Lisa Lisa
Take a tour inside!

Click on the photo to see an enlarged version.

The black and white photos show views of the Swiss, diesel powered G-13 owned by the Texas Military Forces Museum while the color photos show a Swiss, gasoline powered G-13 which was actually built using a leftover German wartime hull and which more closely resembles a German Hetzer. The Swiss gasoline powered vehicles used the same Praga six cylinder engine as was used during the war.


The Driver's Position

The major difference in the driver's compartment between the diesel and gasoline engine versions may be seen to the left of the instrument panel. The diesel version has an additional switch plate added to the left side of the panel. The cylinder below the panel contains starter fluid mixture which is injected into the diesel system to assist in starting when the temperature is cold. Note that the gasoline version shown has two added gauges on the bottom of the panel which are not original to the design. It is also missing the leather pad on the sidewall of the vehicle. This pad helps protect the driver's knee when traversing rough terrain.


The Fighting Compartment
(upper)

We begin with a glance around the inside of the diesel version. The first photo shows the side wall of the vehicle at the left rear of the crew/fighting compartment. The loader's episcope may be seen dropping down from the ceiling. There is a storage bin visible with an oil bottle sticking up. The next photo shows the same position from the viewpoint of the driver looking backwards. The panel with the dark frame around it is the mount for the Swiss radio. The entire panel folds out, hinged at the bottom, and is held horizontal by chains affixed to the sides. This allows the radio to be worked on with having to remove it from the mount. The next photo continues by showing the engine compartment access panel. By opening this panel, the driver may access the fuel filter, the fuel system ventilation pump, the fuel injector system, and other mechanisms. Also seen is the commander's nook. Note that the rear facing episcope is not hanging in its bracket in this picture. The next photo shows the fume extraction vent in the roof of the vehicle. It operates in conjunction with the engine to exhaust the fumes and gases created when a shell is fired. The next photo shows the ammunition racks placed against the right wall of the hull. The joint the hull wall and the roof are bolted together may be seen clearly. The next picture shows the open breech of the gun. If you look closely beneath the gun, you may see an additonal set of ammunition racks, one forward of the breech and one directly below the recoil cage of the gun. This latter rack collapses as shell are removed so that the forward rack may be accessible. The second photo of the second row provides a clear picture of the gun's gimble type mount and of the travel lock which is securing the gun in this photo above the recoil cylinders. The third photo shows the gun sight mounting bracket and range/ammunition selection assembly. The final photo in this row shows the actual gun sight lying in its carrying case. There are two spare sight heads shown as is the rubber forehead cushion which attaches above the sight when placed into the mounting bracket.

Our tour continues with a look at the gasoline powered version as shown in the color photos. Only those areas that are remarkably different from the diesel version are shown. The major areas of difference are in the rear wall of the crew compartment. The first shows a shot of the radio installation, some shells in the ready rack, the loader's seat (but without the leather cushion), and with the crew compartment heating control valve (the circular device with the three triangular cut-outs). The next photo shows the drive shaft coming out of the reduction gearing assembly, the engine starter fluid tank and controls (in the silver box), the red knob of the fuel tank selector, and the intercom system junction box. Note that the radio and the intercom system shown in this photo is NOT the original German or Swiss style system, but is taken from a more modern American military vehicle. The German radio system consists of seperate receiver and transmitter boxes held in mounts within the indentation where the single American radio is shown sitting. The intercom system junction box shown would not be present at all in the German version. The final photo is simply a wider angle view of the rear of the crew compartment. The "pipe fitting" device attached to the wall as it curves around to the commander's position is the bracket onto which the scissors telescope is mounted. The bracket allows the telescope to be raised up and down and swiveled around so that the commander may make observations without exposing his head out of the hatch.


The Fighting Compartment
(lower)

The first photo is a shot of the diesel version commander's seat position as viewed from above while standing forward of his hatch. Visible is the leather pad which provides some cushion when seated. The panel in the sidewall allows access to the engine starter in the engine compartment. The second photo shows the storage compartment atop which the driver's seat is located. (The driver's seat back is not in its place in this view.) It also shows how little space there is between the driver and the gunner, whose circular, wooden seat is just visible at the bottom of the picture. The next photo shows the vehicle escape hatch in the floor. Note that the gunner's seat is mounted on the hatch which drops out of the floor, beneath the vehicle, when the lever in the center of the photo is raised. The loader's seat is partially visible in the upper left corner of the picture. The last photo in this row shows the loader's seat and gunner's seat as viewed from outside the vehicle looking downward via the loader's hatch. The vehicle's drive shaft is shown running upward from the gray triangular cover on the right side of the picture. A small portion of the gun's recoil cage is also visible. On the left of the picture are shown the ready ammunition racks.

The first color picture shows the gasoline version commander's seat from above, viewed from the rear of the hatch. The leather cushion is absent, but should be there. Also shown is the rear of the recoil cage of the main gun. The second photo is a view of the floor from outside, showing the drive shaft, under which is mounted the gunner's kit with spare parts for the main gun. The loader's seat (again with leather cushion absent), the escape hatch, and the gunner's seat are all just visible to the left of the drive shaft. The white plate with a cylinder and attached chain is a portion of the recoil cage. the cylinder is where the canvas bag for fired shell casings attaches and is secured by the chain with attached pin.


The Engine Compartment

Now for a brief look at the engine compartment. We start by lifting the large hatch on the right side of the sloping rear hull of the diesel version. The circular object is the fuel tank filler port for the single large fuel tank. When the cap is lifted, the screw on fuel cap is accessible. The oversized container which makes up the port acts as a "catch basin" for fuel which is spilled outside the filler pipe and allows the spillage to drain back inside the fuel tank. The cap helps keep the fuel cap and this "catch basin" free of dirt and debris. Directly above the the filler port in the photo is seen the Notek blackout driving light in its storage holder. There is a second storage point next to it where the normal Swiss headlight may be stored. The right bank of the diesel engine may be seen. The long rod attached to the white underside of the hatch is the actual "gas gauge" for the vehicle. It is a flat steel stick graduated in tens of liters which is dipped into the fuel tank through the filler port to determine the fuel level. The second photo shows the batteries and air filtration system of the diesel version and the connections which feed air to the engine. The third photo shows a slightly different view of the filtration system and shows the radiator filler port in the upper right of the picture.

The first color photo shows the yellow air filters, the right side fuel tank filler port and the blue radiator filler cap of the gasoline version Hetzer. The second photo shows the valve cover of the six cylinder engine, the battery box with the engine hand crank assembly lying in brackets on top. The voltage regulator is attached to the rear of the battery box. There is a funnel in a bracket at the base of the photo. The yellow circular object (slightly obscured by shadow) between the battery box and the valve cover is the top of the combined oil cooler and filter assembly. The round, screened device is the engine crankcase ventilation assembly. The light colored spark plug wires are also visible.


The Aberdeen Hetzer

If you have ever wondered what happens to a vehicle that sits outside in the elements for the better part of fifty years, here is the answer. The U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in the State of Maryland has numerous armored vehicles on display outside. They are from many nations and time periods, but many are captured enemy vehicles from World War Two. Some of them are extremely rare prototype vehicles of which only one or two may have ever been produced and others are common, ordinary vehicles of which hundreds or thousands may have been produced. One such is their example of a Hetzer. At one time on display inside a building, the left side of the Hetzer had been cut away to enable visitors to view the interior. A wire screen mesh was placed over the opening in an attempt to restrict theft. When the building became too dilapidated and needed to be torn down, the exhibits were simply moved outside and parked. The open hulls were left open to the elements. As of the Spring of 1999, the condition of the Hetzer's interior may be seen in the above photographs which were taken for me by my English friend, Lee Archer, on his recent visit to Aberdeen. These photos are shown with his permission.

The first photos shows an overall view of the main gun with the gunner's controls and the recoil cage. The second shows the upper portion of the driver's position. Notice the "rifle holder" of which the buttstock holder is visible. I have learned that Hetzer crews were often issued MP-44 assault rifles instead of MP-40 machine pistols or just pistols. This would be the holder for an assault rifle. Interestingly, the Swiss continued using this same mounting position for their crew's issued rifles. The driver's episcopes are absent and the brackets may be seen hanging loosely from the hull instead of in the latched position. The third photo is a view looking directly at the far wall showing ammo racks and the rear of the recoil cage. The fourth photo gives a better view of the far wall ammo racks, the scissors telescope bracket, and the engine starter fluid container. The last photo gives a nice view of the racks for the radio receiver and transmitter.

For coverage of the machine gun mount and remote controls, see the Hetzer Remote Controlled M.G. page.



This then is the end of our tour inside the Hetzer. From the rusty remains of the Aberdeen Hetzer to the well preserved examples of Swiss maintenance, we have seen examples of several types of vehicles. I hope the tour has been informative for you and may assist you with learning more about this vehicle. If you should have photos of other Hetzers still in existence or if you have information that you think might interest me, please contact me by email.

The entrance to the Texas Military Forces Museum, home of our Hetzer, located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.



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26 June, 1999

Richard Gruetzner