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I want more historical information: Jagdpanther


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VRMoran #1 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:31

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Alrighty, there are a few tank designs from WWII that I've found incredibly interesting. Three, in particular: the Somua S35 (surprisingly amazing machine from the french), the Pershing (had a few problems, but it was about as close as the Americans would get to a "Tiger tank" during the war), and finally the Jagdpanther.

The first one I have finally been able to find a bit of decent information on, everything from the crew setup to the mechanics of it and the combat history. The Pershing I can't find much about in context to WWII, but being able to talk to people from Korea I have a good idea about what it was like (The Chieftan's video on it was excellent as well).


However, the Jagdpanther is eluding me. It looks like an excellent design with a great blend of armor, mobility, and firepower. I even hear it referred to as the best tank destroyer of the German army....without any qualification for this statement. Here's what I've been able to find:
  • Had a production run of over 400 vehicles
  • Was based on the Panther Ausf. G, and was found to be mechanically reliable.
  • Used the 8.8cm gun from the King Tiger giving it superior accuracy, penetration, and firepower over almost any other vehicle on the WWII battlefield.
  • 80mm of well sloped frontal armor, making it up there with the best protected of the German tanks.
  • Surprisingly mobile.
And....that's where things run out. Can't really find much else of interest.

Now, what I wish to know is what the combat history of the thing was like. Did it preform as well as it should have according to the paper stats? Did it have any kind of bizarre flaws or quirks? What would the conditions for the crew have been like? Did the casemate design give the 8.8cm gun any problems.....or was it beneficial over the turret mounted designs like in the King Tiger? Did it quickly get stuck in mud and have trouble crossing terrain? Was the lack of a turret and the long length a problem for forest combat it might have seen? Where and how was it deployed, and how successful did it really preform?

The reason I'm wondering this is that sometimes things we get from paper stats don't really show much about the tank itself....like the Hetzer. Sure, technically an impressive vehicle until you considered that the crew setup made it almost useless. Or on the other side of things the Stug III, which really wasn't that impressive until you realize that it was probably the overall most successful tank the Germans deployed.

As I've said, I've run into issues finding this information on my own. You can see the kind of questions I'm asking. Not the stuff you'd find just looking at a historical diagram, but rather stuff that's a little more....extensive. Anything and everything would be appreciated.

swiggins #2 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:33

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They made it because the allies bombed the **** out of them and they had no ball bearing for the turrets, so they just made the jadgpanther

swiggins #3 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:34

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Oh and it performed good (considering its a panther with no turret)

swiggins #4 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:39

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if there where any mechanical problems it was the engine (like all german tanks) :Smile_trollface-3:

T2Terminator #5 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:43

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Sadly, trying to google info on it comes up with WoT links (mostly). Perhaps I fail at searching, but I did find some small bits of info. I'm sure there are recorded Allied experiences with the machine. Either way;

Here.


And some stuff here.


Spoiler                     

And for enjoyment:



swiggins #6 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:49

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Huh it looked like it had zimmerit anti magnetic paste on it

Tex_Arcana #7 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:49

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Other than the mention of an engagement in July 1944 in Normandy there is nothing much more mentioned on my favourite site for referencing German Armour ; but there is mention of it's excellent crew communication system etc. :
http://www.achtungpa...htm#jagdpanther

VRMoran #8 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:53

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View PostT2Terminator, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:43, said:

Sadly, trying to google info on it comes up with WoT links (mostly). Perhaps I fail at searching, but I did find some small bits of info. I'm sure there are recorded Allied experiences with the machine. Either way;

And for enjoyment:



Holy crap....the big guy does get along at a nice clip. Looking at it the Jagdpanther looks big and bulky, but it's kind of nimble. Would not have called that.

View PostTex_Arcana, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:49, said:

Other than the mention of an engagement in July 1944 in Normandy there is nothing much more mentioned on my favourite site for referencing German Armour ; but there is mention of it's excellent crew communication system etc. :
http://www.achtungpa...htm#jagdpanther

Yeah, and both of you are mirroring my frustrations. I can find a lot of WoT specific info, but not much else. Thanks for the stuff though, and if anyone has anything else that would be great.

SportTechnologies #9 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 04:59

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I thought the Jagdtiger was the best one of the German army?

Zinegata #10 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:01

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View PostVRMoran, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:31, said:

However, the Jagdpanther is eluding me. It looks like an excellent design with a great blend of armor, mobility, and firepower. I even hear it referred to as the best tank destroyer of the German army....without any qualification for this statement. Here's what I've been able to find:
  • Had a production run of over 400 vehicles
  • Was based on the Panther Ausf. G, and was found to be mechanically reliable.
  • Used the 8.8cm gun from the King Tiger giving it superior accuracy, penetration, and firepower over almost any other vehicle on the WWII battlefield.
  • 80mm of well sloped frontal armor, making it up there with the best protected of the German tanks.
  • Surprisingly mobile.

Not much is written about the Jagdpanther because it's honestly a rare machine. A run of 400 vehicles is trivial compared to 6,000 for the Panther. Moreover, only small numbers were deployed in the Western Front (only 28 were in Normandy, if I recall correctly from a recent Dupuy Study), which kept the Jagdpanther out of the eyes of Western soldiers whose materials are much more accessible to English-speaking historians.

That being said, the idea that it was reliable is questionable; and I'm tempted to dismiss a lot of claims of the Jagdpanther as the premiere World War 2 TD as myth-making (the Stug holds that title, unquestionably in terms of actual performance). For instance:

1) The reliability is actually not that good. Most of the Jagdpanthers lost in Normandy were lost due to abandonment. The idea that it's reliable just because it's based on the Panther G is wrong, because even the G variant was horribly unreliable by Allied standards. Good and well trained drivers could keep it at around 75% availability, but in most cases the availability was closer to 50% or less (Allied vehicles with that level of reliability are relegated to training roles). It's not lighter than the Panther so it will do nothing to ease the woes of the Panther's weak final drive, which conks out after a mere 150km of use.

It is agile, like the Panther, but agility only matters when the engine is still working.

2) The 88mm gun is mostly overkill. Aside from a handful of IS-2s, Churchills, and Pershings, no Allied tank really requires the 75mm L70 or the 88mm flak gun except for long-ranged shoots. It could have been armed with the older Tiger I gun and it would have had no real decrease in relative performance.

3) The main advatage of the casement design is not the armor, but the cheaper cost and and lower profile. The Panther was absurdly tall, a fatal flaw in a tank killer when camouflage and getting the first shot in were statistically the most important factors to winning a tank fight. The Jagdpanther was about a foot shorter and is thus merely "kinda tall", but it's still about two whole feet taller than the Stug.

A fair assessment of the Jagdpanther would thus run along these lines: It's a cheaper Panther, but it fails to address any of the Panther's crippling flaws (reliability). Its reputation rests entirely on unfounded and incorrect assertions that the Panther was a good tank; when in reality it was atrociously unreliable from start to finish and was never even a serious vehicle, much less a tank, to begin with.

Edited by Zinegata, Jan 05 2013 - 05:08.


Zinegata #11 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:05

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View PostEXPLOsivesteen, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:59, said:

I thought the Jagdtiger was the best one of the German army?

Jagdtiger's a complete piece of junk. Completely unreliable due to its enormous weight thanks to all the armor - much of which was useless anyway because studies consistently show that armor is not the primary determinant of vehicle survival. Proper deployment by means of camouflage and low profile are; coupled with getting the first hit in.

In short, the winner of a tank fight is the one that kills the enemy before they enemy even sees him. Not by the idiot actively courting hits because he thinks he has such massive armor. Pretty much all of the late war German armor actually falls in the latter category, and unsurprisingly their kill rate actually consistently dropped when the Panther and the other big heavily armored tanks became more and more common.

Moreover, the 128mm gun was complete and utter overkill. No Allied tank required such a monstrous gun to kill. All it resulted in was to lower the Jagdtiger's firing rate and ammo capacity, while broadcasting its position due to the 128's enormous amount of smoke generation.

Edited by Zinegata, Jan 05 2013 - 05:13.


VRMoran #12 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:08

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View PostEXPLOsivesteen, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:59, said:

I thought the Jagdtiger was the best one of the German army?

Biggest, not best.

THAT one I can find plenty of information on:

It was generally disliked by those who had to use it, on account of the massive bulk. It was probably the heaviest thing the Germans fielded, but was underpowered in the engine department. The key to the Jagdtiger's appeal was the 12.8cm gun. It preformed similarly to the 8.8cm on the King Tiger and Jagdpanther, but maintained that performance out to long range. Oh, and it fired a MUCH bigger shell. At 62 pounds I wouldn't be surprised if most of the damage done was the energy exchange from the impact of that thing hitting a target at over the speed of sound.

Thanks to the large weight, the engine was always strained and had a tendency to combust. And, it was mechanically unreliable.

It is worth noting however that I don't think anything existed that could withstand a shot from that gun. It was the most powerful anti-tank weapon of the war (the 152mm on the ISU-152 wasn't exactly designed for tank fighting), and it's notable that the majority were probably scuttled by German crews or destroyed from the air. The armor was literally impregnable by allied weapons from the front. However, lighting on fire at random and being too difficult to maneuver made it less than ideal. Heck, the book by Otto Carius Tiger's in the Mud was particularly mean with regards to the Jagdtiger, as you can imagine based on the title.


In summary, a powerful vehicle, but not a particularly useful one.

EDIT: the person above me brings up the real issue with the Jagdtiger: it was unnecessary. There was no need for the 12.8cm gun, and WHY would you need that much armor? There does come a point where more armor and more firepower isn't actually helping your cause at all. Heck, the Panther with 80mm of sloped armor was considered pretty darn tough within the context of WWII. Why would you need 250mm of armor if 80mm blocks most of the same stuff? And, why use a 12.8cm when an 8.8cm has the same performance except at VERY long ranges or against VERY big targets (i.e. targets that didn't actually exist).

Edited by VRMoran, Jan 05 2013 - 05:13.


VRMoran #13 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:16

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:01, said:

I'm tempted to dismiss a lot of claims of the Jagdpanther as the premiere World War 2 TD as myth-making (the Stug holds that title, unquestionably in terms of actual performance).

To this end I have to agree. No tank preformed quite as well for Germany as the Stug, which is quite a shame because people are so quick to dismiss it in favor of the Tiger and Panther (which were usually rubbish).

Thanks for the analysis. I have had the same thoughts regarding the gun, in that it wasn't exactly needed. Maybe against the IS-3 tanks, but those weren't exactly deployed in any kind of numbers. (actually, we're back to the same thing as we were with the Jagdtiger earlier....why have MORE when you don't need it...).

corps3runn3r #14 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:17

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View PostEXPLOsivesteen, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:59, said:

I thought the Jagdtiger was the best one of the German army?



It moved like a snail and turned like one too. Would not have been hard to flank at all...

Edited by metalgold, Jan 05 2013 - 05:28.


SportTechnologies #15 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:25

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Alright thank you guys for clearing up the fact that the Jagdtiger was not the best.  :Smile_veryhappy:

But now I must bring up another TD. The JagdPz .IV. About 2,000 were produced so it has a large amount of usage, and it also had an extremely low silhouette. Not to mention that those junk Shermans still had a very hard time penetrating it (Nothing new to see there).  Now I'm ready for the explanations why this isn't the best either.  :Smile-hiding:

Zinegata #16 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:26

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View Postmetalgold, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:17, said:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.c...bed/W6LL4tCTXEs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

It moved like a snail and turned like one too. Would not have been hard to flank at all...

Assuming the crew (especially if inexperienced) didn't bail out after getting hit for the first time (even in the strong front plate); which is likely what happened with most Jagdtigers as they were found abandoned.

It always pays to remember that real-life tanks are crewed by human beings who can get scared; and are not merely a collection of armor thickness values.

Zinegata #17 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:32

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View PostEXPLOsivesteen, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:25, said:

Alright thank you guys for clearing up the fact that the Jagdtiger was not the best.  :Smile_veryhappy:

But now I must bring up another TD. The JagdPz .IV. About 2,000 were produced so it has a large amount of usage, and it also had an extremely low silhouette. Not to mention that those junk Shermans still had a very hard time penetrating it (Nothing new to see there).  Now I'm ready for the explanations why this isn't the best either.  :Smile-hiding:

Because it's largely superflous to the Stug, which was again the premiere TD of the German Army with 20,000 claimed kills (it still holds the lead by a wide margin even when we account for some kill claim inflation).

The Jagdpanzer's only real "advantage" over the Stug is that some of them carry a stronger L70 gun. But given this gun is necessary for killing only a handful of rare Allied tanks (i.e. the IS, which accounts for something like less than 5% of the Soviet tank pool) it's a trival advantage. Worse still, the uber-long L70 gun proved very unwieldy and caused the vehicle to be difficult to handle, which was why most were equipped with the L48, or the same gun as the Stug.

In short, the payoff (overkill gun) does not justify the expense (poorer mobility and reliability)

Trivial increases in the single least useful tank stat (armor), and "improving" firepower to the point of overkill at the cost of mobility and reliability does not win actual battles. They're just meaningless stat-padding with no real improvement in battlefield performance.

Edited by Zinegata, Jan 05 2013 - 05:34.


collimatrix #18 Posted Jan 05 2013 - 05:34

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I had seen it argued that a jagdpanther is better off than a regular panther WRT final drive problems because the relevant bits could potentially be accessed through the gun mantlet if the cannon were pulled.  Not sure if I buy that, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.

I also read differing accounts of the usefulness of the KwK 43 8.8 L71.  On one hand, it was pretty powerful.  On the other, barrel wear was supposed to be very bad and I've read more than once that it was less accurate than the KwK 36 on account of the monobloc barrel construction.

Richardsen #19 Posted Feb 16 2013 - 02:18

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Here is what seems to be really nice book about the Jagdpanter... The bad news is that it is in Polish (!) Still, it has some very nice photographs in it.

http://es.scribd.com...083-Jagdpanther


View Postswiggins, on Jan 05 2013 - 04:33, said:

They made it because the allies bombed the **** out of them and they had no ball bearing for the turrets, so they just made the jadgpanther

I believe this is not true. While the Allies did bomb the ball bearings factory in large numbers (see the infamous 2nd Raid on Schweinfurt) the Germans noticed the vulnerability and quickly adopted changes to prevent a critical shortage. By 1945 Germany had enough ball bearings to give them away if they wanted to.

Spoiler                     

http://www.anesi.com/ussbs02.htm#tbba

Spoiler                     

http://en.wikipedia...._on_Schweinfurt

View PostZinegata, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:01, said:

That being said, the idea that it was reliable is questionable; and I'm tempted to dismiss a lot of claims of the Jagdpanther as the premiere World War 2 TD as myth-making (the Stug holds that title, unquestionably in terms of actual performance). For instance: 1) The reliability is actually not that good. Most of the Jagdpanthers lost in Normandy were lost due to abandonment. The idea that it's reliable just because it's based on the Panther G is wrong, because even the G variant was horribly unreliable by Allied standards. Good and well trained drivers could keep it at around 75% availability, but in most cases the availability was closer to 50% or less (Allied vehicles with that level of reliability are relegated to training roles). It's not lighter than the Panther so it will do nothing to ease the woes of the Panther's weak final drive, which conks out after a mere 150km of use. It is agile, like the Panther, but agility only matters when the engine is still working. 2) The 88mm gun is mostly overkill. Aside from a handful of IS-2s, Churchills, and Pershings, no Allied tank really requires the 75mm L70 or the 88mm flak gun except for long-ranged shoots. It could have been armed with the older Tiger I gun and it would have had no real decrease in relative performance. 3) The main advatage of the casement design is not the armor, but the cheaper cost and and lower profile. The Panther was absurdly tall, a fatal flaw in a tank killer when camouflage and getting the first shot in were statistically the most important factors to winning a tank fight. The Jagdpanther was about a foot shorter and is thus merely "kinda tall", but it's still about two whole feet taller than the Stug. A fair assessment of the Jagdpanther would thus run along these lines: It's a cheaper Panther, but it fails to address any of the Panther's crippling flaws (reliability). Its reputation rests entirely on unfounded and incorrect assertions that the Panther was a good tank; when in reality it was atrociously unreliable from start to finish and was never even a serious vehicle, much less a tank, to begin with.

1) Some sources actually claim that reliability was improved by replacing the final drive with a more suitable one, in view of the acute problems experience by the Panther. However, I am not certain of the veracity of these claims. The Wikipedia article quotes them, but like most things on Wikipedia, they should be taken with a grain of salt (or some kilos if you see some articles... )

Spoiler                     

http://afvdb.50megs....agdpanther.html


2) The PaK 43/3 might have been overkill at that moment versus most of what enemy could field, except for some rare heavy tanks. But being overkill (if that does not severely compromises the rest of the design) is a good thing to have. It means that the weapon system can still be competent against a new generation of enemy weapons. If they had resorted to a PaK 40, which was adequate to deal with Cromwells, Shermans, T-34s, etc, the next generation of enemy tanks would probably require a new and more powerful gun... and the Germans didn´t want to take reactionary measures. Zaloga illustrates this while speaking of the US Army in this video (check from 14:05 on): http://wargamingamer...session-part-3/


3) This is true. 2.72 m was a bit conspicuous for a jagdpanzer. The Jagdpanzer IV/70 V was nearly 90 cm shorter (probably the shortest of the jagdpanzers, even more than the Hetzer, and perhaps the shortest of all the WW II tank destroyers) Here are other nation´s tank destroyer close to the Jagdpanther league for comparison. SU-100, with a bigger gun with lesser penetration and almost similar armor, was 2.25 m tall. M36 Jackson, lesser armored and armed, measured 2.72 m (but featured a turret instead of a casemate)

View PostZinegata, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:05, said:

Moreover, the 128mm gun was complete and utter overkill. No Allied tank required such a monstrous gun to kill. All it resulted in was to lower the Jagdtiger's firing rate and ammo capacity, while broadcasting its position due to the 128's enormous amount of smoke generation.

The PaK 44 was indeed a poor choice of armament, but not because of the overkill, as I have stated above in point nº 2 ("Overkilled is underrated", said John "Hannibal" Smith). The flaw of the PaK 44 resides in the fact that a much lighter gun is available with the same penetration capability (or slightly better) for a reduced weight, faster firing rate (no need to use separate ammunition) and less space usage (more ammunition carried due to smaller caliber). I am talking, of course, of the PaK 43. 189 mm @ 100m/30º for the PaK 44 vs 202 mm @ 100m/30º for the PaK 43.

The shell of the PaK 44 was way bigger (being 40 mm bigger...) and the Spreng Granate shell had quite big charge and packed a punch... but all this was not worth the shortcomings.

View PostVRMoran, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:08, said:

EDIT: the person above me brings up the real issue with the Jagdtiger: it was unnecessary. There was no need for the 12.8cm gun, and WHY would you need that much armor? There does come a point where more armor and more firepower isn't actually helping your cause at all. Heck, the Panther with 80mm of sloped armor was considered pretty darn tough within the context of WWII. Why would you need 250mm of armor if 80mm blocks most of the same stuff? And, why use a 12.8cm when an 8.8cm has the same performance except at VERY long ranges or against VERY big targets (i.e. targets that didn't actually exist).

Like I said before, just because there is nothing in the field at the moment that justifies a seemingly overkill gun, it does not mean that we do not need it. "Who knows vhat ze enemy might be producing at zis fery moment in zeir factories?" Better to be prepared. The war would not allow for a new generation of allied tanks to hit the field, but the Germans did not know that, or even when the conflict would end. Damn, they even expected to win it (or at least convince the West of facing the Soviets... Patton would have believed them :lol:) Certainly you would not expect the PaK 40 to effectively engage Comets and Centurions... the PaK 43 could.

View PostZinegata, on Jan 05 2013 - 05:32, said:

Because it's largely superflous to the Stug, which was again the premiere TD of the German Army with 20,000 claimed kills (it still holds the lead by a wide margin even when we account for some kill claim inflation).

The StuG III was indeed a fine weapon, a good, sound design that proved itself many times. However, although the kill estimates might be a bit off (and even with inflation, they are remarkable) bear in mind that it was the most widely produced german armored vehicle, with little over 10500 units built. Some other vehicles might have better kill ratios. To clarify (and to avoid being tagged a big cat advocate) the StuG was a great vehicle (a German vehicle that was not complicated :ohmy: ) but the high number of kills must be in part atributed to a large number of StuGs in the field.

Edited by Richardsen, Feb 16 2013 - 04:07.


Xlucine #20 Posted Feb 16 2013 - 03:21

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View PostRichardsen, on Feb 16 2013 - 02:18, said:

M36 Jackson, lesser armored and armed, was quite tall, and, at 3.28 m, taller than every armored vehicle in the German tank and tank destroyer arsenal (all big cats included)

Are you sure that isn't to the top of the AA MG? jagdtigger is freaking huge, I don't believe the US would ever accept something even taller.




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