Legion LEG12023LA German Sd. Kfz. 139 Marder III Ausf. H Tank Destroyer with PaK36 Anti-Tank Gun - Camouflage (1:72 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
On December 22nd, 1941, the German Weapons Department was ordered to produce an effective self-propelled anti-tank gun for use on the Eastern front. The Czechoslovakian 38(t) chassis was used as the basis for the vehicle. The gun and carriage (without the wheels) was mounted on top of the superstructure using a special mounting plate. It was shaped like a bridge and was bolted to the roof in the front and rear. The gun shield moved with the gun, but the sides were fixed to help protect the crew. The driver and radio operator sat in the front of the hull. Behind them were three ammunition boxes that held 24 rounds. There were two ammunition boxes mounted on the side walls of the superstructure, which contained 12 rounds.
Originally designated the Panzerselbstfahrlafette 2 far 7.62 cm PaK 36, Hitler changed its name to Marder III on February 27th, 1944. Production started on March 24th, 1942 at the Bahmisch-Mahrische Maschinenfabrik AG factory in Prague. Initial output was set at 17 vehicles per month, with a target of 30 per month. By May 15th, 1942, 120 had been produced, and another 100 were ordered. These were produced from June to September 1942.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 139 Marder III Ausf. H Tank Destroyer with PaK36 Anti-Tank Gun in a camouflage pattern.
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Historical Account: "Defending the Reich" - The various Marder III's fought on all European fronts and in North Africa, with the Sd. Kfz. 139 being used mainly at the Eastern Front, though some also fought in Tunisia. In February 1945, some 350 Ausf. M were still in service.
The Marder IIIs were used by the Panzerjager Abteilungen of the Panzer divisions of both the Heer and the Waffen SS, as well as several Luftwaffe units, such as the Hermann Goring division.
The Marder IIIs were mechanically reliable, as with all vehicles based on the Czechoslovak LT-38 chassis. Their firepower was sufficient to destroy the majority of Soviet tanks on the battlefield at combat range.
The Marder III's weaknesses were mainly related to survivability. The combination of a high silhouette and open-top armor protection made them vulnerable to indirect artillery fire. The armor was also quite thin, making them highly vulnerable to enemy tanks, and to close-range machine gun fire.
The Marders were not assault vehicles or tank substitutes; the open top meant that operations in urban areas or other close-combat situations were very risky. They were best employed in defensive or overwatch roles. Despite their mobility, they did not replace the towed antitank guns.
In March 1942, before the Marder III appeared, Germany had already started production of the StuG III assault gun, which had comparable anti-tank capability (StuG III Ausf. F and later variants). These were fully armored vehicles, with the fighting compartment fully enclosed within an armored casemate, built in much greater numbers than the vulnerable Marder III. Among the many German casemated tank destroyers, one based on the Panzer 38(t) chassis was built in numbers from 1944: the Jagdpanzer 38(t). The weakly-armored Marder series were phased out of production in favor of the Jagdpanzer 38(t), but Marder series vehicles served until the end of the conflict.