Andy Singleton of VolleyFirePainting fame is back again with another Vs article, and following his love of tank destroyers, has picked another 2 to show case this week, the first is the German Jagdpanzer IV L/48, whilst the second is one is an all-time favourite vehicle, the American M10.
JagdPanzer IV L48
The Jagdpanzer IV was conceived as a replacement for the famed and highly successful StuG III and IV series of vehicles, with development starting in very late 1942, with the intention being to mount the 75mm L70 high velocity weapon fitted to the Panther tank. The vehicle was intended to be very low slung, with the main armament mounted in a casemate with a machine gun mounted adjacent to this behind an armoured cover. Delays in production of the L70 gun, resulted in the first 780 or so of the total 2000 vehicle production run being fitted with the 75mm L/48 gun as was fitted to later Stug III’s and Panzer IV’s.
First entering service in March 1944 with the Hermann Goring Panzer division in Italy, the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 went on to serve on both the Eastern and Western fronts, notable in replacing the StuG III in the 12th SS Panzer Division, and fought until the end of the war.
Post war the L48 continued to see service, with captured vehicles being supplied to Soviet Allied states, with a handful serving with the Romanian Military from 1945 until the 1950’s. 6 more vehicles were sold to Syria, where they served until the 1960’s, and a further handful were supplied to the Bulgarian army who emplaced them in buried defensive fortifications. In the mid 2000’s these vehicles were recovered, and are currently in the process of being preserved.
The Jagdpanzer IV in all its variants was highly effective, and is a deceptively small vehicle, being a mere 6 feet 1 inch tall, a whole foot shorter than the already low down StuG III, thus rendering it comparatively easy to conceal in defensive positions. Being so low to the ground the muzzle brake had a habit of kicking up vast amounts of dust and debris when fired, resulting in many crews simply removing this feature. (As portrayed on the Warlord Games model).
The Jagdpanzer IV in Bolt Action
Weighing in at 270 points for a medium armour, heavy anti-tank gun with a hull mounted medium machine gun, the Jagdpanzer IV may initially appear a pretty bad deal, especially without the benefit of the turret, and being a whole 40 points more than the StuG III. For this trade off however, what you are getting is something that is far, far easier to conceal, something I hope the illustrations on this piece can testify too. The Jagdpanzer stands about the same height as a figure, so anything a squad can be concealed by can conceal the vehicle too, which can potentially render your vehicle very hard to kill.
With a heavy anti-tank gun and an ultra-low profile, the Jagdpanzer is very able to perform a sniping role, able to take out any vehicle in the game even at long range, and with a 36” short range more often than not you will be firing without range penalties to your accuracy. If you’re expecting to come up against enemy armour, especially short ranged or inexperienced enemy armour, the Jagdpanzer IV could be just the tool you need to take them out.
M10 Wolverine Tank Destroyer
Prior to their entry into WW2 the American armoured forces had only given a brief lip service to the design of a dedicated tank destroyer, utilising halftracks and trucks mounting anti-tank guns as a temporary, and unsatisfactory measure.
Doctrine called for tank destroyers to be held in reserve, and then rushed to counter enemy armoured forces as they were encountered. This called for tank destroyers to be armed with a powerful weapon and be able to redoply rapidly. Initially the M8 armoured car was designed to fulfill this function, however was deemed too lightly armed.
Ultimately the M18 and M36 tank destroyers would be the pinnacle of the WW2 development of the tank destroyer arm, however by far the most common tank destroyer used by the western allies was the ubiquitous M10.
First entering service in 1942, the Wolverine first saw combat in Tunisia, where its powerful 76mm gun and the nature of the terrain made the M10 instantly popular with its crews. The M10 was well able to match the speed of tank forces and with unmatched visibility from its open topped turret communications with supporting infantry forces was far simpler than with a fully armoured vehicle. The M10’s turret was hand cranked, and proved to have an exceptionally slow traverse, whilst the open topped turret made the winter campaigns in Europe a horrendous experience for the crews, although a canvas cover was provided, and some crews did add an armoured roof for protection from shell splinters.
The M10 was used by British, Free French, American and in small numbers Soviet forces. The British modified the M10 to carry a 17pdr anti-tank gun, to make up for the ever increasing armour on German vehicles. With nearly 6500 being built between 1942 and 1943, The M10 served until the end of the war, in spite of its growing obsolescence.
America’s most decorated soldier, 1st lieutenant Audie Murphy was awarded his Medal of Honour for his part in the battle of the Colmar Pocket in early 1945. In the face of a German counter attack Murphy took up position on the back of a burning and abandoned M10, using the vehicle’s .50 machine gun to disrupt and destroy the enemy infantry attack, whilst simultaneously utilising his field telephone to call in artillery support on the German forces, Murphy had ordered his men to cover at the start of the German attack whilst he single handedly held off the assault, only breaking off his defence once out of ammunition for the .50. Suffering a wound to his leg he re-joined his men, and led them in a counter attack which broke the German offensive.
The M10 in Bolt Action
The M10 is an armour 8+ open topped tank, with a heavy anti-tank gun, that appears in both the British and American army books. At 170 points at Regular, with an optional 25 point HMG, the M10 is a great value way to get a mobile, heavy anti-tank gun into your army without the expense of an up gunned Sherman, or the frailty of an M18. British forces especially are lacking heavy anti-tank assets, as they tend to have more Super Heavy AT, which can be excessive for most targets and eat a lot of points.
Tactically the M10 is best utilised like most tank destroyers, by positioning in the best cover available in a position that doesn’t require it to move too much. Just be wary of mortars, as even a medium mortar can really ruin your day thanks to the open top. If one starts to range in it’s almost always best to move as soon as you can.
As ever, the heavy AT allows you to damage any enemy armour, and keeping your M10 in reserve allows you to bring it on to outflank, and punch right through opposing side armour.
Finally, the model of the M10 is stunning, and in my opinion forms a fantastic centre piece to a US or British force, and can be painted in a fairly wide range of colours beyond the standard Olive Drab, with examples in Tunisia and Italy especially seeing disruptive patterns applied in sand and brown tones, whilst vehicles in northern Europe could be seen with black stripes added, and Free French vehicles had some truly spectacular markings applied to them in the form of recognition and squadron markings.
Check out both these kits on the Warlord webstore:
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