Jagdtiger: Design, Production, Operations, Christopher Meadows

Jagdtiger: Design, Production, Operations, Christopher Meadows

It is rather unusual to have a book of this sort admit right at the start that its subject was a monumental waste of effort, but in the case of the Jagdtiger that would be hard to deny. Work on the design began in February 1943, production didn't begin until July 1944, and it didn't make its combat debut until January 1945. By this point the war was lost, and there was nothing a handful of tank hunters could do to change that. The effort that went into developing the Jagdtiger would have been dedicating to producing more of the existing types.

The limited number of Jagdtigers actually completed meant that only two units were equipped with them. In turn this allows the author to include detailed combat histories of both of these units. These demonstrate that the Jagdtiger was a very effective tank hunter, destroying large numbers of allied vehicles, but also unreliable, with many having to be destroyed after they broke down or ran out of fuel.

It says a lot about the chaotic nature of weapons development in Germany during the Second World War that the Jagdtiger went through some thirty different designations during its short existence, with 'Jagdtiger' itself not appearing until February 1944, one year after work began on the design!

The design section is based very heavily on reproduced German documents, which means that we can trace the design process as well as look at the final product. One interesting thing to emerge from this is that the weapon evolved from a request for a tank hunter armed with a 12.8cm gun, and not from the desire to produce a tank hunter on the Tiger chassis - that was chosen during the design process in an attempt to simplify production.

This text is supported by an excellent selection of stats, photographs, useful maps showing the dispersed production and the various combat theatres and a good selection of extracts from original documents (translated). This is an excellent study of this intreging, if ultimately rather pointless weapon, and a promising start to a new series of books on weapons technology.

Chapters

Part One: The design and development of the Jagdtiger
Design
Technical description
Production

Part Two: schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 (s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653)

Part Three: schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 512 (s.Pz.Jg.Abt 512)

Part Four: Conclusions

Part Five: Appendix

Graphic Appendix

Author: Christopher Meadows
Edition: Hardcover
Pages:
Publisher: Leandoer & Ekholm, Stockholm
Year: 2011


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