Jagdpanzer 38
Vladimir Francev, Charles K. Kliment, Milan Kopecky
MBI Publications, ©2001
112 Pages, Softbound
ISBN 80-902238-9-3

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

When it comes to German armor of the Second World War, one of the most prolific and modified chassis actually wasn't German, but Czech. The Panzer 38 chassis saw extensive use as a tank, anti-aircraft vehicle, munitionswagen, and tank hunter. MBI has published several books on the Panzer 38 family and this latest example completes the series, covering the low-slung Hetzer.

The Hetzer was a logical extension of the Marder series, but instead of building on top of the PzKpfw 38(t) the vehicle redesigned the entire upper hull, fixing the gun in a forward-firing position and designing a low-slung shape, resulting in a much smaller profile than the Marder. This book takes a detailed look at this vehicle and all the subsequent variants built on the same chassis.

The book is written in both Czech and English, with the pages split down the middle in terms of language. The photos all have dual captions as well (and there are some great photos!). The text is very well written and is probably the most comprehensive history on the Hetzer out there and does an excellent job of detailing the need for the vehicle and how it came about. Other variants included are the Bergepanzer 38, the Jagdpanzer 38 with sIG 33/2, Aufklärungspanzer 38, flame-throwing tanks, Jagdpanzer 38 Starr, and the Jagdpanzer 38D.

The scale drawings included in this book are simply superb and do an excellent job of detailing the differences between the various Hetzer marks. There are also detail drawings spread throughout the book, highlighting some of the smaller changes between vehicles. The photos offer a blend of original factory photos, in-service photos, and photos of museum pieces, and to round out the book there are several pages of color profiles showing off many of the interesting schemes worn by the Hetzer, in service with both the German and other armies.

This book has a lot of information crammed into its pages and I've learned a thing or two about the Hetzer in reading through this title. When it comes time for me to build up a Hetzer or two this book will be an invaluable reference. This is definitely a book German armor lovers will want to add to their shelves.

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