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Panzerkampfwagen I Schwere Minenräumer Mine Clearer

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This is an experimental heavy mine clearing vehicle (Schwere Minenräumer) using some components of the PzKpfw I. It was built by Alkett in 1943 and was the only prototype of this vehicle. It retains the PzKpfw I turret and the front of the hull is similar to that of the PzKpfw I but that is where the resemblance ends. Instead of caterpillar tracks it is fitted with three large wheels, one each side and one trailing behind. These wheels are designed to withstand the force of mines exploding as the vehicle clears its way through a minefield. Each wheel is fitted with solid cast metal feet that are hinged to the wheel so that at three feet on each wheel are in contact with the ground at any one time. The intention must have been to produce maximum surface area in contact with the ground in order to best diffuse the effects of mines exploding under the wheels. An additional advantage would be to reduce ground pressure since the vehicle, with its overweight suspension and heavily armoured hull, was extremely heavy.
The Schwere Minenräumer was 6.5m long, 2.8m high and 3.17m wide. It had a ground clearance of 91cm and was protected by 4cm of armour. Because of its weight, size and heavy suspension it could only manage a top speed of 15km per hour. (Source: S. Takemiya).
The front two wheels were powered while the third one was hung from a turntable mounting and was used to steer the vehicle. Chains from this rear wheel pass into the main superstructure on each side, indicating that the steering was probably carried out by exerting a force on these chains to rotate the turntable as required. The Schwere Minenräumer was powered by a Maybach HL120 V12 engine with an output of 300bhp. Trials were of limited success and only one example was built.

Model Id:110
Manufacture:Altmärkische Kettenfabrik (Alkett) GmbH, Berlin-Spandau, Germany (Prime contractor 1943)

1) Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Foreign Vehicles, Kubinka, Russia

Number of Photos: 3
Sample Photo from Album Number 17

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Unique ID: 17
Serial Number:
Other Identification:

This was the only example of this vehicle constructed. It was captured by the Soviet Army during the War.