BackgroundEditIn early 1942 Wa.Prüf 4, the German organization in charge of field artillery, put forward a design requirement for a vehicle to move heavy artillery. The main stipulation was that it should use parts from the new Panther medium tank. A similar competition was already underway for a vehicle to move lighter field artillery, such as 10,5cm guns, using the Geschützwagen III/IV chassis. This had inspired Wa.Prüf 4 to do the same for a vehicle to move heavier 12,8cm and 15cm artillery pieces, as the Geschützwagen III/IV was too small to handle them. The guns in question were the 12,8cm K 43 and 15cm sFH 43. The sFH 43 was a projected improvement on the 15cm sFH 18, the new gun was to use bagged propellant and had a screw-type breech. The 12,8cm K 43 is unknown in most literature, but is presumably a predecessor to the 12,8cm K 44 L/55. Neither of these cannons were ever built.
In order to keep weight down, the designs were to be open-topped. Prototypes were to be built using Panther parts, but it was projected that any serial production vehicles would be made using the Panther II chassis. This idea was discarded when the Panther II was cancelled in June of 1943.
Both Krupp and Rheinmetall-Borsig took part in this design competition. All designs were able to be transported by rail with a few adjustments; and all could carry at least 30 rounds of ammunition, however Rheinmetall’s design had trouble with this.
12,8cm Skorpion mit Panther BauteilenEdit
Rheinmetall-Borsig's final entry for the Selbstfahrlafette für 12,8cm K 43 und 15cm sFH 43 Project.
On April 2nd, 1943, Rheinmetall produced drawing H-SKA 81959 for the 12,8cm Skorpion mit Panther Bauteilen; and on April 16th drawing H-SKA 82566 for its counterpart, 15cm Skorpion mit Panther Bauteilen. These designs had a Panther-based chassis with a wheelbase of 4,025mm. These designs were known by their project cover name of Skorpion. Further details unknown.
On October 20th, 1943, Wa.Prüf 4 cancelled the Grille, Heuschrecke, and Skorpion projects.
- Special Panzer Variants: Development - Production - Operations - Hilary Louis Doyle and Walter J. Spielberger, 2007
- Panther Variants 1942-1945 - Osprey New Vanguard, 1997
- Panther & Its Variants - Walter J. Spielberger, 1993