Jagdpanzer 38(t) “Hetzer”

The Tank Museum’s Jagdpanzer 38(t) was built by BMM in late 1944. It came to The Tank Museum in 1951 along with a large number of captured German vehicles.

The Jagdpanzer 38 (Sd.Kfz. 138/2), originally the Leichter Panzerjäger 38(t), known mostly post-war as Hetzer, was a German light tank destroyer of the Second World War based on a modified Czechoslovakian Panzer 38(t) chassis. Today they are popularly known as Hetzers, but this name was far less common at the time.

The Jagdpanzer 38(t)’s 75mm PaK 39 gun was powerful and effective against all Allied tanks, although its thin armour meant it was very vulnerable to their return fire.

Most Jagdpanzer 38(t)s were used by anti-tank companies in infantry divisions. These units had very few other vehicles and limited mobility. Crews would hide and camouflage their Jagdpanzers then use them to ambush advancing Allied tanks.

Jagdpanzer 38s first entered service in July 1944 and would eventually be assigned to a number of units, including infantry, Panzerjäger and Volksgrenadier divisions. BMM and Škoda continually modified and improved the Jagdpanzer 38 during production of the more than 2,800 vehicles built. Owing to the ease of production and high operating rates, the Jagdpanzer 38 came to serve as Germany’s main tank destroyer in the latter period of the war, making an important contribution on both the Eastern and Western Fronts.

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