Saturday, 9 April 2016

Mythical Tanks

German secret tank projects are a common topic for internet arguments, reshuffling of facts, or outright falsifications. Some of this is done as a joke, some out of ignorance, and some intentionally. Today, let's seriously try to discover which of these phantom German creations are real and which are not.

Waffentrager auf E-100

The most frequently discussed and unusual vehicle in the German World of Tanks tech tree. This vehicle is completely made up by Wargaming. Initially, it was supposed to have dual 128 mm guns, but due to a lack of multiple gun support, it received an AA gun with an autoloader. Soon it will be replaced with a much more realistic project found in the archives. The reason for this replacement is primarily that it's too different from other vehicles in the tank destroyer branch.

GW Tiger (P)

This is the second SPG developed by Wargaming with no historical prototypes. It appeared as a result of lengthening the artillery branch to tier 10. Conceptually, the GW Tiger (P) is a logical predecessor to the GW Tiger, or Grille 17/21. Unlike the Waffentrager auf E-100, there are no plans to remove this vehicle from the game, as it fits into the tech tree perfectly. In addition, no real projects were found to replace it.

E-50 Ausf. M

The vehicle was developed by Wargaming and even patented. Nevertheless, it is not a complete fabrication. The E-50 Ausf. M is a conceptual vision of further development of the E-50 medium tank. The hull and parts of the turret are developed from ides from the original E-50 project. According to documents, a rear transmission was planned. Later, this idea was developed by the French when creating their own medium tank, the AMX M4. The E-50's engine migrated to that project as well.

Jagdpanzer E-100

Unlike the Waffentrager auf E-100, this vehicle was not created by Wargaming. This vehicle was originally called Sturmgeschuetz E-100, but don't let the name fool you: it was designed as a tank destroyer. Blueprint BZ 3364, as well as fragmented information from other sources, laid the foundation for this design. You can read more about this vehicle in a separate article. Despite the fact that no proper blueprints of the vehicle exist, its design is in tune with what Krupp was designing in the summer of 1944.

Jagdpanther II

Some over-eager "specialists" assign the credit for this vehicle to Wargaming. In reality, the vehicle was designed by Krupp engineers. In November of 1944, a project called Panzerjäger Panther mit 12,8 cm L/55 (Pak 80) was being worked on, a Panther-based tank destroyer with a rear fighting compartment. This design allowed the installation of a much more powerful 128 mm Pak 80 gun, the same one as was used in Jagdtigers. Since no changes to the chassis were mentioned in the documents, the in-game model uses the unchanged chassis of the Panther II.

VK 72.01 (K)

Another design attributed not only to Wargaming in general, but to the author of this article in specific. While he is honoured, he must admit that the VK 72.01 was also designed by Krupp. The VK 72.01 index appeared in early 1942. The requirements initially described a mass of 72 tons, but it rapidly grew to 90 tons, the same weight as the VK 70.01 by the end of 1941. A 105 mm or 149 mm gun was chosen as this tank's armament. In the spring of 1942, Krupp engineers began working on a variant of the tank with a rear fighting compartment. The VK 72.01 project changed so often over the pan of several months that claiming that the in-game implementation never existed is a very bold move.

E-90 (Pz.Kpfw. Tiger III S)

This tank is the product of the wild imaginations of internet historians that came about in the late 2000s. According to the creators, the Pz.Kpfw. E-90, or Tiger III S, is a lightened variant of the E-100. This statement bumps into a logical problem: the E-75 was supposed to replace the Tiger II, and the E-100 was supposed to share many components with the Tiger II. Why the Germans needed another heavy tank is something that human logic cannot explain. Nevertheless, this creation managed to break out from the internet and into print.

E-79 Schwartzwolf VK 66.01

10 years before World of Tanks, ASCII Corporation published a game called Panzer Front for the Sony Playstation. Aside from real tanks, it had made up ones like the E-79. World of Tanks developers are often asked when the E-79 will appear in their game. This is an interesting question, but there are enough made up tanks in the game that adding another one makes no sense. Plus, the issue of copyright must still be considered.

E-100 Henschelturm/Adlerturm

This tank was designed by a Chinese plastic model company. According to their design, Henschel developed a turret for the E-100 as an alternative to the stock turret. Internet historians took it one step further, alleging that Adlerwerke designed another turret. Both "engineers" are lousy specialists of German armour history. Henschel never designed tank turrets, that was the job of Krupp. Adler also had nothing to do with turrets, as they were working on the E-100's suspension. In other words, the E-100 Henschelturm and E-100 Adlerturm are fantasies of people who have no knowledge of German tank design.

Sturmgeschuetz 40 T-34

This strange apparatus (top photo) appeared several decades ago in magazines and books dedicated to the StuG III. Allegedly, the casemate of a StuG 40 Ausf. F/8 was installed on a captured T-34 chassis. Particularly eager publishers even provide a coloured projection of the tank. In reality, it is nothing but a photoshop (original photo on the bottom).

Flakpanzer T-34

According to unconfirmed sources, Kampfgruppe Kienast used a captured T-34 converted to use an 88 mm Flak 18 AA gun. A photo of this vehicle is shown as proof. With stunning regularity, this photo comes up on forums along with demands to add this vehicle to World of Tanks. A simple search quickly reveals that this is a photoshop with a captured T-34-85 as the base. There was a real Flak 18 carrying tank, the PzIV, discovered by Americans at a junkyard for German vehicles in the Czech Republic.

Jagdpanzer E-50

This unusual design is the product of French artist Hubert Cance. According to the author, this is was a tank destroyer on the E-50 should look like. In reality, no SPGs were designed on the E-50 chassis, and even the E-50 itself did not move past the concept stage. Consider the fact that Hubert Cance shoved all crew members into the casemate. He managed to do the same with the Jagdpanther II. On factory blueprints of the Panzerjäger Panther mit 12,8 cm L/55 (Pak 80), there are clearly seats for the driver and hull gunner in the hull. The place where Hubert Cance put them is actually occupied by the cooling system.

15 cm Sturmgeschuetz E-75

Not too long ago, Trucks & Tanks magazine published this monstrous design by Hubert Cance. It was based on rumours of an SPG allegedly developed on the E-75 chassis with a 149 mm L/52 gun. There is some information on this SPG in literature, but it is a mistake. The gun was indeed planned, at least on paper, but for the VK 70.01 in early 1942. Judging by the documents, the plan was for a tank, and not an SPG. As for this reconstruction, its realism is rather dubious. The load on the front road wheels would be absolutely horrible.

Sturmgeschuetz Maus

This project has a basis in reality, but Hubert Cance failed us yet again. It is completely unclear where the engine goes in this design, or the generator, or any other components. A rear fighting compartment would have been much more logical.

Kampfwagenvernichter Ausf. F (E-100) Krokodil

Another one of Hubert Cance's creations, published in 2007 in the Battailes & Blindes magazine. The concept of a tank destroyer on the E-100 chassis was taken as the basis. The author applied his creativity and came up with a design inspired by the Jagdpanther. He clearly did not think about the load on the front wheels. In reality, this design would have been impossible, as the front wheels and suspension elements would break down constantly. Nevertheless, the "Crocodile" gained popularity, and is frequently requested in World of Tanks.

Kampfwagenvernichter E-90

An evolution of the E-100 Krokodil by internet "historians". This is a Krokodil on the chassis of the fictional E-90 tank. This design has the same flaws as the original, except this time, even its suspension has nothing in common with reality.

Geschuetzwagen E-100

Lastly, let's talk about a completely made up SPG from World of Tanks was was not made up by Wargaming. In late 2000s, a scale model builder made a Geschuetzwagen E-100. Despite the fact that the vehicle was completely fictional, the design was very convincing. It is very similar to the Grille 17/21 and logically takes the top place on the German SPG branch. Removal or replacement is not planned.


  1. Some of these are pretty cool and interesting, I would not mind them in game but I wish WG would just bloody label them as fakes instead of throwing them around as the real deal.

  2. Here is real and more reasonable conversion of T-34 to Kwk 36.

    1. I don't see how it's real, or how it can even be real. The breech of the S-53 is much smaller than that of the KwK 36.

    2. 1,Pull the gun to front and you have more space. 2,Its just layout,collars around the gun were probably removed 3,Using my average deduction in technical things I think its better way to replace kwk 36 and drill through mantled a little bit bigger hole then drill through 85 mm gun to 88 mm if there is shortage of soviet cannon shot. 4, It was possible to rearm it with 100 mm gun so why kwk 36 should be bigger problem.

    3. IIRC the Germans used *much* bulkier recoil-cylinder/recuperator layout than, well, pretty much everybody else. Which is presumabl why the Soviets could cram their KwK 36 equivalent into a 30-something medium tank whereas the smallest the German one fit into was a ca. 45-ton casemate TD. (The Soviet turretless stuff in *that* weight class conversely had 152 and 122 mm guns so, yeah.)

      Also, dem holes along the barrel. wat.

    4. Those aren't holes, those are kill marks, even though German kill marks were rings around the barrel. This design is complete fiction down to the paint job.

    5. Oh. Thought it was a spectacularly retarded recoil-compensator wannabe, given the QUALITY engineering otherwise on display...

    6. Ofc Kwk recoil system take more space than Zis. Gun elevation arc was definitely limited by this. T34-100 was real and its gun is in higher level with its muzzle velocity. So it could take even more space in turret than Kwk.

    7. Seeing as how the Soviets planned on refitting Tigers with D-10 guns, I doubt that it's larger.

    8. Soviet engineers had little trouble sticking that 100 mm gun in a quite compact ~36 ton medium tank (or a turretless T-34 hull for that matter). I'd say that rather strongly suggests it took up a LOT less space than the German 88 mm...

      Also the latter taking up more space than its Russian analog is by no means an "ofc" thing; the two guns fired shells of very similar size and mass at near identical muzzle velocities.

  3. Also, many Chinese tanks in WoT had some questionable history and technicalities. For example, the infamous 59-Patton.

    1. Wargaming basically washed their hands of Chinese tanks and just let their Chinese partners do whatever they want.

  4. the Info on the E-100 ausf B is Completely "Wrong"
    the turret is the "Copyright" of Michael Rinaldi.....2002
    it "never" had anything to do with Henschel.
    Back when Trumpeter came out with their 1/35 kit...
    I informe Rinaldi of this.... he went after them....
    now they have to give him credit of each kit.
    Then Modelcollect tried to do it in 1/72.....
    so I sicked him on them as well...
    now it says on their boxes as well "copyright Michael Rinaldi 2002"