There were various tank designs that broke the mold in terms of tank designs, like the eyebrow-raising design of the Tsar tank or the outstanding tank design of the Biorault machine. Although outlandish, we could, at the very least, understand the rationale behind these designs, and most of them had accompanying documentation that allowed us and the historians to comprehend the purposes of these tanks. Then there’s the Kugelpanzer. An enigma of a thing that was so out there that we had to tell you about it.

What We Know So Far

Nothing that we know so far about the Kugelpanzer was 100% certain, as historians could only speculate. There were no documents that were recovered either regarding its design or purpose but here are what experts have gathered so far:

It was assumed that the tank was produced by Krupp of Germany, the same company that produced various military vehicles during World War II. The Kugelpanzer was a 25-horsepower single-cylinder vehicle with two strong engines and a 5 mm thick outer armor. It weighed 1.8 tons and rolled along on 1.5 meters diameter rollers. The driver (or drivers) were supposed to sit on a saddle-like stool.

Kugelpanzer – Patriot Museum, Kubinka. (Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UKCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Its small size made experts think that it was designed to be powered by just a single person. The steering wheel was in the rear and served as a way to shift the vehicle’s center of gravity to provide support for the rotary movements of the wheels. According to the Russian Popular Mechanics, “Single-cylinder motorcycle two-stroke carburetor engine with a power of 25 hp. allows you to reach speeds up to 8 km / h” or almost 5 miles per hour. Its front also had a slit that was likely designed as a viewing slot and a place from which a machine gun could be positioned, probably a 7.92mm MG34 or MG42.