Continuing our series on exotic German war technologies featured in this year’s Captain America: The First Avenger movie, we see our hero confronting the menace of super heavy Nazi tank design.
The closest real world counterpart to the Hydra tank, designed by Daniel Simon for the film, is the Ratte land cruiser. Designed in 1942 by Krupp, it was never built because Albert Speer deemed it totally unfit after he’d become Reichsminister for armaments in 1943.
He was probably right. At one thousand metric tones, the Ratte would have been five times heavier than the Panzer VIII Maus which was the largest tank ever built.
The Landkreuzer was to be armed with naval artillery and armored with nine inches of hardened steel, so heavily that only similar weapons could hope to affect it. To compensate for its immense weight, the craft would have been equipped with three 1.2 meter wide treads on each side with a total tread width of 7.2 meters. The vehicle’s sheer mass would still have destroyed roads however and rendered bridge crossings completely impractical.
An even larger tank would have been the Monster at fifteen hundred tonnes. This vehicle was supposed to carry the eight hundred millimeter Schwerer Gustav artillery piece also made by Krupp, the largest artillery gun ever fired for effect. It was otherwise mounted on a train.
You may remember seeing the Schwerer Gustav in the background of a conceptual artwork we featured a couple of weeks ago for the upcoming horror film Panzer 88. There, it’s apparently left in the snow which corresponds to its historical fate during the Siege of Leningrad when it didn’t see action in the winter of 1942-1943.
Our hero has some experiencing battling supersized Nazi armor. In the 1996 Batman & Captain America by John Byrne, the two superheroes join forces to prevent the Joker and the Red Skull from getting their hands on a nuclear bomb in early 1945. An oversized war machine is depicted in the comic. Naturally, Captain America disables it within the span of two pages.
In the movie, we don’t get to see the Hydra tank for much longer. Captain America disables it in mere seconds while it’s traversing some unknown city.
Sadly, I couldn’t even find screencaps of it online so if you have an action picture (no offense to Mr Simon for producing the awesome rendering above), share it!