Mowag Pirat 18, Swiss IFV to support the Panzer 61

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caid’s suggestion #83

i would like to suggest a rather unique tank, the Swiss Mowag Pirat 18

The Mowag Pirat 18 was an IFV version of the Mowag Pirat from 1963. it was created to compete with the Saurer Tartaruga, AMX VCI and M113. the tank was an 18-tonne IFV that was offered to the Swiss army. The tank offers fairly good protection and mobility, featuring a particular passenger compartment that is separated into 2 rooms by the engine compartment. the Pirat was well protected and designed to provide fire support to the division of Panzer 61 on the battlefield. the vehicle would carry the infantry at the same time as fighting itself. the vehicle was initially mounting a 300 hp Ford engine and was later refitted with a 430 hp engine. Ultimately the M113 won the competition in 1963 but the Pirat 18 evolved in the 3M1 after the test showed that the armour and armament needed to be improved. the Pirat was a predecessor of the German Marder on which the Mowag’s engineer also participated in the development. 2x Pirat 18 was built in different configurations for trial. but the one we want is the one with the 20mm turret. this tank survive to this day but had its turret removed. it can be found in the Thun Museum.


The main armament of this tank is the 20mm Maschinenkanone Oerlikon Typ 204GK. this auto-cannon was a field version of the Flab Kan 54 which could be used like a heavy machine gun. this gun could use APCR rounds with penetration of up to 65 mm at short distances and also used APHE with 35mm at short distances. this allow the tank to engage some WW2 medium tanks such as the T-34 or the Panzer IV. but the absence of a stabilizer makes it more suited for flanking or ambushing. the tank probably carries up to 800 rounds in 50 round magazine. like the M2HB, this auto-cannon is belt-feed but the belt is carried in 50 round box. The turret is slightly different than the later version of the Pirat, the 3m1, but it remains fairly similar. More research needs to be done about this turret but the fact it has a AA sight indicates it is capable to have a high elevation and intended to also engage aircraft. the elevation of 60° is probably reached and more. additionally, the turret may have a higher rotation speed of over 30°sec.


The mobility of this tank is pretty good. with a top speed of 70 km/h forward and even a reverse speed of 24 km/h this tank would be pretty comfortable on any terrain. the weight reaching 18 tonnes is common for a light tank. powered by a Ford 4-cylinder gasoline Displacement 8750 cm³ providing 225 kW (300 hp), the acceleration would be similar to the Russian T-34 but would have a much better speed and reverse. the tank would have no difficulty manoeuvring around the enemy and getting close to them.


The armour of this tank is pretty decent for an IFV. at least if we believe the picture, the armour can reach around 40mm on the front plate which can be estimated by looking at the welding line of the armour. The rest of the front is probably a lot less armoured than it was in the 3m1. the side seems to be around 15mm which is still decent enough. this makes the tank have frontal protection on the hull about as good as the AMX-13 which is by itself pretty decent for a light tank. Ideally, the armour needs to be measured physically which can be done by just examining the vehicle in the museum with the proper tools (usually you can touch the tank in the museum). considering the tank is 18 tonnes which is pretty light for such vehicles and almost 7 tonnes lighter than the later version. the tank is likely to have at least the same protection level as the Marder A1… the crew of 3 men of which two are on the hull front and one in the turret.





a quick update of the performance and the armament