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the A7V?

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:51 pm
by Rolf Steiner
or was it the AV7? WWI german answer to the british tank with a crew of 16 or something, usually represented in the potted histories as disastrous. Bit of a ropey debut for the mighty panzers? what's the real story?

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:59 pm
by Doktor Krollspell
Hello Rolf and TS!

Here's a website about the A7V "Mephisto" with some info and some nice photographs, also of the interior of the tank.



Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:40 pm
by Hans
Taylor Collector,

Australian War Memorial Museum is in Canberra.

- Hans

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:51 am
by Epaminondas
In the Roots of Blitzkrieg, Corum mentions that reasons the Germans didn't build many tanks were
1. stormtrooper tactics were just as effective if not more so
2. capturing enough allied tanks didn't need to produce them
3. Generally unimpressed with them

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:05 am
by Wolery
Yeah, the Kaiser's generals weren't always very smart. I do remember reading somewhere that the Germans did have a penchant for captureing Mark Vs, and there where pictures too, but damned if I could find them when I need them.

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:24 am
by Epaminondas
Wolery wrote:Yeah, the Kaiser's generals weren't always very smart. I do remember reading somewhere that the Germans did have a penchant for capturing Mark Vs, and there where pictures too, but damned if I could find them when I need them.
Why is it not smart? Both the Allies and Central Powers recognized the problems of trench warfare.

The Central Powers focused on tactical innovations- better tactics that works rather well. Knocked out Russia, and almost knocked out Italy and France.

The Western Allies focused on technological innovations- the tank.

If it wasn't for the Americans stiffening the Western powers, a truce could have broken out... neither method could avoid the fundamental problem that reinforcements could patch up a broken front faster then it could be exploited.

Neither the tank nor stormtroopers were "smarter" or "better" then the other. Merely two different solutions to the same problem. Combined together with motorized logistics and better tank engines, what anglos know as blitzkrieg is invented.

Not building lots of tanks in WWII isn't dumb. Until 1918, a few artillery pieces were pently to stop any feasible tank attack. Allied tank attacks large just gave Germany more tanks to experiment with.

One A7V in Muenster, DE

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:32 pm
by Mike
There is an A7V at the Panzermuseum in Muenster, Germany. It was named "Wotan." Not sure of its history. It is something to see in the steel. Amazing the thing ever moved.

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:08 am
by Beershark
For a nation long admired for it's ability to extemporise, the germans surely failed with the A7V, since it in no way came close to matching the british tanks of the period, let alone exceed them. Mind you, they more than made up for that 40 years later.

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:29 am
by Paulus II
Indeed the vehicle was called the A7V which was taken from the department in the Warministry that was made responsible for the tanks, the Allgemeine Kriegsdepartement 7, Abteilung Verkehrswesen.
Though the German army had shown interest in armoured cars before WWI nothing was done that coud lead the development of tanks until the British tanks made their first appearance in september 1916. A few days after that the order was given start designing a vehicle to fit the role taken by the British tanks.
At first an order was given for the production of 100 A7V’s but oly ten of these would be proper tanks, the rest open-topped transport vehicles. This is probably the reason why the responsible office in the Warministry was the ‘Verkehrswesen’ or ‘Transport branch’.
It would take a year before the first vehicles were delivered to the troops. This was mainly due to the other possibilities for armoured vehicles being researched and the competition for scarce materials with other projects. By september 1917 the order had been changed to the delivery of 20 A7V’s all of the ‘male’type though one ‘female’ had already been delivered to Abteilung 1.
In addition to Abtielung 1, Abteilung 2 was formed also in september 1917 and Abteilung 3 in december 1917. In january 1918 Abteilungen 1 and 2 were ordered to the front. Each with 5 A7V’s, 5 officers and 108 NCO’s and other ranks.
After the battle at Cambrai sufficient British tanks fell into German hands for them form another 6 Abteilungen with Beutepanzer. These Abt. Were numbered 11 to 16 of which numbers 13 and 16 were Bavarian. Sepp Dietrich served with Abteilung 13 in the last year of the war as a gunner.
The British tanks were far better (or: less bad) than the A7V. Not so much because of the weight as is often mentioned (the difference was ‘only’ 2 tons) but because of the general design. The A7v’s were too high and didn’t have their tracks all the way around the vehicle.
Also the roles they were assigned to do was different. The British used their tanks to force a breakthrough by amaasing a huge number of tanks whereas the Germans intended to use as a supplement to the Sturmabteilungen. If that was a tactical decision or forced upon the Panzer troops because of the very limited resources available to Germany (and thus very limited production capability for tanks) isn’t quite clear from what I’ve read.

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:27 am
by Rolf Steiner
Hello gents

having started this thread an age ago I've only just revisited, apologies for that. Thanks for the responses - sadly queensland's a bit out of range for me, Meunster's probably the more practical, would certainly love to examine one of these close up. Interesting stuff. Yes, it would appear the Stormtroops' reputation outweighs that of the early panzer, at least at this stage of history. I think I've seen pics of captured brit tanks in action, all marked up with maltese crosses, can't think where tho. Come to think of it, weren't some of those really early Renault tanks used in second-line theatres by the Germans in WWII?

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:44 am
by Paulus II
Some FT17's were indeed used in WWII, mostly for police duties, airfield security and such. Here's an example of one of those:


In WWI they were used by Germany too, here's one between two captured British tanks:


After being captured the British tanks were rebuilt like in this workshop belonging to a Bavarian unit:


mostly to end up abandoned somewhere on the front:


Here's an example of the transport version of the A7V:


and the Flakpanzer A7V:


Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:03 pm
by sniper1shot
Awesome photos. Just how many British tanks did the Germans capture to warrant a workshop being set up??

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:04 pm
by phylo_roadking
As of May 10th 1940...France actually fielded 534 of them! The decision to bring newer light tanks into service, which resulted in the Renault R-35 and Hotchkiss H-39 was only made in the early 1930s. The ten years before that had been a time of constant improvement, trying to improve on the top speed and suspension of the FT 17 and 18s (not always sucessfully LOL) France actually continued to use them after the Armistice, but only in overseas Vichy poszesions. The first "hostile" armour American tank forces ever met in the Western hemisphere was in North Africa on the day of the Torch landings, when 3 Stuarts recce'ing for Patton's troops met 7 FT17s...but even against light Stuarts times had changed; the crews sat listening to the FT's solid shot "donk" on their armour, and destroyed three FTs for no losses.

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:51 pm
by Rolf Steiner
blimey, there's recycling in action for you... no harm squeezing the maximum use out of a bit of hardware of course, but when you're hopelessly outgunned it's probably time to quit. from what I remember, the Brit WWI tank in the IWM was kept in service till about 1925 (and for that matter, on a non-military note, the 'puffing billy' in the science musuem was employed in a northern colliery up until 1870-ish or something??)

had no idea they'd thought of a flakpanzer that early!

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:58 pm
by phylo_roadking
Actually, Bovington's Mk V "male" appeared in this year's Lord Mayor's Parade in London!!! After it rolled for journalists out of store and onto a lowloader at Bovington for the parade David Willey, the curator, said it was probably the last time it would roll under its own power for risk of catastrophic damage to now totally irreplaceable components.

Certainly in 1941, there were at least TWO British tanks left in South Russia from the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War...put in the field against the Germans!!! I've seen pics of both of them after the battle, one was scrapped by the Germans after its career ended as a stationary pillbox (as in Berlin in 1945) covering a square in Kiev.