German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery


Prototype of super-heavy tank




The idea of a super heavy tank originated probably already in March 1942. Development work was assigned to Ferdinand Porsche and Friedrich Krupp company. The project was originally referred to as Mammut (the mammoth) but the name was soon changed to a little bit sarcastic Maus (mouse). Detailed blueprints of the new tank were accepted by the army ordnance office in January 1943 and construction of the first actual prototype was ordered.

First prototype of Maus tank was prepared in December 1943. It wasn`t a complete tank but just a chassis with armored hull and all the internal equipment because turret development was not finished at that time. The second prototype, which was finished in June 1944, was already a complete tank including armament.

Complete Maus tank weighed 188 tons which made it the heaviest fully enclosed armored fighting vehicle ever built. It used so called diesel-electric drive combining classical combustion engine with electro-motors. The main power unit was a Daimler-Benz DB 517 diesel engine with a swept volume of 44.5 liters and a maximum output of 1200 hp. The top speed on the road was about 20 km/h, off-road it was significantly less. Maus was armed with two guns. The main one was a 128 mm KwK 44 L/55, secondary was a 75 mm KwK 44 L/36.