Modelcollect AS72079 German E-100 Waffentrager (Weapon Carrier) with Rheintochter 1 Surface-to-Air Missile - 1946 (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 Waffentrager concept was conceived to combine German artillery tractors and SPGs into one vehicle type that would salvage precious resources, like field guns, from the battlefield in the later stages of the war.
Work on the Waffentrager project started in early 1944, being part of the E-series of standardized, next-generation German tanks. Waffentragers (eng; weapons carrier) were intended to merge two types of vehicles used by the German army into one - artillery tractors and self-propelled guns. This new vehicle type would be a mobile, lightly-armored tank destroyer that could both use its cannon itself or, depending on the circumstances, unequip it and hand it over to other units to be used as field artillery. This concept was seen as highly practical by the Germans, given how it not only gave the German army one vehicle for the price of two, but was also saving on vital resources of which Germany suffered a great shortage of in the late stages of the war. Nearly all renown German companies that produced military equipment or vehicles took up the task, resulting in 4 different Waffentrager designs.
The Krupp-Steyr Waffentrager was first drawn up in early 1944. Development was split into two parts; chassis and turret. Steyr developed the chassis, whilst Krupp focused on the turret and cannon development. To keep the costs and required resources to a minimum, Speyr decided to base the chassis of their Waffentrager around their existing RSO artillery tractor and reuse as many parts from it as possible. Krupp on the other hand, reused the same 8,8cm KwK 43 L/71 cannon with which the Tiger II was outfitted, but had to come up with a new turret rotation mechanism to rotate the compact, open-topped turret. The re-usage of existing parts and equipment was put at the forefront during development of the Waffentrager, with the goal to build the most cost-efficient and resource-saving tank.
Nevertheless, Steyr was tasked with building four vehicles for testing and a wooden mock up of the vehicle. After several delays, the Krupp-Steyr Waffentrager was, along two other designs from other companies, tested in late 1944. The fate of the Krupp-Steyr Waffentrager after the testing remains to be determined, but what is clear is that this vehicle never left prototype stage, with a single testing vehicle and one wooden mock-up built.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale German E-100 Waffentrager (Weapon Carrier) with a Rheintochter 1 Surface-to-Air Missile mounted atop the chassis.
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Release Date: January 2018
Historical Account: "Skyward Bound" - The Rheintochter was a German surface-to-air missile developed by Rheinmetall-Borsig during World War II. Its name comes from the mythical Rheintochter (Rhinemaidens) of Richard Wagner's opera series Der Ring des Nibelungen.
The missile was a multi-stage solid fuelled rocket. It had four small control surfaces, resembling paddles, in the nose, six fins at the after end of the top stage, and four at the end of the main stage. It stood 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in) tall, with a diameter of 54 cm (1 ft 9 in). The sustainer motor, located ahead of the 136 kg (300 lb) warhead (rather than behind, as is more usual) exhausted through six venturis between the first stage fins.
The Rheintochter was ordered in November 1942 by the German army (Heer). Starting in August 1943, 82 test firings were made. An air-launched version was also designed. The operational version was intended to be fired from a ramp or converted gun mount.
The project was cancelled on February 6th, 1945. The initial R1 variant was powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket.