Pz.Kpfw. VIB Mastiff II
>> ENTERING ALLIED NATIONS MILITARY DATABASE
>> SEARCHING DIRECTORY: WW2 EXPERIMENTAL FORGOTTEN DESIGNS
>> FILE: GERMAN_PROJECT_MASTIFF_II.DAT
>> FILE LOADED
>> CLEARENCE LEVEL: LEVEL 2
>> DATE: 34/5/1967
>> AUTHOR: GREGORY DUNCAN
>> ENTERING FILE
This file and everything written here is about a project which would changed the Allied military history, but never seen active service. This project was known under many names, like Eurotank I, T40, Protector, Panzerkampfwagen VI.B and VK4503, but commonly it was known as Mastiff II.
The Mastiff II. Displayed with German army marks. In all other pictures will also have them.
The idea for Mastiff II was born in 1951, when Allied Nations seen that their chosen Pz.Kpfw. VI. Mastiff can hardly keep up with Russian T-55, only when firing from longer distances or when supported by M4 Beagle tanks. This led to the first thoughts about a newer tank, which can easily challenge Anvil tanks in one-on-one combat, or even outnumbered, capable of penetrating thick sloped armor of Anvil and being maneuverable like Mastiff.
The development of the new tank was given mainly to the designer and producer of the Mastiff, Henschel & Son, but now many other German companies joined as well as several foreign companies from France, Britain and USA. The first drafts of the "Eurotank I" by Henschel, were drawn in September, 1951. In appearence tank was very similar to the Mastiff, only with the sloped armour. However, Mastiff was already very narrow for the crew, and with the sloped sides of the hull and turret, the crew will dont have any comfort and the amount of the shells will be drastically lower. This meant the tank must be larger.
The blueprints with larger chassis and turret were finished in December, 1952. This proposal was featuring more from Soviet T-55 Anvil, with the whole hull being sloped. The size was also very similar to the Anvil, which evocated arguments of some Allied nations for it's classification of the "medium tank". By the plans Eurotank I was supposed to be a medium tank, but Mastiff II, as it gained its nickname for its close appearence and relation with Mastiff, was much heavier, around 75 tonnes. Several nations were arguing that the build cost of Mastiff II isnt worth of their money and lost interest, but the founding countries continued in its development.
The size comparison between Mastiff and Mastiff II.
After five months of discussions about the further development, in July, 1953 the Mastiff II was re-classified into the heavy tank (Germany stated that "Soviets are using heavy tank as their main battle tank, why we can't too, when we will manage the same speed like medium tanks?") and accordingly to it the plans were changed. With the increased weigth, there existed two proposals for its suspension. One was to use the same suspension the Mastiff was using, only with enlarged wheels and added one pair. Porsche, Hanomag and Alkett were supporting this design. Henschel, however, designed totally new suspension, consisting of three rows of eleven road wheels, overlapping each other (six doubled outer and inner, five middle). This design was more spreading the weigth of the tank over the tracks, decreasing the tension on the wheels of the Mastiff.
American Continental Motors Company shipped into Germany their AV-1790-3 engines, planned to be used for experimental US-exclusive T32 heavy tank, as the Mastiff was using underpowered engine. By this the designers expected Mastiff II can reach the same, or at least close to, speed of the Mastiff, while being 20 tonnes heavier. The tank was then equiped with the latest technological developments, like the autoloading system used by Soviets in JS-2, which replaced the need for another crew member (loader), infra-red range finding for all crew, binoculars and night vision for the commander, advanced transmission and managing for the driver, more efficient radio array for radio operator to reach greater distances and many more.
Two proposals of Mastiff II's main gun, 105mm KwK 55 L/68 (left) and 88mm KwK 53 L/52 (right).
Another large obstacle in the development was the arnament. There were many proposals from various countries, various companies and officers about what Mastiff II would carry into the battle. The first proposal was to use 88mm KwK 46, a weapon of the Mastiff. While it was a proven and very effective weapon, but everyone admitted the new tank should not be just a mere enlarged copy. Instead there were a votes to develop newer gun, 88mm KwK 53 L/52, being longer to hit targets farther with better accuracy.
Another idea was to develop totally new weapon, 105mm KwK 55 L/68. This gun was supposed to be the longest tank gun used by Allies, being as long as the tank itself. While sceptics pointed on its immense length which would be handicap in urban warfare, most of the officers of the high command liked it, as it was between their 88mm and Soviet 122mm guns utilized on JS-2, and the length guarantee increased penetration, fire range and accuracy. By designers, the estimated firepower of the gun was that Mastiff II can penetrate Anvil in range of 2500 meters with accuracy of ten meters. This gun was choosed as the main weapon of the Mastiff II. Another drafts were later made to use 128mm gun, larger than the guns used in Mammoth, but no examples were created.
Many diiscussions were about its secondary arnament, as Mastiff sported a machine gun on the top of the turret against infantry, but high command required to increase Mastif II's firepower, as the turret was not anyhow faster than of the Mastiff, which resulted in numerous fierce discussions. The smaller turret had two options. Hydra 20mm flak gun, used on Belgian Whipped half-tracks, was choosed for its great prowess against both infantry and aircrafts. Other option was second tank gun, 37mm KwK 46, to fight of the flanking Soviet units. While the discussions were intense, in the end Hydra was chosen. After these questions, there arose only one last, about mounting coaxial machine gun. The roposals was to mount it on the turret for the gunner or in the hull for radio operator. The decision was made to mount it coaxially with the gun on the turret, with expanation that the designers wanted to keep the front clear to dont give Soviets any chance to penetrate it.
The size comparison between T-55 Anvil, Panzer VI.B Mastiff II and JS-2 Mammoth.
In September, 1954, Henschel announced that the factory is ready to make the first two prototypes. The parts were mostly produced in Germany, but some of the key features were shipped from other countries, like engine from USA, range finding from Great Britain and IR view from France. The construction took Henschel months, as most of their powers were used to produce other battle-proven vehicles. In March, 1955, the prototypes were finished and immediately tested in everything possible, being it a speed, maneuverability, accuracy while standing still or moving, rate of fire of the autoloader, resistence to incoming fire and penetration of 105mm gun.
The testing lasted into August, 1955, and the results were unbelieveable. Mastiff II was capable of driving by the roads in 31 km/h and off-road 28km/h, only a little lower then Mastiff. The highest rate of fire while standing still was recorded to be eight rounds per minute, something unbelieveable when compared to the caliber of the gun. The accuracy was excellent in one kilometer, penetrating the armor plate of T-55 with 100%, with each shot being deadly for the tank, in two kilometers the accuracy on the armor was lower, with 82%, but still keeping its devastating penetrations. The tank was capable of withstanding fire from guns with similar caliber of T-55 from 500 meters, giving the tested object (armored plates with thickness of Mastiff II) serious only for 18%. The other features proven excellent, but also there appeared few flaws and weaknesses.
The tank was overall very difficult to maintain, especially the engine and suspension. To repair the engine, engineers and mechanics must dismandle the tracks, somethign what was very time-consuming, then remove the top armour covering the engine's top, and then by crane raise the engine. The IR view was very sophisticated and tend to fail. Some other minor drawbacks were found, and high command ordered to rework the tank, minimizing or resolving the errors, giving the developers time to January, 1956. However, in December, 1955, Allied Nations and Soviet Union signed the peace treaty, ending the war and with that the end of the development of Mastiff II.
It is unknown what have happened with the two protoypes, if they were been scrapped, sealed in the Nevada Boneyards, storaged in Germany or even destroyed in combat, but what is certain is that Mastiff II heavly influenced the development of the next generation of Allied tanks with its advanced technologies. We can only speculate what will happend when Allies will start the production of Mastiff II. In every aspect except speed and maneuverability Mastiff II was better than Anvil, destroying them from ranges where Anvils havent even clearly seen the attacker. Also what will happend when Mammoth tank and Mastiff II will meet, who will won is only a speculation.
When the Mastiff II will enter serial production, there were plans for various national variants bearing their own names. German, and mostly official name, was Panzerkampfwagen VI.B (VK4503 as development name), but there were also a suggestions to changing it into another tank, with number VII, which wasnt chosen and later was given to Predator. French "Eurotank I Mastiff II" was planned to carry more armour, reinforcing the turret sides, gun mantlet, front and sides of the hull . American, called M40 Mastiff II, was lighter and faster. British variant was called "Infantry Tank Mark VII Protector", and had only few small changes. Other variants also had only minor changes, ranging from larger fuel tanks and different ammunition type to electrical tea pot for Brits.
Mastiff II was supposed to replace Mastiff, with heavier armor protection, larger firepower both against distant armored targets, infantry groups or even aerial threats, while keeping the same speed. Soviet Stavka will need to develop something stronger than Anvil, as these were not able to easily defeat even one Mastiff II, needing to move into close range. JS-3 was developed also in the end of the war, and if the war will take longer, it will be common to see battling Mastiff II with Terminator tanks. Mastiff II should be a total failure, but if not, it will be one of the best tanks of the World War II.
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All informations contained in this blog are absolutely fictional and have no connections to Red Alert 3: Paradox mod. Mastiff II is unofficial and fictional tank. Names and events belongs to Infinity Realms and RA3 Paradox mod Team.