John Van Kooten
There are no doubts
A Hetzer is not a tank.
A classification of "tank" is well defined and outlined by a number of specific properties. For instance, a tank needs to have a turret that is able to rotate 360 degrees. If if doesn't have that, it isn't a tank. Simple as that.
By the way, the initial meaning of the word "tank" when the thing was first invented was exactly the literal meaning: an enclosed box (like fish-tank). As was the initial literal meaning of "Panzer" because it was an armored vehicle. So if you go by the literal meaning of those words, any and all military vehicles would fall in the tank classification because all of them are armored and have the properties of a box
A classification or category of "Panzerhaubitze" doesn't exist for WWII vehicles. They were actually classified as Artillerie-Selbstfahrlafette in WWII, with the sub-classifications of Leichte Artillerie-Selbstfahrlafette and Schwere Artillerie-Selbstfahrlafette. In English that was translated to (Light / Heavy) Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) and Mobile Artillery was also often used.
And I'm sorry, I should have added more information to my previous post. My bad.
There seems to be a lot of confusion between classifications and type naming. Panzerjäger is a general (and official, mind you!) classification while Jagdpanzer is a type name (to describe / name a certain number of vehicles with a specific task). Jagdpanzer is NOT a classification.
My main source of information is from the book "German Tanks of WW II" by Dr. S. Hart and Dr. R. Hart. It contains references to documents of the German Defense Ministry 1943-1945 on vehicles manufactured by BMM and Skoda (specifically, the Hetzer). It says Hetzers and similar vehicles fall under the panzerjäger classification.
Another reference is Osprey New Vanguard No. 36 - Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer 1944-45.
The official name of the vehicle was:
Initially: Sturmgeschutz neuer Art / Sturmgeschutz 38(t)
Later on, renamed by General Heinz Guderian because he didn't command Sturmgeschutze, to "Leichte Panzerjäger auf 38(t)", just so he could lay claim on those vehicles as well.
General Guderian won out and the official name became "Panzerjäger 38 fur 7,5cm PaK 39 ( L/48 ) (Sd.Kfz.138/2)".
On 11th of September 1944 the name was officially renamed to "Jagdpanzer 38 - Panzerjäger 38 (7,5cm PaK 39 ( L/48 )) (Sd.Kfz.138/2)".
The same is true for the Jagdpanzer IV.
The early ( L/48 ) vehicle was officially called "Panzerjäger IV (Sd.Kfz.162)" (source: "Panzer Tracks No. 9 - Jagdpanzer", Thomas L. Jentz). But initially also "Sturmgeschütz neuer Art mit 7.5 cm Pak L/48 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV".
The L/70 version was NOT named Jagdpanzer at all. It was officially called "Panzer IV L/70 (Sd.Kfz.162/1)". Two models were manufactured. By Vomag, indicated by (V) and Alkett, indicated by (A) in their respective names.
Alkett version: "Panzer IV L/70 (A) (Sd.Kfz.162/1)"
Vomag Version: "Panzer IV L/70 (V) (Sd.Kfz.162/1)"
The name Jagdpanzer IV L/70 was made up by "historians"...
The main training center for Hetzer crew was Milovice - panzerjägerschule. Hetzer vehicles were organised in panzerjäger units as part of infantry divisions (in a Panzerjäger Abteilung, Panzerjäger Kompanie or even StuG Kompanie).
Literal translations of the words panzer, jagdpanzer, panzerjäger, etc. etc. are not classifications. Jagdpanzer is the TYPE name of those vehicles, including the Hetzer, but a name is not a classification!
The "Panzerjäger" classification includes: Hetzer, Jagdpanzer IV, Jagdpanther, Jagdtiger, Marder, Hornisse, Nashorn, Elefant, StuG IV. Basically all tracked vehicles that carried an anti-tank gun.
StuIG33, Sturmpanzer, Sturmhaubitze and Stug, for instance, fall in the "Sturmartillerie" classification because they carry an artillery piece with the purpose of attacking and destroying fortifications. In English this classification is often referred to as SPG (Self-Propelled Gun) or Mobile Artillery.
The Stug, however, was kind of an odd ball in the range because depending on their armament some fall in the Sturmartillery classification and some fall in the Panzerjäger classification.
Anyway, I could write an entire book in this text box about naming conventions and classifications but I'm going to stop here. Everyone / anyone, take from it what you want or ignore it, the choice is yours
19. July 2014 at 10:22:32