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12.8cm Panzerselbstfahrlafette V Self-Propelled Gun

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On 25 May 1941 Hitler ordered the development of new self-propelled weapons mounting guns of 10.5cm and 12.8cm calibre. This was in response to a perceived need for vehicles capable of attacking bunkers and fighting new heavy tanks expected to be produced by Britain and America. The Panzerkampfwagen IV chassis was used to mount the 10.5cm gun to produce the 10.5cm K18 L/52 auf Panzerselbstfahrlafette IVA, but was not considered heavy enough to take a 12.8cm gun.
During development of the tank designs that led to the Tiger, namely the VK3001, VK3601 and VK4501, a number of chassis were built which were never completed as tanks and were therefore available for other uses. Two VK3001(H) chassis were chosen, as a result, to mount the 12.8cm weapon under the designation 12.8cm Panzerselbstfahrlafette V.
Four prototypes of the VK3001(H) had been produced, two in March 1941 and two seven months later. Two of these four chassis were used as trials vehicles at the Haustenbeck and Kummersdorf proving grounds, while the others were converted to PzSfl V self-propelled guns by Rheinmetall Borsig of Dusseldorf. The conversion involved replacing the original superstructure with a new, lightly armoured, open-topped fighting compartment mounted at the vehicle rear. To accommodate the extra weight and the exceptional length of the main armament, the chassis was extended and an extra roadwheel station was added to each side. Two small, protruding crew stations were built at the front of the vehicle, one on either side of the hull, in order to house the driver and radio operator.
Both examples of the PzSfl V were sent to the Eastern Front during 1942. They were apparently popular with their crews and were nicknamed “Stubborn Emil”. One of them was photographed in July 1942 near the Don River, in service with the 2nd Panzer Division. Its only markings appear to have been white balkenkreuz national insignia crosses on each forward side of the superstructure, and 22 white kill rings on the gun barrel.
Both vehicles were captured by the Russians during 1943, one at Stalingrad and the other at Kharkov. One was put on display in 1944 with a Brummbär and other captured vehicles. It was apparently missing the radio operator’s raised crew position as well as roadwheels from the fifth, sixth and seventh roadwheel stations on the right hand side. Also, it was fitted with a mounting for spare track links on the vehicle nose which was probably a field modification. Its only markings appear to have been a white balkenkreuz and a small white shield emblem on each forward side of the fighting compartment.

Model Id:330
Manufacture:Henschel und Sohn, Kassel, Nordhessen, Germany (Prototype VK3001 chassis manufactured 1941)
Rheinmetall-Borsig AG, Dusseldorf, Germany (Two chassis converted 1941)

1) Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Foreign Vehicles, Kubinka, Russia

Number of Photos: 8
Sample Photo from Album Number 81

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Unique ID: 81
Serial Number:
Other Identification:

This PzSfl V is the only one left surviving of the two examples built. It appears to be in good condition and to have a complete set of roadwheels.