The post-war German military industry is not only known for its biggest achievement in the tank field (the Leopard 2 MBT that effectively became the standard NATO tank in Europe), but also for a large number of innovative and quite frankly absolutely amazing solutions that are sometimes so radical that they beat even some truly outlandish sci-fi book designs.
German armor development after the war reflected the nature of the entire Bundeswehr. A decade after the horrors of the Second World War, the West-German military (much like the Japanese one) was re-established with the help of the American forces located in Europe as a purely defensive force with its sole task being protecting the Federal Republic of Germany from outside threats (mainly from the east). The armored fist of the Bundeswehr, the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank, was designed with many crew-protecting features – it was essentially envisaged as a defensive measure, staying in hull-down position and taking out enemy tanks at long distances before retreating to another pre-prepared location.
The abovementioned innovative solutions were a part of this mindset as well. Check this out.
This is one of the experimental designs from the 1970s, developed as a potential replacement for the Leopard 1 (Leopard 2 was NOT developed as a Leopard 1 replacement but as a M48 replacement – essentially, if produced, this design and the Leopard 2 would be active in parallel). It’s a tank destroyer based on a heavily modified Leopard 1 chassis, the model was made by Madestcat. It has several rather outlandish features. First, it has lifting guns. As you can see, the guns lift high up (90 degrees) – the mount can rotate with limited traverse. That way, the hull (with the crew) can stay hidden behind an obstacle while the guns (linked to an advanced fire control system) fire at the enemy with impunity. Both guns are 105mm (can be upgraded to 120mm), attached to a 4 round automatic loader each. Another interesting feature is the retractable armored plate – when stationary, the hydraulics can lower the plate from the transport position, providing an extra layer of spaced armor.
Note that the vehicle is rather small and light by itself – a major advantage of not having a turret.Why two guns? It’s not really that much about the rate of fire but about the early hit chance. Two projectiles can hit with greater accuracy than one, something that’s really important for a relatively light vehicle engaging MBTs at distance. The German armor requirements put a lot of emphasis on first hit chance in general.
The model is based on a more advanced version of this design:
This image is public (Rolf Hilmes – Kampfpanzer Heute) but unfortunately the design documents cannot be shared. Still, it’s something that I’d love to see in one game or another.