By Adamicz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Hetzer – History

History of Jagdpanzer 38(t) “Hetzer”, a Czechoslovakian-built German tank destroyed used during the Second World War.

The Jagdpanzer 38(t), nicknamed by the crews "Hetzer" ("baiter"), was a German light tank destroyer used in the last months of the Second World War. It was based on the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t), a Czech ("tschechisch" in German, hence the "t") light tank, obsolete in 1944 but still with adequate mobility, reliable and easily maintainable.

The modifications from the original consisted in replacing the lightly armored superstructure and the rotating turret with a casemate with a heavily sloped thick armor; moreover, they upgraded the small calibre 37 mm (1.46 in) gun with a 75 mm (2.95 in) one. The result was a small and easily concealable vehicle with a good armor and a powerful armament.

Its limitations were the weight of the gun —which put a great stress on the forward suspensions, thus increasing their wear— and the thin side armor. The cramped interior allowed the storage of only 41 rounds and made difficult the loading of the main armament.

The limited gun traverse greatly reduced the effectiveness of the vehicle for offensive purposes. It was thus relegated to defensive uses (such as ambushes along predetermined paths), in which it nonetheless excelled.

The Hetzer was one of the most effective and largely used tank destroyers of the Second World War, with over 2800 units built. It saw combat with the Germans from July 1944 to the end of the Second World War; after the conflict, it saw service until early '60s in the Czechoslovakian army (where its base variant was designed "ST-I") and in the Swedish army, as well as in the Swiss army under the designation "G-13".

From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

By Adamicz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" on display at the Military Technical Museum Lešany (Czech Republic).

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