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- there were tanks and the respective Stugs, SPGs and PzJgs based on their chassis (Pz III - Stug III, Pz IV - Stug IV)
- some variants of tanks shared a common gun (like the KwK 37 L/24 in Pz IV D and Pz III N), a common engine (like the HL120 TRM112 in Pz III N and Pz IV D or the HL230 P30 in Panther G and Tiger II)
- interleaved wheels, similar gearboxes, sloped armor, etc. were appearing in multiple vehicles,not necessarily connected to each other
I'd say most of the equipment, acessories and technical solutions were developed on their own, and tanks were weapon platforms rather than independent stepstones in development.
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True enough, a better focus might be on Soviet tank development as a "tree".
There is a clear path from Christie to BT-7 to T-34 and onwards... and if someone has the ambistion they can add in all the steps in between.
As for the Panzers, they look like a rushed series of improvisations by comparison.