This is a bit unusual post, because it’s not definitive. I basically will outline an idea here and if it is successful (as in: “readers like it”), I will work on developing it. Hello, everyone Today we are going to have a look at a little article I did put together. It’s going to be long, so if you are the “TLDR,LOL” type, feel free to skip it or something, in order to describe the line of thought behind this project we’ll have to dig a bit deeper than usual. The Rise of the Tank Destroyer Our story begins, as stories often do, with an idea. The first two years of what would become known as WW2 were marked with the incredible success of the Blitzkrieg. This was war like no other, with no clear lines being designated by series of trenches. This was something new. Under the might of the German Panzers, Poland crumbled and even the previously so praised French army couldn’t stop the armored tide. The golden age of armor has begun. Naturally, tacticians, designers and engineers sought for ways to actually defeat the mailed fist of the Panzerwaffe and even Germany itself was aware of vast numbers of Soviet tanks. And so, the concept of tank destroyer was born. Early pre-war designs and prototypes were improved, new ones were born and in the end, the tank destroyers became a vehicle category by itself. When designing the tank destroyer, each nation went its own way. Where the Soviet tank destroyers were low, casemate constructions, based upon existing tank hulls and American tank destroyers were essentially turretted vehicles, Germany did not specialized this way. German tank destroyers can be thus divided into following categories: - medium casemate tank destroyers, built upon existing tank hulls (Jagdpanzer IV, Jagdpanther) - heavy tank destroyers, essentially rolling fortresses (Ferdinand, Jagdtiger) - light tank destroyers, designed to be as simple (and cheap) as possible (Marder series, Hetzer) - Waffenträgers, open-topped, or very lightly armored advanced designs with powerful guns (Nashorn, Sturer Emil, Waffenträger series) Last two groups tend to overlap one another (Marder vehicles could be categorized as very simple Waffenträger designs for example). There are whole books dedicated to the question “which approach is better” and while many conclusions can be reached from battle records, it is worth mentioning that: - medium casemate tank destroyers were cheaper to produce than medium tanks of the same category (Jagdpanzer IV being cheaper to produce than the Panzer IV etc.) - heavy tank destroyers, while brutally effective on occasion, were extremely expensive to build, to maintain, to feed, with their reliability being lower than that of lighter vehicles, breakdowns and logistics caused serious problems and after the war, this vehicle category (apart from the heavy ISU SPG’s) practically disappeared. - light tank destroyers were quite effective. Easy and cheap to produce (if you have enough guns that is), they provided a punch against all but most armored enemy tanks. As a “bonus”, Hetzer (while an ergonomical nightmare) was very low, making it a perfect ambusher. Marder series of vehicles were also effective, but provided little protection for the crew. - Wafenträgers was basically a light tank destroyer development. Cheap-to-produce chassis with a bigger gun on it. Very versatile, still easy to produce and able to devastate even enemy heavy tanks at longer distances (where Marder had to get a bit closer for the kill, Nashorn could – and did – snipe enemy vehicles at quite long ranges and in hands of a skilled crew, it was extremely deadly). These are the basic lessons of the war. These are also the lessons post-war tank designers all over the world took to heart. The Czechoslovak Way Post-war Czechoslovakia had several rather interesting tank destroyer projects. If you want to read up on them in detail, here’s an article I wrote about half a year ago. Short summary: post-war Czechoslovakia – with its pre-war development chain broken – accepted various German designs in service as a stopgap measure (namely the Marder and several models of Jagdpanzer 38t). Ever since 1945-46 up to early 50′s, Czechoslovakia was not yet under complete influence of Soviet Union and several interesting designs were created. Basically, there were two ways that were considered: a light/medium casemate tank destroyer (based on newly developed LP or TVP chassis) and an artillery command-backed version, using the same chassis, but equipped with a turret. Both were to be equipped with modern weapons, from newly developed 100mm gun to 152mm howitzer. This is how they looked: Light tank destroyer, based on LP chassis, 76,2mm A19 gun, 50mm armor, 17 tons, 500hp V8 (possible T5 of the Czechoslovak TD branch) Light tank destroyer, based on LP chassis with a turret, 76,2mm A19 or 105mm howitzer, only cca 20mm armor, 16 tons, 500hp V8 (possible alternative T5 of the Czechoslovak TD branch) Medium tank destroyer, based on TVP chassis – casemate version, 100mm AK1 or 152mm howitzer, cca 65mm front armor, 40 tons, 1000hp AHK/AHX V16 engine (possible T6 of the Czechoslovak TD branch) Medium tank destroyer, based on TVP chassis – turret version, 100mm AK1 or 152mm howitzer, cca 20mm front armor and 40 tons, the same 1000hp engine (possible alternative T6 of the Czechoslovak TD branch) So, what we have here are Hellcat-on-crack and Hetzer-on-crack projects, based on the TV chassis. In real life, these projects were cancelled along with the development of the TVP tank, possibly around 1952, the lighter LP project was scrapped even sooner. The reasons for that was mostly the Soviet pressure on Czechoslovakia to start building the army according to the Soviet standards. If you are wondering, what the TVP tank, on which the Tier 6 tank destroyer project is projected actually is: it’s a late 40′s – early 50′s medium tank project, that (in its last reincarnation) looked like this: Very thin armor, but a powerful (autoloaded) 100mm gun and a 1000hp (well, 983 really) engine, in game terms – something like the Batchat. You can read about it in more detail here. If you are wondering, how this all would look in the (fan-made) Czechoslovak tank tree, it would be something like this: The tank destroyer branches could – however – be “prolonged”, by SD-100 (license-made SU-100 with some improvements) or Czech SU-152 or ISU-152 on tier 7. But that would still leave the tiers 8,9,10 empty, right? Well, this is a proposal to fill them. TVP-STT As you can see, historically the Czechoslovaks did plan to utilize the TVP chassis for a tank destroyer. It had to be: - light - maneuverable - have good firepower But in the end, the Continue reading →

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