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Krupp Landkreuzer P.1500 Monster Super Heavy Tank / Self-Propelled Gun (1945)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/30/2013

Like the optimistic Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte before it, the Landkreuzer P.1500 Monster was cancelled before the project gained reasonable steam.

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It seemed that as World War 2 progressed, German engineers were given rather long leashes to design and develop the most extreme of military war weapons. One such development became the Landkreuzer P.1500 "Monster" by Krupp to outmatch even their own previous Landkreuzer P.1000 "Rat" design. Both projects were approved for further development and backed by Adolf Hitler himself with the designs intended to fulfill a 1942 German Ministry of Armaments requirement. As it lacked a true traversing turret, the P.1500 Monster was more akin to a large self-propelled artillery piece than a combat "tank". At any rate, the "Monster" would fall to the pages of history as another in the long line of abandoned, all-consuming designs that would have provided little benefit to the dwindling German military should it have been completed as intended.

At its core, the Landkreuzer P.1500 would field a powerful 800mm K(E) main gun and contend with fortified installations. The armament would be situated within a fixed superstructure and become a massive undertaking considering this weapon would be backed by a pair of 15-cm sFH 18.1 L/30 series field guns. The 800mm main gun could clearly operate out of the reach of enemy guns and deliver a formidable payload at distance. Defense would come from a network of 15mm MG151/15 series machine guns all about the structure. Armor thickness ranged up to 250mm (nearly 10 inches) across critical facings. To power this beast, it was thought that no fewer than four MAN M9v 40/46 diesel engines would be fitted into the specially-designed hull. These engines were the same diesel powerplants as fitted to German U-boat classes and outputted 2,200 horsepower each system. As large as a design as she was intended to be, it was estimated that the Monster would make no more than 9 miles per hour in ideal conditions. Her operational range, never measured, was sure to be very restrictive. Considering the nature of European roads and its narrow bridges, the Monster would have had a tough go of it across the European mainland. Even rail-based travel proved out of the question as other German heavy tank designs came to light. Some 100 crewmembers would be required to operate all of her facilities in tune with the ever-changing nature of the war - a rather unrealistic commitment for the resource-strapped German Army.

All told, the P.1500 was another wasted effort on the part of the German defense industry. The expected powerplant arrangement would never supply the required power to propelled the P.1500 about and its large profile would have made it a tempting target to enemy aircraft to say the least. Logistically, the P.1500 was simply too large to be of any tactical use and transportation of the system would be problematic for the life of the vehicle. As such, the P.1500 - as with the P.1000 Rat - was cancelled outright by Albert Speer, serving as the Minister of Armaments for the German government. Development of the P.1500 ceased in 1943 with little work completed. Likewise, the P.1000 Rat never saw the light of day, even in prototype form.

The super-heavy tank Panzerkampfwagen VIII "Mouse" was completed in two examples (one partially) in 1944, but these only served to highlight the problems to be had in building extremely large and heavy tracked vehicle systems. Her completed pilot vehicles made her the largest enclosed armored combat vehicle ever produced. One prototype fell to the Soviets during their advanced into Germany.

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Specifications for the
Krupp Landkreuzer P.1500 Monster
Super Heavy Tank / Self-Propelled Gun


Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Krupp - Nazi Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1945
Production: Not Available


Focus Model: Krupp Landkreuzer P.1500 Monster
Crew: 120


Overall Length: 137.80ft (42.00m)
Width: 59.06ft (18.00m)
Height: 22.97ft (7.00m)
Weight: 1,700.0 US Short Tons (1,542,214kg; 3,400,000lbs)


Powerplant: 4 xMAN M9V 40/46 marine diesel engines developing 2,200 horsepower each.


Maximum Speed: 9mph (15 km/h)
Maximum Range: 31 miles (50 km)


NBC Protection: None
Nightvision: None


Armament:
1 x 800mm K(E) railway main gun
2 x 15cm (150mm) sFH 18/1 L/30 field howizters
20 x 15mm MG151/15 autocannons


Ammunition:
Not Available.


Variants:
P.1500 - Base Project Series Designation


Operators:
Nazi Germany