Pzw 39 (LTH) – possible lowtier Swiss tank

Hello everyone,

today, we’ll have a look at one of the more interesting modifications of the TNH chassis, the Panzerwagen 39 (also known as LTH).

As you can see, it bears clear resemblance to the ingame vehicle Panzer 38t – and for a good reason, it belongs to the Praga TNH “family”, that stretched far and wide, from Iran to Sweden, from Peru to Russia. This is a Swiss model of the vehicle.

Basically, what happened was that in early-to-mid 1930′s, Swiss army was equipped with obsolete tech (2 Renault FT-17, purchased for testing, 6 Vickers Carden-Loyd M1934-1935, purchased in 1934 for the Swiss military police (Gendarmerie) and 2 obsolete Carden-Loyd Mk.VI tankettes, purchased in the 20′s) and when the Swiss were looking to buy something more modern, they wanted to buy something from Czechoslovakia – after all, Czechoslovakia was in 1934-1935 the biggest arms exporter in the world. They also chose to deal with Praga (ČKD), because Škoda was busy with producing tanks for Czechoslovakia itself and for other countries too.


The first demand for a light tank, able to operate in the mountains of Switzerland came on 17.4.1936. Praga, which was already working on the vehicle versions for Lithuania and Peru, made a modification of the LT tank and named it LTH (Lehký tank helvétský – “Light tank, helvetian”). The main difference was its armament and engine. The vehicle specs, given by the Swiss were negotiated further, leading to the contract (between ČKD and Swiss Army Ministry) being signed on 17.12.1937.

The LTH was actually smaller and lighter than the original TNH tank, its frontal armor was 32mm thick (both the hull and the turret). It was armed with a 24mm  L/63 M.38 main gun ( built by Waffenfabrik Bern) and two 7,85mm water-cooled Maxim machineguns – the gun was developed in the 30′s and it was allegedly very accurate, it had a 6 round clip, the shell velocity is listed as 900m/s. This gun could penetrate 43mm of armor at 150m (in WoT terms this translates as roughly 45mm penetration). A light pintle-mounted AA machinegun was also available. The crew consisted of 3 men.

The contract counted on 24 LTH tanks being produced for Switzerland, 12 of which were to be assembled in Czechoslovakia (excluding the armament) with 125hp Scania-Vabis 1664/5 engines, while the other 12 were to be assembled in Switzerland (only the parts were to be prepared and shipped from Czechoslovakia) and equipped with the Swiss Saurer CT2D engines (also 125hp). Both engines were modified to better work in higher altitudes. They were to be delivered until the end of 1938.

The prototype was ready in March 1938 and after factory trials it was taken to Switzerland to be tested there. There, they modified it by installing a Saurer-Arbon CT1D 108hp diesel and tested it like that. It returned to Czechoslovakia in July and the engine compartment was further modified to fit the Saurer engines. In the end, the vehicle was designed to everyone’s satisfaction and the final assembly of the first series was underway – however, during the September mobilisation, the first 12 hulls (without turrets) were temporarily confiscated by the army as possible wartime replacements – furthermore, or arms exports were suspended for the time being. This delayed the whole deal, but on 5th of October, the embargo was lifted and the first batch of 12 vehicles made it to Switzerland in January 1939. The second batch was delivered too, but that was already under German occupation in April/May 1939.

The Swiss army redesignated the tank to Panzerwagen 39. The Pz.39 tanks were moved to the newly-estabilished armored recon companies, attached to Swiss light infantry brigades. The vehicle was also closely studied and as a result, in 1941 the Swiss company Automobilfabrik Berna AG developed the Swiss “Marder” (75mm gun on LTH chassis), named Nahkampfkanone I:


Generally, the Swiss army was happy with the tanks, mostly because of their good reliability. Originally the Swiss intended to license-produce the Panzer 39, but that never really happened, only in 1947 (under totally different circumstances however), ČKD supplied the Swiss army with some spare parts, including steering system and transmissions. The vehicles served actively until 1950, when they were transferred to training units and gradually phased out. They never fired a shot in anger.

This vehicle could fit nicely into the EU tree, Swiss branch as tier 2-3.


Weight: 7,7 tons
Crew: 3
Armor: 32mm front, 12-15mm sides, 8mm rear
Engine: 125hp Scania-Vabis 1664/5 or 125hp Saurer CT2D diesel

(here, it’s a bit confusing: Pejčoch claims the engine power to be 125hp, Francev claims the serial Swiss engine was actually the CT1D 108hp engine)

Armament: 24mm Oerlikon-Solothurn M.38
Maximum speed: 45km/h

Pejčoch – Obrněná Technika
Kliment, Francev – Československá obrněná vozidla 1918-1948
Francev – Exportní tančíky Praga



39 thoughts on “Pzw 39 (LTH) – possible lowtier Swiss tank

  1. Looks good… I cant wait to have all these new tanks from the EU including the Italian tanks.

      • But there were a few axis nations that would have tanks or modifications that a lot of people would like to see. The bt42 from Finland, the zrinyi from Hungary, the two Romanian TD’s (forgot name), and every Italian tank in existence. If you cut out axis nations, you pretty much have Swedish designs and a couple tankettes.

      • The Swiss were never part of the Axis, they just happen to speak German hence the name of the tank.

        And an EU tree without Axis armour would be underwhelming.

  2. noticed the one in the last picture has an extra wheel in the running gear?

  3. from what i know the Scania-Vabis typ 1664 engine produces 142 hp
    well it does according to the best internet source for swedish tanks in my opinion
    if you scroll al the way down you will se the stats of the tanks including the engine

    • It could be a detuned version, or simply another type of the same engine. The same sources that I used do rate the Scania Vabis 1664 engine at 142hp, so that’s okay

    • they may have been rating it at altitude, not sea level. Quite likely a 140hp engine at sealevel to make 100hp (or less) at the altitudes they are at.

    • Well, don’t be so pesimistic, I myself have high hopes that the EU tree will come in the autumn/winter of 2014… I wonder however which nations will get their tanks first, I remember 1 interview from about a year ago that they said it’ll most likely be Polish and Czechoslovakian vehicles, but EU tree without Italian tanks seems really strange… And what about high tiers?

        • wont happen.
          there are not enough designs for a full tree.
          unless you want something worse than china.
          as in to make a tree you would have to put in at least 10+ foreign designs

          • It would be better than something like Japan where after tier V they start pulling crap from their bumholes, WG always make a big deal of historical realism… when it fits their agenda.

      • well Polish and Czechoslovakian comunities are the biggest in europe.
        thus they will make more money if they make the european tree a Polish/Czech tree with other nations designs filling some gaps…

        i just think that it sucks that sweden wont get a standalone tree…
        it is pretty much the only european country that could have a complete standalone tree
        there are so many interesting designs that will just get scrapped/not implimented in a european tree in favour of Polish/Czech tanks.

        • Wow, pretty impressive with all those Swedish tanks, I definitely want to see them in game in the future, still, I doubt 4 lines is enough to make a full TT, just like it is with Italian, Polish or Czech trees, because it would require many foreign vehicles to fill the gaps in the branches. And I don’t think we need more Chinese-like tech trees, so it’s better to build really big international tree(it was said earlier that there’ll probably be argentinian minibranch) with only original constructions.

          • well the polish or czech trees dont have that many lines that can reach tier 10.
            well atleast without foreign designs.

  4. I wonder how will they put all those LT 38 family in EU tech tree. We already have Pz 38(t) in Germany one, and now we can have Czechoslovakian, Swiss, Lithuanian, Iranian, Peruvian and Swedish versions.

    • They won’t. My guess would be that the Swedish and Swiss will make it to the tree itself, with one of the exotic ones being added as a premium vehicle.

    • sweden can make a whole tree without even resorting to using foreign tanks so id say that we wont se the strv m41

  5. So a lighter armored but faster and more agile 38t with an OK gun…Might be fun. The Swiss used the Hetzer until the late 1970s also if memory serves, so they did have an affinity for this chassis…

  6. I dunno if you know about it, but the Swiss did some interesting experiments with fitting littlejon adaptors onto some 75mm guns. If you could find out anything more about that, that might make an interesting part 2.