Porsche Type 100, VK 3001(P)


Drawing by H. L. Doyle

In 1939, the German army indicated the need for a tank in the 30-ton weight class. This led to the development of several VK 3001 projects by four competing manufacturers: Porsche KG, Henschel and Sohn, Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuernberg (MAN), and Diamler-Benz. The competing designs were designated by a letter following the prototype code. Therefore, the Porsche entry into the VK 3001 competition was referred to as VK 3001(P).

The technical data for the Leopard is as follows:

VK 3001(P) "Leopard"
Crew: 5 Armament: one 7.5cm KwK L/24 (or one 10.5cm KwK L/28) + one 7.92mm MG34
Weight: 30 tons Traverse: 360o (electric)
Length: 6.58 meters Elevation: -10o +20o
Width: 3.8 meters Engine: Two Porsche Typ-100 petrol
Height: 3.05 meters Gearbox: Electric drive (powered by petrol engines)
Radio: FuG5 Speed: 60 km/hr

This vehicle was the first to use Dr. Porsche's petrol-electric drive. The gasoline engines drove electric generators, which in turn powered the electric motors which propelled the vehicle. Porsche also used logitudal torsion bars mounted externally (rather than the internal lateral arrangement of the Panzerkampfwagen III. The engine and suspension arrangement is clearly visible in the interior drawing below.

Front and Rear Views

Drawing by H. L. Doyle

Top View

Drawing by H. L. Doyle

Interior View

Drawing by H. L. Doyle

The vehicle had 75 to 80mm armor on all front surfaces. Side armor was universally 60mm, while rear armor varied from 40 to 60mm. The project was abandoned in 1941 when the armament criteria changed. The army at that point wished to mount the 8.8cm gun in any tank heavier than the Panzer IV which the turret of the VK 3001(P) could not accept this gun (nor could any other VK 3001). The only flaw discovered in the design was the unreliability of the gasoline engines. Experience gained by Porsche with the development of the VK 3001 was used in the development of the VK 4501(P). This vehicle was one of the two prototypes entered in the competition which resulted in the Tiger I tank.


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