Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Entwicklung series


The Entwicklung series, more commonly known as the E-series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardised series of tank designs. There were to be standard designs in six different weight classes, from which several specialised variants were to be developed. This was necessitated by the extremely complex tank designs that had resulted in poor production rates and mechanical unreliability.

The E-series designs were simpler, cheaper to produce and more efficient than their predecessors, however their design involved only modest improvements in armour and firepower over the designs they were intended to replace, such as the Hetzer, Panther G or Tiger II, and would represent the final standardisation of German armoured vehicle design where the American M26 Pershing, the British Centurion Mk 3 and Soviet T-44 tanks, which would have been the Entwicklung series' contemporaries and likely opponents.


E-5
The E-5 was supposed to be 5-10 tonnes in weight and form the basis of a family of light tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, tank destroyers and armored personnel carriers.

E-10
The E-10 design was developed as a replacement of the Panzer 38(t) and the designs based on it. The 38(t) chassis was enlarged and redesigned. This new design was to be called PzKpfw 38 (d), d standing for deutsch ("German") as opposed to (t) for tschechisch ("Czech"). The designs based on this new chassis would all be in the 10 to 25 tonnes weight class.

The intention was to create several new light tank destroyers as a replacement for the Jagdpanzer 38(t), as well as a new family of Waffentr├Ąger armed with heavy anti-tank guns.

E-25
The E-25 designs, in the 25-50 tonnes weight class, were to be the replacements of all Panzer III and Panzer IV based designs. This family would include medium reconnaissance vehicles, medium Jagdpanzer and heavy Waffentr├Ąger.

E-50 Standardpanzer
The E-50 Standardpanzer was intended as a standard medium tank, replacing the Panther and Tiger I and the conversions based on these tanks. The E-50 hull was to be longer than the Panther, in fact it was practically identical to the King Tiger in overall dimensions except for the glacis plate layout. Compared to these earlier designs however, the amount of drilling and machining involved in producing these standardpanzers was reduced drastically, which would have made them quicker, easier and cheaper to produce, as would the proposed conical spring system, replacing their predecessors' complex and costly dual torsion bar system. As indicated by its name, the weight of the E-50 would fall between 50 and 75 tonnes. Its maximum speed was planned as 60 km/h.

Other sources shows that the E-50 Standardpanze Schmalturm would have been used, with a variant of the 88 mm L/71 gun. Either a higher velocity round or a higher caliber cannon. The turret would be a variant of the early panther Turrets. The Engine was an improved Maybach HL234 which had 900 hp to 1200 hp with supercharging. Maximum speed was supposed to be 40 km/h. In many respects it was almost identical to the Panther II besides with the conical spring system.

E-75 Standardpanzer
The E-75 Standardpanzer was intended to be the standard heavy tank to be used as a replacement of the Tiger II and Jagdtiger. The E-75 would have been built on the same production lines as the E-50 for ease of manufacture, and the two vehicles were to share many components, including the same Maybach HL 234 engine. The E-75 would have had much thicker armour however, and in fact compared to the Tiger II the E-75 had improved hull armour all round. As its name indicates, the resulting vehicle would have weighed in at over 75 tonnes, reducing its speed to around 40 km/h. To offset the increased weight, the bogies were spaced differently than on the E-50, with an extra pair added on each side, giving the E-75 a slightly improved track to ground contact length.

According to some sources, the similarities between the E-50 and the E-75 went further; they were to be equipped with the same turret and 88mm L/71 or L/100 gun, along with an optical rangefinder for increased long range accuracy (German scientists and engineers had successfully designed a 'schmal' or narrow turret and infra-red lighting and sights for use on the prototypes of the Panther F as the war drew to a close). Other sources however, indicate that the E-75 was to be fitted with the much larger Tiger II turret, which could be adapted to accommodate an even more powerful high velocity 10.5 cm gun.

Many sources indicate that the E-75 had 185mm – 80mm of armor. The original complex suspension by torsion bars was simplified with bogies. The standard Tiger II turret was equipped with 12.8cm KwK 44 L55 gun. The Engine was an improved Maybach HL234 which had 900 hp to 1200 hp with supercharging. Maximum speed was supposed to be 40 km/h. with these impressive facts, no allied tank or anti-tank gun could defeat this tank unless if shot several times at the 80mm are.(like the Vk.1602 leopard or the Sd.Kfz. 121 Pz. Kpfw II Ausf L. "Luchs(Vk.1301)light tanks).

E-100
The E-100 was to be a superheavy combat tank like the Maus, developed from an enlarged Tiger II chassis. It was to be fitted with the same turret as the Maus, although plans are also existed for two further turret designs. Development and building of a prototype E-100 started in 1944 but was largely abandoned after Adolf Hitler ordered an end to the development of the Maus.

Only the chassis was finished. It was taken to the United Kingdom for evaluation purposes and eventually scrapped.

The turret of the tanks had three versions. One was a Tiger II version, another was the Maus turret, and the last one was the Krupp turret. The Maus turret housed 150 or 170 mm KwK gun + secondary 75 mm KwK gun. The Krupp turret housed the deadly 128 mm KwK gun + secondary 75 mm KwK gun. The Tiger-Maus Variant only had a 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 (75 rounds). Amour was 240mm-40mm.

Development drawings have been circulated for E-100 variants including an E-100 with a twin 55-mm anti-aircraft turret (Alligator) and a tank destroyer mounting a 152/170mm gun (Krokodil). Although the subject of models and much discussion, it is not clear whether these would have proceeded to production with the E-100 itself.

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