The Ratte lives – AKA Hitler develops an early fascination for land based armor with VERY big guns

Well its the next step and not all German tanks are going to be armoured goliaths in 1939-40, unless the Panzer Divisions are going to have ten tanks each.
That is true, but would you really respond to a 1000 tons+ tank with a 6 pdr….?
as discussed earlier it might break down by it self, but to seek it out and alert it to your presence with a 6 pounder seems unwise.?
 

Garrison

Donor
That is true, but would you really respond to a 1000 tons+ tank with a 6 pdr….?
as discussed earlier it might break down by it self, but to seek it out and alert it to your presence with a 6 pounder seems unwise.?
You would use the 6pdr or the 17pdr to clear out it support, then I would suggest something akin to a naval gun...
 
You would use the 6pdr or the 17pdr to clear out it support, then I would suggest something akin to a naval gun...
Doesn't seem such a practical consideration though, considering the monstrous firepower that thing is going to throw at you. An assault against a Ratte position is going to be very predictable, and is going to run into very serious opposition owing to the substantial support apparatus assigned to keep them protected. Artillery, firing indirectly, seems to me to be a more viable way to counter a Ratte.
 
Last edited:
Doesn't seem such a practical consideration though, considering the monstrous firepower that thing is going to throw at you. An assault against a Ratte position is going to be very predictable, and is going to run into very serious opposition owing to the substantial support apparatus assigned to keep them protected. Artillery, firing indirectly, seems to me to be a more viable way to counter a Ratte.
Do you think the Germans would have installed poison Gas defenses,filters and overpressure like the French did with the Maginot line?
 

Garrison

Donor
Honestly I doubt the Allies would have to worry about shooting at the Ratte, because this thing would never get more than a couple of kilometres from the factory and the Allies would be over the Rhine before they saw one. There is no road it could drive down, no bridge that could take its weight and it would sink into any even vaguely soft ground. And the Allies probably will reach Berlin far sooner than OTL because diverting resources to this monstrosity really will gut the Panzer Divisions.
 

Garrison

Donor
Chapter 10: German armored forces production

With Hitler having made pivotal design decisions on suspension and armament, German production of modern medium tanks started to hit its stride from 1937. The Panzer III chassis being produced in 135, 737, 1497 copies in 1937-39 and the Panzer IV in 35, 378 and 450 copies in the same period*. Of these 676 Panzer 3 and 325 Panzer IV chassis were used in various conversion roles. Panzer IV mostly as mobile artillery and Panzer III as carriage for either 4x20 mm Flakvierlings or 2x30 mm AA guns (so all Panzer divisions have AAA and artillery affiliated) . However, approximately 250 Panzer III chassis’ would be dedicated in supporting roles for the rats (Many dedicated as engineering vehicles to clear obstacles or reinforcing soft ground). This left the German tank force the end of 1939 at ~1400 Panzer 3 and ~530 Panzer IV supplemented by more than 1200 Panzer I and II’s. The Czechoslovakian tank factories had also been conquered and were retooled to produce heavier tanks based on the 50 and 100 tons capable chassis that had been under development since 1933. Now, a slow production run had ramped up to 45 52 tons tanks armed with a 75mm gun and 24 tanks had been produced on the 100 tons chassis although the weight was more in the 75 ton range with an 88 mm gun.
Sorry but if they are building these things they are not going to be producing anything like those numbers of useful tanks.
 
So by cancelling two cruisers, the Nazis get a series of Rattes as well as keeping their tank production numbers up, and do a refit of the Panzerschiffes (not only fixing the flaws with the class but up-armouring them to boot, going to guess one's going to sink the Hood at some point) and build 2 battleships and a CV, and of course make the Panzer IV even better by using a suspension type that they didn't use before and perfect first time around, and getting SPAAGs going in large numbers earlier than there was a need for them or a doctrinal idea for them (German AA was all towed and would be to the rear of any advance, and the Luftwaffe was the guarentor of air defence over the battlefield).

Going to assume that elsewhere the French and British are all off snorting glass powder and drinking copious amounts of lead paint as is par for the course. Also the armour on that thing, 20cm at the front, and 10cm elsewhere. These things are going to bog down on anything other than a runway, and the gearbox/clutch will probably explode. Or as its the Germans and you writing them, we can assume it'll work perfectly and they'll have amazing cross country performance, oh and survive the recoil forces of their guns and will probably be amphibious for the inevitable Sea Piniped.
 
Last edited:

Garrison

Donor
You should confer chapter 8. Decisions taken earlier and priorities made ITTL
Sorry but that still doesn't make it anything less than absurd. The Ratte is a colossal waste of time and resources and I suspect it is beyond German industry to build them in 1939, heck I suspect it would still be near impossible to create a functional version in 2022. Cancelling a couple of cruisers won't make these monstrosities one bit more plausible and it seems that this is shaping up as another in your line of the Nazis being capable of near magical feats TLs.
 
I see that the Ratte is designed to be over 1000 tons in a single large lump.

We'll ignore the effect it will have on the ground. Good luck getting it over bridges or across terrain. I shudder to think of the effect it will have on roads, and the concept of it moving across country is laughable, but we'll wave a magic wand and ignore these problems.

We'll wave a magic wand again, and ignore the massive maintenance issues it will pose. One simply doesn't come up with something so different to what has gone before without teething issues, and maintenance issues look to be top of the list. OTL, the German experience with their amazing weapons was that they were maintenance nightmares, and there's nothing to suggest that this would be any different. But maintenance issues can be swept away with a whisk of the magic wand.

We'll also assume that production of them goes ahead, somehow, and that the materials for it magically appear from nowhere (2 cruisers and reducing the upgrade on 2 battleships and scrapping the carrier isn't going to net you what you need, especially as you add in a whole wish list of other stuff).

We'll magic away teething issues in the design. I've never known a First Design work as intended, ever, but we'll allow this one to pass.

However, the laws of Physics aren't so easily overcome.

Let's look at how much fuel is burned. You stated that these things have 16000 hp. I checked. You stated 16K horsepower. With conversion rates available at the time, 1hp requires around 0.5kg of diesel per hour. Therefore, 16K hp will consume 8000 kg of diesel per hour. 1 litre, very roughly, will weigh 1kg (assuming density of water. In point of fact, diesel is slightly less dense than water, so you'll need a larger volume, but this makes the maths a bit easier). Therefore, each Ratte will burn 8000 litres of diesel per hour. If we assume that the entire interior of the Ratte is a fuel tank and, to make the numbers easy, we'll assume it's a cube*. That's 70x2.5 m3, or 175m3. That's 20 hours, roughly of fuel for the thing. We'll now put in things like people and machinery and ammunition and boring stuff like that. We'll assume that 10% of the cubic volume of the tank (and that word seems appropriate) is fuel tank.

That means that it has an operational time of 2 hours, and an operational range of 40 miles. Good luck with that.

Luckily, during WW2, Germany had a plentiful supply of fuel and a veritable armada of trucks that could keep its war machine going.

Edit: Interestingly, the largest engine in the world at the time was the BMW CM 884WS-150, which generated around 22K hp, in the same ballpark as what you need.

It was 82 feet long and 41 feet high. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't fitted in a tank.


* Assuming a cubic tank operating in a vacuum ...
 
Last edited:
IIRC the plan is to just use these - https://oldmachinepress.com/2017/03/05/mercedes-benz-500-series-diesel-marine-engines/ which were E-Boat engines but that's to move a boat that weighs 100 tons, not a 1000 ton tank that has a wee bit more friction due to that pesky land being in the way. So we can assume there's going to be a bunch of these lashed together, each one generates 1,600 HP so 10 of them lashed together will surely work and be enough and will be an easy thing to link up to the power train to deliver that power to the tracks without any issues and that the Transmission and powertrain will be super reliable. And besides, the E-boats used 3 of them together, just triple that, add one and I dunno, stack them all on top of one another, or have them in a 5 on each side split feeding power into the transmission and power train equally. That'll work!

And as a minor correction, its only two cruisers that don't get built. They keep the carrier, both Bismarcks AND upgrade the Panzerschiffe with turbo charged engines of some nature. AND upgrade the Panzer IV's as well as getting SPAAGs produced becuase there wasn't a need for them but there is now apparently. But isn't it amazing that cancelling just two cruisers can result in such wonderful technological advances and having everything go exactly as needed! Gee golly those Nazi's sure were amazing engineers and everything they made was a technological triumph that never ever went wrong or wasted resources!

Also don't forget...actually do, just ignore it, that one of those cruisers that was going to be built was payment to the Soviets for fuel and food that the Germans need NOW, so that's not done and won't get paid for but I'm SURE that Stalin will just okay it anyhow because that nice Mr Hitler asked so politely.

Because magic nazi technology wand.

Oh and as an addendum, each Daimler Benz MB 501 marine diesel engine was 12.7 ft (3.88 m) long, 5.2 ft (1.58 m) wide, 5.6 ft (1.71 m) tall, and had a weight of 4220 kg, so 4.2 tons, per engine. A mere 42.2 tons spent on engines alone without any of the equipment needed to drive that power to the road wheels, or such other things like the clutch, the tracks, which i'm sure will be super reliable and very easy to repair even if one's thrown, these are after all Nazi tanks made of Krupps Stahl, blessed by Mannstein and kissed by the lips of Guderian himself! Some even say Rommel glanced at them and smiled!

So if you put them 5 a side around a common join, somehow, you're going to need an engine bay that is 19.4 meters long if you put them all in a row 5 per side. But that's of course not taking into account the fact you'd need space between the engines to get at them or have moving parts and the like. So lets just ignore that requirement, seeing as everything else apart from those pesky laws of physics are being ignored. Along with things like the oil tank for the engines too, cant...err..should forget that!

Or if you put them side by side then you'll only need an engine bay 3.88 meters long but 15.80 meters wide! or what if we stack them, because that makes sense. A single row of 5 with the other 5 atop. A mere 19.4 meters long and a simple 3.42 meters tall (that's over 11 feet by the way and 63.65 feet long). And i'm sure the engines on the bottom will be super easy to get at for maintenance not that they'll need it, they are nazi german engineering after all and as we all know, super duper reliable! Yay! And even better! These are boat engines, so i'm sure that the crew who maintain them who have been assigned to these things from their Panzer III's and IV's are fully conversant with maintaining and running these engines because they're so much like a normal tank engine, a mere trifle for Hans the engineer.
 
Last edited:
Ive never agreed with the notion of common sense, logic and physics should get in the way of a good time line😉. To be fair Gudestein did admit at the beginning that this was going to take some handwavium to get to get super heavy tanks on the battlefield. I'm sure Guestine is trying to keep this partially plausible and we need to give him a break and allow him to finish the story. Although I do think that the reduction in the navy would not be nearly enough to compensate for the steal needed to build 24 Rattes and lots more Panzer 3's and 4's above OTL's numbers. I think the only option would be to either reduce the amount of ammo and artillery being produced (would be scurting ASB territory is the Herr agreed to that) or reduce the steal allowment to the Luftwaffe (Good luck convincing Fat Herman of the need for that!)

As to the Allied response, it makes some sense to increase the defenses of the Maginot Line but as the French expected to do the heavy fighting elsewhere, I'd expect some heavy AA guns to be pressed into the anti tank role. I was thinking of something along the lines of he British 4"AA with a crash programme at producing better ammo for them. That should give enough penetrative power to peirce 200mm of armour and would be relatively mobile (when compared to the Rattes). Although the gun crews would need balls of brass to engage the Rattes at close enough ranges). Perhaps the allies develop a lightly armoured tank destroyer with large guns to race in and engage the Rattes, this being the period when they believed "Speed is armour!".

Although another option would be for the allied Air forces to get into dive bombing in a big way and develop heavy armour piecing bombs and also really big bombs for level bombing cause lets face it, even a near miss from a 2 to 4 ton bomb is likely to mission kill a Ratte and ruin the day of anyone close by in a supporting role. The Germans think that they can win this battle with AAA and the OTL experiences of the BOF when the allies failed to hit the Mues bridges gives weight to this argument but of course the allies didn't know this in the late 1930's.
 
Thanks for a lot of comments. I’ll take me some days to get to a full response.
Just noticed thst you missed the cancelling of S&G and that there are several early investment in heavy vehicles ITTL.
with two cruisers, a carrier, two battleships we are in the 140000 armored military gear not made, which is more than the rats (16x1500+8x2500 combined) and should save close to 100000 or probably 4-5000 Panzer 3. Things are obviously not that simple but in quantity we are on track with room to spare. I’ll provide more in the coming days.
 

Garrison

Donor
Thanks for a lot of comments. I’ll take me some days to get to a full response.
Just noticed thst you missed the cancelling of S&G and that there are several early investment in heavy vehicles ITTL.
with two cruisers, a carrier, two battleships we are in the 140000 armored military gear not made, which is more than the rats (16x1500+8x2500 combined) and should save close to 100000 or probably 4-5000 Panzer 3. Things are obviously not that simple but in quantity we are on track with room to spare. I’ll provide more in the coming days.
But those aren't addressing the deeper issues with trying to build such a vehicle, and you aren't saving anything in raw materials. The fundamental issue is you are trying to pretend that this idiocy by Hitler will somehow produce a net gain for Nazi Germany and there is no way that makes any sense.
 

Garrison

Donor
Ive never agreed with the notion of common sense, logic and physics should get in the way of a good time line😉. To be fair Gudestein did admit at the beginning that this was going to take some handwavium to get to get super heavy tanks on the battlefield. I'm sure Guestine is trying to keep this partially plausible and we need to give him a break and allow him to finish the story.
Sorry, if it needs large doses of handwavium that's what the Writers Forum is for, telling stories without having to worry about the minutiae of plausibility. This TL is unfortunately already following the same trajectory as the authors previous work, the Nazis somehow make everything work perfectly while the Allies simply stare dumbfounded and self destruct.
 
Last edited:

Garrison

Donor
Well you've just lost the Norway invasion then because the RN won't worry about the twins getting out.
And France because all the German fuel is disappearing into the Rattes to move them five metres closer to the French border. And of course simply cancelling warships to free up steel doesn't conjure up the guns, engines radios and other gear needed to build tanks.
 
Answering the many questions in the time available.
Fuel consumption: All tanks use tremendous amounts of fuel. The calculations miss that a tank wont go full speed all the time, I’ll go by the OTL Tiger 1. 2.75 gallons/mile or 6,44 L/km. Adjusted for size we are at 208 L/km, however this is diesel which by this time is less than half so we end at 100L/km. Not inexpensive to drive around, but tiger I like ranges is possible (eg 50-60 km) before an army of trucks need to refuel it( I am not missing this point)
 
But those aren't addressing the deeper issues with trying to build such a vehicle, and you aren't saving anything in raw materials. The fundamental issue is you are trying to pretend that this idiocy by Hitler will somehow produce a net gain for Nazi Germany and there is no way that makes any sense.
In this TL I have tried to keep most butterflies in check and as highlighted in the first post, gone ahead with butterflies that will not be detrimental to everything else. I have provided years of development by starting this in 1933 and the materials and through the outlined pods eliminated bottlenecks in access to labour. It could have gone other ways, but I didn’t want a scenario where a ratte is build and it is never deployed and Germany loses rapidly because we need to see it discussed in different campaigns. This is merely a TL framing and discussing the deployment of the rat. It’s not an easy feet and not likely to feature with the most plausible pod and butterflies , but let’s see it as that.
 
In this TL I have tried to keep most butterflies in check and as highlighted in the first post, gone ahead with butterflies that will not be detrimental to everything else. I have provided years of development by starting this in 1933 and the materials and through the outlined pods eliminated bottlenecks in access to labour. It could have gone other ways, but I didn’t want a scenario where a ratte is build and it is never deployed and Germany loses rapidly because we need to see it discussed in different campaigns. This is merely a TL framing and discussing the deployment of the rat. It’s

But you're still going "it just does" when dealing with the technical aspects of actually having a 1000 ton vehicle be made that can move about 4mph and with the technology of the time. Ignoring the immense technical issues basically to the point that it seems you're going "well its German stuff from WW2 and thus works", there's the factor of moving it, of its mechanical componets not exploding and the immense technical difficulties as well as the sheer difficulty in just moving the damn thing.

Plus there's the usual wankery, SPAAG's and the Panzer IV's are made better why? Because! The Panzerschiffs are updated? Why? Because! Somehow the tank production isn't badly affected? How? Because! And i'm sure the 262 is just around the corner in time for 1940 with perfected engines because of the material research done on the Ratte at a guess.

Even you must admit that the Germans face immense technological challenges, the suspension for example, no one's made anything like the suspension required on this level yet, we have now, with more advanced technology, but back then? Nope. The engine(s) how's that going to work? Other than 'it just does'. Also its odd that somehow this was utterly missed by the allies, I assume they're feasting on the usual supply of lead lollypops that their leadership and other branches of the military are required to suck on as is par for the course for any of your Naziwanks, and its odd that the French, who loved heavy artillery in the Pre-WW2 era have not come up with anything but suddenly panic and have to do so, which of course weakens them immensely and makes it more easy for the Heer to womble on over. Ignoring the fact that the French have an 8-inch gun already mind you and don't need to develop a new one. They just need to build more of them (hint, naval guns are a thing). And even the armour, 20cm at the front, 7.87 inches, spread across a huge area, thats again an immense blob of weight that's going to be pushing down on the front and the forward road wheels. How did the Germans get the tracks made? How did they get them so they'd not shed? What happens when they DO break? you can't get the crew out to replace them.

And the other question. Rivers exist. How's this thing going to ford them, unlike now, back then lots of rivers didn't have convenient crossing points for military vehicles that were well known by engineers and the like. So what happens when this thing tries to cross a river, does it just do it because it does and yay? What happens if one breaks down or gets stuck? How do they get recovered? This is all stuff you're just going "it just does okay?" to. Because i'm sure you'd be up in arms if someone said "And the British counter to this was to put the KGV class on tracks and it just worked becuase it does."

yes we know that the standards of plausability have dropped a great deal for this part of the forum but even the you must admit this is basically ASB that relies on handwaves and saint guderian to make it happen.
 
Last edited:
Top