Military Review

Tanks "IF" of different times and peoples

20

A7VU on trials in the summer of 1918


... maybe up to fifty righteous people will not reach five,
will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?
He said, I will not destroy it if I find there forty-five.
Genesis 18:28

Tanks alternative stories. In English, “if” means “IF”. And this is a convenient word when we are talking about tanks that did not really exist, but which nevertheless could very well have been. And today we continue our story, begun in the previous article "Tanks, which could very well have been, but ... were not."

We will start, as we did last time, from "the times of these", that is, from the First World War.

When the Germans were developing the A7V, they originally planned to put 77mm infantry guns on it. But in the end, the tank got what it got.

Although it is clear that it is very profitable to have a gun on a tank that has shells interchangeable with shells of infantry guns. In addition, 77-mm, after all, is 77-mm - this is the power of a high-explosive projectile, and shrapnel and buckshot ... A shell of this gun, if it hits an English tank, would destroy it with its first hit. But no. The military said that tanks are "a new thing," but they lack such weapons in the infantry. They even felt sorry for 20 guns for the first 20 vehicles.

We know how it turned out for them.


A7V (draft) with 77mm infantry gun

Then Josef Vollmer developed the A7VU tank - the "German rhombus", so to speak.

The tank was only built in 1918, and testing began on June 25, and without sponsors. He had to arm himself again with captured caponier cannons "Maxim-Nordenfeld", captured in 1914 in Antwerp. In some ways, the tank turned out better than the British, in others it was worse. But it was not better than the A7V, and on September 12th the order came ... to dismantle it to metal!

Drawings of three more variants of this tank have been preserved, but they were not built. The tanks turned out to be above the capabilities of the German industry. She could not arrange to produce enough of them.


A7VU

“Looking at this cumbersome multi-ton structure,” wrote the automobile king A. Horch about this tank, “I bitterly regretted that all the work on its creation was carried out in such a hurry.”

Then the Germans were "unlucky" for the second time.

In 1928-1929, the firms Rheinmetall-Borzig, Krupp and Daimler-Benz produced six experimental Grosstraktor tanks. Since the Versailles Treaty forbade Germany to have tanks, all vehicles were sent to the USSR to the Kama training ground near Kazan, where they were tested. The Daimler-Benz prototypes covered only 66 km. But the tanks "Rheinmetall" - more than 1200 km. It was concluded that the drive wheel should be in front, but in general the tanks were considered unsuccessful. Although on the highway, their speed reached 44 km / h.

As a result, two tanks became monuments at the barracks of German units, and the rest were sent to be melted down during the war years.


Tank "Grossstactor" by "Rheinmetall" 1928-1929


Tank "Grosstraktor" of the firm "Krupp" No. 43 at the summer exercises in 1935

It should be noted that the German designers managed to create interesting projects of combat vehicles. Moreover, especially during the Second World War. But ... the country's economic opportunities did not allow, as before, to implement them.


105-mm self-propelled gun "Heuschrecke 10"

So, at the end of the war, the Krupp-Gruzon company created a self-propelled gun: 10.5 cm leFh 18/1 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen IVb (105-mm light field howitzer 18/1 L / 28 on the Geschützwagen IVb chassis) called “Heuschrecke 10 "(translated" Grasshopper ").

The highlight of the design was the removable turret, which could shoot from a shortened tank chassis from the T-IV and, at the same time, be towed by other vehicles and installed as a bunker. The start of production was scheduled for February 1945, three copies were released. And that was the end of it.


"Heuschrecke 10" at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in the USA

And the Germans also had a passion during the war years to come up with as many different uses as possible for a successful chassis. The most striking example is the chassis of the Czech 38t tank, on the basis of which a number of vehicles were produced, and they planned to produce even more. So, in addition to the well-known self-propelled guns "Hetzer" ("Jaeger"), it was planned to produce the same machine, but with the designation starr (German starr - "rigid" or "fixed").


"Hetzer-STARR"

The essence of the idea is in the rejection of recoil devices and a rigid mount of the gun in the body. Benefits: high rate of fire due to lack of time to roll-out the barrel, increase in the fighting compartment. A "recoilless gun" with a rigid mount can shoot much longer, since its temperature regime is due only to the washing away of the rifling and the possibility of igniting the propellant charge in the sleeve before the bolt is closed. But all this can be easily avoided by intensively cooling the barrel with water. The Germans did not have time to launch.

But in the USSR, the model was considered promising. Several prototypes of the Hetzer-STARR self-propelled guns were assembled, tested and something was taken for the I-100 100-mm turret installation, designed in 1955. The self-propelled gun itself "did not go".

In general, the Germans planned a whole "bunch" of combat vehicles on this chassis.


Gerät 547 is a self-propelled gun similar to the Hetzer, but with a 105 mm howitzer.


Aufklärungspanzer 38 (d) with a 75-mm gun on a pedestal mount

Aufklärungspanzer 38 (d) is a reconnaissance tank with four weapon options.
Bergepanzer 38 (d) - ARV for units with military equipment based on 38 (d) vehicles.
Gerät 587 is a versatile light armored gun platform designed to transport 88mm and 128mm anti-tank guns and 105mm and 150mm howitzers by strengthening and lengthening the base chassis, with full or partial armor armor with circular fire. A four- and five-wheel chassis was planned. Moreover, one of the self-propelled guns was supposed to even have a rising wheelhouse with a gun.


ACS on "light" and "medium" chassis


ACS on "medium" chassis

It was also planned to produce the Gerät 589 - an assault gun armed with a 280-mm mortar - something clearly from the realm of fantasy.


Jagdpanzer 38 (d) tank destroyer with RAK ​​43 cannon

The Halbgruppenfahrzeug project was also created - an infantry fighting vehicle with a 20-mm automatic cannon, designed for eight infantrymen and three crew members.
The anti-aircraft self-propelled gun "Kugelblitz" (German Kugelblitz - "ball lightning"), armed with two 30-mm automatic cannons, was manufactured, but did not have time for the war.


One of the projects was to first cross the turret from the T-IV tank with the chassis of the 38 NA tank. And then completely put on it a Schmalturm turret ("reduced") with a 75-mm gun and a barrel length of 48 calibers. It would seem that here it is - a cheap and convenient in all respects tank of "total war". The Germans did not think of this in 1942, and when they did it in 1944, it was already too late to "start" with him


We also managed to make two prototypes of this vehicle: the Kätzchen armored personnel carrier (“Kitten”) on the 38t chassis, 6-8 airborne troops and two crew members

Moreover, it should be noted that, although the production of tanks and self-propelled guns at German factories during the war was continuously reduced, in the Czech Republic, the production of the Hetzer self-propelled guns at the VMM (formerly Praga) factories, on the contrary, was constantly increasing, since these factories aviation the allies did not bomb. As a result, they retained their production potential for the needs of ... socialist Czechoslovakia.

What else let down the German designers was the constant desire to create a kind of "super car". And with her, for sure, to defeat any opponent. They had good recoilless guns, and immediately they began to put them on tank chassis. Real monsters appeared, for example, an SPG with a 240-mm "recoilless", capable of destroying any tank with one shot, but ... in practice, it turned out to be not so good at all.

In any case, there was a project, but it did not come to serial production.


Experienced self-propelled gun with a 240-mm recoilless gun

The T-III tank with the 75/55 mm bicaliber gun was also unsuccessful. The idea itself seemed to be not bad: when using a tapered barrel, provide the tank with a weapon with extremely high armor penetration.

But in fact it turned out that "the game is not worth the candle." First, the barrel quickly wore out and accuracy fell. Second, the shells were expensive. And thirdly, it turned out that the tank most often shoots not at the tanks, but at the infantry. This means that he needs shells with a large charge of explosives, which could not be placed in bicaliber shells. By the way, for the same reason, T-34/57 tanks did not go to our army either. They knocked out tanks well, but fought poorly with the infantry.


Experienced tank with a cannon with a tapered barrel


Tank E-75 with an 88-mm gun with a barrel length of 100 calibers

By the end of the war, the Germans had developed a very interesting tank concept: a series of tanks "E" (experimental): E-5, E-10, E-25, E-50, E-75 and E100 - only six vehicles, and the numbers indicated their weight ... To confidently defeat enemy tanks, it was planned to install an 75-mm gun with a long barrel on the E-88 tank - just to disperse the projectile to the highest possible speed. But it's one thing to create one such experimental gun and chassis, and quite another - many such guns and many such tanks.

In reality, the "E" series did not see the light.

Using the chassis of the Tiger and Royal Tiger tanks, the Germans planned on their basis a number of self-propelled guns, designed in such a way that their chassis could be used for different gun mounts. Work began in June 1942, but by the end of the war only one of them had been built and tested.

The main feature was the rear location of the gun platform, on which such gun systems as 170-mm (Gerat 809) could be installed; 210 mm (Gerat 810) and 305 mm (Gerat 817). Firms "Krupp" and "Skoda" took up the project and created a prototype. The operating angles for the 170 mm gun were 0 and + 50 °, for the 210 mm - 0 and + 50 °, for the 305 mm they were + 40 ° and -75 °.


Gerat 809

In this case, the barrels were automatically raised to an angle of 40 ° for loading. The weight of the installations was 58 tons. The crew was 7 people.

I must say that the experience of the self-propelled guns "Ferdinand" was beneficial to their creators, and on these machines defensive machine-gun armament from MG-34 and MG-42 machine guns was provided in the frontal sheet of the hull. The maximum thickness did not exceed 50 mm. The machines turned out to be quite good, but how, where and against whom were the German generals going to use them?


Gerat 810

True, let's pay tribute to the German designers: they could turn any tracked chassis into a platform for a cannon. For example, the chassis of the Ost caterpillar tractor by Steyr. On its basis, a self-propelled gun was made, equipped with a PAK 40/1 7,5 cm cannon. Fully open, covered with armor only in front and a gun shield, utterly primitive - that was the design. And yet they fought on it!

Hitler himself liked the car. It was cheap, durable and had a high ground clearance, that is, good cross-country ability. True, it was necessary to shoot from it while sitting on the floor, since there were no seats provided for the calculation of the gun. But until the end of the war, only 60 vehicles of this type were produced.


ACS PaK 40 auf Raupenschlepper Ost ("Raupenschlepe Ost" - "Tracked tractor Vostok")

Tanks "IF" of different times and peoples

And the same self-propelled gun - a wartime photo

PS


All color illustrations are made by A. Sheps.

To be continued ...
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  1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 7 August 2021 05: 40
    +8
    ... To be continued…

    Looking forward to!
  2. Lynx2000
    Lynx2000 7 August 2021 05: 55
    +9
    smile Interesting information, thanks! All that concerns the discussion of topics related to technology, sports, travel and women, I discuss with my opponent, regardless of different views in politics, religion, etc.
    However, where is the interesting period from the late 20s to 1939, when "the steel hammer of the future Nazi Germany was forged", after the Grosstraktors?
    ... could shoot from a shortened tank chassis from the T-IV and at the same time be towed by other vehicles and installed as a bunker.

    Any firing armored vehicle is used as a firing point, a movable firing point, a hiding firing point, if the vehicle has lost the move, then it will become a long-term firing point.
    Dig up the caponier ... sad
  3. SERGE ANT
    SERGE ANT 7 August 2021 06: 14
    +18
    chassis of the caterpillar tractor "Ost" of the firm "Steyr". On its basis, a self-propelled gun was made, equipped with a PAK 40/1 7,5 cm gun.
    The Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO) began development after the Wehrmacht's failed winter campaign on the Eastern Front in 1941-1942. In the conditions of the Russian winter, German semi-tracked tractors did not show themselves well, and at the end of 1941, a commission headed by Colonel Fichtner arrived at the Eastern Front near Moscow. It included, among others, Heinrich Kniepkamp from Division 6 of the Armaments Directorate, the head of the Tank Commission Ferdinand Porsche, his deputy Oscar Hacker from Steyr and other representatives of leading German firms. The sight they saw was very sad. The commission also examined the captured Soviet equipment. Ferdinand Porsche and his colleagues were so impressed by the Soviet tractors STZ-5 and Stalinets-2 that Porsche and Steyr soon presented a project of a tracked tractor of the STZ-5 type. It was based on the one and a half ton army car Steyr 1500, which Porsche and Steyr jointly developed in 1940. From it they took a V-8 air-cooled gasoline engine, gearbox and differential lock. The tractor was named Raupenschlepper Ost - Tracked tractor Vostok, or simply RSO.
    Test prototype RSO, driven by Oscar Hacker, Ferdinand Porsche in the back
    1. SERGE ANT
      SERGE ANT 7 August 2021 06: 17
      +17
      RSO was developed virtually without the involvement of the Armaments Directorate, which shortsightedly ignored this class of machines. In total, about 1942 thousand RSOs were produced in 45-28. For comparison, in 1938-45, about 9 thousand Sd.Kfz.11 half-track vehicles were produced. RSOs were produced in three main modifications:
      RSO / 01 is the base model with a rounded cab and a petrol engine.
      RSO / 02 - model with simplified cab
      RSO / 03 - model with KHD diesel engine and simplified
      a cabin

      RSO / 03 tows the gun.
      In addition to these three basic models, many variants have been created. These are the installation in the back of 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, 105-mm and 150-mm howitzers, experiments with different types of tracks for increased cross-country ability, RSO amphibious, a transporter for soldiers and even a reduced tractor for mountain units.
      1. SERGE ANT
        SERGE ANT 7 August 2021 06: 20
        +17
        Hitler himself liked the car
        Not only that, already in 1943, captured RSOs were tested in the USSR. They really liked the Soviet specialists, who noted the successful concept, unpretentiousness and good design. In 1947, under his influence, the KT-12 tractor for forestry was developed in Leningrad.
        In 1956, on its basis, the TDT-40 skidder was put into production, and from 1966 to 2003, the Onega Tractor Plant produced the TDT-55 skidder. And since 2010, the Onezhets-300 tractor and its modifications have been produced there.
        So if you suddenly see a strange-looking tractor with a front cab on the side of the engine and a chassis with four road wheels on board without supporting rollers, then this is a descendant of STZ-5 and RSO.
        1. Lynx2000
          Lynx2000 7 August 2021 07: 33
          +11
          Quote: SERGE ANT
          In 1947, under his influence, the KT-12 tractor for forestry was developed in Leningrad.
          In 1956, on its basis, the TDT-40 skidder was put into production, and from 1966 to 2003, the Onega Tractor Plant produced the TDT-55 skidder. And since 2010, the Onezhets-300 tractor and its modifications have been produced there.
          So if you suddenly see a strange-looking tractor with a front cab on the side of the engine and a chassis with four road wheels on board without supporting rollers, then this is a descendant of STZ-5 and RSO.

          In 1956, a decision was made to organize the production of tracked skidders for the timber industry at the Altai Tractor Plant (Rubtsovsk). At the beginning of 1957, ATZ produced a transitional model of the TDT-55 skidder (Diesel skidder). The prototype of this skidder was the TDT-40 developed in 1954 at the Minsk Tractor Plant in collaboration with NATI. Subsequently, the TDT-40 skidder was produced by the Onega Tractor Plant. In September 1957, the first tracked skidder TDT-60 for logging operations was assembled, on the radiator of which three letters "ATZ" stood out.

          Skidder TDT-75

          Skidder TT-4

          Tracked forest tractor TT-4M

          Tracked tractor TSN-4 series


          yes Relatives ... from Siberia.
      2. The comment was deleted.
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 8 August 2021 13: 28
      +3
      Quote: SERGE ant
      Ferdinand Porsche and his colleagues were so impressed by the Soviet tractors STZ-5 and Stalinets-2 that Porsche and Steyr soon presented a project of a tracked tractor of the STZ-5 type.

      Our military STZ-5 was also impressed. But in a different way.
      It was assumed that the STZ-5 tractor will be a universal type of tractor that meets both the requirements of agriculture and transport, as well as the requirements for an artillery tractor.
      On the very first samples of the tractor, the plant was convinced that the created machine does not meet any of the listed requirements.
      Having abandoned the idea of ​​creating such a universal machine; the plant started producing STZ-5 tractors that, in his opinion, meet the requirements of agriculture and transport. Nevertheless, the STZ-5 tractor did not satisfy these requirements in many respects, and during these years the plant had to introduce about 900 changes in the design of its tractors.
      Since there was no tractor in the Red Army for divisional artillery, in spite of the fact that the STZ-5 tractor did not pass a single polygon test, it was necessary to use this tractor in the Red Army as a temporary measure until a new tractor appeared, fully meeting the new requirements of NPOs.
      (...)
      The STZ-5 tractor, neither in terms of its dynamic qualities, nor in the convenience of its service, nor in its reliability, meets the requirements for the divisional artillery tractor in any way and urgently requires a large number of changes covering the entire tractor structure ...
      Division artillery does not have an appropriate tractor that meets its tactical and technical data and requirements.
      © Deputy. Major Ivan Ivanov
    3. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 8 August 2021 13: 30
      +3
      And Comrade Major was still holding back. Here is what the representatives of the army said in the face of the STZ designers during the meeting at the STZ:
      ... take this tractor and try to work with a cannon: it does not pull the required weight of the cannon, the power is as small as a military vehicle ... an uneven ride, barbaric conditions for the driver in the cabin completely devalue this tractor. And if this car is left as a transport vehicle and as a means of transporting goods, then it also does not fit in terms of carrying capacity ... All your transport vehicles have a unique number of drawbacks ... The maximum speed of this machine is 8 km / h, but usually it makes 6 km / h ... The car does not pull itself at 4th speed ... if I got into a combat position, and then I need to change the position immediately, but I need 40 minutes to just start the tractor ...

      All quotes are from A.A. Ulanov, D.V. Shein. Order in the tank forces.
  4. 3x3zsave
    3x3zsave 7 August 2021 07: 58
    +11
    in addition to the famous self-propelled gun "Hetzer" ("Huntsman"),
    Der Hetzer is the instigator. This is how literary clichés are born from incorrect translations (for example, "knight-dogs").
    Thank you, Vyacheslav Olegovich!
    1. Crimea26
      Crimea26 7 August 2021 15: 51
      +3
      The translator issued "Agitator"))), in principle, next to it))))
      1. 3x3zsave
        3x3zsave 7 August 2021 15: 57
        +3
        There is also a "propagandist" and a "bullshit dog". It is difficult to say exactly what meaning this noun had in German 80 years ago. But definitely not "huntsman"! laughing
        1. Crimea26
          Crimea26 7 August 2021 16: 01
          +2
          "Huntsman" is also "Hunter". I also found a translation as "Greyhound" - but it doesn't work either. They write that the name was invented spontaneously by the soldiers - maybe some kind of slang word? Not a dictionary. Here it is necessary to bother the Germans))))
          1. 3x3zsave
            3x3zsave 7 August 2021 16: 13
            +5
            Here it is necessary to stir up the Germans
            Impossible. Modern spoken German is very different from literary German. My friend, who speaks German at a decent level, could not buy food in Berlin, she had to switch to English. What can we say about historical jargon. By the way, Anisimov's "Option" Bis "" describes this very well.
  5. Undecim
    Undecim 7 August 2021 13: 39
    +6
    this is the power of a high-explosive projectile, and shrapnel and buckshot ...

    The Germans did not have buckshot for 7,7-cm-Feldkanone 96 n. A. There was shrapnel, but buckshot was not. And in other calibers too.
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 7 August 2021 14: 44
      +6
      Poor Germans laughing , without buckshot, after all, nowhere. wassat

      Good afternoon, Victor. hi
      1. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 8 August 2021 13: 33
        +3
        Quote: Sea Cat
        Poor Germans laughing , without buckshot, after all, nowhere. wassat

        Well, how does the enemy decide to break through in style zerg rush human wave? wink
        ... 57-mm cannon ZIS-2 fired 99 fragmentation, 59 armor-piercing, 40 sub-caliber, 18 buckshot rounds.
  6. VladGTN
    VladGTN 7 August 2021 20: 53
    +4
    A wonderful series of articles! A lot of little-known historical facts
  7. Per se.
    Per se. 10 August 2021 14: 50
    +1
    Since the Versailles Treaty forbade Germany to have tanks, all vehicles were sent to the USSR to the Kama training ground near Kazan, where they were tested.

    Here it would be interesting to recall a very real story. Already in the 20s, the Reichswehr used plywood mock-ups of tanks during maneuvers to train soldiers to interact with armored vehicles. That is, even before Hitler, the foundation was laid for the future "Panzerwaffe".



    Many in Europe laughed at this, but very soon it became not funny.
  8. Aleksandr97
    Aleksandr97 10 August 2021 14: 56
    0
    It raises doubts about the feasibility of a "rigid installation" of a 75-mm gun in an SPG. The dynamic load from the shots will disable the guidance mechanisms and the gun mount itself.
    1. Zaurbek
      Zaurbek 23 September 2021 10: 24
      0
      And the sheet in the bottom is not the thickest one in the tank.