German Vehicles - Jagdpanther Sdkfz 173

The Jagdpanther was originally conceived as a replacement for the Nashorn, as this vehicle was not a great success due to it's poor armour protection, high silhouette and only moderate reliability (due to the weight of the gun on the overworked chassis/powertrain.)


Jagdpanther Self Propelled GunLikewise, the lack of success of the expensive Elefant meant it too needed a replacement. It was felt that the performance of the 88mm L/71 gun on both these vehicles made it worthy of perseverance. The obvious vehicle to match the gun with was the Panther. Thus a wooden mock-up was completed by October 1943, the prototype shown in December 1943 and production commenced in January 1944. It was issued to combat units from June 1944.

It was intended for the Jadgpanther to be produced at the rate of 150 per month, with 30 per battalion being standard issue (see below). Neither of these figures was ever attained, with most Jagdpanther battaliona operating far below full compliment.

The largest collection of Jagdpanthers was assembled for the Ardennes campaign in 1944. However, even for this, only a total of about 60 were available. These were, as listed below, attached to the following units with strengths.

Unit
10 SS
655 s. Pzjgr. Battalion
519 s. Pzjgr. Battalion
560 s, Pzjgr. Battalion
559 s, Pzjgr. Battalion

Number of Vehicles
(33 JgPz IV & V)
(9)
(7)
(12)
(19)


These units were attachments at the korps or army level. As can be seen, (from the example of the 10th SS units above) the Jagdpanther often operated with the Jagdpanzer IV in heavy battalions.

There was a standard organization adopted by the German Army for the Jadgpanther Company. This consisted of three platoons, each having 4 Jagdpanthers, a Kubelwagen and motorcycle or kettenkrad. The company HQ had 2 Jagdpanthers, 2 Kubelwagens and a motorcycle or kettenkrad. This makes a total of 14 Jagdpanthers per company.

From January 1945 the Jagdpanther was issued to the detachments of seven different Panzer divisions, to the Fuhrer Grenadier Division and to a Panzer brigade.

So much for the history, what of the wargames prospects? It would seem reasonable to assume that any "self respecting wargamer" playing German should have at least 2 of these beasts, in his repertoire. The prospects for using them are fairly obvious. Any excuse to shoot up Soviet T34's or IS-II's is a good one, regardless of the historical precedent. To have a weapon capable of doing so, gives one a warm feeling inside.

The Allies don't provide the same satisfaction, as the opposition is not of the same quality. The historical precedent is more readily available though.

In Sturmartillirie & Panzerjager by Bryan Perret, there is a photo of Jagdpanthers moving up to the invasion front, 1944…..In less than two minutes, three of them all but destroyed (11 of 15) a squadron of Churchill tanks…"

Regardless of the opposition, beware of your sides, as these are the most vulnerable.

So, now you are motivated to obtain some Jagdpanthers, what are the wargamers options? The most common plastic kits of the Jagdpanther are Fujimi/Nitto, Esci and Matchbox (if you can still get the latter two). All are of reasonable quality, although I have a liking for the Matchbox kit, as it is simple in construction (not too many fiddly bits) and goes together well. Once you have acquired your section/battalion of Jagdpanthers and built them, how do you paint them? I have seen only a few illustrations of the Jagdpanther that can be utilized for this task.

The most common color to paint the vehicles is in overall standard German dark yellow (see painting guide). Tamiya XF60 or Humbrol 83 are the closest for this. After that the vehicles may be lightly over painted with green (Humbrol 30), if you so desire.

There is a fair argument to say Jagdpanthers were painted in grey (Humbrol 126) as well. This seems to be consistent with late war German practice, whereby they "reverted" to using early war stocks of leftover grey paint. Jagdtigers especially, were painted this way and there are some illustrations of Jagdpanthers that suggest the same was true of these vehicles.

Likewise the "ambush" scheme could be used.

Of these options there is little to disguise my personal liking of the firestone. Once some battle effects are added, via dry brushing and some extra "junk" (jerry cans etc), the finished product should be an attractive model or group of models.

References:

AFV-G2 Vol. 3 No.9

Battle of the Bulge – Hitler's Ardennes Offensive, 1944-1945

Dale Murdoch (for advice on colour schemes)

Encyclopaedia of German Tanks of WWII, Chamberlain, P. & Doyle, H

German Tanks of World War Two

German Self Propelled Weapons, Chamberlain & Doyle

Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Worlds Tanks & Fighting Vehicles, Foss, C

Surmartillerie & Panzerjager, Perret, Bryan

Manufactured:
Number Manufactured:
First issued to combat unit:
Weight:
Dimensions - Length:
Height:
Width:

Armament & Ammunition
Main:
Secondary:

Armour
Front Hull:
Front Superstructure:
Side Hull
Side Superstructure
Rear Hull
Rear Superstructure

Crew
Maximum Speed
Range

Jan 1944 - Mar 1945
392
June 1944
46 tonnes
9.90m
2.72m
3.42m


88mm L/71 Pak43/3 57 rounds
7.92mm MG34 600 rounds


60 @ 55 degrees
80 @ 55 degrees
40 @ 0 degrees
50 @ 30 degrees
40 @ 25 degrees
40 @ 35 degrees

5
46 km/h
200 km