Heer

Sd.Kfz.232

The SdKfz-232 (Schwerer Panzerspähwagen) was a 6 wheeled armored car used by Germany in the early years of WWII. German armored cars were intended to fill the traditional cavalry role of reconnaissance and screening. They scouted ahead of mechanized units to assess enemy strength and location. Their primary role was to observe rather than fight enemy units, although they were expected to fight enemy reconnaissance elements when required. The 232 was based on 6x4 truck with a 155 hp eight cylinder Büssing-NAG L8V-G gas engine with a top speed of 53 mph and a range of 170 miles. The armored body provided 5 to 15 mm of armor proof against small arms fire and HE fragments. They first saw combat in the Polish campaign and later in the Battle of France. They also fought in North Africa and Russia but the harsh climate proved to be too much for them. The remaining 232s were withdrawn from the front and used for training and security duties. The SdKfz-232 was armed with a 20 mm KwK 30 L/55 auto cannon and a Maschinengewehr 13 7.92 mm machinegun. The 232 carried a Fu. Ger.11 SE 100 medium range radio and a Fu. Spr. Ger. "a" short range radio. It was distinguished by the heavy bedstead antenna over the body of the car. At the point where the antenna was connected to the turret a special joint was installed which supported the aerial but still allowed the turret a full 360° traverse.

Sd.Kfz.232

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Jagdpanzer IV Lang

The Jagdpanzer IV, SdKfz-162, was a tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis built in three main variants. In late 1942 the Wehrmacht's arms bureau called for a new tank destroyer design based on the Panzer IV and would be armed with the with a 75 mm Pak 42 L/70 gun without muzzle break and one 7.92 mm MG42 machine gun. The 75 mm L/70 gun had limited hand traverse of 12 degrees to the left and right and could be elevated 15 degrees up and lowered 7 degrees down. The Jagdpanzer IV/70’s weight was 25.8 tons and it had a maximum road speed of 35km/h. The Jagdpanzer IV kept the original chassis of the Panzer IV tank, but the original vertical front plate was replaced by a sharp edged nose. The new superstructure had sloped armor and at the front was 100 mm thick. Production started in January 1944 and continued until March/April 1945. The Jagdpanzer IV served in the anti tank sections of Panzer and SS Panzer divisions. They fought in Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and on the Eastern Front. They were very successful tank destroyers but performed badly when used as substitutes for tanks or assault guns.

Jagdpanzer IV Lang

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Pz.V Panther

The panzerkampfwagen V Sd. Kfz. 171 Panther tank was a WWII medium tank used by Nazi Germany from mid 1943 to the end of the war. The Panther is generally regarded as one of the two best medium tanks of WWII (the other is the T-34). Designed as a response to the Soviet T-34 tank first encountered in June 1941, work progressed slowly on the Panther. The first two prototypes from MAN and Daimler Benz were not ready until April 1942 and a final production version was not selected until May 1942. The development of the production version was plagued by problems with the transmission, steering, gun, turret and fuel pump. Despite the problems 200 Panthers were ready for the Battle Of Kursk in July 1943. As the war went on the main problems with the Panther were corrected but some of the design flaws could not be corrected due to shortages of machine tools and high quality steel. The Panther had basically the same engine as the Tiger I, but with considerably less weight, it had better mobility and speed. It also had better frontal armor and better gun penetration. The main weakness of the Panther was it’s relatively weak side armor making it vulnerable in close quarters combat. The Panther's excellent combination of firepower, mobility and protection served as a benchmark for other nations' late war and immediate postwar tank designs and it is considered an early precursor to the main battle tank. The Panther was armed with a 75 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig KwK 42 (L/70) canon and one coaxial MG 34 machinegun and one MG 34 on the glacis plate. This model shows a Panther in typical late war camouflage on the Western Front in 1945.

Pz.V Panther

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Hetzer

The Hetzer (officially the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Sd.Kfz. 138/2) was a German light tank destroyer based on a modified Panzer 38(t) chassis. The Hetzer was designed to be more cost effective and reliable than the Jagdpanther or Jagdtiger and better armored, easier to conceal and less expensive than the Panzerjäger I, Marder and Nashorn. It entered production in April 1944 and first went into service in July 1944 on the Eastern Front. About 2584 were built. The Hetzer was armed with a 75 mm PaK 39 L/48 gun that was capable destroying most Allied and Soviet tanks. It also carried a remote controlled 7.92 mm MG 34 machinegun that could be fired from inside the vehicle. Hetzer was not the official name of the vehicle, it was the unofficial name given to it by the troops. After the war Czechoslovakia built about 180 Hetzers for their use and 158 for Switzerland. Since the Hetzer was produced in large numbers there are quite a few survivors today in museums and private collections. This model shows a Hetzer after the Battle Of The Bulge in 1944.

Hetzer

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StuG III

The Sturmgeschütz III assault gun was Germany's most produced armored fighting vehicle of WWII. The StuG III originated in the German army's experience in WWI. The artillery of the time was too heavy to be brought up with the infantry during an attack, leaving the infantry with no means to bring direct fire onto obstacles and strongpoints. In 1935 the German army issued a specification for an infantry assault gun with a 75mm canon. In 1936 Daimler Benz began development of the StuG III. They used the chassis and running gear of the Pz.Kpfw. III as the basis for the new machine. As the StuG III was intended as an infantry support weapon it was armed with the Krupp short barrel 75mm StuK 37 L/24 cannon. While the StuG III was considered self propelled artillery, there was some initial debate about which arm should be responsible for the new vehicle. The neither the panzer nor the infantry arm had the resources to operate it so it fell to the artillery arm to take control of the StuG III. It made its combat debut during the Battle Of France in 1940 and proved very successful in it's intended role, giving the infantry much needed close support. When the German army encountered the Soviet T-34 and KV series tanks in the invasion of the Soviet Union, the army urgently needed tank destroyers. The StuG III was up armored and equipped with the high velocity 75mm StuK 40 L/43 cannon and later the 75 mm StuK 40 L/48 antitank gun producing the Ausf. F, F/8 and G versions. A 7.92mm MG34 machinegun was also added to the Ausf. G. The Sturmgeschütz assault guns proved very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and, later, tank destroyers. Because of their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were easy to camouflage and made a difficult target. The StuG units ended the war with a total of over 20,000 enemy tanks destroyed and served till the end of the war. About 10,619 StuG IIIs were produced when production ended in March 1945. StuG IIIs were supplied to Romania (used till 1954), Bulgaria, Finland (used till the early 1960s), Hungary, Italy, Spain (used till 1954), Sweden, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Syria (supplied by the USSR and used till 1967). The model shows a StuG III Ausf. G on the western front in late 1943.

StuG.III G

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Tiger I Ausf. E

The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H PzKpfw VI Ausf. E, better know as the Tiger I heavy tank was the result of a design process that began in 1937 with a request from the army to produce a 30 ton breakthrough tank. Development of various prototypes continued through 1941 when Henschel and Porsche were asked to submit designs for a heavy tank to be ready by June 1942. When Germany launched Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 they were surprised by the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks that completely outclassed anything the Germans had in inventory. The specifications for the new tank were changed and both companies were told to move the ready date up two months. The new tank represented a significant departure from prior tank designs. Previous designs tried to balance mobility, armor and firepower. The Tiger I emphasized firepower and armor. At over 55 tons the Tiger I pushed the envelope for engine power and suspensions and breakdowns were frequent. With up to 200 mm of armor the Tiger I was almost immune to frontal attacks by all Allied tanks and most Soviet tanks. The Tiger's gun had a high muzzle velocity and extremely accurate sights In British firing trials five successive hits were scored on a 16 by 18 in target at 1,200 yards and Tigers were reported to have knocked out enemy tanks at ranges greater than 2.5 miles. The greater penetrating power of the Tiger's gun meant that it could destroy many of its opponents at ranges at which they could not reach, let alone penetrate. Compounding the danger to Allied tank crews was the superior quality of German optics, allowing them better accuracy at distance and increasing their chances of a hit on the first shot. Opposing tank units were often required to make a flanking attack in order to knock out a Tiger. The Tiger made it's combat debut on September 23, 1942 near Leningrad. Since the tank was put into production before it was ready there were many breakdowns. It took another few months for the Tiger I to become reliable enough for combat operations. Through out the rest of the war the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts, usually deployed in independent battalions. It was greatly feared by both the Allies and the Soviets. In one famous engagement SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann ambushed elements of the British 7th Armored Division during the Battle of Villers-Bocage on June 13, 1944. In command of a single Tiger I he destroyed 14 tanks, 15 personnel carriers and 2 antitank guns in 15 minutes. From the beginning of production in August 1942 to the end of production in August 1944 1,355 Tiger I tanks were built. There is one operational Tiger I and 6 non-operational that survived the end of the war. The Tiger I was armed with a 88 mm KwK 36 L/56 canon and two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 machineguns. This model shows a Tiger I with the 502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion near Lake Ladoga in the summer of 1943.

Tiger I Ausf. E

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