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Category: Germany (Page 3 of 4)

Germany’s Krupp Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb) Heavily Armoured Minesweeper

Germany's Krupp Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb)  Heavily Armoured Minesweeper

Germany’s Krupp Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb) heavily armoured minesweeper pictured after having been captured by US forces.

The Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb) was a heavily armoured minesweeper developed and built by Krupp for Germany during the Second World War. Weighing over 130 tons, this behemoth was effectively two sections articulated in the center, and moved by massive steel wheels that were 2.7 m in diameter. The vehicle was 15 m long and 4 m high. The track widths differed between the front and rear to encourage a wider sweep path. Each section of the Raumer S was powered by a Mayback HL90 engine generating 360 hp and 3600 rpm. Although armaments were not placed on the prototype which was created, there were plans to mount 7.92mm MG-42 machine guns for both anti-personnel and anti-aircraft roles. At the end of the war the existing Raumer S prototype was captured by the US Military; although what happened after it’s capture is unknown.

An artist's representation of Germany's Krupp Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb) heavily armoured minesweeper.

An artist’s representation of Germany’s Krupp Raumer S (Selbstrantrieb) heavily armoured minesweeper.

Works Cited:

1. “Krupp Raumer S Selbstrantrieb.” Achtung Panzer!. N.p.. Web. 26 Oct 2013. <http://www.achtungpanzer.com/krupp-raumer-s-selbstrantrieb.htm>.

2. “German Mine clearer.” WWII In Color. N.p.. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://www.ww2incolor.com/german-armor/ww2 photos 082.html>.

3. “Raumer-130 Ton Minesweeper.” AMi Right Making Fun of Music, One Song At a Time. Since The Year 2000.. N.p.. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://www.amiright.com/parody/60s/unknown6.shtml>.

Germany’s Minenräumer (Vs.Kfz. 617), A Heavily Armoured Minesweeper Built By Alkett

The surviving VsKfz 617 Minenräumer at the Kubinka tank museum in Russia.

The surviving VsKfz 617 Minenräumer at the Kubinka tank museum in Russia.

Germany’s Minenräumer (Vs.Kfz. 617) was a prototype armoured vehicle designed jointly by Krupp, Daimler-Benz and Alkett and built by Alkett; the purpose of the vehicle was clearing mine fields. Although the vehicle never went to production, the prototype survives and is on display at the Kubinka tank museum in Russia. The vehicle was designed to be capable of moving through a mine field impervious to the damage that might otherwise be caused to other AFVs; this of course led to the vehicle being extremely heavy and slow which was a major factor in the project being abandoned. The vehicle was armed with twin 7.92 mm MG-34 machine guns mounted in either a Panzer 1  Ausf. A or Ausf. B turret. The vehicle was protected by  between 10 and 40 mm of armour.

Works Cited:

1. Arndt, Rob. “ALKETT VsKfz 617 MINENRÄUMER (1942-1945).” STRANGE VEHICLES OF PRE-WAR GERMANY & THE THIRD REICH (1928-1945). N.p.. Web. 25 Oct 2013. <ALKETT VsKfz 617 MINENRÄUMER>.

2. Svirin, M. “Немецкий минный трал Minenraumer. Немецкие машины специального назначения времен Второй мировой войны. Немецкий минный трал Minenraumer.” Блокада Ленинграда Исторические события блокадного Ленинграда. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct 2013. <http://blokadaleningrada.ru/content/view/id-2341/>.

In Pictures: The German Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Medium Tank

The German Panzerkampfwagen V Panther medium tank was an AFV from the Second World War. Weighing 44.8 tonnes and armed with a 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 cannon; the Panther was a formidable force on the battlefield and an iconic tank from the period. Additional armaments included two 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34 machine guns as well as armour up to 120 mm (4.7 in).

Works Cited:

1. “Panther tank.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 14 October 2013. Web. 16 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther_tank>.

In Pictures: The German Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Tank

The German Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I heavy tank was an AFV from the Second World War. Weighing 56.9 tonnes and armed with an 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56 cannon, the Tiger I was an iconic tank from the period. Additional armaments included 2 Maschinengewehr 34 machine guns (7.92 mm) and armour reaching 120 mm (4.7 in).



Works Cited:

1. “Tiger I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 12 Oct 2013. Web. 15 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I>.

Tanks On TV: Hogan’s Heroes: Tanks for the Memory

A screenshot from the Hogan's Heroes episode: Tanks for the Memory.

A screenshot from the Hogan’s Heroes episode: Tanks for the Memory.

In this November 11, 1966 episode of Hogan’s Heroes, a model for a radio-controlled tank is being tested at the camp and Hogan is ordered to photograph and destroy it. During the second world war, the Germans did use a remote controlled tank called Goliath; it carried explosives and was intended to target Infantry, Armour, and as a demolition device.


The German remote-controlled tankette Goliath.

The German remote-controlled tankette Goliath.

The Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte

An Artist's Representation of The German Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte Super Heavy Tank.

An artist’s representation of the German Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte super heavy tank.

Circa 1942, a proposal was made by Krupp for a super heavy tank, the Landkreuzer P.1000 ‘Ratte’ (which translates to ‘Rat’). By 1943 this project would end up being canceled by Albert Speer, the Minister of Armaments and War Production; ostensibly given the gross resources that would have been required to produce this vehicle as will become clear shortly. The impetus for the Ratte project stems from a 1941 study of Soviet heavy tanks that was conducted by Krupp; this same study lead to the development of the Panzer VIII Maus, also a super heavy tank design. It was Krupp director Edward Grotte, the then Special Officer for Submarine Construction, who suggested the vehicle design for the Ratte. Grotte had existing experience in designing tanks having worked with the Soviets before the war began; and with the Soviets his flare for designs such as the Ratte would be seen. On  June 23, 1942 Grotte proposed to Hitler a massive vehicle design which was to have naval artillery and thick hardened steel armour. While Hitler seemed to favour the project giving Krupp the green light to begin development, by the time Speer had canceled the project, it existed only on the drawing board. The proposed weight of the Ratte would have been 1,000 tonnes; by comparison a Tiger II weighs 68.5 tonnes. It is not so difficult to see why the vehicle reached such a massive weight in reviewing it’s specifications. The Ratte’s primary armament was to have been twin 280 mm SK C/28 naval cannons; one of which weighs 48.2 tonnes alone and the shells for which weigh no less than 300 kg (660 lb). Secondary armaments for the Ratte were to have been a single 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 cannon, two 15 mm MG 151/15 autocannon, and no less than eight 8x 20 mm Flak38 anti-aircraft guns. Armour for this beast was to have varied from 150 mm to 360 mm; again comparing to the Tiger II which had armour ranging from 25 mm to 185 mm we can see the Ratte was better armoured. To handle the weight of the vehicle it was to be equipped with  three treads on each side with an individual width of 1.2 metres and a total width of 7.2 metres. To move this massive machine two proposals were made:

  1. Eight Daimler-Benz MB501 20-cylinder marine diesel engines, producing 16000 horsepower
  2. Four MAN V127Z32/44 24-cylinder marine diesel engines, producing 17000 horsepower

The engines were to have had snorkels to allow for traversing water. Speaking practically the Ratte as a design had many flaws. On the battlefield the Ratte wouild have existed almost like a bulls-eye for Allied warplanes. The vehicle would have likely required a supporting group of ground and possibly air forces to assist and protect it; not unlike modern Aircraft carriers. The proposed weight for the vehicle would have made road and bridge travel grossly impractical. It is not uncommon that special vehicles and equipment are constructed to assist principally in the areas of transport, recovery, and maintenance for a vehicle. No such equipment existed or could have been modified reasonably from existing equipment to accommodate the Ratte; certainly not with the material limits existing as the war progressed for the Germans.

Works Cited:

1. “Krupp Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte (Rat) Super Heavy Tank Project (1942).” Military Factory – Military Weapons: Cataloging aircraft, tanks, vehicles, artillery, ships and guns through history. N.p., 29 Apr 2011. Web. 13 Sep 2013. <http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=293>.

2. “Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 Aug 2013. Web. 14 Sep 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landkreuzer_P._1000_Ratte>.

3. “Tiger II.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 31 Aug 2013. Web. 15 Sep 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_II>.

4. “28 cm SK C/28 naval gun.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 11 Jul 2013. Web. 15 Sep 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28_cm_SK_C/28_naval_gun>.

The Panzer VIII Maus

Right now World of Tanks bi-monthly “On Track” is focusing on one of my favorite tanks, the Panzer VIII Maus. Not only is World of Tanks running a special on this vehicle, but they’re very own Chieftan has done a video going over the remaining prototype at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia:

The Maus was a proposed super heavy tank which only made it to the prototype stage in the form of two prototypes; only one of which survives.

Treasures From the Deep

Uncommon sight? You might think it would be uncommon to see an AFV pulled from a lake or other body of water, a bog, or even a muddy area; but it is fairly common. The following videos reflect just that; tanks that were lost but are now found again:

A Soviet BT-5:

A German Stug III:

A German Stug 40:

A British Valentine used by the Soviets through the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet T-34:

Another Soviet T-34, this one with German markings:

A Soviet T-70:

A German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer:

A Soviet KV-1:

Another Soviet KV-1:

A Soviet T-60:

A German Panzer III:

A US Sherman M4A2; I believe a Soviet copy given under the terms of the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet BT-7:

The A7V

With the appearance of British tanks on the western front, Germany began a project that would lead to the A7V, Germany’s fist tank. Although the British tanks debuted poorly the psychological effects were considerable on the German forces who encountered them. The Supreme Army Command (Oberste Heeresleitung) confronted with this development successfully lobbied the War Department to create a German tank (Higgins 15). The War Deparment on November 13 1916 would contract the Verkehrstechnischen Prüfungskommission (Traffic Technical Examination Commission or VPK) to develop a 33 ton vehicle (Higgins 16). The VPK would in term delegate this to the Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen (“General War Department, 7th Branch, Transportation”); reserve Captain and engineer Joseph Vollmer was tasked with the creation of Germany’s first tank. The term A7V comes from the name of the group that fielded the vehicle; Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen. In German the vehicle was referred to as  Sturmpanzerwagen or Assualt Armoured Vehicle (“A7V”). The  Infantry Department (A2) of the War Ministry gave the following specifications for the tank design; it was to have a front and rear mounted quick-firing cannon, six machine guns, and an ability to carry a small assault infantry contingent . The initial requirements also called for 30mm of armour all around (Higgins 16).

The chassis used for the A7V would also be used for a transport vehicle, the Uberlandwagen. Although 20 A7Vs would be made, roughly 56 Uberlandwagens would be made (Kempf). A so called “female” variant of the A7V existed; it simply had it’s main gun replaced with two machine guns. Further experimentation was done using the Uberlandwagen and Krupp-converted K-Flak guns to create an Anti-Aircraft platform; one using 2x German 77 mm Sockelflak and two with captured Russian Sockelflak 02s. Some of these experimental vehicles would see service as lightly armoured vehicles such as “Heidi”; an AFV used post-war for internal security purposes (Higgins 21). A design labled A7V-U was worked on; with the goal of the vehicle having the all-terrain qualities of the British counterparts (“A7V”).

The first production model A7V was produced in October 1917 and assigned to Assault Tank Units 1 and 2, founded prior on September 20th  1917; each unit having five officers and 109 NCOs and soldiers.

An A7V tank at Roye in Northern France on March 21st,  1918.

An A7V tank at Roye in Northern France on March 21st, 1918.

The A7V had a crew of 18: a commander, driver, mechanic, mechanic/signaler, twelve infantrymen (six machine gunners, six loaders), and two artillerymen (main gunner and loader).The A7V was 7.34 meters (24.1 ft) long, 3 meters (9.8 ft) wide, with a height was 3.3 meters (11 ft). The tank had 20 mm of steel plate at the sides, 30 mm at the front and 10 mm for the roof. The A7V did not use hardened steel as other tanks of the period did so its armour was not as effective when larger calibers were used. The A7V was powered by two 100HP engines. The main armament was a 5.7cm Cockerill-Nordenfelt (Higgins 15 – 21) cannon mounting in the front; with six 7.92 mm MG08 machine guns as secondary armaments (“A7V”). The main cannon included some captured stock*.

The A7V could carry up to 10 cases of ammunition 250 rounds each for the machine guns; and the vehicle was designed to carry 180 rounds for its main gun however in practice this was often double that number (Higgins 20).

The surviving A7V tank, Mephisto, at Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.

The surviving A7V tank, Mephisto, at Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.

The A7V would see action on several instances with limited success during the First World War. The A7V would see combat in actions near the St. Quentin Canal, the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, the Third Battle of the Aisne, and the Second Battle of the Marne.

*One source cites the main cannon as being a Maxim-Nordenfelt (“A7V”); with the cannons used including captured stock this both Maxim-Nordenfelt and Cockerill-Nordenfelt cannons may have been used, however these terms may in fact be interchangeable references to the same manufacturer (it is not clear from the available materials).

Works Cited:

1. “A7V.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 7 May 2013. Web. 18 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A7V>.

2. Higgins, David R. Mark IV Vs A7V Villers-Bretonneux 1918. Osprey Publishing Ltd., 15 – 21. eBook.

3. Kempf, Peter. “A7V Überlandwagen.” Landships II. N.p.. Web. 19 May 2013. <http://www.landships.info/landships/softskin_articles/A7V_Uberlandwagen.html>.

The Neubaufahrzeug

The Neubaufahrzeug (“New Vehicle”) was a tank design based off of the Großtraktor (“Large Tractor”) tank design. The Großtraktor as a design began its life in secret in Russia at the secret testing facility Kama, which was jointly being used by the Russians and Germans; pursuant to the Treaty of Rapollo. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I ruled out tanks as an option for Germany’s military, and thus the creation of Germany’s nascent post war tank force was done in secrecy. The Großtraktor project resulted in several prototypes which were briefly used for training purposes prior to being decommissioned. The Neubaufahrzeug project resulted in multiple prototypes, some of which would see action during the invasion of Norway. Prior to the use of the Neubaufahrzeug during the invasion of Norway, the vehicle was shown during the 1939  International Automobile Exposition in Berlin (“Neubaufahrzeug”). Physically the Neubaufahrzeug showed similarities to the Großtraktor design including the use of a 75mm cannon. The two designs created by Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp were labeled the PzKpfw NbFz V (PanzerKampfwagen NeubauFahrzeug V) and the PzKpfw NbFz VI respectively (“Neubaufahrzeug”).

Check out this video of a Neubaufahrzeug RC kit:

Works Cited:

1. “Neubaufahrzeug.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 30 Mar 2013. Web. 17 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neubaufahrzeug>.

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