The Jagdpanzer 38(t) (German armoury designation: Sd.Kfz. 138/2) (also known by the misnomer "Hetzer" (Endurance Hunter) in this case) is a rank III German tank destroyer with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB) and 4.3 (RB/SB). It was one of the first vehicles introduced in the opening of "Ground Forces" in Update 1.41 after the Closed Beta Test.
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) is a low-profile tank destroyer capable of concealing itself and annihilating adversaries as they come, equipped with a powerful main gun, yet with impressive front armour capable of withstanding a moderate amount of enemy fire.
Survivability and armour
Don't bother trying to crack through the front armour of the Jagdpanzer 38(t) unless in possession of a very good gun and ammo. Specifications list the front armour as 60 mm thick, but sloped at a 60 degree angle causes it to become 120 mm in effectiveness, quite thick for the battle rating it is in. Try to flank it to the sides or the rear and even in a heavily sloped format, there will be a likely chance the 75 mm shells will penetrate due to how thin the side and rear armour are (20 mm and 10 mm respectively). If unable to reach the side of the Jagdpanzer 38(t), an artillery or aerial strike could harass the Jagdpanzer 38(t) out of its comfort zone and even potentially disable it.
If there are no other choice but to go against it up front, there are some weak spots in the front area. Starting from the smallest, there are some sweet spots around the gun mount area where a lucky shell might penetrate, but these are very unlikely so only aim for these in the worst case scenario. The driver vision port is a tempting target on the front, not only is it a weak spot, but behind that are the driver, gunner, and commander! If one shot gets through here cleanly, there is a very high chance of making a shot cause a crew knock-out. The last weak point, and also the largest, is the lower glacis area on the vehicle. The lower glacis only has an effective armour thickness of 80 mm compared to the front glacis sloping armour of 120 mm, making it easier to penetrate for even weaker guns.
- Cast homogeneous armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Lower side hull)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 60 mm (40-60°), 60 mm (60°) Front glacis
60 mm (40°) Transmission housing
70 mm Gun mantlet
| 20 mm (40°) Top
20 mm (15°) Bottom
| 8 mm (68°) Top
20 mm (14°) Bottom
|8 mm (90°)|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick, bogies are 10 mm thick, and tracks are 20 mm thick.
- Front armour slope not even, lower part is weaker than top.
- Belly armour is 12.7 mm thick.
- A small patch on the turret front right side is thinner (50.8 mm) than the rest (76.2 mm).
- Bolt edges on the transmission housing are 101.6 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
As with any vehicle, research Parts and FPE modifications first to prevent any early knock-outs from fire or disabled systems. After these two, try to upgrade the vehicle's mobility and firepower, and aim towards the PzGr 40 shell, this will give a real edge in combat. Don't use the Hl.Gr 38B HEAT round as it doesn't give enough penetration, but it can help against hull-breakable vehicles.
The main gun is a decent 75 mm gun with a stock APCBC shell penetrating 140 mm of armour at most. This penetration allows the vehicle to pierce through almost all tanks around its BR, and upon penetration the 28.9 g of explosives will do a great job finishing off the crew thus destroying the tank. The fast reloading time allows it to deal with multiple enemies effectively. However, sometimes it will face well-armoured opponents like the Jumbos and the Churchill VIIs, in which case the player will struggle to penetrate them with the stock round. This is when the researchable APCR becomes useful. Remember to shoot at the flat armour plates, not the angled parts.
The horizontal and vertical guidance are average. The player might want to aim higher due to the fact that the cannon is quite short-barreled which makes the shell drop more. Also note that because of its gun placement (at one side), when firing to the left side the recoil will actually push the tank to the right, so the player will have to adjust the hull position after a few shots. In addition, because it is a pretty small vehicle, the gun feels less stable and more wobbly when the player stops and aims.
|75 mm PaK39 L48||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|41||28 (+13)||14 (+27)||1 (+40)||Yes|
- Racks disappear after you've fired all shells in the rack.
- The visual discrepancy concerns the number of shells per rack as well as the total number of sells (38 shells modeled for 41 available).
- Rack 1 is modeled as 12 shells but it will disappear after you've fired 14 shells from it.
- Rack 2 is modeled as 13 shells but it will disappear after you've fired 14 shells from it.
|7.92 mm MG34|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyer is armed with a 75 mm PaK39 L48 cannon, making it quite capable of taking out enemy armour at its battle rating. Use its speed -- up to 42 km/h (26 mph) -- to take up sniping positions making full use of the frontal armour and height to achieve while the enemy deploy. Keep the distance while engaging, as this allows the Jagdpanzer 38(t) to get more mileage out of its thin but heavily sloped armour on the small size. Watch out for aircraft and artillery. To avoid being constantly targeted with artillery and bombardment, try to reposition after each enemy destroyed or a certain amount of time so as to disorientate the enemy. Be careful though in arcade battles you will be revealed so this will be much more challenging than in realistic battles.
The Jagdpanzer 38(t)'s front armour is thick, but be wary of its weak armour (which is pretty much everywhere else). The top and bottom of the Jagdpanzer 38(t) are exceptionally thin, making it very vulnerable to aircraft, artillery fire, and explosive rounds on the bottom. The side and rear armour are also very thin, so any exposure of those towards the enemy is sure to end with the Jagdpanzer 38(t) as a flaming hulk. While the front armour is thick, weaknesses on upper frontal glacis is the driver's vision port, some small spots around the gun mount, and the lower glacis. The driver's vision port and gun mount spots are tiny and so only a lucky round would be able to reliably hit these areas, but make sure to try and conceal as much of the lower glacis plate as possible as it is easier to penetrate.
Long Range Map Strategy:
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) prefers longer range maps. As it is turretless design, longer range maps allow for maximum use of the frontal armour and reduces the disadvantages of being turretless with weak side armour.
Short Range Map Strategy:
Short range maps are harder to play the Jagdpanzer 38(t) on. The speed is not as much of an asset and being turretless will not allow you to react to the enemy as quickly, which is a fatal flaw on a short range map. This makes finding sufficient concealment even more important and you'll have to think quickly before the enemy can position themselves.
City Map Strategy:
It is strongly advised against using the Jagdpanzer 38(t) in city maps. Without a turret, it will be difficult for the Jagdpanzer 38(t) to react to any threats on the exposed side or rear armour. It is suggested to make use of any open areas or roads on the map and place the Jagdpanzer 38(t) in a good place to ambush enemies that may attempt to drive down the roads.
Against the Jagdpanzer 38(t):
Light tank/SPAA: although most light tanks or SPAA cannot really do much to a Jagdpanzer 38(t) from the front, they are usually equipped with fast-firing cannons/machine guns which is very useful to disable the Hetzer's tracks and/or cannon barrel. Destroy its track one after another so the Hetzer is immobile, then simply flank around it and take out its crew by shooting at its paper-thin side armour. If there are more enemies that you cannot flank, drop an artillery strike on it, there is a good chance that the shrapnel will destroy its track(s), engine or even the entire tank if you are close enough. Or, constantly scout it so it shows on the minimap, and ping the map to inform heavier teammates about the immobilised Hetzer.
Medium tank: The Jagdpanzer 38(t)'s upper frontal armour is usually immune to most shells around its BR due to the good slopes. The lower plate is thinner, but the transmission directly behind it tend to absorb almost any penetrating shells. Although this will immobilise the Hetzer, most of the times the player may find impossible to flank due to other enemies. Try and target the very bottom edge of the lower front plate, one penetrating shell through there will shoot right below the transmission and explode in the middle of the crew compartment. Vehicles with good penetration against sloped armour and destructive explosive filler (e.g. T-34-85) will find this task easier. Be careful to not get shot though, as the Jagdpanzer 38(t)'s firepower is more than enough to knock out most medium tanks with a single shot.
Heavy tank/tank destroyer: heavy tanks and tank destroyers, being able to easily destroy a Hetzer from any angle & distance, can do a great favour for their team by wiping out a well-armoured target that most of the team cannot kill frontally. The Jagdpanzer 38(t)'s frontal armour becomes virtually useless against a heavy tank or a glass-cannon tank destroyer. Tanks like the IS-2, Sav m/43 (1946) or ARL-44 will simply ignore the sloped armour thanks to the sheer penetration of their shells. Now only target the upper plate to ensure successful kills, as the lower plate will absorb the shot with the transmission. Of course, shoot at its thin side armour whenever it is possible.
Pros and cons
- Even for its rank, the Hetzer is small and can use corners and cover that other tanks can't
- At its rank, its main gun is very capable of dealing with any threat
- Sloped armour on all sides, however, the sides and rear are thin
- Equal armour all over the front with extreme sloping, so it has essentially no frontal weak spots
- Hard to hit at range due to its size, and difficult to penetrate due to its armour angles
- At long range, the sloped armour can even make high calibre shells ricochet
- As with all tank destroyers, side and rear armour is thin, and any shots can often be fatal
- Not great in close-quarters, this vehicle is more suited for long-range engagements
- With the gun being placed to the right of the vehicle, it has a limited traverse range to the left
- The roof armour is fairly thin, which makes the Hetzer vulnerable to artillery barrages and aircraft
- Lower front glacis plate is thin in comparison to the entire front, cover this if possible
- As with turretless vehicles, the Hetzer is more vulnerable to being flanked
- Floor armour is very thin and can be penetrated by 105 mm shrapnel.
- While the gun can penetrate most targets at its rank, it suffers at long range against some more heavily armoured targets
- Driver, Gunner, and Loader are in-line with each other, making it easy to knock out the vehicle with a penetrating shot from the driver's visor
- Poor mobility for a vehicle on the 38(t) platform
When Germany's situation in World War II turned to a defensive war, the need for tank destroyers increased and anything that could increased Germany's armoured fighting vehicle production was needed as the Allied AFV production tables dwarf Germany's AFV production. A new tank destroyer was in demand as the current Marder series was under-protected, and the choice to utilize the Panzer 38(t) was done to not only build a more well-protected tank destroyer, but to keep in production the obsolete Panzer 38(t) chassis for the basis of stronger armoured fighting vehicles in the form of a tank destroyer.
The development of what will be called the Jagdpanzer 38(t) started in 1944, made to be a more cost-effective tank destroyer compared to the newer Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger tank destroyers. The tank used the battle-tested Panzer 38(t) chassis (though with a modified suspension and better engine), giving it a reliable record compared to the heavier tanks of Germany. The tank destroyer featured a 60 mm thick front armour angled at 60 degrees, giving it a protection of about 120 mm thick, but the side armour of 20 mm at 40 degree was very vulnerable to any anti-tank fire, even from Soviet anti-tank rifles. It carried a crew of four and a powerful 75 mm PaK39 L/48 cannon. The Hetzer had enough punch to destroy most armoured vehicles it may have encountered during the war. It was also mounted with a 7.92x57 mm MG34 remotely operated machine gun on the roof that was operated by the loader. Factories from Czech and Germany produced the Hetzer from April 1944 to May 1945. Approximately 2,287 were produced from 1944-45.
Despite its common nickname as the Hetzer, no official documents actually referred to the Jagdpanzer 38(t) as so, but it was a nickname given to an experimental tank destroyer E-10. The E-10 looked similar to the Jagdpanzer 38(t), and a mix-up in the paperwork probably christened the Jagdpanzer 38(t) as the Hetzer that stuck, continuing to this day.
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) was efficient as a tank destroyer, well-protected due to the sloped armour, easily concealable with a low profile, and armed with a potent cannon. The Jagdpanzer 38(t) was the more common late-war tank destroyer Germany had in 1944, and proved itself as a reliable machine due using a proven tank design of the Panzer 38(t). The small profile of the Jagdpanzer 38(t) made it very easy to conceal, and this provided much of its lethality in ambushes. The drawbacks of the Jagdpanzer 38(t) was on the vehicle's fighting compartment, as it was extremely cramped. The gun had a small amount of traverse to the left side, due to the cannon's placement to the right. The side armour was very thin and vulnerable to any anti-tank weapon. Due to the cramped compartment, the commander sat separated from the rest of the crew, and also making escape from the vehicle difficult, as there were only 3 hatches.
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) proved itself a versatile tank destroyer platform in German service during World War II, as the Jagdpanzer 38(t) also was made into many variants of itself. In November 1944, Hitler ordered about 100 of these Jagdpanzer 38(t) to mount a flamethrower and named the Flammpanzer 38. An armour recovery vehicle variant of which 170 was made was called the Bergepanzer 38. There were many more mounting different weaponry, such as the 75 mm KwK40 of the Panzer IV, 75 mm KwK42 of the Panthers, one with the 105 mm howitzer, 150 mm sIG 33 infantry gun, twin 2 cm Flak, 75 mm K51 L/24 gun and such.
After the war, the Jagdpanzer 38(t) continued to be produced in Czechoslovakia and saw service in Czechoslovakia and Switzerland. The post-war Jagdpanzer 38(t) in Czechoslovakia service was called the ST-I and the Swiss version was the G13, which equipped the 75 mm StuK 40 cannon from the StuG III. Due to the massive amount produced and the post-war production of the Jagdpanzer 38(t), many survivors could be found in the world. Though, most survivors may be the post-war designs in from Czechoslovakia or Switzerland mocked up to look like World War II era Jagdpanzer 38(t)s by removing the cannon's muzzle brake.
This SPG was developed by the Czechoslovakian company BMM on the chassis of the Pz.Kpfw.38(t) light tank between November, 1943 and January, 1944 as a less expensive and more easily mass-produced replacement for the StuG III assault gun. However, it was eventually reclassified as an antitank vehicle intended first and foremost for assignment to antitank infantry and cavalry divisions.
Serial production of the Jagdpanzer 38 began in April, 1944. The tank destroyers were actively used by German troops during the final stages of the war, primarily on the Soviet-German front. 75 Hetzers were also sent to Hungary between December, 1944 and January, 1945.
After the war, production of the Hetzer was resumed in Czechoslovakia, where the tank destroyer was produced to meet the needs of the Czechoslovakian army under the designation ST-I/ST-III, as well as to fill orders by Switzerland under the designation G-13. Although the Hetzers were removed from the Czechoslovakian arsenal a few years after they were produced, in Switzerland they remained part of the arsenal until 1972.
A total of 2,827 Jagdpanzer 38 SPGs were produced, as well as 318 tank destroyers.
- Other vehicles mounted on the same chassis
|Germany tank destroyers|
|Pz. I Derivatives||Panzerjäger I|
|Pz. II Derivatives||15cm sIG 33 B Sfl|
|Pz. 38(t) Derivatives||Marder III · Marder III H · Jagdpanzer 38(t)|
|Pz. III Derivatives||StuG III A · StuG III F · StuG III G · StuH 42 G|
|Pz. IV Derivatives||Jagdpanzer IV · Panzer IV/70(A) · Panzer IV/70(V) · Dicker Max · Nashorn · Brummbär · VFW|
|Pz. V Derivatives||Jagdpanther G1 · Bfw. Jagdpanther G1|
|Pz. VI Derivatives||Sturer Emil · Elefant · Ferdinand · 38 cm Sturmmörser · Jagdtiger|
|Wheeled/Half-track||8,8 cm Flak 37 Sfl. · Sd.Kfz.251/9 · Sd.Kfz.251/10 · Sd.Kfz.251/22 · Sd.Kfz.234/3 · Sd.Kfz.234/4 · 15 cm Pz.W.42|
|ATGM Carrier||RakJPz 2 · RakJPz 2 (HOT) · Wiesel 1A2|
|Other||Waffenträger · JPz 4-5 · Raketenautomat · VT1-2|