Outstanding overview of the development and combat history of the German heavy and super heavy tanks before and during WW2.
The German army faced tanks of superior size, armour and firepower from the outset of World War II. Although their Panzerwaffen handled the Polish campaign, war with France meant confronting superior heavy and medium tanks like the Char B and Somua, with 47 mm high velocity cannon that penetrated German tank armour with ease. French infantry disposed of effective antitank weapons, and a portion of their 75 mm field guns were detailed as antitank guns. Even greater challenges emerged with the Russo-German War, for the Germans had no initial answer to the KV-1 heavy tank and T-34 medium.
The successive technical shocks of superior tanks introduced by each side produced a gun-armour race that continued in some manner even after the war’s end. The Germans placed a premium on technological quality and superiority over mass production, for which their industry (and, arguably, their regime) remained rather unsuited. Not satisfied with the advantage they obtained with the Tiger and Panther series tanks, the army leadership and Adolf Hitler himself pushed for larger and more powerful tanks than had ever been built.