The Zugführerwagen (abbreviated as Z.W.) is a German light/medium tank developed in the early 1930s.
Gefechtskampfwagen 3,7cm (Vs.Kfz.619)
12 Oct 1934
Chef der Heeresleitung
3,7cm Geschütz-Kampfwagen (Vs.Kfz.619)
28 May 1935
29 Nov 1935
Geschütz-Kampfwagen (3,7cm) (Vs.Kfz.619)
15 Jan 1936
During the 1932/1933 fiscal year, Krupp reported that the La.S. had been accepted into the Heer as standard equipment, and that two new vehicle designs were to be developed. The first of these tanks was to be fitted with a 20mm gun and armour capable of protecting against armour-piercing machine gun fire, Daimler-Benz received this contract and went on to develop the Pz.Kpfw. II. The second tank was to be a larger 10 ton tank armed with both a 37mm gun and machine guns, this contract was given to Krupp.
Wa Prw 6 provided Krupp with preliminary design parameters, which was formulated by In 6 under the Allgemeine Heeres Abteilung. Development authorization and funding was not provided until after a meeting with all the Wa Prw departments on the 11th of January 1934. This meeting discussed all matters of equipment development, with the general staff voicing opinions. On 27 January 1934, In 6 gave Wa Prw 6 the go ahead to develop a Gefechtskampfwagen mit 3,7cm Kanone.
On 24 February 1934, a meeting between In 6, Wa Prw 6, and representatives from Krupp, was undertaken. The meeting went over which companies were able to develop designs and potentially construct trial models of this new project. Krupp, Daimler-Benz, MAN, and Rheinmetall were asked to submit proposals by Wa Prw 6 for this project, now code-named Zugführerwagen.
Development of proposal designs was now underway, however the surviving information of this phase is lacking. During a telephone conversation between a MAN employee and the Waffenamt on the 18th of June 1934, it was said that the design drawings should be delivered to Berlin before the 30th of June 1934.
Krupp created wooden models, and multiple Versuchs-Turm were completed in August 1934. These turrets were evaluated, and on 24 August 1935Wa Prw 6 sent a list of required modifications;
Install a single row high-shoulder ball-bearing brace.
Sealing frames for the Sehklappen are to be fastened with 6mm countersunk bolts. All other countersunk bolts are to be replaced with hex head bolts of medium hardness and high ductility.
The 12-Uhr-Anzeiger on the turret traverse mechanism is to be lighted and moved to the left. Relocate it after the Zielfernrohr arrives in about October 1935.
Switch the positions of the Zielschiene and Zielfernrohr if this is necessary, based on the shape of the Zielfernrohr.
All electrical cables in the turret are to be Panzerkabel.
Fasten both ends of the electric cable for the firing circuit securely.
The traverse speed switch needs to be redesigned based on the Wa Prw 6 proposal.
The alignment rods for the Zielschiene can be made weaker.
The gears for the turret traverse mechanism need to be adjustable.
The signal light box is to be replaced with a smaller model.
The locks for the Signalklappen need to be perpendicular to the direction of travel.
The hand grip for the elevation mechanism needs to be stronger.
The location of the Seitzenzurrung is very uncomfortable, and is difficult to see.
The lock for the lid to the MG auxiliary mount needs to be stronger.
The retainer for the commander's seat needs to be modified.
The pivoting commander's seat should be secured in its lowered position.
The holding rails for the Schiebeklappen in the Kommandantenkuppel won't withstand a hit.
The grip on the lid to the Kommandantenkuppel is too close to the numbered circle.
The retainers for the opened Turmlukendeckeln and the left half of the lid for the Kommandantenkuppel are to be modified.
All retainers to hold hatch lids open with a 5cm gap for ventilation are to be designed so that they will prevent accidental closure.
The Daimler design for firing the machinegun is to be used.
The possibility of adding a removable or hinged/stowable auxiliary seat for the Ladeschütze is to be investigated.
The armour shield protecting the gun is to be completed.
The overhang of the lid for the Kommandantenkuppel is too narrow
The machinegun mount is to be modified to accept Doppeltrommeln. (refers to point 21)
The test firing trial of Turm Nr. 1 undertaken by Wa Prw 6 was deemed unsatisfactory. Krupp was to correct issues and perform replacement tests. Turm Nr. 1 saw a failure with resulted in the coaxial machine guns being damaged. These machine guns (EMG 34 Nr. 55 and Nr. 56) were to be sent to Sömmerda for repair at Krupp's expense. Turm Nr. 1, after repairs and replacements are completed, is trialled, and then retained at the Essen facility for future development. Turm Nr. 2 was to be sent to MAN.
On 22 February 1935(?) in a meeting between Major Dr. Olbrich (Wa Prw 6) and Krupp employees, Olbrich asked for the costs for redesigning the gun mantle for the Z.W. turret. The original mantlet was using an external curve, which was to be replaced with a half-cylinder with welded ends.
During the fiscal year 1934/35, it was clear that In 6 and Wa Prw 6 had not settled on the turret design. These organizations were still reviewing other proposals, including designs from Rheinmetall, and a two-man turret from Krupp.
Contracts were eventually awarded to Krupp to create three complete turrets of three different makes.
Geschützturm für Z.W. mit 3,7cm K. L/45 — Three-man turret
Geschützturm für Z.W. verstärkt mit 3,7cm K. L/45 — Three-man turret, uparmoured
Geschützturm für Z.W. mit 3,7cm K. L/45 und 2 statt 3 Mann Bedienung — Two-man turret
In a report consolidating military production dated until September 1939 listed that the following Versuchs-Türme had been completed at the Krupp facilities in Essen: