Status Report: Swedish tanks part 25: Landsverk Pricken
Hi everyone. Thanks to a recent find we are finally going to take a look at one of the tank projects that I skipped earlier in the series due to a lack of information. With this article I also intend to cover the Swedish tier 8 medium problem. I hope you will find this convoluted story interesting, i know i certainly did.
In mid-1943 a Swedish army delegation got the chance to study captured T34 tanks in Finland. The heavily sloped armor and the mobility of the T34 came as a shock to the Swedish delegation. It had become clear that even the modern tanks they had were completely outclassed. As a response KATF (the army ordinance administration) issued a demand for the development of a 30 ton medium tank to match the T34. The new tank was to be a further development of the Strv m/42 which was just entering service at the time. Proposals had been made previously for upgrading the Strv m/42 but had been dismissed due to strict weight restrictions. In comparison to the Strv m/42 the 30 ton was to use thicker and better sloped armor. It would be armed with a long 75mm gun developed for the Pvkv m/43 tank destroyer and use a new gearbox and engine under development by Volvo. Considerations were also made for the use of an autoloader for the main gun. Development would be handled by Landsverk who internally designated the tank Pricken (the dot).
Earlier Landsverk drawing for an improved strv m/42
In 1944 the Pricken was little more than a widened Strv m/42 with sloped frontal armor. The tank still retained the same turret ring diameter as its predecessor, likely to allow interchangeability of the new autoloader equipped turret that was under development for the Strv m/42. At this point most of the work was focused on working out the general layout and design.
Pricken hull drawing from 1944
With the end of ww2 the need for a new tank was no longer as pressing and the army focused on improving its existing fleet of tanks and acquiring foreign tanks for testing. But there were still discussions about a Swedish alternative, in particular KATF wanted a unified chassis which could be the basis for both a 30 tank and a projected 30 ton TD. They also wanted better protection against air attack, sideskirts, a new streamlined turret and a high velocity 10,5cm gun.
In 1946 after a series of failed negotiations with Britain about purchasing Sherman fireflies KATF again approached Landsverk. The plan was that they would help fund the development of a new 30 ton tank destroyer, the hull of which would provide the basis for a tank in the same weight class. KATF designated the projected tank destroyer TLP 46 and the tank TLS 46, although Landsverk kept the Pricken designation. KATF wanted a number of changes to the design. Earlier in 1946 an army delegation had met up with their contacts at the in Czechoslovakia. Based on the feedback they had gotten they wanted to switch to a rear mounted transmission, have even thicker and better sloped armor, a 5 man crew and also changes to the suspension. Landsverk was opposed to the suspension changes and after some discussions it was decided to keep the torsion bar suspension but move the transmission to the rear.
My copy of the TLS 46 / Pricken drawing from 1946
With the general layout agreed upon, work started on getting the design ready for prototyping. The prototype for the TLP 46 tank destroyer was the major concern with the TLS 46 being more of a side project. In 1947 KATF requested changes to the gun traverse of the TLP shortly after which they decided to cancel the project entirely. The decision seems to have been based on the idea that 75mm subcaliber rounds for existing vehicles would be able to replace the need for the bigger caliber guns planned for the 30 ton projects. With the army funding cut Landsverk stopped working on the project, instead choosing to focus on lighter designs the export market. The last mention of the Pricken was as part of a report on landsverk‘s export tanks from 1948 where it appeared with some info and no drawings.
TLP roadwheel layout drawing from 1947
It should be said that neither KAFT nor Landsverk really knew what they wanted to do with tank design at the time. A lot of new technology had come to fruition during the war and Sweden lacked the experience of other nations that had taken part in it. A lot of ideas were thrown around without the army having any real idea what they wanted or where tank design was going. It wasn’t really until the 1951 EMIL project that the Swedish army had really worked out what it wanted from a modern tank.
As you can probably tell the long and complicated history of this project has been problematic when researching the vehicle. During 1943-1948 many different versions of the Pricken were considered and scrapped. This combined with the often incomplete documents regarding the project (a lot of which has been either burned or misplaced) has made it impossible to find drawings for the vehicle. But as it turns out at least one concept drawing from 1946 had survived. However the drawing seems to have been drawn up mostly to give an idea of how interleaved suspension would look on the tank and isn’t very detailed. My drawing of the seen in this article has been based on that drawing as the original is unfortunately covered by a NDA.
Despite its problems it’s rather likely that we will see this vehicle in the game. This is because the lack of original Swedish tier 8 medium tank candidates. There are enough upgrades to justify the tier 8 placement but the Pricken if added to the game will be a compromise between many different versions of the project and will have to be partially reconstructed by WG. Currently there are three candidates for the tier 8 medium spot. The historical option would be to use the Strv 81 which is just a Centurion Mk.3. The ideal option would be to use the 40 ton Landsverk export tank drawn up in 1950, but we have been unable to find the drawings for it. That leaves the Pricken as the only real alternative, at least for right now.
As for how it would play, it would be a fast medium with a very capable gun but with bad armor and gun depression. With a power to weight ratio of over 20hp/t and a top speed of 60 kph the Pricken would be one of the fastest tier 8 mediums. The top gun would be a version of the 20pdr which should mean good gun performance. It is likely that with this gun the tank will end up with at most -5 degrees of gun depression. The armor would be nothing special for tier 8 with a max thickness of 75mm at the front and 50mm at the sides, It is however rather well sloped on the hull and rounded on the turret.
Weight: 28-32 ton
Track width: 0,55m
Armament: 7.5cm kan m/43, 10cm kan m/34, 8.4cm kan strv Lansen
Elevation/depression: +25/-10dg (75mm)
Ammo load: 70 rounds
Engines: Volvo A8B improved (450hp), DB 605 (600hp), Rover Diesel Engine (620hp)
Top speed: 60 kph
Power to weight ratio: 20 hp/t
Side front: 50mm
Side rear: 40mm
Engine deck: 40mm
Sideskirts: circa 5mm
That’s it for now, next time I will cover the UDES 03. Until then feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.