With few Jagdpanzer 38t Hetzers surviving, Bruce Crompton’s bid to restore one of them is an important milestone, as Steven Downes reports

The refurbished Hetzer is rare: there are only 14 other known original wartime vehicles of its type
pictures Axis Track Services

You know how the saying goes: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Bruce Crompton is that man. He’s the presenter of Combat Dealers on the TV channel Quest, the director of the rail division of Lanes Group and of restoration firm Axis Track Services; he’s also a father, grandfather, dog owner, entrepreneur – more than enough for most of us. That’s all before we mention his horrific, lifethreatening parachute accident, which happened in 2019 but which has taken great reserves of energy to overcome.

Clearly, what Bruce needed was something else to keep him busy. So, the unstoppable force, whose conversation dances from topic to topic like a butterfly on a buddleia, embarked on the restoration of a rare light tank destroyer in his ‘spare time’. The result is remarkable: a near-pristine World War Two Jagdpanzer 38t Hetzer with just a pockmarked body to show the scars of its short, but fierce, war in 1944.

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