German Armor Myths

By Christian Ankerstjerne

Erroneous Equipment Names

Hetzer

The name Hetzer is usually used to refer to the Jagdpanzer 38. Hetzer was, however, the official suggestive name for the E-10, not the Jagdpanzer 38. The origin of the confusion is most likely a meeting with the Czechoslovak staff at Škoda, during which the E-10 was also mentioned. The name continued to be used incorrectly by some units throughout the war.

The word Hetzer is not easily translated. Often, the word is translated as "baiter" and the direct translation is rabble-rouser, i.e., a person who upsets a group of people to achieve a goal. The word also refers to the Hetzjagd (cursorial hunting), a type of hunting during which the prey is hunted for a prolonged period of time, exhausting it and allowing it to be hunted down.

Brummbär

Brummbär was never an official suggestive name for the Sturmpanzer. It was most likely a nickname with certain German units, which was carried over into post-war from Allied interrogation reports. Incidentally, the Sturmpanzer was never called Sturmpanzer IV.

As with Hetzer, it is not possble to give an exact translation for the word Brummbär. The word means a person who is generally grumbling and unapproachable, the best approximation for which is "growler".

Königstiger

Many books refers to the Tiger II as Königstiger. The name Königstiger was used both by German units and agencies. For example, it was used on the typed production reports from the Reichministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (Reich ministry for armament and war production). It was never used in any printed manuals or lists, however, and the use in typed production reports can hardly be considered authoritative.

To add to the confusion, US authors translate Königstiger into King Tiger, while British authors translate it into Royal Tiger. Neither translation is accurate, though; the German word Königstiger is the word for the Panthera Tigris Tigris, or Bengal Tiger.

Zwischenlösung

The word Zwischenlösung means interim solution. It was never a suggestive name for the Panzer IV/70 (A), but merely indicated that the vehicle was an interim solution. It was used in early post-war publications because the real name of the vehicle was not know, and never subsequently corrected.

Saukopfblende

The cast mantlets for the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G and other vehicles was called Topfblende (pot mantlet), not Saukopfblende (pig's head mantlet).

Pz Kpfw IV Ausf. F2 and Pz Kpfw IV Ausf. G

The Pz Kpfw IV Ausf. F2 was not a separate vehicle from the Pz Kpfw IV Ausf. G. When the long-barreled Pz Kpfw IV was first made, it was designated Ausf. F2, but was later re-designated Ausf. G.

Name Change From Ferdinand to Elefant

While the name change from Ferdinand to Elefant coincided with them being re-built between January 1944 and March 1944, among other changes adding a machine gun, the events were not related. The name change was suggested by Hitler on 29 November 1943, preceding the modifications, and carried out by two orders on 1 and 27 February 1944.

Tiger II Porsche Turret

Despite what is suggested by the commonly used Henschel and Porsche turrets, all Tiger turrets were designed and built by Krupp. The first 50 turrets were designed for Porsche's chassis design for the Tiger II, but Porsche and Henschel only worked on the chassis.

Neubau-Fahrzeug

The three Neubau-Fahrzeug were never designated Pz Kpfw V or Pz Kpfw VI. The only Roman numeral used for the Neubau-Fahrzeug was the later designation Neubau-Panzerkampfwagen IV.

Mythical Vehicles

Sturmgeschütz with L/33 gun

There never was a Sturmgeschütz with an L/33 gun. This was a misunderstanding by Allied intelligence, because muzzle brakes were often censored out of German press photographs.

Pz Kpfw IX and Pz Kpfw X

The conceptual drawings of the Pz Kpfw IX and Pz Kpfw X, which are sometimes presented as proposed future tank designs, were published in the Signal magazine (roughly the equivalent of the US Stars and Stripes magazine). They did not represent actual designs, but were published to fool Allied intelligence.

Porsche Jagdtigers

The number of Porsche Jagdtigers was 11, not one or two, as claimed in some books. The chassis numbers were 305001 (the Porsche prototype), and 305003 through 3050012.

Schürzen

Schürzen were not intended as protection against hollow-charge ammunition, such as the Bazooka and PIAT. Rather, they were designed to defend against Russian anti-tank rifles, which presented a significant threat to the side armor of both the Pz Kpfw III and Pz Kpfw IV, and to some extent the Panther.

Sources

  1. DEVEY, Andrew. Jagdtiger : The most powerful armoured fighting vehicle of World War II - Operational History. Atglen, PA : Schiffer Military History, 1999. p. .
  2. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 8 - Sturmgeschuetz : s.Pak to Sturmmoerser. Darlington, MD : Darlington Productions, 1999. 60 p. ISBN 1-892448-04-X.
  3. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 9 - Jagdpanzer : Jagdpanzer 38 to Jagdtiger. Darlington, MD : Darlington Productions, 1997. 60 p. ISBN 0-9648793-3-6.
  4. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 12 - Flak Selbstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer : Sd.Kfz.10/4 to 8.8 cm Flak auf VFW. Darlington, MD : Darlington Productions, 1998. 56 p. .
  5. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 6 - Schwere Panzerkampfwagen : D.W. to E-100, including the Tigers. Boyds, MD : Panzer Tracts, 2001. 60 p. ISBN 0-9708407-1-3.
  6. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Panzer Tracts No. 4 - Panzerkampfwagen IV : Grosstraktor to Panzerbefehlswagen IV. Darlington, MD : Darlington Productions, 1997. 60 p. ISBN 0-9648793-4-4.
  7. JENTZ, Thomas L. & DOYLE, Hilary Louis. Germany's Tiger tanks - VK45.02 to Tiger II: Design, production & modifications. Atglen, PA : Schiffer Military History, 1997. p. .