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Jagdpanzer IV Tank Destroyer



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In 1942 a project was started to resolve some of the shortcomings found in the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun, with regard to its use in the anti-tank role and to the simplification of manufacture. It was realised that such modifications to the StuG III could not be made before May 1943, by which time a new design could be ready. It was therefore recommended that the PzKpfw IV chassis be used, complete with its existing engine and transmission, in a new design of anti-tank vehicle. It was to replace the Sturmgeschütz III and hence was known as the neu Sturmgeschütz (new Sturmgeschütz). It was to have increased armour protection, using sloped armour wherever possible. It was also to use either the 7.5cm L/48 gun of the StuG III or a new 7.5cm L/70 gun developed from that of the Panther tank.
Altmärkische Kettenfabrik was charged with the design of the neu Sturmgeschütz and a scale model was presented to Hitler in late October 1942. Since 7.5cm L/70 guns were required for the Panther program he agreed that the first of the new vehicles would be equipped with the existing 7.5cm L/48 gun. Additional orders were issued in December 1942 to replace the 7.5cm L/48 by the L/70 as soon as possible.
Hitler ordered construction of the neu Sturmgeschütz in January 1943. In February Guderian was recalled from enforced retirement and made Inspector of Panzer Troops. He felt that any use of the PzKpfw IV chassis was a threat to production of that tank, the only one being built in any numbers at the time. He was therefore against the new vehicle, believing that the StuG III was fulfilling the anti-tank role adequately. His views were not heeded, however. Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (Vomag) in Planen was entrusted with the further development and construction of the new vehicle so that production of the PzKpfw IV was not substantially affected.
Vomag AG presented a wooden mock-up of the new vehicle to Hitler on 14 May 1943. It was based upon the chassis of the PzKpfw IV Ausf F and mounted the 7.5cm L/48 gun. The design now became known as the Panzerjäger Vomag until it received its official designation in December of the same year.

O Series

On 20 October 1943 Hitler was shown a mild steel prototype of the new vehicle. It was based on a PzKpfw IV chassis but with a modified pointed nose consisting of two sloping armour plates. It incorporated two machine-gun ports in the front plate and a Nahverteidigungswaffe in the roof. Soon after, Hitler ordered mass production of the vehicle and construction began of an ‘O’ series of pre-production vehicles. After a demonstration of the vehicle on 16 December 1943 it was put in for immediate mass production and given the official designation Jagdpanzer IV Ausf F, SdKfz 162.
The first vehicles of the pre-production ‘O’ series were issued to training units and apparently never saw action. They were manufactured with 60mm front armour plate sloped at 40 degrees. At each end this plate was curved round to meet the sides and was the distinguishing feature of this series.

Model Id:
211
Manufacture:Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Sole manufacturer 1943)


1) Museé Des Blindés, Saumur, France

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 195

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Unique ID: 195
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This was one of the very few pre-production ‘O’ series vehicles, the only model manufactured with a rounded front superstructure plate. It is in a very poor condition and is missing its muzzle brake, tracks, many external fixtures and most of its suspension. [Preserved Tanks in France: Number 168].

Ausf F

Production vehicles of the Ausf F had a straight front 60mm armour plate. It remained sloped at 40 degrees but at each end it was interlocked with stepped joints to the flat side plates. There was a machine-gun ball-mounting on either side of the main armament, each fitted with an armoured cover. All vehicles were fitted with 5mm Schürzen skirt armour. They were also planned to be armed with a Nahverteidigungswaffe but this was not always available to be fitted. All early and mid-production vehicles appear to have received Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste.
After seeing combat a number of modifications were made to the Ausf F, though initially just to the stowage arrangements. In May/June 1944 the frontal armour was increased from 60mm to 80mm and the hull and superstructure side armour was increased from 30mm to 40mm. This was from vehicle 320301; the Jagdpanzer IV (all variants) had chassis numbers 320001-321725. The gunner’s machine-gun mounting to the left of the main armament was removed. Also, the gun mounting flange was undercut under the gun where previously it had risen perpendicularly from the glacis plate, probably to save weight. Late production Ausf F’s were fitted with steel return rollers.
A more obvious change was the removal of the muzzle brake, since the low mounting of the gun meant that the back blast from the muzzle produced unacceptable obscuration. Many vehicles received guns threaded to take a muzzle brake though one was no longer fitted. After some time guns were delivered without this thread. Both early and late production vehicles can be seen with and without muzzle brakes, possibly due to changes of armament in the field. Very late vehicles received only three return rollers per side, in line with late production PzKpfw IV Ausf J tanks, and appear not to have received a Zimmerit coating.

Model Id:
213
Manufacture:Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Sole manufacturer 1943-4)


2) Museé Des Blindés, Saumur, France

Number of Photos:
3
Sample Photo from Album Number 196

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Unique ID: 196
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This Ausf F has the steel return rollers of the PzKpfw IV Ausf J and is fitted with a muzzle brake. It is unusual in having one steel rimmed ‘silent bloc’ roadwheel in the first position on each side, an arrangement more commonly seen on the Panzer IV/70 (see page 6). [Preserved Tanks in France: Number 169].

3) Museé Des Blindés, Saumur, France

Number of Photos:
2
Sample Photo from Album Number 197

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Unique ID: 197
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This is a late production version with the ball mounted machine gun for the gunner eliminated, and the main gun mounting reshaped to undercut the gun. It is in a very poor condition. Its gun barrel has broken off near the mantlet and it is missing its tracks, many external fixtures and most of its suspension. [Preserved Tanks in France: Number 170].

4) Panzermuseum, Munster, Germany

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 198

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Unique ID: 198
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This Ausf F spent some time in the late 1980’s at the Trier depot before returning to Munster. It carries the number “212” and is marked with five ‘kill-rings’ on the gun barrel. It is a late production version with the ball mounted machine gun for the gunner eliminated, and the main gun mounting reshaped to undercut the gun. It is fitted with a muzzle-brake.

5) Unknown Collection, Unknown Location, Syria

Number of Photos:
0
Sample Photo from Album Number 200

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Unique ID: 200
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This example of the Jagdpanzer IV Ausf F is believed to be preserved in Syria, having served in the Six Day War.

6) Panzermuseum, Thun, Switzerland

Number of Photos:
6
Sample Photo from Album Number 199

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Unique ID: 199
Serial Number:
Registration: Number “WH836”.
Name:
Other Identification:

This Ausf F is a late production version with the ball mounted machine gun for the gunner eliminated, and the main gun mounting reshaped to undercut the gun. It is fitted with a muzzle-brake.

Panzer IV/70

Once production of the Jagdpanzer IV Ausf F was underway attempts were made to comply with the order to produce a version mounting the 7.5cm L/70 as soon as possible. Rheinmetall-Borsig successfully developed such a gun from the Panther’s 7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 and gave it the designation 7.5cm StuK 42 L/70. After Hitler saw a demonstration of a Jagdpanzer IV mounting the new gun on his birthday, 20 April 1944, he ordered that it be given top priority in production. It was introduced to the production line in May 1944 but only a small proportion of Jagdpanzer IVs were completed with the longer gun.
Like the early Ausf F, the first StuK 42 L/70 barrels were threaded for a muzzle-brake though none was ever fitted. A torsionally sprung, A-frame gun clamp was fitted on the glacis plate for use with the longer gun.
In July 1944 Hitler ordered that the entire PzKpfw IV production be turned over to producing Panzerjäger Vomag L/70. Since it was planned to completely eliminate the Panzer IV by February 1945 the Panzerjäger Vomag L/70 received the official designation Panzer IV/70. It was nicknamed Guderian Enten (Guderian’s “Duck” or “Hoax”) because of his opposition to its introduction.
The Panzer IV/70 first saw action with selected Panzerjäger units in August 1944 and proved to be a very effective anti-tank weapon. However, because it was nose-heavy it was found to be difficult to steer and there was excessive wear on the rubber tyres on the front bogie. Steel rimmed wheels were under development for the PzKpfw IV chassis and as soon as they became available they were therefore fitted on the front two wheel stations of the Panzer IV/70.
Early production vehicles had all rubber-tyred road wheels, four rubber-tyred return rollers per side, and were coated with Zimmerit. Mid production vehicles had four all-steel return rollers per side, and some had Zimmerit. Late production vehicles had two steel rimmed road wheels each side as described above, three all-steel return rollers per side, no Zimmerit, and were fitted with the vertical exhaust silencers introduced on late production PzKpfw IV Ausf J. It should be noted, however, that at least one late production vehicle abandoned before advancing British forces in April 1945, like the example now preserved at Kubinka, had only one steel-rimmed roadwheel per side. All vehicles were fitted with 5mm Schürzen skirt armour as standard. An improvement to the Panzer IV/70 installed in a limited number of vehicles was a curved barrel machine-gun or Vorsatz P in the roof.
The last production changes to the Panzer IV/70 were made in about March 1945. These final production vehicles had a solid plate gun clamp, large rear towing pintle, new type final drive covers (with a handle replacing the previous armoured cowl), covers around the vertical exhaust pipes, and a simplified gun sight opening. They also had three mounting points on the superstructure roof to hold the base of a 2 tonne Kran lifting frame for changing the engine. (Source: L. Archer).
The total production run of the Jagdpanzer IV Ausf F, Panzer IV/70 and Panzer IV/70 Zwischenlösung (see page 6) together amounted to some 1531 vehicles.

Model Id:
215
Manufacture:Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik AG (VOMAG), Plauen, Germany (Sole manufacturer 1944-5)


7) National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning, USA

Number of Photos:
5
Sample Photo from Album Number 201

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Unique ID: 201
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Text in original Preserved German Tanks publication:


This late production Panzer IV/70 has its left-hand superstructure cut away to display its interior. It was acquired from the School of Tank Technology at Chertsey (source: D. Goulty).

Text in Preserved German Tanks Update:


This Panzer IV/70 was exchanged for a T-34 and ended up in private hands. It was restored to running condition by Terry Martin in Kent and was shown briefly at the War and Peace Show at Beltring in 1998 before being shipped straight to America. As part of the restoration the hull was patched up where it had been cut away for demonstration purposes at Shrivenham, the exhaust shrouds were replaced and it was repainted in the same pattern camouflage scheme as shown on the Chertsey photos after it was captured. The interior was fairly complete but missing minor fittings. It was a superb restoration and the export of such a unique vehicle was controversial. (Source: T. Lawrence/Missing-Lynx.com).
A question regarding the sale of the vehicle in August 1998 was raised in the British Houses of Parliament in February 1999 but was not answered (source: Hansard). It was part of the Patton Museum collection at Fort Knox in Kentucky, USA, for some years. It took part in at least two Living History displays, including the one in July 2002, but it broke down during one of them.

8) Military Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 202

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Unique ID: 202
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This is a mid-production vehicle.

9) U.S. Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, USA

Number of Photos:
4
Sample Photo from Album Number 203

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Unique ID: 203
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This late production vehicle was captured near Paris in 1944.

10) Canadian War Museum, LeBreton Flats, Canada

Number of Photos:
2
Sample Photo from Album Number 204

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Unique ID: 204
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Text in original Preserved German Tanks publication:


This vehicle is currently in storage at Vimy House. It is a final production model, as indicated by its solid gun clamp and modified final drive covers.

Text in Preserved German Tanks Update:


This Panzer IV/70 was transferred from Vimy House when the current museum was opened.

11) Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Foreign Vehicles, Kubinka, Russia

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 205

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Unique ID: 205
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This late production vehicle is unusual in having just one steel-rimmed roadwheel per side.