Kugelpanzer is one of the weirdest tanks in war history. The Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia is famous for its collection of strange vehicles and prototypes. Perhaps the strangest of them all, though, is the Kugelpanzer.
The Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia is famous for its collection of strange vehicles and prototypes. Perhaps the strangest of them all though is the Kugelpanzer.
Well, at least that’s people call it, as its true name is unknown. In fact the Kugelpanzer literally means “ball tank”.
With a long list of questions and a distinct lack of answers, few vehicles match its mysteriousness and uniqueness.
Almost everything about it is unknown, and the museum is not helping matters as it appears to be withholding information about the Kugelpanzer.
On the other hand, some sources state that the Kugelpanzer was discovered in the Kummersdorf proving grounds in Germany at the same time as the Maus.
The vehicle’s exterior is minimalist, with only a few notable features.
In the center of the Kugelpanzer is a cylindrical body that would have located a single person. Two hemispherical wheels flanked this central component and, from all indications, served as its means of movement.
At the rear is a hatch for entry and a small wheel on the end of a ‘tail’, which probably helped to steer and stabilise the Kugelpanzer.
It has a paltry 5 mm of “armor”, if you can even call it that. What the armor is actually made out of though, is another mystery. While its likely steel, its exact composition cannot be precisely identified as Kubinka has forbidden metallurgical samples to be taken from the Kugelpanzer.
Like pretty much everything else about the Kugelpanzer, its purpose is a complete mystery.
There are a few theories, but the design is so strange and contradictory that no one can seem to agree on an single reason this thing has to exist.
An alternate idea is that the Kugelpanzer could have been an offensive infantry support vehicle. But again, this seems ridiculous, as its 5 mm of armour wouldn’t have even been enough to stop rifle rounds.
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