Forces of Valor 80312 German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:32 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 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" 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.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther tank destroyer that was deployed to Germany during 1944.
Length: 10.5 inches
Width: 3.5 inches
Height: 3 inches
Release Date: July 2007
Historical Account: "The Rhineland" - The drive to the Siegfried Line was one of the final Allied phases in World War II of the Western European Campaign. This phase spans from the end of the Operation Overlord (August 25th, 1944) up to the start of the Ardennes Offensive (December 16th, 1944), and roughly corresponds to the first part of the official US European Theater of Operations Rhineland Campaign.
Following the Allied success in both Northwest Europe and Southern France, the Allied forces from both were united under the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower and his headquarters SHAEF. The layout of this front was to have the 21st situated to the north of the Ardennes, the 12th to the south, and the 6th (formerly Dragoon Force) protecting the 12th's southern flank.
While Generals Montgomery, Bradley and Patton all favoured relatively direct thrusts into Germany (with Montgomery and Bradley each offering to be the spearhead of such an assault), Eisenhower disagreed. Instead he favoured a "broad-front" strategy which would allow the Allies to regroup and shift their forces as needed, and to protect vital supply operations in the rear.
The rapid advance through France had caused a considerable logistical strain, made worse by the lack of any major port asides from the relatively distant Cherbourg in western France. As the campaign progressed, all the belligerents, Allied as well as German, felt the effects of the lack of suitable replacements for front-line troops.
Furthermore, there were two major defensive obstacles facing the Allies. The first was the natural barriers made by the rivers of Western France. The second was the Siegfried Line itself, which fell under the command, along with all Wehrmacht forces in the west, of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt.