Super-heavy tank K-Wagen (colossal)

In May 1918, the Italian officer, advocate of military aviation Dzh.Due devised to make public their eyes in the form of mind-blowing novel "Winged Victory." In the book, he "supplied" Germany with 2 tyschami "colossal tanks Krupp to 4000 tons (!) Weighing from 6 to 3000 hp diesel engines (Replacement of blocked 2) the speed of 4 km / h, the spray on the area of a semicircle with a radius of 100 m pep liquid crew … — 2 of man. " These monsters are useful only Douai in order to set off the power of his proposed "Inter-Allied Air Force," underwhelming in the novel the German and Austrian army attacks on the rear communications. Obviously, in essence similar monsters in Germany were not going to build, but the idea of "mobile fortress" still had found its last expression in the form of a first embodiment, the metal super heavy tank.

By the end of March 1917 Bid Head Command issued a demand for "sverhtank" weighing up to 150 tons Vollmer received from Inspectorate auto respective task forces. War Department approved the project «K-Wagen» (Kolossal-Wagen or just Kolossal) June 28, 1917. It was assumed that the tank will have a 30-mm armor, two or four guns caliber 50 — 77 mm, four machine guns, two flamethrowers, the crew of 18 people, two engines of 200 — 300 hp, will be able to overcome the trench width of 4 m at project development and the creation of the first reference was taken year, but reduced the rate of the Head of command that up to eight months. The program looked impressive — build 100 tanks with an initial order for 10. The estimated price of one such machine — more than 500 million Reichsmarks. The objective was not an easy task — most of the parts and components necessary to develop anew.

Tank circuit "K" in general borrowed from the British caterpillars clasped housing, and weapons — 4 guns and machine guns — was set on a large sponsons and pistol ports. But mutual accommodation units was similar A7VU: office management and combat — in front, power pack — behind. With all this fighting department without sponsors and new engine-transmission took about an equal volume of the body. The crew was again a record — 22 people.

In the department of management were placed two drivers. On the roof of the tank in the front of the cylinder mounted control cabin (turret) with observation slits on the perimeter and hatches in the roof. Felling intended for the tank commander and artillery officer.

Housing going from the huge tank rolled sheets are fastened with rivets and bolts. Removable sponsons were complex in shape. In the sloping front and rear walls of the sponsons were broadened gun-firing ports, which are installed in the 77-mm cannon caponier with automatic shutter. Rocking of the gun was mounted on a rotating pedestal with a semi-cylindrical shield and the fencing of the breech. To the left of fencing was the gunner seat. He used to drive the telescopic sight and coaxial flywheels. In the front wall of the sponsons at the corner housed the installation machine gun MG.08. The same machine gun had a narrow rear sponsons, in the sides and front plate of the driver's compartment.

Machine-gun fire from the rear had to drive mechanics primary responsibility is to monitor the status of the motor and box. Setting weapons answered all of the same claim radial firing — in any direction tank "K" could concentrate fire approximately equal density. The roof vents were sponsons.

Already the design weight of the tank forced to find more massive engines. For motor group chose two engines "Daimler" to 650 hp Exhaust pipes and mufflers radiators displayed on the roof at the rear of the chassis. The supplies of gasoline was 3,000 l .. The original design of different chassis: the flanged rollers on the type of train is not fastened to the body of the tank, and to track pads. Housing was wrapped around the edges rail guidance on which and the "run-in" caterpillar. Trucks going by means of bolts and rivets. The drive wheel — rear location, the upper branches of caterpillars with front and rear descending branches were covered with armored roof, the transition to the curved broneekrany.

It was planned to equip tank communications — radio operator took place before the engine compartment. For transportation by rail "K" can be disassembled into 15 — 20 pieces. Was supposed to make operational use of such giants realize quite hard. Of course, the command to believe in the possibility to break through in a few places the front of the Allied (remember the fantastic "machine Kaiser") by means of moving fortresses — a thought that occurred in those years in all the belligerent countries. But by October 18, 1917 Experienced department Car inspection of troops acknowledged that tank "K" type eligible for trench warfare. By arming the "K" was a machine-gun and artillery batteries installed in a "moving forte." A huge dead spot in the field of view of the control room was tolerable only for the "position" of the tank.

The contract for the construction of 5 copies of the "K" concluded with ball bearing factory "Ribe" in Berlin-Weissensee, 5 others — with "Vagonfabrik Wegman" in Kassel. Construction of tanks began in April 1918. By the end of the war in the "Ribe" almost added two one tank, were ready for the second set of hulls and the main components and assemblies, except engines. After the defeat of the Germans and the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles it all went for scrap.

Note that after a quarter century in Germany were again built two of the most languid tank-180-ton "Mouse", also did not accept the role in any battle. Interestingly, in both world wars, after breaking the course of events is not in their favor, the German military government gave out assignments and resources to "sverhtanki." Both times, the designers have pledged to these monsters some unique thoughts and decisions, and both times the Giants found themselves in the role of a stillborn child.

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