Dragon DRA60038 German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - 3/schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, France, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"We must do everything we can to promote anti-tank defense, and work just as hard to guarantee successful counter-attacks through the instrument of powerful tank forces of our own."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
In the fall of 1942, the German Waffenamt issued an order to develop a heavy assault gun to combat the growing menace posed by Russian armored forces all along the "ostfrontier" or eastern front. What resulted was the Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther tank destroyer, arguably the best long-range tank destroyer of the war. The Jagdpanther mounted a powerful 8.8cm Pak L/71 cannon within a fixed turret, which was situated atop a standard Panther V chassis. Although production of the tank was begun at MIAG in January 1944, it took another ten months before the larger NMH plant could expand the production run in time for the Wacht am Rhein ("Watch on the Rhine") winter counteroffensive. By war's end only 392 vehicles had entered service with the Wehrmacht, but these had a telling effect on the prosecution of the war.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of an early production version has been slathered with a layer of zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste and was attached to schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654 fighting in France during the summer months of 1944.
Length: 5-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: November 2007
Historical Account: "Hunters" - Jagdpanthers were grouped into independent schwere Panzerjager Abteilungens (heavy anti-tank battalions), with 3 companies of 14 vehicles each and 3 vehicles attached to the battalion HQ. The first Jagdpanthers were issued to schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 559 and 654, reaching front line units in the west in June 1944. Only the 654th had a full complement of 42 vehicles, while the 559th had, at most, only 10 - 14 vehicles. Most of the Jagdpanthers saw service on the Eastern Front while a lone battalion, schwere Panzerjaeger Abteilung 654, operated in the Normandiefront. The greatest number (some 51 vehicles spread over six battalions) took part in the Ardennes Offensive in December 1944.
A small number of Jagdpanthers were used by Waffen-SS formations and only the 2.SS Panzer Division
'Das Reich', 9.SS Panzer Division 'Hohenstaufen', and 10.SS Panzer Division 'Frundsberg' (part of the Sixth PanzerArmee) received a company each during the relief attempt to rescue the encircled garrison of Budapest in January 1945. Out of the original 42 issued to those divisions, only 12 were operational on April 1st, eventually taking part in the defense of Vienna. In 1945, Jagdpanthers were also issued to Panzer Abteilungs of seven panzer divisons, The Fuhrer Grenadier Regiment and a single panzer brigade, using them as substitute tanks.