Pz.Kpfw. IV/VI 122(r)

Manufacturer: Kit-bash, mainly Revell

By Marko Mäkinen.

At the late stages of the WWII Germans were researching methods to penetrate the ever stronger armors of Russian tanks. Some attempts were made to employ captured heavy Russian anti-tank guns, like the 122mm D-25T by fitting them to existing tank turrets. At Heereszeugamt Wien (Army Depot in Vienna) two Tiger E turrets were transformed into this purpose in spring 1945. Originally the experimental turrets were meant to be installed on Tiger chassis, but at time the Russians rapidly advanced to Austria and the depot perimeters, none were available. Thus the depot personnel were forced in a haste to weld one turret solidly on top of a strengthened, all-steel-wheeled Pz.IV chassis as an instrument of immediate self protection to be operated by the defending troops. The pz IV springs could not handle the increased weight of the tank, and it had to be towed from the depot to a nearby defence position. There it was turned into a static pill-box by adding extra side-armor which by their weight further paralysed the vehicle, and thereby almost all means of moving the main gun sideways were lost. The tank crew eventually surrendered this improvised test vehicle to the advancing Russians on April 13th 1945 without firing a shot, and it was captured and soon transferred to Moscow for closer examination. This picture of the Pz.Kpfw. IV/VI 122 (r) is taken after the war, when the vehicle was displayed at a local exhibition, after being painted and decorated with fictitious markings for propaganda purposes by the winners.

In true life the model is a "German" tank that never was and never could have been either. I am not at all sure if the 122mm gun would have fit the Tiger turret, and it is certain that Panzer IV chassis could not have housed that wide and heavy turret let alone move about with such enormous, front-heavy weight. What you really see here is a fun project to take advantage of a pile of left over and spare kit parts that were lying around after more serious projects. It consists of a PST 122mm gun housed in a Revell late Tiger E turret with a Panther mantlet, and then attached to a Revell Panzer IV chassis with Revell StuG IV wheels and tracks. The hull front panel belongs to a Tiger and is tilted to an abnormally steep angle. Extra armor includes side plates from a Revell Panther and a Matchbox Jagdpanzer. The exhaust set belongs to a Revell Panther and the gun travel lock is taken from an old Matchbox U.S. howitzer. This entertainment project was a fun build with very relaxed authenticity standards and included no serious background study whatsoever. Despite the practical and historical impossibilities I personally like the looks of this little monster, which to me resembles somewhat a T-34/85 blown out of proportion.

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