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WIDTH INCHES 18 20 22 24 26 28
LENGTH INCHES 28 29 30 31 32 33
WIDTH INCHES 18 20 22 24 26  
LENGTH INCHES 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 30  
WIDTH INCHES 15 17 18 20    
LENGTH INCHES 20 22 24 26


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Jagdtiger "Hunting Tiger" is the common name of a German tank destroyer (German: Jagdpanzer) of World War II. The official German designation was Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf. B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd. Kfz. 186. It saw service from late 1944 to the end of the war on both the Western Front and Eastern Front in small numbers. The Jagdtiger was the heaviest armored fighting vehicle to see service during World War II. Due to excessive weight the Jagdtiger was continuously plagued with mechanical problems. With the success of the StuG III  in the tank destroyer role, the military leadership of Nazi Germany decided to use the chassis of existing armored fighting vehicles as the basis for self-propelled guns. German tank destroyers of World War II lacked turrets, using fixed casemates  instead, and as a result they were capable of mounting larger caliber guns than on turreted AFVs on the same chassis. The lack of turrets also reduced their production time and cost, as fewer complex components needed to be manufactured.  In early 1942 a request was made by the Army General Staff to mount a 128 mm gun on a self-propelled armored chassis. On May 18, 1942 Adolf Hitler ordered that the 128 mm gun be utilized in the tank destroyer role, rather than for infantry support. Firing tests of the 128 mm gun showed to have a high percentage of hits; lower caliber heavy shells such as the 88 mm and 105 mm were also tested.  By early 1943 a decision was made to install a 128 mm gun on a Panther or Tiger I chassis as a heavy assault gun. The Panther chassis was considered unsuitable after a wooden mockup of the design was constructed. On October 20, 1943 another wooden mockup was constructed on a Tiger II chassis, and presented to Hitler in East Prussia. Two prototypes were produced; a version with the eight road wheel Porsche suspension system and a version with the Henschel nine overlapping wheel suspension system as used on the production Tiger II, were completed in February 1944. It was originally designated as Jagdpanzer VI, but was later named the Jagdtiger. It received the special ordnance number Sd.Kfz. 186. Tiger ace Otto Carius commanded the second of three companies of Jagdtigers in Panzerjagerabteilung 512. His memoir Tigers in the Mud provides a rare combat history of the ten Jagdtigers under his command. He states that Jagdtigers were not utilized to their full potential due to several factors: Among them that Allied air supremacy made it difficult to move, the massive gun needed to be re-calibrated from jarring after traveling off-road for even short distances (Note: This particular problem was attributed to the Porsche type suspension which proved unfit for offroad terrain, causing excessive vibrations which over a short period could throw the gun out of calibration. The types manufactured with the more modern Henschel type suspension system did not have this particular problem), it was slow, and transmissions and differentials broke down easily because the whole 72 tonne vehicle needed to rotate to traverse. The massive gun had to be locked down, otherwise mounting brackets would have worn too much for accurate firing. Also a crewmember had to exit the vehicle in combat and unlock the gun before firing. However, he also recorded that a 128 mm projectile went through all the walls of a house and destroyed an American tank behind it. Insufficient crew training and depleted morale was the biggest problem for Jagdtiger crews under Carius' command. At the Ruhr pocket, two Jagdtiger commanders failed to attack an American armored column about 1.5 km (1 mile) away in daylight for fear of attracting an air attack, even though Jagdtigers were well camouflaged. Both vehicles broke down while hurriedly withdrawing through fear of air attack, and one was then destroyed by the crew. To prevent such disaster at Siegen, Carius himself dug in on high ground. An approaching American armored column avoided the prepared ambush because German civilians warned them of it. Later, one of his vehicles fell into a bomb crater at night and was disabled, and another was lost to Panzerfaust attack by friendly Volkssturm troops who had never seen a Jagdtiger before. Near Unna, one Jagdtiger climbed a hill to attack five American tanks six-hundred meters away and below; two withdrew and the other three opened fire. The Jagdtiger took several hits, but they could not penetrate the 250 mm (9.8 in) frontal armor. The inexperienced German commander then lost his nerve and turned around instead of backing down, exposed the thinner side armor, which was eventually penetrated and all six crew were lost. Carius wrote that it was useless when crews were not trained or experienced enough to have the thick frontal armor facing the enemy at all times. When unable to escape the Ruhr pocket, Carius ordered the guns of the remaining Jagdtigers destroyed and surrendered to American forces. The ten Jagdtigers of 2nd Company, Panzerjagerabteilung 512 destroyed one American tank for one Jagdtiger lost to combat, one lost to friendly fire, and eight others lost to breakdown or destroyed by their crews to prevent capture. On 17 January 1945 two Jagdtigers used by XIV Corps engaged a bunker line in support of infantry near Auenheim. On 18 January they attacked four secure bunkers at 1,000 meters. The armored cupola of one bunker burned out after two shots. A Sherman tank attacking in a counterthrust was set on fire by explosive shells. The total combat included 46 explosive shells and 10 anti-tank shells with no losses to the Jagdtigers. During April, s.Pz.Jäg.Abt.512 saw quite a great deal of action. On April 9th 1945, where the 1st company managed to engage an Allied column of Sherman tanks and trucks from dug-down positions, and managed to destroy 11 tanks and over 30 softskins, with some of the enemy tanks having been knocked out from a distance of more than 4,000 m away. The combat unit only lost 1 Jagd tiger in this incident as Allied ground attack P-47's appeared. During the next couple of days the 1st company managed to destroy a further five Sherman tanks before having to surrender at Iserlohn. Meanwhile the 2nd company still fought on, but with little result. On the 15th of April 1945, the unit surrendered at Schillerplatz in Iserlohn without fighting.


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