Hannes Trautloft's picture

Most known as the strongest last Tiger, Jagdtiger was a German tank destroyer. They were known for their unrivalled firepower and armor protection that threatened the allied tanks.It was the world’s heaviest armored fighting vehicle used operationally during World War II and was the heaviest armored vehicle of any type to achieve series production. It was the largest and the most powerful of its time. 

It was based on the Tiger II's chassis. Some of theirs main features were: weighed 68.9 tons; had a 250mm thick superstructure; the well sloped hull had 150mm of armour, the side armour was thinner, only 80mm; and mounted a 12.8cm anti-tank gun (PaK 44 L/55). On the other side, due to an excessive weight, their construction could not boast high reliability. The suspension was heavily overloaded, and was prone to frequent breakdowns.

The firing test conducted by the gun showed that the gun was very accurate and powerful, and it had to be used in an anti-tank role. Firing the PzGr 43 APCBC-HE armour piercing round, could destroy any Allied tank at ranges far beyond their ability to respond. It was capable of penetrating 157mm of armor from 1,500 meters away. Jagdtiger was better suited for a defensive role as its gun and armour served as very good protection for other tanks. It ambushed Allied forces and U.S. Sherman tanks from distances of 3,000m or more. 

Production of the Jagdtiger began early in the summer of 1944. Although 150 Jadgtigers were initially planned for construction, only between 70 and 88 were built before the end of WWII. Only two units were armed with Jagdtigers. These were the 512th and 653rd heavy tank destroyer battalions. First appearing at the Ardennes offensive in December 1944. About 20% were lost in combat; most were destroyed by their own crews when abandoned, chiefly due to mechanical breakdowns or lack of fuel in the final stages of the war.

This vehicle on display at U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, belonged to Schwere Panzerjger Abteilung 653 and had the vehicle number 331. It went into action during Operation Nordwind in January 1945 and stayed in service until the end of the war. The vehicle was captured near Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany in March 1945.

On this video and images you can watch important battle damage, which are still visible on the gun mantlet, glacis plate, and lower nose armor


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