Thursday 18 December 2014

Kummersdorf and Ardelt

The close relationship between British and Soviet technical branches outlived the war. For instance, the British were allowed to investigate the Kummersdorf proving grounds, which were in the Soviet occupation zone. 

SVAG Archive

"Report on the technical research executed by English command to investigate German armament in the Soviet zone.

1. Kummersdorf proving grounds.

The Kummersdorf artillery proving grounds was built in 1873, and is the oldest proving grounds in Germany. The proving grounds is a scientific research organization tasked with studying new cannons, small arms, and gunpowders.

Since 1937, Kummersdorf tested small arms, small caliber cannons, and gunpowders. Testing of larger caliber artillery was moved to the main German proving grounds, Hillersleben (near Magdeburg).

The proving grounds consists of about 250 buildings, including laboratories, workshops, warehouses, etc.

Presently, all equipment from the proving grounds has been removed by GAU KA and prepared for shipment to the Leningrad Artillery Proving Grounds and Moscow small arms proving grounds. The following remains on the territory of the proving grounds:
  1. Artillery that is of no interest or value: 150 units.
  2. Ammunition: 40 train cars.
  3. All structures, including 65 reinforced concrete pillboxes.
2. Kummersdorf tank proving grounds

The tank proving grounds is a scientific research organization tasked with studying tanks. Presently, the equipment from the proving grounds has been removed by the Red Army armour directorate.

3. The new Mauschen (German name) or Maus (English name) tank

In 1944-45, the German Mauschen tank was tested at the tank proving grounds. Only two were built. 

Brief information:
  • Length: 8.5 meters
  • Width: 3.5 meters
  • Track width: 1.0 meters
  • Front hull armour: 210 mm
  • Front turret armour: 300 mm
  • Side hull armour: 150 mm

Mass: 180 tons. Engineer Mani claims that the actual weight is only 120 tons.

Armament: two guns, 128 and 75 mm.

One tank was destroyed by the Germans at Stammlager, the other remained at the proving grounds, where it was also disabled.

Presently, the Red Army armour directorate has built one tank out of the two broken ones and has shipped it to Moscow for study (loaded to ship from the Kummersdorf station on August 15th, 1945)

4. No one who directed these trials remained at the proving grounds, and it is not known where they can be found.

According to locals, the chief of the department of tank and engine testing, Colonel Esser, surrendered to the Americans.

5. Ardelt factory and new "Leichter Waffentrager" vehicle

The factory was owned by four Ardelt brothers, who, according to engineer Renke Wilhem, are presently on Allied occupied territory. Presently, the factory is being dismantled by the Commissariats of Shipbuilding, Heavy Machinebuilding, and Armament.

Before the Second World War, the factory made cranes. During the war, it had a torpedo launcher plant, two munitions plants, and opened a plant to build light tracked SPGs with 360 degree turrets and 88 mm guns in the end of 1944. They were designed to fight enemy tanks. This SPG was called "Leichter Waffentrager".

Ardelt had to choose a design from two Leichter Waffentrager proposals (Krupp and Ardelt), and produce the best one (both designs are attached). According to the assembly foreman, the factory was building Ardelt SPGs.

Only 4 Leichter Waffentragers were built, one was destroyed by the Germans, and three were sent to fight against the Red Army.

All blueprints of the Leichter Waffentrager were collected by a representative of the People's Commissariat of Armament, Major Sudakov, and sent to the Commissariat. According to a representative of the People's Commissariat of Shipbuilding, Colonel Ishenko, a full set of Leichter Waffentrager components was given to Major-General Zernov, a representative of GOKO.

Presently, the Ardelt factory has 6 Leichter Waffentrager hulls, one 88 mm gun, and 6 engines. Some data can be obtained by external inspection:
  • Length: 5.5 meters
  • Width: 2.8 meters
  • Armour thickness: approximately 10 mm
  • Armament: 88 mm gun with 360 degree range
  • Engine: gasoline, 6 cylinder
  1. Equipment from the Kummersdorf proving grounds has been removed, and is being shipped to the USSR.
  2. The Mauschen tank is being sent to Moscow, to the Red Army armoured directorate.
  3. The Leichter Waffentrager is an SPG with a small size, weak armour, and weak, relative to the armament, engine. It is of little interest to the Red Army."


  1. the mäuschen was a prototype of the maus :)
    and maus is german for mouse ;)

  2. Does that mean that somewhere in the soviet archieves there could be technical documents of the Ardelt Waffenträger?
    Wargaming, please add !

    1. Sadly, as it was considered of little interest to the Soviets, it was very likely scrapped without any detailed inspection.