- "Those who drive the Hetzer, come out!!"
- ―Panther and Jagdpanther Commander
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer (ordnance inventory designation Sd.Kfz. 138/2) was a German tank destroyer based on the chassis of the Panzer 38(t), which was produced in large numbers during the last phase of WWII.
BackgroundThe Hetzer project was started in March 1944, being inspired by the Romanian Mareșal tank destroyer, and it was intended as a more cost-effective and effective tank destroyer than other, heavier designs. It was designed coupling a modified chassis of the Czech-built Panzer 38(t) with a 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48 gun (a modification of the StuK 40 used on the StuG III ausf F). The frontal armor was not very thick (60 mm) but heavily sloped. Flaws included strained mechanics and suspension (due to the heavier load), thin side armor and limited ammo load. Almost 3'000 were built until 1945.
The Hetzer proved to be a success; its small dimension made it perfectly suitable for defensive warfare, namely ambushes, where its good firepower and frontal armor enable it to damage or destroy bigger opponents.
Girls Und Panzer
Ooarai Girls High School has a Hetzer in their team, operated by Turtle Team, as an active ambush tank and dedicated tank destroyer along with Hippo Team's StuG III. Since Ooarai didn't have enough money to bolster its lineup with new tanks, it was decided to employ the funds available to improve the available tanks; most importantly, it was chosen to convert with a kit their Panzer 38(t) into a more powerful and useful Hetzer.
In the finals against Kuromorimine it performed very well (also thanks to the fact that Anzu had taken over the gunner position from Momo); operating alone, it immobilized two enemy tanks with an ambush (especially the fearsome Jagdpanther), then (after immobilizing the Jagdpanther again) by driving among Kuromorimine's line it destroyed its formation, allowing the other Ooarai tanks to break through and regroup. When faced with the super-heavy Maus tank, the Hetzer proved critical for taking it down, by driving itself under its frontal plate and serving as a ramp for Duck Team's Type 89B. After that, such a huge strain proved too much for its structures, and it broke down, unable to continue the match. Therefore, while not taking out any tanks, it made quite a contribution to Ooarai's victory.
Tank basic characteristics
Ooarai has a standard Hetzer.
- Main Gun : 7.5 cm PaK 39 L/48
- Other : 1x 7.92 mm MG 34
- Front : 60 mm (60° angled)
- Sides : 20 mm (40° angled)
- Rear : 8 mm (15° angled)
- Speed : 42 km/h (26 mp/h) on road
More about the Hetzer
- While it is still uncertain the degree with which the Hetzer was called as such during the war, the name was popularized during the postwar years.
- Despite seemingly requiring only a change of the superstructure in the anime, the Hetzer actually employed a somewhat different chassis than the Panzer 38(t), meaning that it wouldn't be possible in real life to convert a Panzer 38(t) into a Hetzer without at least major modifications.