Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tanks for the memories

While up at Thunder Over Michigan with Aaron and The Spud a couple of weeks back, we saw this nifty German Hetzer Tank Destroyer.
The Hetzer was a late-war production tank destroyer made to be small, nimble and hard-hitting. The lack of a turret made it much simpler and lighter, and the 75mm main gun that it mounted would do a number on all but the heaviest Soviet tanks and pretty much anything that the US and Britain put in the field.
These are still found today as many were built and survived the war, and also because after the war, the Swiss bought all of the existing models left from the Allied powers along with the machinery and tooling to make them, which was taken from the Czech Skoda Arms Works. The Swiss then put the old machines and newly-built versions into service as the G-13, and used them up into the 1970s, at which time they were sold commercially. Most of the ones you see rolling around today, like this one, are post-war Swiss machines.
The original German models had gasoline engines which were notably fire-prone and unpopular with their crews. The Swiss re-powered theirs with six-cylinder diesels like this one has today. Both German and Swiss models had a remote-firing MG-42 type gun that could be fired without the operator exposing himself to return fire. This unit has one (below).
It weighs just sixteen tones and stands just seven feet high, and the old German models could scoot along at 26mpgmph. The Swiss with the diesels were actually a few MPH faster. And making good use of sloped armor, it was a pretty tough little nut to crack.
I'm thinking that I could probably use one of these here in West Virginia. And the next time the county raises my tax assessment, I just might have to look into getting one and then "re-negotiating" that tax bill from a position of strength.


  1. I suspect you meant 26mph. If it got 26mpg there would be people using them as commuter vehicles...

  2. DOH! Thanks for the catch. Correction made.

  3. I want a sturmgeschutz!

  4. Nice! and you would... :-)

  5. How can you pop the turret off if it don't have a turret?