Tankpedia

Tankpedia is a website about Armoured Fighting Vehicles especially tanks.

Category: Germany (Page 1 of 4)

Mal Walden on a knocked out Panzer IV in the aftermath of the 6 Day War

German AFVs of WW2 in Use by the Syrian Military in the Post War Era

After the Second World War, German AFVs would bolster armored units from around the world; this would include those of the Military of Syria. German Armour would be used by the Syrians during the Water War of 1964 to 1967 and the Six Day War of 1967.

The Syrian Military procured German tanks, assault guns, and self-propelled guns:

  • Tanks: Panzer IV, over 100, specifically the Panzer IV ausf. H & G. 60 were received after refit in France (1950-1952). 50 more were received from Czechoslovakia in 1954. The Soviet DShK machine gun was mounted for an anti-aircraft role, being retrofitted on the cupola.  Additionally 17 Panzer IV ausf. H were received from Spain.
  • Assault guns:  Jagdpanzer IV x6, both L/48 and L/70; Stug III x28
  • Self-propelled guns: Hummel x5

These Syrian AFVs came from the USSR, France, Spain and Czechoslovakia. It must be stressed that specifics on numbers and sources is difficult to verify; actual figures in particularly. The Water War occurred during 1964 to 1967 and the Six Day War occurred during June of 1967; by the 1960s the German AFVs used by Syria where easily obsolete. After the Six Day War, numerous Panzer IV tanks, and even some Stug III and Jagdpanzer IV assault guns littered the battlefield; including the Golan Heights where Panzer IVs were used in fixed positions to fire on the Valley below. It has been noted that the Panzer IV was also used in a fixed fired position from the Golan Heights during the Water War. One Jagpanzer IV L/48 was knocked out near Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights during the Six Day War.

On July 12 of 2014, a Panzer IV ausf. H, chassis number 89457, was auctioned; this vehicle had been originally bought by Syria in the 1950s before being captured by the Isrealis during the Six Day War. This vehicle was used as a training vehicle; before being shipped to the museum at Yad La-Shiryon. This vehicle was purchased by the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in California. This Panzer IV included changes such as the mounting for the DShK machine gun.

Panzer IVs

Jagdpanzer IVs

Stug IIIs

Hummel(s)

Unlike the tanks and assault guns acquired by Syria, the self-propelled guns is a uncertain subject; these pictures below possibly confirm the acquisition of Hummel(s) by the Syrians however some doubt remains.

Syrian Panzer IVs and a Stug III on Display

Isreali has a captured Panzer IV ausf. G and a Stug III on display at Yad La-Shiryon, which contains an impressive collection of tanks; most of the pictures below are of these two AFVs.

Works Cited

  1. “Pz. IV in the Arad-Israeli War 1967.” Axis History Forum. Axis History, 29 June 2010. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=20417&start=15>
  2. “StuG III/StuH 42 a StuG IV v Službách Cudzích Armád.” Úvodní Stránka. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016.<http://forum.valka.cz/topic/view/79297#285006>
  3. “Pz.Kpfw. IV – v Službách Cudzích Armád.” Úvodní Stránka. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://forum.valka.cz/topic/view/59715#118126>
  4. “Post War Use of Axis AFVs and Vehicles. – Weapons & Technology in WWII.”WWII Forums. N.p., 5 Dec. 2008. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.ww2f.com/topic/16506-post-war-use-of-axis-afvs-and-vehicles/>
  5. “Jagdpanzer IV Sd. Kfz. 162 – 75mm L/48 (1944).” Achtung Panzer: The History of Tanks and People of the Panzertruppe. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2016. <http://www.achtungpanzer.com/jagdpanzer-iv-sd-kfz-162-75mm-l48-1944.htm>
  6. “Hummel Sd. Kfz. 165.” Achtung Panzer: The History of Tanks and People of the Panzertruppe. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2016.<http://www.achtungpanzer.com/hummel.htm>
  7. “Panzerkampfwagen IV.” Achtung Panzer: The History of Tanks and People of the Panzertruppe. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2016. <http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-iv.htm>
  8. Surviving Pz. IV Variants. N.p.: Shadock’s Website, 25 July 2016. PDF. <http://the.shadock.free.fr/Surviving_Panzer_IV_variants.pdf>
  9. “Panzer IV.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 July 2016. Web. 29 July 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV>
  10. “Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H (Sd.Kfz. 161/2).” Auctions America. RM, 12 July 2014. Web. 29 July 2016. <http://www.auctionsamerica.com/events/feature-lots.cfm?SaleCode=LC14&ID=r0126%20>
The German Flak Panzer IV Wirbelwind

The Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun

The Wirbelwind (Whirlwind in English) was one of several mobile anti-aircraft platforms built on the Panzer IV chassis; including the Möbelwagen and the Ostwind. The Wirbelwind was developed from a design concept created during the summer of 1944 by SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Wilhelm Krause. The vehicle featured a turret with a 2 cm Flakvierling 38 (which has four barrels); the turret could traverse as expected and was enclosed on the sides but not the top. The vehicle ended up with the nickname Keksdose (Biscuit Tin in English). In combat the 2 cm gun was deemed ineffective against aircraft.

Anti-Aircraft Gun, Self-Propelled: Flakpanzer IV “Wirbelwind”
Main Armament: 1 x 2 cm Flakvierling 38
Secondary Armament: 1 × 7.92 mm MG 34
Weight: 22 tonnes
Speed: 40 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 5

Works Cited

  1. “Panzer IV.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 July 2016. Web. 29 July 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV
  2. “Wirbelwind.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 July 2016. Web. 29 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirbelwind>
  3. “Möbelwagen.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 July 2016. Web. 01 Aug. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Möbelwagen>
  4. “Ostwind.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 July 2016. Web. 01 Aug. 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostwind>
Arado 80, serial D - ILOH

The Arado Ar 80, a German Fighter Plane

The Arado Ar 80 was a proposal for a fighter plane developed by Arado Flugzeugwerke; the Ar 80 project reached the prototype stage with 3 planes being built. The Ar 80 project was the result of Arado’s attempt at competing for a fighter plane contract that would ultimately be won by the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

Fighter plane: Ar 80 (Prototype)
Main Armament: 2x 7.92 mm MG 17 (proposed)
Weight: 1,642 kg (empty)
Speed: 415 km/h; 224 kn (258 mph) at 2,700 m (8,850 ft)
Crew: 1
First Flight: 1935

Works Cited

  1.  “Arado Ar 80.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 12 July 2016. Web. 29 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arado_Ar_80>
A Tiger I heavy tank in Paderborn Germany in 1945, Panzertruppenschule SS Brigade Westfalen

The German Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Heavy Tank in Pictures, Gallery 2

Continuing with the Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I heavy tank is another set of pictures of Germany’s famous heavy tank.

Works Cited

  1.  “Tiger Vol3.” world war photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016.<http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/tiger-tank/>
A Panzer I Ausf. A on display at the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Munster, Germany

The German Panzerkampfwagen I Light Tank Sd.Kfz. 101

The Panzer I was a German light tank used prior to the Second World War, and in the initial campaigns of the latter. Design work begain for what would become the Panzer I in 1932 with production begining in 1934 and running through 1937. Germany used Panzer I’s during the Spanish Civil War in support of General Francisco Franco’s Nationalists; further, Germany would provide a number of Panzer I tanks to the Nationalists. Germany supplied a number of Panzer I tanks to the Chinese Nationalists; which were used during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Germany additionally supplied a selection Panzer I and Panzer I based command tanks to Hungary during the Second World War. The Panzer I was used by Germany during the Second World War during the campaigns in Poland, France, the Soviet Union and in North Africa.

The Panzer I had a number of deficiencies compared to comparable vehicles of it’s day; and was found to be lacking even during the Spanish Civil War. Throughout it’s life attempts were made to up-gun the vehicle; and further, a selection of variants were made using the Panzer I chasis.

Panzer I versions:

  • Panzer I Ausf. A
  • Panzer I Ausf. B

Panzer I variants included:

  • The Panzerbefehlswagen (Befehlswagen I), Sd.Kfz 265 – a command vehicle based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Panzer I Ausf. C, VK601 – boasting superior armour  and a more powerful engine.
  • Panzer I Ausf. F, VK1801- boasting superior armour, improved further over the Ausf. C variant and the same more powerful engine as the latter.
  • Flakpanzer I – an anti-aircraft variant based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Panzerjäger I – a tank destroyer (Jagdpanzer) based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • Ladungsleger I  – an explosive laying vehicle based on the Panzer I chassis.
  • 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B – a self-propelled artillery piece based on the Panzer I chassis.
Tank: Panzerkampfwagen I
Main Armament: 2× 7.92 mm MG13 machine guns
Secondary Armament: N/A
Weight: 5.4 tonnes
Speed: 50 km/h on-road, 37 km/h off-road
Crew: 2

The Panzer I Ausf. A & B:

 

PzKpfw I Ausf. F on display at the Belgrade Military Museum

PzKpfw I Ausf. F on display at the Belgrade Military Museum

 

Two Flakpanzer Is in Russia during the winter

Two Flakpanzer Is in Russia during the winter

 

A Panzerjäger I in North Africa

A Panzerjäger I in North Africa

 

A sIG 33 (Sf) on a Pz.Kpfw. I chassis in Russia, 1942

A sIG 33 (Sf) on a Pz.Kpfw. I chassis in Russia, 1942

The Panzerbefehlswagen:

The Ladungsleger I:

Works Cited:

  1. Panzer I. (2016, August 11). Retrieved August 16, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I>
  2. “Panzer I.” World War Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2016. <http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/panzer-i/>
  3. “SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 3 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Aug. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SdKfz_265_Panzerbefehlswagen>
  4. “Flakpanzer I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 13 July 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flakpanzer_I>
  5. “Ladungsleger I.” Wikipedia: De Vrije Encyclopedie. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Aug. 2016. <https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladungsleger_I>
  6. “Panzer I Variants.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2 July 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_I_variants>
  7. “15 Cm SIG 33 (Sf) Auf Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf B.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_cm_sIG_33_(Sf)_auf_Panzerkampfwagen_I_Ausf_B>
T 14 Tank, Object 148

The Russian T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank (Object 148)

The T-14 is a Russian 5th generation main battle tank (MBT), first seen in 2015 during rehearsals for the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow, Russia. The T-14, industrial designation Object 148, is currently in production for the Russian military. The T-14 utilizes the Armata Universal Combat Platform; a cross AFV platform intended to promote a selection of powerful modular systems for AFVs including the chassis. There are roughly 2 dozen T-14s built to date and plans to acquire over 2300 through 2020.

As with any new weapon system, even upon introduction it is important to maintain secrecy regarding on board systems. In spite of this we do know some things and can infer other things about the T-14. As a member of the Armata Universal Combat Platform, the T-14 benefits from a modular design; this provides benefits including lower costs, ease with regards to production and maintenance. Existing information suggests the T-14 is light weight and fast compared to other modern MBTs. This provides benefits on and off the battlefield. A lighter vehicle means less stress on systems such as the hull, engine, road wheels, et al.. A lighter vehicle will be able to traverse bridges other comparable MBTs would not; and transporting such a vehicle by rail or road will be easier. It is believed that the T-14 marks a notable departure from pre-existing Russian/Soviet tank design. The final vehicle is comparable in size to the German Leopard 2. Given the size of the T-14, it is likely the vehicle weighs more than the weight reported in numerous articles of 45 tonnes; however this could be accounted for with a design focusing on a lower weight. A light armouring design could account for this; however modern tank armour is proprietary and generally is a closely guarded secret. Also, it is reported the vehicle has no gunner, and a fully automated loading system and as such would see less weight from these changes. The turret itself is unmanned, a first in an MBT, with the crew in an enclosed compartment.

A mock-up of what would be the T-14 was shown to military officials in 2013. Trials began on prototype(s) in 2014. The public reveal of the T-14 occurred in 2015. By March of 2016, the T-14 was in full production.

Comparing the T-14 to contemporary MBTs:

Tank: T-14
Main Armament: 125 mm smoothbore tank cannon
Secondary Armament: a 12.7 mm machine gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun
Weight: 45 tonnes (ostensibly)
Speed: 70 to 90 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 3
Tank: Leopard 2A6
Main Armament: 120 mm smoothbore tank cannon
Secondary Armament: two 7.62 mm machine guns
Weight: 62.3 tonnes
Speed: 72 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 4
Tank: M1A2 Abrams
Main Armament: 105 mm rifled tank cannon
Secondary Armament: 1 .50-caliber machine gun and two 7.62 mm machine guns
Weight: 65.3 tonnes
Speed: 67 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 4

Works Cited:

  • “T-14 Armata.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata>
  • “Russia’s Armata T-14 Main Battle Tank: A Preliminary Assessment.” Pakistan Defence. N.p., 3 June 2015. Web. 26 July 2016. <http://defence.pk/threads/russias-armata-t-14-main-battle-tank-a-preliminary-assessment.379058/>
  • “Leopard 2.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_2>
  • “M1 Abrams.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 19 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Abrams>
  • “Armata Main Battle Tank.” Military Today: Everything About Modern Warfare. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.military-today.com/tanks/armata.htm>
  • Lockie, Alex. “Russia Claims Its Deadly T-14 Armata Tank Is in Full Production.”Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 17 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-claims-t14-armata-tank-is-in-production-2016-3?r=UK&IR=T>
Tiger code A22 of III Panzer Regiment Grossdeutschland

The German Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Heavy Tank Sd.Kfz. 182

During the Second World War, Germany’s Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Heavy Tank would prove a formidable foe and an iconic German tank. The Tiger tank was used by Germany, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Japanese made efforts to procure the vehicle and it’s designs for their military.

The German Tiger tank would mark a significant improvement for German Heavy Armour over predecessors. Prior to the Tiger German Armour included vehicles such as the Panzer III and Panzer IV; which provided the backbone of Panzer Corp during the Invasion of Russia. The Panzer IV, a Medium tank originally was intended to act in a supporting role for the Panzer III, itself a Medium tank. The Panzer IV was not a true Heavy Tank and was in a poor position to handle superior Soviet examples such as the KV-1.

There were numerous projects in the area of Heavy tank design that preceded the Tiger I; this would include the following vehicle or vehicle projects:

  1. Neubaufahrzeug, 1933 – this included a small production run. This vehicle weighed 23.41 tonnes.
  2. Durchbuchswagen I, 1937 – intended to be between 30 and 33 tonnes
  3. VK 30.01 (H) – intended to be 33 tonne
  4. VK 36.01 (H) – intended to be 40 tonne

On 26 May 1941, the task of creating a 45 tonne heavy tank design was put to Henschel and Ferdinand Porsche; they were requested to have designs ready by June 1942. The Porsche project continued in an revised capacity, their work on the VK 30.01 (P) Leopard tank, becoming the VK 45.01 (P). The Henschel projects resulted in the VK 45.01 (H) H1 and the VK 45.01 (H) H2.

Porsche and Henschel both showed prototypes to Hitler, both equipped with a Krupp designed turret. Hitler accepted the Henschel design for production.

There were a number of components for the Porsche VK 45.01 (P) that had already been produced; these were put to good use as the chassis for the Ferdinand Tank Destroyer as well as Bergepanzer Tank Recovery units. Further a VK 45.01 (P) was utilized as a command vehicle. The VK 45.01 (P) tank was known as the Tiger P.

Production began in August of 1942 and ceased in August of 1944 with a total of 1355 vehicles produced.

Tank: Panzerkampfwagen Tiger
Main Armament: 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
Secondary Armament: 2x 7.92 mm MG 34
Weight: 54 tonnes
Speed: 45.4 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 5

Works Cited

  1. “Tiger I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. 27 July 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I>
  2. “Tiger Vol3.” world war photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016.<http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/tiger-tank/>
  3. “Panzer IV.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 July 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV>
  4. “Neubaufahrzeug.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 May 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neubaufahrzeug>
  5. “VK 4501 (P).” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 11 June 2016. Web. 28 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VK_4501_(P)>
Brummbar number 222 1945

The German Sturmpanzer 43/IV Sd.Kfz. 166 Brummbar

Based on the chasis of the Panzer IV (hence the name Sturmpanzer IV), the “Brummbär” (as it was known by the Allies), meaning “Grouch” was developed in late 1942 by Alkett, and ordered by Hitler for production after review on October 20 of 1942.  In November of 1943 production began. The vehicle would see combat for the first time by July of 1943 in the Battle of Kursk. Over 300 vehicles would be produced by the end of the war; with the vehicle seeing four revisions including changes to improve the capacity of the vehicle to handle it’s weight.

Support Gun: Sturmpanzer 43/ Sturmpanzer IV “Brummbär”
Main Armament: 15 cm StuH 43 L/12
Secondary Armament: 7.92 mm MG 34
Weight: 28.2 tonnes
Speed: 40 km/h on-road
24 km/h off-road
Crew: 5

Works Cited

  1. “Brummbar.” world war photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/brummbar/>
  2. “Brummbär.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 21 June 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brummbär>
  3. “Штурмовое орудие “Бруммбер”” Танки. Виртуальная Энциклопедия Бронетехники. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://pro-tank.ru/bronetehnika-germany/shturmovie-orudiya/150-orudie-brummber>
A Japanese Type 94 Tankette on the engine deck of a USMC M4 Sherman tank, having been captured on Kwajalein

Mid-War Japanese Tank Development Including Interest In German Vehicles Such As The Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Heavy Tank

Japanese Tanks During World War II

Japanese tanks during the Second World War did not measure up to their European, Soviet, or U.S. counterparts. Japanese tanks reflected the pre-war/inter-war, and early war designs seen in Europe, the Soviet Union, and the U.S. This includes vehicles such as the British Vickers 6-Ton. tank Medium Mark I & II tanks, the Soviet BT-2, BT-7, and T-26, the French AMR 33 and AMR35, and the U.S. M2 and M3 series. As the war progressed, U.S. armour, and later Soviet armour would prove exceptionally problematic for Japanese forces; in particularly when facing Japanese tanks.

The heaviest U.S. tank used in the Pacific theatre was the M4 Sherman. The heaviest Japanese tank used in the Pacific/Asian theatres was the Type 97 Chi-Ha; although superior vehicles existed in the Japanese inventory by wars end, none, such as the Type 3 Chi-Nu, would see combat as they were reserved for the defense of the home islands.

M4 Sherman Type 97 Chi-Ha
Weight 30.3 tonnes 15 tonnes
Main Armament 75 mm M3 L/40 gun Type 97 57 mm Tank Gun
Armour 93 – 118 mm 8 – 28 mm
Crew 5 4
In Pictures M4 Sherman Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha Tank

Missing from the above comparison is a Soviet vehicle; however it is notable that tanks used by the Soviets were comparable or better to their U.S. counterparts in arms and armour. A good example would be the T-34-85; sporting an 85 mm ZiS-S-53 main gun, 72 – 93 mm of armour, and weighing 26.5 tonnes.

Soviet troops entering Dalian, China on T-34-85 medium tanks, Aug 1945

Soviet troops entering Dalian, China on a T-34-85 tank, in August of 1945.

Japanese armour being what it was, compared to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Germany, it is no surprise that measures were sought to field superior vehicles. By wars end the Japanese were developing, and even producing in one case, more modern vehicles. The Type 3 Chi-Nu, a vehicle comparable to the M4 Sherman, was being produced, although it was reserved for the Home Island defense initiative. The vehicle sported a Type 3 75 mm main cannon, 12 – 50 mm of armour, and weighed approximately 19 tonnes; while it’s armour was significantly weaker than the Sherman, it was a notable step forward from the Type 97 Chi-Ha.

While other vehicles were in various stages of development, only the Type 5 Chi-Ri was at the prototype stage. The vehicle Type 5 75 mm main cannon, with 25 – 75 mm of armour and weighing 33.6 tonnes; the vehicle would have been a further improvement over the Type 3 Chi-Nu and a more formidable opponent for the M4 Sherman.

Limited Information

Japanese soldiers posing with a Tiger tank

Japanese soldiers posing with a Tiger tank.

During the Second World War Japan showed interest in German arms including tanks. Information is limited in this area; however we know a Japanese delegation toured points of interest reviewing German tanks including the Panther and the Tiger. This is reinforced through photographs of the occasion(s). Beyond this, there are some popular explanations that exist; such that the Japanese purchased working vehicles, and even technical data. The veracity of these claims however is poor at best as little historical data appears to confirm them.  What follows is one such explanation of Japanese interest.

Japanese Interest in German Tanks

During the Second World War Japan showed interest in German tanks including the Panzerkampfwagen VI, Tiger Tank. The Japanese ambassador General Hiroshi Ōshima toured the Kummersdorf proving grounds to see the Tiger in person. Impressed with the vehicle, ambassador Ōshima began negations with the Minister of Armaments to procure the vehicle. Japan paid 650,000 Reichsmark for a fully loaded Tiger tank, along with technical documentation on the vehicle. The finished vehicle was to be disassembled and shipped to Japan. The vehicle was sent to Bordeaux in France, although ostensibly it was in the possession of the Japanese, however there was no way to ship the vehicle to Japan. After the Normandy invasion in 1944 the vehicle was procured by German forces, on loan, and used by the 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion after it’s arrival in the area; it was lost in action.

General Hiroshi Ōshima, Ambassador to Germany during the Second World War

General Hiroshi Ōshima, Ambassador to Germany during the Second World War.

All in all, the Japanese would purchase four German tanks; one Tiger, one Panther, and two Panzer IIIs. The fate of these vehicles is curious; as noted it is related that the Tiger was procured on a loan and used; one would presume a similar fate for the Panther. It is written that the two Panzer III s would make it to Japan; however we can assume they were either destroyed from Allied bombing, or taken back to the U.S. after the Japanese surrender however no evidence suggests a fate for these two vehicles.

The photos below show at least two Japanese soldiers; possibly General Ōshima, and a Colonel Ishide as they review German tanks.

Works Cited

  1. “The Japanese Tiger: Victim of Circumstance.” The Japanese Tiger: Victim of Circumstance. Wargaming.net, 10 July 2015. Web. 18 July 2015. <http://worldoftanks.com/en/news/pc-browser/17/the-japanese-tiger/>.
  2. “Hiroshi Ōshima.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 14 July 2015. Web. 18 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshi_Ōshima>.
  3. “Tiger I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 15 July 2015. Web. 18 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I>.
  4. Ae, Sun. “German Tanks in Japanese Service – Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles.” WWIIF. OttoBomb LLC, 7 Feb. 2015. Web. 18 July 2015. <http://www.ww2f.com/topic/54984-german-tanks-in-japanese-service/>.
  5. “日本の「ティーガーⅠ」輸入計画.” Osabetty’s, 21 July 2010. Web. 18 July 2015. <http://osabetty.com/hpgen/HPB/entries/12.html>.
  6. “Japanese Tiger Importation Plans.” Status Report. Blogspot, 21 Mar. 2015. Sat. 18 Jul. 2015. <http://ritastatusreport.blogspot.com/2015/03/japanese-tiger-importation-plans.html>
  7. “101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 14 Apr. 2015. Sat. 18 Jul. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_SS_Heavy_Panzer_Battalion>
  8. “M4 Sherman.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 16 Jul. 2015. Sat. 18 Jul. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman>
  9. “Type 97 Chi-Ha.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 01 Jul. 2015. Sat. 18 Jul. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_97_Chi-Ha>
  10. “T-34.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 17 Jul. 2015. Sun. 19 Jul. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34>
  11. “Type 5 Chi-Ri.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 Jun. 2015. Sun. 19 Jul. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_5_Chi-Ri>

The German Heavy Anti-Tank 12.8 cm Pak 44 L/55 (PaK, (Ger.) Panzerabwehrkanone)

As the Second World War progressed, the need for ever increasingly more powerful anti-tank guns would evolve; to counter ever more powerful and better armed Tanks and AFVs among other things. With the Russians fielding increasingly more powerful guns such as the 122 mm, and tanks such as the IS-2, the need for what would become the PaK 44 became apparent. The guns initial requirements were made in 1943. The  PaK 44 would have the capacity to act as a field gun, firing HE rounds and also act as an anti-tank gun.

It was from the Pak 44 that the main armaments for the Jagdtiger tank-destroyer, and the Maus super heavy tank would be developed.

12.8 cm Pak 44 Anti-Tank gun, Krupp version.

12.8 cm Pak 44 Anti-Tank gun, Krupp version.

Designer Krupp
Designed 1943
Manufacturer Krupp
Produced 1944
Number built 51

The production model was a Krupp design; see blow:

A version was under development by Rheinmetall Borsig but ultimately it was dropped; see below:

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