PANZERKAMPFWAGEN VII LÖWE
By Rob Arndt
1942 Leopard Design
The development of this super-heavy tank started as early as 1941, when Krupp was performing studies of super-heavy Soviet tanks.
In November 1941, it was specified that the new heavy tank was to have 140mm front armor and 100mm side armor. The vehicle was to be operated by five men crew - three in the turret and two in the hull. This new Panzer was to have a maximum speed of some 44km/h being powered by a 1,000hp Daimler-Benz marine engine used in German S-Boots (motor torpedo boats). The main armament was to be mounted in the turret. The weight was to be up to 90 tons.
In the early months of 1942, Krupp was ordered to start the process of designing a new heavy tank designated PzKpfw VII Löwe (VK7201). Its design was based on a previous project by Krupp designated VK7001 (Tiger-Maus) and created in competition with Porsche's designs (including first Maus designs).VK7001 was to be armed with either 150mm Kanone L/37 (or L/40) or 105mm KwK L/70 gun. Löwe was to utilize Tiger II's components in order to simplify the production and service.
Designers planned to build two variants of this streamlined vehicle with rear mounted turret. The Leichte (Light) variant would have frontal armor protection of 100mm and it would weigh around 76 tons. The Schwere (Heavy) variant would have frontal armor protection of 120mm and it would weigh around 90 tons. Both variants would be armed with 105mm L/70 gun and coaxial machine gun. It is known that 90ton Schwere Löwe was to have its turret mounted centrally and in overall design resembled the future Tiger II. Variants of the Löwe were both to be operated by the crew of five. It was calculated that their maximum speed would range from 23km/h (Schwere) to 27km/h (Leichte).
Adolf Hitler ordered that the design Leichte Löwe was to be dropped in favor of Schwere Löwe. The Löwe was to be redesigned in order to carry 150mm L/40 or 150mm L/37 (probably 150mm KwK 44 L/38) gun and its frontal armor protection was to be changed to 140mm. In order to improve its performance, 900-1,000mm wide tracks were to be used and top speed was to be increased to 30km/h.
In late 1942, this project was cancelled in favor of the Porsche development of the Maus. During the development of Tiger II, designers planned to build a redesigned version of the Löwe (as suggested by Oberst Fichtner), which would be armed with 88mm KwK L/71 gun and its frontal armor protection would be 140mm (as planned before). This re-designed Löwe would be able to travel at a maximum speed of 35km/h and it would weigh around 90 tons. It was to be powered by a Maybach HL 230 P 30, 12-cylinder engine producing 800hp. Löwe would be 7.74 meters long (with the gun), 3.83 meters wide and 3.08 meters high. Löwe would be operated by a crew of five. It was planned that the Löwe would eventually replace Tiger II.
From February to May of 1942, six different designs were considered, all based on the requirements for Löwe. On March 6, 1942, the order for a heavier tank was placed and project Löwe was stopped in July 1942. The Löwe project never reached the prototype stage, but it paved the way for its successor's development - Porsche‘s 188 ton Maus.
Weight 90 tons [180,000 lbs]
Crew 5 Men
Length 7.70 m [25.41 ft]
Width 3.80 m [12.54 ft]
Height 3.10 m [10.23 ft]
Maximum Speed 30 km/h
Tracks 900-1000mm [3.6-4.0 ft]
Motor Maybach HL 230 P 30
Power 800 Hp
Production Status Project
Main Gun 88mm KwK L/71, 150mm KwK L/37 or 38
Hull and Turret
Front 140 mm/5.6 inch
Side 100 mm/4.0 inch
One of the first intelligence reports on the Tiger II, the new German heavy tank encountered in the fighting in Normandy, Tactical and Technical Trends, October, 1944. The odd name 'PanTiger' did not last long, and the Allies soon referred to the new tank as the Tiger II, King Tiger, or Royal Tiger.
PANTIGER, A REDESIGNED TIGER
NEWEST ENEMY HEAVY TANK
A new 67-ton German heavy tank - referred to variously as Pantiger and Tiger II - has been employed against the Allies this summer in France. Actually a redesigned Tiger (Pz. Kpfw. VI), it mounts the 8.8-cm Kw. K. 43 gun.
On the basis of a preliminary report, the general appearance of the new tank is that of a scaled-up Pz. Kpfw. V (Panther) on the wide Tiger tracks. It conforms to normal German tank practice insofar as the design, lay-out, welding, and interlocking of the main plates are concerned. All sides are sloping. The gun is larger than the Panther gun, and longer than the ordinary Tiger gun. Armor is also thicker than that on either the Panther or the Tiger. The turret is of new design, with bent side plates. In all respects the new tank is larger than the standard Tiger.
Principal over-all dimensions of the redesigned Tiger are as follows:
Length _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 23 ft. 10 in.
Width _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 11 ft. 11 1/2 in.
Height _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10 ft. 2 in.
Main armament is the 8.8-cm Kw. K. 43. It is equipped also with two machine guns (MG 34), one mounted coaxially in the turret and one mounted in the hull.
Armor thicknesses of the new tank are as follows:
Glacis plate _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 150-mm at 40° to 45°.
Hull side _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _80-mm vertical.
Superstructure side _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 80-mm at 25°.
Hull rear plates _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 80-mm at 25°. (undercut).
Superstructure top plates _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 42-mm horizontal.
Turret side _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 80-mm at 25°.
Turret rear _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 80-mm at 25°.
Turret roof _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 42-mm horizontal; front and rear sloped at about 5° from horizontal.
The suspension consists of front driving sprockets, rear idler, and independent torsion bar springing, with twin steel-rimmed rubber-cushioned disk bogie wheels on each of the nine axles on each side. The bogie wheels are interleaved, and there are no return rollers. Contact length of the track on the ground is about 160 inches.
"PzKpfw VII (schwere) Löwe".
STRANGE VEHICLES OF PRE-WAR