After seeing how
effective the British tanks were in battle it was no surprise that the German military began to develop their own.
The German High Command created a committee made up of several experts from various leading
engineering companies. A man named Josef Vollmer was eventually chosen to design the Schwerer Kampfwagen
A7V, a German tank that was powered by two Daimler engines. It also had 6 water cooled machine guns and a
5.7c, and "Sokol guns" in the front and back. It was first tested during the Spring Offensive of 1917.
By October 1917 over a hundred of these tanks were made and ready to be deployed.
On March 21, 1918 the Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V was first used in combat at St Quentin. Although some of it's
features, such as the sprung tracks and the thicker armour, made it better than British tanks of that time. Surprisingly
the A7V was less successfull. It's main problems were it's mechanical reliability and the difficulty
it took to cross enemy trenches.
Sturmpanzerwagen A7V Specs.
In an effort to keep secrecy this tank was to becalled A7V.
This stands for Allgemeine Kriegsdepartment 7 Abteilung Vehkerwesen (which translated to War Department General Division 7
The specs. created by the War Ministry called for a tank that had a weight of
30 tons, was able to traverse cross-country, span a ditch 1.5 meters wide, and finally reach a road speed of 12kph.
It was armed with two cannons, one at the front of the tank, one in the back, and several machine guns. A motor
developing between 80 to 100 horsepower was to be sufficient.
The lead designer for the vehicle was Reserve Hauptmann und Oberingeneur Joseph Vollmer.
He was the head of commission, along with the VPK, which was comprised of several army and
business officials for the purpose of conducting the efforts of creating a design. During the desiging stage
of development, great demands were made but most were simply ignored. For instance, efforts to make the tank artillery
proof and using it only as an overland tractor were put forth but mostly ignored. Under pressure to finish the
tank effectivly and faster, Vollmer called on the help of Herr Steiner of Holt-Caterpillar Company. Initially
Vollmer's first tank prototype failed beacause of it's weak tracks. The Holt tractor chassis, which previously
hadn't been used for an extremly long period of time was brought in from Austria and lengthened. By the
time plans of this tank were released to the public in December 22, 1916, it now had two engines instead
of one. By April and May of 1917 the very first A7V chassis was tested in Berlin-Marienfelde. The
wooden body was constructed at the Daimler works. Later that year in June, it was even displayed
for the Kaiser.
Although the VPK's chairman, General Friedrich, wasn't really pleased with the tank's
mediocre preformance, he authorized more work. There was also a desire to put the A7V as the top priority for
war vechicles, thoguh it was rejected by the OHL. Despite this, an order for 100 Holt chassis was placed. Initially,
38 (some sources say 35) were to be built using the Holt
The completed A7V was basically an armored
box on a track. By some, it was even called the "moving land fortress." The design was similar to the
one that the Kaiser devised in 1900. This was a steam-driven, wheeled box with a cannon and ferocious
through it metallic "slab sides". The chassis was from a lengthened Holt tractor with the dual Daimler engines
situated in the center of the chassis.