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Mar 27, 2013

VK7201 - fake or not?

Attention! After/before (as you like) reading this, be sure to read this: http://ftr-wot.blogspot.cz/2013/03/vk7201-part-deux.html


Sources:
H.L.Doyle, T.Jentz - Panzer Tracts (6-3)
H.L.Doyle, T.Jentz - Encyclopedia of German Tanks (Revised edition)
W.Spielberger - Spezial Panzer Fahrzeuge (German edition)



I promised an article about the history of the VK7201. Well, here's what's I found. Everyone who has read my comments on this vehicle probably knows I consider it an unhistorical fake, made up by Wargaming's chief tank researcher, Yuri Pasholok.

Well, I was wrong. It's fully historical. But it's a pretty obscure vehicle.

First, a short Lowe introduction. The Lowe program was a (relatively early) very heavy tank program from 1941-1942. If you are interested in its particularities, I suggest you have a look at the Panzer Tracts - Paper Panzers. What we need to know for starters is that there were 5 basic Lowe models Doyle mentions, all proposed by Krupp. Here are their parameters, mentioned in Panzer Tracts 20-1:


 The common consensus is that the very early models had the turret in the back, while the later models had the turret moved to middle (this can be verified by checking the table hull lengths, comparing them to the respective gun lengths and then to total lengths of the vehicle). Contrary to popular belief however, there was never such a think as "Leichter Lowe" or "Schwerer Lowe", that nomenclature was made up, all the projects were referred to in VK (Vollkettenfahrzeug - tracked vehicle) nomenclature and later by the name of Löwe. It started as a roughly 75 ton tank, the early projects had the turret in the back, like this:





Later, the turret was moved to the middle into what we know from the game as the Lowe. By the way, if you look at the table and compare it with the ingame Lowe, you'll find out that the tier 8 tank we all know is not historical, it's a mashup of various Lowe models. But that's really not the topic of this article.

So, where did the VK7201 come from? The first hint was that it is internally in game referred to as VK7201(K). Okay, so it was made by Krupp. German version of Spielberger's book offers an interesting theory. According to Spielberger, "an alternative Lowe chassis turretted self-propelled gun was originally started by Krupp along with the first Lowe project".

That was not uncommon at the time: the Germans always tried to use available chassis for more projects. For example, the superheavy Jagdpanzer E-100 on the E-100 chassis, or its competitior, Jagdpanzer Maus (yes, that's not a fake). But this project was rather special. It was concieved with some sort of unspecified 150mm howitzer (Feldhaubitze) in a round turret (unspecified where located, but according to the vehicle length, it can be theoretized it was in the back). The very interesting part is that this project was concieved as an infantry support vehicle chassis (weapons carrier), with superheavy frontal armor. This new type of chassis was designated "Infanterieunterstützung-Fahrgestell" (gotta love Germans and their combined words) - the "infantry support chassis" as a reaction on Hitler's direct demand for the development of superheavy vehicles for both destroying tanks and specialized heavy vehicles for supporting infantry (no doubt under the influence of professor Porsche and his own megalomania).

Plans were made to incorporate an unspecified other weapon. The vehicle was designated at first the VK7201, but later it was concieved the weight of 75 tons wouldn't fit such a heavy projected armor (originally, it was projected with cca 100mm frontal plate, but Hitler demanded as much armor as possible, ideally cca 200mm). The project then recieved a name of "Howitzer on infantry support chassis 'Lowe'", in German: "Feldhaubitze auf Infanterieunterstützung-Fahrgestell 'Lowe'", which can be shortcutted as F.a.I.Lowe (well, it probably wasn't in real life). Yea, you laughed, it's stupid, but historical, sorry.

Not much else is known about this project, not even its engine, so that's most likely made up. Its history presumably ends with the termination of the Lowe project in April 1942. I will later scan the respective part of Spielberger's book.

So, there you have it, not only is the Failowe historical, but so is the name in fact. See, Wargaming introduces only well-researched and historical vehicles. Kudos to Mr.Pasholok for uncovering this obscure and interesting, if silly-named vehicle. Long live the Failowe!

29 comments:

  1. Interesting link:

    http://forum.worldoftanks.eu/index.php?/topic/226708-vk7201-m60-obj907-spekulationen-ende-der-unkenrufe/

    The VK7201 is "confirmed", but not as regular or premium tank. I assume it will be some kind of special endgame CW content.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Overlord confirmed that there is a possibility that Clanwars recieve special tanks as top rewards. Someone on the RU forum mentioned something special is internally tested for the Clanwars atm (no details, sorry). Could be interesting.

      Delete
  2. The Name of the Vehicle says all:
    FAILöwe means that it is a Fail :-)

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    Replies
    1. So basically the same as all other German tanks. ufufufufufufu.

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    2. HAR HAR HAR MUH GERMAN STAHL!!!!
      HAR HAR HAR MUH ENGINE FIRES!!!!
      HAR HAR HAR MUH RUSSIAN BIAS!!!!


      Seriously guys, it's not funny, clever, or even true anymore.

      Delete
  3. People are whining like crazy about this tank, yet from the stats standpoint it looks awesome so far. Yes, it will require gold spam, and yes - it is a shame they didn't give it the proper 150L40 gun, but other than that it's kind of cool - great armor, really good turret and so on.

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  4. I always have mixed feelings when they add another "What if" tank or prototype to the game.

    While it's sometimes cool to see what could have been, most of the times I'd rather only have the tanks that actually existed.
    Put aside if they saw combat or not, but atleast existed.

    Existed as in: It was atleast put to test and not only a blueprint or standing around as a wooden model...

    Don't get me wrong, I like WoT for what it is, a Battlecity clone with better graphics.

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  5. Wait! "VK" means "Vollkettenfahrzeug" and not "Versuchskonstruktion"!? Damn, now I feel silly. :(

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    Replies
    1. oh, okay. I found out it could mean both. :/

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  6. Yes, well no offense, but I still don't see the "fully historical" part of this.
    So what do we have? (what I could get out of this text) By this name and model there was a tank project. We can _speculate_ that the turret probably would have been rear mounted. The gun is basically an unknown except that its howitzer (meaning low penetration, which fits WGs plans). The armor was to be thick "ideally cca 200mm" and 240mm is quite bit bigger. It would have to be more than 75 tons as it just couldn't be as light as that with all that armor. Practically nothing much else is known, speed is left to imagination.
    So what we get is a tank project that is perfect for Wargaming as most of its data can be made fully with imagination (heavier than that, gun about that size, more armor than that but about that amount, maybe looked like that, could have been like that....).

    P.S. I am not talking about not liking the tank or liking it, that is a whole other thing. I am referring to the part that I really don't see the "fully historical" part of this tank, maybe partially historical at best.

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    Replies
    1. Well, it existed at least... on paper. They prolly just slapped more armor on. It's more historical than - say - a T-28 turret prototype.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, it's just that when I see words "fully historical" I think of something that has a proper project, not definitely a prototype but at least schematic drawing or a plan with specifications (like size, armor, desired properties like speed, planed guns). What I see about this tank is mostly unknowns, all that is really known is name, possible looks (it should be alike the main designs), 150mm howitzer gun and the armor should be ideally 200mm (and even that is floating in mid air). And the engine at least you could try to put in something from the main Lowe line projects.
      So I agree it's somewhat historical but that is all at best.

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    3. At lease it isn't a FV215b HT.

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  7. tbh you see a paper with data in english for a german fictional tank. If it would be an original document by Krupp or who else done it, i would say ok . Tanks that existet only on paper can be done ingame as they wanted it to be, since there are no practical facts about it. They should stick to tanks were atleast 1 prototype was build and not only some paper they found on the toilette 70 years ago

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    Replies
    1. Source is Speilberger, you're talking about a group of researchers who DO literally go through old Krupp and Henschel documentation for their research including digging through files confiscated during the Nuremburg trials.
      You have more luck getting a ticket to the moon than discrediting those guys.

      Delete
  8. dont know your Sources but Failöwe is in no way a historical name.
    german shortcuts were FH for Feldhaubitze and Fgst for Fahrgestell
    conjuctions like "auf" were never part of any Shortcuts.
    but even then its Name would surely not FHFgstLöwe rather than a VK Number

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    Replies
    1. That you have to ask Mr. Spielberger, not me. He passed away though, only his books remain. I linked my sources - I'll scan them later on.

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    2. Also usually Feldhaubitzen on vehicles became Sturmhaubitzen.

      Delete
  9. If this is going to be a clan wars only special tank then that, coupled with it being a high tier German tank, will probably make it a very rare sight.

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  10. I cant believe you could say WG made up a tank out of some employee mind. Really Frank....you have issues.

    Why are you so pissed of at WG? are you a better tank expert or something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, a supertester asked to Pasholok and it turns out this is a coupling of a model with associated stats of the Leichter Lowe coupled with fantasy stats taken from the Maus development.

      Basically a VK10001 with VK7201 model, something akin to E-50M in stretching history.

      Delete
  11. Ha Tigers and Lions - we'll see how this works out.

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  12. W 1662(the fourth one) is our ingame Lowe, isn't it?

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    Replies
    1. Nope, it's a combination of the last two AFAIK

      Delete
  13. "Feldhaubitze auf Infanterieunterstützung-Fahrgestell 'Lowe'", which can be shortcutted as F.a.I.Lowe

    Actually it coems out as F.a.I.L. Pretty accurate description, it would seem, marrying the worst of E-100 with the worst of VK4502P, coupled with tier 8 armor.

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    Replies
    1. FAILOWE having T8 armor? this guy just went full retard!

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  14. I think you need it:http://i.imgur.com/2NL5L03.jpg

    from: http://ww2drawings.jexiste.fr/Files/1-Vehicles/Axis/1-Germany/03-sPanzers/PzKpfw7-Lowe/File/Lowe.htm

    T7 Lowe close to history,but the T10 vk7001 only have a similar appearance to really. WG add a lot of front armor for it

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  15. so only for ppl that does boring CW ???

    that is discriminating that not everyone can get, smack it up for 100 000 gold as well for 3 days :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sigh.... I will take this one ,...If I can have my autoloader E50M gun :)

    ReplyDelete