Quick Look: Bolt Action Panzer VIII Maus Super-Heavy Tank

March 13, 2019 by johnlyons

John takes a Quick Look at Warlord's Maus and takes us through the history behind this massive tank.

The Panzer VIII "Maus" is a fascinating machine that bridges the line between WW2 proper and what we might consider "Weird World War" It is a real, physical example of just how far German engineers, Ferdinand Porsche in particular, were willing to push the boundaries of design and technology.

A quick look at this schematic drawing gives you a real sense of the level of complexity this tank incorporated. Layers of wheels encased in the thickest of armour, powered by a hybrid drive system using an engine from a German "S" Boat to power massive electric motors that drove the tank, and utilizing the biggest anti-tank gun available to the Germans at the time, a 128mm (5 inch) KwK 44 L55 gun. The Maus even went as far as to coaxially mount a 75mm KwK 44 L 36.5 gun, instead of a traditional machine gun!

The size and shape of the Maus is an image that every tank enthusiast has ingrained in their minds and it is not hard to see why. The tank is truly immense, weighing in at a bridge-bending 188 tonnes! But even it's weight is not as impressive as its very respectable road speed of 12Mph (estimated) Which could only have been achieved "efficiently" because of its electric drive system.

Two prototypes were produced, V1 and V2 respectfully. V1 was more used to test the mobility of the vehicle while V2 was to be the test bed for the tank's armament. And compared to two of its contemporaries, the Panzer 1 and Panzer 3, this tank made everything else look like a toy. And that was the point. This tank was to soak up damage and respond in kind, the idea was that it would take a position and hold it during an enemy assault. Taking the place of concrete bunkers (which could not be built in haste, but could the Maus really be considered a hasty defensive bunker?)

At the end of the war, this Maus was destroyed in Kummelsdorf (the German weapons testing ground) and the images really do show how immense the vehicle is.

Seeing the Russian soldiers looking around the vehicle puts into some real perspective just how ridiculous the tank is and how much of an easy target it would have been had it been actively deployed.

This tank now resides in Russia in the Kublinka tank museum. One of the most expansive armour museums in the world, where the V1 hull was matched to the V2 turret to allow visitors to get a sense of the power this tank might have had if it had rolled out into battle.

How do you think the Maus might have fared in the field?

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