Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Lone Wolf, Nov 8, 2006.
Was the Stridsvagn 103 ("S-Tank") actually a tank ? - and was it a success ?
It was a tank, yes. 'Stridsvagn', directly translated, means combat vehicle, but it was used as a tank by the Swedish army.
Being neutral, Sweden never to my knowledge actually used the vehicle in combat, but from the specifications, I'd consider it a good albeit controversial design for its time.
An interesting aspect of the vehicle was that it is actually surprisingly tall and overall large.
I've just found this rather excellent video of it.
What an interesting AFV. Excellent design features coupled with some obvious drawbacks.
It does pose the question "what is a tank ?" - the original WW1 tank didn't have a turret so that can't define it and the S Tank could be seen as a very advanced version of a WW2 tank destroyer - so is a tank destroyer a type of tank too. I supose the answer probably lies in how they are intended to be used in battle.
Great machine though.
I would think that for its intended purpose its a great design, very innovative. Plus i think its rates very high on the coolness factor
I think a fixed gun like that of the Stridsvagn would be most useful in WW2-style warfare situations where there are front lines and directions so that one can know which way the tank should be facing However most modern wars seem to be predominantly guerrilla warfare, so the lack of turret would put the tank at a severe disadvantage in street fighting, nor could (i'm guessing) the Stridsvagn be able to fire while on the move... Like the Stug.III I think it should be classified as a self propelled AT gun, and would excel in tactical set-piece warfare... Not so much in a close quateters environment
Does anyone have any idea how far the gun can be elevated by the suspension?
(edit) nevermind, the video just said 22 degrees. Is this really more than most tanks?
looks like it was effective enough
and every time i see the Strv 103 i think "StuG on steroids"... anyone agree?
There wouldn't be much point in a turreted tank in Sweden, which is most forest area.
Hhhmmmm...not too sure about the traverse though. What looks smooth from the outside is impossible to track through a 10x sight. A bit slow coming around. A turret could bring the gun to bear much faster than the s-tank could neutral steer. After an initial ambush, it had better not stick around.
When it was designed tanks couldn't accurately fire on the move either, and crews were normally trained to quickly halt then fire so having no turret was a small price to pay for what was gained.
Gyro stabilisers were implemented in tanks in the late thirties or early fourties, so I would disagree with the notion that the tanks of the seventies couldn't fire on the move.
Tanks in the 50's-60's had stabilized guns, but they still had to be aimed by hand... there were no computers to guide the stabilization mechanism. Thus any innacuracy of the tank while firing on the move is due to the drivers ability to calculate and aim a shot while bumping up and down inside the tank... It is very easy to upgrade the guns on such tanks as you dont need to install a new stabilization system altogether, just a computer to control it, which is why there are so many upgrades available for the M-60 and the T-55 series...
I would disagree with that notion as well, even British WWI Mk1 tanks could fire on the move, and the 103 was designed in the '50s.
it's more doctrine than ability.
I believe UK tanks were told to fire on the move during WW2 but german tactics told them to stop. This made the germans seem more accurate but in reality it was UK doctrine that was flawed.
The later shermans had some sort of gun stablization but from the accounts I read most crew turned it off as it was more hassle than it was worth. Especially once they clued up to the fact that firing on the move is not particullary effective.
The S tank is a product of the enviroment and nation that designed it. It's a hide, shoot and scoot tank designed to sap moral and delay/prevent attack. It is not an assualt tank. I reckon it will be pretty good at it's role
exactly, the S-103 has "defensive" written all over it
True, but even the likes of the Centurion which has 2 axis stabilisation, got better results when the tank was stationary. Judging your own vehicle's motion and leading for it is still very hard to do.
The T-55 I'm not terrible familiar with, the M60 actually required a lot of upgrades including the M60A1 AOS (Add-On Stabilization) and so did not have a stabilised gun until late 1972.
From "Patton a history of the American Main Battle Tank"
So it is not hard to believe that 20 years earlier, firing from a halt is still the best policy, and that for Sweden a neutral country likely only to fight a defensive war, that trading the ability to fire on the move at something you probably won't hit anyway, for tank that is harder to hit and harder hitting that can be crewed effectively by as few as two men makes a lot of sense.
I can't see why you would disagree with what I wrote, but the reason why the British tanks could fire while moving was because they drove very slowly. WWII tanks would fire while moving too.
I was agreeing with you.
Actually Gryle I meant from a standstill. Traversing via neutral steer is going to set up a godawful shaking in the sights. Not sure you could track a moving target with the S-tanks unique system. Without a stabilizing system as on a turreted vehicle you would have to ambush shoot. Chancy shot at best.
Okay, sorry, misunderstood
I wouldn't know, I've never been in one. The commander's sight is at least stabilising in elevation. It was evaluated by both the British and Americans, neither of which found the S-tank to be vastly inferior to their own vehicles. Read the last paragraph in the History section on in the Wikipedia article (yes I know, not the best source).