Dragon DRA60226 German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Tank Destroyer with Armored Side Skirts - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
Jagdpanzer (JgPz), German: "Hunting tank", is a name for German tank destroyers.
It typically refers to designs based upon existing tank chassis with a well-armoured fixed superstructure, mounting an anti-tank gun with limited traverse in the front. The Jagdpanzer designs followed on from the more lightly armoured Panzerjäger designs which took an anti-tank gun and mounted it on top of a tank chassis with supplementary armour fitted around the gun crew. Without the complexity of the rotating turret, Jagdpanzer designs could be quickly produced which was important in supplying fighting vehicles to the Russian front. However in lacking a turret the Jagdpanzers were more limited in use. Generally they were used as a second line or reserve in the attack or to form a defensive line.
The first prototype of the Jagdpanzer IV was presented to the German Fuehrer in October 1943, with production eventually commencing in January 1944. Based on the chassis, running gear and drive train of the Panzer IV, this specialist “tank hunter” was low-slung and had well-sloped armor. The vertical hull front of the PzKpfw IV was replaced by two angled plates that provided a sharp nose. The early production model mounted a 7.5cm PaK39 L/48 gun. Pictured here is an early production Sd. Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 tank destroyer with armored side skirts that saw action defending Germany in early 1945. Sold Out!
Length: 4.5 inches
Width: 1.75 inches
Release Date: August 2006
Original Issue Price: $16.99
Historical Account: "Stalin's Organs" - By April 1st, 1945, the rampaging Red Army had reached the outskirts of Berlin. Knowing full well that Berlin would be heavily defended, Russian commanders decided to delay their attack by two weeks in order to build up their strength before making a final attack. Meanwhile, the Western Allies had planned to drop paratroops near Berlin to take the capital, but decided against it. Eisenhower saw no need to suffer heavy casualties taking a city that would fall within the Soviet sphere of influence once the war was over. Adolf Hitler, who never thought Berliners supported him the way he imagined, decided to remain in the city. Some think he stayed to punish the city for its lack of support in the early days of Nazism; more likely there was nowhere else for him to go once the Allies had begun closing in.
The offensive began with a tremendous barrage of artillery, which included 'Stalin's Organs' - ground-launched rockets known for their hideous shrieking noise. On April 16th, the First and Second Belorussian Fronts, in conjunction with the First Ukrainian Front, attacked, striking from the north, west and south. By April 24th, the three army groups had completely encircled the city and began infiltrating the city proper. The next day, the Fifth Guards Tank Army linked up with the US First Army at Torgau, Germany on the River Elbe. On April 20th, Hitler ordered the Twelfth Army facing the Americans and the Ninth Army to break into Berlin to relieve the siege. Neither force was able to penetrate the Soviet defenses so the Berliners were on their own.
Although Berlin's fate was sealed, the resistance continued. Fighting was heavy, with house-to-house battles oftentimes devolving into savage hand-to-hand combat. By battle's end, the Soviets had lost 305,000 dead; Germans casualties amounted to 325,000, including many civilians. On April 30th, Adolf Hitler married his mistress Eva Braun, took cyanide, then shot himself, refusing to be taken alive by the Allied powers. Berlin surrendered three days later on May 2nd and with it came the end of the Third Reich.