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It typically refers to anti-tank variants of existing tank chassis with a well-armoured casemate fixed superstructure, mounting an anti-tank gun with limited traverse in the front, and usually classed by the western Allies of World War II as a tank destroyer.
The Jagdpanzer designs followed on from the more lightly armoured Panzerjäger ("tank hunter") designs, which took an anti-tank gun and mounted it on top of a tank chassis with supplementary armour fitted around the gun crew. However, the armour had an open rear and top, almost never providing the crew with full protection from the elements. In addition, much experience was gained from the Sturmgeschütz series of assault guns for infantry support, which already used heavily armoured casemates, completely enclosing the vehicle's crew. Although they were associated with artillery and infantry support, they were often used in the anti-tank role.
On the battlefield, the Germans sometimes had to retreat, or try to feign one. Their line of retreat would then preferably pass the location of their anti-tank units, who would use their superior firepower to stop the enemy, perhaps even open the possibility of a counter-attack. Due to the lack of a turret and the armour being concentrated at the front, the ideal combat situation for Jagdpanzer units was in the planned ambush, and the skill of the commander of such units lay in correctly choosing and preparing such places long before needed.
The list below comprises all of the Jagdpanzer type tank destroyers made by Germany and its Axis allies. That is, all of the Axis purpose-designed tank destroyers with fully-enclosed casemate-style armor. The tank destroyers are sorted by the starting date of their production.
|Name||Production start||Country of Origin||Quantity|
|Elefant||March 1943||Nazi Germany||91|
|Mareșal tank destroyer||July 1943||Kingdom of Romania||6-17|
|Jagdpanther||October 1943||Nazi Germany||415|
|Jagdpanzer IV||December 1943||Nazi Germany||2,000|
|Jagdtiger||February 1944||Nazi Germany||70-88|
|Jagdpanzer 38(t)||March 1944||Nazi Germany||2,827|
|44M Zrínyi I||1944||Kingdom of Hungary||1|
|Semovente da 75/46||1944||Italian Social Republic||11-13|
|Type 3 Ho-Ni III||1944||Empire of Japan||31-41|
|Type 5 Ho-Ru||1945||Empire of Japan||1|
After the war, the name Jagdpanzer was kept in use in the Bundeswehr for a number of armoured vehicles used for anti-tank duties. This included the casemate-style Kanonenjagdpanzer carrying a 90 mm gun and the Raketenjagdpanzers. The first Raketenjagdpanzer was the Raketenjagdpanzer 1 built on the chassis of the SPz Lang HS.30 and armed with SS.11 missiles. The Raketenjagdpanzer 2 was built on the same chassis as the Kanonenjagdpanzer, but was equipped with two SS.11 launch-rails instead of carrying a gun.