Sd Kfz 162 Sturmgeschütz neuer Art mit 7.5 cm StuK40 L/48 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV
Conceived in 1942 as a replacement for the StuG assault gun the Jagdpanzer IV was a tank-hunter/assault gun based on the Panzer IV chassis. It earned the disapproval of Heinz Guderian, inspector general of Panzertruppen, as he objected against the seemingly needless diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production. Guderian considered the StuG III and IV more than adequate in this role. This difference of opinion spawned the nickname "Guderian's Duck" for the Jagdpanzer IV variants.However, the main aim of the design was to improve both the armour and hitting power of the Sturmgeschütz vehicles. The desire was for a vehicle with a frontal armour of 100 mm and armed with the excellent 7.5 cm L/70 gun (as found on the Panther).
In September 1943 Adolf Hitler was shown a wooden mock-up of the Jagdpanzer IV. He was impressed by the small height and immediately ordered its production. The pilot production of the first vehicles began at the end of 1943 and immediately ran into several problems. Vormag (the factory manufacturing the vehicle) had substantial problems to integrating the L/70 gun into a diagonally angled hull front. The delays forced the development of temporary solution of arming the first production models with the shorter 7.5 cm StuK40 L/48 gun. This model would be known as Jagdpanzer IV Sd Kfz 162. Production of the 7.5cm PaK42 L/70 gun armed (Jagd)Panzer IV/70 did not start until August 1944. The new superstructure had sloped armour, which gives a much improved armoured protection for thickness than vertical armour fitted to vehicles such as the StuG III and Panzer IV. The front armour of 60mm was not as thick as initially demanded in the design specifications (100mm), however it was well sloped (45°). The Jagdpanzer IV was not a nose heavy as the later model and didn't require the all-steel front road wheels of the later model. Initially the Jagdpanzer IV's 7.5cm L/48 gun was fitted with a muzzle brake, but because the gun was close to the ground it would kick up dust clouds each time it was fired betraying the vehicle's position. Due to this many crews removed the muzzle brake in the field. Jagdpanzer IV served in the anti-tank sections of Panzer and SS-Panzer divisions. They fought in Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and on the Eastern Front (WWII).