East german tanks

This Orionwagen , as it was named, had a turtle-back sheet-metal protection with a small rear driver compartment over a chassis fitted with eighteen track feet on each side. The steering was assumed by a front steel wheel. The concept was not new. It was based on the prewar standard Orion produced 4 ton lorry, an unusual but potent solution that made its mark commercially. Each foot had a large spring in between the top and bottom track pad which helped moving forward as well as assuming the role of suspension of the whole system. The 45 hp ( kW) engine soon proved not up to the task because the finished prototype was heavier than expected. It failed in some tests like crossing trenches and passing various obstacles. The concept however had strong supporters inside the OHL and development continued as a field transport. The second prototype was more successful. It was developed in late 1917, had no steering front wheel, was more compact and propelled by a more powerful engine. It was also covered by sheet metal and was projected to have a rear fully traversed turret equipped with up to four machine-gun or a 2 cm ( in) Tankabwehrkanone Becker . But as the OHL was now set on the A7V , no order came. The team behind decided however to produce a new design for 1919, hoping for further orders. This Orionwagen III was an enhanced version of the latter, equipped with two turrets, one carrying the 20 mm ( in) Becker and the other two Mauser machine guns.

Despite the manpower and technical limitations imposed upon the German Army by the Treaty of Versailles, several Reichswehr officers established a clandestine General Staff to study World War I and develop future strategies and tactics. One such Reichswehr officer, Hans von Seeckt, became Commander-in-Chief. Seeckt took to heart the lessons learned in the Great War and set about in rewriting the foundation of the German Army. Infantry still remained the heart and soul of any planned offensive, but the tank would become the spearhead of actions that could shatter enemy defenses through speed, force and firepower. Tactics involved the splitting up of enemy formations and counteractions involving pincer movements to surround and ultimately decimate the enemy in whole. By 1926, German Army doctrine was all rewritten to fulfill this vision. Although at first the concept of the tank as a mobile weapon of war met with apathy, German industry was silently encouraged to look into tank design, while quiet cooperation was undertaken with the Soviet Union . [9] In late 1920s and early 1930s, Germans closely co-operated with Russians in the development of armored vehicles at Kama, near Kazan in USSR. There was also minor military cooperation with Sweden , including the extraction of technical data that proved invaluable to early German tank design. [10]

East german tanks

east german tanks

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