Panzerkampfwagen Neubaufahrzeuge Heavy Tank

The Panzerkampfwagen Neubaufahrzeuge was a design for a multi-turreted medium-heavy tank that was produced in 1934-35 but that wasn't accepted for production.

The Neubaufahrzeuge ('new construction vehicle') was part of the second generation of German tank designs after the start of rearmament. It had elements from two earlier tanks. From the VK.2001(Rh) medium tank it took its basic chassis and suspension. It five double-roller trucks on each side, with rear-wheel drive, a raised front idler wheel and four return rollers. The general shape came from the 'Grosstraktor' heavy tank. Rheinmetall-Borsig, Krupp and Daimler-Benz each produced two prototypes of their own variants of the Grosstraktor in 1928-30, and they remained in use with the German Panzer regiments into the mid 1930s. All three had a raised front wheel and sloped down towards the rear, just as on the Neubaufahrzeuge.

Panzerkampfwagen Neubaufahrzeuge in Oslo
Panzerkampfwagen
Neubaufahrzeuge in Oslo

The Neubaufahrzeuge was armed with two main guns and three machine guns. The main guns were both carried in the turret. The first two prototypes were armed with a 7.5cm gun and a 3.7cm gun, with the 3.7cm gun mounted above the 7.5cm gun. On the three armoured prototypes Krupp produced a revised mounting, with the two guns side by side. One machine gun was mounted to the right of the main guns. The other two were carried in separate machine gun turrets, one at the front-right and one at the rear-left. These were very similar to the turret of the Panzer I, but carrying a single machine gun. The turret was carried towards the front of the vehicle. The driver sat at the front-left, below the main turret and to the rear of the forward machine gun turret.

Sources differ on the size of the main gun in the three armoured prototypes, with some giving it the same 7.5cm gun as the prototypes and others giving it a 10.5cm Krupp gun. Photographic evidence suggests that that latter is the case, with the larger gun in the side-by-side mounting appearing to be significantly wider than the 7.5cm gun of the vertical mounting.

Work on the Neubaufahrzeuge began either late in 1932 or during 1933. Two mild steel prototypes with the vertical gun mountings were completed in 1934 and three lightly armoured prototypes with the side-by-side mounting during 1935. By this point the German army had already lost interest in the type. In January 1934 work began on the vehicle that would become the Panzer III, armed with the 3.7cm anti-tank gun. This would be followed a little later by the Panzer IV, which would perform the infantry support role and carry a 7.5cm gun. The Germans didn't feel the need for any heavier armed tanks until they ran into the Soviet T-34 in 1941.

The Neubaufahrzeuge did see some combat. The three prototypes with the Krupp turret and at least some armour took part in the German invasion of Norway, arriving in Oslo in April 1940. Their main role was to provide proof that the Germans had heavy tanks available, but they did take part in the fighting in the Oslo area. One was then sent to face the British at Andalsnes, but had to be abandoned after getting stuck. The remaining two were kept at Oslo until the end of 1940. They then returned to Germany, where once again sources differ. Most agree that they were scrapped, but one has them taking part in Operation Barbarossa before being lost in 28 June 1941.

The Neubaufahrzeuge did at least succeed in its publicity role. In 1940 Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, a British wartime publication, included it as one of Germany's four main tank types, as the Heavy Medium Tank (along with the Panzer I, Panzer II and the Panzer III). It was given a 7.5mm gun and heavy machine gun as the turret armament, the layout was accurate, but it was described as being 'used extensively and in considerable numbers'!

Names

Stats
Production: 5
Hull Length: 6.6m/ 21.6ft
Hull Width: 2.98m/ 9.78ft
Height: 2.19m/ 7.18ft
Crew: 6
Weight: 23.41 tons
Engine: BMW Va
Max Speed: 30km/hr/ 18.6mph
Max Range: 120 km/ 74.5mph
Armament: One 10.5cm gun and one 3.7cm KwK L/45 in main turret, three 7.92mm MG13 machine guns in fore and aft turrets

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

15mm

13mm

13mm

13mm

Superstructure

13mm

13mm

13mm

13mm

Hull

20mm

13mm

13mm

13mm

Gun mantlet

15mm

 

 

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 August 2013), Panzerkampfwagen Neubaufahrzeuge Heavy Tank , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzerkampfwagen_neubaufahrzeuge.html

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