The Waffenträger concept was conceived to combine German artillery tractors and SPGs into one vehicle type that would salvage precious resources, like field guns, from the battlefield in the later stages of the war. Though the concept did undergo testing, it never received its real baptism by fire, thus War Thunder tankers can look forward to having the honour of testing out the Waffenträger in real combat themselves in the upcoming 1.71 update!
Today we are starting to publish devblogs for the upcoming update War Thunder 1.71. The most exciting news we will hold until next week, when the international gaming expo Gamescom 2017 begins. Stay tuned!
Work on the Waffenträger project started in early 1944, being part of the E-series of standardized, next-generation German tanks. Waffenträgers (eng; weapons carrier) were intended to merge two types of vehicles used by the German army into one – artillery tractors and self-propelled guns. This new vehicle type would be a mobile, lightly-armoured tank destroyer that could both use its cannon itself or, depending on the circumstances, unequip it and hand it over to other units to be used as field artillery. This concept was seen as highly practical by the Germans, given how it not only gave the German army one vehicle for the price of two, but was also saving on vital resources of which Germany suffered a great shortage of in the late stages of the war. Nearly all renown German companies that produced military equipment or vehicles took up the task, resulting in 4 different Waffenträger designs.
The Krupp-Steyr Waffenträger, which is the model being added into the game, was first drawn up in early 1944. Development was split into two parts; chassis and turret. Steyr developed the chassis, whilst Krupp focused on the turret and cannon development. To keep the costs and required resources to a minimum, Speyr decided to base the chassis of their Waffenträger around their existing RSO artillery tractor and reuse as many parts from it as possible. Krupp on the other hand, reused the same 8,8cm KwK 43 L/71 cannon with which the Tiger II was outfitted, but had to come up with a new turret rotation mechanism to rotate the compact, open-topped turret. The reusage of existing parts and equipment was put at the forefront during development of the Waffenträger, with the goal to build the most cost-efficient and resource-saving tank. Nevertheless, Steyr was tasked with building four vehicles for testing and a wooden mockup of the vehicle. After several delays, the Krupp-Steyr Waffenträger was, along two other designs from other companies, tested in late 1944. The fate of the Krupp-Steyr Waffenträger after the testing remains to be determined, but what is clear is that this vehicle never left prototype stage, with a single testing vehicle and one wooden mock-up built.
In War Thunder, the Krupp-Steyr Waffenträger will take on the role of a turreted tank destroyer in the higher ranks of the German ground forces tree. There, it will provide fans of German armour with a vehicle that breaks away from the classical casemate style tank destroyer design that has been a staple in the German tree from the start, whilst retaining some features that will allow seasoned tankers to feel right at home with the new Waffenträger. Equipped with the familiar long barrel 8,8cm KwK 43 L/71 cannon that players know, love and/or fear from the King Tiger, the Waffenträger will make short work of most opponents it faces in battles, even at long distances, thanks to the excellent ballistic properties of the “eightyeight”. Bearing in mind that that the Waffenträger is equipped with a rather unsuitable engine, only capable of delivering 140 horsepower, tank commanders will have to plan their tactics and strategies well in advance to allow their tank to perform optimally in battle. Steep slopes and long distance movement should be avoided, as the Waffenträger not only has a lacking power to weight ratio, but is also no speed demon with it’s top speed of 35 km/h.
However, unlike the King Tiger, the Waffenträger is no aggressive predator, quite the opposite in fact. The Waffenträger really shines when placed in a suitable ambush position, where the elements of surprise will make up for the lacking physical armour protection of the vehicle. Don’t get carried away though! As mentioned before, the mobility of the Waffenträger severely limits how far you can push your vehicle forwards, so don’t hope for intercepting enemies on their way to the battlefield as they’ll likely get there before you. With that said, find yourself a raised position overlooking the battlefield in the vicinity of your allies and wait for your prey to come to you. If executed correctly, an ambush laid with the Waffenträger can quickly determine the outcome of the battle even early on in a match. However, a correctly executed ambush can only be accomplished when close to the enemy, so make sure to keep up with your advancing forces and don’t linger around in the back unnecessarily.
The Waffenträger will soon reinforce the higher ranks of the German ground forces tree in an effort to turn the tide of battle, in War Thunder’s upcoming 1.71 update. Until then, commanders!