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Osprey Publishing- Jagdpanzer

ISBN Number: 978-1-4728-5736-1 Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2024 Retail Price: $50 USD
Reviewed By: Chuck Aleshire

Osprey Publishing


This new title from Osprey is written by prolific researcher and author Thomas Anderson, a German National who specializes in German AFV’s of the Second World War. Mr. Anderson has written many other similar format / subject matter books also published by Osprey. 

The subject of this book is the German development and use of Jagdpanzers (tank hunting vehicles) of WWII.

Vital Statistics

Format - hardcover, portrait format

 Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper,  272 pages

 Size - 10.0" x 8.0”

Photos -  Black & White period images

Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of technical and performance data, some tables of unit organization and equipment

All text and photo captions are in English

What’s in the Book?

As can be seen in the above table of contents, this volume is a fairly wide ranging study of German anti-tank equipment and it’s usage, from the smaller towed guns up to the mighty Jagdtiger, and this volume even includes a chapter examining comparable Allied equipment. 

In his Introduction, the author examines the effect that the extensive production and use of tanks by British and French forces in WWI had on German military thinking near the end of WWI,  which extended to the inter-war years. Germany was late to the armored warfare game in WWI, and played catch-up between the wars. The experiences of WWI also led the Germans to look closely at weapons designed to blunt an armored force attack. Some nice images of Great War tanks accompany this Introduction.

The book’s first chapter looks at the high priority that equipping anti-tank units got, especially after 1935 when Germany decided to ignore Treaty of Versailles limitations on re-arming. These pre-WWIII anti-tank guns were largely towed guns ranging from 2.8cm squeeze bore, 3.7cm, and 5.0cm in bore size.

A nice table of performance data for the pre-war anti-tanks guns is provided. Some very interesting photos of the AT guns discussed in this chapter are provided, also seen are some of the vehicles that towed these guns.

The second chapter looks at the shifting German needs for more mobile anti-tank weaponry, including the mounting of previously towed guns onto near obsolete tank chassis, making for more mobile anti-tank guns. Often, chassis from non-German vehicles were used, as were captured guns. This chapter also looks at some of the infantry’s anti-tank weapons such as rifle grenades, shaped charges, and anti-tank rifles.

The book’s third chapter discusses the early war German doctrine governing the use of turretless vehicles (such as the Sturmgeschutz) as assault guns in an attack role, with tank destroyers intended to deal with armored counterattacks. Once the German forces encountered far superior T-34 and KV series tanks, this German doctrine was quickly proven inadequate as the then-current German anti-tank weapons weren’t reliably capable of stopping Soviet armor. The more effective StuG assault guns were then pressed into tank destroyer roles.

A broad look is done at the German experiences in Russia and how they transformed German tactics and unit organization /equipment. Excellent photos show various tank destroyers and the jack of all trades StuG assault guns in action.

Chapter 4 continues with the discussion on the use of the StuG ( using both the Panzer III chassis, as well as the Panzer IV chassis ) being widely pressed into the role of tank destroyer, while Germany was still putting anti-tank guns on obsolete or otherwise out-classed tank chassis for use, as well as pursuing development of new design tank destroyers such as the Ferdinand.

Finally, in 1944 the Germans began to field what might have been their first real purpose-built Jagdpanzer, using Panzer IV chassis and an effective  7.5cm L/48 gun. These were commonly known as the Jagdpanzer IV, with somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 of them manufactured in several variants.

As Allied armor grew ever more well armored, the Germans needed increasingly more potent tank hunters. The next evolutionary step led to the simultaneous development of the Panther tank and a tank destroyer version of it. This would be the Jagdpanther, armed with a highly potent 8.8cm gun. Just over 400 of these lethal, but mechanically troubled vehicles were produced by the end of WWII. The author gives extensive detail on the poor reliability and lack of spare parts that hampered effective use by units equipped with the Jagdpanther, pointing out that these units often needed to fill their ranks with Jagdpanzer IV’s or StuG’s to maintain their fighting strength.

A wide range of outstanding images accompany the fascinating text on the history of these iconic tank destroyers. 

Chapter 6 examines the Jagdpanzer 38, which was largely derived from the Czech built Panzerkampfwagen 38 (t). This smaller, lighter tank destroyer mounted an effective 7.5cm L/48 gun and surprisingly (to me at least) was the most produced German tank destroyer of WWII with around 2,800 in total manufactured. 

Above - although the images contained in this volume are limited to black and white, they are of a high quality, high enough that the distinctive camouflage patterns can easily be made out.

Chapter 7 - As with the Panther tank and the parallel development of the Jagdpanther, the same thing occurred with the King Tiger and the Jagdtiger ( with rather similar mediocre results due to mechanical issues ). This may have seemed like a good idea to some, including Hitler who insisted that bigger and heavier vehicles were the answer to the Russian heavy tanks, but once again mechanical woes plagued these behemoths. Other issues, such as quite difficult railway transport of these monsters also limited effectiveness of the Jagdtigers. Two slightly differing designs were built, one a Porsche design, the other by Henschel. The Porsche design was even more mechanically delicate than the Henschel, therefore the Henschel design went into full production, with roughly 85 being delivered.

Armed with a 12.8cm L/44 gun, this beast was deadly against all existing WWII armor out to 3,000 meters. However, its great size and weight, coupled with its massive fuel consumption and limited mobility greatly limited the tactical success of the Jagdtiger. Many were found broken down or simply out of fuel by opposing forces.

Above - a terrific image of a disabled Jagdtiger, this would be a terrific vignette idea.

A Note on the photos in this volume - throughout this book, the photos selected by the author are simply outstanding. The vast majority of them are crystal clear, sharp and crisp. Details are easily made out. Most images are half page in size, with a great many full page in size. They are of a wide variety of situations and actions, from factory floor images, to in action photos. All are of very good interest.

Chapter 8 of this volume provides an in-depth examination of the various weapons mounted by the different Jagdpanzer, and evaluates their effectiveness. Above - the chapter includes the above informative data table on these guns.

Above - secondary and crew weapons are also addressed in this chapter. 

In the 9th and final chapter of this volume, the author goes well above and beyond the call of duty by providing a comparison look at Allied anti-tank / tank destroyer equipment, deployment and doctrine. This chapter, while being a shorter than some others was as fascinating as any in the book, and quite as well illustrated with high quality photographs.


This book goes far beyond what I’d expected of it. It provides a well explained examination of German thinking regarding anti-tank philosophy and how it was formed, from the end of WWI, through the years between the wars, and then into WWII. The author does a terrific job in showing the reader exactly how the German Army progressed from the little 3.7cm “door knocker” anti-tank gun all the way to the monstrous Jagdtiger of 1945.

The authors text is clearly and cleanly written, making good use of period document and reports. Despite some necessary technically oriented sections of text, nowhere did the text get too dry or unreadable. It was interesting reading throughout.

There are no contemporary museum- type images in this book, nor are there any line drawings or full color renderings of camouflage schemes. But the period images selected for use in this book are quite well chosen and uniformly of a very high quality.

I found this volume fascinating. This book is very well deserving of a place in the bookcase of anyone even remotely interested in the history and development of German Jagdpanzers.

Highly Recommended!

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy

Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland

AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region


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