T-34, Jagdtiger & StuG III
This is the first three in my WWII military models collection. Like most fans of military history, WWII remains one of my favorite eras in terms of design innovation. The only true global war in human history. The existential threat to the main countries involved meant that the best and brightest of each were given enormous amount of resources and freedom to engineer and produce these mechanical monsters.
StuG III Ausf. F/8 (Assualt Gun):
This is a model of the StuG (Sturmgeschütz) III Ausg. F/8 Assualt Gun. The StuG III served with the artillery arm of the Wehrmacht and the Panzer Corps of the Waffen SS in WWII. It was Germany's most produced armoured fighting vehicle during the war. It was highly successful in both its originally intended role as a mobile assault gun as well as the role of a Panzerjäger (Tank-Hunter).
Built on the chassis of the reliable Panzer III, it features a casemate design as opposed to the turret design on a panzer (tank). Originally designed as an assault gun for close infantry support, it was fitted with a low-velocity 75 mm StuK 37 L/24 gun to destroy soft-skin targets and fortifications and fired mostly high-explosive rounds at enemy infantry.
However, after the Wehrmacht encountered the previously unknown and surprisingly capable Soviet armours such as the T-34 and KV-1 during Operation Barbarossa, large numbers of StuGs were urgently modified for the tank-hunter role. Its casemate design meant it could carry more powerful guns than a turret design like the Panzer III. Together with its low profile, good armour, reliability and mobility enabled it to be on par and even outperform the later JadgPanzers in combat effectiveness.
The Ausf. F/8 variant of the StuG III was fitted with a 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun. With this gun, the StuG was able to confront the T-34 tanks and other Soviet armours as a tank-destroyer effectively. In fact, the StuGs achieved a claimed kill number of 20,000 tanks by 1944, more than any Panzers or JadgPanzers. Although it doesn’t have the same fearsome reputation as the later Panther and Tiger tanks, StuG III was without a doubt one of Germany’s best armoured fighting vehicle designs of the war.
This model shows a Jagdtiger of the Wehrmacht with a Henschel chassis. It is shown in three tone camouflage paint without Zimmerit coating. Unlike the StuG III, The Jadgtiger was designed as a true Panzerjäger (Tank-hunter). In fact, it was the ultimate tank-hunter of WWII in terms of specifications, better armoured and better armed than its little cousins the JagdPanther and JagdPanzer IV. It can easily outgun any tank fielded in WWII.
Its main armament is a modified version of the high velocity 128 mm PaK 44 L/55 heavy anti-tank gun. With it, the Jagdtiger could easily penetrate all enemy armours, including the formidable Soviet IS-series heavy tanks at a distance. It is equally well armoured, with 250 mm of frontal armor and 150 mm on the well-sloped glacis plate. It is a heavyweight that no tanks would want to trade shots with directly.
This is a true monster, at 72 tons, it was the heaviest armored vehicle of any type to go into production, heavier than even the Sturmtiger and Tiger II heavy tank (King Tiger), which it is based on. Like all Tiger variants, the Jagdtiger was excessively heavy and underpowered and was continuously plagued with mechanical problems.
Although it achieved an impressive kill ratio in combat. By the time of its arrival on the field, the overall dire situation of the German military meant that the Jagdtiger came too little too late for the Wehrmacht. It was nowhere near as effective as the smaller Jagdpanther, its heavy weight meant it could not travel easily on many bridges and roads in Europe. Only around 88 Jagdtigers were built, and more were lost to mechanical failures and lack of fuel than from enemy fire.
T-34/76 (Medium Tank):
The T-34 of the Soviet red army is widely regarded as the best tank of WWII. It was the most widely produced and most influential tank design of the war. When it arrived at the scene, it had an unmatched combination of firepower, mobility, protection, and ruggedness. German tank general von Kleist called it "the finest tank in the world" and Friedrich von Mellenthin admitted that there was nothing comparable in the German arsenal at the time. Hitler was furious that the T-34 and other soviet weapons such as the Katyusha Rocket Launchers were unknown to German intelligence prior to the invasion of the USSR.
Despite the overwhelming success of the early stages of Operation Barbarossa in which German Panzer groups easily steamrolled over older Soviet armour. When the Whermacht first encountered the T-34 tanks, there were little in their arsenal to deal with this new tank, a problem that became more and more apparent as the number of T-34s increased and Luftwaffe’s ability for close air support decreased.
The T-34 tank was not a refined tank, it was crude in many ways compared to its early German counterparts such as the Panzer III’s and IV’s. The crew of the T-34 suffered from poor ergonomic designs, poor visibility and a poor 2-man crew layout that overwhelmed the tank commander during combat, greatly reducing its advantages in the early days. Regardless, the combat effectiveness of the T-34 continued to increase throughout the war. Its wide tracks and powerful diesel engine gave it excellent cross-country performance when compared to the thin-tracked panzers. This version of the T-34 was fitted with a F-34 76.2 mm gun, hence the name T-34/76. With this firepower, it could easily penetrate early German armour at normal combat distances.
One of its best known features was its well-sloped armour that gave it exceptional protection. Enemy shells would often be unable to penetrate this relatively thick armour even at close distances, and some would even be deflected off due to the extreme angle of the armour plates. The sloped armour would later influence all modern tank designs. Together with its overall ruggedness, it would earn a legendary status among the history of tank designs and is a symbol of Soviet resilience and might.