Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank (New Vanguard 16)
By Michael Jerchel, Peter Sarson
Publisher: Os Publishing 1995 48 Pages
PDF 22 MB
Development of the Leopard 1 can be traced back to November 1956, when the operational requirement for a new battle tank was formulated by the Federal German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). The first tanks operated by the Bundeswehr were the US-built M47 and M48, which were cheap and available in quantity. But it was recognised that the M47 in particular was very much an interim design a view evidently shared by the US Army, as some 8,500 of the 9,100 M47s produced were exported. With the M47 virtually obsolete, what the Bundeswehr badly needed was a thoroughly modern main battle tank (MBT), with the armour protection and main gun performance to take on the vastly superior numbers of excellent MB'Fs (as well as other armoured vehicles) operated by the Red Army.
In 1957, the Bundeswehr's requirement for a '30 ton MBT1 specified a power-to-weight ratio of 30 PS/tonne; an air-cooled multi-fuel engine; a range of 350 km; either torsion bar or hydro-pneumatic suspension; an overall width not exceeding 3150 mm; and sufficient armour to withstand hits from 20 mm rounds at close ran sc.
The main gun should be capable of penetrating 150 mm of sloped armour, while the ammunition load should at least be equal to that of current US tanks.