This ungainly looking vehicle was improvised to add serious anti-tank capabilities to mobile formations.
Join me for a brief look at this German Tank Destroyer.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941 one of the first nasty surprises was that so much Russian armor was tough to knock out. Especially the later Soviet designs like T-34 and KV-1 could only be faced by the latest model Panzer IV, and these were always in short supply. So it was decided to attach anti-tank guns to obsolete armored platforms. The first of these, the Marder I used a captured French chasis; while the second model switched to the Panzer II.
The Marder III would be the most numerous and successful of this series. It started with the Czech built Panzer 38(t) from the Skoda arms works. This was a very reliable light tank that was simply too small to be effective in 1941. So the turret was removed and a captured Soviet weapon, the 76.2mm field gun was mounted in its place. The gun was given a rotating mount and splinter shield, but it was open in back and on top. Later versions would use a German 75mm gun.
This was a reliable AFV with an effective anti-tank ability. It was most often attached to infantry units for organic anti-tank fire. With its high profile and thin armor it was clearly not a tank substitute. It was best deployed to the rear of a formation, or better, in a defensive ambush.
Later in the war a better, more complete conversion of the Panzer 38(t), commonly known as the Hetzer, was built for this same role. But the Marder III would remain in service to the end of the war.
This is the Tamiya kit and represents a vehicle based in Tunisia during the last stages of the North Africa campaign. This is another example of field applied camouflage with a desert sand color hastily painted over the original dark grey.