About the tier 8 German LT alternatives – Spähpanzer SP I.C

Hello everyone,

ever since last year, a lot of people waited for the tier 8 German light tank, called RU251. It was supposed to come along with the Aufklärungspanzer Panther (I think that was in April 2013 or so), but it didn’t. The reason it didn’t come is quite simple – there was not enough info about it. Originally, it was believed that the prototype was located in the Munster tank museum, but that proved not to be the case and the museum basically told Wargaming to sod off, not revealing any documents about it (it is believed that they don’t have any anyway). That was like second half of 2013 and ever since, it seems nothing else was found either. The prototype somehow managed to disappear off the face of the Earth and very little new pieces of information were uncovered. And so the time went on – and suddenly, the German scout line is almost a year old and nothing happened.

Maybe… maybe it’s time to start looking at alternatives, what to replace it with. Make no mistake however: this is no easy task. There are very few candidates, that could actually fit the slot. Certainly no wartime projects. The 38t hull with Panzer IV turret would be completely inferior to any other tier 8 light tank. There is the highly speculative Aufklärungspanzer auf E-25, but that is simply a theory (no plans or mentions per se were ever uncovered). We have to look for the candidates after the war.

As for myself, the only thing I found is the Spähpanzer SP I.C.


The Spähpanzer (“recon tank”) SP I.C is a pretty obscure prototype from early 60′s. Basically, what was going on – after its reformagion, the West-German armored forces (the Bundeswehr) were looking for potential recon vehicles. One of these proposals was to actually build a light tank on the Schützenpanzer chassis. The basic idea was that vehicles like the wartime Puma armored car (equipped with powerful weaponry) were quite successful – in order to be successful, a scout tank has to be very small, but capable at the same time of dealing with enemy armor. By the way, in early 50′s, Bundeswehr was shortly considering to arm itself with newly produced modernized Panther tank with upgraded armament and electronics – American tanks however “won the contract” in the end.

The SP I.C was the result of the abovementioned concept – in order to mount a turret with a short-recoil 90mm MECAR gun, changes had to be made to the chassis and the suspension. The gun, although sufficiently powerful, was however considered insufficient as a whole, because for all its capabilities, it was no longer possible to upgrade it even further. An autoloading mechanism was also tested in the turret (but rejected). The armor was extremely thin (15mm), but the vehicle was quite light (6,5 tons) and its engine (195hp Hotchkiss-Brandt) gave it quite a good power-to-weight ratio.

The vehicle was developed from 1956 to 1962 (the prototype was built in 1961). After 1962, it was discontinued for the abovementioned reasons (mainly the fact it couldn’t be upgraded further, but also due to some technical problems with the prototype. The prototype is currently located in Koblenz.


Crew: 3
Length: 4,42m
Width: 2,3m
Height: 2,39m
Clearance: 0,4m

Weight: 6,5 tons
Engine: 195hp Hotchkiss-Brandt I6 (gasoline)
Power-to-Weight ratio: 30 hp/t
Maximum speed: 58 km/h

Armor: 15mm front, 8mm sides
Gun: 90mm MECAR (short recoil, L/22, rifled, capable of firing AP and HE shells, 18 rounds of ammo)

The Gun

The 90mm MECAR is a curious weapon. Currently, there are various data about it from various sources. Ammunition mentioned in connection with it:

- AP shell (630 m/s, unknown properties)
- HE shell (338 m/s, unknown properties)
- HE-T shell (5,1 kg)
- HESH-T shell (4,3 kg, 250 m/s)
- HEAT (3,54kg, 90mm cal, 350mm penetration, maximum effective range cca 1000 meters)
- HEAT (M620A1 HEAT-T, 300mm RHA penetration)
- HEAT (M630 HEAT-T, 120mm pen (60 deg, 1000m), 750 m/s)
- APFSDS (M652A1 APFSDS-T, 100mm at 60 degrees, 1500mm)

The ammo info comes partially from this thread. Honestly, the ammo is a mess and I don’t even pretend to understand which ammo could really be used by this particular type of tank, but surely, something can be balanced out of all that.


67 thoughts on “About the tier 8 German LT alternatives – Spähpanzer SP I.C

  1. Or they could, you know, guesstimate a bit with the RU251 until solid data is found.

    There is no excuse for not implementing a prototype vehicle with partial information available, when a tank with no basis in reality nor logic (Waifuträger E100) is running around.

  2. I remember a post on FtR about how they managed to find a private owner of the RU 251 or something, that sent them pictures of it? Am I delusional?

    Regarding this tank, it seems a little underpowered for a tier 8. Slowish (not even of 60k/hr) with only 18 rounds of ammunition. If it was faster, say 70k/hr and slightly more ammunition, then I could see it working well. Currently, I’d give it more of a tier 6 light tank with a long reload process. It would be similar to the ELC.

      • I wouldn’t give up quite yet. They may not release any light tanks until the light tank rebalance (hopeful huge buff), so the RU 251 could be a little way off even if they have enough sources for it.

  3. Awww, it’s cute. It’s like an ELC that someone inflated a bit and popped a proper turret on.

    • made me rotfl :D

      …. with ru-215 your radio operator will be more fabulous than ever before!

  4. “By the way, in early 50′s, Bundeswehr was shortly considering to arm itself with newly produced modernized Panther tank with upgraded armament and electronics – American tanks however “won the contract” in the end.”

    I’d like to know more about that. A quick google search unearthed nothing of interest….

    • I wondered about it myself. Captain_Nemo uncovered an old German newspapers article, where this info is actually confirmed, but without any details.

        • dates 1963, so not “early 50s” mentioned in the original comment.

          interestingly enough, the article reads as if that had already been decided to be done, not some vague possibility.

        • Hmm, the SPiegel description actually reads exactly like the Leopard. Maybe they just “guessed” that it was a development of the Panther, after all the Leopard development groups and the Panther manufacturers were virtually the same…
          We need to keep in mind that the Bundeswehr was extremely secret about projects in the 50s and 60s. Politically all developments had to be kept very low key and, if published, displayed as reaction to “Russian Actions”.

        • Look at the pictures in the pdf at the linked spiegel website. You can see on the left side a panther and on the right side an early Leopard.

    • Here is the info pulled.

      The New Central European observer – Volumes 4-5 – Page 180

      “In december the Bonn Parliment voted a large loan to the Krupp Works for conversion to war manufacture. The Krupp Panzer Works are preparing to produce the huge Nazi Panther tanks once more. ”

      “”Details of the program were revealed at a Berlin press conference on May 16, 1950, by Major Walter Brucker. an officer who had an officer who had been involved in this General Staff project”

      Google would not allow me to get much more then that.
      Seems that with the Spiegel article from 1963 that something happened between Dec 1949 and March 1963. I wonder what the full story is. I do agree with others in that it sounds like the Leopold but more digging will be needed.

      • Does not seem likely that the 1950 Panther idea and the 1960s prototype Leopard are connected. But I will dig into my books and see if there is anything on the Leopard before 1956.

        • Given that the Bundeswehr *itself* didn’t even exist before late ’55 I’m willing to bet you’re not going to find much…

          Anyways, wouldn’t the early-Fifties projects be related to those assorted export ideas the manufacturers themselves looked into both to stay afloat and maintain know-how and capability? Indien-Panzer and whatever else? And whatever theoretical studies might have been undertaken to keep the designers exercised?

  5. What do you think about this one: Begleitpanzer 57 AIFSV
    Just a 57mm gun on a Marder 1, but autoloader…

    Or VTS1, but thats to weird maybe (Marder with L7), but for tier 9?

  6. There was so much German RU tank series:
    RU 111 ~ Hanomag built series 1 prototype that resembled HS-30.
    RU 112 ~ Hanomag built series 1 prototype.
    RU 122 ~ Hanomag built series 1 prototype.
    RU 241 ~ Hanomag built series 2 prototype.
    RU 242 ~ Hanomag built series 2 MBRL prototype.
    RU 251 ~ Hanomag built series 2 AA vehicle prototype.
    RU 261 ~ Hanomag built series 2 prototype.
    RU 262 ~ Hanomag built series 2 prototype.
    RU 263 ~ Hanomag built series 2 prototype.
    RU 264 ~ Henschel built series 2 prototype.
    RU 361 ~ Hanomag built series 3 prototype.
    RU 362 ~ Hanomag built series 3 prototype.
    RU 363 ~ Hanomag built series 3 prototype.
    RU 364 ~ Henschel built series 3 prototype.
    RU 365 ~ Henschel built series 3 prototype.
    RU 366 ~ Henschel built series 3 prototype.
    RU 368 ~ Henschel built series 3 prototype.

    And they all have prototypes, how it is that there is no info about them :/ :D

  7. It may seem petty, but that tank looks absolutely stupid. A clown car crashing into some pipes,stupid.
    I don’t know about others, but I enjoy playing a good looking tank more than an identical one that looks utterly idiotic.

    Plus, 90mm L22 on a tiny, feather-weight, fast tank? Hello terrible accuracy, both on the move, static and dispersion after firing.

    • Not a problem for me (then again, I drive French lights, which have three crew themselves; others may have a harder time adjusting)

      • I can’t imagine an in-game light tank with 30 km/h top speed.
        Apart from that this is not a light tank at all.

        • 30 km/h is clearly wrong as we’re talking about 19 HP/ton, even more for the heavy variant.
          I can’t look into Spielberger right now but it was clearly meant to be faster than that.

  8. Oddly enuff, I still prefer my FatAss panther than this toy car…..I just want my RU251!
    and crap, I forgot to un-check my fatass panther free exp……so i lost my precious 60k exp ………..

  9. How about some more French before the Germans? the French are the redhead stepchild’s of WoT. they never get anything

  10. I Love My afk Panther… PLZ not another lightweight light tank. Nothing is More Fun then bouncing is7 Shorts and ramming batchats to death in My afk Panther xD

  11. As for recon E-25: It was a proposal, not unlike the Panzer 38D only using some Panther running gear.

    • After brief look at that tank, I can only imagine what would happen if it shot its gun while aiming at 90° left or right; 6.5 ton on such a tall hull… it would be so fun to see that, except for its crew

      • And after brief look at your post, I can only imagine you’re dramatically overestimating the recoil impulse of a relatively modest-velocity 90mm gun.

        By way of comparision the ~8.5-ton ERC 90 Sagaie has been running around with a high-velocity 90mm gun for decades which presumably wouldn’t be the case if it had a habit of tipping over every time it fired a “broadside” shot…

  12. Actually the E-10 would be a possible wartime project that could fill the slot.

    Yes, I know that WG’s working on a TD using the E-10 chassis, but irl the E-10 was intended to be a chassis for multiple types of vehicles, including a light tank. Of course, one can only speculate how it would have performed, but I have every reason to believe it would be quite mobile in terms of top speed, acceleration, cornering and not bleeding speed in turns. If they don’t want to give it all of those, then perhaps it could be made into a very stealthy passive scout.

  13. While I do enjoy light tanks, they are painfully weak until they are re-balanced. Top speed is not very important as long as it isn’t extremely low (like FV4202), acceleration is far more important.