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1

Monday, June 10th 2019, 9:35pm

Nordish Tanks

I'm in the middle of putting together something for the 1949 International Army Games that Russia hosts, and I wanted to include the currently-NPC Nordish army in the tank biathlon section. At the moment, the last we've heard of Nordish armour is the m/42, which is a sadly outdated design by 1949 standards. This in spite of Sweden's long historical interest and innovation in armoured development. Would anyone object if I offered ups some detail to Nordish armoured equipment?

2

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 4:21am

Last we saw the Nordish armoured forces, three armoured divisions were on the books (although two of them were being formed). The Nords had what was at that time a powerful and numerous mix of both German-built and Nordish license-built Panzer IIs and IIIs, with a hefty smattering of Nordish-designed Leopard I tanks on the side.

In the 1940s, Sweden attempted to maintain parity with their European neighbors in terms of medium tank development, but the developments of WWII simply overwhelmed their R&D efforts. I expect that Nordmark would end up in the same boat, with attempts to approximately match developments like the Standardpanzer Panther, the Centurion, the T-47 Tsiklon, etc. With the numbers involved in Nordish armoured acquisitions, there's a powerful incentive for native companies like AB Landsverk to push for building tanks at home. It's a matter of national pride, keeping money in the kingdom, etc.

I expect this would lead to strong internal pressure in Nordmark for AB Landsverk to "keep up with the Joneses" and develop a medium tank in the 35-45 tonne category. And I feel this would be a major mistake on Nordmark's part.

Whether you're facing Russia to the east, or looking across the narrow waters to Germany and Denmark, or defending mountainous Norwegian coastline to the west against the British, there is very, very little "tank country". There's forests, lakes, and tundra. The Nordish Army does not possess the populations of its largest neighbors - they'd likely have about 20-25 million people, and aside from Denmark and the Baltic states, their neighbors include more populous industrial juggernauts like Britain, Germany, and Russia. They're not going to invade anybody. If anyone tries to invade them, Nordmark's closed terrain becomes part of the defense.

With this in mind, I feel that a traditional armoured strategy - powerful, prestigious medium tanks concentrated in hard-hitting tank divisions - is a mistake.

I feel a better option is to focus design and production efforts on a highly-mobile family of vehicles. The primary emphasis lies in creating a flexible light tank: something with outstanding armament and mobility, even if the protection is lacking. Secondarily, the chassis (either via direct conversion or through parts interchangeability) should be useful as a turretless assault gun / tank destroyer or even an infantry carrier. The armoured divisions, too ungainly in the northern forests, should be broken up into more numerous and more flexible armoured brigades.

A powerful medium tank could then be purchased from a friendly country. Germany, with a long history of supplying armour to the Nordish Army, is a likely candidate with the Standardpanzer Panther. The South African COM-3T Comet is another possibility.

Thoughts?

3

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 10:33am

I would agree that a lighter tracked family, something akin to the British FV300 series, would be the best bet.
Something like the OTL Infanterikanonvagn 91 would be possible, probably with a 75-90mm gun. Good mobility would be key, perhaps amphibious but certainly capable of deep fording, wide tracks.
Far too early for something like the S-Tank, but a fixed casemate tank destroyer also makes a lot of sense. Even something like the Belgian CATI-90 could have a lot of merit.

Agreed a medium tank could be purchased, though perhaps a prototype programme wouldn't hurt, perhaps as backstory filler ("we tried to build one but cost too much and decided didn't need a huge fleet anyway").

4

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 2:41pm

I tend to agree that Nordmark – whether you think of OTL Sweden, Norway, or Finland – is poor tank country. While each OTL constituent has acquired medium tanks over the years – Sweden acquiring the most – they have never been deployed en masse but rather distributed. While developing a machine would be useful backstory, producing one would not be the best use of available resources. (Yes, I know I’ve done if for Yugoslavia, but it is more a prestige thing – thankfully Italy is not a real threat). A mobile gun system (tank destroyer, assault gun, or infanteriekanonvagn) make far better sense in a defensive role than expensive massed tanks.

Germany would be happy to offer Panthers on a reasonably competitive basis, and maybe cut a deal for our friends. For what it is worth, armament upgrades are being examined so if the Nords wanted an armament change, it is not impossible. Another possibility would be offering the Nords an IKV based on the Ardelt Lowe light tank chassis – though the national industry would probably prefer to develop its own.

5

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 5:20pm

Considering relations, I would think that they would look at South Africa first before any other nation.

Another thing is that for Nordmark, a medium tank could be something in the 20-30 ton range (which could be deemed more than acceptable by Nordmark Army Command) rather than the 35-45 you mentioned (which would be deemed too heavy).

6

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 6:09pm

Considering relations, I would think that they would look at South Africa first before any other nation.

I'd tend to agree, were it not that (at least from the encyclopedia) about 2/3rds of Nordmark's older tanks were straight up either ordered from Germany or license-built German designs. I think that's slightly odd, since OTL Sweden at least had a modest local design capability, and rarely bought foreign. So at least in the past there was definitely a pretty close connection on the military front. Without an active Nordish player for almost a decade, there's not much current to go on, though.

Another thing is that for Nordmark, a medium tank could be something in the 20-30 ton range (which could be deemed more than acceptable by Nordmark Army Command) rather than the 35-45 you mentioned (which would be deemed too heavy).

I definitely do think a 35-45 tonne tank (like the SPzr Panther) would be too heavy for Nordmark's purposes, so I might consider something native-built in that lesser range instead. Still, if we're keeping up with the Joneses, the same blend of armour-firepower-mobility demands an equivalent weight class. Ergo, saving weight either requires some novel developments or compromises...

Stay tuned...

7

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 6:14pm

Quoted

I definitely do think a 35-45 tonne tank (like the SPzr Panther) would be too heavy for Nordmark's purposes, so I might consider something native-built in that lesser range instead.


One alternative might be the Polish 32TP Lwica. It has, IMHO, a good balance of characteristics.

8

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 6:59pm

Funny that you mentioned this - I was actually considering the option of using some 32TP Lwica components (hull, drivetrain, engines, etc) and substituting a Nordish gun and turret.

9

Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 7:09pm

Funny that you mentioned this - I was actually considering the option of using some 32TP Lwica components (hull, drivetrain, engines, etc) and substituting a Nordish gun and turret.


Great minds think alike!

10

Wednesday, June 12th 2019, 10:09am

And the SAE's tank list is probably outdated now too.
The 32TP caused a stir on its entry. A good solid design even for 1949.