War Master WMTK024 German Sd. Kfz. 139 Marder III Ausf. M Tank Destroyer - Panzerjager Abteilung 353, Normandy, 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!"
The Marder series of self propelled guns were mostly based on the Panzer 38(t) chassis. The Panzer 38(t) was a light German tank that saw much action from the earliest days of the war until 1943, when it was finally replaced by much larger and more powerful tanks. The 38(t) started life as a Czechoslovakian design, but the German occupation changed that. The German Ministry found it to be an excellent design, and put it into production. Over 1,400 were built and many variants were based on the extremely rugged and reliable chassis, including the Marder self-propelled gun series and the much feared Hetzer tank killer. The Panzer 38(t) mounted a 37mm main gun and also sported a pair of 7.92mm machine guns. It had a very small chassis supported by 8 roadwheels with leaf spring type suspension. It finally became obsolete when the larger caliber guns necessary to deal with increasingly thick armor became too big for the small chassis.
To deal with this problem, the designers redesigned the superstructure to delete the turret, and mount a large gun (the 75mm Pak 40 in the case of the Marder IIIM) in a lightly armored open top design. The engine was moved to the center of the tank to make room for the crew compartment. This new vehicle had one job -- tank destroyer. It performed this task very well until the closing days of the war. It was effective against light and medium armor, but the more heavily armored late war Allied tanks were becoming too much for the Pak 40 to deal with. Other German tanks would come along to take on this role.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 139 Marder III Ausf. M tank destroyer that was attached to Panzerjager Abteilung 353, then deployed to Normandy, France, during 1944.
Length: 2-1/2 inches
Width: 1-1/4 inches
Release Date: January 2013
Historical Account: "Low Hanging Fruit" - Panzerjager (German "armour-hunters" or "tank-hunters", abbreviated to Pz.Jg. in German) was a branch of service of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War which were the anti-tank arm-of-service who operated anti-tank artillery, and made exclusive use of the tank destroyers which were also named Panzerjager. They wore ordinary field-gray uniforms rather than the black of the Panzer troops; those Panzerjager troops who crewed the tank-destroyers however wore the Panzer jacket in field gray.