Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ancestors of the Maus

The design of the Maus tank started way back in 1942. Before the "45" ton Tiger (that swelled up to 57 tons during development) hit the battlefield, Porsche was already developing the VK100.01(P) (first 100 ton class prototype, Porsche). The tank weighed 100 tons and had a 15 cm KwK L/40 gun. This was roughly analogous to the KV-4 and KV-5 designs the Soviets were producing a few years prior, with 120 mm of front armour. However, the process of inflation already began, as Hitler already decided to increase the mass of the tank to 120 tons.

Blueprint #3381, dated June 4th, 1942

The newer, larger, Maus (then called Typ 205) blueprint was ready on June 17th, 1942. The mass of the tank was 140 tons, while the engine remained the same. Much like in many of the KV-4 designs, a top turret was added, with a 7.5 cm KwK L/24. The armour grew to 150 mm.

Blueprint #3382, dated June 17th, 1942

The result was a bit of a mess. Krupp, rightfully, wanted to redo the turret, and Porsche the suspension. As a result, the whole thing was scrapped in July, and the PzKpfw Mauschen started development. The new Krupp turret included a 15 cm L/31 gun with a coaxial 7.5 cm L.24 gun. The mass of the tank grew to 150 tons. In response, the tank got a new 900 hp engine and four tracks. The tank looks pretty close to what we recognize as a Maus today.

Typ 205A, PzKpfw Mauschen, October 28, 1942


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