Hello everyone, today, we have a guest article from sp15 (NA server), dealing with the S-tank’s development history. I did only some minor edits (typos and such). Enjoy! The S-Tank Today I’ve decided to write about Swedens most iconic tank the Strv 103 or – as everyone knows it – the S-tank. The reason for this is that the S-tank is the only known hope for a historical tier 10 TD for the European tree and wargaming don’t know what to do with it. Let me explain. Strv 103A The Strv 103 has a hydraulic suspension, which means in practice that the whole hull moves to aim the gun. This means that Wargaming would have to implement new aiming system for this sort of tank – and Wargaming does not want to do that for one separate tank, but they have stated this: The fate of the S-tank is still undecided What I want to do in this article is to explain the history and characteristics of this tank. I hope you take some time to read and consider this tank for implementation. History The origin of the S tank can be traced back to one man and his fascination with self propelled gun designs of World War 2. After World War 2, the Swedish army decided to purchase and evaluate some German armored vehicles. One of the people, who were assigned to this project, was Sven Berge, who was to design the S tank in the future. In particular, Berge was interested in German turretless designs, such as the Sturmgesch├╝tz and the Jagdpanzer. These tanks were cheaper and also faster to produce than their turreted counterparts. They also allowed for greater firepower while not compromising mobility or protection compared to turreted tanks – in fact, the lack of a turret meant smaller vehicle, which in turn meant it was harder to detect and destroy. StuG III during Swedish trials: With the purchase of the British Centurion tank, the Swedish army also got access to British damage assessments from WW2. This information stated that knocked out tanks were usually hit in the turret and that hits below 1 meter were unusual. A calculation also pointed out that the turret had around 100% higher chance to get hit than the hull. These were not the only elements that inspired Berge however.In fact, Sven Berge had been in charge of the Swedish test and evaluation of the French AMX 13. This tank featured an autoloader, which in turn meant a crew member could be replaced and the tank could be reduced in size and weight. There had also been tests by Bofors with a 20 ton assault gun with a 120mm automatic cannon. Berge was also involved in the development of a new AA vehicle, made by Bofors, which featured a hydraulic suspension. AMX-13 during Swedish trials: This all culminated in the idea to build a turretless tank with a fixed gun. Berge came up with the idea over a weekend and he presented it to his boss on Monday. His boss did not get the idea behind this design but nonetheless Berge got more time to develop it. It took Berge 1 month to come up with first drawings and patents, these were finished on 22nd of October 1956. The initial design of what would become the S-tank: He proposed the idea of adjustable hydraulic suspension to move the hull of the tank. The design was meant to have the weight of around 30 tons, would feature a fixed gun with a automatic loader and the tank was to be manned by 2 crewmembers. The proposal was given a go-ahead and the development group was put together. Different designs were discussed. Here is a picture showing the size advantage of a fixed gun over one with traverse: The fixed gun means less space and crew required. Furthermore, the automatic loader allowed for the ammunition storage to be placed in the back. This meant that safety devices could be put in to protect the crew if the ammo storage was hit. The main drawback behind the concept was that the tank could not fire on the move. This however was only a small drawback, as turreted tanks from the same era could only shoot accurately when stationary due to poor stabilization. The lack of a turret meant that in an attack, the tank could not be able to react as quickly as a turreted tank. This was not really considered a problem however, since the role of the tank in the event of war would be a defensive one. In 1957, Sweden considered 3 options for the new tank. Alternative A: a tank of either English or American design in the 50 ton range and decent mobility (M60 & Chieftain) Alternative T: a German or French tank in the 30 ton range with good mobility, but lack of protection (Leopard 1 & AMX 30) Alternative S: the so called S-tank, a small 30 ton tank with good protection and mobility. Also in 1957, various aspects of the S-tank proposal were tested, such as aiming of the fixed gun. These tests continued on various chassis types, including a Sherman chassis. In 1959, full scale testing of the hydropneumatic suspension was conducted, using the prototype chassis of the KRV heavy tank. During these tests, 2 road wheels were stripped off the KRV to simulate the S-tank suspension, a 20 pounder gun was also used to test the capability of the tank to aim. KRV chassis being used as a test vehicle: At the same time, the automatic loader was constructed and the frontal armour was tested on firing range, with the results from these tests being positive. Now the tank needed an engine, but there were problems because of the confined space, so a compromise was made – instead of one regular engine, the tank would use a diesel engine for fuel economy when needed, and a gas turbine engine for power and speed when necessary. These engines worked together to allow for maximum amount of power. In 1961 two prototype vehicles were made (S1 & S2). These were used to test the drivetrain, suspension & optics of the tank, and a new commander’s cupola was developed – it was so good that apparently “it is still regarded as the world’s best”. A full scale wooden mockup was also made. On the left, the S1 – on the right, the wooden mockup: The tests with the S1 & S2 were positive and in 1963, the production of 10 fully functional pre-production tanks called the 0-series was finished. These were armed with a Swedish modification of Continue reading →

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