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Oberschlesien Tank

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Towards the end of WWI, German armor designers were quickly catching up with the French and British. Their LK-1 and LK-2 were quite a bit better than the Whippet which they tried to copy, and eventually they thought about designing new tanks from scratch with the experience gained from their successes and blunders. One of the final tanks to be drawn up, was the Oberschlesien tank. A very modern looking tank with one main turret, and two small support turrets. It was very cool looking, and I think this design begs to have a model made out of it at some point. (The correct name is Oberschlesien - like the German lands with that name - and it came from the Firm that were supposed to build it, Oberschlesien-Eisenindustrie AG in Gleiwitz.)

Oberschlesien Eisenwerk had designed a heavy tank with traversing turret and 37mm gun, two prototypes of which had been ordered when the war ended. The Tank featured central turret armed with 37mm or 57mm gun and two small turrets, each armed with a machine gun. It was planned to weight some 19000kg (21 tons). It was powered by 195hp engine and could travel at maximum speed of 19km/h (11.8mph). Maximum armor protection was to be 14mm. It was to be operated by the crew of 5 men. The "Oberschlesien II" was given the go-ahead by the OHL on October 5, 1918 for the construction of two test models. However, the end of the war was to deny this prophetic tank life.

The tank featured many concepts which would be standard in many tank projects following the war. The hull itself was fairly standard, the track arrangement resembling the early British Vickers. Special attention was paid to the tracking and running gear. The drive wheels were located in the middle of the tank with geared arcs which encircled fixed drums located at the ends of the tank. The front armor was well sloped and rounded, the rear decking being more level and having venting for the rear mounted engine, which was to be a Argus AS 3 aircraft motor developing 180hp at 1,400rpm. The driver was in the front of the tank, separated from the fighting compartment. He was provided with two, small raised vision cupolas.

There was also a small, auxiliary turret mounted centrally in the front of the tank which contained a machine gun. Atop a sloped rise in the hull sat the main turret which was to mount the 5.7cm cannon. It had full traverse and had a cupola on the top. In the hull, under the turret, one per side, was a hatch. Behind the main turret was a second auxiliary turret, facing to the rear and mounted centrally. It too contained a machinegun. The engine was separated from the fighting compartment.

Specifications for the "Oberschlesien II" (the final design) are as follows: Height= 9ft.6in. (2.9m), Length= 21ft.7in. (6.6m), Width= 7ft.6in. (2.3m), Clearance= 1ft.9in. (.59m), Ground pressure= .5kg/cc, Weight= 19 tons, Speed= 16kph, Fuel capacity= 1,000 liters, Crew= 5.

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