Armored car A7V (Sturmpanzerwagen A7V)

The Armored car A7V was the first and only in the German Empire mass-produced armored car, which was used at the front and serve in response to the emerging British Mark I tanks. However, the development and production came too late to be used effectively.




In September 1916, the first British Mark I tanks appeared on the Western Front. Although they did not achieve any notable successes in their first missions, the psychological shock to the German soldiers was much greater.

Finally, on November 13, 1916, the Supreme Command issued an order to the Verkehrstechnische Prüfungsungskommission to have a parity tank car (the designation Armored car made on September 22, 1918) develop. For camouflage reasons, the project was named A7V, based on the responsible traffic department. The requirements for the vehicle have already been specified at the beginning:
- Total weight around 30 tons
- Off-road capability
- Trenches up to 1.5 meters should be overcome
- The road speed should be at least 12km / h
- 80 to 100 hp as engine power was considered sufficient

The development was carried out by the responsible office in cooperation with the chief engineer Vollmer. The design of the drive was awarded to the company Holt-Caterpillar in Bucharest. Already on December 22, 1916, the first design drawings were available, these variants were equipped with 2 instead of 1 engine. However, the proposal of the Office to put the project in the urgency to the very top was rejected by the Supreme Command.


A7V prototype with wood construction


A7V prototype frame


The presentation of the first prototype took place on April 30, 1917 in Marienfelde, where the vehicle shown there had no armor but a wooden structure. The idea was to the satisfaction of the top military command, but one could not then agree on the main armament of the vehicles. A decision on this area was made only in the spring of 1918, agreeing to the 5.7 cm casemate cannon, which were mass looted in Belgium. Instead of installing this weapon in front and in the back as planned, only 1 cannon should be installed in the final version of the vehicle with the direction in front. In return, the number of machine guns was increased from 4 to 6. The final version was finally presented on May 14, 1917 in Mainz.


A7V different versions


A7V machine gun stand


Technical specifications:

Designation: Armored car A7V
Country: German Empire
Length: 7,35 meters
Width: 3,06 meters
Height: 3,35 meters
Mass: 30 tons
Maximum speed: Road: 12km / h, terrain: 4-8km / h
Armor: Up to 30mm
Main armament: 5,7cm casemate cannon
Other weapons: 6 x machine gun 08, 1 x machine gun 08/15
Drive: 2 × Daimler 165 204 4-cylinder in-line engine
147 kW (200 hp)
Crew: 16
1 commander, 5 non-commissioned officers, 10 teams


The first missions:

The delivery of the first operational A7V took place at the end of October 1917. At this time, the Sturmpanzerwagen divisions 1 and 2 were formed whose staff consisted of 5 officers and 109 NCOs and crews. Each department had 5 A7V cars and 9 RadKfz. The formation of Division 3 took place a little later on 6 November 1917.

The training of Division 1 began in the spring of 1918 at Sedan. New tactics of the car in combination with shock troops and infantry were tested.

On March 21, 1918 began with the spring offensive Michael at St. Quentin the baptism of fire of the new Sturmpanzerwagen. At the end of March, divisions 1 and 2 first launched a joint offensive, and on April 24 Villers-Bretonneux on the Somme had its first meeting with British tanks.


Car 563 "Wotan"



The Battle of Villers-Bretonneux:

In order to conquer the city and the adjacent forest, all three divisions of the Armored car were used for the attack. However, already 2 cars fell out before the attack, wagon 540 "Savior" already before the loading to the front and wagon 503 by a cylinder head break.

During the attack fell first car 506 "Mephisto" in which the nozzles clogged. When they were cleaned, the car soon dropped into a funnel and had to be abandoned. Three months later, this car was salvaged by Australian troops and brought to Australia, where the car is the only one still to visit the A7V today.

Car 542 "Elfriede" had to be abandoned next, as this had broken into a British command post and could not drive. Later, this car was salvaged by French troops and brought as spoils of war to Paris.

Car 561 "Nixe" fought on a street a firefight with several British tanks. When they seriously damaged the car, it was later able to cover around 2 kilometers in the direction of its own front line before the car had to be abandoned with an engine failure.




Originally, the Army Command 38 had ordered the Armored car A7V, but reduced this to 20 cars on the one hand to put the scarce raw materials in the submarine and aircraft to the other should first be gained experience with the existing car.

Overall, the Armored car A7V could prove themselves, as they were superior to the British tanks in terms of armor and firepower. However, from the outset dominated problems with the lack of stability of the drives and the low mission time the car. As a rule, missions could only be carried out for a few hours, after which the entire wagon had to be overhauled. In addition, the 20 German cars could do nothing against the 6,000 Allied armored vehicles.


Armored car A7V



chassis number: Name: Department: whereabouts:
501 Gretchen 1, then 3, then 1 Until the end of the war in the army
502 / 503 Faust 1, then 3  

After a defect of the chassis 502 in March 1918 its structure was put on chassis 503. Abandoned in October 1918 and scrapped by local British


504 / 544 Schnuck 2  

Captured by the British, scrapped in 1919


505 Baden I 1, then 3  

Until the end of the war in the army


506 Mephisto 1, then 3  

Captured by Australians, stands today in the museum


507 Cyklop 1, then 3  

Until the end of the war in the army


525 Siegfried 2  

Until the end of the war in the army


526 1  

On the Slaughter


527 Lotti 1  

Bound on June 1, 1918, abandoned and scrapped in 1922


528 Hagen 2  

Captured by the British, scrapped in 1919


529 Nixe II 2  

Bound on June 1, 1918, abandoned and scrapped in 1942 by the Americans


540 Heiland 3, then 1  

Until the end of the war in the army


541 1  

Until the end of the war in the army


542 Elfriede 2  

Captured by the French, scrapped in 1919


543 Hagen 2, then 3  

Until the end of the war in the army


560 Alter Fritz 1  

Was blown up on 11 October 1918 at Iwuy


561 Nixe 2  

On the Slaughter


562 Herkules 1, then 2  

Slashed, later captured by the British


563 Wotan 2  

Until the end of the war in the army


564 (Prinz) Oskar 3  

Until the end of the war in the army







You can find the right literature here:


Armored Vehicles of the German Army 1905-1945 (Spielberger German Armor and Military Vehicle)

Armored Vehicles of the German Army 1905-1945 (Spielberger German Armor and Military Vehicle) Hardcover – July 29, 2008

This classic, definitive series continues with this volume on German armored vehicles from 1905-1945. Spielberger, a leading expert in the field of German military vehicles, presents the wide variety of four-, six-, and eight-wheeled types and their wide range of uses in this richly illustrated technical documentation. Types include the WWII era Sd.Kfz.231, Sd.Kfz.222, Sd.Kfz.232, and many others from a wide variety of manufacturers.

Click here!



German Panzers 1914–18 (New Vanguard)

German Panzers 1914–18 (New Vanguard) Paperback – October 31, 2006

Panzer warfare is synonymous with the Wehrmacht of World War II. This book examines the story of the Panzer's more mysterious ancestors, the little-known panzers of the Great War. Germany was very slow to develop armored vehicles compared to Britain and France. Early attempts such as the Marienwagen of 1915 were technical failures, discouraging further design efforts until the utility of the tank was proven by the British and French in 1916-17. Efforts to catch-up proved difficult, and only a couple dozen German A7V tanks were completed in time to take part in the final campaigns of 1918. As a result, the majority of German panzer units actually used captured British tanks, the Beutepanzer. This book will trace the development of German panzers of the Great War, including the A7V and its intended but unfinished stablemates. Also included will be an overview of the use of panzers by the German Army in World War I including both A7V and Beutepanzer units.

Click here!



The German A7V Tank and the Captured British Mark IV Tanks of World War I (A Foulis military book)

The German A7V Tank and the Captured British Mark IV Tanks of World War I (A Foulis military book) Hardcover – December 1, 1990

, 240 pages illustrated with over 25 black ans white photographs and line drawings, SIGNED by both Maxwell Hundleby and Rainer Strasheim on a label stuck down to the front pastedown

Click here!



German Tanks in World War I: The A7V and Early Tank Development (Schiffer military history)

German Tanks in World War I: The A7V and Early Tank Development (Schiffer military history) Paperback – July 1, 1990

This book covers the earliest forms of German armored fighting vehicles used primarily in WWI.

Click here!






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