today, we will have a look at several possible vehicles, that could theoretically appear in the upcoming European tech tree as premium (or even regular) tank destroyers. These vehicles come from the book “Od bodáku po tryskáče” by M.Dubánek (probably the best material there is on post-war Czechoslovak projects), specifically, page 208:
“The attempts to install Czechoslovak-developed anti-tank weapons (on various platforms) can be considered the swan song of Czechoslovak industry – this was proposed during the meeting between Škoda and ČKD representatives on 13. and 14.12.1950. The proposal was to mount the 100mm A20 gun into the self-propelled gun platform, based on T-34/85 (SS: SU-100), while the ST-1 and StuG III self propelled guns should carry the 76,2mm A19 anti-tank gun.
The ČZTS national company was to make a study of this until March 1951 and the respective chassis samples were to be moved to Dubnica nad Váhom. However, these preparations were cancelled in connection with the cancellation of the A19 gun development and the changes made to the A20 gun.
Furthermore, proposals were made on a meeting on 8.6.1951 to arm the StuG III and ST-1 with the 85mm vz.44 Soviet gun, but these were also rejected”
As you can see, that gives us actually 5 vehicles to work with :) Although only proposals, I think it could be really interesting to see these vehicles in game, so let’s have a look at them.
Yes, that’s a Jagdpanzer 38t, incorrectly also known as the “Hetzer”. It was manufactured in former Czechoslovakia during the war and after the war the production continued.
History of the ST-1
After the war, newly restored Czechoslovakia found itself without any standartized equipment and with its whole industry oriented to fuel the German war machine. ČKD specifically (under the German name BMM) had all the know-how and tools to produce one of the late-war legendary designs, the Jagdpanzer 38(t), later to be known as the Hetzer. Both Škoda and ČKD offered the new Czechoslovak government to continue producing these vehicles for the Czechoslovak army, armed by a mixture of old Soviet, British and German equipment (including Panzer IV’s, Panthers and several Tigers). However, in 1945, the Hetzer was tested by the Czechoslovak army, heavily critisized for its glaring weaknesses and in October 1945 only 20 unarmed vehicles were ordered for training purposes (it was recommended by the committee not to adopt them for service). Later though, this decision was reverted, as the training version (under the designation of ST-III) was fairly successful and the armed version, now designated ST-I (ST = “stíhač tanků”, “tank hunter” in english) was adopted despite army reservations. In the end, an order was made to refit 87 captured German Hetzers and to build 20 new ones. The differences between the original Hetzer and the ST-I were minimal. Namely, the defensive machinegun was removed from the top of the hull. The vehicles were armed with the original German StuK 40 cannon and with the refurbished Pak39 75mm L/48 cannons. Some were even the German “Starr” versions with simplified gun mounts, which were converted to normal gun mounts. In the end, roughly 150 new pieces were built from scratch, another 158 were built for Switzerland under the designation of G-13 and later, in the early 60′s, 8 were sold to Guinea. Czechoslovak army kept these vehicles until the 60′s, when they were replaced by the Soviet machines, such as the SD-100. Some were used for experimental mounts (such as the 150mm SPG based on Hetzer hull). Czechoslovak vehicles were later redesigned to “Sh PTK 75 mm vz. 39/44″ (self propelled anti tank cannon 75mm, pattern 39/44)
More info on Czech tank destroyers can be found here.
The picture above is the representation of how the vehicle carrying the 76,2mm A19 gun could look (made by me, unfortunately as far as I know no sketches/blueprints of this proposal exist). Probably the most interesting piece of the vehicle is the gun.
The 76,2mm A19 was a post-war Czechoslovak project with the aim to replace the captured 75mm PaK 40 and the Soviet ZIS-3 76,2mm guns the AT equipment of the newly re-formed Czechoslovak army was consisting of. The development started in 1948 and the gun was constructed to be able to penetrate 100mm of armor (30 deg) at 1000m. In 1949, two prototypes were built. Special (more powerful) munition for it was also developed (specifically longer casing, using the older Soviet shell and a subcaliber shell).
Both prototypes successfuly passed firing trials, during which the power of the gun was increased yet again (muzzle velocity changed from 915 to 925 m/s, the barrel was made longer (from L/68 to L/70). However, at this point the caliber was considered insufficient (despite archieving the aimed goal of 100/30/1000) and the weapon was cancelled. There was a proposal to use the 85mm barrel from license-produced ZIS S-53, after some time the gun was accepted into service as 82mm AT gun Vz.52, but that’s another story.
What is interesting for us the following:
Caliber length: 70
Muzzle velocity: 925 m/s
Shell weight (AP): 6,4 kg
Penetration: 100mm at 1000m (30 deg): in World of Tanks it translates to roughly 150 pen (depending on how you look at it). That’s not bad.
However, there are two basic issues with this design, that might cause a problem.
First is obviously the weight distribution. The Germans considered adding PaK 42 (75mm L/70) to their Hetzers (some sources even claim they built a prototype of this vehicle), but they decided not to do it: the vehicle was unwieldy and very nose heavy. The weight of the gun also stressed the suspension too much (that’s why this project was not completed and the L/70 had to wait for the 38d).
Second issue was the loading. The shells are relatively long and the Jagdpanzer 38t was an ergonomical nightmare, so the rate of fire would probably be relatively low. In real life, that is a serious problem, however in World of Tanks, ROF is a balance parameter, so… not so much. The vehicle would however definitely be slower and less agile than the “original” Jagdpanzer 38t.
Second proposal was to mount the 85mm vz.44S into the ST-1:
Here, assessing the gun’s power is easy: Vz.44S is license-produced 85mm ZIS S-53. That gun is already in the game under following parameters:
ROF: 11,54 to 12,77
On paper, it’s viable. But there is a “slight” problem. The gun is even heavier than the previous one and the shells are almost 1,5 times heavy (6,4kg to 9,2kg). What that would do with the rate of fire? God knows.
Either way, both of these options would work for tier 5 premium tank destroyer I think.
Part II will include the StuG and the SD-100.