Jagdpanther vs SU-100
ISBN: 978 1 78200 295 6
Contributor: Andrew Nguyen
Review Date: 17 Sep 2014
As with all German vehicles, the Panzer V, better known as the Panther, also had a version for use as a tank destroyer. The Jagdpanther entered developing in August 1942 and in little more than a year later, had the first prototypes ready for testing and eventual production that began in January of 1944. Its armament included an 88mm gun that also equipped the King Tiger and an MG34 gun. The Jagdpanther saw combat on the Eastern and then Western fronts during the later stages of the war.
For the Russians, they wanted to emulate the German successes with SPG and tank destroyers. Their first attempt resulted in the SU-76s and the SU-122 that while suitable for their respective roles had weaknesses that resulted in the development of new models with heavier weapons. At first, the new developments resulted in the creation of an SU-85 but it shortly became redundant after the introduction of an improved T-34 that came armed with the 85mm gun, designated as a T-34/85. As a result, the Soviets rushed back to the drawing board to develop an SPG on the T-34 chassis with eventual result being that of the SU-100. It came equipped with a 100mm gun because the hull was not strong enough to use the 122mm or 152mm gun. The fighting in Hungary would see the use of SU-100s on a major scale.
For those that have read previous books in the Osprey Duel series, the outline in this book is the same where the development history and the capabilities of the two vehicles is discussed before it dealt with the crews that operated these weapons. This time, the main section of the book focuses on the fighting in Hungary during the winter and early spring of 1945 with a focus on Operation Spring Awakening, which turned out to be the true last German offensive of the war. Using up vital forces from both the Eastern Front as well as survivors from the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler attempted to protect the oil fields in Hungary while also attempting to recapture its capital, Budapest. All it did in the end was to burn up forces that the Wehrmacht desperately needed elsewhere, particularly on the roads to Berlin.
While the details of the vehicles and the use by their crews is impressive as always, the details about the combat that these vehicles participated in against each other is somewhat sparse in comparison to previous books in the Duel series, such as King Tiger vs IS-2, which is also by the same author as well.
Although it had limited number of pages (80 pages), the fact that it covered an area of World War II that is not well known at all, particularly in small unit actions, is always plus. It also provides a good update on the Jagdpanther as the vehicle had also made an appearance in the New Vanguard series.
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945