A7V german tank (ww1) . The A7V was a tank introduced by Germany in 1918, near the end of World War I. One hundred examples were ordered for the spring of 1918, but only 21 were delivered. They saw action from March to October of that year, and were the only tanks produced by Germany in World War I to see operational use. Following the appearance of the first British tanks on the Western Front, the Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen ("General War Department, 7th Branch, Transportation"), was formed in September 1916.
The project to design and build the first German tank was placed under the direction of Joseph Vollmer, a Reserve Captain and engineer. The new tank was to be a universal chassis which could be used as a base for both a tank and unarmoured Überlandwagen ("Over-land vehicle") cargo carriers. It was based on the Holt tractor, parts for which were obtained from Austria, where it was produced under licence.
The first prototype was completed by Daimler-Benz and tested in April 1917. A wooden mockup of a final version was completed in May 1917. The first pre-production A7V was produced in September 1917, followed by the first production model in October 1917. The tank's name was derived from that of its parent organization, Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen. In German the tank was called Sturmpanzer-Kraftwagen (roughly "assault armoured motor vehicle"). The A7V was 7.34 metres (24 ft 1 in) long, 3 metres (10 ft) wide, and the maximum height was 3.3 metres (10 ft 10 in). The tank had 20 mm of steel plate at the sides and 30 mm at the front; however the steel was not hardened armour plate, which reduced its effectiveness. It was thick enough to stop machine gun and rifle fire, but not larger calibres. This offered protection comparable to the thinner armour of other tanks of the period, which used hardened steel.
The crew normally consisted of up to sixteen soldiers and two officers, commander, driver, mechanic, mechanic/signaller, twelve infantrymen (six machine gunners, six loaders), and two artillerymen (main gunner and loader).
The A7V was armed with six 7.9 mm MG08/15 machine guns and a 5.7 cm gun mounted at the front. The "female" variant had two more machine guns in place of the main gun. It is not entirely clear how many started this way or were converted. Some sources say only chassis number 501 saw combat as a female.
Power came from two centrally mounted Daimler 4-cylinder engines delivering 100 hp (74 kW) each. The top speed was about 15 km/h on roads and 5 km/h across country. The A7V carried 500 litres of fuel (132 imperial gallons).
It was as slow as other tanks of the day, but had very poor off-road capability and was prone to getting stuck. The large overhang at the front and low ground clearance meant trenches or very muddy areas were impassable. This was worsened by the fact that the driver could not see the terrain directly in front of the tank, due to a blind spot of about 10 metres. However, on open terrain it could be used to some success and offered more firepower than the armoured cars that were available. Power to weight ratio was 6.8 hp/ton (5.1 kW/ton), trench crossing: 7 ft (2.3 m), ground clearance: 7.5 to 15.75 in (200 to 400 mm).
Thirty chassis were assigned for completion as Überlandwagen supply carriers, but not all were completed before the end of the war.
The design of the A7V featured on the Tank Badge of 1921, awarded to commemorate service in the German Panzer forces of 1918.