Planned or Experimental Weapons

These weapons were planned then cancelled by the Reich or due to the end of the war.

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Flakpanzer Coelian

Flakpanzer Coelian was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun design by Rheinmetall during World War II for the German armed forces. It was intended to be armed with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank but was not built before the end of the war in Europe.

In the first years of the war, the Wehrmacht had less interest in developing self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, but as the Allies developed air superiority, the need for more mobile and better-armed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns increased. The Wehrmacht had adapted a variety of wheeled and half-track vehicles to serve as mobile forward air defence positions to protect armour and infantry units in the field as well as for temporary forward area positions such as mobile headquarters and logistic points. As Allied fighter bombers and other ground attack aircraft moved from machine gun armament and bombing to air-to-ground rockets, the air defence positions were even more vulnerable. The answer was to adapt a tank chassis with a specialized turret that would protect the gun crews while they fired upon approaching Allied aircraft.

As a consequence, the German Army High Command issued a demand for an anti-aircraft tank based on the chassis of the Panther tank design. Rheinmetall developed “Coelian” in various versions, including one with four 20mm MG 151/20 guns, but kept having to revise designs based on changing government requirements (such as demands for more modern guns with longer barrels). Eventually, in May 1944 a turret with a single 5.5 cm gun was developed, together with another with twin 3.7 cm FlaK 43 guns.

However, it soon became clear that no chassis would be available for Flakpanzers for a variety of reasons, including the Allies’ landing in Normandy, the increasing Allied strategic bombing offensive, and raw material shortages. By mid-February 1945, only a wooden prototype of the desired 5.5 cm turret model on a Panther D hull had been created.

Gepanzerter Mannschaftstransportwagen ‘Kätzchen’

The Gepanzerter Mannschaftstransportwagen Kätzchen (Gep. MTW Kätzchen) (German for kitten) was a German armoured personnel carrier of late World War II. Auto-Union delivered two prototypes during 1944-45. The hull’s shape was similar to the hull of the Panzerkampfwagen Tiger II, but much smaller. The vehicle had front wheel drive with five or six overlapping steel road wheels, possibly resembling the never-built E-25 “replacement tank”‘s suspension system in appearance. Power was provided by a Maybach HL50 engine.

Auto-Union was ordered to stop work on their design and instead, BMW was given the task of adapting the Hetzer tank destroyer chassis for the role. This was referred to as the Vollkettenaufklarer 38(t) Kätzchen.

Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster

The Landkreuzer P 1500 Monster was a German pre-prototype super-heavy artillery designed during World War II, representing the apex of the German extreme tank designs.

On 23 June 1942, the German Ministry of Armaments proposed a 1,000 tonne tank – the Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte. Adolf Hitler himself expressed interest in the project and go-ahead was granted. In December the same year, Krupp designed an even larger 1,500 tonne tank – the P 1500 Monster.

In 1943, Albert Speer, the Minister for Armaments, cancelled both projects.

Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte

The Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte (lit.: Land Cruiser P. 1000 “Rat”) was a design for a super-heavy tank for use by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was designed in 1942 by Krupp with the approval of Adolf Hitler, but the project was canceled by Albert Speer in early 1943 and no tank was ever completed. At 1,000 metric tons, the P-1000 would have been over five times as heavy as the Panzer VIII Maus, the heaviest tank ever built.

Tiger III/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. 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 from 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 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 along with an optical rangefinder for increased long range accuracy. German scientists and engineers had successfully designed a Schmalturm, narrow-front turret and infra-red lighting and sights for use on the prototypes of the Panther Ausf. F as the war drew to a close.

The original complex suspension by torsion bars was simplified with bogies. The standard Tiger II turret was equipped with 8.8cm KwK 44 L71 gun. The engine was an improved, fuel-injected Maybach HL234 which had 900 hp.

German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History