a German tank of the Second world war – the theme will be mostly the large, serious – if not too-serious types. The Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II, and a planned spawn, such as the 188-ton tank with the name “mouse”.

the recognized However, towards the end of the war, the German military planners, in which aberration they were advised of ever larger and technically more complex models. In the planning of the tank-building for the year 1945, a Mini should be built-in tanks by the Thousands and turning on the fronts. Referring to the Jagdpanzer 38t – after the war under the nickname “Hetzer”. This model could be easy to produce in large numbers. The series production began only in June 1944. Up to the end of the war, almost 2600 tanks were manufactured.

Jagdpanzer 38t “Hetzer” – the Mini-tank with the big gun Fullscreen

The big gun extended the small tank enormously to the front.

Commons tag of a pre-war design

The jagdpanzer 38t was based on the Czech Panzer 38t, which has production plants had fallen to the Germans at the beginning of the war undamaged in the hands. The chassis of the battle tank with a turret was useful, but with the Emergence of the T-34 was like the German counterpart, the Panzer III, obviously, that it couldn’t shoot the main cannon with the Russian tanks. A bigger gun in a turret was not able to carry the chassis, so a tank destroyer, was developed. This is a Type of where the gun is forward directed and only by a few degrees can be pivoted.

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compared to older developments, such as the sturmgeschütz III, the Hetzer took the catchy Name was only after the war, popular – recent developments in the Panzerbau on – the beveled Front and side armor. As a new armament, the standard German weapon, the built-in 7.5 cm anti-tank gun 40 (Pak 40), has now been. You could hit the front armor of a T-34 at 600 – with luck, even to 800 meters.

Small, agile and heavily armed

However, the main advantage of the Hetzers was his low weight, he only weighed 16 tons. The “38” in the official name of the jagdpanzer 38t is the year 1938 and not on the weight. So the Hetzer remained very agile and flexible. Added to this was its reduced height of just 1.40 meters, the tanks were able to take even the smallest irregularities for a covered position.

But in fact, the Name tank destroyer is a bit overblown, because for a movement battle with other battle tanks, this development was not suitable. With the Hetzer succeeded the German, a heavy gun in a small chassis, which had been before the war, designed to accommodate, but the Lack of a rotating cannon limited the range of applications enormously. In the end, the Hetzer remained a mobile anti-tank gun with some armor.

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In use, he had to take an attacking enemy from a covered position under fire. Its advantage is that After the first shots, was able to move a tank like the Hetzer in a second position, which was achieved with a pure gun and a tractor in the area of effect of the opponent rarely.

Hetzer offered almost no protection

in fact, the concept of the Hetzers had huge disadvantages. A significant armour of the Hetzer was at the Front. The sides were armored low that they offered little more than a splinter protection for the crew. In the case of a side hit, the tank was lost. The only 20 mm thick plates could even be an anti-tank rifle, as used by the Red army in large numbers. An anti-tank rifle like the PTRD was ultimately nothing other than a very large rifle, with the cartridges in the caliber 14,5 × 114 mm were fired. For the Hetzer, and other lightly armored vehicles that was enough.

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disappeared From Gernot All of this led to the fact that the Hetzer had a Chance. Namely, with the first shots a surprised opponent. The enemy tanks were able to spread out, you could grab the Hetzer, then on the flank, had the vehicle no prospects for more. The low height plus the sloping walls also led to a painful Close in the interior. The main weapon was not built due to lack of space, such as provided centrally, but laterally offset, so your pivot area was further reduced. The loader had to dislocate to the cannon ammunition feed. In addition to the conceptual defects, problems, the Park had during the production. Thus, exhaust gases and Ölschwaden of the engine penetrated into the fighting compartment. No wonder, then, that the Hetzer was not in the crews very popular.

Swiss happy with the Mini-tank

war decisive effect of the small tank had not, despite good successes. However, for special applications, it was very suitable. The Hetzer is a German tank of the Second world war, was the longest in regular use. The last Hetzer were held in Switzerland until 1972 in troops service.

And so the Swiss army came to the Hetzer: In January 1945, when the German Empire was already in ruins, has ordered Switzerland, namely 158 Hetzer – the end of the Nazi government. After the war, the Nazis had nothing more to say. Czechoslovakia came under Soviet influence and was ready to fulfill the old contract. So it was that the Swiss military ordered the Hetzer in the case of the Nazis, but the Communists delivered got. Even with the Tarnbemalung of the German Wehrmacht. Under the name G13, these tanks were placed in service. For the special Situation in Switzerland, namely, the resolute defence close Talzugänge in the so-called Swiss Réduit, proved to be the little Hetzer with its strong main weapon to be very suitable.

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Gernot Kramper