motorized forces than did not have ( and were never intended to have) tanks. Self propelled anti-tank guns are just what the phrase says. Anti-tank guns that can propel themselves and not have to be towed. Their tactical employment is way different than heavily armored turret-less tanks that take an active and forward role in the armored battle. Playing games with the names (tank hunter or hunting tank) for morale reasons confuses things but in the German Army of WW II those were actually 2 different classes of vehicle.
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #14 mikewint, Jul 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
    Original design plans are like OPLANS, they never survive contact with the enemy. STUGs were not tanks but if you don't gots no actual tanks you use what you have. Out of bullets, throw rocks. The German Army was almost always supply poor. They made do with what they had at the time
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    German doctrine changed during 1944. The Jagdpanzer /48 was supposed to replace StuG III assault artillery (i.e. direct fire HE for infantry support) in addition to serving as a SP AT gun.
     
  16. psteel

    psteel Member

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    Jagd Panzerkannone was paired with the Jagd PanzerRakette, which was the designated ATV with its SS-11 ATGM and later the HOT missile. JPK was to be used as a mobile infantry fire support weapon for the Infantry Brigades and Mountain brigades of the Bundeswehr. This freed up Leopard tanks to function in the pure Panzerbattalions of the PanzerGrenadier and Panzer Brigades. These JPK were not to be used as tanks, In fact when discussions on replacing their roles, the JPK were to have the guns removed and ATGM mounted on top [TOW], so each Heer Brigade could have a full ATGM Company assigned. At this time the Leopard II was rapidly replaceing the Leopard I and it was proposed to reassign these surplus Leopards to the Jagd Panzer units for infantry support. To prevent their use as Tanks the Leopard I turrets would be limited to a traverse in the 180° arc forward.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    True, however an enclosed vehicle, like the Stug, can perform duties that would be extremely hazardous to an open topped vehicle. Likewise the provision of a machine gun that can be fired from under cover also marks a change in a vehicles capability as does the basic armor. The Stug vehicles had armor that was in the same class as the common German tanks for most of the war. It was only in 1944 or so that they fell behind with the Panther becoming common and the Jagdpanzer IV being better protected than a MK IV tank. They could use many of the tank tactics with about the same likely hood of success ( or failure). Trying to use open-topped Marders II and III or even the Hornisse as ersatz tanks is going to result in a lot of lost vehicles for nowhere near the same result.

    While the Hetzer MG did need to be reloaded from out side it beat the heck out of the Stug III and majority of Jagdpanzer IV having to have a crew member stick head and shoulders out of a hatch to fire the unmounted MG 34/42. Granted some Stug IIIs had a metal plate with a hole in it that offered some protection if firing to the front.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it inherited the StuG III mission. Assault artillery fire support to eliminate machinegun nests and other such defensive strongpoints. Were they normally parcelled out with a platoon or company attached directly to an attacking infantry battalion?
     
  19. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Do you have a source for this strange claims? The Kanonenjagdpanzer had always been assigned to anti-tank platoons, often accompanied by the Raketenjagdpanzer 2 based on the same chassis. In the early 1980s 165 JPK were rebuilt into the Jaguar 2 while the others had their gun removed to serve as command or observation vehicles.
    The claim regarding Leo1 and semi-locked turrets is even more strange, also infantry support is not the typical mission task for Panzerjäger companies.
     
  20. psteel

    psteel Member

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    Yes they had the traditional STuG role and usually a platoon would be down attached to a battalion or company for a mission. The JPK had a ROF of 12 rpm , which meant they could out shoot all Soviet tanks 3:1. They were not meant to shoot it out with enemy tanks, just use their rapid firepower to hit and run and buy the infantry company time to disperse and take cover in a hasty defense.
     
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