Casemate's German Tank Destroyers
|$39.95 MSRP from Casemate|
192 pages, hardcover, over 250
photos and illustrations. 8x 10 inches.
One of the first nations to use motorized tank destroyers, vice those that are towed, was Germany. While towed guns were fairly effective, the pace of advances meant that they were generally unable to keep up with the front lines where they were needed.
The solution was to mount them on the chassis of obsolete tanks. For the Germans, this meant the Panzer I. These vehicles were the first Panzerjaegers and were armed with the Czech 4.7 cm gun. This gun was fairly effective against many armored and all soft skin vehicles. The crew on this and most early tank destroyers was protected against rifle calibre bullets and shrapnel by fairly large, open top armor plates. Since the gun was perched atop the tank chassis, these guns were fairly tall and easily spotted on the open plains.
This vehicle was fairly successful until it came up against the Soviet T-34. It was realized that something bigger was needed. This led to the series of Marder vehicles; some on Panzer II chassis and others on French and Czech chassis. The guns were an interesting mixture of German and captured Soviet anti-tank weapons. Again, these were fairly effective, but tall and difficult to hide.
Later vehicles had even larger guns and themselves were larger. This included the Dicker Max and Sturer Emil which were built in very small numbers. They led to the Hornisse/Nashorn vehicles and the Elefant. In an attempt to lower the profile of the destroyer, the Jagdpanzer IV built on a Panzer IV chassis and the very effective Hetzer, which was on a Czech 38(t) chassis rounded out the vehicles used. Apparently the Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger are not considered tank destroyers as they are not covered.
This is a photo book as much as a history and you are treated to hundreds of period photos of the various vehicles covered in the book. It also provides a lot of 'I was there' stories by some of the men who were successful in the various vehicles. These give the reader a fairly good idea of what it was like to fight in these vehicles. These Casemate Illustrated Specials make for a great read and equally welcome reference. Highly recommended to all.
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