I have talked about these Tanks briefly in another article but since they are interesting vehicles they do deserve their own write-up.
Before the Laupen Tanks were developed, the Swiss army bought a set of G-13 tank destroyers from Czechoslovakia in 1949 which stayed in service until 1973 but only used a 7.5cm which was used by the StuG III. *I will make a separate post on the G-13 later as there’s quite a lot of new material on them for Switzerland and knowing how popular the ‘Hetzer’ is/was in WoT the G-13 will offer something special for the Swiss too.
These G-13’s were to be the basis of the Laupen 16t. In WoT it would likely be tier 5 with the L/48 7.5 cm gun as the stock gun and the 7.5 cm Pak. 51 (AMX 13-75s gun) as a top gun, with both autoloading and singleshot variations possible.
Swiss G-13 Tank Destroyer
There is not a lot of information about the Laupen tanks as to why they were designed and why they stayed on the drawing board. From what I can access and understand at the moment it is to do with the Swiss being concerned over the costs rather than performance. Switzerland had problem in tank production as it lacks many natural resources. So based on that, all I can do is make estimated guesses as why some of the things were as they were.
All I can gather at the moment leads me to believe that the reason for their design was because the Swiss wanted a powerfull and cheap light tank. It’s possible that someone high up thought that the G-13 was undergunned and wanted to make an upgrade as cheap as possible or that the Laupens were to be Light tank in conjunction with the G-13 and to share common parts.
However the most likely is my first thought since alongside the Laupen 16t, there was also a second design; the Laupen 14t. If the intention was to merely up-gun the G-13 there would not be a purpose to design the 14t version. *If however the assessment was to have as much tank as they could then the 14t represents the most that they could squeeze out of the design in terms of automotive performance and weaponry.
The Laupen 16t would also have been fitted with an improved 220 hp SLM Diesel engine which would be a big upgrade over the G-13s 160 hp engine which gave it a mere 14 hp/ton ratio.
Comparison of the Laupen 16t and the G-13 Tank destroyer, as you can see, the chassis look the same.
As for the Laupen 14t it would have a completely different chassis as the 16t. Giving it less armor than its counterpart but would still be longer than the bigger brother. with a chassis length of 5000 mm instead of 4750 m.
An interesting detail about the Laupen 14t is its suspension. Normally the suspension arms on a vehicle face towards the rear and only rarely to the front. The Laupen 14t though rather unusually would have the left suspension arms facing towards the rear and the right arms towards the front ( as seen on the picture). Which was an intentional choice in order to reduce the length as much as possible. The drawings also show that the space inside both tanks would have been very limited.
Top drawing shows suspension arms in a forward position while lower drawing shows them in a backward position.
Specifications of these tanks:
They both do have the same turret which gives them both roughly 60-65 mm of turret armor frontally and 20mm to the side and rear. Both having the same turret also means that both pack the same 90mm gun. The barrel is 40 calibers long (L/40) which gives it a length of 3.6 metres. and with a shell velocity of 1000 m/sec. The gun can depress to -10° and elevate to 45° and if you want to compare that with the Löwe which has ‘merely’ obtain 38° of elevation so you can imagine how good the 45° of elevation on the Laupen would be. Good elevation and depression is of particular benefit in a mountainous nation like Switzerland.
Both tanks are also 2300 mm tall with a width of 2500 mm (14t) and 2600 mm (16t) respectively as well as 4 crew.
Top speed is 40 km/h on both tanks.which is not as good as other light tanks or even medium tanks.
The armor of the Laupen 14t:
Turret:60 mm @ 30° front
25 mm @ 30° side
Hull: ***40 mm @ 64° upper front plate
35 mm @ 51° lower front plate
20 mm @ 35° upper sides
15 mm @ 15° lower sides
Armor of the Laupen 16t:
Turret: 60 mm @ 30° front
25 mm @ 30° side
Hull: ***65 mm @ 60° upper front plate
65 mm @ 42° lower front plate
20 mm @ 40° upper sides
22 mm @ 15° lower sides
So the statistics do show that we are dealing with very light tanks with a rather lowish top speed, decent armor and a big gun. The ability to go really fast would just not have been a huge asset in a mountainous nation with narrow roads, that power to weight ratio is however really useful for faster acceleration.
In WoT they would work the best as medium tanks (justified by the calibre of the gun) but they would also work as light tanks just without scout mm.
I think they would be a very interesting addition to the game and may well be in game in the next year or two so we can enjoy them properly.
Let me know what you think of these Tanks and the whole tech tree in general, I will try to answer your questions in the comments below on these vehicles or Swiss stuff for WoT in general.