Panzerjäger (German "tank-hunters") are German armoured fighting vehicles of the Second World War.
Origin of the name
The designation "Panzerjäger" is derived from the branch of service going by the same name. "Jäger" (German
"hunter") was the common labeling for highly mobile infantry troops in German armies. Units designated to fight tanks were named "Panzerjäger" and so were their vehicles. Comparable to their tasks were the allied tank destroyers
, though their design was quite different.
(abbreviated to Pz.Jg.
in German) were anti-tank vehicles produced by taking an existing anti-tank gun complete with gun shield from its carriage and mounting it on a tracked chassis to give a mobile anti-tank gun.
Development of the Panzerjäger idea started before the start of the war and continued until about 1943 when the better protected Jagdpanzer ("Hunting tanks") designs took over. Panzerjäger continued to serve until the end of the war.
The chassis used were mostly from obsolete tank designs or captured tanks. This made them cheap to build and put otherwise old and worthless equipment to use. Despite the resulting shortcomings of light armour and high silouette they were successful in their intended role.
Panzerjäger vehicles were often deployed as a whole Abteilung within Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions in both SS and Heer. This Abteilung would operate alongside their Panzer forces, helping to quell the usually overwhelming numbers of Allied Armour.
Notable tank destroyers in the Panzerjäger classification were:
- Deacon - a British mobile anti-tank gun.