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Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Battlefront Marder III (SdKfz 139)

The Marder is an essential piece of equipment for any German player’s Flames of War collection. It combines the firepower of an antitank gun and the mobility of a tank. While the Marder III M seems to be the most popular of Marder variants, the Marder III (7.62cm) is an alternative which can also be an effective tool.

In Mid War, the Marder III is 20 points cheaper than the Marder III M (325 vs 345), mounts a Hull MG instead of an AA MG, has one point of front armor instead of zero and mounts the 7.62 Pak 36 (r) instead of the Pak 40, which has one less AT than the Marder III M (11 vs 12).

In Late War games, having AT 11 instead of 12 can be the difference between life and death, most notably when facing heavier Soviet Armor. However, in Mid War, AT 11 has more than enough punch to handle allied armor and the one point of armor to the front can come in handy against lighter AT and heavy MGs, which are more common. The 20 points you save can be spent upgrading an infantry platoon or Mittlere Panzer, which can pay off in the long run.

Marder III, Sd.Kfz. 139
From Wikipedia

While the Panzer 38(t) had largely become obsolete as a tank in early 1942, it was still an excellent platform for adaptation into a tank destroyer, among other roles. Since the Soviet 76.2 mm field gun was captured in large quantities, the decision was made to mate this gun to the Panzer 38(t).

To do so, the turret and upper superstructure of the Panzer 38 were removed and a new superstructure was bolted on to the chassis. The upper structure mounted the gun and an extended gun shield, giving very limited protection for the commander and the loader. Armour protection overall ranged from 10 to 50 mm. The gun, commander and loader were located on top of the engine deck. It had higher silhouette than Panzer 38, which made it more vulnerable to enemy fire.

The now-called 7.62 cm PaK 36(r) was rechambered to be able to use standard German 75 mm ammunition, of which 30 rounds could be carried inside the vehicle. Apart from the main gun, there was a 7.92 mm machine gun mounted in the hull. This tank destroyer was put into production as the Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm PaK 36(r),Sd.Kfz. 139. A total of 363 of this Marder III variant were built from April 1942 to 1943.

The Model

I painted my Marder III’s to match the rest of my Mid War force using a 1942 paint scheme. In 1942, the Germans started painting yellow patterns onto tanks that were previously Panzer Grey. The majority of my Mid War collection is painted in this style. Additionally, all of my EW German armor and any armor which can be used in both MW and EW is painted grey. This allows me to blend my EW and MW force and to save money, since I don’t have to collect things twice - it also gives the force extra points for style.

The Marder III model is pretty cool, but I can’t decide if it’s because they look sleek and sexy or looks like an orc battle wagon. Either way Marder III is intimidating. Sitting high behind the armor, the crew takes aim at on coming enemy forces. The Marder III blisters do not come with command figures so I replaced one crew member in my command Marder III with an officer from an SdKfz 251 box set. I am really happy with how it looks. The only real complaint I have about the Marder III model is the Hull MG. They are hard to glue into place and during and after painting two of them broke off.

Marders are an excellent addition to any German force, giving you a tactical edge not afforded to other nations. If you have thoughts on the Marder III or any Marder variant please feel free to share on the WWPD forum.

“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles at”

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