Leopard 1BE (1968)

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes, don’t care how
  • Yes, as a researchable vehicle
  • Yes, as premium/event/squadron vehicle
  • No

0 voters

Where would you like to see this?
  • Belgian tree/BeNeLux tree
  • German tree
  • French tree
  • Other
  • I said no

0 voters

Welcome to another suggestion for a Belgian vehicle, this time we’ll be looking at the Leopard 1BE, more specifically the original and unmodified 1968 spec of the vehicle.

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In the 1960s Belgium started a program to replace its aging M47 Patton tanks. Germany at the time had just finished the development of its brand new Leopard 1 tank. This vehicle was the result of the Europanzer program, a s Jared project with France to develop the next-generation MBT for Europe. Both sides wanted their design to win and eventually the whole project fell apart with both countries continuing with their own designs. Germany’s development eventually lead to the Leopard 1. Belgium selected the Leopard 1 as its next MBT in 1967 and made an order for 334 vehicles. The vehicles were delivered from 1968 onwards, which made Belgium the first export customer of the Leopard 1 tank. The vehicles were designated Leopard 1BE and they corresponded to the Leopard A1 model in German service. The two vehicles were practically identical bar a few minor differences, as far as I know, they are externally indistinguishable from each other at first. For one, the Belgian tanks were equipped with locally produced FN MAG machine guns, both in coaxial and roof-mounted positions. The newly delivered vehicles equipped eight tank regiments, each equipped with 40 Leopards, and the Armor School. The first regiment to receive the Leopard was the 4th Lancers, followed by the 1st Lancers, 2nd Lancers, 3rd Lancers, 8th Lancers, 1st Guides, 2nd Guides, and finally the 2nd Mounted Rifles.

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The systems of the tank are basically identical to the German version. The main armament consisted of the 105mm L7A3 rifled cannon, which was capable of firing APDS, HESH, and HEAT ammo. The coaxial armament consisted of a single 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun and another FN MAG could be placed on a position at the commander’s hatch. Dimensions, weight, mobility, and armor are identical to the German version that we know and love in-game. A 40t tank with minimal armor protection but great mobility and firepower.

General characteristics:

  • Crew: 4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)
  • Weight: 40t
  • Engine: 1x MTU MB 838 CaM 500 providing 830hp
  • Length: 9.54m
  • Width: 3.37m
  • Height: 2.70m

Armament:

  • 1x 105mm L7A3 L/52 rifled cannon
  • 1x 7.62mm FN MAG coaxial machine gun
  • 1x 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun on commander’s hatch

In-game:

The reason why I’m suggesting this vehicle is in-fact as a start to a larger set of suggestions for the Belgian Leopards, while the original vehicle might not offer much unique properties, the subsequent vehicles will improve on that. However, in-game you’d have to start somewhere as well and that would be with this variant. The vehicle could serve as an important step in the progression through the proposed BeNeLux tree, or it could serve as a premium vehicle in another tree. As a premium it could be placed as a slightly different version in the German tree, or more controversially could open up the opportunity for the French tree to receive a Leopard. Although it might not offer much new for the German tree, the other potential placements could see it bringing in some decent added value.

Sources

The German Leopard 1 Tank - TankNutDave.com

Kampfpanzer Leopard 1A1(BE) (BE)

Leopard I - ABL-History Forum

Leopard Club : In the Field - Leopard 1BE

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Technically, both were developed for the program which blew because both sides wanted their design to win

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