Panzerkampfwagen E-100 (Tiger Maus) Super-Heavy Tank Project
The first prototype of the Tiger Maus was only half-complete when the Allies overtook her development facility.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Germany tried its hand at heavy tank development prior to World War 2 in the early 1930s, producing five examples of the plodding, multi-turreted "Neubaufahrzeug" heavy tank series. These steel beasts, however, ran contrary to the expected successes of the "blitzkrieg" method of waging war which directly limited interest and their overall impact. However, as World War 2 became fully entrenched in the daily lives of Europeans, thought was once again passed to heavy tank development for the German Army - this also prompted by the arrival of evermore powerful Soviet breeds. Beyond its well-noted early light- and medium-class Panzers, there were the excellent Tiger I and Tiger II tanks of 1942 and 1943 respectively. Not one to sit on its laurels, German authorities sought even more powerful types during the latter stages of the war - "Super Heavy Tanks" - and this included the Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw) E-100 development - otherwise known as the "Tiger Maus" ("Tiger Mouse").
Design of the E-100 ran the conventional route of a track-and-wheel system fitted to a heavily armored hull with engine at the rear and a 360-degree traversing turret at the center of the hull roof. Henschel was charged with its development which, by mid-1943, was in direct competition with Porsche who had already secured a development contract for its super-sized 188-ton Panzer VIII "Maus" heavy tank. The Henschel design was to be "lighter" in form, initially covering some 155-tons of armor, weaponry and systems though its size and weight still limited it along European village roads and across its archaic bridges. The E-100 was allotted the same turret design of the Porsche Maus project, hence its informal name of "Tiger Maus". Additionally, the Tiger Maus would use many off-the-shelf components available from existing German stocks to speed up its initial development and subsequent production as well as expected in-the-field maintenance.
Work on the new tank proceeded through 1943 and into 1944. Maybach provided its HL230P30 V12 series water-cooled gasoline-fueled engine of 700 horsepower for the program (production-quality mounts would have been given the HL234 V12 instead). These engines were the same type as used on the preceding Panther medium tank and Tiger II (King Tiger) marks though - in the latter - it proved wholly underpowered for the behemoth. The track system was similar in design to those as seen on previous German tanks complete with large overlapping road wheels. The drive sprocket was fitted to the front of the hull with the track idler at the rear. The upper portions of the track were to be covered in armor "skirts" for base protection against anti-tank weaponry. The glacis plate was sloped up to the driver's position in the front-left hull just ahead of the turret emplacement. The turret itself sported thick angled sides and a heavy mantlet. The engine deck was expectedly flat with a pair of exhaust stacks fitted to the rear hull facing. The hull was suspended across a unique Belleville washer coil spring system. The complete crew complement was six including a driver, commander, loader, gunner and several loaders/machine gunners.