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Leichttraktor

Description

Despite being forbidden by the Versailles Treaty from owning tanks, Germany initiated a clandestine tank program in 1925. In 1928, following other experimental designs, such as the Grosstraktor, a light tank design was ordered.

Two of Germany's largest armaments firms, Krupp and Rheinmetall-Borsig, were ordered to submit designs for a six-ton tank armed with a 37 mm gun. Krupp designed two prototypes with different suspensions. Rheinmetall-Borsig designed two different vehicles based on the same chassis; a tank with a fully-enclosed, fully-traversable turret, and a self-propelled gun with a semi-enclosed pedistal mount. Rheinmetall assembled all four prototypes in May 1930.

While none of the designs ever saw action, they provided valuable lessons for the German tank designers, which later influenced such designs as the Pz Kpfw I. In addition, like the Grosstraktor, the prototypes were shipped to Kama, Russia in June 1930. Here, they took part in the secret Russo-German armored warfare trials.

Technical Details

  Krupp Rheinmetall-Borsig
Crew
Crew 3 -
Physical Characteristics
Weight 7.9 t 8 t
Length 4.18 m 4.21 m
Height 2.13 m 3 m
Armament
Primary weapon 37 mm tank gun (1) 3,7 cm Kw K (L/45) (1)
Secondary weapon - 7.92 mm machine gun (1)

Further Reading

Sources

  1. CHAMBERLAIN, Peter, DOYLE, Hillary & JENTZ, Thomas L. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two. London : Arms & Armour, 1999. 272 p. ISBN: 1-85409-518-8.
  2. JENTZ, Thomas L. Panzer Truppen 1 : The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force, 1933-1942. Atglen, PA : Schiffer Military History, 1996. 287 p. ISBN 0-88740-915-6.