Like the Marder IIIs, the small but lethal Hetzer used the chassis of the reliable PzKpfw 38(t). However, it was a far superior weapon and was a total rebuild rather than an improvised conversion. The Hetzer was the product of a specific request by General Heinz Guderian after his promotion to Inspector-General of Panzer Troops. As in the cases of Jagdpanzer IV and Jagdpanther, the tank chassis was utilized as the basis for a new, specialized tank destroyer with flat, well-sloped armor plates. Thus the Hetzer looked very much like a miniature Jagdpanther and was almost as deadly. It had the same hard-hitting power as that of the Panther, amazing agility and a very low shot-resistant profile, but only weighed one third as the Panther. The excellent Hetzer stayed in service with the post-war Czech and Swiss armies until the 1960s. It first appeared in 1943 and went into full-scale production in 1944. A total of 1,577 was built. It was an extremely effective tank destroyer and many features were incorporated in the post-war Bundeswehr's Jagdpanzer Kanone.
|Click on one of the thumbnails below to view the full picture.|
|Technical data and/or diagram of Panzerjäger 38(t) Hetzer (Baiter).|
|The low height of the Hetzer can be clearly appreciated. Note the well-shaped "Saukopf" (pig's head) gun mantlet that provided extra head-on protection and the lack of a muzzle brake, usually fitted to other German tank destroyers.|
|The low silhouette of the Hetzer as well as its clean lines made it a highly effective tank destroyer.|
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