Sunday, 13 April 2014

Guess the Tank

"To the BTU GABTU Chief, military engineer 1st grade, comrade Korobkov

I ask for your conclusions on the description of a Krupp tank, given by a captured soldier from the 11th TD.

Question: What types of tanks exist in your division?
Answer: My division uses the Krupp tank. Weight: 52 tons. Speed: 40-50 kph. Fuel capacity: 500 liters. Fuel efficiency: 60-70 liters for 100 km on the highway, 120-130 off-road. The average range is 420-450 km. The engine power is 300 hp. The tank moves only on tracks. Armament: 1 54 mm gun, 1 7.9 mm machinegun. The crew consists of a commander, driver, loader, and radio operator. The tank is equipped with a radio transmitter and receiver. It can cross a 140-150 cm tall wall, a 5 meter wide trench, or fort a 180 cm deep river. The tank is 5 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 180 cm tall. The turret armour is 5 cm thick. The rest of the armour is 3.7 cm thick.

The tank has a semi-automatic 54 mm gun. The rate of fire is unknown. The machinegun has a caliber of 7.9 mm. The tank holds 75 shells and 1320 bullets. The tank carries spare track parts.

The range of the tank is 420-450 km. A truck can go 350-400, a motorcycle can go 300. On a dirt road, that range is halved.

If swift concentration of forces is required, the division moves quickly, with small breaks for food. Maximum speed is 500 km per day in 14-15 hours.

GABTU HQ Chief Assistant, Lieutenant-Colonel Kudryashov
September 1st, 1941"
CAMD RF 38-11355-117


  1. Sounds like a very weird machine but it could be one of the experimental VK 30xx series but those are not by krupp which just confused me even more. Whats even weirder is that it weights 52 tons armed with a 54mm gun

    Sounds like one of many early prototype Tiger tanks that where tested and this could be one of them because the Panther was not conceived until 1942 while the Tiger design goes as far back as 1940.

    I also know they used allot of these prototypes in the field like the VK 3001 H and the VK 3001 P

    1. They did not. NONE of the VK 3xxx protos ever had even the turrets fitted, or in some cases even built. Only the 3001(H) saw combat, after a fashion - two of the four hulls built for testing were later converted into the "Sturer Emil" tank destroyers.

  2. My guess would be one of the relatively few 50mm-armed Pz IV's - with a lot of rounding errors, guesstimates and plain typos (notably the weight, 'cause no WAY ~6 hp/ton reaches 40+ kph) on part of the good Lieutenant-Colonel. Could be a Pz III too, if you assume even bigger errors and getting the manufacturer wrong to boot.

    "Semi-automatic 54mm gun" almost certainly simply means semi-automatic breech (all the more so as this is the writings of a field commander, not a reseacrh engineer) and the extra 4mm caliber likely goes down to measuring conventions and minor errors.

    1. Ah, read it a bit carelessly at first. Since the description comes from a PoW who may not even have seen the vehicle in question up close, the margins of error are wide indeed.
      Doesn't change the likely suspects ofc.

  3. Could this have been one of those Waffe 0725 equipped Panzer IV's?