Sunday, March 22, 2015


Porsche-built design in the 30ton class as an alternative to the VK.3001(H). Cancelled in 1942 when the VK.30.01 requirement was dropped. Vehicle was externally similar to the VK.30.01(H) but had more novel mechanical features including petrol-electric drive and longitudinal torsion bar suspension as later perpetuated on the Porsche Tiger design. Also known as the Porsche Type 100.

The Tiger series had its origins in a number of tank developments initiated in 1937. In that year Henschel were instructed to design and construct a 30 to 33 ton tank intended to replace the early Pz Kw IV tanks, the vehicle being designated Dw 1 (Durchbruchswagen, or "breakthrough vehicle"). However, after one chassis with interleaved road wheel suspension had been built and testing had commenced, the trials were suspended in 1938 to allow work to be carried out on a further design for a 65-ton tank, the VK 65.01 (Vollkettenkraftfahrzeug-:-"fully tracked experimental vehicle, 65 tons, first design"). It was also known as the Sw (Sturmwagen) or Pz Kw VII. The VK 65.01 was itself a further development of the Pz Kw VI (Nb Fz Pz Kw VI; Nb Fz for Neubaufabrzeug-"new construction vehicle" of 1934, a multiturret design of which only a few were produced). Two prototypes of the VK 65.01 were built and were undergoing trials when this project was cancelled and development resumed on the Dw 1. By 1940 Henschel had so improved the original design that it was renamed Dw 2; in this form it weighed 32 tons and accommodated a crew of five. The planned armament was the short 7.5 cm gun with two Model 34 machine guns. Trials were carried out with a prototype chassis until 1941, by which time Henschel had received an order for a new design in the same class and weight as the Dw 2, the development code for the new vehicle being VK 30.01. This order was also given to Henschel's competitors Porsche, MAN and Daimler-Benz. The Henschel version, VK 30.01 (H), was a development of the Dw 2; four prototypes were built, differing only in detail from one another, two in March 1941 and two the following October. The superstructure of the VK 30.01 (H) resembled that of the Pz Kw IV, and the suspension consisted of seven interleaved road wheels and three return rollers per side. It was planned to mount the 7.5 cm L/48 gun in this vehicle, but due to the appearance of the Russian T -34 with its 76 mm gun the vehicle became obsolete and development was discontinued. Two of the VK 30.01 (H) chassis were, however, converted to self-propelled guns by lengthening a.'1d fitting a lightly armoured superstructure, and mounting a 12.8 cm K 40 gun. These two vehicles were used in Russia in 1942. The Porsche version, VK 30.01 (P), was also known to its designers as the Leopard. This turretless prototype incorporated several new design features such as petrol-electric drive and longitudinal torsion bar suspension. MAN and Daimler-Benz also constructed prototypes to this design but like the Henschel project they had become obsolete.

Concurrently with the order for the VK 30.01 an additional order had also been placed in 1941 for a 36-ton tank designated VK 36.01. The specification for this design had been proposed by Hitler and included a powerful high velocity gun, heavy armour, and a maximum speed of at least 40 kph. A prototype of this project was built by Henschel in March 1942, but experimental work on both the VK 30.01 and VK 36.01 was stopped when a further order for a 45-ton tank was received in May 1941. Designated VK 45.01, the vehicle was designed to mount a tank version of the 8.8 cm gun. With the order came a stipulation that the prototype was to be ready in time for Hitler's birthday on 20th April 1942, when a full demonstration of its capabilities was to be staged. As design time was limited, Henschel decided to incorporate the best features of their VK 30.01 (H) and VK 36.01 (H) projects into a vehicle of the weight and class required. Henschel planned to build two models, the type H1 mounting an 8.8 cm 36 L/56 and the type H2 a 7.5 cm KwK L/70, although the H2 existed only as a wooden mock-up at that time. Porsche had also received the order for the VK 45.01 and like Henschel they decided to use the experience and features from their previous model, the VK 30.01(P), which had performed well on trials.

Manufacturer: Nibelungenwerke 2 prototype chassis produced between 1940 and 1941
Crew: 5
Engine: 2x Porsche Typ-100
Weight (tons): 30
Gearbox: electric drive
Length (metres): 6.58 Speed (km/hr): 60
Width (metres): 3.8 Radio: FuG5
Height (metres): 3.05
Armament: One 7.5cm KwK L/24 or One 10.5cm KwK L/28 One 7.92mm MG34
Traverse: 360° (electric)
Elevation: -10° +20°
Armour: 26mm--80mm

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