Author: CaptainNemo Hello everyone, today, we have a nice guest article by Captain Nemo about the real vehicle project, that is in game known as the GW Tiger. I was actually quite impressed by the level of detail Nemo managed to get. Enjoy! I knew starting off that doing a “short” article on this subject would be hell and thought I might be well prepared for it. I was wrong on that account as even now I am dragging narrow snippits out of the mud and half-mentioned “in-passing-references” which various authors never knew would be important to somebody in the future. I would like to thank Senior Engineer Arnoldt, leader of the Henschel firm’s Haustenbeck Experimental Department at the tank test station for providing key information that the British thankfully recorded in their reports on technical equipment. Without the obscure information I would have a had much bigger black hole then I already have. Although I have yet to find a record of Mr. Arnoldt’s first name. In any case thank you Mr. Arnoldt for the records. CaptainNemo. On the 6th of May 1942, Krupp presented the first proposals for an armored self-propelled carriage (gepanzerte Selbstfahrlafette) for mounting either a 17cm Kannone K72 (Sf) L/50 or a 21cm Mörser 18/1 L/31 (some sources say L/30, L/31, or L/32 but it’s all about where you measure from and I use L/31 here). The recoil system was to be the same double recoil system used by towed artillery (not sure 100% if this includes the not so towed artillery that had to be broken down into loads but I suspect it is) such as the upper limit on towed artillery, the 21 cm Mörser 18 L/31, which still had to be split into two loads to be moved. Now to make the best use of this new SPG it was decided that the vehicle would lower a base plate off the back of the vehicle and the gun removed from the vehicle to allow for all around 360° fire on what was essentially a pedestal mount up front under the front of the gun and a manoeuvrable rear rest. This would allow the rear of the gun to be quickly swung into any direction since most of the weight of the gun was supported on the base place. The base plate was to be carried/hanged off the back of the vehicle. The reasoning behind this was mandated so that the GW Tiger could be used in the costal defense role and having the base plate would allow for clear firing in all directions which was not a new idea. (It had been used on rail guns on rails and rail guns transferred to concrete fixed emplacements) but what was new was putting such a large gun on a tracked vehicle, giving it the ability to move reasonably well, and then setup to fire on a 360° mounting without the extensive amounts of time previously needed with railways guns, of such large calibers and power, to setup and prepare the mounting or be restricted by the limitations of a railway network. I mention the date at the start of the article because it is mentioned in what little source material there is for the GW Tiger. What is not always mentioned is the poor state of development (mechanically) that the Tiger tank was in at the time of the rather ambitious proposal from Krupp. In May on 1942 the engines were hardly working on the test stands, hulls were mostly on schedule as were the turrets but production was halted several times to adding modifications to the design and the first completed vehicle was tested in April. Such production plans incudes the sudden shift from a 50/50 split of hull production of hydraulic and electric transmission hulls to a nearly all electric transmission hulls which annoyed the hell out of Krupp on top of a laundry list of changes from Porsche for both turrets and hulls. Krupp was informed of this lovely change on the 8th of May just 2 days after his proposal. Krupp had set up his production line for the hulls to conform to the original 50/50 split of hydraulic and electrical transmissions which used slightly different configurations in the hull to fit the components. With all of this going on the proposed SPG was ordered to be done by November. But even Krupps planned production of hulls all to the electric transmission design never took off with production grinding to a halt in July of 1942. It is all the more remarkable that any of the Tiger (P)’s made it to testing grounds at all on top of the remarkable plans to rush 10 Tiger (P)’s to North Africa to support and reinforce Erwin Rommel. Ironically theses Tiger(P)’s would have made it to North Africa if not for mechanical problems occurring in the transmission. Contracts were issued for the 17cm Kannone K72 (Sf) L/50 in August of 1942. In November of 1942 it was decided to use SM-Stahl (carbon steel) in the construction of self-propelled guns in general and that armor plate in the construction of the Versuchsfahrzeug (experimental vehicle) chassis. It was also decided that the front plate of the GW Tiger would be changed from 30mm of Armor plate to 50mm of carbon steel which added 1.5 metric tons to the weight of the SPG and the sides would be 30mm of carbon steel. And then, after November 1942, the trail of information about the GW Tiger ends for an entire year when it was decided that instead of using the Tiger I’s engines, suspension, steering, and transmission for the GW Tiger, the GW Tiger would use the upcoming and more advanced Tiger II’s components. (Not 100% sure if it used the Tiger II’s chassis I am looking at photos to confirm.) The components were scheduled for delivery by January 1944 and like all German delivery schedules tended to slip towards the end of the war but were surprisingly able to be maintained for the most part. It would not be uncommon to have badly needed parts for projects like the GW Tiger be redirected to the frontline repair depots and thus put the project further behind schedule simply (most likely) because of its lack of a high priority. On 25th September of 1944 Reichsminister Albert Speer ordered the demonstration to Hitler on 15 January 1945 as soon as the GW Tiger was completed at the end of the year. Serial production was to then start at the rate of two per month. But with all of the bombing going on in Essen, Krupp on 7th December 1944 Continue reading →

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