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Jagdpanther's effectiveness...

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Is there any good books on this tank-destroyer that anyone knows about? I don't think the Germans made very many but this may have been one of the most successful vehicles produced in the war if the game is any indication of it's potency. As with most of the Uber weapons produced by the Germans towards the end, I'm sure that this fell into the "too little, too late" category.

I like to expirement with some of the Germans better tanks and tank destroyers. I set up a quick battle wher ethe Soviets have +50% advantage and make it a pure armor game. I let the AI pick the Soviet equipment and I pick one veteran or better Uber tank and see how I can do. Extreme Fog of War is on. I have had a tremendous amount of fun trying to hold up 20+ enemy tanks and tank-destroyers with one vehicle. What a blast! I had an extremely successful run the other day with a Jagdpanther. The only real drawback was the amount of ammo it carried. If the terrain is favorable to the defender, a tank-destroyer like the Jagdpanther can do an incredible amount of damage. After about 15 enemy shots ricocheting off the frontal armor, finally one shell damaged the gun.

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Heres a tasty nibble. Its a report from Jan 1945. The report is aware of one of the JagdPanthers secrets; it can spin about on its tracks. This makes its frontal armor and weapon more effective still.

Another nice thing is the driver, gunner and 'bow' mger are all at the same height. so when the driver gets hull down, the other weapons are right on.

That front plate must have been a pain to manufacture. These vehicles were actually rarer than King Tigers.

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In the real world they were fine tactically but had almost not operational impact because there weren't nearly enough of them. They also seem to have broken down a lot, with reports of half of them falling out on a day's road march fairly common, units typically having half the compliment in repair, etc.

There were about 50 in the west at the time of Normandy. They seem to have fought mostly in penny packets, 3 at a time being typical. (Yes I know 4 was the nominal platoon size but they were never all running). Another set of 50 were used in the Bulge, the biggest single operational use of them. And around 40 supported the Budapest operation in 1945. Though around 400 were made, easily half that total broke down without seeing significant action.

In all these cases you see the initial number drop by half runners rapidly, the rest lingering on but in steadily dwindling numbers. So "battalions" of them often have 7 to 12 running AFVs. Used defensively, they generally stopped armor wherever they showed up, sometimes without loss, sometimes losing a handful. The Germans put out an order not to use them *alone* (single vehicle), to give some idea how thin they were often spread.

Also note that many accounts confuse the Jagd-70 with the true Jagdpanther. The Germans considered the 70 a substitute for a Panther because they had the same gun, while the true Jagdpanthers were organized like Tigers in independent schwere PzJgr battalions - and also like Tigers were sometimes attached to panzer divisions in single company strength (e.g. for the Budapest operation).

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This tidbit....

"schwere Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 654

Formed before the outbreak of the war, this battalion took part in the campaign in Poland in 1939, the defeat of Holland, Belgium, and France in 1940 and in Operation Barbarossa. In 1942 it received the new 7.5 cm Pak 40 AT gun and, in 1943, it was equipped with the Ferdinand tank destroyer and was part of the 9. Armee in the battle of Kursk.

Later it transferred its Ferdinands to schwere Panzer-Jaeger-Abteilung 653. It was intended to have all three companies equipped with the new Jagdpanther tank destroyer. These arrived slowly, however. On 28 April eight were transported by rail to the battalion. These were the only vehicles that arrived for a long time. As late as 11 June 1944 it still had only one partially equipped company with the total number of Jagdpanthers unchanged. It was intended to send the company to Normandy. On 14 June, however, trains with another 17 Jagdpanthers were dispatched to the battalion, even though it is unclear when they arrived. Two days prior to that—12 June 1944—OB West had recommended a company with the eight available Jagdpanthers should be sent to Cherbourg. This recommendation was overcome by events and, on 19 June, its new destination was the Panzer-Lehr-Division. According to Ritgen, the company was attached to the division from 27-29 June. After that, it was under the operational control of Panzergruppe West.

On 1 July the unit had 25 operational vehicles, indicating the dispatched trains had arrived. However, most of the vehicles were probably still at Mailly-le-Camp.

The 2./schwere-Panzer-Jaeger-Abteilung 654 seems to have been the first unit to arrive in Normandy, since it was reported to be present within the area of operations of Panzergruppe West with the XLVII Panzer-Korps on 18 July, while the remainder of the battalion was said to be on its way. One further company—3./schwere-Panzer-Jaeger-Abteilung 654—must have arrived somewhat later, since the elements of the battalion at Panzergruppe West reported 21 Jagdpanthers operational, 3 in short-term repair and 1 in long-term repair on 28 July. This makes for a total of 25 vehicles with the unit, a number that coincides exactly with the number dispatched, as indicated above. This means that all dispatched vehicles had arrived with the unit at the front and none had been lost.

On 1 August it was reported that the battalion had 8 operational Jagdpanzer V's, while 13 were in short-term repair and 3 in long-term repair. Two had been total losses during July as had one Befehlpanzer V. Casualties during July amounted to 11 men. The 1./schwere-Panzer-Jaeger-Abteilung 654 remained at Mailly-le-Camp without any Jagdpanthers.

The final deliveries of Jagdpanthers to the battalion were 8 vehicles on 31 July and another 8 on 14 August. The latter eight would have been hard-pressed to have been employed in the battle in Normandy, but those dispatched at the end of July may have arrived at the large tank training facility at Mailly-le-Camp, east of Paris. The 1./schwere-Panzer-Jaeger-Abteilung 654 was still there, and it was recommended the company be sent to Normandy on 10 August."



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