World of Tanks Blitz - Jagdpanther II Review

"Knowledge is power"
Blitz Reviews: Jagdpanther II

~ Index ~
~ History ~
~ In-game overview ~
~ Modules and recommended equipment ~
~ Tank review ~
~ References & Credits ~
~ Special thanks ~

~ History ~
Let's start this article with what might come as a sudden, unexpected news to some: the Jagdpanther II, as presented in World of Tanks Blitz, is made up: it constitutes a mash-up of two different and distinct designs: the Jagdpanther II design, as featured in the game, is, despite the in-game description, unhistorical. Let's get more into the matter then, shall we? 

When work started on designing a tank destroyer based on the chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther, which was, at the time, just entering mass-production and operative service, one of the first Jagdpanzer V Jagdpanther designs submitted actually called for a self-propelled 8.8cm gun platform based on the improved chassis of the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther II, which was then under development. 
Historically, however, this design was designated "Sturmgeschütz auf Fahrgestell Panther": the designation "Jagdpanther" II was never found in any official documentation; the only major improvement concerned the side armour, which was increased to grant a greater degree of protection: the thin lower side armour of the Panther hull, between the tracks and the angled upper side armour, proved, in fact, to be extremely vulnerable to a variety of anti-tank weapons, including Soviet 14,5mm anti-tank rifles; this major design flaw - German tactical doctrine for the use of the Panther emphasized the importance of flank protection - was ultimately addressed by the adoption of the schürzen: 5mm thick side skirts; cheap, easily replaceable by the crew on the field and, above all, extremely effective, especially, and unexpectedly, against shaped charge warheads. Once this design flaw was effectively solved, the cancellation of the Panther II project naturally followed.
It should also be noted that only the 8.8cm L/71 PaK 43 gun was ever proposed as the main armament for the new tank destroyer.

However, in late 1944 Krupp did start working on a redesigned version of the Jagdpanzer V Jagdpanther, which had been proving successful in combat operations: increase in firepower was deemed necessary, in order to keep up with the development of Soviet heavy tanks; therefore, the 12.8cm L/55 PaK 80 was selected as the tank destroyer's main armament. 
Redesigned Jagdpanzer V Jagdpanther by Krupp. Notice the company's logo in the textfield.
Because of the increase in weight, the tank destroyer's design itself had to be redesigned as well: the engine was moved to the front, with the fighting compartment at the rear; a new, enlarged, heavily sloped casemate was designed to house the massive 12.8cm main gun.
However, the Umbewaffnung project by Krupp from November 1944 was not designated "Jagdpanther II", its official designation being “Jagdpanther mit 12,8cm PaK 80″.

And so, all the pieces fall into place, thus explaining my initial statement in regard to the Blitz Jagdpanther II being a "mash-up" of distinct designs.

It should also be noted that Doyle stated that the Jagdpanther mit 12.8cm PaK80 design would have been too heavy and unwieldly, weighing up to 51 tons, and would have ultimately proved unfeasible anyway.

~ In-game overview ~
In World of Tanks Blitz, the Jagdpanther II is a tier VIII tank destroyer belonging to the German tech tree, more precisely, to the Jagdpanzer E-100 line; it's an alternative to the Ferdinand tier VIII tank destroyer, from which differ under several aspects.

Tech tree position, purchase price and research costs:
The Jagdpanther II follows the Jagdpanther tier VII tank destroyer and leads to the Jagdtiger tier IX tank destroyer.
  • Research cost: 77,500XP.
  • Purchase price: 2,570,00 silver coins.

Crew members:
The Jagdpanther II crew is constituted by five elements:
  1. Crew memberCommander. (Casemate - left side, rear)
  2. Crew member: Gunner. (Casemate - left side, front)
  3. Crew member: Loader. (Casemate - right side)
  4. Crew memberDriver. (Hull - left side)
  5. Crew member: Radio operator. (Hull - right side)

~ Modules, equipment and consumables~

Health pool:
The Jagdpanther II has a reasonable amount of hit points of a tier VIII tank destroyer: 1,150HP. Though less than its alternative tier VIII counterpart, i.e. the Ferdinand, it is still more than enough to work around with.

Armour profile:
• Hull armour profile:
  • Front upper hull armour: 100mm sloped backwards at 50 degrees. (~147mm).
  • Front lower hull armour: 60mm sloped backwards at 55 degrees (~92mm).
  • Side hull armour: 60mm sloped backwards at ~20 degrees (~65mm).
  • Rear hull armour: 40mm sloped backwards (negligible).
Casemate armour profile:
  • Front casemate armour: 150mm sloped backwards at ~60 degrees (~235mm)
  • Side casemate armour: 60mm sloped backwards at ~20 degrees (~65mm)
  • Rear casemate armour: 40mm sloped backwards (negligible)

Main gun and ammunition:
• 8,8 cm PaK 43 L/71:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Available ammunition: AP/APCR/HE.
  • Penetration values: 203/237/44.
  • Damage per shot: 220/220/270.
  • Rate of fire: 11 RPM.
  • Accuracy: 0,32.
  • Aim time: 2,3.
  • XP required to unlock: 0 XP. (carries over from the Jagdpanther)
  • Weight: 2,562 kg.
• 10,5 cm PaK L/52:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Available ammunition: AP/APCR/HE.
  • Penetration values: 200/244/60.
  • Damage per shot: 310/310/420.
  • Rate of fire: 7,77 RPM.
  • Accuracy: 0,34.
  • Aim time: 1,7.
  • XP required to unlock: 16,800 XP.
  • Weight: 3,000 kg. 
• 12,8 cm PaK 44 L/55:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Available ammunition: AP/APCR/HE.
  • Penetration values: 246/311/65.
  • Damage per shot: 460/460/600.
  • Rate of fire: 5,53 RPM.
  • Accuracy: 0,35.
  • Aim time: 2,3.
  • XP required to unlock: 63,000 XP.
  • Weight: 3,480 kg. 

• Maybach HL 210 TRM P30:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Engine power (Hp): 650 hp.
  • Chance of fire upon impact: 20%.
  • XP required to unlock: 0 XP.
  • Weight: 850 kg. 
• Maybach HL 230 TRM P30:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Engine power (Hp): 700 hp.
  • Chance of fire upon impact: 20%.
  • XP required to unlock: 19,750 XP.
  • Weight: 1,200 kg. 

 Jagdpanther II:
  • Tier: VII.
  • Load limit: 53 t.
  • Traverse speed (deg/s): 34 deg/s.
  • XP required to unlock: 0 XP.
  • Weight: 16,500 kg. 
 Jagdpanther II verstärkteketten:
  • Tier: VIII.
  • Load limit: 56 t.
  • Traverse speed (deg/s): 38 deg/s.
  • XP required to unlock: 15,500 XP.
  • Weight: 850 kg. 

Recommended equipment:

• Large-caliber gun rammer.

• Improved ventilation system class II.

 Enhanced gun laying drive.

Tank review ~
The Jagdpanther II represents one of the best-performing tank destroyers in the game, effectively combining excellent mobility, great firepower and surprisingly solid armour, when used correctly: true to the design philosophy which would eventually culminate in the Chieftain MBT, the JPII, unlike its alternative counterpart at tier VIII, i.e. the Ferdinand, is all about sloped armour rather than sheer thickness.
A design philosophy which would eventually proved to be far superior - an emblematic example being the famous Soviet T-34 medium tank - offering excellent protection charateristics, particularly against APCR and HEAT rounds, due to shell normalization - mechanics coming into play whenever a projectile strikes against angled surfaces: in fact, APCR rounds feature inferior normalization values compared to AP, whereas HEAT rounds are not even subject to any shell normalization. (if you don't know what normalization exactly is, check this article)

Taking this element into consideration, and comparing the Jagdpanther II to its alternative counterpart, the Ferdinand, whereas the latter's casemate is 200mm thick with just a minor, almost negligible sloping, the former's, despite being "only" 150mm thick, is heavily sloped backwards at 60 degrees; subsequently, effective armour values for the JPII's front casemate are as follows: a whopping 300mm against HEAT and HE rounds, due to the aforemention lack of shell normalization, ~255/265mm against APCR and finally ~235mm against AP rounds, due to superior shell normalization.
What about the Ferdinand then? As said before, its casemate armour features but a minor sloping; its effective armour values being as follows: ~205mm against AP rounds, ~210/215mm against APCR and, finally ~225mm against HEAT and HE.
It's plain to see appearances are often deceiving indeed.

Also, it's worth to note that, despite the Jagdpanther II's gun mantlet area is 180mm thick, a similar value compared to the Ferdinand's, a skilled player can get much, much more out it: the JPII's remaining 150mm casemate surface is very narrow, due to the shape of the casemate itself, and, using the tank destroyer's excellent traverse speed of 38 deg/s and taking full advantage of the fact the Jagdpanther II is capable of neutral steering, one can easily force opponents to take rushed and inaccurate shots by keeping turning in place; this will result in most hits striking the wider gun mantlet area, and being either absorbed or deflected away.

Concerning the hull armour, yes, the JPII is very fragile and definitely inferior in terms of effective protection compared to the Ferdinand: the upper hull armour is only 100mm thick sloped backwards at 50 degrees - effective armour value of ~150mm - whereas the MG34 installation and the lower front hull armour are even thinner: a mere 60mm sloped at 55 degrees - the machinegun installation even having worse angling depending upon impact - meaning an effective thickness of ~95mm.
Despite this bad news, it should be noted that the Ferdinand isn't that different a story: despite the nominal 200m armour thickness, its hull armour is riddled with weak spots, just like the Tiger P's , on which the Ferdinand is based on. The angled amour plates located on the sides of the main armour plate are merely 80mm thick - effectively ~130mm due to the sloping - whereas the lower front plate is 100mm - effectively ~150mm.
It's plain to see that the Ferdi's myth of a mobile, impenetrable bunker, is but a myth and nothing more: a skilled and experienced player will have no problem whatsoever at dealing with the tank destroyer frontally, even at long-range engagements and even if in a hull-down position: due to the poor sloping, APCR and HEAT rounds will make short work of the Ferdinand casemate, let alone the hull. 
On the other hand, however, due to the excellent sloping of the casemate, the Jagdpanther II, if used correctly in a hull-down position, will become a thorn in the enemy team's side, and for any opponent.

Now on to the JPII's mobility: despite a rather low hp/t ratio, this tank destroyer has amazing terrain resistance values on any terrain. The Jagdpanther II feels very nimble and allows an experienced player to get into advanced strategic hull-down positions, to quickly relocate, thus greatly increasing your options while the battle rages on, and, above all, the chance to survive in case of flank collapses. The tank's great mobility also allows to effectively engage and keep track of enemy medium tanks at close to very-close ranges, to flank alongside your team's MTs, while eradicating the enemy team's with your sheer firepower and excellent gun. All this wouldn't be possible with a Ferdinand.
Also, it's worth noting that the top engine, i.e. the Maybach HL230, unlike in the Ferdinand's case, which uses Porsche engines - unused on any other German TDs - carries over from the Jagdpanther. An advantage, grinding-wise, to take into account.

Concerning the JPII's firepower, this tank destroyer can be fitted with the excellent 12,8cm L/55 PaK44, featuring a better gun handling compared to the same gun used on the Ferdinand: a better RoF with a slightly superior 5,53 RpM and a better aim time of 2,3 sec. Particularly, you will badly need this reduction in the aiming time: the Jagdpanther II, in fact, unlike the Ferdinand, features a very narrow gun arc (10 degrees maximum gun traverse on both side, compared to the Ferdinand's 15 degrees); because of this very reason, I strongly advise using the 10,5cm gun to grind the 12,8cm PaK44, as the aim time is an almost negligible 1,7 sec, and to install an enhanced gun laying drive as soon as possible.
It should be noted that the 10,5cm gun is, however, particularly expensive when it comes to ammunition price: almost four times the 8,8cm PaK43's. Nevertheless, I still highly recommend using the 10,5cm: the reduced aim time is a bless.

Always make the best use of the good -7 degrees of gun depression, thus exaggerating the sloping of the casemate armour and, subsequently, its effective thickness; never let the tank destroyer's superior agility blind you, suicide rushing in a pointless attempt at holding the frontline, unless in certain particular instances and only when heavily supported or when you can safely get into a ull-down position: you are fast and very agile, but you have to use these advantages with judgement and stragic reasoning: use them to safely get away from the heat of the battle; there is no shame in withdrawing and no honour in hopelessly attempting at holding a doomed flank. Relocate to positions where you can get the most out of the excellent casemate or where you can quickly flank the enemy, unleashing the full potential of the 12,8cm.

Here I end my review of the Jagdpanther II, a hidden and overlooked pearl of the German tech tree.
I apologize in advance, should something written being wrong and I hope you enjoyed it!
Take care on the battlefield, fellow tank commanders!

~ References & Credits ~

~ Special thanks to ~
• All of you who took time to read this review!

Copying/Using any part of this review anywhere else is strictly forbidden, unless my proper authorisation is given. Please, contact me in the case.
@2016 Altank

No comments:

Post a Comment