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Maus Tank

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Germany directed an excessive amount of its design and production effort during the war into the construction of heavy and super-heavy tanks. The heaviest one to be completed was originally known as Mammut (Mammoth) and later as Maus (Mouse), and weighed not much less than two hundred tons.
On 8 June 1942 Hitler gave Dr. Ferdinand Porsche a contract to develop a super-heavy tank mounting a 12.8cm gun as main armament, and with a coaxial 7.5cm gun. Most of the design work was undertaken by the Porsche organisation and the vehicle was given the Porsche designation Typ 205 (Type 205). Porsche planned to use an electric transmission system in Maus, as he had proposed for his Tiger (P) tank design. This time, after some redesign, it was used and proved successful. He had intended to couple it to a new design of air-cooled diesel engine but he was overruled, because of time constraints, and a Daimler-Benz MB 603 engine was stipulated instead.
On 4 January 1943 Porsche showed Hitler a model of the Maus. It was now to be powered by an inverted MB509 petrol engine, derived from an aircraft engine, and soon after the armament specification also changed to include a flame-thrower. These and other changes resulted in a significant weight increase and Porsche’s proposed torsion bar suspension system (as fitted to the Porsche Jagdtiger) could not be used. Rather than waste time redesigning it a simple volute spring suspension was produced in collaboration with Škoda.
On 14 May 1943 a model of the redesigned Maus was demonstrated to Hitler. He ordered Krupp to redesign the turret, replacing the original 12.8cm weapon with a 15cm one. This was apparently done on the grounds that he considered the original gun looked too small for the size of the vehicle.
The construction of two prototypes of Maus started in August 1943, prototype V1 with the MB509 engine and prototype V2 with a new diesel engine adapted from the MB517 used in motor boats. V1 had its first trial runs on 23 December 1943 at Alkett, and on 14 January 1944 at Böblingen near Stuttgart. V1 conducted a number of trials between January and October 1944, mostly carrying a striped camouflage scheme and a Soviet hammer and sickle emblem for deception purposes. At the start no turrets had been completed so the tests were conducted with a 55 ton weight in place of the turret. V2 arrived at Böblingen on 1 March but had still not received its engine and so was towed off its train wagon by V1. V1 was moved to Kummersdorf, just south of Berlin, for further trials in October, soon after followed by V2.
As the war came to a close plans were made to produce 150 Maus tanks. However Maus V1 and V2 remained the only completed vehicles. Six hulls and turrets were found by the British at the Krupp testing ground at Meppen, and two hulls and three turrets by the Americans in the Krupp factory at Essen. The precise state of V1 and V2 at the end of the war is not known. A large number of photographs have been published showing V2 undergoing trials at Kummersdorf (though some sources say Böblingen) mounting a completed turret. Some sources indicate that V1 was also completed, but others state that it was probably still mounting the test turret (which would explain the extra turret at Essen). In any case, the Germans blew up the two completed prototypes just before the Soviets overran the Kummersdorf testing ground and photographs have been published showing the destroyed V2 hull mounting a largely undamaged turret. The Soviets captured both vehicles and have since released photographs showing a Maus in their possession. It appears, by comparison with other photographs, to consist of the hull of Maus V1 mounting the turret of V2. The hull shows signs of projectile strikes on its glacis plate that probably indicate post war testing of the armour by the Soviets.

Model Id:450
Manufacture:Krupp-Gruson Werk AG, Magdeburg, Germany (Chassis and turret manufacture)
Altmärkische Kettenfabrik (Alkett) GmbH, Berlin-Spandau, Germany (Final assembly 1943-4)

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

Number of Photos: 3
Sample Photo from Album Number 225

Click here or on the image for this tank's profile page

Unique ID: 225
Serial Number:
Other Identification:

This Maus has the hull of prototype V1; however its turret appears in a number of minor details to differ from the turret of V2 (it has a small hole in the turret wall just below where V2 had a pistol port, and its gun barrel appears slightly different and to be distinctively marked). It is not known whether it mounts the turret of V2 which has been modified by restoration or post-war testing or whether it is another turret altogether. Panels are missing from its fighting compartment roof and it appears that the fighting compartment interior is itself far from complete. It has been repainted since capture and now carries German cross markings.