Category: Germany (Page 2 of 4)
What follows is an excellent selection of photos, showing Adolf Hitler as he is presented with the scale wooden mockup of the Maus, as well as a remote controlled model. This event occurred on May 1st 1943. Having reviewed the mockup Hitler ordered 150 vehicles.
Regarding the Maus, Heinz Guderian, who would act in many capacities during the war, including Inspector-General of Armoured Troops, wrote in his book Panzer Leader:
On May 1st Hitler had inspected the wooden model of a ‘Mouse,’ a tank designed by Professor Porsche and the Krupp Company which was to be armed with a 150 mm. cannon. It’s total weight was supposed to be 175 tons; it must therefore be assumed that, after Hitler had ordered his usual supplementary changes to the initial design, it would weigh nearer 200 tons. But the model displayed carried no machine-guns for close-range fighting. For this reason I had to turn it down. This was the same mistake that Porsche had made in designing his Ferdinand Tiger and which had rendered the Ferdinand useless at close quarters; ultimately no tank can avoid fighting at close range, particularly if it is to co-operate with infantry. Our discussion grew heated, since everyone present except me regarded the Mouse as a very handsome tank. It did, indeed, promise to be ‘gigantic.’ (“Panzer Leader”, Guderian 309)
These photographs are watermarked bpk; Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, which is the visual archive of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
The Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf. B was a German tank destroyer of the Second World War; known more commonly as the Jagdtiger. The ordnance designation for the Jagdtiger was Sd. Kfz. 186. Weighing 71 tonnes, and armed with a 128 mm PaK 44 L/55, it was both the heaviest, and heaviest armored fighting vehicle used operationally during the war. It saw limited service on both fronts from 1944 to the end of the war; with only 88 vehicles built. Tank ace Otto Carius would command a company of Jagdtigers during the war.
While pondering Germany’s Maus Super Heavy Tank, my thoughts shifted to other large scale weapons. The Maus reached the production stage; however production was interrupted early on and canceled, and as such only the prototypes (two) were completed. Of the two prototypes, a surviving example (a combination of the turret of one of the prototypes, and the hull of the other) exists at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Kubinka outside Moscow in Russia. In short the Maus weighed 188 tonnes, and was armed with a 128 mm main gun, and a 75 mm cannon, and two 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns as secondary armaments.
Railway guns, or cannons mounted on rail carriages, was not unique; numerous examples existed, however, their origins was in the First World War, and by the Second World War examples were limited (operators included Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom). Germany had two notable examples:
Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustaf/Great Gustaf) was the name for one of two 80 cm railway guns used by Germany; the other was Dora. The massive gun was moved on two parallel rail tracks.
The V-3 (Vergeltungswaffe 3) cannon was a German super-gun using a multi-charge principle where the projectiles velocity is increased by the introduction of secondary propellants. Of two built, one was actually put into action.
The Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte
Beyond the Maus, another colossal tank was proposed, of even greater size than the Maus itself. The Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte increased on the general concept of more armor, and greater fire power that was incorporated into the Maus.
Other large weapon systems existed, several planes for example, such as the Messerschmitt Me 323 transport; however the above examples, had much more questionable military value.
During the second World War approximately a dozen (ten to thirteen) Tiger tanks were provided to the Kingdom of Hungary. These tanks would be used in battle; including at least one operated by Hungarian Tank Ace Lt. Ervin Tarczay (credited with 10 kills during his career). These Tiger tanks were provided by the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion along with other armour including Panzer IV and Panther tanks; they were provided to bolster the Hungarian unit(s).
The 8.8 cm FlaK auf Sonderfahrgestell or Flakpanzer für s FlaK (Pz. Sfl. IVc) was a German tank destroyer that only made it to the prototype stage; I will refer to it as the Pz. Sfl. IVc, another designation, for the remainder of this article. In 1941, the Waffenamt orderd a heavy Panzerjäger. The vehicle was inted to mount the 8.8cm L/56 cannon. The turret design was intended to be an open design. A later revision would plan that the 8.8 cm Pak L/71 cannon would be used. The project for a heavy Panzerjäger would be canceled after the chassis had been built; they would in turn be used for the development of a heavy FlaK vehicle. In 1944 the FlaK41 was mounted. Plans were in place to mount the Gerät 042 as well as the 10.5 cm leFH43 Waffenträger. Only 3 prototypes would be built by Krupp, the manufacturer. The vehicle had a crew of 8 and weighed 26 tons. The vehicle was powered by a Maybach HL90 engine and measured 7 metres long, by 3 metres wide, by 2.8 metres high.
This vehicle is available in the video game World of Tanks as the Pz.Sfl. IVc:
1. Doyle, Hilary L., and Peter Chamberlain. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two: A complete illustrated directory of German battle tanks, armoured cars, self-propelled guns and semi-tracked vehicles, 1933-1945. Revised Edition. New York: Sterling Publishing Co.Inc., 1994. 160 – 161. Print.
In 1943 the Soviets began developing the SU-85 in response to German armour seen in 1942 such as the Tiger tank as well as armour understood to be in development at the time. Although several options were explored, the SU-85 was one of the results. The SU-85 was a typical Self-propelled Anti-Tank Gun; with a D-5T 85 mm antitank gun mounted in the superstructure with limited traverse. During the Second World War the Germans would capture weapons from numerous nations including the Russians; the SU-85 was no exception and like other captured stock the Germans pressed it into service with the designation Jagdpanzer SU-85(r) (JagdPz-85(r)). The below pictures reflect captured SU-85s in German service.
1. “SU-85.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2 Aug 2013. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SU-85>.
In 1943 at the request of the Railway Engineer Branch (Pionier- und Eisenbahnpionier-AbteilungEngineer ) or WaPrüf 5 (Waffenprüfämter 5), the company Lauster in Stuttgart built a vehicle intended to tow German armoured vehicles. The vehicle possessed a unique design comparable to the minesweeper, Raumer S, created by Krupp; like that vehicle, the Wargel LW-5 was effectively two units connected at the midsection each possessing a motor with the whole of the vehicle moved on four large wheels. The Wargel LW-5 was powered by Maybach HL 108 TUKRM engines each generating 235 hp allowing the 36 ton vehicle to pull up to 53 tons. The choice of the large spiked wheels was intended to enhance the vehicles traction on difficult terrain. Although the vehicle was thoroughly tested with satisfactory results, it did not pass the prototype stage. Tests of the vehicle included the use of a spade for digging trenches. Like the Raumer S, the vehicles slow and awkward movements were seen as a significant problem which likely was the reason the idea was passed.
Length: 12.4 m
Height: 3 m
Width: 3.56 m
Maximum speed: 30 km/h
1. Arndt, Rob. “LAUSTER WARGEL LW-5.” STRANGE VEHICLES OF PRE-WAR GERMANY & THE THIRD REICH (1928-1945). N.p.. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://strangevehicles.greyfalcon.us/Lauster.htm>.
2. “Waffenamt.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 28 Feb 2013. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffenamt>.
3. “Lauster Wargel LW 5.” Kfz. der Wehrmacht. N.p.. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/Homepage_english/Motor_Vehicles/Germany/Lauster/Lauster_Wargel_LW_5/body_lauster_wargel_lw_5.html>.