Anyone who has read anything about the second world war will have inevitably also read up on the weaponry used by the German Wehrmacht. An innovative
bunch, the Germans set many firsts in the world of weaponry, such as the first guided
, the first guided ballistic rocket
, the first
to enter service and of course the first ever mass produced
If you dig further one stumbles upon some of the less well known projects. Such as giant
that resemble stealth aircraft of today and even an orbital death ray
But one of the most mysterious weapons of the war is the German Kugelpanzer.
This strange looking "tank" can be found at Moscow's Kubinka museum (known there as "Item 37"). It was captured from Japanese hands in 1945 after
the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria. It is known to have been part of a technology transfer between Germany and Japan. The sole example at Kubinka is the
only one known to have been discovered throughout the war, and any documentation found about the tank is kept closely a closely guarded secret by the
The two wheels on the side of the main structure allowed it to move, with a smaller wheel at the back to keep the vehicle stable.
The Soviets, and Russian of today, have not allowed any metallurgical samples to be taken from the tank, some sources say that only one was taken by
Soviet Intelligence Officials in 1946, so we can only speculate on what it's made of. Very few facts are known about it, which are limited to:
It was powered by a single cylinder two-stroke engine
It was armed with a single MG34 machine gun (the machine gun port has been welded over by the Russians)
It was operated by a single crewman
It's armour (of unknown material) is reportedly only 5mm thick.
It is unknown when the tank was built. It may be a pre or early war design, or something cooked up towards the end of the Reich.
It's exact role is also left to speculation. People have theorised that it was a light reconnaisance vehicle, others a mobile pillbox, a cable layer
for communication wires, or an artillery spotting vehicle.
It was not the only one of it's kind, ball-shaped tanks were common ideas during the interwar period
A very similar vehicle was built by Germany in 1917
Just a strange and mysterious piece of weaponry I stumbled across years ago that I thought i'd finally share with you all. What I find most
mysterious about the Kugelpanzer is the secrecy around it. Like I mentioned earlier they have never allowed outsiders to do metallurgical tests on the
vehicle, nor have they ever released any documentation about it to the public.