The Jagdpanzer IV/70 (A) was the Alkett version of the Panzer IV Tank Destroyer. It was produced between August 1944 to March 1945 by the German company Nibelungenwerke Alkett in Berlin. The suffix (A) stands for the subsidiary company Alkett that produced this variation of the Jagdpanzer.
The Jagdpanzer IV, Sd.Kfz. 162, was a German tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis and built in three main variants. As one of the casemate-style turretless Jagdpanzer (tank destroyer, literally “hunting tank”) designs, it was developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian, the inspector general of the Panzertruppen, as a replacement for the Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III). Guderian objected against the needless, in his eyes, diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production, as the StuG III was still more than adequate for its role.
Officially, only the L/48-armed vehicle was named Jagdpanzer IV. The L/70-armed vehicle was named Panzer IV/70. In this article, both versions are referred to in general as Jagdpanzer IV, except in the variants and surviving vehicles section.
Armament consisted of a 7.5 cm main gun firing Fixed QF 75 × 640mm R ammunition, originally intended to be the Pak 42 L/70. Due to shortages, older guns were initially used, the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/43 for pre-production, and the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48 for the initial production variant. These were shorter and less powerful than the Pak 42, and also carried a muzzle brake.
Installing the much heavier Pak 42 meant that the Jagdpanzer IV was nose heavy, especially with the heavy frontal armour. This made them less mobile and more difficult to operate in rough terrain, leading their crews to nickname them Guderian-Ente (“Guderian’s duck”). To prevent the rubber rims of the roadwheels being dislocated by the weight of the vehicle, some later versions had steel roadwheels installed on the front.
The final prototype of the Jagdpanzer IV was presented in December 1943 and production started in January 1944, with the Pak 39 L/48 armed variant staying in production until November. Production of the Pak 42 L/70 armed variants started in August and continued until March/April 1945.
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