A Pz I/Pz III Hybrid tank?

German weapons, vehicles and equipment 1919-1945.

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phylo_roadking
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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:04 pm

I think what has happened here, trying to puzzle my way thru that french site with old school fronglais, is that its a case of oh! Rheinmetall made these turrets, ergo Rheinmetall made them fit these chassis. Has to be hasnt it?

Er, No Thats what 60 yers later fecks up history for the next generation.

IF there was a series type like this no matter how few, we'd know of it. You DON"T loose a whole armour class no matter how small LMAO christ we're still tearing our hair out over TWO Maus' and ONE E100 !!!! ROFLMAO

Oh - i cant for the life of me remember where, but ive seen a pic of the "light armoured tractor" Versailles dodger, and this is not it.

phylo

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:08 pm

BUT the fact of the woodgas converter wud say to me that its not nor ever was a frontline item, now that I think of it. See the thread on flamethrowers and the poor buggers who carried them LMAO BUT was intended to be run regularly. More like some sort of internal security vehicle, like all the French tanks brought back into service. Because wood gas is AWFUL for performance , yes it wud run but not well or fast....so again why train on a vehicle with so FEW resemblances to the real thing?

phylo

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Post by Paul_9686 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:43 pm

I'll hold off on a final opinion, but I still have a gut feeling that this photo is not for real. I mean, I'm still looking at it and thinking that it's a "Feejee Mermaid" writ enormously large and given tracks.

That French site did nothing for me; sorry, Paulus. Much as I like and respect the French, their language is nearly incomprehensible to me.

Yours,
Paul

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Politruk
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Post by Politruk » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:51 am

Gentlemen,

The Internet source of the picture seems to be the following:

http://www.panzernet.net/panzernet/stra ... ky/pz1.htm

There is a caption in Czech, which unfortunately is above and beyond my language skills, although the text seems to mention training in one capacity or the other. Now, do we have anyone from the Czech Republic (or Slovakia) around, since here it is:

Pro cvičné účely vzniklo na základě tanku PzKpfw I ještě jedno velmi kuriozní vozidlo. Šlo o hybrid složený z podvozku tohoto tanku, jednoduché hranaté nástavby a věže tanku PzKpfw III. Také tento tréninkový stroj byl upraven pro pohon na dřevoplyn, který se vyráběl v kotli na jeho zádi. Jízdní vlastnosti stroje nebyly kvůli těžké věži a nízkém výkonu motoru nijak oslnivé, pro účely výcviku posádek to však bylo dostatečné.

Vedle všech zmíněných konverzí, které vznikly z tanků PzKpfw I verzí A a B však pokračoval i vývoj samotného tanku jako takového. I když pokračoval spíše v úvozovkách. Stroje PzKpfw I Ausf. C a F, které vznikly v průběhu války totiž již neměli s původním tankem Panzer I technicky téměř nic společného. Jednalo se o úplně nové stroje, které ovšem byly z rozhodnutí Waffenamtu pojmenovány Panzer I a zařazeny do stejné série jako všechny uvedené vozy. Není jasné co zbrojní úřad vedlo k tomuto kroku, ale pravděpodobně se pro ně stal určujícím počet členů posádky, kterou opět tvořili dva muži.

Regards,

Politruk

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Post by Njorl » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:11 am

Since Polish is a bit similar to Czech (at least in case of grammar and syntax) I decided to pick up the gauntlet. I used this dictionary as well. It was great fun reading it - similarities is one thing, but some words similar (or even the same) in writing and ponunciation can have extremely different meanings in Czech than in Polish. Of course this works both ways :D I tried to do my best.

First paragraph provided by Politruk goes more or less like this:
Another very funny vehicle emerged, developed for training purposes, from the basis of PzKpfw I. It was a hybrid comprising of afore mentioned tank's chasis, simple rectangular body (or rectangular single-block body/N) and PzKpfw III turret. This vehicle was modified to be powered with Holzgas, produced by generator placed on the back of vehicle. Driving performance wasn't astonishing, owing to heavy turret and low engine power. Nevertheless it was good enough for training purposes.

Second paragraph deals with PzKpfw I in general - there's no reference to this hybrid training tank.

I find this piece of text interesting (just above the photo with PzKpfw I chasis' used for training of tank drivers):
Množství těchto tréninkových strojů bylo přestavěno na pohon na dřevoplyn. Benzín byl totiž vzácnou surovinou nejen na konci války a školní vozidla přece jen nepotřebovala dosahovat takových výkonů jako bojující stroje.
A lot (?) of these training tanks were converted to use Holzgas. Gasoline was precious (?) raw material not only at the end of war and training vehicles did not need to reach preformance of combat ones.

Does anyone know how many is 'množství' (which can be translated as 'number' as well as 'multitude' and has even more meanings) in this particular case?

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:50 am

Yep and doesn't it just look as if the information about 8 entries up is just another translation of this? LMAO

Still doesnt ring true, though. If Rheinmetall made this abortion for training, then it'll have made quite a lot. and we have either documentary evidence, picture evidence or anecdotal evidence for armour classes that are a LOT fewer in number than a training variant would be. SOMEONE would have remembered or recorded being trained on it, if not in written memoirs then in letters home etc, because somehow i think training on one of these would have been.....memorable LMAO

Now - dont think anyone is gonna do this for a joke, or even for propaganda purposes....cos it doesnt exactly make very impressive propaganda LOL NOR is anyone going to waste good repair depot time on constructing it and perhaps some more like it IF the real PIs or PIIs could be repaired. And there were ALWAYS tanks to be repaired. No, someone thought this was a good idea, but for what purpose? My reckoning would be anti-partisan duties in Russia, where the Soviet partisans' equipment was likely to be better than the French Maquis - certainly in terms of antitank weapons.

phylo

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Post by Politruk » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:28 pm

Gentlemen,

First of all, thanks for the translation! I would imagine that this contraption could be a development of the PzKw I:s with an open top and no trret used for driver training. The wood gas generator would be a severe liability in any combat situation, not only due to the low speed but also due to the unarmored contraption itself. Also, we do not know what the added superstructure was built of. Did they use armour plate or ordinary mild steel and what would be required to support the PzKw III turret? And I would guess that a depot could create this oddity, especially if they used mild steel.

In any case, it is a joy to discover a new and whacky Panzer when you thought you'd heard of every model.

Regards,

Politruk

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:12 pm

more thinking....

Theres no tankage, so the gas converter must run direct into the engine....which means its certainly more efficient than the civilain types we're more familiar with in pics and films. Which might actually take away the risk of gas explosion under fire.

Yes, a depot could great this with no problems, and most likely did. Dunno about using mild steel tho LOL IF this was even a training vehicle used in the Wild East, then it still had to be fit to defend itself.

Still mystified at the lack of air LOL between hull and turret, I dont think this thing traverses!

Now, HERE'S a question for the armour experts on here.....there were I think at least TWO types of PIII cupola, maybe even three. Can anyone tell me which this is? If its the LATER type or types, that removes from the equation ANY chance of it being the very early "light artillery tractor"

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:21 pm

P.s. a repair depot could refit, or fit new, a turret ring, but couldn't machine one.....

phylo

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Post by Politruk » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:54 pm

Gentlemen,

I would not consider the PzKwI/III combo to be the early light artillery tractor, since that particular vehicle is a different beast alltogether according to Chamberlain's and Doyle's Encyclopedia of German tanks, page 146. As for the Pz III turret, I'd say that it's an Ausführung D (door hinged to the front and a more modern cupola than the Ausf C). This version was withdrawn from first line units after the Norwegian campaign in 1940.

Regards,

Politruk

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Post by David W » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:28 pm

Suggestion:

Let's get Christian Ankerstjerne (sp) involved in this. There's no one better I know of.
Thanks. Dave.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:46 pm

Ok, had an evening's pleasant trawl thru the net sources. AchtungPanzer is the most concise, and yes there IS a description of the various mid 30s development model, but the one talked about above , the possible Rheinmetall turret development model? Nope, theres a VERY good description of it, in comparison with a picture of the Krupp version, and this is definitely NOT it.

One possibility removed.

Wondered at the wording of something on the A-P site, so started looking at the munitionsschlepper conversions..... hmmm, back to that in a minute.

Guys, check out the driving pinion at the front of the trackwork; AND the track segments themselves; now compare them with PI Ausf A items.... THIS tank has been greatly upgeared, there as a LOT more teeth on the front sprocket AND the track segments are each individually smaller. An attempt to get more power out of the Ausf A hull, maybe? THAT was the first thing I noticed about the picture, my attention brought to it by Herr Doktor's comment that it used Ausf A running gear.

Now, Ive had a look at a LOT of PI pics tonight, and ONE thing here has caught my attention also, reinforced by pics ive looked at of the command AND munitionsschlepper conversions. Look at the box-section superstructure; THIS conversion goes RIGHT down to hull level! Even the schlepper boxcar conversion was neither as big or as square a conversion as THIS! Now, note the position of the driver's shutter....it has been cut out of the original hullplate and moved UP AND towards the side. Quite a move. Now, the THREE-man cmmand tanks didnt even have this moved!!! AND that superstructure STARTS a lot further forward than any of the tank versions....

Do you know what I think we're looking at? Given the box-section and where its welded into the original hull - A conversion of a Sturmpanzer I Bison! Its the ONLY PI that could have the upper hull shaped like this; AND it would have to have been built like this in a factory, NOT a depot, not for a hull configuration change like that. I've looked at the training tank versions - all the records only list the opentopped training school tanks that look nothing like this.

But THEN - theres one road wheel too few for it to be a Bison hull.....!

Suddenly - i saw a drawing on the A-P site of the Ausf C....and its upper hullwork starts this far forward AND is straight-facing from right to left, not tapered up from the main hull to the turret deck...

SO what we have here becomes more and more impossible. Its either an Ausf C riding on Ausf A trackwork - can this be done??? Or its a Bison conversion, a flat plate across the once-open gun deck to carry the turret.
But its not a factory piece. IF it was we'd have heard a LOT more about it than this, i have NO doubt on that.

phylo

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:02 pm

Ok, more studying of the original picture followed..... making me scratch the two ideas above LMAO

Take a look at the front of the hull...what on earth is that sitting up on the hull in front of the driver??? Can't see properly. The front mudguards even seem to be custom made items, a dead giveaway with ANY form of automotive bespoke engineering is the radius of the guards does not match the radius of the wheel/track/belt/pinion LOL

The box section hull....the edges sit down OVER the edges of the normal hull...

Squint at the various edges of the superstructure....there is a rivetted joint where any joint should be welded, and the whole thing is made up of flat plate cut and welded, no pressings or machined hull sections.

I would LOVE to know if - under the front of that nasty flat-fronted box - the original hull offset taper still exists or it was cut away, but we'll never know.

This is training open-topped Ausf A or munitionsschlepper or any of the turretless FROM THE FACTORY PIs, converted to run on gas, THEN converted BACK into a tank or SPG. Its not a training or conversion tank, all the training depots ran the proper Ausf A turretless training tanks right up until 1945.

QED

phylo

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:19 pm

Herr, Doktor, you may congratulate M. Poirot - he has NOW even tracked down the sour of the original for ze aforementioned porcine abortion.....

The answer, guys, is actually in the trackwork. Look at the little running wheels on the top track run....THREE of them......

Look at the bar-support on the roadwheels.....with its little elbow onto the last wheel....

NOW as I said above look at the grearing of the front drive sprocket - the sort of trivia a motorcyclist WOULD notice LOL....

Look at the custom-built front mudguards that dont quite match the track run, because theyre pure after-thought....

and FINALLY, look at the rear overhanging mudguard of our little abortion......

THIS hull was originally a Flammpanzer 1.....

Image


phylo

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Post by sid guttridge » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:00 pm

Hi Guys,

A few thoughts:

It is not impossible for rare types to long evade detection. It was not until the Soviet tank museum was opened in about 1990 that it was first known that a massive wheeled armoured mine crusher had been built by the Germans. The Russians had the prototype but in the west it was not even known from plans or references. If there is a Czech connection here, this oddity might have escaped attention for the same reason.

However, whatever it is, this seems very unlikely to be a viable combat tank. I wouldn't be surprised if the PzKpfw III turret was almost as heavy as PzKpfw I chassis. It is also questionable whether the suspension could take both the extra weight across country and the gun's recoil, especially if it could traverse. Has anyone any thoughts on this?

In any event, this vehicle, if it existed at all, is a very minor cul de sac in tank development.

Cheers,

Sid.

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