Monday, 22 April 2013
CAMD RF 38-11355-2725
While German super-heavy wonder-weapons are typically associated with the late stages of the war, but the Maus project started way back in 1942. In 1945, when the Soviet forces were well into Germany, only two (well, one and a half) of these tanks have been completed. Here is how Stalin learned about this discovery:
CAMD RF 38-11355-2725
" June 19th, 1945. To the Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, Generalissimus of the Soviet Union, comrade Stalin.
I report that, on June 4th of this year, Soviet forces in Germany found two super-heavy German tanks. One of those, with a turret and a diesel motor, was located 40 km south of Berlin, in the Stammlager region. The second, with an incomplete turret and a gasoline engine, 62 km south of Berlin in the Kummersdorf region.
These super-heavy tanks have an electrical transmission and two coaxial guns: a large caliber one (128 mm) and a 75 mm one. German engineers from the Kummersdorf tank proving grounds say that the super-heavy tanks were developed by Porsche in Stuttgart-Böblingen, and produced by Nibelungen-werke (in Austria).
In late December 1944, both tanks were delivered to Kummersdorf for testing. From that point, one (the one with armament) was driven to Stammlager in March of this year. The provided characteristics are approximate, as both tanks were blown up, and specialists have not yet examined them.
Marshal of Armoured Forces (Fedorenko).
Confirmed: engineer-major [illegible]"
Here is a fragment of what the specialists determined once they got to the tank, with more pictures.
CAMD RF 38-11355-3036
"On June 4th, 1945, in the Stammlager region, 40 km south of Berlin, a German super-heavy tank was found.
[Photo 1: tank from the side]
The tank was blown up by the Germans. The explosion and subsequent fire tore off the turret, the roof of the motor and transmission compartments, destroyed internal turret mechanisms, the motor group, control compartment, and blew out the right side.
Examination of the surviving components provided more information about the tank.
The super-heavy German tank is a tracked combat vehicle with a fully rotating turret.
[Photo 2: tank from the front]
The tank's armament consists of two coaxial 128 mm and 75 mm guns, a front machine gun, located left of the gun mantlet on the front of the turret, a rear machine gun, and a 20 mm AA machine gun on the top of the turret, to the rear."