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Germany's Panzerkampfwagen A7V heavy tank

Design

After the British first used tanks in combat on September 15, 1916, the German Army wanted a similar vehicle.1 The Allgemeine Kriegsdepartement 7, Abteilung Verkehrswesen (General War Department 7, Traffic Section) obtained an American Holt tractor to study the feasibility of making it into a weapon.1

Engines

There were two Daimler 4 cylinder engines installed.1

Armament

The 5.7 cm Sokol was a captured Russian gun.1 It was mounted in the central front of the tank.3

Armor

The armor was poorly constructed and joints poorly made to where bullet splash would sometimes get through the joints.1

Superstructure

The superstructure was a large steel box.3

Chassis

The chassis was a tractor's.3

Crew

The six machine guns were manned by 2 crewman each.3

Prototype

A wooden mockup of a vehicle was constructed and demonstrated to the General Staff on May 14, 1917.1 There were some modifications that were asked for and it was approved for production.1 In December 1917 the first armored tanks was finished.1

Production

Production did not have priority for scarce materials.1 One hundred3 chassis were ordered in December 1917.1,2

  • A7V: 201, ~202
  • Cargo carrier and Geländewagen: 801
  • A7V/U: 1 prototype1

Variants

  • A7V:
  • A7V/U: The U stood for umlaufende ketten (overhead tracks).1,2 The tracks ran on the outside of the hull, similar to the British Mark IV.1 Had side sponsons for the main armament.1
  • Uberlandwagen: Cargo carrier.1,2
  • Geländewagen: Tractor.1

Usage

On March 21, 1918, the A7Vs were first used in combat at St. Quentin.1,2

Due to the layout of the armor the A7V couldn't cross trenches very well.1

Training was inadequate for the crews and they didn't perform as well as they might have.1

Tank vs Tank

On April 24, 1918, the first tank vs. tank battle occurred at Villers Bretonneux.3 Three British tanks went up against two A7Vs.3 Two of the British tanks were driven off by fire from the A7Vs.3 One A7V was destroyed when it overturned on a steep bank, and it was considered a tank kill.3

After World War I

The Polish military used the A7Vs after the end of World War I.2

Specifications

  Panzerkampfwagen A7V1
Crew 181,2,3
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 73,700 lb2
29.5 tons1, 30 tons3
30,480 kg3, 33,500 kg2
Length 24'1, 26' 3"2,3
8 m2,3
Height 10' 10"2, 11' 2"1
3.3 m2
Height over turret 11' 2"3
3.4 m3
Width 10'1 , 10' 0.5"2, 10' 6"3
3.06 m2, 3.2 m3
Ground clearance 1.57"2
40 mm2
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 1: 5.7 cm KwK1
1: 57 mm2,3
Secondary  
MG 6: Maxim pattern '08 MG1
6: MG2
6: 7.92 mm Maxim-Spandau MG3
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 10 - 302, 301,3
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Engine (Make / Model) 2: Daimler1,2
2: Daimler-Benz3
Cylinders 43
Net HP 100 each1,2,3
Transmission  
Fuel (type) Gasoline2,3
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 8 mph1,2, 9 mph3
12 kph2, 15 kph3
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 25 miles2, 37 - 44 miles3, 50 miles1
40 km2, 60 - 70 km3
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  
  Panzerkampfwagen A7V/U1
Crew 71
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 39.29 tons1
Length 27' 6"1
Height 10' 6"1
Width 15' 5"1
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 2: 5.7 cm KwK1
Secondary  
MG 4: MG1
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 451
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Engine (Make / Model) 2: Daimler1
Cylinders  
Net HP 150 each1
Transmission  
Fuel (type)  
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 7.5 mph1
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Track length  
Tires  
Track width  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. German Tanks and Armoured Vehicles 1914 - 1945, B. T. White, 1966
  2. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  3. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site