The Jagdtiger, or Jagdpanzer VI, was a tank destroyer based on the Tiger II, and was a good example of the gigantism so common in Germany towards the end of the Second World War.

The Jagdtiger was very heavily armed – its 12.8cm PaK44 L/55 main gun was the heaviest to be mounted in an armoured vehicle during the Second World War, just ahead of the 12.2cm gun used on the Soviet JS-1 heavy tank. It was also very heavily armoured, with 250mm of armour on the front of the superstructure, although that fell away to only 40mm on the roof.

The Jagdtiger was a massive machine, over ten meters long and nearly three meters tall (9ft 3in). It weighted 70 tons, nearly three times as much as the 25ton Panzer IV/70(V) and 24 tons more than the already heavy Jagdpanther. It was based on a lengthened version of the Tiger II chassis, with the gun carried in a rather boxy superstructure in the middle of the vehicle.

Jagdtiger knocked out by Thunderbolt fighter
Jagdtiger knocked out by Thunderbolt fighter

Work began on the Jagdtiger early in 1943, and a wooden prototype was ready by 20 October 1943. The first full prototype was completed in April 1944, and used a longitudinal torsion-bar suspension system designed by Porsche. Only two Jagdtigers were built with this system before it was replaced with a more traditional torsion-bar system.

The initial production order was for 150 Jagdtigers, nearly twice as many as were actually completed. In October 1944 further production after the first 150 was cancelled in favour of the Panther, but that order was itself cancelled in January 1945.

The Jagdtiger was used by Panzerjagerabteilung 653 and schwere Panzerabteilung 512. The first of those units fought in the Battle of the Bulge, while both detachments used their Jagdtigers in the final fighting in western Germany in 1945. Given that the existing Panzer IV/70 and Jagdpanther both carried guns capable of penetrating all but the thickest frontal armour carried on British and American tanks, the Jagdtiger can only be seen as an enormous waste of resources.

Jagdpanzer VI

Number produced:  77
Produced: July 1944-March 1945
Length: 10.65m
Hull Width: 3.63m
Height: 2.95m
Crew: 6
Weight: 70
Engine: Maybach HL230P30
Max Speed: 38 km/hr
Max Range:  170km
Main Armament: One 12.8cm PaK44 L/55
Secondary Armament: Two 7.92mm machine guns






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Jagdtiger: Design, Production, Operations, Christopher Meadows. A detailed study of the heaviest and best armed armoured vehicle of the Second World War, the 12.8cm armed Jagdtiger, tracing its development from the original specification to the eventual vehicle, the production difficulties, and its complete combat career, which didn’t begin until January 1945 and only involved two units. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 August 2008), Jagdtiger, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_jagdtiger.html

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