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For the Steel Division II unit see SD2:Jagdpanzer IV

Jagdpanzer IV is a German Anti-tank unit. It is a turretless tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis, sporting the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48. Costing 190 points, it is a very cost-efficient tank destroyer, as its sloped frontal armour gives it impressive protection while its gun is capable of taking on nearly all Allied tanks. 

Overview[]

Main article: Panzer IV

The workhorse of the Nazi war machine, Panzer IV started its long service in 1936 as a fire support tank, equipped with a short-barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 howitzer. In this role, Panzer IV would focus on taking out enemy fortifications, anti-tank emplacements, and infantry from a long range, protecting the lighter, faster Panzer III tanks focusing on taking out enemy armor. However, following Fall Barbarossa and the shock of fighting against superior Soviet tanks, it quickly displaced Panzer III as the primary battle tank. Krupp's design was larger, sturdier, and could readily accept significant armor upgrades and long-barreled guns capable of defeating Soviet armor. The Panzer IV chassis was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles. 8,553 Panzer IVs of all versions were built during World War II, a production run in Axis forces only exceeded by the StuG III assault gun with 10,086 vehicles. A significant number of these tanks was also transferred to Axis allies and continued to used in various militaries worldwide after the War ended.

The StuG III, based on the Panzer III chassis, was the main German tank destroyer in service during the early years of the war. However, plans were drawn in late 1942 to develop a new tank destroyer and in 1943, a steel prototype was presented to Hitler, after which he approved production. The Panzer IV chassis was chosen as the basis for the new tank hunter, although this turned out to partially upset Panzer IV production and was against the wishes of general Guderian, who had preferred to continue using the cheaper StuG III. Production started in January 1944, but only in the summer of 1944 did production of the tank really get underway. Allied air raids during this period continually hampered German tank manufacturing and severely limited Germany’s industrial capacity. In total, over 2000 Jagdpanzer IVs were built, including short-barrel versions as well as long-barrel versions.

The tank destroyer saw service in Normandy, the battle of the Bulge and the eastern front. The Jagdpanzer IV, also known as Guderian’s duck, had an extremely low profile and it was a difficult target to hit. Its 80mm sloped armour gave it protection against most Allied anti-tank fire and its gun was capable of taking on nearly all Allied tanks. It excelled in a defensive war, which was the kind of war the Germans were fighting in 1944 and 1945, but underperformed when used as an ad-hoc assault gun. Despite this, acute tank shortages meant that Jagdpanzer IVs were sometimes used in an attacking role.

Use

Jagdpanzer IV served in the Panzerjäger abteilung of most Panzer Divisions.

SS Panzerjäger abteilung 12 of 12. SS-Panzer had 10 Jagdpanzer IV in the first company along with Marders.

Panzerjäger Lehr abteilung 130 of Panzer-Lehr was equipped fully with Jagdpanzer IV.

Panzerjäger abteilung 228 of 116. Panzer had a Mixture of Self-Propelled 7.5 cm and 7.62 cm along with Jagdpanzers IV in the first company along with StuG III in second company. The third company had towed PaK 40 75mm.

Panzerjäger abteilung 50 of 9. Panzer has in the second company 5 Jagdpanzers IV along with 4 Marder III M.

Panzerjager abteilung 38 of 2. Panzer had all of the companies equipped with Jagdpanzer IV along with 7.5 cm sPak.

Strategy[]

  • The Jagdpanzer IV is an excellent tank destroyer for its price. Its armour is equal to that of the panther, and it sports a good gun capable of destroying all Allied tanks save for the Sherman jumbo and the British heavy infantry tanks.
  • However, it is turretless, meaning it has to rotate its entire body in order to take aim and shoot. The Jagdpanzer IV risks exposing its weakly protected sides in doing so, which means that it is better used in defensive positions or at the back of an armoured thrust. 
  • With only 10 HE shells, the Jagdpanzer IV will quickly run out of shells to hit soft targets. This can of course be remedied by a supply truck.



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