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Krupp Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte (Rat) Super Heavy Tank Project (1942)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/19/2014

If it was ever completed, the Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte would have been the largest tank ever produced.

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The Landkreuzer P.1000 "Ratte" (translating to "Rat") was a proposed super-heavy tank design of the German Krupp concern with origins in 1942. Hitler gave this mammoth undertaking his direct blessing as the program set about to create the most powerful tank ever devised for the modern battlefield. It was an ambitious undertaking to say the least and - should it have been completed - would also have become the largest tank ever produced without doubt. Albert Speer, the German Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich, saw the fruitlessness of such an endeavor and cancelled the P.1000 in early 1943. As such, the Ratte never made it off of the drawing boards.

Externally, the P.1000 would have dwarfed any other tank in production at that time by a long mile. The immense size would have been something to behold with as many as eleven large road wheels affixed to either track side. The tracks themselves would have measured nearly four feet in width. The hull would have been largely conventional in design and construction by 1942 standards with flat skirted side armor and an angled front and rear hull armor facings. Armor at certain points would have reached between 150mm and 360mm in thickness. The turret would have also sported ballistics deflecting armor for maximum protection. Dimensions were pretty impressive with the P.1000 sporting a height of 11 meters, a width of 14 meters and a length of 35 meters. The overall operational weight was expected to reach 1,000 tons (2,000,000 lbs).

In essence, the P.1000 was to have been a large rolling battle platform armed to the teeth. The massive turret would have been positioned well-forward on the hull with primary armament envisioned as 2 x 280mm 54.5 SK C/34 guns fitted in side-by-side mounts, these based on powerful naval warship guns - necessitating the need for a custom-designed to house the twin-artillery arrangement. Essentially, the turret would be a modified heavy cruiser gun emplacement (possibly from the Gneisenau-class) with full 360-degree traverse - albeit slow to move such a heavy fixture. As such, firing "on-the-move" would not have been possible. Secondary armament became a 128mm KwK 44 L/55 anti-tank gun as well as 8 x 20mm Flak 38 anti-tank cannon systems, the latter to combat incoming, low-flying enemy aircraft as the p.1000 would have made a tempting, slow-moving target for many-and-airmen. The 128mm gun system would have been either mounted in the main turret with the twin naval guns or seated in an individual (albeit smaller) turret fitted to the rear of the hull (the exact location of this armament was never formalized). A further fitting of 2 x 15mm MG 151/15 autocannons would have also been part of the armaments package for the P.1000 making for one impressive battlefield combat system. A minimum estimated crew of 20 personnel (though as many as 40) would have been required to man the various onboard systems - a throwback to the large, boxy German tank design of World War 1, the A7V Sturmpanzer-Kraftwagen, which used 18 crew and fielded a 57mm main gun and up to 5 x 7.9mm machine guns.


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Specifications for the
Krupp Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte (Rat)
Super Heavy Tank Project


Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Krupp - Nazi Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1942
Production: Not Available


Focus Model: Krupp Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte (Rat)
Crew: 30


Overall Length: 114.83 ft (35.00 m)
Width: 45.93 ft (14.00 m)
Height: 36.09 ft (11.00 m)
Weight: 1,000.0 US Short Tons (907,184 kg; 1,999,998 lb)


Powerplant: 8 x Daimler-Benz MB501 20-cylinder marine engines developing 16,000 horsepower OR 4 x MAN V12732/44 24-cylinder marine diesel engines developing 17,000 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 25 mph (40 km/h)
Maximum Range: 0 miles (0 km)


NBC Protection: None
Nightvision: None


Armament:
PRIMARY:
2 x 280mm 54.5 SK C/34 naval guns in main turret

SECONDARY:
1 x 128mm KwK 44 L/55 anti-tank gun (possibly in hull bow mounting).
8 x 20mm Flak 38 anti-aircraft cannons (possibly in four dual mountings at rear).
2 x 15mm Mauser MG 151/15 autocannons (possibly in smaller turret atop main gun turret).


Ammunition:
Dependent upon ammunition carrier.


Variants:
Landkreuzer P.1000 "Ratte" - Base Series Project Designation.


Operators:
Nazi Germany