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12,8cm Selbstfahrlafette L/61 (Panzerselbstfahrlafette V)

History: As a result of the decision to abandon the VK3001 project, the Waffenamt had on hand several of the Henschel VK3001 chassis.  Two were allocated for conversion to a heavy Panzerjäger mounting the Rheinmetall 12,8cm K which was based on the 12,8cm FlaK.  The gun was mounted on a pedestal ahead of the engine and was surrounded by a heavily armoured superstructure.  The hull was extended back to carry this fighting compartment; and additional road-wheel was fitted.  Photographs of a completed 12,8cm Sf L/61 are dated 9 March 1942.  The 12,8cm Gerät 40 had been developed since 1936 as a FlaK weapon.  The order for the anti-tank gun version was placed in 1939.
Combat service: The 12,8cm Sf L/61 was used in action in Russia, and one was captured almost intact late in 1943.  It was subsequently displayed at exhibitions held in 1944.  Photographs of a vehicle in action indicate 22 victory rings painted on the gun barrel.

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Copyright Simon Vosters 1999-2000 ®