VK 1602 Leopard

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Light Tank VK 1602
VK 1602 Leopard.svg
Type Reconnaissance vehicle
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service Never produced
Production history
Designer M.A.N. / MIAG / Daimler-Benz
Designed 1942
Variants 2
Specifications (as designed)
Weight 21,900 kilograms (48,300 lb)
Length 4.74 metres (15 ft 7 in)
Width 3.1 metres (10 ft 2 in)
Height 2.6 metres (8 ft 6 in)
Crew 4

Armor 16–50 mm
Main
armament
50mm KwK 39/1 L/60
Secondary
armament
7.92mm MG42
Engine Maybach HL 157 P
550 horsepower (410 kW)
Transmission Maybach OG 55 11 77 semi-automatic
Suspension Torsion bar
Ground clearance 500mm
Operational
range
500 kilometres (310 mi) (on roads), 300 kilometres (190 mi) (cross-country)
Speed 45 kilometres per hour (28 mph) (on roads), 30 kilometres per hour (19 mph) (cross-country)
Steering
system
Multi-stage

The light tank VK 16.02 Leopard was a planned German reconnaissance vehicle designed from mid 1941 through January 1943, with the serial production scheduled for April 1943, but the project was abandoned before the first prototype was complete in January of that same year. The reason for this was that it did not meet the requirements for a 1944 vehicle.

Development[edit]

Development started in 1941 under M.A.N., which took inspiration from their VK 30.02 design, creating an even more armoured, albeit smaller, vehicle, with 80mm sloped frontal armour (at the time the Panther prototype only had 60mm frontal armour). As the Panther project gained importance, Wa Pruef 6 decided to remove the VK 16.02 project from M.A.N. to help them meet deadlines for the Panther project, handing it to MIAG and Daimler-Benz, with competence on the hull to MIAG and on the turret and armament to Daimler-Benz.
Two variants were initially being designed, a lighter one weighing 18-tons and a heavier one weighing 26-tons, but in June 1942 Hitler decided to only continue development on the heavier one, as he deemed protection from enemy anti-tank guns a priority.
In July 1942 MIAG presented a more refined design that was accepted into production, which was planned to start in April 1943, with plans of 20 vehicles per month starting from October 1943.
In a meeting on the 13 October 1943, Hitler was informed the lighter variant design was preferred by the troops, as it would better fit the reconnaissance role, while the heavier design had too similar characteristics to the Panther, with the only difference being the smaller gun. Hitler agreed to only develop the lighter variant.
The final design had a combat loaded weight of 21.9 metric tons. The armor was 50 mm sloped at 50 degrees on the front, 30 mm on the sides and rear, 16mm deck and from 16 to 25 mm belly plates. The planned armament was the 5 cm Kw.K.39/1 L/60 cannon, the same that was used on late Pz IIIs. The engine was the Maybach HL 157 rated at 550 horsepower. In order to increase cross-country performance, the VK 1602 was fitted with 660 mm wide tracks, the same that were used on the Panther.[1]

Variants[edit]

The Leopard chassis was also planned for use as the base for a 10.5 cm cannon in a Waffentrager configuration.[2][3]

Specifications[edit]

  • Weight: 21900 kg
  • Crew: 4 men
  • Engine: Maybach HL 157 P / 12-cylinder / 550 hp
  • Speed: Road: 45–60 km/h / Cross-Country: 30 km/h
  • Range: Road: 500 km / Cross-Country: 300 km
  • Length: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
  • Width: 3.10 m (10 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 6 in)
  • Armament:
    • 1 × 50mm KwK 39/1 L/60
    • 1 × 7.92mm MG42
  • Ammo:
    • 50mm: 50 rounds
    • 7.92mm: 2400 rounds
  • Armor: 16–50 mm

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Jentz, Thomas; Doyle, Hilary (2002). Panzer Tracts 20-2. Panzer Tracts. p. 60. ISBN 0970840772. 
  2. ^ "World of Tanks Wiki Wooden model of the 10,5cm Waffentrager Leopard". wiki.wargaming.net. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  3. ^ "Archive Awareness : World of Tanks History Section: VK 16.02 Leopard". tankarchives.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
Bibliography
  • Jentz,Thomas & Doyle, Hilary (2002) "Panzer Tracts 20-2"