So could look like a thousand-ton tank of Edward Grote, the main armament of which consisted of two naval 305-mm guns
From time to time, the designers of armored vehicles had the same idea: to create a huge invulnerable supertank, a kind of land battleship capable of hitting any target. Perhaps more than others, such ideas were carried away by the Germans and the British, and to a lesser extent the Americans and the French.
At the end of World War I, two prototypes of the superheavy were built in Germany tank "K" ("Colossal"). The mass of each of them reached 150 tons. Layout - tracks covered the hull, and weapons (four 77-mm guns and 7 machine guns) were installed in the side sponsons - they resembled English heavy vehicles Mk1. In addition to its large mass and length (13 m), the German tank possessed several more interesting features. He understood into three parts and in this form could be delivered to the front line. Road wheels of the machine, similar to railway wheels, were attached to the links of the tracks and during movement moved along the rails that covered the entire body. Nevertheless, the Colossal tanks were not able to finish it, and after the defeat of Germany in World War I, they were destroyed altogether so that the cars would not get to the opponents.
Super heavy tank "K" ("Colossal")
Again the Germans returned to the idea of super-tanks during the Second World War. Back in June, 1940 of the year, Hitler ordered F. Porsche, already known to our readers, to design an extra heavy machine, dressed in armor of the greatest possible thickness and armed
128-mm cannon. We note that the Fascist German arms department did not support this “personal” order of the Fuhrer, suggesting that the Henschel company be engaged in the development of a similar tank. The giant, created in the company Porsche, received the designation "205", but it is known more under the name "Mouse" ("Little Mouse"). The second car was called E-100. Both land battleships were intended not to break through powerful fortifications, but, on the contrary, to strengthen them. Serving as a kind of mobile forts, the Mauses and the E-100 were supposed to protect the gaps between long-term fire installations.
tank "Mouse" ("Mouse")
F. Porsche decided to equip his car with electric transmission and diesel engine. But failures at trial reduced interest in his brainchild. In addition, the deteriorating military and political situation in Germany did not allow the Reich to spend money on such expensive undertakings. That is why, by the end of the war, only two prototypes of the "Mouse" were produced, one of which had a carburetor engine instead of the intended diesel. By the way, the diesel giant was never tested, and the first sample was tested in June 1944 of the year.
As for the company "Henschel", then from the very beginning it was engaged in the construction of the E-100 with coolness and did not even bring it to the prototype. On a tank weighing in 140 t assumed to install 150-mm and 75-mm guns. Booking it is the same as that of the "Mouse".
Note that the described German cars, and those that were created by the British and the Americans, did not go into service with the armies for obvious reasons: tanks with such a colossal mass had low mobility. It is clear that they were not tested in battles. Nevertheless, the battlefields saw the giant tanks. These were the German "royal tigers". This machine owes its birth to the long-time desire of the fascist command to install a powerful 88-mm caliber cannon in the tank. In January, the companies Henschel and F. Porsche also received orders for 71. And again, Porsche lost - Adams took over the car. She was called the T-VIB "Royal Tiger". Someone noticed that the T-VIB is essentially a hybrid between the Elephant and the Panther. Indeed, the shape of the hull and the engine of the new machine are the same as in the Panther.
Tank T-VIB "Royal Tiger"
Serial production of this tank began in January 1944 year and continued until the end of the war. In total, they released 489 pieces. Reservations for it compared with the "Tiger" was strengthened, great attention was paid by the designers to the convenience of the crew. The T-VIB had the same cannon blowing system as the Panther. In the elongated stern niche of the turret, near the breech of the gun, a part of the ammunition was laid in a horizontal position, so that the loader needed to expend a minimum of effort. Because of this, the tank had a fairly high rate of fire: 7-8 rounds per minute. Stage wheels, staggered, had an individual torsion bar suspension,
For the first time "royal tigers" appeared in the battle on the Sandomierz bridgehead in Poland. This happened in August 1944. In battles, they were used more like tank destroyers. And from July of that year on the basis of the "royal tigers" until the end of the war were built SU "Yagd-Tiger". Their mass reached 70 t, and the thickness of the armor - 250 mm. The machines were armed with 128-mm cannons 55 long in caliber (they were also meant for "Maus"). The crew of 6 people served self-propelled guns. An armor-piercing projectile cannon weighing 28 kg from a distance 1000 m punched at right angles to armor thickness up to 190 mm. Total of such self-propelled guns released 77 pieces. True, both the "Royal Tiger" and the "Yagd-Tigr", the heaviest ever used in battles, proved to be inactive and had poor maneuverability.
Now let's talk a little about the work of designers in England and the United States. In 1940, the British, confident that they would have to storm the powerful fortifications of the Siegfried Line, began to create a giant tank. First of all, they drew attention to the strengthening of the body armor and its ability to overcome wide moats. That is why the tank gave the old form, even during the First World War; the caterpillars covered the hull. The mass of the English "battleship" reached 80 t, the length exceeded 10 m, and the speed was equal to 14 km / h. The tank was armed with a 76-mm cannon and machine gun, which were installed in a rotating turret.
In 1942, the War Department of Great Britain issued an order to the firm Nuffield for the creation of the so-called turretless tank A.39. In essence, it turned out to be an assault self-propelled gun. The first two cars were made in 1943, and 1947 was built in all of them before 6. The armament of the A.39 — one 94-mm cannon and the 2 machine-gun — was located in the spacious wheelhouse. The gun was installed in the inclined front plate, and machine guns - in a rotating turret on the roof of the wheelhouse. The thickness of the armor reached in the frontal details 229 mm, and in the side parts - 152 mm. The car crew consisted of a 7 man.
These self-propelled guns, known under the name "Turtle", also were not adopted.
In 1943, a similar reckless tank (self-propelled self-propelled gun) began to be built overseas. It was intended to break through the fortified bands of the enemy. In order to reduce the specific pressure on the ground, the machine was supplied with double tracks, while the external tracks were removed. By the way, the caterpillars were far behind the frontal part of the tank hull. Armor armored covered the chassis. The low-mounted 105-mm gun was protected by a massive mask. She had armor-piercing shells (with an initial speed of 915 m / s) to fight tanks. In addition, the ammunition and were concrete shells to defeat the fortifications of the enemy. The thickness of the armor of this self-propelled reached a record value - 305 mm!
Finishing our story about the giant tanks, we mention the German SU "Thor", or "Karl". True, this, of course, is not a tank or even a fighting self-propelled gun, but a self-propelled mortar on a track. It was intended to deal with powerful fortifications. The mass of the car reached 124 t, and the speed was only 10 km / h. Mortar caliber - 600 mm, and the mass of the projectile was equal to 2200 kg. The Germans built 1940 mortars in 1941-6, which bombarded Brest, Sevastopol and Warsaw.