|Primary Role||Tank Destroyer|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseHornisse ("Hornet") tank destroyers were developed by the German firm Altm√§rkische Kettenwerke GmbH (Alkett) by matching lengthened hulls of Panzer III tanks and 8.8-centimeter Panzerabwehrkanone (PaK) 43/1 guns. They were presented to Adolf Hitler for approval in Oct 1942, and after securing permission, production began in early 1943. Due to the weight of the large guns, the designers had to sacrifice some armor plating, thus they were open-topped, while the superstructure armor that protected the gun crews were only thick enough to guard against blast and small arms fire. In mid-1943, a variant design was completed and put into production; although changes were minute, Hitler proceeded with giving the variant a new designation, Nashorn ("Rhinoceros"; pronounced nahz-horn), in 1944.
ww2dbaseThe Hornisse/Nashorn tank destroyers were extremely effective as tank killers, particularly with tungsten carbide-cored ammunition that could penetrate 190-millimeter of rolled steel armor at a 30-degree angle of impact. They could also achieve this at a distance of 1,000 meters, which meant that they were able to hit enemy tanks at a greater range than the enemy tanks' guns. They first saw combat during the Battle of Kursk, where the open field suited them well.
ww2dbaseBy the end of the war, 494 Hornisse/Nashorn tank destroyers were built between early 1943 and early 1945, with the majority being built in 1943.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2010
|Machinery||One Maybach HL 120 TRM Ausf A. 11.9L V-12 gasoline engine rated at 300hp|
|Armament||1x88mm PaK 43/1 L/71 anti-tank gun, 1x7.92mm machine gun|
|Armor||30mm hull front, 20mm hull sides/rear, 15mm hull top/bottom, 15mm superstructure|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945