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    Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus ("Mouse") was a German World War II super-heavy tank completed in late 1944. It is the heaviest fully enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever built. Five were ordered, but only two hulls and one turret were completed before the testing grounds were captured by advancing Soviet military forces.

    These two prototypes – one with, and the other without a turret – underwent trials in late 1944. The complete vehicle was 10.2 metres (33 ft 6 in) long, 3.71 metres (12 ft 2 in) wide and 3.63 metres (11.9 ft) high. Weighing 188 metric tons, the Maus's main armament was the Krupp-designed 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 gun, based on the 12.8 cm Pak 44 anti-tank field artillery piece also used in the casemate-type Jagdtiger tank destroyer, with a coaxial 75 mm KwK 44 L/36.5 gun. The 128 mm gun was powerful enough to destroy all Allied armoured fighting vehicles then in service, some at ranges exceeding 3,500 metres (2.2 mi).[2]

    The principal problem in the design of the Maus was developing an engine and drivetrain which was powerful enough to adequately propel the tank, yet small enough to fit inside it — as it was meant to use the same sort of "hybrid drive", using an internal-combustion engine to operate an electric generator to power its tracks with electric motor units, much as its Ferdinand Porsche-designed predecessors, the VK 3001 (P), VK 4501 (P), and Elefanthad. The drive train was electrical, designed to provide a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph) and a minimum speed of 1.5 kilometres per hour (0.93 mph).[3] However, during actual field testing, the maximum speed achieved on hard surfaces was 13 kilometres per hour (8.1 mph) with full motor field, and by weakening the motor field to a minimum, a top speed of 22 kilometres per hour (14 mph) was achieved.[4] The vehicle's weight made it unable to utilize most bridges, instead it was intended to ford to a depth of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) or submerge up to a depth of 8 metres (26 ft 3 in) and use a snorkel to cross rivers.

    The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy defences in the manner of an immense "breakthrough tank", whilst taking almost no damage to any components.
    Last edited by oldngruff; 19 Sep 18, 14:34.

  • #2
    In late 1942, the second half of the Battle of Stalingrad when the Red Army counter-attacked to encircle German 6th Army, they met with fierce resistance from German 48th Panzer Corps near the village of Ust-Medveditsky. An enormous tank battle raged for more than a day.

    The result? The German 48th Panzer Corps was annihilated.

    The reason? One of its units (the 22nd Panzer division) had more than 60 tanks not ready for battle - the electrical wiring in those tanks had been gnawed and chewed by field mice (which had got inside and nested in the tanks while the division had been in reserve behind front line with its vehicle standing idle.
    "Finally the German High Command made a move to cover its (6th Army's) flanks. The 48th Panzer Corps, stationed more than 50 miles southwest of the ominous Russian bridgeheads at Kletskaya and Serafimovich on the Don, received priority orders to move up to the threatened sector.

    Led by Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Heim, a close friend and former aide to Paulus, the 48th clanked onto the roads and headed northeast. But only a few miles after starting out, the column ground to a halt when several tanks caught fire. In others, motors kept misfiring and finally refused to run at all. Harried mechanics swarmed over the machines and quickly found the answer. During the weeks of inactivity behind the lines, field mice had nested inside the vehicles and eaten away the insulation covering the electrical systems. Days behind schedule, the 48th Corps finally limped into its new quarters. It was almost totally crippled. Out of one hundred and four tanks in the 22nd Panzer Division, only 42 were ready for combat."

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    • #3
      "We can't get a 45 ton tank to work properly, so let's go for a 188 ton tank."

      :thumbs:
      "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
      - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Don Juan View Post
        "We can't get a 45 ton tank to work properly, so let's go for a 188 ton tank."

        :thumbs:
        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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        • #5
          It only needs to get to the road to become a roadblock.
          Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

          Prayers.

          BoRG

          http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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          • #6
            The Hitler concept, as demonstrated in the 800 mm railroad gun, the Gigant, the Viking flying boats and the Atlantic Wall. Too slow, too heavy for bridges and probably got one or two miles per gallon of highly scarce fuel. And slab-sided, of all things, as though no one in the entire Third Reich had learned a thing about sloped armor. The Maus could have been somewhat workable if sloped armor had been employed to allow the beast to shed tons of needless weight.

            The sheer number of man-hours needed to make one of these dinosaurs would probably have tied up a factory for months, and all for nothing. A bunker that could trundle along at 10 mph tops.

            I honestly believe that had Hitler succeeded in obtaining an atomic bomb, he would have made it so big like all of his other grandiose creations that all of northern and eastern Europe would still be radioactive.

            Talk about trying to compensate for something tiny in his life...
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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            • #7
              "Let's build a mobile bunker we can use in the fortress lines our Fuhrer declares!"

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              • #8
                I seriously doubt that it would be possible to make a remotely viable 188 ton tank even with today's technology. It's like welding four M1 Abrams together and thinking it would be a goer.
                "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
                - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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                • #9
                  At the time, I don't think there was any way to move a 188 ton tank via rail either. It would have had to be disassembled first into lighter loads.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                    The Hitler concept, as demonstrated in the 800 mm railroad gun, the Gigant, the Viking flying boats and the Atlantic Wall. Too slow, too heavy for bridges and probably got one or two miles per gallon of highly scarce fuel. And slab-sided, of all things, as though no one in the entire Third Reich had learned a thing about sloped armor. The Maus could have been somewhat workable if sloped armor had been employed to allow the beast to shed tons of needless weight.

                    Talk about trying to compensate for something tiny in his life...
                    Not sure you can blame a possible inferiority-complex in Adolf for the Maus. In WWI, the Germans designed and built a 120-ton tank, the K-Wagen and IIRC the British were tinkering with a 100-ton tank. So perhaps he was just old-fashioned



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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cbo View Post

                      Not sure you can blame a possible inferiority-complex in Adolf for the Maus. In WWI, the Germans designed and built a 120-ton tank, the K-Wagen and IIRC the British were tinkering with a 100-ton tank. So perhaps he was just old-fashioned
                      I think, like a lot of technological ideas, these kind of super-heavy tanks are much easier to conceive than they are to engineer. In early 1941 Winston Churchill was imagining the British as having "great fleets of tanks" that would land in Continental Europe, and be supplied by the grateful and willing locals, so mad ideas were not purely the preserve of Adolf Hitler.

                      "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
                      - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Large weapons fascinated Adolf Hitler and he was prepared to authorise their development regardless of their actual cost and practicality. This tendency certainly extended to tanks. The P1000 project was intended to produce a super heavy tank and created a design for a colossal vehicle mounting the same turret that was used on German pocket battle ships such as the Graff Spee and the Lutzow. This land iron clad would have been armed with twin 11-inch (275 mm) guns. Had it been built it is difficult to see what use such a tank would have been, it would have been impossible to transport it anywhere and keeping it fed with fuel and ammunition would have been a logistical nightmare. The size of gun alone was sheer overkill. Albert Speer, the German armaments minister, was horrified at the potential waste of resources and managed to use the tangled bureaucracy of the 3rd Reich to place sufficient administrative obstacles and delays on the project so as to effectively kill it. Deprived of one fantastic project Hitler then issued verbal instructions to Porsche and Krupp for the design of a tank of more than 100 tons weight to be called the Mammut (Mammoth) thus bypassing the existing channels for examining and approving military projects (and Speer). The design was completed in 1943 and Hitler approved the construction of the vehicle, now to be called the Maus (Mouse).

                        Weighing 188 tons the Maus was the heaviest tank ever built. Like the P1000 its turret mounted two guns, a main gun of 150 mm calibre and a 75 mm coaxial gun (putting this in perspective the Tiger tank had a 88 mm main gun and a 9mm co axial machine gun). Power was provided by a 1,200 hp. diesel engine (a departure from the German practice of using petrol engines) that drove a generator that supplied electric power to two electric motors – one per track. The frontal armour was 240 mm (9.6 inches) thick.

                        It is difficult to understand some of the reasoning behind the Maus design. The use of a second heavy gun as the turret coaxial weapon is one example. The coaxial machine gun in most tanks serves three purposes. Firstly it can act as an aiming device for the large calibre gun by firing tracer at the target, when this is seen to score hits the main gun can be fired with a reasonable certainty of striking the objective. Secondly the machine gun can be used when one doesn’t want to completely obliterate the target or when a shell would be overkill (such as when attacking soft skin vehicles). Thirdly it can be used as a close quarters weapon to discourage infantry anti tank squads. Having a 75mm gun as the coaxial weapon meets none of these ends. Tanks often carry several types of ammunition, for example amour piercing solid shot and high explosive shells (the latter being effective against dug in anti tank guns and infantry). Having two large guns, firing different calibre ammunition, in the same turret could mean having to carry four types of ammunition. This must have not only made life difficult for the gunner but complicated the resupply task.

                        As with all very large tanks the Maus would have encountered serious problems in getting to the battle area. Even on its own it was too heavy for many bridges, combined with a transporter (assuming that one with enough capacity was available) the total weight would have caused significant problems. The tank was equipped with an ingenious means of crossing rivers in that it was watertight. Fitted with a breathing trunk it could ford rivers up to 24 feet deep. This needed a second Maus to act as a buddy; cables from one Maus on the bank would provide electrical power for the track motors thus avoiding having to use the diesel underwater. The pair could take turns in acting as the on land power supply. Whilst this was an imaginative solution it was highly impractical given the profile of many semi canalised Continental European rivers that have banks that are very steep below the water level. Attempts by the Germans to use submersible tanks in the initial invasion of the Soviet Union had hit the problem that it was easy enough to get into the river and suitably equipped light tanks could drive across the bottom (although the drivers’ visibility was usually totally obscured by churned up mud) but getting out the other side was often impossible. Bailing out of a stalled and submerged tank must have been an interesting proposition.

                        The Maus prototype was first trialed in late 1943 but the turret and armament was not fitted until mid 1944. By this time Germany’s economic position made manufacture of the Maus (at a planned rate of ten per month) impractical, nevertheless the project continued to struggle onwards still sucking in and tying up scarce expertise and material resources . By the time all Maus production ceased at the end of the war one prototype was complete, a second was still awaiting its armament and up to nine others were in various stage of construction. All were blown up as Allied forces approached.


                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cbo View Post

                          Not sure you can blame a possible inferiority-complex in Adolf for the Maus. In WWI, the Germans designed and built a 120-ton tank, the K-Wagen and IIRC the British were tinkering with a 100-ton tank. So perhaps he was just old-fashioned
                          The British version was aptly named the Tortoise, while America experimented with the T-28 Assault Gun.



                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                            The British version was aptly named the Tortoise, while America experimented with the T-28 Assault Gun.

                            Unlike AH's phalistic fantasies both the British and American AFV were intended for very specific roles.


                            With the development and deployment of the 17 pounder anti tank gun Britain finally had a weapon that could effectively combat the German Panther and Tiger tanks without having to get suicidally close. Adapting Sherman tank turrets to take this gun produced the Sherman Firefly, capable of meeting the big German tanks on something approaching equal terms. However the King Tiger came on the scene in 1944 and it was known that even bigger tanks might be under development. The very potent 32 pounder anti tank gun had been developed in order to be able to deal with these. Unfortunately the 17 pounder had been a difficult enough gun for its crew to manhandle on the battlefield and as the 32 pounder was too heavy to be practical as an infantry weapon a vehicle mounted version was needed. To this end the aptly named Tortoise was developed..

                            At 78 tons this was Britain’s heaviest ever tank. It was intended to be able to survive hits from Germany’s heaviest tanks and to destroy them with a more powerful shot. It had a huge cast armour carapace through which the 32 pounder gun protruded in a form of ball mounting. Work started on the Tortoise in 1944 but the first examples were not rolled out until 1947 by which time the threat of the Tigers and Mauses was more than somewhat academic. Only six were built. These were subject to various modifications during trials but in the end it was decided that it had all been wasted effort as the super heavy armoured vehicle had had its day and the new MBTs as represented by the Centurion were the future. The Tortoises were scrapped but within a very few years the military planners had changed their minds again and decided that the MBT needed heavy back up. As a result the Conqueror tank was introduced in 1955. At 65 tons this approached the weight of the Tortoise but it did have a rotating turret. Its chief purpose was to sit behind the Centurions and pick off at long range any Soviet heavy tanks that might threaten them. This was a cumbersome tactical doctrine and the better solution of up gunning the Centurions so they could deal with the Soviet heavies themselves was soon adopted. As a result within a few years the very expensive Conquerors were also obsolete and in turn consigned to the scrap heap.As a young lad I got to sit in a Conqueror and a rampant beast it was.

                            The American T28 was intended as yet another bunker buster and not a tank killer.. The Americans were expecting to have to deal with the remnants of the 3rd Reich holed up behind massive fortifications such as the much trumpeted Alpine Redoubt. The T28 (later reclassified as the T95 assault gun) was an intended to deal with this situation. At just under 85 tons this was another monster. Its general arrangement was very similar to that of the Tortoise with a very thick cast armour carapace through which protruded its main gun (a 105 mm high velocity weapon). It did have one ingenious feature that the Tortoise lacked, detachable track units. The T28/95 needed very wide tracks to bear its weight when travelling cross country but would be too wide for most ordinary roads and bridges. The solution adopted was to have the tracks on each side divided into an inner and outer section, each with its own set of wheels and suspension. For on the road travel the two outer sections could be detached and fitted together to form a tracked trailer to be towed behind the vehicle. The war ended in Europe (with no last stand in the Alpine or any other redoubt) before any T28/95 were completed. Only two were actually delivered in December 1945. By this time, like the Tortoise, it was without a target. Moreover the T29 tank had been developed in parallel to meet the same role, this carried the same gun but in a rotating turret. The two T28/95s were scrapped in 1947. A small number of T29s were used for evaluation but the lack of potential targets likewise sealed their fate and they too were disposed of within a few years.
                            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Don Juan View Post

                              I think, like a lot of technological ideas, these kind of super-heavy tanks are much easier to conceive than they are to engineer. In early 1941 Winston Churchill was imagining the British as having "great fleets of tanks" that would land in Continental Europe, and be supplied by the grateful and willing locals, so mad ideas were not purely the preserve of Adolf Hitler.
                              Sounds like something Fuller might have suggested - "Landships" and all that.

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