All mass produced German tanks in WWII were equipped with gasoline engines. This fact resulted in a lot of myths that are being repeated to this day. How did Germany end up with a Maybach monopoly on tank engine and is it true that the navy ate up all the diesel fuel? Did German designers ever manage to create a good diesel engine?
Early medium tanks, such as the Krupp and Rheinmetall Grosstraktors as well as the Neubaufahrzeug used 6-cylinder BMW Va aircraft engines. Its power was sufficient, but the Germans quickly decided to replace it with specialized tank engines.
- 0.8 L giving 13 hp at 2800 RPM
- 1.25 L giving 20 hp at 2400 RPM
- 2.3 L giving 30-34 hp at 2200 RPM or 40-45 hp with a turbocharger
"The idea of installing a diesel engine in a tank caused many arguments in Germany, the country that first created this type of engine. The robust design, higher fuel economy, suitability for multiple kinds of fuel, and lower chance of fire were arguments in favour. The Russians proved with their T-34 tank that the diesel engine is exceptionally suitable for use in tanks. However, while military specialists and leading engine building companies openly spoke in favour of this engine, there were opponents who constantly worked to delay its introduction."
The Germans tried to urgently "dieselfy" their tank forces shortly before their defeat, but nothing came of it. Because of this, the Wehrmacht in popular culture ran on gasoline.