vk3601h -Henschel-

In 1942, the panzer4 medium tank no longer cut it for the German army. As such , all assemblies had to move forward, pushing out innovation after innovation every year. Amongs these came the vk3000 (medium) series , as oppose to the 1000 light and 4000 heavy series.

Of these , three heavy contenders came about , it is still very difficult to understand why none of these base models went into circulation. These were two Henschel models , and one Porsche model.

The Porsche model was too difficult to build, and at that time being resourceful was important. It was not garbage in the least , but it was probably not a popular design (reference vk3001p).

Henschel on the other hand created two vk series tanks that would both become very popular. The second of these was the vk3601 h , which was a revolutionary move towards a heavier tank.

Vk3601H Vk3601H

This tank was equipped with the heaviest armour of the time (100 mm). The tank had a 3601 instead of a 3001 series plate because it was not seen as a medium , but rather a medium-heavy tank hybrid.

It was intended to carry the newest and most powerful anti tank gun of the time, the famous 88mm KwK 36 L/56  , which was only slightly smaller than it's offspring, the Tiger I type Henschel.

3 known prototypes were built of the 3601H, all were used as towing vehicles throughout the war. No prototype has survived history, but blueprints give us a close idea of what one would have looked like.

Tiger H would be later replaced by tiger 2 and lowe concept tanks, borrowing porsche over henschel design, the 3601H chassis and structure would never be used again.

Intended mainly as an armored column tank, little armour was places on the sides and rear, this would be changed when the first tiger prototype was created in 1942.

The tank was relatively fast for its weight, going in excess of 48 km/h (roughly 30 mph). And although it was definitely much stronger , more agile and generally better than the panzer IV , it never entered production, simply because the men working on the Heschel faster counterpart (3001H) moved towards the ultra medium tank : panther I , which could mount the same 88mm 36 L/56.

In all honesty, the 3601 H is literally a "baby tiger". It's chassis front and 1942 turret are nearly identical. Then it comes as no surprise than in late 1942, the 3601H was used as the basis for the tiger H.

Although the sides were elongated and thickened, the front structure remained relatively the same. Vk3601H is not famous, and you probably won't be reading about it, but it's innovative design became the basis for what up to 1960 would be classified as a "heavy tank" , as oppose to moving forts of WW1.
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