Take a look at any German tank from the Second World War and compare it to any other. The first thing that any attentive person will pay attention to are caterpillars. Strictly speaking, the location of the skating rinks. The fact is that many German tanks have them organized in a checkerboard pattern. Hence the logical question: why?
When it comes to designing machines, it often happens that everything strange, unusual and seemingly incomprehensible has a fairly simple explanation. The situation is roughly the same with the suspension design of German tanks. In fact, there were several reasons for such a design decision, but the first and main reason was the mass of the tank. The fact is that the German "Tigers" and "Panthers" were very heavy.
Just for comparison, "Tigers" weighed from 57 to 70 tons, "Panthers" about 45 tons, while overseas "Shermans" and domestic T-34-85 barely got over the weight of the mark of 30 tons. The mass of the German tank created tremendous ground pressure. To improve the running parameters, German designers came up with a simple, but far from the best solution (why, we will find out at the end) - to organize the rollers on the suspension in a checkerboard pattern.
The tracks of the German tanks were wider than those of the tanks of other armies. This made it possible to compensate for the ground pressure. The checkerboard pattern of the rollers not only solved problems, but also improved the dynamic qualities of armored vehicles. For example, "Panthers" and "Tigers" coped quite well with bumpy roads. For all their mass, German tanks did not begin to sink in mud when driving fast. It is ironic that the M4 "Sherman" being almost 20 tons lighter than the "Panther" could not pass in those places where the German tank passed.
Another important reason is gun stabilization. "Panthers" and "Tigers" used very powerful guns, which did not have the best effect on the accuracy of the tanks, especially when trying to shoot on the move. The staggered suspension also solved this problem. Instead of stabilizing the gun, the Germans preferred to stabilize the entire tank. Surprisingly, it worked.
There were other minor advantages of such a skating rink organization. German tanks ran smoother overall, and their tracks did not wear out as quickly. But not everything turned out to be as good as the German engineers wanted. The harsh front-line reality has made its own amendments. Let the tanks not sink in the mud when passing quickly, but like it or not, snow and mud will inevitably stick to the rollers. Over time, this could cause the entire machine to stop. Cleaning the chess rinks for German tank crews was a "favorite" thankless but vital occupation on the eastern front.
Finally, such a suspension for a tank was much more expensive to manufacture and more difficult to maintain.
Want to know even more interesting things about World War II? How about figuring out for yourself what became of the German captured weapons after the end of the war in Soviet Union.