By William E. Welsh It became glaringly apparent to the German Wehrmacht in 1943 that it needed a solution to the threat of heavily armored British and Russian tanks whose armor proved too thick for German towed anti-tank guns. The Wehrmacht needed lethal self-propelled tank destroyers. As an interim solution while more sophisticated designs were contemplated, the German war machine fielded open-turreted panzerjagers equipped with powerful guns on obsolete and captured tank chasis. The first generation of these panzerjagers consisted of the Jagdpanzer I and the Marder series. The Germans hurriedly rushed these interim designs into production. The resulting tank destroyers were ungainly and top-heavy, and their high silhouette enabled enemy tanks and artillery to easily target them in combat. On some occasions, enemy guns knocked them out before they could get into action. If an enemy shell exploded near one of these, its shrapnel could penetrate their thin armor. Other efforts proved more successful. For example, improvements made in 1942 to the Sturmgeschutz III assault gun, which was designed to support infantry, enabled it to function well as a tank destroyer. The Ausf. F StugIII boasted the L43 75mm gun while the Ausf. F/8 and Ausf. G. boasted the longer L48 75mm gun. The StugIII fired armor-piercing shells capable of penetrating any Russian tank at the time. What is more, their low superstructure made it a difficult target for enemy armor and artillery. Generaloberst


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