Genesis of a monster
This was, by far, the most gigantic battlefield monster to have ever been built. In the Panzer tree line, it was meant to be number VIII. The Maus was in line with the German trend of making bigger and bigger tanks, and another good example is the heaviest AFV in service during WWII, the Jagdtiger, based on the Königstiger chassis. The latter was quite impressive, with its 71 ton weight and 128 mm (5.04 in) gun. But the VK 100.01 Porsche Type 205, as it was known, was a project drawn as early as 1942, and suggested to Hitler by Ferdinand Porsche in June that year. As it perfectly matched the Wagnerian visions and obsessions of Hitler, it was immediately approved and the contract granted, with the objective of building the first operational machine by March 1944. However, this was really a monster of a tank, stretching all previous technological achievements to the very edge. Thanks to Porsche’s enthusiasm and despite the great skepticism of the Wehrmacht, the first prototype, the V1, was ready in 1943.