* * * O P E R A T I O N : D R A G O N S L A Y E R * * * [link]
Casemate clan line up!
All 3D models by Sketchup powerhaus and prolific collaborator
Eventually moving to scraps/Operation DS folder. Just thought these were too cool not to feature at least temporarily.
I can promise, with ample confidence, that each of these designs will be presented in color.
*For those of you who are fans of this project, I suggest toggling your devwatch settings to allow for notice of scrapbook updates. Generally, there' a host of stuff added to the Dragon Slayer archive by way of scraps, which doesn't get featured in my main gallery. Especially since a good deal of it involves work manufactured exclusively by my buddy, Thomas. Some items not (yet) shown in his DA gallery either.
WWII Tank Destroyers were often built upon the converted chassis of existing AFVs. They were a cheap and efficient means of expediting heavy firepower to the front in lieu of chronic armor shortages. Following the diversification of Panzer formation to include PzFs (Panzer zu fuss) and other walking type armor, the modification potential of existing tank chassis took yet another step forward...
The industry of multipedal AFV conversion had its greatest success with tank destroyers and other casemate superstructure type vehicle. The boost in tactical utility offered by legs (instead of tracks) sufficiently outweighed sacrifices in terms of optimal road speeds. Far more so than early attempts at converting turreted tanks to multi-legged platforms -which proved the tracked progenitors to be decisively superior. Tanks being more dependent on the essential factor of mobility as a breakthrough weapon -rather than assault or surprise.
For the ambush tactics of tank destroyers, the ability to further lower the vehicle's profile by bottoming out or going 'belly down' offered a welcome boost to stealth and concealment potential. In the case of the already diminutive Hetzer, this characteristic rendered the vehicle's compact shape even more efficient.
"The use of a fixed or casemate superstructure in place of the rotating turret found on normal tanks (except for almost all American WW II designs) confers both strengths and weaknesses upon the tank destroyer. Dispensing with the turret makes tank destroyers significantly cheaper, faster and easier to manufacture than tanks. Tank destroyers can also be fitted with larger superstructures, allowing accommodation of a bigger cannon than could be mounted in a turreted tank on the same chassis, and increasing the vehicle's internal volume, allowing for increased ammunition stowage and crew comfort. Eliminating the turret also allows the vehicle to carry thicker armor than would otherwise be the case.
But tank destroyers cannot fulfill the many roles of tanks; they are much less flexible, and their guns are often optimised for defeating armour at the expense of anti-personnel capability. A common feature of a tank destroyer is the absence of a turret, and in some designs, stronger frontal armor. Use of open-topped hulls was problematic since it afforded the tank destroyer crew less protection, both from high explosive weapons and nuclear, biological, and chemical threats. Turretless tank destroyers are most often used in concealed ambush positions where they can wait for a target to enter their line of fire. They are thus better suited to tactical defense rather than offensive usage." [link]
"These tank destroyers fell broadly into two categories. Some were designed to be faster and cheaper than medium tanks while still able to destroy heavy armor at long range. The second design strategy was to create heavily-armored vehicles that were more effective in tank-versus-tank combat than enemy tanks."
The oddball in this case is the massive SturmTiger, which is more of an assault weapon designed to pulverize fixed positions and fortifications. Not a tank destroyer in any sense. In this role, however, it benefits from the defensive strength of it's thickly armored legs as opposed to wearing more vulnerable treads.
Another significant advantage granted by multi-ped conversion, of particular benefit to turret-lacking TDs, is a degree of alleviation to the limited traverse of their guns. Relative to counter-rotating tank tracks, the legs offer a more controlled means of adjusting hull orientation. Similar to a bombadier's command of an aircraft during the final run, precision leg controls diverted to the gunner's station allow for extra adjustments when the main gun has reached the limit of its horizontal traverse arc. The same ability is even more useful in terms of dramatically increasing angles of elevation and depression, greatly improving the MPTDs performance in both urban areas and heavily sloped terrain, when firing at very high or very low targets is most necessary.