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Article of the month: June
When designing their new tank, the Bundeswehr had a shift in thinking in the trinity of tank design. Armour would take less priority for mobility and firepower, under the belief that in the evolving anti-tank technology of the shaped charges, armour would be quickly outdated for any tank. Initially under cooperation with the French and Italian under project name Europa-Panzer, Germany continued the development after the collaboration ended and completed the tank that would be known as the Leopard by 1963. The tank would see wide-spread production by 1965.
Constant improvements over the years added new features onto the Leopard variant, and a standardized variant Leopard A1A1 in 1975 added a two-axis gun stabiliser, side skirts, track grousers, and add-on armour around the turret.
Mobility has been emphasized with this machine, with the engine components making up roughly half of the internal space. With a 830 hp engine propelling a 42 ton tank, the ~19 hp/ton ratio allows the Leopard to reach very high speeds. Armed with the British 105 mm L7 gun, which along with the new two-axis stabiliser compared to the first iteration, this allows the Leopard A1A1 to make the most out of both its mobility and firepower. Though armour was not as emphasized in the design, the front hull armour was still 70 mm thick, sloping at a 60° angle leads to an effective line-of-sight thickness of ~140 mm, which is relatively efficient against smaller guns.
Featured historic article
Panzerjäger I - The first German Tank Hunter
There is no need to introduce German tank destroyers, serving during the World War 2. But only one of them was the first German dedicated tank destroyer – the small and light Panzerjäger I. In War Thunder, if you just started your way down the German ground forces technological tree, the Panzerjäger I will be your first tank destroyer as well, being a rank I vehicle with the BR value of 1.7.
The Panzerjäger I’s story start with the PzKpfw I German light tank. This tank, originally designed to be a training vehicle, was armed only with dual rifle-calibre machine guns, and was thus absolutely unfit for combatting enemy armour – a weakness discovered during the Spanish Civil War. Despite that, the Panzer I continued to be used as a frontline vehicle even during initial campaigns of the Second World War. Even before the outbreak of the war, the tank was however already hopelessly obsolete with its machine-gun only armament and light armour, and was next to useless in frontline service.
Germany however possessed hundreds of them in 1939, and the idea to simply phase them out was considered to be potential waste of good chassis. An idea was thus proposed to convert PzKpfw I tanks into an interim light tank destroyer, a vehicle specially designed to combat enemy tanks. During the conversion process, the running gear and chassis were unchanged. The turret was removed and replaced by a lightly armoured casemate, which was open from the top and from the rear (very similar conversion resulted in the Flakpanzer I anti-aircraft vehicle, also available in War Thunder). The new vehicle was designated as the Panzerjäger I ("Tank Hunter").
-Author: Jan "RayPall" Kozák
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