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"VK 36.01: Half a Step from the Tiger" Topic

11 Posts

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World War Two on the Land

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2018 9:39 p.m. PST

"Henschel's tank program looked somewhat comical in late 1941 and early 1942. The company was working on three heavy tanks at the same time. The lifeline of one of them, the VK 30.01(H), was just about to end, but work was still going on in December of 1941. The second tank being developed was the VK 45.01(H). Another tank, indexed VK 36.01, took the place between them in mass. The story of the first tank with a tapered bore gun that nearly went into production was far from simple.

Rapid weight loss

The VK 36.01 project appeared due to the "siege tank" program, approved by the Commander of the Land Forces, Major General Walther von Brauchitsch on November 24th, 1938. According to this concept, three tanks would be developed with the size and layout of the PzI, PzII, and PzIV. In the first case, the result was the PzI Ausf. F, in the second the PzII Ausf. J, and in the third, the VK 65.01. Initially, the VK 65.01 was indexed S.W. The 65 ton class tank would have 80 mm of armour. 75 mm and 105 mm guns (the latter would have a length of 20 calibers) were considered as weapons. A decision to install a 75 mm KwK L/24, the same gun as on the PzIV, was made in June of 1939…."


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Legion 429 Sep 2018 7:51 a.m. PST

Of course it still surprises me it took a while for the Germans to get that sloping armor on a Tank is "better" than a rectangular "box on tracks". E.g Pz 1 thru IV and VIa, generally.

They got the idea for sloping armor from the USSR's T-34, etc. it appears. E.g. the Pz V and VIb.

Fred Cartwright30 Sep 2018 7:54 a.m. PST

They got the idea for sloping armor from the USSR's T-34, etc. it appears. E.g. the Pz V and VIb.

Or the French. Sloped armour is not without its drawback. It reduces the internal volume of the tank quite considerably. You will notice that the Sherman had a sloped front, but the sides are straight. To slope the sides as well would have needed a wider tank, which means you can get less of them in a ship. Keeping the same width would have had serious consequences for ammo stowage if the sides were sloped.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2018 3:20 p.m. PST

Good point!.


donlowry30 Sep 2018 4:45 p.m. PST

The M10 and M36 TDs, on the same chassis as the Sherman, had sloped armor on the sides.

Fred Cartwright30 Sep 2018 11:43 p.m. PST

The M10 and M36 TDs, on the same chassis as the Sherman, had sloped armor on the sides.

Yes and were wider than the M4, and carried significantly fewer main gun rounds. In the case of the M36 less than half a 75mm armed Sherman. Being a dedicated AT vehicle, at least in theory, that was obviously deemed acceptable.

Fred Cartwright01 Oct 2018 3:06 a.m. PST

Oh and I realise the 90mm round is bigger than the 75, but even the 76mm Sherman could carry a third more rounds than the M10.

Lion in the Stars01 Oct 2018 3:58 a.m. PST

M10s weren't particularly armored, the sloped sides was to get some attempt at protection from .50cal and 15mm from only enough steel to stop rifle fire.

It effectively prevented the sponsons (area above the tracks and under armor) from being used as ammo stowage, which was the Sherman's greatest weakness.

Legion 401 Oct 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

Sloped armour is not without its drawback.
No doubt, but it does have some advantages too. It really all comes down to what one wants/needs in the design of an AFV.

[Of course I'm a bit biased. Riding around in M113s with flat sides and the best armor is in the front. Because that is where engine is … frown And yes, the M113 was an APC and not an IFV or even an MBT. But as we see in some cases, e.g. the IDF today uses MBT chassis converted to APCs.]

M10s weren't particularly armored,
Most US AFVs were not …

Fred Cartwright01 Oct 2018 10:43 a.m. PST

Can't think of any modern AFV's with sloped sides though, but then there is very little hull above the tracks now.

Legion 401 Oct 2018 3:08 p.m. PST

True but yes the tracks take up much of many AFVs' flanks. However, e.g. the M1 has "high-tech" flank armor side skirts.

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