K-Wagen (Super-heavy tank)

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It looked like a giant landship and was way ahead of its time: according to military historians, the ‘K-Wagen,’ also known as the Grosskampfwagen, was a German Super-heavy tank introduced during the WW1. However, the first two prototypes were only ready for testing by the time War had already ended.



Before the very first A7V tanks had been war-readied, the German War Ministry ordered the manufacturers to develop a new super heavy machine, a tank intended to be utilized in break-through situations during a battle.

The initial design was enormous and weighed upwards of 165 tons, which consequently caused more problems for other aspects of the design. Hence it was reduced to a more practicable weight of 120 tons; this was achieved by shortening the length of the machine which significantly reduced the weight of the entire structure.

At the request of Hindenburg, two functioning prototypes were built and the tank was almost complete and ready for deployment by the end of the war.



To have an idea of the enormity of the K-Wagen, consider a structure capable of carrying 27 men armed with seven MGo8 machine guns and four 77 mm fortress guns. These 27 men include one commander, two drivers, an artillery officer, a signaller, eight machine gunners, 12 artillerymen and two mechanics. During the beginning stages, the incorporation of a number of flamethrowers was also considered but was later scrapped due to the lack of space in the tank.

The hull of the giant tank consisted of six large modules that could be separated and then transported by rail: the fighting room, the control room, the transmission room, the engine room and two sponsors.

The commander of the tank had to send the messages and commands using a set of electric lights. One limitation in the K-Wagen was that the driver had no clue where the machine was heading: to steer the tank effectively the drivers had to entirely rely on the instructions given by the commander.

 
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