Possible high tier light replacement: Panzer-Aufklaerer auf E-25

Disclaimer: this is an highly speculative article which tries to find a logical link to a tank design between secondary sources. The following has to be taken as author’s interpretation.

Late war Germany found itself lacking capable light recon tanks amongst its many shortages. There were a few obsolete light tanks pressed into the role but by 1945 they were mostly worn out, with the few working remains hopelessly outmatched by Soviet and Allied fast medium tanks. One answer to this was the usual flurry of paper projects, which however proved to be too complex and expensive (VK 16.02), using precious chassis and making little sense (Recon Panther) or being underpowered from inception for the role (early turreted Jagdpanzer 38 (t) with Panzer IV turret and to a lesser extent the Panzer 38D). Spielberger briefly mentions that the E-25 proposal included a recon tank version but gives no further details, leaving us still into obscurity. There is however one further, unlikely source that might bring us further details, although usually regarded as something very different altogether: Hahn’s “Klein-Tiger”.

The project as described by Hahn might seem a fantasy nonsense and indeed it doesn’t seem to match anything Tiger related, as very well described in this article. That is, as long as we consider the Klein-Tiger as a Tiger related project, however what if it was something entirely different in design and purpose?

We should start with the assumption that Hahn isn’t a tank specialist at all (he worked on Penemunde and V-2 related projects), while having excellent access to  raw data thanks both to war experience and undoubtedly good personal connections or his very own secret document cache.

On this base, it’s reasonable to assume Hahn found very scant data about a tank project and tried to reconstruct it with limited technical knowledge. Given this, we can trust Hahn on raw data but we should be careful on his reconstructions as he commits some grave mistakes on details like abbreviations ( for example, PWK may mean high pressure or high performance) so that we get nonsense description like a planned 10,5cm L/68 cannon for the E-25, where in reality the 10H64/PAW 1000 was meant.

So, what can we extrapolate from his tank description?

- He was talking about the Panzer program for 1945, which should exclude anything Tiger I related, while we know Tiger II proposals were made by Krupp and rejected.
- He did find a 33 ton project with 80mm armor heavily sloped (to be effective 160mm but a 60° slope is very rare in contemporary designs and we should assume it was just steeply sloped)
- A 600 HP engine was to be installed
- A 10cm cannon  was to be used and the description matches the 10H64.
- The tank was likely dubbed somewhere as “Klein-Tiger”.

Every single other detail has to be discarded as his reconstruction as specifications cannot match a 33 ton tank. One platform by one particular plant would however provide a pretty fitting match, if we rule out some sources of confusion.

I will now quote Spielberger on the E-25:

- “Argus was not unknown in tank building, for many brake aggregates, especially for the Tiger, were developed by this firm”.
- “The specifications of the tank required a 25 ton platform for recon and pursuit”.
- A 600HP Argus engine was planned, however in the end Tiger’s Maybach HL 230 was installed
- Both the 75mm L/70 and the 10.5cm PWK were planned as main weapons.

Panzer tracts 20-1 mentions the E-25 as a 25 ton tank destroyer armed with the 75mm L/70 with a 50mm frontal plate sloped at 50-55°, while Spielberger mentions the tank was planned to have both engine and transmission at the rear to allow for the heaviest armor and weapons at the front. No specifications for the recon role emerges from either Spielberger or Doyle but the tank hull matches quite closely the E-25, which Hahn rates as a 26.3 ton heavy tank in his description of the E-series.

Let’s now do some dirty calculations:

Removing the 75mm L/70 would allow for a pretty much unbroken glacis plate, bringing the hull weight back to 25 tons.

 We now need a suitable turret to match the tank profile and as no major redesigns would be allowed it’s likely they would recycle the simplified Panzer IV turret used in 38D proposals:

The turret design has no cupola (but welding one wouldn’t have been a huge production issue) but it as the advantage of being easy to produce and offer great protection: 80mm frontal armor plus a large, flat 80mm mantlet, all sloped at 10°. Such a turret would weigh roughly 5-6 tons, leaving us with 2-3 tons to be distributed, of which the 10H64 woud roughly take one ton of weight. What’s left can be given to protection. A bolted or welded extra 30mm glacis plate would take most of the weight, while it’s very likely that Hahn’s “multi-layered armor” wouldn’t be anything else than the common side-skirts already used on Panzer IV. Not exactly 160mm effective front or Tiger sides but more than adequate for a light tank.

What we get from assembling all of this is a pretty compact tank (hull height 2m, turret is also pretty short), with great mobility (power to weight ratio of 18 to 21 HP/ton and a suspension rated 65 km/h), reasonable frontal armor (same as the Panther, enough to duke it out with Sherman and T-34) and a gun ideal for ambushes, short ranged but with excellent armor penetration and a good HE round. Perhaps a tank not as impressive as the bigger felines but still the peak of WWII German engineering.

SilentStalker kindly prepared a draft drawing, however let me stress this out:

This is an extremely speculative draft, take it with a pinch of salt.


Could this tank really be Hahn’s klein-Tiger? Perhaps, we will likely never know.
Would it be feasible at the time? This would require more measurements and a mechanical engineer, however Ernst Kniepkamp (Head of Wa Pruef 6 and the man behind E-series and most German tank suspensions) was behind a later tank which used suspensions and transmission very similar to the E-series.

- Panzer Tracts 20-1, page 42 (Jentz, Doyle)
- Special Panzer Variants, pages 71-72 (Spielberger, Doyle)
- Waffen und Geheimwaffen des deutscher Heeres 1933 – 1945, part 2 page 66 (Hahn)

About Zarax

Wot: Zarax999 (EU Server)

71 thoughts on “Possible high tier light replacement: Panzer-Aufklaerer auf E-25

  1. I just want RU251. They cant say that they wont add it cause not enough info found. There was no problem adding T28 Prototype and others.

    • I feel it’s more like if the tank actually exists, WG wants to make it as close to spec as possible. If not, then well, WG just goes to town with it.

      • But… Dude. Why can’t, both we and WG, eat a cake and have a cake? Introduce RU251 with stats estimated from available info, add a pinch of balance for good measure and rebalance it whenever new data becomes available. Is it that hard? I lived through rebalance of: Marder II (mother of all nerfs – someone counted 5 patches in a row), Luchs (a buff), VK16.02 Leopard (some say it’s a nerf, but I like it), Panzer IV (twice – loss of Vaderturm, which was meh, and L70 which hurt… alot and derp nerf), Panther II (nerf, and it still hurts), Hummel and E-75 (awesome buff!), so if they would fiddle with RU251, it wouldn’t kill me.

        • I bought the Panther II a day before the German rebalance, and played the first battle in it already after they changed the engines and the rest… And I LOVE the Panther II! Is it really so much worse than before? If yes, I just can’t imagine how awesome did it have to be before!

          • Imagine what You already have only going from 0 to 50 km/h in about 5 secs. with wa-a-a-a-y more traverse speed.

            • I don’t know if I’d say it’s worse. It’s radically different, though, and probably not nearly as useful from a metagame standpoint.

              It’s pretty much now a thinly armored heavy instead of an oversized but fairly fast medium. I think it’s fun, but what was done to it is not what most people think was done to it.

              Most players do not understand what was changed and how those changes affect the performance of the tank. I’ve only found a handful of players who understand how the various values interact.

          • Also – yes, the nerfed the everloving crap out of the mobility, for those who don’t understand what I mean.

      • That’s the thing, we’re trying to find something decent at least if not as good as RU 251…

            • Oh, c’mon. Let’s not be so harsh. This tank has a potential, but at this moment doesn’t really do anything better, than what You can find already somewhere else. And usually in a much better combination. Speed? Well it has speed. Gun? After recent nerf without Gold ammo is really hard to achieve anything, besides annoying Your enemies. Armour? At tiers that it’s playing might as well have none. View range? Meh. All meds from tiers 8+, apart from Soviet and Chinese, see further. Camo? Being a size of a barn? Really? Well than why not give it a bloody artillery spotter turret, up it’s view range to 400m accordingly and let it do what it was designed for – be a spotter.

            • AFK Panther was just a move from Speer to kill a project he saw as useless.
              Instead, he killed a platform that had several tank types already in development (Spielberger has a Waffentrager auf Leopard model for example) for a pipe dream of saving a few man hours down the line.
              Sure, we could put in the 1150 HP gas turbine and turn the AFK Panther into an excellent battering ram, but would that be logical?

              Allow me a very small EU supertest leak.
              AFK Panther was tested just like any other tank: you picked a group of them against a group of other light tanks and made them fight each other in an already pre-defined fashion.

              Testers reported it that it was good as long as it could ram other tanks, otherwise they would out-fight the tank.
              My protests against this were left unheard of and the result is the mess you can see today.

            • AFK Panther is really a mess. From what feature we should call it light tank? WG is screwing german light series

        • Well, after painfully grinding awful panther, it looks like this tank isn’t rewarding at all….

    • You may be correct, comrade. The Soviet T-50-2 was to glorious for this game, but an inferior German copy would not have this issue!

        • You talk about historical correct ?
          WGN gives a shit on that point, they use it only for ppl who believe in the correctness of WGN, but historical correct is a farce .

          WoT itself has a shitload of fantasy tanks or toilette paper tanks from someone who thought about something that wasnt even a blueprint or something like that .

  2. I think while this new “scout tank” sounds kinda reasonable but I seriously doubt that all that stuff would fit in such small chassic althought it’s quite wide so maybe.

    However, that drawings is quite close to what I would also think it looks.

    • The tank was 5.66m long.
      It’s possible the turret should be put slightly further forward but without a more detailed scheme it’s not easy to be sure.

      • Actually quite long then. Hmmm…

        However, if the gearbox and engine are in the back and has to put new turret mechanism there isn’t really much space for crew and height is only 2m then they either has to increase hull height and then put turret fairly forward (and then to the right) so the tank is quite densely backed.

        • The same turret was proposed for the smaller 38D chassis (although with manual turret traverse), which was about 30cm shorter in the recon version.
          Given a turret ring of approximately 160cm you’ve got about 4m of length in which to fit driver, gear box and engine.

  3. Frank, can you please provide any drawings with dimensions? Both for turret and chassis (outside and inside)? I’d like to check the details.

      • Well, i asked about dimensions… But, judging from description and proportions it seem stil viable. Barely, idk about engine placement vs turret basket.

        • 5.66m chassis length, 3,41m wide, 2,03m tall.
          Turret ring approximately 160cm, turret height is not given but should be quite similar to standard Panzer IV turret,

  4. Replace the Awful Panther with this and I may actually have some incentive to break out my VK2801 again.

  5. I would like that tank!

    But I think there might be even lesss informations about it than about the Ru…
    Even SS had to make speculations.

    • Panzer 38D cannot be anything other than a tier lower than this.
      20 tons, less hull armor, worse HP/ton ratio.

      • Well if this would really get that PAW gun then okay, this as Tier 8 and Pz 38D instead of afk panther.

        Can you tell me the penetration of the PAW gun? I know that there was an article about possible new german guns, and the PAW guns were covered in that article, but I’m too lazy to search for it.

      • In fact Pz38D is nothing higher than tier 6, since it’s pretty much the same as Panther-Prot, with some more mobility (given it’s gonna get the L70), or a PzIV with L70.
        Aufkl-Panther is nothing for tier 7 either – it’s undergunned, too clumsy, has no armour.

        Same goes for Aufkl-E-25. As good as it may seem to look, it’s maximally tier 7. L70 won’t be enough for T8 anymore and the obscure 105mm “recoilless” gun won’t probably be implemented (which is a shame).

        I really see no reason, why NOT to implement RU251. They invent tanks from zero scratch (on more than one occasion), but cannot fill the gaps in data on an existing tank? That seems a very bad excuse.

        • 10H64: 200mm HEAT penetration (gold round) and similar HE round as the LEFH 18 (aka VK2801 derp), we would lobby to give it the LEFH HEAT rounds as silver ammo with different name.
          It’s not a recoilless gun, just smoothbore although in no way it would be OP.

          • Damn I’m a lazy fuck as I said earlier, and I forgt to check your answer, I hope you somehow will notice my reply.
            So if I understand you, it would have a silver HEAT ammo with 350 damage and 104mm pen, a gold HEAT with 350 damage and cca. 200mm pen and a silver HE with 410 damage and 53mm pen?
            Wouldn’t that standard 104mm pen a bit too low for a tier 8 light tank? I know that the 59-16′s got low pen on it’s tier, but at least it’s got an autoloader.

        • 38D was planned with the 8H63/PAW 600 as top turret gun, basically a much worse gun as you’d get HE + an HEAT round with the same pen as 75mm L/48 APCR.

  6. This looks like a fun tank! Honestly, I like more tanks in the game; irregardless if they are completely manufactured. It’s always fun each new patch as you have to learn how to use/fight the new tanks.

    Biggest shock to the system, had to be the British ATs. Took a while to figure out how to kill them!

  7. Why oh why those museums won’t allow WG people to have a look at RU251? What’s so secret? Or some bureaucratic german stuff?

  8. SS, this popped up in the Epic Thread recently- is it just a coincidence or did you give Zarax a poke in response to that?

  9. Zarax, 80mm of sloped armor reminds me heavily of the Panzer IV Ausf. “K” (it was actually called the “H” but then scrapped and the H was used for the variant we all know as the H today, it is now known amongst modellers as the K to avoid confusion)

    -Panzer Tracts 20-1 page 20-7.

  10. To make the design more possible I think the sides of the E-25 would become vertical. I don’t see it as having sloping sides While vertical sides lowers armor protection they do allow more room in the tank for ammunition. But considering it is the 10H64/PAW 1000 with light weight shells the space would not have been an issue. But I am most concerned with how much more time it would take to jig up and make all the welds needed plus extra cutting needed for the angled side armor.

    By keeping the sides vertical it does keep it simple as there is basically just the front 2 plates that need to be angled. Although I suppose if you pre-fabed a bunch of brackets and drilled hulls in advance on jigs you could rivet the angled side armor to the chassis and get the armor protection and a slight speed increase in production as the factory in Czechoslovakia could readily manufacture it. Although iirc welding did slowly pick up in factory’s in Czechoslovakia during the war. But I don’t recall it being as extensively used as factory’s in Germany. SS mentions it in one of the articles but for the life of me I cant recall where.

    Also on the engine to stretch resources more why not use the liquid-cooled V-12 Maybach HL120TRM. It was well developed and the vehicle was light weight. With the engine the Hummel did manage to make 42kph for a roughly 510-920kg engine(I call BS on the massive weight difference) VS the 1,200-1,400kg listed for the HL230P30/P45.

    Now I get that the HL120 is only 11.867 litres and that the HL230P30/P45 is 23.095 and that the low end torque would make a difference but I think you could get away with using the HL120 engine used even in the Panzer IV and make it work well. At least that’s my 5 cents.

    • By just swapping the engine you save a metric ton plus a little more on the hopefully lighter transmission/gearbox weight. (I’ll need to look it up). And you gain some more speed and better weight dispersion with no change to the armor. It might just work if the speed gained is enough.

      • Problem is that the HL120TRM has about less than half the HP, meaning a lot worse power to weight ratio.
        Nothing with less than 400HP was ever considered for this platform, remember we’re talking about a 33 ton tank.

        • HL230P30/P45 was already being stuffed into the JPanther and there was already a back log of hulls stacked 4-5 high at factory waiting for parts to complete them. I just dont see it as being a good idea to stretch supply’s more then it is needed. Even the JTiger was to be produced as fast as possible. I just worry about there being enough engines to go around. The worst kink isn’t the engines though it has always been the lack of transmissions when it comes to putting tanks together. At least that is what I have seen from time to time.

          I guess I am just trying to think with the times and use what ever is not in demand by other projects for the time so that this project has a chance of making it to production. If we gave it Hellcat like armor and kept the thick front plate would that be enough of a weight drop to make it work with the smaller engine? We do, ofc, with armor need to remember that alloys were lacking and armor was creeping up in thickness just to maintain protection it had offered a year earlier. Although now it would spall and crack more often. Might, because of the weakening alloyed armor, need to keep the angled armor to keep weight down.

          WG in game, has one of the TRM engines having 440hp so that could work well. And it saves some weight over the HL230P30/45.

          Now we did some emails and you mentioned the 600 hp aircooled Argus engine as an alternative for the E-25(I had totally forgotten about it). There is a 550hp Argus 12LD330H engine already in the game on the VK.28.01 tank. Plus there is always the HL100 and HL101 engines that are mentioned in Panzer Tract 20-1 as being planned for the E-25.

  11. Sorry if this is a noob question, but I don’t understand about its gun specification. What caliber, length, etc…

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerwurfkanone_10H64

          It’s an extremely interesting development that I really wish WG would be flexible on using. The Germans actually produced several hundred of the smaller, 81mm PAW 600 version, as well as thousands of shells, but didn’t get to use it much if at all.

          The main benefit would be a decent (medium) muzzle velocity, and longer barrel for higher accuracy than the usual howitzers. The shells, however, would hit as hard as howitzer HE, because they could accommodate a higher explosive charge due to the lower G forces during firing (more gradual acceleration).

          WG has claimed “no smoothbores” because of the later evolution toward guided-missile gun rounds, but in this case (and a few US recoilless rifle designs) I think a clear exception could be made.

          • Accuracy was pretty crappy as bullets weren’t spin stabilized.
            That said, it would make a decent weapon for high tier lights.

            • Shells for the PAW’s were spin stabilized with fins. As for the recoilless rifle all of the German ones had rifling. Even those mounted on the ME 163.

  12. Nice article!

    Apanther should be a cross tank to the tier 8 panther, this new suggested tank should take the current tier7 slot with RU251 in tier 8.