Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer"
The Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer" was a German tank destroyer based upon the pre-war Czech designed and built LT Vz 38 light tank. After Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia the German army adopted the Czech tanks in existence and redesignated them the Pz 38(t). The Hetzer was actually just one of a series of German weapons platforms built using the design and/or chassis from the former Czech tank.
The Hetzer was a cheap, simple and effective weapons system, and, if for no other reason, this made the Hetzer a unique commodity in the
German war machine. One of the Wermacht's great failings was its propensity to order and field tremendously complicated, over-engineered armored vehicles; most notably the Panzer V "Panther", Panzer VI "Tiger" and their variants. Thus, although late war German tanks were often technically far superior to their most common foes in crucial categories such as armor protection, armament and optics; this superiority was only evident when the German tanks ran properly. Even the venerable Panzer IV was by late in 1944 hardly the most reliable vehicle. In particular, its transmission and engine strained to move the greatly enhanced bulk of what was a late 1930's era medium tank that in 1944-45 had been larded down with additional armor and featured a heavier weapon than the vehicle had been originally designed to carry. Studies done during and after the war have revealed one of the highest causes of German tank losses in 1944-1945 came from mechanical breakdown. Had the German army built more armored fighting vehicles as reliable and simply built as the Hetzer then it is quite likely the Allies would have had a much tougher time defeating Germany then they did in actuality.
Picture Courtesy of Steven Mercatante