VK30.01(H) (Panzerkampfwagen VI)

VK30.01(H) (Panzerkampfwagen VI)



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VK30.01(H) (Panzerkampfwagen VI)

The VK 30.01 (H) Panzerkampfwagen VI was an early stage in the development of the Tiger tank, and the first to use interleaved road wheels.

Henschell began work on a heavy tank at the start of 1937, when they were asked to produce the chassis for a 30 ton tank to be armed with the same 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun as the Panzer IV. Two prototypes were produced during 1938 - the Durchbruchswagen 1 and Durchbruchswagen 2 (breakthrough tanks) and even at this early stage the basic layout of the Tiger was apparent. The D.W. chassis underwent testing during 1938, and on 9 September 1938 Henschel was ordered to produce an improved 30 ton tank. This new design had three different names. VK 30.01 indicated that it was the first design in the 30 ton tank rank. It was also known as the D.W. neue Knostruktion (new design), and by 31 October 1940 as the Panzerkampfwagen VI (7.5cm).

The basic layout of the tank was similar to the earlier D.W.1 and D.W.2. It had a boxy hull, with a superstructure the same width as the hull (thus not overlapping the top of the tracks). The front of the superstructure was over the front road wheel. The un-lubricated tracks were 520mm wide, and with a pitch of 160mm (shorter than on either of the D.W. models).

The VK 30.01 was to be armed with the same 7.5cm Kw.K L/24 gun as used on the Panzer IV, and was to have the same crew space as the lighter tank. The main difference would be in armour. The VK 30.01 was to have 50mm front and side armour, which was expected to be effective against uncapped armour piercing shells as fired by the standard German anti tank gun of the time, the 3.7cm PaK L/45. Krupp had the task of producing the turret, just as on the D.W. series. The sides of the D.W. had been made in two pieces, joined just behind the fighting compartment. The VK 30.01 had single piece sides.

The VK 30.01 introduced the interleaved road wheels used on the Tiger. There were seven pairs of wheels on each side, with the second, fourth and sixth on the outside and first, third, fifth and seventh on the inside. This resulted in four rows of narrow wheels (from outside to inside in a three-four-four-three arrangement. This arrangement allowed more road wheels to fit in the same space than a non-overlapped system, and thus helped support the increased weight of the tank. However this system would also prove to be one of the weaknesses of the Tiger, as the narrow gaps between the road wheels could easily get clogged with snow and mud, and freeze solid, while any damage to an inner wheel required all of the rows of outer wheels to be removed and then replaced, a time consuming job. Suspension was provided by simple torsion bars. There were three return rollers, mounted at the top of the hull.

The VK 30.01 was powered by a 300hp Maybach HL 116 motor which drove a Maybach-Motorenwerk Variorex gearbox.

The VK 30.01 used a new Henschel L.320 C steering gear which used epicyclic double differential steering. This had three steering speeds, and took both its steering drive (to the sun wheels) and main drive (to the annulus) from the output of the main gearbox. It gave the tank three turning radii. This was the precursor of the L.600 C and L.801 transmissions used in the Tiger, but these were more flexible systems, which took the steering drive from the input of the main gears, and the main power from the output, producing sixteen possible turning circles (two steering speeds times eight speeds).

Krupp had produced one example of the D.W. turret, although it was never mounted on either prototype. They then redesigned the turret for the VK 30.01 and the heavier VK 65.01. The two turrets were to be identical apart from side armour thickness - 50mm on the VK 30.01 and 80mm on the VK 65.01. The turret was to carry the 7.5cm gun, a coaxial machine gun, and have a gun port for a second rear-firing machine gun.

Towards the end of 1939 Krupp was given an order to build four hulls - one based on the D.W. layout, as the VK 3001 alte Konstrucktion for use in armour penetration tests, and three VK 30.01 neue Konsturktion (new design) hulls with armoured superstructures, for driving trials. By the time the target hull was complete in September 1940 it had been modified to the new standard, and it was used to test the armour against 3.7cm anti-tank fire. The three new design hulls were completed by 1940.

In January 1940 Krupp received separate contracts to produce eight armoured hulls (to be delivered between July and October 1941) and eight operational turrets (to be delivered between October 1941 and January 1942). This would give Henschel time to complete work on the hulls and then install the turrets.

The first hull was delivered to Henschel on 8 August 1941 and the armour for the first two turrets on 27 September 1941. The last hull was sent on 30 November 1941 and the last turret on 21 January 1942. However by this point the number of tanks to be completed urgently had been reduced, from eight to four (two in March 1942 and two in April 1942). The other four weren't cancelled, but construction was suspended. This proved to be a bit optimistic. Henschel delivered two in March and two in October, and the four turrets were completed by September 1942.

By the end of 1941 it was clear that the VK 30.01 would be under-armed. A series of suggestions were made for ways to improve its firepower. In October 1941 Krupp was asked if the longer 7.5cm KwK L/34.5 would fit. Their response was that it would need too many modifications, but the 5cm KwK L./50 or L/60 could be installed. In December Krupp was asked if the 7.5cm KwK 44 l/43 being produced for the Panzer IV could be installed in the eight VK 30.01 turrets, but again the answer was negative. On 30 January 1942 any attempt to up-arm the VK 30.01 was abandoned.

The VK 30.01 was being developed alongside the heavier VK 36.01. Krupp had been working on heavier turrets since the summer of 1939, and Henschel received an order to modify the D.W. chassis to carry the heavier turrets in mid-1940, with the designation D.W. (VK 36.01). They were thus parallel developments for some time, before the larger VK 36.01 became the main priority. This project later evolved into the VK 45.01, the Panzer VI Tiger, after the gun selected for the VK 36.01 was abandoned due to its reliance on scarce materials. The existing VK 30.01 hulls were extensively used as trials and test vehicles and in tank driver training schools. One was recovered intact and in running order on the Henschel proving grounds after the end of the war.

Six of the VK 30.01 turrets ended up being used in permanent fortifications. They were armed with the 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun, and a M.G.34 machine gun. They were being modified for use in February 1944, and were ready to be installed by May 1944, and were all installed in either the Atlantic Wall or West Wall.

Names
VK3001(H)
Panzerhampfwagen VI

Stats
Production: 4 chassis March-October 1941
Hull Length: 5.81m
Hull Width: 3.16m
Height: 1.85m
Crew: 5
Weight: 32 tons
Engine: Maybach HL116
Max Speed: 25km/hr
Max Range:
Armament: One 7.5cm KwK L/24 or one 10.5cm KwK L/28 main gun, two 7.92mm MG 34 machine guns
Armour:

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

50mm

30mm

Superstructure

50mm

30mm

50mm

25mm

Hull

50mm

30mm

50mm

20mm top
35mm bottom

Gun mantlet


In 1939, the German Army expressed the need for a 30 tonne heavy breakthrough tank. [1] Although this weight is less than many production tanks of WWII, at the time this was considered as a heavier tank. Projects to meet the demand were designated VK 30.xx (X) [a] and were developed to varying degrees by four different companies: Porsche, Henschel & Son, MAN, and Daimler Benz. The Porsche version was thus named the VK 30.01 (P). [1] [3] and the Henschel design was the VK 30.01 (H).

The requirements for the new development of a 30-tonne schwerer Panzerkampfwagen included the ability to mount at least the 7.5 cm KwK L/24 main gun with a desire to fit the 10.5 cm KwK L/28 if possible. [1] [2] [3] Later, in 1941, the German Army encountered —unexpectedly— heavily armored enemy vehicles such as the Soviet T-34 and KV-1. Plans were then made to instead mount the more effective 8,8 cm KwK L/56. [2]

Krupp were directly contracted by Porsche to produce the turret to house the 8,8 cm KwK L/56 and the two teams worked together to develop it for the VK 30.01 (P) chassis. A fully developed drawing with the Krupp turret was completed, dated 5 March 1941. [2] The Krupp turret would be used on both the Porsche and the Henschel Tiger.

Uncommon for tanks at the time, Porsche selected a gasoline-electric drive. [1] [2] The front drive sprockets for the tracks were driven by two electric motors mounted forward in the hull. Two air cooled V-10 gasoline engines, mounted toward the rear of the vehicle, were each connected to a generator to produce electricity. The generated electricity was then used to power the motors. [2] Each engine produced 210 PS at 2500 RPM a total of 420 PS was therefore available to drive the generators. [2]


VK 30.01 (H)

Because of its weak and generally unsloped hull armor, this tank should be played as a sniper, preferably hull-down. Playstyle can be compared to the Tiger, VK 30.02 (M) or Panther, and this tank will prepare you for future German tanks. Aside from the howitzer, there is really no reason to use anything but the Waffe as it outclasses all the other guns. Unlocking them all at Tier V will however make future grinds in the German line much easier.

Due to the terrible hull armor and easily hit engine, it is essential that you learn to fight hulldown or sidescrape as much as possible, these tricks are essential throughout the entire German heavy line, and really any heavy tank in the game.

For players that favor close-ranged combat, the 10,5cm gun is a good option with it's high damage output per shell, however, you will have to deal with the cons of this vehicle in order to use this gun effectively. This gun can be used to good effect in urban environments with limited ranges. Remember to aim for weak spots and try to have some support when reloading. If you do use the howitzer, DO NOT FIRE AP AMMO! It is a waste of your time and money because of the typically very low penetration value, and will do no damage on a bounce, whereas the HE will splash damage even without penetration.

Historical Info

VK 30.01 (H) is a further development of the Durchbruchswagen concept. The DW vehicles (DW1 and DW2) were – as their name in German suggests – attempts to create a breakthrough tank (in other words, essentially a heavy tank). On September 9, 1938, it was decided to continue with the DW 30 ton category development. On January 1, 1939, Krupp decided that the new vehicle should be equipped with a 75mm L/24 cannon, the crew should be equal to that of Panzer IV and the tank should have 50mm armor all around. On January 31, 1939, this new vehicle program was renamed to Panzerkampfwagen VI (7,5cm), but the new experimental designation for it was VK 30.01 (experimental/tracked vehicle, 30 tons, 1st prototype). At the same time, the old DW projects were renamed to VK 30.01 (Alte Konstruktion), while the new VK 30.01 was referred to as “Neue Konstruktion” (new design).

Design-wise, it was a classical German tank, with typical Henschel suspension that would eventually evolve into the Tiger suspension via VK 36.01. The roadwheels had torsion bar suspension.

3 prototypes were ordered. The hulls were made by Krupp in Essen and delivered to Henschel in Kassel for final assembly in 1940. Turrets were also ordered and Krupp was supposed to deliver them in 1940. However, these came later and most likely were never installed on any prototype machines. The three prototypes instead had a concrete cube installed instead of the turret to simulate the turret weight. The vehicles were equipped with 300hp Maybach HL116 engines and their maximum road speed was 35km/h.

On May 25, 1941, the first order for 8 0-series VK 30.01 (H) tanks was signed. Between October 1941 and January 1942, Henschel also recieved the 8 turrets from Krupp that were to be mounted on the 0-series vehicles. The first 0-series hull was delivered on August 8, 1941, and on November 15, 1941, the first 0-series VK 30.01 (H) (with a mounted turret) was tested in Sennelager. This first 0-series VK 30.01 (H) was by no means finished, however, (some components were missing) and it was sent back to Henschel. The last hull was delivered on November 10, 1941 and the last turret on January 21, 1942. Maybach also built 18 engines in total for the VK 30.01 between 1941 and 1943.

On January 30, 1942, based on the preliminary tests (which did not show the vehicle in a very positive light), it was decided to reduce the amount of the 0-series tanks being built to only 4 vehicles, which were built in March (2 vehicles) and October 1942 (another 2). These tanks were sent to training units and were used for crew training.

The armament (which was still the 75mm L/24, quite insufficient for the 1942 battlefield) was also discussed – Krupp proposed on October 7, 1941 the following options to the Waffenprüfamt 6:

- 75mm KwK L/34,6 (lengthened version of L/24) - 50mm KwK L/50 - 50mm KwK L/60 - 75mm Waffe 0725 (which WoT players will know as the 75mm Konisch on VK 36.01, but it was shown later that this could not be installed).

WaPA 6 responded in the sense that they would like the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 to be installed. Krupp replied that in order to do that, either the gun would have to be modified, or the turret would have to be bigger. In January 1942, the re-arm project was scrapped.

Two hulls were subsequently used to build the two 128mm tank destroyers “12,8cm Kanone 40 L/61 auf VK 30.01(H)”, known as “Sturer Emil”. Additional turrets that were already manufactured before the 0-series VK 30.01 (H) project was reduced were used for fixed emplacements in France (the Atlantic Wall).

The remaining machines were used for crew training and testing various equipment until the end of the war, when they were scrapped.


VK 30.01 (H)

Po úvodných testoch tankov Durchbruchswagen I a Durchbruchswagen II bolo 9.9.1938 rozhodnuté o pokračovaní ďalšieho vývoja tanku hmotnostnej kategórie 30-ton. Na porade vo firme Krupp bolo 19.1.1939 stanovené, že nová konštrukcia mala byť vyzbrojená 7,5 cm kanónom Kw.K. L/24, zloženie a rozmiestnenie posádky tanku malo byť rovnaké ako v Pz.Kpfw. IV a stroj malo chrániť pancierovanie hrubé v čelných, bočných a zadných partiách až 50 mm. Oficiálne označenie stroja k 31.1.1940 bolo Panzerkampfwagen VI (7,5cm) a nové dizajnérske kódové označenie VK 30.01. Staré projekty Durchbruchswagenov sa označovali ako VK 30.01 alte Konstruktion, nový projekt sa označoval ako VK 30.01 neue Konstruktion.
Konštrukčne sa jednalo o klasickú konštrukciu vtedajšej doby. Stroj sa vyznačoval hranatými tvarmi, podvozok tvorilo sedem zdvojených pojazdových kolies na každej strane, doplnených okrem hnacieho a napínacieho kolesa ešte i troma podpornými kladkami. Pojazdové kolesá boli odpružené torznými tyčami.

Objednané boli tri prototypy, ktoré mali byť vyrobené z pancierovanej ocele. Korby boli vyrobené firmou Krupp v Essene a dodané ku kompletizácii firme Henschel v Kasseli v roku 1940 (1. korba - 15.3.1940, 2. korba - 15.4.1940, 3. korba - 15.5.1940). Veže boli objednané vo firme Krupp, ktorá ich mala dodať v roku 1940. Neexistujú doklady o tom, že bola postavená veža pre prototypové stroje. Prototypy, ktoré sa testovali až do konca vojny nemali veže, zväčša ich nahrádzala betónová záťaž simulujúca hmotnosť veže.
29.1.1940 bola podpísaná objednávka veží pre osem strojov 0.série (Fgst.Nr. 150411-150418). Firme Henschel boli veže dodané medzi 10/1941 - 1/1942, kde mali byť namontované na podvozky. Korby mala dodávať firma Krupp. Prvú korbu z ôsmych (Wanne no. 150411) firma dodala ku kompletácii firme Henschel 8.8.1941. 15.11.1941 bol prvý VK 30.01 0.série s vežou testovaný v Sennelager. Následne bol koncom mesiaca odoslaný k dokončeniu (doplnenie chýbajúcich komponentov). Firma Krupp dodala poslednú korbu 30.11.1941 a poslednú vežu 21.1.1942. Firma Maybach-Motorenwerk z Friedrichshafen vyrobila pre tento typ v rokoch 1940-43 celkovo 18 motorov.
30.1.1942 bolo rozhodnuté o zredukovaní počtu postavených strojov. Bolo rozhodnuté, že sa dokončia len štyri tanky 0.série. Zvyšná produkcia bola zrušená. Dokončené stroje s vežami (2 ks v 3/1942 a 2 ks v 10/1942) boli následne odoslané k cvičným jednotkám, kde poslúžili k výcviku nových tankových posádok. Z hlásenia firmy Krupp, ktorá dokončovala veže vyplýva, že vo fiškálnom roku 1942 dodala štyri veže. Ďalšie veže pravdepodobne dokončila v nasledujúcom období.
7.10.1941 firma Krupp navrhla WaPrüf 6 montáž nejakej výkonnejšej kanónovej výzbroje. Zvažovali sa, kanón Kw.K L/34,5, 5 cm Kw.K. L/50 a L/60, 7,5 cm Waffe 0725. WaPrüf 6 navrhlo montáž Kw.K.40 L/43. Firma Krupp odpovedala, že montáž je síce možná, ale pre úspešnú lafetáciu by bolo nutné modifikovať buď vežu, alebo samotný kanón. Následne 30.1.1942 bolo prezbrojenie zavrhnuté.

Dve modifikované platformy VK 30.01 poslúžili na prestavbu na stíhač tankov 12,8 cm Kanone 40 L/61 auf VK 3001(H) a veže strojov 0.série boli použité ako stále palebné postavenia (Bauform 246 Stand für Pz.Kpfw. Turm VK 30.01) na Atlantickom vale.
Zvyšné stroje sa používali k ďalším testom, napr. na testovanie radlíc, vyorávačov mín a hĺbičov zákopov až do konca vojny.

Jeden prototyp s namontovaným hĺbičom zákopov a so simulovanou záťažou namiesto veže našli po skončení vojny spojeneckí vojaci v Haustenbeck. Existuje filmový záznam, na ktorom je zachytené testovanie tohoto podvozku.
Zaujímavosťou je, že torzo trupu tohoto tanku sa v roku 1980 našlo na polygóne v Sennelager.


German heavy tank VK 30 01 (H) review history

German heavy tank VK 30 01 (H). The order for the tank was issued on September 9, 1939. In the process of development, Henschel engineers actively used the achievements of the DW II project. The first two prototypes were ready by March 1942, two more were built by October. Prototypes were actively tested at the factory site, but without a tower and weapons. At the end of the test, the two chassis were converted into heavy tank destroyers. Six towers manufactured by Krupp were installed on the Atlantic Wall.

In early September 1939, Henschel, commissioned by Wa Pruef 6, began to develop a heavy tank, designated VK 30.01 (H), which also had the alternative name Panzerkampfwagen VI (7.5 cm). The experimental tank VK 3001 (H), which followed the first two prototypes and was created, like them, under the direction of Henschel’s head of advanced development, Erwin Aders, had a frontal armor thickness of 60 mm, used a 520 mm wide track and positioned support rollers staggered, 6-cylinder engine Maybach HL 116 capacity of 300 hp at 3000 rpm, it allowed a 30-ton combat vehicle to move at a speed of 35 km / h. In the front, there were elements of the transmission, behind which were located the controls, as well as the driver’s seat (left) and the radio operator (right). The fighting compartment occupied the entire middle part of the corps.

Tests showed that VK 30.01 (H) is not inferior to Pz.Kpfw.IV in terms of tactical and technical parameters, which was quite convenient for the Wehrmacht, although its maximum speed was only 35 km / h, and the cruising range did not exceed 150 km. In addition, the prototype did not have weapons, and instead of the tower was installed its weight compensator.

The obtained data allowed to make an order for the manufacture of a batch of 8 chassis. However, by October 1941, when three of them were ready, Wa Pruef 6 refused to continue work on the tank VK 30.01 (H). The reason was the presence of prototypes of heavy tanks VK 36.01 and VK 45.01 (P), which had more powerful weapons and armor protection.

In the online game World Of Tanks, the German heavy tank is on level 5. Along with classmates you can play, lacking enough. The body is armored in a circle in the same way and I must say that the thickness of the armor plates 50 millimeters looks ridiculous from both the forehead and the sides, everyone will be able to break through, even the fourth-level technique.

The frontal projection of the tower also does not look like a stronghold of reliability either, since the nominally heavy tank VK 30.01 (H) here has only 80 millimeters of armor. However, we have a large and slightly rounded mask of the gun, its skinning in some places reaches 113 millimeters, and on holidays the shells that hit the mask will ricochet. True, the 6-7 level technique will pierce you here very easily and the chances of avoiding loss of strength points are reduced to zero.

Another unpleasant moment in our case is the dimensions of VK 30.01 (H) World of Tanks. The device is really shed, square, the coefficient of disguise is weak and it is easy to get through such a carcass.


Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

With M.A.N.’s Panther design going forward with the utmost priority, Heinrich Kniepkamp took personal charge of development. The design received the name Panzerkampfwagen V “Panther” and the Sonderkraftfahrzeug nummer (special vehicle number) Sd.Kfz.171.

On or around May 4th, one week before their design for the VK30 was chosen, M.A.N. had a final meeting regarding their design where the major details were reviewed. In addition to what has already been covered, in this meeting it was specified that:

  • There were 86 track links per side, and the width of the tracks would not prohibit transport by rail.
  • The transmission used a Maybach OLVAR 0640 12 16 gear drive.
  • The final point worth mentioning the author has been unable to determine the meaning of, other than that it relates to the transmission. “Spur gear side transmission doubly geared down, with sprockets of module 9 and 11. The middle tooth group was not required to be ground since it made no contact.”

At this point, the steering system that was to be used in the tank was undecided. It was assumed that a traditional clutch-brake steering system would be used initially. The reason for this change was that the companies that would be involved in the manufacture of the Panther did not have the proper equipment, specifically slotting machines, to cut the gears for the controlled differential type transmission. A portion of the 29 gears that made up each controlled differential were “hollow” gears, that is, the teeth were on the inside of the wheel, rather than the outside. This type of gear was significantly harder to make.

The transmission housing would be cast with steel of a strength of 60 kg/mm². Converted to megapascals, the most common unit of pressure used in describing tensile strengths, this is 588 MPa. Compare this to high strength steels, which range in the area of 750 to 850 MPa, and armor plate which goes above 900 MPa. The reason why the steel used in the transmission was so weak, relatively speaking, was to allow more units to be made. The weak drivetrain, already propelling a tank several tons heavier than it was designed for, and now made of lower quality materials, would plague the Panther throughout its service life. Any shrink holes that formed in the transmission housing from the casting process would be welded over and the whole casing would be heated and allowed to gradually cool, a toughening process known as annealation.

A conference was held on May 19th, 1942, at the Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production. In this meeting it was determined that a majority of the facilities involved in manufacturing parts for the Panther tank would be those captured in France.

A conference with Hitler was held on June 4th, 1942, in regard to the new Panther tank. Hitler felt that by the spring of 1943, even the increased frontal armor of 80 mm (3.15 inches) would not be enough. He demanded that it be attempted to increase all frontal armor of the tank to 100 mm (3.94 inch) thickness. The same day, another meeting was held (presumably back at the Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production, if the meeting with Hitler had not been there in the first place) between representatives of the four companies selected to build the new tank M.A.N. of Nürnberg, Daimler-Benz of Berlin, Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover (M.N.H.) of Hannover, and Henschel of Kassel. It was determined that by the 12th of May, 1943, 250 Panther tanks must be available for combat. A model of the tank was displayed at the end of the meeting.

At some point during development, the L 600 C steering mechanism that was originally intended for the Panther had been dropped, in its place was the Einradienlenkgetriebe (single radius steering gear), also called the Maybach Double Differential. It is not known whether this steering mechanism is the same as the one insisted upon by M.A.N. that would allow for a pointed front hull, or if it was an entirely separate development. The Einradienlenkgetriebe is a steering mechanism completely unique to the Panther tank, having not been used on any other machine before or since. It combined two types of tank steering: the normal double differential and the controlled differential. “Single radius” refers to the fact that each gear has its own fixed turning radius (as opposed to other steering mechanisms, wherein the turning radius is variable depending on how much steering input is given). As there were seven forward gears, there were seven different turning radii, plus neutral steering.

A contract was awarded to Adler of Frankfurt am Main to deliver 50 Maybach OLVAR transmissions for testing in the Panther as an alternative to the Zahnradfabrik AK 7/200. In this configuration, the tank would have been known as Panther Model B, however the OLVAR transmissions were never installed.

In a meeting on the 13th of July, 1942, Paul Wiebicke insisted that the Einradienlenkgetriebe must be used from the start in all Panthers. When confronted with the possibility of this totally new and untested steering mechanism failing to work, he suggested that 60 clutch-brake steering systems should be built just in case, therefore they would be available to complete tanks if the Einradienlenkgetriebe turned out to not be ready.

The Panzerkommission met the next day, and again the Panther’s steering mechanism was discussed. They came to the conclusion that the first 100 tanks would have the interim clutch-brake steering system while production of the Einradienlenkgetriebe got underway. All tanks with clutch-brake steering were to be backfitted with Einradienlenkgetriebe by the end of April 1943.

M.A.N. hoped that trials of the new steering mechanism would be completed by mid-October 1942. Three different sets of gearing were put forward, the differences between them being the turning radius. The three setups would have given turning radiuses of 50, 80, and 115 meters (164, 262, and 337 feet) respectively, when in seventh gear. For speed and simplicity it was decided to only test the gearing that would give 80 and 115 meter turning radiuses. To test the two types against each other it was planned to make two interchangeable sets of gears for each of the first 20 to 30 steering units. In the final analysis, the 80 meter turning radius gearing was chosen.

M.A.N. had received a contract to complete an experimental VK30.02(M) chassis by August 1942, and a second, complete prototype by September. Both prototypes were made out of mild steel. The exact date these prototypes were finished is unknown sources are divided as to whether the first was completed in late August or early September, but the latter seems more likely. Panther & Its Variants claims it was delivered at the end of September.

On August 3rd, Krupp, which had been in the process of designing the unrelated Panzerselbstfahrlafette IVd assault gun on the basis of their Panzerselbstfahrlafette IVc self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, was informed that the 8.8cm L/71-armed assault gun would no longer be based on its own unique chassis, but on that of the VK30.02(M), and should be redesigned accordingly. This would become what is known as the Jagdpanther.

On August 4th, M.A.N. announced that they would begin construction of the first prototype hull, and they requested that the foremen and chief operators from the Henschel, M.N.H., and Daimler-Benz plants visit M.A.N. in Nürnberg to familiarize themselves with the project.

The first prototype, VK30.02(M) Chassis Number V1, was finished without a turret. Instead, it had a box-shaped weight to simulate the turret. This machine was used for driving tests on the M.A.N. factory grounds in Nürnberg. The suspension of the V1 differed from all other Panthers in that the shock absorbers were mounted to the first and eighth roadwheel arms, as opposed to the second and sixth.


Illustration of VK30.02(M) Chassis Number V1 by Andrei Kirushkin

Due to unavailability of parts and for the sake of simplicity, the prototype was completed with a clutch-brake type steering unit. This was less efficient than the Maybach type, produced higher wear on parts, and did not allow the tank to neutral steer. Additionally, in place of the intended planetary reduction gear, this machine was fitted with a two-stage spur gear reduction of the final drive the end result of a final drive reduction being the trade-off of speed for torque. It is unclear what steering system the V2 prototype used.

The only known photograph of the VK30.02(M) V1 undergoing trials at the M.A.N. factory grounds, seen here attempting to climb a rather impressive grade. Evidence of the vehicle’s descent into the pit, or perhaps a separate attempt at climbing out, can be seen on the far side. Source: Panther & Its Variants

The second prototype was a complete tank with turret. VK30.02(M) Chassis Number V2 mounted the 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 with an early, 220 mm (8.66 inch) diameter, single-baffle muzzle break in the Rheinmetall-Borsig turret. While similar to the muzzle break used by the 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/43 on the Panzer IV Ausf.F2, it was not identical. The V2 had apparently been delayed by the Rheinmetall turret not being ready in time. The turret housing was finished on September 16th, and final assembly of the turret was done at Rheinmetall’s Düsseldorf plant.

The turret used on the VK30.02(M) V2 was derived from the turret developed for the VK45.01(H2), the original Tiger tank. Back in May of 1942, it had a maximum width of 2.14 m (7 feet) which tapered to a frontal width of 1.84 m (6 feet). Excluding the cupola it was 770 mm (30.3 inches) tall. By the time the turret was built and mounted, it had grown to 790 mm tall (31.1 inches) and 2.30 m (7’7’’) wide, tapering to 2.104 m (6’11’’) wide. Increasing the height of the turret by 20 mm (0.79 inches) while also keeping the frontal plate sloped at 12° and the rear at 25°, meant that the turret also became 20 mm (0.79 inches) longer. The length would not be changed on production turrets, even when the frontal turret armor was increased to 100 mm (3.94 inches), meaning that the 20 mm of extra space needed was taken from the inside, instead of being expanded outward. Another feature of the prototype turret that would not be changed in the production model was the offsetting of the entire gun mantlet by 40 mm (1.57 inches) to the right of the centerline.

Inside view of the prototype turret mounted on the VK30.02(M) V2. The gunner’s position is to the left of the cannon and the loader’s to the right. The commander’s seat can be seen at the far left of frame. Source: Panzer Tracts 5-1

The most distinctive feature of the Versuchs-Turm (experimental turret) though, was the curved turret sides and bulge stamped into the left side of the turret to accommodate the cupola. The controls for the smoke grenade launchers were placed inside this bulge. The sides of the production turret would be widened to eliminate the cupola bulge the layout of many of the interior components would also be changed.

View of the inside of the Versuchs-Turm from the loader’s position, facing the rear. The controls for the Nebelkerze (smoke dischargers) can be seen in the bulge under the commander’s cupola. The hatch to the left of frame is the main entrance and exit for the turret crew. Source: Panzer Tracts 5-1

When it was completed, the second prototype VK30.02(M) was sent to Kummersdorf proving grounds for official testing. The V1 was registered as IIN-2686 and the V2 as IIN-0687. “IIN” was the prefix for license plates registered to the cities of Nürnberg and Fürth. What is strange about this is that registered German military vehicles usually had a registration number with the prefix “WH” for the Heer (army) or “WL” for the Luftwaffe. Instead, the VK30.02(M) prototypes were registered as civilian vehicles in Nürnberg, the home city of M.A.N.

The hulls of the two Panther prototypes differed slightly from the production model. None of the hull plates were interlocking, as they would be on all Panthers that came after. The hull side plate did not extend past the rear plate at all. Between the 16 mm (0.63 inch) thick bottom of the hull and the 40 mm (1.57 inch) thick rear plate (reverse sloped at 30°) was a small 30 mm (1.18 inch) thick plate reverse sloped at 60°. On production vehicles this piece was eliminated, meaning the belly plate and the rear plate were directly connected to each other. The driver’s periscope was only 432.5 mm (17 inches) to the left of the centerline, on production vehicles it would be moved further out, to about 490 mm (19.3 inches) left of center line. The casting of the armored covers that went over the fans on top of the engine deck included an extension that encompassed the radiator filler cap, this would be eliminated on the production model. The drive sprockets on the prototypes were different to the production type. The dual exhausts shared a single horizontally mounted muffler, with a single exhaust pipe exiting at the center, just behind the engine deck. The roadwheels had 18 rim bolts each as opposed to 16. Finally, at the rear of the engine compartment was a single large fuel tank, the filler cap for this tank was to the left of the center line on top the engine deck.

VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Notice the ball-shaped muzzle break, drive sprocket, and clean-cut side armor plates. Source: Panther External Appearance & Design Changes VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Notice the bulge on the side of the turret which accommodates the cupola, and also the ladder on the side of the hull. Source: Panther External Appearance & Design Changes VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Notice the license plate held on with wire. Source: Panther External Appearance & Design Changes VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Notice the narrow rear of the Versuchs-Turm, the extensions of the armored fan covers which encompass the radiator filler ports, the single exhaust pipe, and the rear license plate hanging from the exhaust. Source: Panther External Appearance & Design Changes VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Source: Panther External Appearance & Design Changes View of the engine deck of the VK30.02(M) V2 with all cover panels removed. The large single fuel tank in the rear (nearest to the camera) would be changed on the production model, with the filler port being moved to the right and the section of tank on the left being deleted. Source: Panzer Tracts 5-1

On account of the 80 mm (3.15 inch) thick frontal armor demanded by Hitler, the V2 weighed 43 metric tons – 8 tons over the 35 ton weight limit for the VK30. It was powered by a 650 hp Maybach HL 210 engine, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of just 15.1 hp/ton. This figure was 25% worse than the initial VK30.02(M) design projected. On the positive side, trials showed that there was less stress on the rubber roadwheel tires than was expected, and less stress on the torsion bars as well (16kg/mm square actual versus 20-22kg/mm square expected).

VK30.02(M) V2 on trials, likely at Kummersdorf. Source

The Panzerkommission met for the 11th time on November 2nd and 3rd, either at the 2nd Panzer Regiment’s training field in Berka an der Werra, or the nearby city of Eisenach. The following week a wide variety of experimental vehicles were to be demonstrated at Berka an der Werra — the “rough terrain” outpost of Kummersdorf — for Albert Speer and personnel of Wa. Prüf. 6. The vehicles slated to be present at the demonstration included VK30.02(M) V2, VK30.01(D), a VK36.01(H), a Panzer II with a Zahnradfabrik Electric Transmission, a Panzer III with Ostketten, a Zugführerwagen 40 (Panzer III with Schachtellaufwerk overlapping suspension), the Zugführerwagen 41 (Panzer III with rubber-saving roadwheels), two Henschel Tigers, one with a Zahnradfabrik 12E-170 Electric Transmission, two Porsche Tigers, two Panzer IIIs and two armored cars with with flamethrower equipment, a T-34, and a KV-1. A number of half-tracks, trucks, and tractors were also involved in the display, namely four Sd.Kfz.3s, an Sd.Kfz.10, an Sd.Kfz.11, two Radschlepper Ost, a Raupenschlepper Ost, a French Latil, and an Opel Blitz 3,6-6700 A.

The supposed presence of a VK30.01(D) at this demonstration is the only evidence for a Daimler-Benz Panther ever being built to a degree where it would be operable. Sadly, there are no known photographs of the vehicle selection at this demonstration which would confirm many details about the lost history of the VK30.01(D).

On the first day of demonstrations, Albert Speer drove the VK30.02(M) V2 for one and a half hours. He was highly complimentary of the tank’s handling. The trials showed that the differential worked well in rough terrain and that the tank turned fine without having to rely on brake steering. At this time, the V2 was temporarily equipped with a controlled differential discontinuous regenerative steering unit. This would not be the same as the Einradienlenkgetriebe, and may in fact be the L 600 C. The delegation from M.A.N. present at the demonstration stated they were satisfied with the performance of their prototype.

On the 4th of December, the first Einradienlenkgetriebe delivered by Henschel was installed in the VK30.02(M) V1. The performance of this vehicle with the new steering mechanism was not recorded. This was the last use of the VK30.02(M) as a developmental platform, as the Panzerkampfwagen V went into production in January 1943.


17 thoughts on &ldquo Tiger Tales: Type 102 – the forgotten VK.45.01(P) &rdquo

So the Type 100 was Leopard, Type 101 was Tiger P as we call them, but what’s the Type 102? It’s hard to grasp what that conversion from Type 102 hull to Type 102 hull specification means without having a picture of said Type 102 in mind…

So basically both are Tiger P and both are VK 45.01 P.

Ohhh their naming scheme is confusing at times :)

Type 100 = VK 30.01 P (also called Leopard which is none of the Leopards on WoT of course)
Type 101 = VK 45.01 P = “Tiger P” in WoT terms
Type 102 = Type 101 ready to accept hydraulic transmission, later cancelled and to be converted back to Type 101 specs.

There are 2 Leopards as Porsche reused the name.
A Type 103 is as far as I can see any Tiger P fitted with the duel blower 101/2 engine and some engine deck rework.

Do you know which engine configuration the Ferdinands ended up with? I’ve heard reports of them overheating when climbing hills, so I’m wondering if the 101/2 didn’t get installed, or just wasn’t enough.

The Ferdinand got switched to the HL120 TRMs during production. However there was a water cooled Type 130 Porsche engine that had a bore of 130mm and stroke of 145mm (19.3L each V-10 x2) that was considered for the Ferdinand producing 400 hp at 2500 rpms but HL120 TRM Maybachs were used instead.

When producing the Ferdinands the hulls were basically gutted and rebuilt from the ground up. So there was really just the two engine options. Type 130 and HL120 TRM.

Nemo is a fkin genius. I’ve said it before when he researched historical modules for SPG’s, and I say it now, and I’ll say it till the day I die. CaptianNemo is awesome.

I am still working on a fixed version of the SPG list… Some of them have NO radios historically… just… signal flags…

Good research Capt’n. Keep it up.

Possible alternate hull for Tiger (P), or tier 6 premium heavy with L/56 and no add-on armor?

I got the impression it’s basically the exact same hull (minus the later applique armor ofc) just with different powertrain.

My bet is on the Tiger P getting the Type 100 hull with 100mm frontal and the elite version getting the 200mm command vehicle front

Nerfed turn-rate and acceleration to represent more drivetrain-loss and the lack of instant torque available with electric engines, possibly higher fire chance as well?

Of course, there are other, slightly more unique options for mid tier german premium heavies, like the VK6501(h) or captured KV’s.

There is a tank from the same time as the 6501 that is 80 tons instead of 65… But very little info on it.

The Tiger P in WoT IS the one of one Command-Tank which is supposed to have the Type 101/1(As designed as a Tiger P), 101/2(Last 43 built) and HL120 TRMs(As it went into combat) as its engines but WG is being stupid as usual.

A normal Tiger P could be used as an alternative hull. It seems likely this will happen… When it does, hopefully WG changes the engines out as well because Type 100 series engines on a Type 101 tank is a bit unhistorical.

It will be intersting to see how the Pz IV hydrastat performs in game.

There should be some of them appearing on the NA servers by the second week in April.


VK 30.01 (H)

Because of its weak and generally unsloped hull armor, this tank should be played as a sniper, preferably hull-down. Playstyle can be compared to Tiger, VK 30.02 (M) or Panther, and this tank will prepare you for future German tanks. Aside from the howitzer, there is really no reason to use anything but the Waffe as it outclasses all the other guns. However unlocking them all at tier 5 will make future grinds in the German line much easier. Because of the terrible hull armour and easily hit engine, it is essential that you learn to fight hulldown or sidescrape as much as possible. These tricks are essential throughout the entire German heavy line, and really any heavy tank in the game.

For players that favor close-ranged combat, the 10.5cm gun is a good option with its high damage output per shell. However you will have to deal with the cons of this vehicle in order to use this gun effectively. This gun can be used to good effect in urban environments with ranges limited from 50 to 100 meters. Just be sure to aim for the weak spots and have some support when reloading. Also, if you do use the howitzer, DO NOT FIRE AP AMMO! It is a waste of your time and money because with HE ammo, at least you can deal splash damage even if you do not penetrate. This tank also has the ability to at least give enemies pause before attacking. Due to the large number of guns, most enemies will stop to see what gun you are carrying. ("Does he have the howitzer or the Waffe?"). This may give you a chance to get the first shot off in an encounter.

Early Research

  • Upon purchasing this tank, you should immediately install the 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/43 (if researched from the Pz. IV)
  • If you haven't researched the 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/43 yet, research it for a major boost in firepower.
  • Now upgrade the suspension and turret.
  • Next you can decide between going for the Maybach HL 174 or the Waffe. If you really find the L/43 to be unacceptable, you can stop for the L/70 which is almost as good as the Waffe while being much cheaper to unlock.
  • Now research the choice on the line above that you didn't do.
  • If planning to go to the VK3601H next, you may want to leave the top engine. It only provides another 25 h.p. and will unlock for free upon researching the VK3601H.
  • Go from there.

Historical Info

VK 30.01 (H) is a further development of the Durchbruchswagen concept. The DW vehicles (DW1 and DW2) were – as their name in German suggests – attempts to create a breakthrough tank (in other words, essentially a heavy tank). On September 9, 1938, it was decided to continue with the DW 30 ton category development. On January 1, 1939, Krupp decided that the new vehicle should be equipped with a 75mm L/24 cannon, the crew should be equal to that of Panzer IV and the tank should have 50mm armor all around. On January 31, 1939, this new vehicle program was renamed to Panzerkampfwagen VI (7,5cm), but the new experimental designation for it was VK 30.01 (experimental/tracked vehicle, 30 tons, 1st prototype). At the same time, the old DW projects were renamed to VK 30.01 (Alte Konstruktion), while the new VK 30.01 was referred to as “Neue Konstruktion” (new design).

Design-wise, it was a classical German tank, with typical Henschel suspension that would eventually evolve into the Tiger suspension via VK 36.01. The roadwheels had torsion bar suspension.

3 prototypes were ordered. The hulls were made by Krupp in Essen and delivered to Henschel in Kassel for final assembly in 1940. Turrets were also ordered and Krupp was supposed to deliver them in 1940. However, these came later and most likely were never installed on any prototype machines. The three prototypes instead had a concrete cube installed instead of the turret to simulate the turret weight. The vehicles were equipped with 300hp Maybach HL116 engines and their maximum road speed was 35km/h.

On May 25, 1941, the first order for 8 0-series VK 30.01 (H) tanks was signed. Between October 1941 and January 1942, Henschel also recieved the 8 turrets from Krupp that were to be mounted on the 0-series vehicles. The first 0-series hull was delivered on August 8, 1941, and on November 15, 1941, the first 0-series VK 30.01 (H) (with a mounted turret) was tested in Sennelager. This first 0-series VK 30.01 (H) was by no means finished, however, (some components were missing) and it was sent back to Henschel. The last hull was delivered on November 10, 1941 and the last turret on January 21, 1942. Maybach also built 18 engines in total for the VK 30.01 between 1941 and 1943.

On January 30, 1942, based on the preliminary tests (which did not show the vehicle in a very positive light), it was decided to reduce the amount of the 0-series tanks being built to only 4 vehicles, which were built in March (2 vehicles) and October 1942 (another 2). These tanks were sent to training units and were used for crew training.

The armament (which was still the 75mm L/24, quite insufficient for the 1942 battlefield) was also discussed – Krupp proposed on October 7, 1941 the following options to the Waffenprüfamt 6:

- 75mm KwK L/34,6 (lengthened version of L/24) - 50mm KwK L/50 - 50mm KwK L/60 - 75mm Waffe 0725 (which WoT players will know as the 75mm Konisch on VK 36.01, but it was shown later that this could not be installed).

WaPA 6 responded in the sense that they would like the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 to be installed. Krupp replied that in order to do that, either the gun would have to be modified, or the turret would have to be bigger. In January 1942, the re-arm project was scrapped.

Two hulls were subsequently used to build the two 128mm tank destroyers “12,8cm Kanone 40 L/61 auf VK 30.01(H)”, known as “Sturer Emil”. Additional turrets that were already manufactured before the 0-series VK 30.01 (H) project was reduced were used for fixed emplacements in France (the Atlantic Wall).

The remaining machines were used for crew training and testing various equipment until the end of the war, when they were scrapped.


VK 36.01: Half a Step from the Tiger

Henschel's tank program looked somewhat comical in late 1941 and early 1942. The company was working on three heavy tanks at the same time. The lifeline of one of them, the VK 30.01(H), was just about to end, but work was still going on in December of 1941. The second tank being developed was the VK 45.01(H). Another tank, indexed VK 36.01, took the place between them in mass. The story of the first tank with a tapered bore gun that nearly went into production was far from simple.

Rapid weight loss

The VK 36.01 project appeared due to the «siege tank» program, approved by the Commander of the Land Forces, Major General Walther von Brauchitsch on November 24th, 1938. According to this concept, three tanks would be developed with the size and layout of the PzI, PzII, and PzIV. In the first case, the result was the PzI Ausf. F, in the second the PzII Ausf. J, and in the third, the VK 65.01. Initially, the VK 65.01 was indexed S.W. The 65 ton class tank would have 80 mm of armour. 75 mm and 105 mm guns (the latter would have a length of 20 calibers) were considered as weapons. A decision to install a 75 mm KwK L/24, the same gun as on the PzIV, was made in June of 1939.

The 25 caliber howitzer that was to be used as the A.W.'s main gun

A project for another even heavier tank appeared around the time that the VK 65.01's armament was limited to that of the PzIV. Little is known about it, but its size was clearly larger than the VK 65.01. The mass of the vehicle named A.W. (Artilleriewagen, artillery vehicle) would surpass 80 tons, and its armour would be 100 mm thick. The Henschel company would develop the A.W., with the contract for the turret going to Krupp.

A 105 mm main gun would be used. Initially, the designers picked between a 20 caliber howitzer and the 10.5 cm leFH 18 with a barrel length of 28 calibers. On October 20th, 1939, Krupp presented another option. The 105 mm 25 caliber howitzer was taken as the starting point. The turret that housed this gun would need a 1750 mm wide turret ring, and its full width would be 2270 mm. The mass of the turret was also impressive: 8.4 tons.

The reworked A.W. would receive a weapon with the ballistics of the 105 mm leFH 18 howitzer

The lifespan of this project was even shorter than that of the VK 65.01. Battles in France showed that the development of tanks that weighed more than 30 tons was pointless, since they would not be supported by existing river crossing equipment. The A.W. was the first victim of this new tank doctrine, adopted in early July of 1940.

However, the idea of arming a tank with a 105 mm howitzer remained. This weapon would allow tanks to combat more impressive fortifications than the 7.5 cm KwK L/24 could handle. Because of this, the A.W. did not die completely. On July 5th, Krupp received an order from the 6th Department of the Armament Directorate to develop a howitzer version of the VK 30.01.

The first variant was to receive a turret similar to the A.W.'s turret. The gun was replaced with an adapted 10.5 cm leFH 105. The front armour was thinned down to 80 mm, and the sides to 50 mm. The turret ring diameter was reduced to 1700 mm. In case the weight limit was still not met, the turret could be redesigned. Instead of typical Krupp style angled surfaces, the sides and rear of the turret would be rounded. Later, this layout would be used on the first variant of the VK 30.01(P), and then evolve into the Tiger's turret.

The second variant was for a howitzer version of the VK 30.01(H) turret. During the design process that started in the fall of 1940, this was the preferred variant. The reworked turret would also have 80 mm of armour in the front and 50 mm in the sides. The final choice of the converted turret (called D.W. Turm in correspondence) was made in January of 1941. The turret received a cast gun mantlet. Prior to this, Krupp strived to avoid casting when designing tank turrets.

The stamp on one of the first VK 36.01 blueprints, March 1941

In parallel with work on the turret, Henschel was redesigning the chassis. The front armour became 80 mm thick, and the floor was thickened to 25 mm. It was clear that a tank with these characteristics could not remain in this weight class, and the limit was lifted. The reworked chassis was named VK 36.01.

The increased strain forced a serious redesign of the chassis. Little remained from the VK 30.01(H). Even the hull, especially the rear, was changed. Amusingly, Heinrich Kniepkamp, who had a lot of influence on the development of the VK 36.01(H), kept trying to shoehorn elements from lighter vehicles into it. The chassis repeated the same metamorphosis as was seen on the VK 6.01 (later PzI Ausf. C) and then migrated to the PzI Ausf. F and PzII Ausf. J. Even the design of the evacuation hatches in the sides was borrowed from the light tanks. The same happened with the running gear. The 700 mm road wheels were discarded, and instead 800 mm road wheels were used. The number increased to 8 pairs per side. At the same time, return rollers were eliminated. The track links remained the same width as on the VK 30.01(H), but their pitch was reduced to 130 mm, and a second tooth was introduced on each track link.

A decision was made to increase the mobility of the new heavy tank. The 17.4 L V-12 450 hp Maybach HL 174 would be used. The transmission consisted of the 8-speed semiautomatic Maybach Olvar 40 12 16 and Henschel L 600 C turning mechanism. The tank's top speed was estimated at 50 kph, and the transmission was designed to suit it.

Heavy tank destroyer

Work on the chassis and turret of the VK 36.01 entered the active phase in the spring of 1941. At the time, Krupp and Henschel moved from working on the general concept to drawing blueprints. Krupp received an order for 4 hulls on March 6th. Two were due in January of 1942, and two in February. On May 5th, Krupp signed contract SS-006–4086/40 for four turrets. By then, Germany was working on four types of heavy tanks. In addition to the VK 30.01(H) and VK 36.01, Porsche was working on the VK 30.01(P) with more powerful armament. Work on the successor of the VK 65.01 also restarted by the spring of 1941. It is likely that this work formed the basis for the Soviet intelligence report on new German heavy tanks. The VK 36.01 matches the description of the «Type V», the VK 30.01 (P) is similar to the «Type VI», and the prospective VK 70.01 was the «Type VII». This information triggered work on the «big three»: the KV-3, KV-4, and KV-5. The KV-3 was envisioned as a temporary measure, and either the KV-4 or KV-5 would enter production in 1942. Until the end of 1941, the Soviet Union was ahead of Germany in heavy tank design.

One of the first sketches of the VK 36.01 equipped with the Waffe 0725 gun. The drawing is from a British report from 1947

The Germans likely did not know about the Soviet pre-war heavy tank design program. However, rumours definitely made their way to Berlin. One can assume that they triggered the change in requirements that Hitler approved at a meeting on May 26th, 1941. The thickness of the front armour was increased to 100 mm, and the sides to 60 mm. In addition, guns with anti-tank capability joined short barrelled weapons, with the former given priority.

The VK 30.01(P) was already designated to carry a gun with the ballistics of the 8.8 cm Flak 18, so penetration had to be increased further. However, this type of gun did not fit into the turret of the VK 36.01. The solution was the use of the Waffe 0725 with a tapered bore. The caliber at the breech was 75 mm, but 55 mm at the muzzle, which radically increased the muzzle velocity of the round. However, there was one caveat. Each shot from the Waffe 0725 cost one kilogram of tungsten. Germany had a very limited supply of this metal. Nevertheless, this gun was chosen as the VK 36.01's main armament.

Development of the 5th and 6th German heavy tank began on June 26th, 1941. The first was a response to the requirement to install a turret capable of carrying the 88 mm gun onto the VK 36.01 chassis. The second was an alteration of the VK 30.01(P) design.

The turret of the VK 36.01 was similar to the VK 30.01(H). Since a larger gun would be installed, the commander and his cupola were shifted to the left

On June 11th, 1941, the 6th Department told Krupp that they will have to change their turret once more. The overall configuration of the VK 30.01(H) was preserved. However, the size of the Waffe 0725 was such that the commander could no longer sit behind it. His station and his cupola were shirted to the left. The gunner and loader's hatches were also changed.

The gun mantlet was also changed. Its thickness, as the thickness of the turret front, remained at 80 mm. The thickness of the sides was increased to 60 mm as required. The Waffe 0725 had a coaxial MG 34 machinegun with the TZF 9b binocular sight. The thickness of the front armour was increased to 80 mm. The rear was 60 mm thick. The approximate mass was now 40 tons, but the top speed was still estimated to be 50 kph.

Odd one out

The mass production of the VK 36.01 was already under question in July of 1941. One of the issues with it was supplying the Waffe 0725 with ammunition. Hitler hardly yearned for a weapon that would consume all of Germany's tungsten. For this reason, only 6 VK 36.01 tanks and 8 Waffe 0725 guns would be built. Later, the numbers of hulls ordered from Krupp went up to 8. In October of 1941 the tank received a new name. In correspondence, it was referred to as the Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf. B (VK 36.01). However, this index was rarely used.

The only experimental VK 36.01 chassis. The VK 13.01 chassis is nearby

The first hull of the VK 36.01 was completed in Essen in late 1941. Henschel was receiving more and more orders for other products. The company was one of the producers of the PzIII, Germany's main tank at the time. Heavy losses on the Eastern Front required increasing production. Because of this, the 6th Department ordered the reduction of the VK 36.01 batch to two vehicles. However, Krupp finished their job, having produced 8 hulls and 8 turrets. 2 Waffe 0725 guns were completed, but they were never installed in the turrets. Henschel also never finished the two chassis. According to documents, one chassis was finished in March of 1942, but the second was never finished, since the VK 45.01(H) had higher priority. This tank had a lot more potential, and its gun did not devour tungsten.

The Maybach HL 174 engine. This engine was used on the VK 36.01

A decision was made to convert the 5 VK 36.01 hulls into the VKz 35.01 ARVs. The vehicles were to be equipped with the Seilwinde 22/40 winch, which could carry up to 40 tons of mass. The Maybach HL 174 was replaced with the more powerful Maybach HL 210, so the ARV had the same engine as the VK 45.01(H). They were meant to work in tandem. The idea of building the VKz 35.01 stemmed from the VK 45.01. There was nothing that the Germans could evacuate a knocked out or bogged down tank with. The Sd.Kfz.9, Germany's main tank recovery vehicle, could only handle tanks that weighed about 20 tons.

The contract for conversion of the five VK 36.01 hulls into the VKz 35.01 was given to FAMO, the company that built the Sd.Kfz.9. However, not a single vehicle was ever built.

VK 36.01 chassis on trials

Another unfinished idea for the project was the replacement of armament. The 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56 and the 7.5 cm KwK 42 (one of the names for the Waffe 0725) were not the only guns that were designed in the first half of 1941. Rheinmetall-Borsig began working on another 75 mm gun on Hitler's orders. The first prototype had a barrel length of 60 calibers and could penetrate a 100 mm plate at 60 degrees from 1400 meters. In February of 1942, a 70 caliber version with even higher penetration was developed.

At the same time, Rheinmetall-Borsig designed a turret was that similar to the one that Krupp designed for the VK 36.01. This turret was meant to be installed into the VK 45.01(H). The idea to install this turret on the VK 36.01 (the letter used another index, VK 35.01) appeared in June of 1942. This vehicle would be called VK 35.02. However, this project did not live for long, only to mid-July of 1942. The idea of using the 75 mm gun in the VK 45.01 was rejected, and Rheinmetall-Borsig was about half a year too late to save the VK 36.01.

Albert Speer (driver's station) and Ferdinand Porsche (wearing a cap) during trials of the VK 36.01, November 1942

However, the VK 36.01 was not a waste of time. The vehicle was actively used by Maybach during the development of the VK 45.01 transmission. Both tanks used the same gearbox.

In addition, the VK 36.01 took part in various trials as a part of the development of Tiger tanks. The most famous one is the trials that were held on November 8-14th, 1942, in Bad Berka. Here, the vehicle was driven by Albert Speer himself several times. The VK 36.01 was tested not only without a turret, but without a dummy weight. As a result, the tank was not only lighter than its heavy cousins, but the DB and MAN VK 30.02 tanks. The VK 36.01 turned out to be the fastest. This lead was lost during off-road trials, where it lost to the VK 45.01 and the VK 30.02. In addition, the tank broke down. The trials decided nothing, since the VK 36.01's fate was already sealed.

VK 36.01 turrets remained at Krupp's warehouse

The last events the VK 36.01 took part in took place in 1944. 8 turrets remained in Krupp's possession in various stages of completion. The idea to convert them info fortifications came up back in November of 1942. The turrets would finally receive their armament and use ammunition from the 7.5 cm Pak 41. The hydraulic traverse mechanism, gunner's seat, and loader's seat were removed.

However, there was an issue. Some equipment was destroyed in March of 1943 during the bombing of Krupp factories by the British. This bombing buried the project. Damage after the July 25th, 1943, raid was so heavy that the turrets were abandoned. The idea returned in May of 1944. Krupp received orders to convert 6 turrets, but did not even begin to carry them out until the end of the war. In the spring of 1945, the turrets were captured by the Allies.

Translated by Peter Samsonov. Read more interesting tank articles on his blog Tank Archives.


VK 36.01 (H)

The VK 36.01 (H) is a true heavy tank with good armor, very high HP, and very accurate guns. The 7,5/5,5 cm Waffe 0725 used to be the best gun choice but there's once again a choice to make over it and the 8.8 since the changes to it. The Waffe provides good penetration, high RoF, and accuracy making the tank a highly effective sniper. The mediocre alpha of 135 can be problematic as you're forced to expose yourself more often to keep the damage going. The 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56 hits much harder while still having decent accuracy and RoF, but suffers from low penetration. While using this gun you will likely have to get a bit closer to take advantage of weak spots, and will very likely need APCR rounds on hand when against tier 8 tanks.

The VK 36.01 (H) has very good armor for its tier this tank is capable of fighting more as a straight-up tank and feels more like a tank ready for production than a prototype. It can get into slug matches against lower tier opponents, it can support, it can snipe, it can do peek-a-boo from around corners, anything you want.

The VK 36.01 (H) doesn't have the best maneuverability and horrible turret traverse. While its top speed is only slightly slower than most medium tanks of its tier, its traverse speed is abysmal. The 8.8 engine changes have also given the tank sluggish acceleration, and simply cannot dream of reaching its top speed unless going downhill. This makes the VK 36.01 (H) much better suited to frontal attacks and slug matches. It follows the German doctrine of long range firepower, so one way to counter this tank is to isolate it and then engage it close up with multiple opponents. When the situation calls for it or when you see an opening in the enemy's defenses, take advantage of this opening and harass the enemy from the rear. This tactic is useful in the mid-late game, and has the advantage of surprise, as the enemy team will most likely not expect a "slow and lumbering pseudo-Tiger" to execute a flanking attack.

Early Research

  • If you came from the VK 30.01 (H) you should have all the guns already unlocked except for the 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56, and the Waffe can be used on the stock turret.
  • Research the Waffe gun if you don't have it. If you really can't stand the 105, you can stop for the 7,5 cm KwK 42 L/70 first as it costs less than half the XP.
  • Everything can be mounted on the stock suspension, so it can be researched at any point.
  • Research the turret and engine in whichever order you prefer. The turret will add a whopping 190 HP to the tank, while the engine will help with the sluggish mobility.
  • You can skip the 7,5 cm KwK 42 L/70 entirely if you got the Waffe first as it gets researched for free upon unlocking the Tiger.
  • Go from there.

Historical Info

Only four VK 30.01 (H) prototypes were produced, two in March 1941 and two in October 1941. All were completed in 1942 by Henschel. In early 1942, one prototype VK 36.01 (H) was built, along with 5 prototype chassis. Originally, it was planned to mount the VK 30.01 (H) with a turret armed with the 75mm L/24 or 105mm L/28 gun, but none of the prototypes were actually fitted with turrets. The VK 36.01 (H) was to be armed with the 75mm KwK 42 L/70 (Gerat 725), the 88mm KwK 36 L/56 (mounted in the VK 45.01 (P)'s turret), or the 105mm L/20 or L/28 gun. But just as with the VK 30.01 (H), it was never armed with any weapon.

Both designs were completed as prototypes, but their further development was cancelled in 1942 in favor of the development of the VK 45.01 (P) that later became the Tiger 1. Turrets produced for both designs were never mounted and instead, in 1944, six VK 30.01 (H) turrets were used in permanent fortifications: Panzerstellung/Turmstellungs of the Atlantic and West Wall. Their running gear was later modified and used as a base for the Tiger and Panther's running gear.

In March 1941, two VK 30.01 (H)s were ready and from August 1941 to March 1942, were converted into 128mm Pak 40 L/61 gun carriers, the Selbstfahrlafette 12.8cm. Another two prototypes completed in October 1941 remained in Henschel's factory in Haustenbek and were used as recovery, training, and test vehicles. The VK 36.01 (H) prototypes were used as recovery and towing vehicles. The VK 30.01 (H) and VK 36.01 (H)'s design led to the subsequent development of Henschel's Tiger I.


Modules

Turrets

Engines

Suspensions

Radios

Compatible Equipment

Compatible Consumables

Player Opinion

Pros and Cons

  • Rather high DPM and decent gun handling
  • Once fully upgraded, has decent mobility and maneuverability for its class
  • Rather compact hull size and good gun depression, can hull down
  • Wide gun mantlet with the Krupp Turm turret is thick enough to fend off most regular shells in tier
  • 3rd highest HP of all Tier 6 heavy tanks
  • Unsloped armour with mediocre thickness everywhere besides the mantlet, offers no real protection
  • Poor penetration for a Tier 6 heavy
  • One of the worst stock grinds: extremely sluggish due to underpowered engine, lousy gun and weak turret with huge cupola

Performance

Stock, the VK 30.01 (P) comes with the same 75 mm gun as the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H, the penetration of which is unfortunately woefully inadequate at tier VI. The stock engine meanwhile provides the maneuverability of a superheavy tank. While this may provide an early taste of what the Maus has to offer, the incredibly weak engine is a severe handicap, even for a heavy tank.

Fully upgraded, the VK 30.01 (P) is a workable support tank with good top speed. You can and should flank with it when you can, but this tank is let down by sluggish turret traverse, and it tends to take a while to accelerate to its top speed (lowered from 60 to 45 in 1.9). It can also be an effective sniper, as it can make use its thick gun mantlet, making hull-down tactics somewhat effective. When done properly, poorly aimed shells may penetrate only the gun mantlet, but not the actual turret. As always, a lot depends on the matchmaker (i.e. the tier of tanks you are up against). Its decent power to weight ratio (with the upgraded engines) and relatively high top speed allow it to get to and stay at the front lines, but it's no longer able to exploit gaps or rush to help in an emergency nearly as well as it used to.

Early Research

  • The FuG 12 radio carries over from the Pz. IV H and should be installed immediately. The 10,5 cm Kw.K. L/28 also carries over, but is locked behind the second turret.
  • First, research the 2x Porsche Typ 100/1 engine for a much-needed increase in horsepower.
  • Next, research the 8,8 cm Kw.K. 36 L/56 gun for a great boost to firepower.
  • Research the Vk 30.01 (P) verstärkteketten suspension and the Vk 30.01 (P) Krupp Turm turret for improved survivability.
  • Research the 2x Porsche Typ 100/3 for another small boost to horsepower.
  • Finally, research the 7,5 cm Kw.K. 42 L/70.

Suggested Equipment

Gallery

Historical Info

In 1937, along with Henschel, Porsche was given the task of build the medium tank that would replace Panzerkampfwagen IV. Its design was supposed to be capable of being armed with 75mm L/24 or even if possible 105mm L/28 gun and one 7.92mm MG34 for local defence. VK3001(P) was Porsche's first design since 1927's Grosstraktor I and its drawings were finished by September 5th of 1939 by Porsche's Chief Engineer Karl Rabe.

Prototypes were supposed to be fitted with turrets manufactured by Krupp. Porsche considered arming the vehicle with 105mm KwK L/47, 105mm KwK L/52 gun and finally with 88mm KwK 36 L/56 gun (developed from 88mm Flak 36 gun). Six turrets armed with 88mm guns were ordered in April of 1941, but none were produced. Leopard's turret was similar in appearance to that used on Tiger(P) and Tiger. Porsche planned to power VK3001(P) with gasoline-electric power/drive system (two air-cooled Porsche Typ 100 engines by Steyr and electric transmission). Only one or two turretless prototypes were completed by Nibelungenwerke in St.Valentin, Austria in late (October) 1941, out of 3 hulls originally ordered. Although many problems were encountered with its advanced power and drive system, prototype(s) performed well. During tests prototype(s) reached maximum speed of 60km/h but its fuel consumption was 170 liters per 100 kilometers. In order to solve the engine problems, Porsche designed diesel engine (Porsche Typ 200) but it was never produced.

VK3001(P) program was abandoned and two prototypes were used extensively in the development of VK4501(P) - Porsche's Tiger, which started in July of 1941. In order to transport VK3001(P) tank, Porsche designed special tank transporter (Panzertransporter Porsche 142), but this project was also abandoned. Tests continued until May of 1942, but VK3001(P) never went into production just like VK3001(H) and VK3601(H).