** In early march 1945 Hitler sent his armoured reserves south to contest Hungary’s vital oil facilities in Operation Frühlingserwachen (‘Spring Awakening’). The German Jagdpanther and Soviet SU-100, both turretless tank-destroyer designs based on a ‘traditional’ turret-tank chassis, were pitted against each other in this operation, the final German offensive on World War II’s Eastern front. The Jagdpanther was intended for more defensive roles; its superior gun sights and high-velocity 8.8cm rounds offered key firepower advantages, but it was susceptible to breakdown and mechanical problems. In contrast, the SU-100 was designed to operate in an offensive capacity; although its speed and armour protection were comparable, the greater numbers of SU-100s fielded late in the war would prove decisive on the battlefield despite inadequate Soviet logistics and training.
Written by an authority on armoured warfare, this book assesses the strengths and limitations of the Jagdpanther and SU-100 in the context of their clash during the closing weeks of World War II. **
** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd
has released Jagdpanther vs SU-100 – Eastern Front 1945 as Number 58 in their Duel series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color photographs, color illustrations, information charts, illustrated cut-away views and detailed captions. It has a 2014 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78200-295-6. As the title states, the book covers Jagdpanther vs SU-100 – tank warfare on the Eastern Front in 1945.
- Design and Development
- Technical Specifications
- The Strategic Situation
- The Combatants
- Statistics and Analysis
The book is well-written and contains many excellent details about the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100. Author David R. Higgins has obviously gone to great lengths to research the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100, as well as other armor and weapons of both Germany and Russian, and provides a very well written and accurate history of them. Areas that have been researched and are discussed are the design and development of both the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100 as well as technical specifications of both tanks. In regards to protection there are details such as the comparative armor thickness and the armor penetration from various sizes of ammunition. Other areas that are discussed are production numbers, mobility, training and gun sights. Also discussed and detailed is the combat between the two tanks as well as information on various conflicts such as the struggle for Dég, Hungary, the Sio Canal, Operation Eisbrecher as well as Operation Frühlingserwachen. The accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order, and their captions include information on the Jagdpanther and the SU-100. Anyone interested in the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100 and their dueling in combat will find this book very informative and interesting. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 42 black & white photographs and 10 color photographs throughout the book. The photographs range from showing the tanks in static positions for the photographer to action photographs. There is an interior photograph of a Jagdpanther showing the main weapon, ammunition storage, a Fernhorer remote handset, markings on the main gun listing what type of high-viscosity oil is to be used and crew positions as well as uniforms. There is a photograph taken from the interior of an SU-100, or possibly a SU-85M, showing the view from the commander’s cupola. There are a couple of photographs of the Jagdpanther that should be of interest to the reader as they show details that are normally obscured. One of them is a factory photograph showing the front left hull before the main gun or any of the road-wheels have been added. The other photograph is of a Jagdpanther that has been flipped upside down by an aerial bomb which allows the reader the opportunity to see the bottom of the hull as well as the road-wheel assembly. Several of the photographs will be of use and interest to the scale modeler and several of them will be of interest to military enthusiasts that are interested in viewing the German Jagdpanther or the SU-100 overall. Most of the photographs are well done, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them, and some appear to be too dark. All of that is typical for photographs of this period of time. Several are stills taken from period films, which would account for the lack of sharpness. However, the quality of the photographs is in no way the fault of the author. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused images that turn up when these two tanks are shown and discussed. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs. All of these photographs would be of a great benefit to the detail minded military armor modeler. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
Additional armor, vehicles and weapons shown and discussed other than the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100:
- German PzKpfw IV L/70 (V)
- Russian ISU-152 SPG
- German Panther
- Russian T-34 Model 1943
- German StuG III Ausf E
- Russian SU-85
- Russian T-34/85
- American-built M4A2 (76) W Sherman
- German 8.8cm Flak 18
- Russian SU-76M
- German SdKfz 251
- SdKfz 7 medium 8-tonne prime mover
- German MG 34
- US M36 tank destroyer
- German PzKpfw III Ausf E/F or G
My favorite photograph in this volume is of the German Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover (factory) showing several Jagdpanther hulls cover with foliage as camouflage that are waiting to be assembled. Also shown in the photograph is a gantry crane which was used to move heavy loads from the rail line into the factory. Another particularly interesting detail shown in the background of the photograph is a small round air-raid shelter.
There are 10 color illustrations, including 2 on the front cover of the book by illustrator Richard Chasemore that are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- German Jagdpanther – on the front cover of the book
- Russian SU-100 – on the front cover of the book
- Jagdpanther, sPzJg Abt 560, March 1945
- SU-100, 382nd Guards Medium SPG Regiment, March 1945
- Operation Frühlingserwachen – Jagdpanther vs SU-100
- Jagdpanther Gunsight
- SU-100 Gun Sight
There are 3 cut-a-way illustrations included as well. The cut-a-way illustrations are of:
- Jagdpanther Fighting compartment
- SU-100 Fighting Compartment
- Ammunition, SU-100 and Jagdpanther
The color illustrations of the Jagdpanther and SU-100 fighting compartments show cut away 3-D type views of the interior of the turrets and show the layout of the turret, crew member positions, equipment, devices and ammunition storage. Items of interest are numbered and corresponding numbers are listed below the image explaining what the items are. The ammunition for both tanks is also shown and explained in the same manner. Again this type of information will be especially helpful to the detail minded military armor modeler and the armor enthusiast.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
THE COLOR MAPS
There are 3 color maps throughout the book and they show operations in:
- The Hungarian theatre of operations, 1944-45
- An overview of the Germans’ proposed three-pronged counter-offensive as the Soviets prepare to advance on Vienna
- A tactical view of the outcome of Operation Frühlingserwachen
THE INFORMATIONAL CHARTS
There are 8 informational charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and provide information on:
- Comparative commissioned ranks (British Army, Heer, Waffen-SS, Soviet)
- Schwere Panzerjager-Abteilung ‘Panther”
- Medium SPG brigade
- Jagdpanther allocation the Heer Panzerjager-Abteilungen
- SU-100-equipped medium SPG brigades (and regiments)
- German forces available for Operation Frühlingserwachen/German forces available for Operation Eisbrecher
- Soviet forces
- Ammunition penetration statistics (Jagdpanther vs SU-100)
And as with several of the Osprey Publications Ltd
books there is a key to military symbols and unit identification as well as a US/Metric conversion table provided.
There are 2 individual profiles included that detail and cover:
- Hermann Bix (German)
- Alexander N. Kibizov (Russian)
There are 4 notes included in this volume which is:
- Author’s acknowledgements
- Author’s note
- Editor’s note
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They provide such detailed information as the type and model of the vehicle shown, military units, officer’s names and other such specific information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
All in all, I am very impressed with the book. The book allows the reader to examine combat between the German Jagdpanther and the Russian SU-100 during the fighting on the Eastern Front in 1945 very well with the use of photographs, internal views, informational charts and a well written text. Osprey Publishing continues to release many great titles such as this one and I would have no hesitation to add more of their books to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
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