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Kankou's Rambling: E-50 Ausf. M versus Leopard 1


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Daigensui #1 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:27

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With the Leopard 1 scheduled to be added in 8.5, Germany will be the first country to have two tier 10 medium tanks. In anticipation for such a reality, this edition of Kankou's Rambling shall look at the E-50 Ausf. M and the Leopard 1, focusing mainly on the designing philosophy behind them.


E-50 Ausf. M

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The E-50 Ausf. M is a "fictional" modernized version of the E-50, the Panther equivalent within the Entwicklung-typen program. It basically builds on the strengths of the Panther combination of superior armor and firepower allowing engagements at distances from which the enemies would have a difficult time in responding.

The E-series (Entwicklung-typen) designs were to be simpler, cheaper to produce, and more efficient than their predecessors, yet their design involved only modest improvements in armor and firepower over the designs they were intended to replace. In addition, they were to utilize common interchangeable parts, thereby reducing the load that came from the extremely complex tank designs that had resulted in poor production rates and mechanical unreliability. The five requirements given by Wa Prüf 6 were the following:

1) To achieve a very strong frontal plate, move all possible weight to the rear
2) Unify the drive train unit to simplify maintenance and service
3) Standardize all panzers into four weight classes
4) Attach all suspensions from the outside and no fighting space encumbered by through torsion bars
5) In case the front idler or any road wheels were destroyed by mines, the vehicle must be capable of proceeding by adjusting the track around the remaining wheels.

Ultimately, the E-series would represent the final standardization of German armored vehicle design.

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The program used the design offices of engineering companies which had no previous experience of tanks, under the belief that this will help bring about the most original approach to the problems at hand. These companies included Klockner-Humbolt- Deutz of Ulm, makers of the Diesel powered RSO/03, Argus of Karlsruhe, Adler of Frankfurt, and Weserhuette of Bad Oeyenhausen, all mainly component manufacturers, making things like engines, gearboxes and brakes for the larger concerns such as MAN and Daimler-Benz. It is worth knowing that not only could the ideas that formed from this project be considered the peak of German technological thought, but also that many of the components and ideas from the E-50 were inherited by French tanks and also incorporated into the Indien-Panzer, eventually leading to what we know as the Leopard 1.

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The suspension system, which had continuously plagued German tanks after the Pz IV, was greatly simplified. The E-50 utilized a cantilever bolt on shock assembly, six of these replacing the 16 torsion bar found on the Panther. The E-50 used only one steel wheel per axle, two axles per bogie and three bogies per side. The new suspension was simpler, and was expected to have better characteristics than the old one, which included the possibility to put an evacuation hatch on the bottom of the tank, simplify the job of mechanics, and make the hull cheaper and easier to produce. Mine damage would be much easier to fix as the complete unit could be unbolted and replaced. The complete bogie was referred to as "Einheitslaufwerk", or standardized running gear.

The placement of the transmission was a somewhat ambiguous one. At least at the "experimental" level designers were considering rear mounted final drives as part of power pack concept to simplify maintenance.   This is based on the preferably having the gearbox and final drive at the rear of the hull (as mentioned in the second requirements given by Wa Prüf 6). The technical superiority of forward drive was recognized (tests by the Germans had shown that tractive effort was far greater with front drive), but the military advantage of having the drive at the rear where it was not endangered by anti-tank fire, and the greater internal space in the fighting compartment which would result from the placement, influenced the choice of rear drive.

However, these first thoughts and proposals on future panzer requirements were never given any priority and as the war situation deteriorated. The “real“ engine/transmission package designers from Maybach never actively got involved and the armor designers certainly had not considered how a rear drive might be mounted. Wartime reality dictated that the front drive was seen as being a good enough of a solution. This would indicate that if the E-50 had been produced, it would have had a front drive until conditions allowed the redesigning to a rear drive, which is where the "fictional" E-50 Ausf. M would come into being: the ultimate design of German panzer development.

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Aside from the suspension and transmission, there was the issue of enlargening fighting space. A larger gun needs larger ammunition and related systems, and there was no room for further expansion in the range of vehicles that was being built (the Krupp proposals to "Umbewaffnung der Panzer" notwithstanding). For the E-50/E-75 series the 7.5 cm was dropped and replaced with a development of the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71, the 8.8 cm KwK 44 L/71. The breech was redesigned to take new ammunition which used a shorter, fatter cartridge to ease handling in the reduced space. Ammunition stowage was all in the hull, unlike the Tiger II where some was stored in the large turret bustle. The gun was mounted forward so the breech did not protrude into the turret too much. At the same time, a weapon stabilization system for E-50 was meticulously designed to allow sustained fire on the move, to simplify loading of the gun during tank movement on uneven ground, and also alleviate trunnion loads as the tank traveled cross country. Of course, the E-50 Ausf. M has a 10.5 cm tank gun based on the fictional 10,5 cm KwK 45 L/52 (which leads to a fictional turret deprived from the Schmalturm which provides the turret ammo rack), but the basic development of German tank design seems to indicate this possibility.

The E-50 Ausf. M is basically the kind of panzer that Wehrmacht wanted, a perfect mix of the holy trinity of firepower, protection, and mobility. While the Panther was a compromise of various requirements (overburdened suspension, inadequate gun for the changing times, selectively thick armor), the E-50 Ausf. M was the dream of the weapon to fight in the Eastern front, demonstrating its prowess in open country where it could shoot its victims at long range with near-impunity, under the shield of the super heavy tanks which were to also be developed. It was just a dream in the end, but a dream that revibrated into the future, to a descendant which will be famous throughout the world: Leopard 1.



Leopard 1

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The Leopard 1 was developed based on the operational requirements set up by the Bundeswehr after its establishment. At the time the M47 and M48 (given by the US) were the first tanks to be used, but given that these tanks were mainly seen as interim designed and thus basically obsolete, the Bundeswehr needed a modern tank to defend against the Warsaw Pact. The requirements were: 30 tons, 30 PS/ton, armor to withstand hits from 20 mm rounds at close range, gun capable of penetrating 150 mm of sloped armor.

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As can be seen, the Leopard 1 has relatively thin hull armor when compared to the tanks of WW2. This is because it was developed in an era when HEAT warheads were thought to make conventional heavy armor of limited value. Therefore, designers focused on firepower and improved cross-country performance which would provide the speed and flexibility to avoid being hit in the first place. There are various references to integral spaced armor, but those were most likely applied to the modernized versions, not the 0-series.

Still, this does not mean armor itself was thrown away. The mantlet itself is a minimum of 60 mm thick set at a great angle, and the actual turret armor is still a respectable 52 mm set at 65°from vertical. This gave the effective armor of over 230 mm, which by itself would help survival when engaging in hull-down tactics (gun depression had been from the start designed to be -9°).

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The gun itself needs no particular mention, with the Royal Ordnance L7 being famous for its accuracy and firepower. A total of 60 rounds were carried, with 42 stored in a special magazine in the hull to the left of the driver, 3 held in a ready use triple rack in front of it, and a further 15 racked in the turret. Ammunition were APDS, HEAT, HESH/HEP, smoke, canister, and target illumination rounds, and the normal mix was 31 APDS, 26 HESH/HEP, and 3 smoke rounds. The location of the ammo storage is essentially in line with the philosophy of the design, where a single hit would mean destruction.

The basic tactic of the Leopard 1 was to be one of defense. BRD was the frontline in the European sector of the Cold War, with virtually any possible war to be centered on either the northern German plains or the Fulda gap. The Bundeswehr was to take a defensive stance in such a war (compared to the offensive role of the American/British forces), where Leopard 1 tanks would be placed in prepostitioned tank emplacements with its small size (shorter than the T-62) hiding it adequately, retreating from ambush positions to ambush positions (the second reverse gear allowed the Leopard 1 to reach up to 25 km/h in reverse. This can be compared to the M48 Patton (16 km/h) and T-54 (8 km/h)), firing fast (top rate of fire was reported to be 10 shots per minute) and accurately as they try to hold back the iron waves of the Warsaw Pact forces.

Basically, it was a turreted tank destroyer, fighting against enemy tanks at superior range and with superior reaction speed and falling back to ambush the enemy again. At the same time, the mobility and speed meant that if necessary, the Leopard 1 could flank to fight on its own terms rather than that of the enemy.



In Relation to WoT

Given that the ingame specifications are unknown, I can't really predict what the Leopard 1 might be like or compare it directly with the E-50 Ausf. M. However, the following are my general thoughts:

- Leopard 1 will be a defensive support flanker. Fast and mobile with with a gun that has "high accuracy, fast aiming time, high penetration, good elevation and declination angles and low gun dispersion while on the move", it will play like a less armored T-54 with a slower but more accurate gun.
- E-50 Ausf. M, while not well liked, will still have a place as the heavy sniping brawler. With a most accurate gun and mobility for a 60+ ton weight, it might not fit the fast paced characteristics of the NA server, but it does have a role as a versatile tank, being a heavy or medium as necessary.



The coming of the Leopard 1 will surely be a watershed moment for the German tree. With two different kinds of medium, players will now have more choices as they utilize German accuracy and perfection in the battlefield of World of Tanks. May all German commanders be able to bring out the full potential of the war machines.


Panzer Vor

adience #2 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:41

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Interesting article, I'm hyped for 8.5, the Leopard I will a tank I want, good or bad.

They can't make it bad either, I'm sure the outcry will force some action.

If the Leopard I retires my E-50M, it'll be a successful tank in my opinion.

kampfer91 #3 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:43

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Quite a surprise to see that the E-50 's design did paved the way for the Leopard 1 .
And no rep for our man ? come on , he deserved it .

rossmum #4 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:45

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The Germans did pack HESH? I thought only the British ever used it, and that the Germans would use regular HE of some sort, but since they were using the L7A1 I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

I still expect it will get HEAT as its gold round, though.

kampfer91 #5 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:47

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Nope , dev said the Leo 's gold round will be APCR , although Serd said it will be the Sabot under the name of APCR , he likes to troll though .

methebest #6 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:47

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oh god its going to be godly with that 100 meter thick mantel >.>

mattwong #7 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:47

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View Postadience, on Mar 17 2013 - 09:41, said:

They can't make it bad either, I'm sure the outcry will force some action.

We all know that even if it's a great tank, there will still be those who scream "Russian bias" and complain that it's not good enough.

rossmum #8 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:48

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View Postkampfer91, on Mar 17 2013 - 09:47, said:

Nope , dev said the Leo 's gold round will be APCR , although Serd said it will be the Sabot under the name of APCR , he likes to troll though .
Oh, right. APDS.

Ericridge #9 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 09:58

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Good read as usual. xD

Btw, where did you get that pic with maus/flakpanzers/e50s in formation?

Edited by Ericridge, Mar 17 2013 - 09:59.


Mosche_Goldrausch #10 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 10:30

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View PostKankou, on Mar 17 2013 - 09:27, said:


The E-50 Ausf. M is a "fictional" modernized version of the E-50, the Panther equivalent within the Entwicklung-typen program.

The E-series (Entwicklung-typen)


A minor correction if I may. If you want to stick to E being short for Entwicklung then the correct form would be Entwicklungstypen.
That being said, to my best knowledge the E in E-series stands for Einheitsfahrgestell. I was told this by tank geeks in the tank museum in Munster. No other source available.

Einheitsfahrgestell means uniform chassis or even general purpose chassis. This makes more sense than Entwicklungstypen, especially considering German efforts to build multi-functional armor components in the later stages of the war.

cRommels #11 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 10:38

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View PostKankou, on Mar 17 2013 - 09:27, said:

- Leopard 1 will be a defensive support flanker. Fast and mobile with with a gun that has "high accuracy, fast aiming time, high penetration, good elevation and declination angles and low gun dispersion while on the move", it will play like a less armored T-54 with a slower but more accurate gun.


So basically Leo 1 will be an even less armored FV4202 but with more speed ? so no advantage at all playing this baby? not even HEAT rounds? this will suck....hope it will have superior rof at least.

rossmum #12 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 10:45

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View PostcRommels, on Mar 17 2013 - 10:38, said:

So basically Leo 1 will be an even less armored FV4202 but with more speed ? so no advantage at all playing this baby? not even HEAT rounds? this will suck....hope it will have superior rof at least.
The FV's only problems are the impractical inconsistency of HESH and its comparatively slow speed. A faster version with more viable gold ammo sounds incredible.

If you can't see the good points of a fast, agile medium with a decently low profile, excellent gun depression, and all-round superb gun handling, I have some bad news for you: you're probably best suited to the easy-to-play lines.

mrmojo #13 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 10:59

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Interesting, informative post Kankou, thank you. +1



(You need to edit this bit: "The mantlet itself is a minimum of 100 meters thick set at a great angle")

DownloadingData #14 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 12:43

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Stats in wot: Accuracy 0.28, dmg 390, pen270, rpm 8, max speed 65, p/w 19, aim 2s, manlet 77mm

ForeverN00b #15 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 12:47

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I can't wait to eat these things for breakfast in my T-54.

ThatCrackRockSteadyBeat #16 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 13:07

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junk A

junk B

Atsuki_Kimidori #17 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 13:11

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View PostDownloadingData, on Mar 17 2013 - 12:43, said:

Stats in wot: Accuracy 0.28, dmg 390, pen270, rpm 8, max speed 65, p/w 19, aim 2s, manlet 77mm

is this real? if it is then I say the tank OP.

soluuloi #18 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 13:21

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I expect it to be good in the test, nerfed a little in the live server and nerfed alot in the next patch....just like many other tanks....except the 121 and 113.

rossmum #19 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 13:47

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View PostDownloadingData, on Mar 17 2013 - 12:43, said:

Stats in wot: Accuracy 0.28, dmg 390, pen270, rpm 8, max speed 65, p/w 19, aim 2s, manlet 77mm
If that's accurate, holy crap this thing is going to be OP as hell.

I can't wait.  :Smile_trollface-3:

Ogopogo #20 Posted Mar 17 2013 - 14:37

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View Postrossmum, on Mar 17 2013 - 13:47, said:


If that's accurate, holy crap this thing is going to be OP as hell.

I can't wait.  :Smile_trollface-3:
It will be that accurate, or similarly accurate. The devs have mentioned and hinted at a .28 accuracy before.

View PostcRommels, on Mar 17 2013 - 10:38, said:

So basically Leo 1 will be an even less armored FV4202 but with more speed ? so no advantage at all playing this baby? not even HEAT rounds? this will suck....hope it will have superior rof at least.
Given that many players already complain about the FV4202 armour, and low top speed, it would be an amazing tank if was a FV4202 with higher speed.