Dragon DRR60588 German VK 45.02 (P)H Ausf. A Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1945 (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
Development of the VK 45.02 started in April 1942. Although the Krupp company received an order for construction of turrets, the prototype was never manufactured. The turrets were instead mounted on the first Tiger IIs.
The VK 4502 had weaker guns and thinner armor than the Tiger II, but has much better mobility. Its armor is also well sloped like the Tiger II, making it a hard nut to crack. The most noticeable difference from its brother, the VK45.02(P) Ausf. B, is that its turret is mounted on the front instead of on the back and that the Ausf. A is much more nimble. However, the VK45.02(p) Ausf. B has thicker armor and more powerful guns than the Ausf. A.
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Length: 5-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: June 2013
Historical Account: "Paper Panzers" - A rigid system for development and procurement of weapons systems had been established for the German army long before the Nazi era started in 1933. The troops were to send in requests for advanced weapon designs to their branch inspectorate. Controlled by budgetary constraints, the inspectorate (In 6 for tanks) eliminated crackpot ideas and Xmas wish lists. For worthwhile ideas, In 6 created performance specifications and sent them to the branch ordnance department (Wa Pruef 6 for automotive). Wa Pruef 6 then created a design specification and selected two or three private companies to develop conceptual designs. 1/10-scale drawings and wooden models were created by the companies (such as Krupp, Rheinmetall, Daimler-Benz, and M.A.N.) for Wa Pruef 6. These conceptual designs were then shown to In 6 to determine if they met their needs and to approve the next steps for procuring test Panzers.
The system was very well controlled, because In 6 was not allowed to design and Wa Pruef 6 had no money. Therefore, Panzers designed up to 1939 were created as basic workhorses for employment in a wide range of tactical functions. This well-controlled system broke down at the start of the war, when Wa Pruef 6 themselves started creating new designs. Being engineers, they went for the newest high technology engines, semi-automatic transmissions, complex steering units, and torsion bar suspensions - none of which had been proven reliable or were needed to fulfil basic tactical needs. Then, companies like Porsche and Daimler-Benz started their own conceptual designs without guidance from In 6 or Wa Pruef 6. Having encountered British, French, and Russian tanks with thick armor at the start of the war, Germany embarked on an uncontrolled arms race for bigger guns and thicker armor.