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German Super-Heavy Tank : Panzer VIII (Maus)

Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus (English: 'mouse') was a German World War II super-heavy tank completed in late 1944. It is the heaviest fully enclosed armored fighting vehicle ever built. Five were ordered, but only two hulls and one turret were completed, the turret being attached before the testing grounds were captured by advancing Soviet military forces. This vehicle was also built to compete with the Soviet heavy Kliment Voroshilov tank.

These two prototypes underwent trials in late 1944. The complete vehicle was 10.2m (33ft) long, 3.71m (12.2ft) wide and 3.63m (11.9ft) high. Weighing 188 metric tons, the Maus's main armament was the Krupp-designed 128mm KwK 44 L/55 gun, based on the 12.8 cm Pak 44 towed anti-tank gun also used in the casemate-type Jagdtiger tank destroyer, with a coaxial 75mm KwK 44 L/36.5 gun. The 128mm gun was powerful enough to destroy all Allied armored fighting vehicles in service at the time, with some at ranges exceeding 3,500m (3,800yd).

The principal problem in the design of the Maus was developing an engine and drivetrain which was powerful enough to adequately propel the tank, yet small enough to fit inside it – as it was meant to use the same sort of "hybrid drive", using an internal-combustion engine to operate an electric generator to power its tracks with electric motor units, much as its Porsche-designed predecessors, the VK 30.01 (P), VK 45.01 (P), and Elefant had. The drive train was electrical, designed to provide a maximum speed of 20km/h (12mph) and a minimum speed of 1.5km/h (0.9mph). However, during actual field testing, the maximum speed achieved on hard surfaces was 13km/h (8.1mph) with full motor field, and by weakening the motor field to a minimum, a top speed of 22km/h (14mph) was achieved. The vehicle's weight made it unable to use most bridges; instead it was intended to ford to a depth of 2m (6.6ft) or submerge up to a depth of 8m (26ft) and use a snorkel to cross rivers.

The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy fortifications in the manner of an immense "breakthrough tank", while taking virtually no damage to any components.

Model Specifications [wikipedia]