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Unimodel Military 1/72 Hetzer WWII Commanders Tank Hunter w/Self-Propelled Gun

Unimodel Military 1/72 Hetzer WWII Commanders Tank Hunter w/Self-Propelled Gun

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The Jagdpanzer 38(t) (Sd.Kfz. 138/2), after World War II known as Hetzer ("baiter"), was a German tank destroyer of the Second World War based on a modified pre-war Czechoslovakian Panzer 38(t) chassis.

The name "Hetzer" was at the time not commonly used for this vehicle. It was the designation for a related prototype, the E-10. The Skoda factory for a very short period confused the two names in its documentation and the very first unit equipped with the vehicle thus for a few weeks applied the incorrect name until matters were cleared. However there exists a memorandum from Heinz Guderian to Hitler incorrectly claiming that an unofficial name, Hetzer, had spontaneously been coined by the troops. Post-war historians basing themselves on this statement made the name popular in their works. It was never the official name like the other animal name.

The Jagdpanzer 38(t) was intended to be more cost-effective than the much more ambitious Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger designs of the same period. Using a proven chassis, it avoided the mechanical problems of the larger armoured vehicles.

It was better armored than the earlier Panzerjager Marder and Nashorn with a sloped armor front plate of 60 mm sloped back at 60 degrees from the vertical (equivalent in protection to about 180 mm), carried a reasonably powerful gun, was mechanically reliable and small and easily concealed. It was also cheap to build.

Its main failings were the cramped working condition of the crew and the gun mounting, which had a more limited traverse to the left. The Jagdpanzer 38(t) succeeded the Marder III (based on the same chassis) in production from April 1944; about 2584 were built until the end of the war. Its purpose was to equip the Panzerjagerabteilungen (tank destroyer battalions) of the infantry divisions, giving them some limited mobile anti-armor capability. After the war Czechoslovakia continued to build the type and exported 158 vehicles to Switzerland. Most vehicles in today's collections are of Swiss origin.

Also, by special order of Adolf Hitler in November 1944, a number of Jagdpanzer 38(t)s were refurbished straight from the factory with a Keobe flamethrower and accompanying equipment instead of the normal gun. The flame projector was encased in a metal shield reminiscent of that of a gun barrel, and easily prone to damage. Less than 50 of these vehicles, designated Flammpanzer 38 were completed before the end of the war, but they were used operationally against Allied forces on the Western Front.

Further variants were a Hetzer carrying the 150mm sIG33/2 Howitzer, of which 30 were produced before the end of the war, and the Bergepanzer 38(t)Hetzer, a light recovery vehicle of which 106 were produced. Plans were made to produce other variants, including an assault gun version of the Hetzer carrying a 105mm main cannon, and an anti-aircraft variant mounted with a flak turret. The war ended before these proposed models were put into production.

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