|This page is about the Swedish medium tank Strv 81. For other versions, see Centurion (Family).|
The Stridsvagn (Strv) 81 was the Swedish designation for the Centurion Mk 3, the third variant of the Centurion medium tank family. Due to the economic necessity of increasing exports to generate scarce foreign currency, the British arms export stance shifted in early December 1952. Britain offered to sell surplus Centurions as soon as possible. Between 1952 and 1953, Swedish Minister of Defence Torsten Nilsson placed an initial order for 80 units of Centurion Mk 3, redesignated Strv 81 in the Swedish Army, with the first delivery set in April 1953. Sweden placed an additional order for 160 units of Centurion Mk 5 (also redesignated Strv 81) in 1955, followed by more orders for 110 units of Centurion Mk 10 in 1960 (redesignated Strv 101). For numerous decades, the Centurions Mk 3, 5 and 10, together with the Strv 103, were the backbone of the Swedish armoured brigades. In the 1960s, the existing Swedish Centurion Mk 3 and 5 tanks were updated with a 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7A1 tank cannon and renamed Strv 102.
Introduced in Update 1.97 "Viking Fury", the Strv 81 represents a Swedish-camouflaged Centurion Mk 3. Its gameplay is very similar to that of modern main battle tanks. Players never have to worry about opponents appearing around corners and stopping to take aim with the two-plane fully automatic stabilization system. Even with aggressive manoeuvring, the gun sights are fully stabilized, ensuring that the player always fires first upon spotting an enemy. The introduction of the 84 mm QF 20-pounder tank gun, which can penetrate up to 384 mm of armour at point-blank range with armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) ammunition, significantly improves firepower. This basically allows the player to engage the opponent's heavy tanks on their own terms, serving as a true ancestor to the main battle tank doctrine.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull, Turret roof)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret)
|Hull|| 76.2 mm (58°) Front glacis
76.2 mm (47-48°) Lower glacis
|50.8 (12°) + 6 mm||38 mm (8-12°)|| 29 mm |
8-14 mm Engine deck
|Turret|| 152 mm (6-27°) Turret front
152 mm Gun mantlet
|89 mm (5-12°)||89 mm|| 50.8 mm Border of turret |
29 mm Centre of turret
|Cupola||152 mm||90 mm||90 mm||29 mm|
- Suspension wheels, tracks, and torsion bars are 20 mm thick.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|84 mm kan Strv 81||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
|Smoke shell characteristics|
| Screen radius
| Screen deploy
| Screen hold
| Explosive mass|
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|65||63 (+2)||61 (+4)||53 (+12)||45 (+20)||37 (+28)||29 (+36)||9 (+56)||5 (+60)||1 (+64)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- Racks 8 and 9 are first stage ammo racks. They total 8 shells and get filled first when loading up the tank.
- These racks are also emptied early: the rack depletion order at full capacity is: 8 - 9 - 1 - 2 - etc. until 7.
- If you pack 29 (+36) shells, it will keep most of the hull empty of ammo.
- Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from racks 1-7 into racks 9 then 8. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready racks.
|8 mm ksp m/39B|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The Strv 81 is an effective medium tank if played to its strengths. If one wants to keep it simple, just use the powerful gun to snipe from distance. More advanced tankers can utilize the not too impressive max speed (35 km/h (22mph)) to move with this medium tank into the flanks of enemy tanks (close to the border of a map) and search for positions like hills and ridges where one can make use of the amazing -10° gun depression to hide the vulnerable lower plate of this tank. Once in such a position, one should use the binoculars to scout for enemies without exposing the turret. If an enemy tank is spotted that could be a potential threat (dangerous tank / faced towards you) pop out a little bit and start to take out the enemies gunner/cannon barrel/cannon breech to prevent him from returning fire. Now utilize the quick reload to take out one crew member after the other to finish your opponent. If an enemy is spotted who is exposing their side or even the rear while not aiming towards you, shoot the engine first to immobilize and possibly even ignite the enemy tank, preventing him to take cover. The next shots should again disable the gun of the enemy, now finish your prey by shooting all crew members or if you feel lucky shoot an ammo rack.
The best choice to pierce enemy tanks is obviously the slpprj m/54 (APDS) although it is quite expensive in terms of Silver Lions. The slpprj (APCBC) works in most situation as well but lacks penetration compared to the slpprj m/54 APDS shot. The amazing penetration characteristics of this APDS shot enables this gun to pierce front plates of all Panther models (apart from the Panther II) to ranges up to 2,000 m. T-44s and Panther IIs front plates can be penetrated to ranges up to almost 1,000 m. Keep in mind though that the front plate of the T-44 is angled at 60°, so it bounces even this powerful APDS shot quite often. Even the front plate of the mighty Tiger II is not able to stop this APDS shot if not angled and the range is shorter than 100 m.
In a head to head situation with an enemy tank approaching try to angle the centurion not more than 5° degrees to either side since the side armour is quite weak (50.8 mm), try to hide your lower front plate which is a massive weak spot, while reloading turn the turret 10° to the right to maximize chances of bouncing shots (right side of the turret front has some extra armour) and keeping the gunner alive.
Pros and cons
- Powerful and high penetrating gun, the stock round is adequate and APDS can punch through anything it will face
- Has a base reload time of 8.1 seconds, which can be lowered further into around 7.4 seconds (which is on average two seconds faster than its competitors)
- Excellent gun depression and elevation
- Extremely strong gun mantlet
- Somewhat bouncy armour
- Gunner is on the right side of the tank
- Neutral steering can turn on the spot without having to switch into 1st gear
- Good manoeuvrability
- Good reverse speed
- Gun stabilizer
- Low top speed
- Ammo rack in the front, penetration through the lower glacis will likely end up destroying or detonating the ammo rack
- Top armour covering the engine compartments is 8 mm
- APDS shot causes only punctual damage (aim carefully)
- No explosive filler on any AP shells
- Weak side armour, do not angle the hull too much
The Strv 81 was the designation given to 240 British Centurion Mk 3s equipped with Swedish communication equipment. As the first Centurion type used by the Swedish army, the vehicles were fielded extensively during the Cold War as a counter to the numerous T-54/T-55 MBTs fielded by the Soviet Army. The Strv 81s would later be complemented by the Strv 101, a variant of the Centurion Mk 10, and later followed by the Strv 102 and Strv 104. These "Swedish Centurions" would continue service until the introduction of more advanced MBTs such as the Leopard 2 in Swedish service.
After the end of the Second World War, Sweden was in a tight spot in terms of armoured vehicles, as the Soviet forces near its borders possessed significant numbers of IS-series and T-44 tanks, along with the wartime-era T-34 tank variants. Most of these tanks far outclassed the Strv m/41 and m/42 tanks that equipped the Swedish army at the time. As a result, Swedish tank designers were immediately tasked with the development of a new medium tank. However, most of these designs failed to produce strong results, and thus, the Swedish army began the search for a new foreign-built medium tank.
The Swedish army considered two main tank designs: the M46 Patton and the Centurion Mk 3. The Swedish army decided to buy the Centurion, but Britain was unwilling to sell the tanks immediately due to the Korean War. As a result, the Swedish army began considering French-built tanks, notably the AMX-13. However, in late 1952, the British army agreed to sell Sweden 80 Centurion Mk 3 tanks with the order fulfilled 1953-1954. After testing with Swedish specialists, the first 80 Centurion Mk 3s were delivered to Sweden as the Strv 81 - these tanks were virtually identical to the British version.
In 1955, Sweden ordered an additional 160 Centurion Mk 3s, this time with modifications to the gun barrel to reduce fumes reentering the turret after firing. This made for a total of 240 Strv 81s in Swedish service, replacing the highly obsolete Strv m/41 and m/42 tanks of the wartime era. The Strv 81s were later complemented by the Strv 101s, which were British-built Centurion Mk 10s. Together, the Swedish Centurions served for a long time in Swedish service, later variants serving until 2001 when they were replaced by the variants of the German Leopard 2.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Related development
- Similar role vehicles
- Rickard O. Lindström. (2014, September 20) in ointres https://www.ointres.se/strv_81_101_102_104_centurion.htm
|Department of Tank Design|
|Sherman Firefly||Sherman Firefly · Sherman IC "Trzyniec"|
|Centurion||Centurion Mk 1 · Centurion Mk.2 · Centurion Mk 3 · Centurion Action X · Centurion Mk.5 AVRE · Centurion Mk 10|
|Challenger*||Challenger Mk.2 · Challenger Mk.3 · Challenger DS|
|Achilles||Achilles · Achilles (65 Rg.)|
|Centurion-based||Conway · FV4005|
|Sherman Firefly||M4 Tipo IC · ▄Sherman Vc|
|Centurion||Centurion Mk.5/1 · Strv 81 · Strv 81 (RB 52) · ▄Strv 81 (RB 52) · Strv 101 · Strv 104** · Strv 105** · Sho't|
|See also||US Ordnance Department · Israeli Ordnance Corps · Vickers-Armstrongs Limited|
|*By successor, the Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment|
|**Swedish modernizations incorporating innovations from the Israeli Sho't Kals.|
|Sweden medium tanks|
|Strv m/42||Lago I · Strv m/42 EH · Ikv 73 · Strv m/42 DT|
|Centurion derivatives||Strv 81 · Strv 81 (RB 52) · Strv 101 · Strv 104 · Strv 105|
|Strv 103||Strv 103-0 · Strv 103A · Strv 103С|
|Strv 121/122||Strv 121 · Strv 122A · Strv 122B PLSS|
|Other||Sherman III/IV · T 80 U|
|WWII||▄T-28 · ▄T-34 · ▄Pz.IV · ▄T-34-85|
|Post War||▄Comet I · ▄Charioteer Mk VII · ▄T-54 · ▄T-55M · ▄T-72M1 · ▄Leopard 2A4 · ▄Leopard 2A6|