The Panzerkleinzerstörer "Rutscher" is a German tank destroyer project.
In late 1943, Wa Prüf 6 awarded design contracts to BMW and Weserhütte for the detailed design of a klein Panzerjäger (small tank destroyer), known as the Rutscher. This project was dropped in late February 1944 in favour of the Jagdpanzer 38(t).
On 23 January 1945, the project was re-activated by the Entwicklungskommission Panzer (tank development committee). Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen Generalmajor Thomale, set the specification for the development of a Panzerkleinzerstörer (small tank destroyer), that was to be fast, and to carry a anti-tank weapon capable of being used by infantry. The project was set as a special importance, as it was considered to be a weapon that could inflict the most damage for the cost of constructing it.
The specifications for the vehicle included:
- Two man crew.
- Limited armour (20mm frontal and 14.5mm side suggested).
- Height of 1.50m.
- Ground clearance of 0.35m.
- High speed engine with about 90hp.
- Weight between 3.5t and 5t.
- Armed with Panzerabwehrwerfer (PAW) and MG.
Weserhütte had completed a design weighing ~3.5t using components designed specifically for it, and Büssing completed a 5t vehicle using pre-existing components. Dr. Stieler von Heydekampf stated that development with specially developed components would be ideal, and that pre-existing component designs would be secondary. A lighter vehicle with parts made for it was set as the goal in order to combat the fast American M18 Hellcat. The Entwicklungskommission Panzer decided to continue both development paths.
On 23 January 1945, the PWH 8 H 63 was developed, at the request of the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen. The gun was a smooth-bore cannon capable of firing fin-stabilized anti-tank shaped charge projectiles at 520m/s that could penetrate 140 to 150mm of armour at 30°. The effective range was 700m, with a maximum range of 1500m.
On 19 March 1945, the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen recorded comments stating that a vehicle that is lighter than current vehicles would require longer development time, as it would need it's own specially developed parts. A time-frame of 1½ - 2 years would be required. It was noted that a vehicle weighing about 7 to 10t would be developed quick enough to meet the requirements.
Development was to cease, and Daimler-Benz and Weserhütte were to finish their trial vehicles and submit them for testing however, with the possibility to mount the 7,5cm KwK 40 L/48 in place of the PWH 8 H 63.
| Germany (Deutsches Reich) |
1919 - 1945