Super-heavy tank Maus: Porsche did not only make expensive cars

In the world of technology, many projects are "hacked" even at the stages of funding or testing. Armament construction is a separate topic altogether. Machines are created there either with the aim of intimidating a potential enemy, or with a very specific purpose. German super-heavy tank Panzerkampfwagen VIII "Maus", which was developed from 1942 to 1944, refers to both variants. However, its development was canceled anyway. However, it will not be superfluous to talk about the "Mouse" tank, because it is unique in its kind.

First of all, the uniqueness of the Maus is its enormous weight due to the armor hung on it. The Mouse was designed as a breakthrough vehicle, so the tank weighed almost 190 tons. It is no secret that in the Third Reich there were many talented engineers, some of whom worked for the benefit of other countries after the war. The Maus tank was developed under the direct supervision of the infamous Ferdinand Porsche.

Archival photo - Maus on a railway platform

Mouse on trials at Boeblingen. On board depicts an inverted hammer and sickle

Due to the enormous weight of the new vehicle, the designers used 1100 mm wide tracks, which provided ground pressure no higher than that of conventional heavy tanks. At the same time, during the tests, "Mouse" showed that fears about its cross-country ability were in vain.

In addition to Porsche, several other companies took part in the creation of Maus, each of which was responsible for its own part of the project. Krupp was responsible for the hull and turret, Daimler-Benz was responsible for the engine and Siemens was responsible for the electronics and transmission. After the delivery of the main parts, the general assembly took place at the Alquette plant.

Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus scheme

The tank's crew consisted of six people, among whom were the tank commander, the gun commander and two loaders located in the turret. The driver and radio operator were in the lower compartment. The Maus was armed with two guns, with a caliber of 128 mm (in the future it was planned to increase to 150 mm) and 75 mm, as well as a standard German MG-42 machine gun, caliber 7, 92 mm.

One of the drawbacks of the Maus tank (as well as its advantages in other areas) is its heaviness. Therefore, road bridges became a fairly strong obstacle when overcoming rivers. Because of this, German engineers proposed to ferry tanks in pairs along the river bed. The electrical cable connecting the tanks allowed one vehicle to steer the other, which was sealed and ferried to the other side without a crew.

Control cab with leather seats

However, these powerful tanks never took part in any of the battles. Due to the fact that Germany was unambiguously losing in the Second World War, by the end of 1944 it was decided to stop funding the project, because serial production of the tank became impossible anyway. In total, two prototypes were produced.

Both of them at the end of the war, the German command decided to destroy, due to the impossibility of their evacuation. However, only one has undergone any significant damage. Reproduced according to the restored drawings, another copy is to this day in the Armored Museum in Kubinka.

One of the experienced Maus destroyed by the Germans themselves

The restored Maus tank at the museum in Kubinka