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Hetzers


kensal
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I've been inside a Hetzer. To say I understand the German complaints about crew comfort would be an overstatement since I've not bounced around in one while under enemy fire. However, I can say that I've found other AFVs more comfortable. Sitting in a Swedish S-Tank was quite the opposite experience! Swedes apparently don't like to be uncomfortable :D

Steve

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Somewhere on the web there's a first person German account about commanding Hetzer. The commander wasn't exactly kind. Most of the little vehicle's current cachet seems to come from hobbyists in the early 1970s who thought it looked 'cool' :)

http://www.pzfahrer.net/index.html

Hated by the crews, but judged as surprisingly successful.

Which is understandable: small, a good and fast gun, quick and good front armor (60 mm@60° - that is more than 120 mm effective thickness!).

This also fits to the data on that homepage, that it even should have become the base for a universal German AFV, replacing all others, if the problems with the rigid gun could have been solved.

Producing four Hetzer for a single Panther would have been a dramatic boost for German defensive capabilities.

Btw: does anyone know, if the problem with a rigid gun has ever been solved?

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This also fits to the data on that homepage, that it even should have become the base for a universal German AFV, replacing all others...

I find it hard to believe this. The 'universal AFV' you mention would be the Czech-designed Pz38(t) and it came first. The JPz 38(t), which was nicknamed "Hetzer" sometime post-war, was based on the Pz 38(t) chassis which was very highly thought of but too small to mount a full, late-war tank on.

Also, JPz 38(t) was a competent light TD but it would have been no replacement for any full tank in the Panzer Divisions, let alone Panther.

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Real senior moment (day) for me! I am thinking 'why is everyone so big on the Hetzer, it never struck me as that good'. Finally look it up: I have been seeing a Marder in my mind all day!

Calls for another celebratory glass of Glenfarclas 105.

I feel your...senior moment. When I see Hetzer, I usually think Jadgpanzer IV. What's the big deal, I ask myself, they look pretty much the same. But then, so did Yassir Arafat and Ringo Starr.:D

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"Hetzer" name was during the war. It had other names, too, but they didn't last long. (Admittedly, it seems the German high command spent more time trying to figure out nomenclature rather than studying actual strategy, but I digress.)

I crawled over/around the one at Aberdeen. Tiny: I cannot imagine 4 men fighting inside of that machine with it buttoned up.

Ken

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Wasn't there also a Flammhetzer?

At Ft. Knox - many years ago now - they had a running Hetzer that they used in their annual July 4 mock tank battles. I climbed inside; it was kind of like a minivan with an big gun running down the middle. (It's slightly off center - but I think the breech of the gun is near the middle of the Hetzer, making things kind of cramped.)

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Hetzers had a postwar life too. I believe the Swiss used them for a time.

Its a little known fact that after the ill fated Hamelburg raid, surviving US tank crewman claimed to have had a run in with a platoon of jagpanthers. After the war when all the pieces were put together it turned out to actually be a depleted company of 11 Hetzers rushed to the battle by rail... OK thats my Cliff Claven moment for the day.

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@76mm, from what I can gather, their ammo capacity wasn't unusually low (and was comparable to StuGIII and Marder).

But what really stood out (as ck3 and Andrew mention) was the horrible ergonomics. I'm guessing the ROF will be noticeably slower than comparable vehicles.

On the plus side, proven chassis and reliability (not too relevant for CM), small profile, good main gun, and good armor protection on the upper front glacis.

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Wasn't there also a Flammhetzer?

At Ft. Knox - many years ago now - they had a running Hetzer that they used in their annual July 4 mock tank battles. I climbed inside; it was kind of like a minivan with an big gun running down the middle. (It's slightly off center - but I think the breech of the gun is near the middle of the Hetzer, making things kind of cramped.)

That's the one I was in :D Thanks to a tester who was a Battalion XO we got a really sweet tour by the curator of the museum. Besides being able to climb into anything we wanted, we got the "back lot" tour of all the stuff that nobody gets to see. You have no idea how many things they have tucked away in storage!

Oh, there was one exception to our free reign exploration. "Don't go in that Chinese such and such. The dials are painted in Uranium, so if you go in there your children may turn out to be mutants". Or something like that :D

Steve

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That's the one I was in :D Thanks to a tester who was a Battalion XO we got a really sweet tour by the curator of the museum. Besides being able to climb into anything we wanted, we got the "back lot" tour of all the stuff that nobody gets to see. You have no idea how many things they have tucked away in storage!

Steve, they moved most of the Ft. Knox and Aberdeen Proving Ground armor collections to Ft. Benning.. I toured it yesterday. Its called the Armor Museum Restoration Shop... they were working on an M2 Light Tank turret while I was there. The place is simply incredible.

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Yeah, I had heard about that move! I wasn't sure how much of the stuff had already been relocated.

BTW, the Jaques Littlefield collection is moving East to Massachusetts. Well, most of it anyway. A big chunk of the collection is going to be sold off to raise cash for the move, the new museum in Stow (IIRC), and an endowment for the future preservation. Not surprisingly they are going to keep the Panther :)

Steve

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