German secret tank projects are a common topic for internet arguments, reshuffling of facts, or outright falsifications. Some of this is done as a joke, some out of ignorance, and some intentionally. Today, let's seriously try to discover which of these phantom German creations are real and which are not.
Waffentrager auf E-100
The most frequently discussed and unusual vehicle in the German World of Tanks tech tree. This vehicle is completely made up by Wargaming. Initially, it was supposed to have dual 128 mm guns, but due to a lack of multiple gun support, it received an AA gun with an autoloader. Soon it will be replaced with a much more realistic project found in the archives. The reason for this replacement is primarily that it's too different from other vehicles in the tank destroyer branch.
GW Tiger (P)
This is the second SPG developed by Wargaming with no historical prototypes. It appeared as a result of lengthening the artillery branch to tier 10. Conceptually, the GW Tiger (P) is a logical predecessor to the GW Tiger, or Grille 17/21. Unlike the Waffentrager auf E-100, there are no plans to remove this vehicle from the game, as it fits into the tech tree perfectly. In addition, no real projects were found to replace it.
E-50 Ausf. M
The vehicle was developed by Wargaming and even patented. Nevertheless, it is not a complete fabrication. The E-50 Ausf. M is a conceptual vision of further development of the E-50 medium tank. The hull and parts of the turret are developed from ides from the original E-50 project. According to documents, a rear transmission was planned. Later, this idea was developed by the French when creating their own medium tank, the AMX M4. The E-50's engine migrated to that project as well.
Unlike the Waffentrager auf E-100, this vehicle was not created by Wargaming. This vehicle was originally called Sturmgeschuetz E-100, but don't let the name fool you: it was designed as a tank destroyer. Blueprint BZ 3364, as well as fragmented information from other sources, laid the foundation for this design. You can read more about this vehicle in a separate article. Despite the fact that no proper blueprints of the vehicle exist, its design is in tune with what Krupp was designing in the summer of 1944.
Some over-eager «specialists» assign the credit for this vehicle to Wargaming. In reality, the vehicle was designed by Krupp engineers. In November of 1944, a project called Panzerjäger Panther mit 12,8 cm L/55 (Pak 80) was being worked on, a Panther-based tank destroyer with a rear fighting compartment. This design allowed the installation of a much more powerful 128 mm Pak 80 gun, the same one as was used in Jagdtigers. Since no changes to the chassis were mentioned in the documents, the in-game model uses the unchanged chassis of the Panther II.
VK 72.01 (K)
Another design attributed not only to Wargaming in general, but to the author of this article in specific. While he is honoured, he must admit that the VK 72.01 was also designed by Krupp. The VK 72.01 index appeared in early 1942. The requirements initially described a mass of 72 tons, but it rapidly grew to 90 tons, the same weight as the VK 70.01 by the end of 1941. A 105 mm or 149 mm gun was chosen as this tank's armament. In the spring of 1942, Krupp engineers began working on a variant of the tank with a rear fighting compartment. The VK 72.01 project changed so often over the pan of several months that claiming that the in-game implementation never existed is a very bold move.
E-90 (Pz.Kpfw. Tiger III S)
This tank is the product of the wild imaginations of internet historians that came about in the late 2000s. According to the creators, the Pz.Kpfw. E-90, or Tiger III S, is a lightened variant of the E-100. This statement bumps into a logical problem: the E-75 was supposed to replace the Tiger II, and the E-100 was supposed to share many components with the Tiger II. Why the Germans needed another heavy tank is something that human logic cannot explain. Nevertheless, this creation managed to break out from the internet and into print.
E-79 Schwartzwolf VK 66.01
10 years before World of Tanks, ASCII Corporation published a game called Panzer Front for the Sony Playstation. Aside from real tanks, it had made up ones like the E-79. World of Tanks developers are often asked when the E-79 will appear in their game. This is an interesting question, but there are enough made up tanks in the game that adding another one makes no sense. Plus, the issue of copyright must still be considered.
This tank was designed by a Chinese plastic model company. According to their design, Henschel developed a turret for the E-100 as an alternative to the stock turret. Internet historians took it one step further, alleging that Adlerwerke designed another turret. Both «engineers» are lousy specialists of German armour history. Henschel never designed tank turrets, that was the job of Krupp. Adler also had nothing to do with turrets, as they were working on the E-100's suspension. In other words, the E-100 Henschelturm and E-100 Adlerturm are fantasies of people who have no knowledge of German tank design.
Sturmgeschuetz 40 T-34
This strange apparatus (top photo) appeared several decades ago in magazines and books dedicated to the StuG III. Allegedly, the casemate of a StuG 40 Ausf. F/8 was installed on a captured T-34 chassis. Particularly eager publishers even provide a coloured projection of the tank. In reality, it is nothing but a photoshop (original photo on the bottom).
According to unconfirmed sources, Kampfgruppe Kienast used a captured T-34 converted to use an 88 mm Flak 18 AA gun. A photo of this vehicle is shown as proof. With stunning regularity, this photo comes up on forums along with demands to add this vehicle to World of Tanks. A simple search quickly reveals that this is a photoshop with a captured T-34-85 as the base. There was a real Flak 18 carrying tank, the PzIV, discovered by Americans at a junkyard for German vehicles in the Czech Republic.
This unusual design is the product of French artist Hubert Cance. According to the author, this is was a tank destroyer on the E-50 should look like. In reality, no SPGs were designed on the E-50 chassis, and even the E-50 itself did not move past the concept stage. Consider the fact that Hubert Cance shoved all crew members into the casemate. He managed to do the same with the Jagdpanther II. On factory blueprints of the Panzerjäger Panther mit 12,8 cm L/55 (Pak 80), there are clearly seats for the driver and hull gunner in the hull. The place where Hubert Cance put them is actually occupied by the cooling system.
15 cm Sturmgeschuetz E-75
Not too long ago, Trucks & Tanks magazine published this monstrous design by Hubert Cance. It was based on rumours of an SPG allegedly developed on the E-75 chassis with a 149 mm L/52 gun. There is some information on this SPG in literature, but it is a mistake. The gun was indeed planned, at least on paper, but for the VK 70.01 in early 1942. Judging by the documents, the plan was for a tank, and not an SPG. As for this reconstruction, its realism is rather dubious. The load on the front road wheels would be absolutely horrible.
This project has a basis in reality, but Hubert Cance failed us yet again. It is completely unclear where the engine goes in this design, or the generator, or any other components. A rear fighting compartment would have been much more logical.
Kampfwagenvernichter Ausf. F (E-100) Krokodil
Another one of Hubert Cance's creations, published in 2007 in the Battailes & Blindes magazine. The concept of a tank destroyer on the E-100 chassis was taken as the basis. The author applied his creativity and came up with a design inspired by the Jagdpanther. He clearly did not think about the load on the front wheels. In reality, this design would have been impossible, as the front wheels and suspension elements would break down constantly. Nevertheless, the «Crocodile» gained popularity, and is frequently requested in World of Tanks.
An evolution of the E-100 Krokodil by internet «historians». This is a Krokodil on the chassis of the fictional E-90 tank. This design has the same flaws as the original, except this time, even its suspension has nothing in common with reality.
Lastly, let's talk about a completely made up SPG from World of Tanks was was not made up by Wargaming. In late 2000s, a scale model builder made a Geschuetzwagen E-100. Despite the fact that the vehicle was completely fictional, the design was very convincing. It is very similar to the Grille 17/21 and logically takes the top place on the German SPG branch. Removal or replacement is not planned.