Leopard I

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Leopard I
germ_leopard_i.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
7.7/7.7/7.3BR
4 peopleCrew
front / side / backArmour
70 / 35 / 25Hull
65 / 45 / 52Turret
Mobility
40.0 tWeight
72 km/h forward
28 km/h back
65 km/h forward
25 km/h back
Speed
Armament
105 mm L7A3 cannonMain weapon
60 roundsAmmunition
-9° / 20°Vertical guidance
7.62 mm MG3A1 machine gunMachinegun
2 000 roundsAmmunition
1 000 roundsBelt capacity
1 200 shots/minFire rate
7.62 mm MG3A1 machine gunCoaxial weapon
5 500 roundsAmmunition
1 000 roundsBelt capacity
1 200 shots/minFire rate
Economy
170 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
440 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png5 700 / 8 589/2 700 / 4 068/1 790 / 2 697Repair
130 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
440 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
1 400 Ge icon.pngAces
× (208) % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
This page is about the German medium tank Leopard I. For other uses, see Leopard (Family).

Description

GarageImage LeopardI.jpg


The Leopard I is a Rank V German medium tank with a battle rating of 7.3 (AB) and 7.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.51 "Cold Steel".

The main strengths of the Leopard I are its high mobility and the above-average rate of fire of the main cannon. In combination with a good gun depression of -9° (meaning, you can lower the gun quite extensively), an experienced Leopard I driver can exploit uneven terrain to effectively fight his enemies without showing much of his vehicle - or being in the inconvenient situation to leave his cover to return fire.

The MG3A1 is rapid firing rifle calibre GPMG equipped in a coaxial and pintle mount, but otherwise of little use against armoured vehicles. The occasional open top SPAA can be harassed, although some of the crew won't be accessible without a good angle. Most annoying on the ZSU-57 with its tall crew shielding and more than 13 mm of armour. Therefore just above the machine gun's penetration ability at 10m.

This being said the Leopard 1 is a bad tank stock and a below average tank spaded. The lack of a stabilizer, autoloader or any reliable shells makes this tank tedious to play. Cross-country performance is disappointing with 42kmh at best and does also not have mutual steering.

General info

Survivability and armour

The Leopard's armour is not thick enough in the game to defend itself from most incoming fire, as many shell types at it's battle rating are able to easily penetrate and destroy the tank. The Leopard 1 was originally built with a "perfect standard tank" idea, similar to the Main Battle Tank concept, as during it's development, the armour has been considered an expendable quality and that superior speed and firepower is most important. Therefore the Leopard's armour design was only meant to withstand 20mm calibers from the front. A big threat is the ZSU-57, which gives any Leopard 1 a hard time with its high rate of fire of effective 57mm AP rounds.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Turret)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides (Slope angle) Rear Roof
Hull 70 mm (60°) Front glacis
50 mm (51°) Bottom glacis
35 (40-42°) mm Top hull side
30 mm Bottom hull side
25 mm (12-47°) 30 mm Front area
15 mm Rear area
Turret 65 mm Turret front
45 - 200 mm Gun mantlet
37-45 mm (28-31°) 25-52 mm (26-72°) 25-35 mm Turret roof
20 mm Cupola area

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels and tracks are 20 mm thick.
  • The turret mantlet has varying thicknesses ranging from 45 - 200 mm. It is thickest near the centre in contrast to the borders where it is the thinnest.

Mobility

Mobility characteristic
Weight (tons) Add-on Armor
weight (tons)
Max speed (km/h)
40.0 N/A 72 (AB)
65 (RB/SB)
Engine power (horsepower)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 1,286 1,583
Realistic/Simulator 734 830
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Mode Stock Upgraded
Arcade 32.15 39.58
Realistic/Simulator 18.35 20.75

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: L7A3 (105 mm)
105 mm L7A3
Capacity Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
Stabilizer
60 -9°/+20° ±180° N/A
Turret rotation speed (°/s)
Mode Stock Upgraded Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
Arcade 14.28 _.__ _.__ _.__ _.__
Realistic 14.28 _.__ _.__ _.__ _.__
Reloading rate (seconds)
Stock Prior + Full crew Prior + Expert qualif. Prior + Ace qualif.
9.30 _.__ _.__ _.__
Ammunition
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration in mm @ 90°
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
DM13 APDS 303 302 296 277 257 252
DM502 HESH 127 127 127 127 127 127
DM12 HEATFS 400 400 400 400 400 400
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay

in m:

Fuse sensitivity

in mm:

Explosive Mass in g
(TNT equivalent):
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
0% 50% 100%
DM13 APDS 1478 5.8 N/A N/A N/A +1.5° 75° 78° 80°
DM502 HESH 730 15 0.4 0.1 4,310 +0° 75° 78° 80°
DM12 HEATFS 1173 11 0.0 0.1 1,270 +0° 65° 72° 75°

DM13 APDS (Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot) is capable of penetrating the majority of the foes it meets, but these rounds do require finesse as to their placing.
Because the shell lacks an explosive filler, your best bet is to try and either knock out the majority of the enemy tank's crew or to destroy the enemy by ammo or fuel detonation through hitting their respective storage capacities. Keep in mind though that ammo and fuel detonations always occur with a random chance, taking out crew members is more reliable to destroy your enemies. This, of course, requires knowledge about the vehicles you may face - so be sure to use the game's X-Ray view in the hangar and analyse your potential foes for their weak spots! Also, keep in mind that with increased armour thickness the amount of shrapnels shrinks.

DM12 HEAT-FS (High-Explosive Anti Tank Fin Stabilised): Knowledge of potential opponents vehicle layouts, will be very handy to use - as you now have a round at your disposal that can penetrate any vehicle's armour frontally. Like the APDS shot, increased armour thickness results in a reduced amount of shrapnel after penetration. You are able to take out enemies on any distance since the HEAT round is not losing penetration with distance travelled - very handy on big scaled maps like Kursk. Unlike APDS it has one downside: Given that it is a chemical energy round, its fuse is highly sensitive in regards to its practical application in battle. As a result, virtually anything, such as trees or even a fence, will set it off prematurely, so you cannot fire through obstructions with this kind of round. Lastly to add this round costs a lot of Silver Lions, keep that in mind.

DM502 HESH (High-Explosive Squash-Head) works very differently than other shell types. It ignores any angle, except for ricochet and deals damage by metal-flakes which are blown off inside the armour by the exterior explosion. To create this deadly shrapnel inside the tank, make sure to only hit armour plates which are a direct part of the interior crew compartment of the tank. Hitting exterior parts of a tank like spaced armour, the suspension, tracks etc. will not harm crew members/modules at all. Currently, only true armour thickness (opposed to the line of sight thickness) will provide sufficient means of protection, benefitting the USSR turret designs and in general German tanks. Like all high-explosive shells, the fuze is very sensitive and can be set-off by most objects e.g. fences, trees, pillars. The slow muzzle velocity of this shell can make it quite hard to hit targets on larger distances, but at the same time it can be handy because it's trajectory will be an arc, making it able to land hits on enemies hiding behind shallow hills.


Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the Leopard I.
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
60 58 (+2) 47 (+13) 43 (+17) 40 (+20) (+59) No

Turret empty: 47 (+13)

Machine guns

Main article: MG 3A1 (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm MG 3A1
Pintle mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
2,000 (1,000) 1,200 -8°/+20° ±120°
7.62 mm MG 3A1
Coaxial mount
Capacity (Belt capacity) Fire rate
(shots/minute)
Vertical
guidance
Horizontal
guidance
5,500 (1,000) 1,200 N/A N/A

Usage in the battles

Scan and use the terrain to your advantage. Take into consideration the moderate vehicle height, which allows you to go turret down in certain locations, allowing you to safely use your commander's binoculars to locate targets! Then, after you have located the enemy, fire a few rounds in quick succession and relocate when spotted, especially when the enemy shots come dangerously close. The Leopard is quite fast, so taking hits from a distance while on the move is a risk that you may consider worth taking.

Always remember: The Leopard is not designed to take hits from any guns, nor fight in stand-off situations against heavier enemy vehicles. Frontally, the angle of the hull can bounce shots once in a while, but you're better off not to rely on this. The turret front is also the same, it's best to attempt to only fire when you can avoid receiving a shot or relocating to a position if possible. The main goal is to make the opponent incapable of returning fire. The majority of Russian rank V tanks (IS-3, IS-4M, T-10M, T-54s, SU-122-54, T-62 or ZSU-57-2) gunners are disabled by penetrating the right side of the turret or hull, if they are faced towards you. If you have the possibility to hit a Russian tank's hull, which is again faced towards you, prioritize it, because it is likely to take it out with one shot to the right side of the hull (3 out of 4 crew member are sitting in a row), this does not work with the stock APDS round due to the poor damage output. American top rank tanks like the M103, M47 or M60 are harder to take out. It is advised to take out the gunner first, which is located in the left side of the turret and then take out the rest of the remaining crew members. Hitting the ammo rack of your opponent is often the fastest way to take out an enemy vehicle, keep in mind though there is a small chance the ammo will not blow up (Best ammo types to ammo rack: HEAT-FS > HESH > APDS).

Sometimes moving is not an option, but remember, directly behind your hull front sits a large portion of your ammunition, at least if you're fully loaded. Always have that in mind when positioning yourself against the enemy - and don't forget that you don't have to stack all of your ammunition racks to their maximum capacity! Sometimes it can be wise to take less ammunition with you, as it will increase your survivability when taking hits - especially with the Leopard. The Leopards worst nemesis is the ZSU-57-2 and the IT-1. The ZSU-57-2 can be easily killed if hitting one of the many ammo racks in the big turret, which most often leads to an explosion of the whole tank. The IT-1 on the other hand can be quite hard to deal with, since they are able to operate perfectly hull down only exposing the roof mounted ATGM. Hitting (only black damage status counts, red damage does not prevent from firing ATGM) the rocket mount/cannon barrel forces the IT-1 to repair for a whole 27 seconds (maxed out + expert crew).

While the Leopard 1 has some favorable characteristics it is simply outclassed by any medium-heavy tank even in a down-tier. No Tank at your battle rating has a hard penetrating and killing you. American and Soviet Heavy Tanks, in particular, are extremely hard to deal with. T-54s and Object 906 are also hard to kill, whereas they need just 1 penetrating hit to kill you. The T-62, Object 120 and T95e1 will pick you off at long range and French tanks will outgun you with their autoloaders. Flanking enemies is also very unreliable due to the poor damage output of the gun, Sniping isn´t a very good option either, due to having less accuracy than the KV-2 howitzer. The best way to play this tank in a stock configuration is either driving directly into caps and capping them on your own or by spawn camping enemy SPAA. Loading 15 shells is recommended, this removes the Large ammo rack in the front and is generally enough for how long you last. Once Heat-fs and HESH are unlocked, do not load APDS. 50% Heat-fs and 50% HESH against Russian tanks and 75%-100% Heatfs and 0%-25% HESH against other tanks is recommended.

In a nutshell: Use the superb mobility with the cannon's perfection to flank and spank enemies, wait and hunt for the perfect positions and kill the enemy tanks one by one, while always maintaining a good situational awareness. Patience is the key to success.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Fast and very agile when fully upgraded
  • high penetrating gun
  • HESH has great utility against a wide array of targets, yet is relatively cheap (230 SL)
  • Very good acceleration when fully upgraded
  • fast reload time, 6.7 seconds with an ace crew
  • Three types of ammo with different usage
  • Good gun elevation and depression
  • Fast turret rotation speed
  • Access to smoke grenades
  • Low profile
  • Not really that vulnerable to ATGMs
  • Leopard is one of the most agile MBTs at the rank
  • Excellent reverse speed
  • Can perform a wide variety of roles, ranging from support, sniper and QRF
  • A group of well-coordinated players in Leopards is basically unstoppable
  • Very efficient tank in the hands of a skilled player
  • Gun mantlet is bouncy when shot from a certain angle
  • Cheap repair cost

Cons:

  • Lacking in armour department, anything it encounters can potentially one shot it
  • No gun stabilizer
  • Cannot charge recklessly, have to be extra careful when driving the Leopard 1
  • Painful stock grind
  • Stock performance is poor, with only APDS that do insignificant damage
  • Stock accuracy is poor
  • HEATFS shells are expensive(920 SL), aim carefully or risk losing a lot of money
  • Does not have the HESH round when stock unlike the Chieftain
  • Like all MBT, most ammo racks are located beside the driver
  • Small internal compartment (only 4 crew members)
  • Easy prey for the ZSU-57
  • No explosive filler on any AP shells
  • APDS and HEATFS are causing only punctual damage

History

Development

The project for the Leopard started as far back as 1956 as an attempt to replace the American M47 and M48 Patton tanks in service at the time as they were becoming outdated to newer anti-tank technology. Specifications for the new tank came in July 1957 asking for a design weighing no more than 30 tons, with a power-to-weight ratio of 30 horsepower per ton and could withstand 20 mm gunfire alongside protection against chemical weapons and radiation fallout, which was becoming extremely common protection system for the modern tank designs. The design stressed mobility as the main focus, while firepower comes next and armour was relegated to minimum priority. The lack of focus on the armour was because of the belief that no matter how much armour a tank can have, it will eventually fall obsolete to the advent of newer anti-tank weapons such as the HEAT rounds, which was becoming stronger and stronger by the years.

In the initial stages of development, France and West Germany, interested in this tank design, worked on it from 1957 to build a common tank and the project was designated the Europa-Panzer. France had AMX, SLD Lorraine, and SOMUA with FCM Renault working on the project, while Germany had Porsche, Rheinmetall with Henschel, and Borgward working on the project. In 1958, Italy entered into the development as well, though it's not sure if they provided much to the program. By 1960, Porsche and Rheinmetall had prototypes submitted, as well as AMX from France, all the others failed to provide a prototype in time. In 1963, the Porsche prototype was selected as the winner in 1963, though even before this decision the vehicle already has priority in being built in greater number than the others. Though a tank is set, France and Germany split in the joint tank project in 1963 after France opted out of standardization with the NATO forces. This left Germany alone with their Leopard tank development, which they continued.

The Porsche Prototype II was well received, though changes were made to the design such as a new cast turret, hull design change, and relocating the radiators. The tank now mounted the 105mm L7 gun over the Rheinmetall design, as well as adding an optical range-finding system for increased gunnery. The design finished trials by the end of 1963 and production started in Munich in February of 1964. The first batches began arriving at the Bundeswehr (German Army) in September of 1965 and were put into units by November of that same year. The tank was finally designated the Leopard 1, with the prototype stage labelled as the Leopard 1A0.

Usage

After the first delivery, many upgrades were made on the tank throughout its production and service life. The first few Leopards were designated Leopard 1A1 and continued all the way to Leopard 1A6 as it incorporates new technology such as sights, gun, radios, armour, or even small upgrades or redesigns on some parts. Some of these Leopards are even upgraded further in each variant form, for example, the Leopard 1A1A1 which had it fitted with new turret armour and night sights. Other than the different variants, the Leopard 1 was also extensively modified or made into derivatives in roles such as anti-aircraft guns, armour recovery vehicles, bridge layers, and such.

The versatility of the Leopard 1 design and its rather cheap cost in comparison to other tanks at the time made it a useful tank and it was sought out by many different countries in and out of the NATO force group. These countries put them into service in the conflict, such as Denmark, which is believed to be the first country to use the Leopard 1 in hostile engagement, when going against Bosnian Serb forces. Canada also used the Leopard 1 extensively in the War in Afghanistan in 2006 as convoy protection units. Greece also had Leopard 1s and is the largest user of it, with over 500 units of Leopard 1A5s in service.

The Leopard 1 versatility and widespread use compared to other tanks in the NATO service made it a very useful weapon system for armies that couldn't afford the new American Pattons or Abrams tanks or the British Challengers and Chieftains. The Leopard 1 in German service was eventually replaced by the Leopard 2 design, which entered into service in 1979 as the main battle tank with better armour and better gun compared to the Leopard 1, fully replacing it in 2003. Other countries followed suit by upgrading their tanks to either the Leopard 2, the American M1 Abrams, or their own domestic tank designs. The vehicle in its various modernized forms is still operated by third parties such as Canada, Brazil, Turkey, and Greece. Some are kept in reserve in Chile and Ecuador due to their light frames and ease of use in soft soils like in the jungles in their countries.

In-game description

"Development of the tank began in 1957 in cooperation with France. However, this attempt to create a unified European tank was unsuccessful. The projects in both countries were conducted virtually in parallel, but in 1963, before the end of comparative testing of the French and German tanks, Germany declined to cooperate further with France. Each country began to build its own national tank — the Leopard in Germany, the AMX-30 in France.

During the development of the Leopard 1 among all combat characteristics preference was given to firepower and mobility. Later, due to the German engineers’ changing perspective on the significance of tank defenses in modern combat, a number of steps were taken to increase it. The first production order of 1,500 tanks was placed in 1963, and in September, 1965 the first serial Leopard 1 was delivered to the Bundeswehr."

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References


Read also

Sources

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
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Germany medium tanks
  Neubaufahrzeug
Pz.III  Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. B · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. E · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. F · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J1 · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M · Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N
Pz.IV  Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. C · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. E · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F1 · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2 · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H · Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J · Panzerbefehlswagen IV
Pz.V  Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. A · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. D · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. F · Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. G · Ersatz M10 Panther · Pz.Kpfw. Panther II
Trophies  ▀Pz.Kpfw. M4 748 (a) · ▀T-34-747(r)
Post-war  KPz-70 · mKPz M47 G · M48A2 C · M48A2 G A2
Leopard  Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2A5