mercoledì 17 aprile 2013

"Buff my tank!" - E-100

By Zarax

Hello and welcome to the second edition of "Buff my tank!"

The "Buff my tank!" articles are meant as an historical way to look at some tanks considered underpowered in game and ways to improve their combat abilities discussed by the original german engineers.
Beware that while being sometimes ironic in tone, the article treats about both costs and benefits of every choice and it most likely will never be listened by WG as suggestion.

The E-100 is often defined as "Gold Ammo" tank in game due to high reliance on the expensive HEAT shells.
In this article we will use Panzer Tracts 6-3 to explore the most extreme features the german engineers discussed during the tank implementation, while for the tank's history SilentStalker's article provides already excellent information.

As the E-100 never reached operational status and only a half-finished hull was done, we have no battlefield experience outside of virtual one to gather information from.
In the end it's likely E-100 and Maus would have worked as propaganda tanks or used as bunkers during the defence of Berlin rather than actively on the battlefield due to their logistics issues as those tanks did not exactly sip fuel which was extremely scarce in 1945 and I wouldn't want to be assigned to their maintenance.

First of all, E-100 is already somewhat above historical specs as side turret armor was planned to be a scant 80mm unlike the 150mm thickness in game, this removes a quite large potential weak spot as even scouts could have hurt it.

Of course, one could consider the original Krupp Tiger-Maus turret:

It has however the "slight" drawback of being 12.5 tons heavier and having a decently sized cupola as weakspot plus the viewports on the side, limiting tank agility and likely being slower to turn.

Another option that was considered is the MB501 engine planned at 1500HP output, which would bring the power to weight ratio from approximately 9.2HP/ton to 11.5HP/ton, making the tank slightly more agile although the torpedo boat engine was quite a bit bigger than the Maybach HL 234/295.
This means that the engine module would get bigger (would it even fit without major hull modifications? It was meant for the earlier, longer-hulled project) and I'd be willing to bet WG would also slap an higher fire chance.

Now, about firepower, what is often considered the biggest problem.
First of all, longer 15cm cannons and the 17cm one were considered for the STUG E-100, aka the Jagdpanzer E-100 we have in game.
On the contrary, during development the 128 L/55 cannon was strongly suggested as an alternative as the shells were lighter and easier to handle while more than adequate against anything it was planned to face.

The answer here probably lies in ammunition choice, but as the 15cm L/38 (which is often mentioned as L/37) does not have a penetration table from WWII we cannot realistically say. In my opinion, by the time the gun would have been ready it would have used either a modified 15cm SFH 18 concrete-piercing round or just a mix of HEAT and HE ammo, which was enough to mission kill any WWII era tank as shown by the russian 152mm howitzers.

 So, here comes the final verdict:

Very little room for improvement is left.

Unfortunately the fact that it was meant from the start to be a cheaper, easier to produce Maus means that engineers focused on things that could have been produced sooner with available means rather than making a super-tank, especially as the E-series were often seen with hostility by many both in the army and in competing firms.

Thank you for reading and see you in the next article!

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