Panzerstahl PS89005 German Kampgwagenvernichter Ausf. F (E-100) StuG Heavy Tank Destroyer (1:72 Scale)
"[Hitler overestimated] the importance of [technology]. As a result, he would count on a mere handful of assault-gun detachments or the new Tiger tanks to restore situations where only large bodies of troops could have any prospect of success."
- German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein
The E-100 is infrequently referred to as the "Tiger III" and more commonly mistaken for the Maus super heavy tank. Not without good reason, considering that development of the E-100 and the Maus were concurrent and because the Maus progressed more quickly the E-100 was intended to have mounted an identical turret. This makes even technical illustrations of the two look surprisingly similar, but the E-100 was more than just a lousy Maus imposter. As the scale tipping end of Germany's rather ingenious "E-series" of next generation tanks the E-100 was planned to be the platform for a variety of super heavy armored vehicles. Among these was the E-100 "Krokodil", a super heavy anti-tank vehicle.
Without the Maus turret to contend with the Krokodil would have slimmed down the impressive 3.6 meter profile of the turreted E-100 and lightened the load on the E-100's 800 horsepower Maybach engine. While the E-100 was unlikely to acheive the promised road speed of 40 kilometers per hour (twice as fast as the Maus) the Krokodil would have likely come closer. The Krokodil would have maintained or even enhanced the E-100s 24 centimeters of sloped armor. The most powerful anti-tank gun fielded by the Germans by the end of the war was the 128mm KwK 44 used by the Jagdtiger and planned for the Maus. The E-100 tank and Jagdpanzer Krokodil both would have mounted a 170mm anti-tank gun capable of driving an armor piercing shot through anything on the battlefield at ranges up to four kilometers.
The E-100 was projected to weigh a "mere" 136 tons, but this number hardly seems realistic given that the weight of the less heavily armed Maus was 188 tons. The E-100, like the Maus, also mounted a coaxial 75mm gun for anti-personnel duty. This gun would have been done away with in the purpose-built Krokodil and would have further trimmed the operational weight of the vehicle and freed up room for more ammunition.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale German Kampgwagenvernichter Ausf. F (E-100) StuG Heavy Tank Destroyer.
Length: 8 inches
Width: 2-1/2 inches
Release Date: September 2013
Historical Account: "The E Series" - The E-Series, or "Einheitsfahrgestell" Series, or General Purpose Chassis Series if you like English, began in April of 1943 with an order to various manufacturers to begin developing different weight classes of vehicles. The E-series was envisioned as a sort of fresh start for the panzer armies of Germany, an entire new wave of armored vehicles in all shapes and sizes. They ranged from the E-5 ultra-light tanks in the 5-10 ton range all the way up to the gargantuan E-100 series. The idea was a grander realization of what was attempted with the Koenigs Tiger and formative Panther II; a complete interchangeability of parts. Every piece of an ultra-light E-5 tank possible would be made to work in a super-heavy E-100 tank, greatly streamlining the efficiency of production, maintenance, and training. This was an impressive goal and one which has yet to be fully realized by any military to this day.
By the end of the war many vehicles in the E-Series had progressed well into the prototype phase, including a variety of light anti-tank guns. For the E-100, fate was less kind. Because of the terrible situation Germany found itself in by 1944, development of super heavy tanks was all but halted. A handful of engineers at the Henschel facility in Paderborn were allowed to continue assembling a prototype of the E-100 tank. They had nearly completed the chassis when the facility was overrun by the British and Americans in 1945. The chassis was carted off to England where it was eventually scrapped.
The legacy of the E-100 and the Krokodil are particularly sad considering that so much noise is made about the Maus when they were both clearly superior vehicles. Their greatly improved speed, even if a bit optimistic, places them leaps and bounds ahead of the Maus in terms of the usefulness they would have had on the battlefield.