1000-ton Panzer

By Gary Zimmer
Illustration provided by Richard Simmie.

In June 1942 Hitler and Krupp discussed the feasibility of a one thousand ton superheavy tank. Unusually, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche does not seem to be involved, although this project would be right up his alley. As of 29 December 1942 some preliminary drawings at least had been done, as the date on the drawing shows. By then the machine had been named 'Ratte' (Rat).

If built, P.1000 would have dwarfed its little cousin, Maus. Intended to be 35m long, 14m wide and 11m high, and armed with an ex-Kreigsmarine turret with two 28cm ShiffsKanone C/28. In other words a triple turret similar to those used on the Graf Spee class, but without the centre gun. Each gun weighed 48.2 tons and had a barrel length of nearly 15m. Projectiles were 1.2m long, Panzersprenggranate (armour piercing) rounds weighing 330 kg each and containing 8.1kg of explosive, or 315kg Sprenggranate (high explosive) rounds containing 17.1kg of explosive. The maximum range of these guns was 42.5km (26 miles). Some sort of secondary anti-aircraft armament in the form of 2cm Flak guns was planned.

One feature of the design, as indicated on the drawing, was the use of triple tracks, each individual track being 1.2m wide. Power was to have been eight Daimler marine engines (presumably E-boat), developed to produce a total 16,000 hp.

There are some anomalies in the design of Ratte, as depicted. The ammount of track in contact with the ground is inconsistent with the weight of 1000 tons, either it will have a rediculously low ground pressure, meaning that all that track is not necessary; or it will be heavier than 1000 tons. If we imagine the centre hull between the tracks to be an armoured box, without worrying yet about the belly or roof, and 200mm thick (and that is a bit light on by battleship standards), it works out to be about 730 tons on its own. That doesn't leave a whole lot for suspension, tracks, engines, belly and deck armour. The pair of guns on their own would be another 100 tons, and we can assume that the turret would have to be armoured to at least 250mm. If we include the barbette, the turret should account for at least 380 tons, not counting guns, gun mounts and shell hoists. The ammunition stowage is anybody's guess, but bear in mind every three rounds adds another ton to the total weight. If Ratte was built, it would probably end up closer to 2000 tons.

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