Saurer Nahkampfkanone I (F1), Swiss Marder SPG

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caid’s suggestion #35

I would like to suggest a rather unique tank, the Swiss Nahkampfkanone I or NK-I unofficially called version ausf F1

The Development of the NK-I started in the middle of WW2. Switzerland was not blind to the war in Europe but while maintaining a neutrality policy, they knew they weren’t without risk of being invaded as well. having a strong defense due to the heavy mountain fortification, the Swiss were still capable of holding against stronger enemies but remained with weak mobility. unable to import any vehicles because the only bordering countries who could provide them with armor were Italy and Germany who were at the same time the main threat to them, they would see it as a provocation or an insult to see Switzerland importing tanks while they were no other potential treat than themselves. as such Switzerland had no choice but to produce new tanks with whatever they had in hand.

in 1943, the Swiss company Adolf Saurer AB took one of the few Panzerwagen 39 and modified it. extending the chassis by adding a new road wheel modifying the hull and adding a superstructure instant of the turret, they created a gun carrier that was capable of carrying a 75mm anti-tank gun. this tank can easily be compared to the German Marder II as the concept was quite similar. this tank was called Nahkampfkanone which means “mele tank” but only meant that it was created to provide direct fire and not fight up close. the tank was also featuring thin armor which was just enough to protect against shrapnel and small arms. the result was a pretty decent and cheap tank destroyer that could effectively engage the WW2 tank of 1943. the tank was studied until 1945 and it was decided it would not be good enough for services. the Nahkampfkanone II was to be the Swiss tank destroyer but ultimately the G-13 was adopted. the Nahkampfkanone I was preserved in Thun Museum where it was tested (Thun been the military proving ground of Switzerland back in WW2)

KFdvtsI.jpg

Firepower

the main armament of this tank is a 7,5 cm Feldkanone 42 L/42. this gun was a Swiss-made gun which is assumed to be comparable to the German 75mm Pak 39. this gun was an anti-tank version of the 7.5 cm Flab Kan 38 L / 49 anti-aircraft gun which was by itself a licensed copy of the French Canon de 75 CA modèle 1940 Schneider which makes it a cousin to the 75mm SA 44 used by the French ARL-44 ACL-1 but the performance would be completely different. the Swiss gun would have a penetration approximate to 135 mm at a short distance depending of the shells type. the shell may also have a bit of HE filler or could also be capped but it’s not known. there are a lot of details that are missing, but I know enough to estimate the minimal performance of the round which is what I will put in the table below. the minimal performance remains decent for a mid-WW2 tank. but what is good about this gun is the elevation. the NK-I is designed to be an alpine tank. for this reason, the gun has a very good vertical angle of 40 °. In this case, we talk about depression -14° which by itself is already very good. and the elevation is +26° which is also very good. this tank would be quite comfortable in uneven terrain. besides the good elevation of the gun, the reload is also good with a fire rate of 12 rounds per minute. this makes it capable of matching a tank like the Sherman in the best condition. that also means in ambush, you may have time to fire twice at a target before he can return the fire. the tank carries 45 rounds which is enough for any battle and has a horizontal angle of 20° on the left and right. On the downside, the tank does not seem to ever have any machine gun, but I might be wrong there.

Mobility

The tank’s mobility wasn’t very great. but it was still decent. much heavier than the PzWg 39 on which it was based, it had about no modification on the propulsion making it slower in acceleration due to the lower power-weight ratio. powered by a Czech Vabis 1664 of 118 hp (often said to have 120 hp, but the exact number is 118 hp) it was 12.5 tonnes. this gives the power weight of 9.44 hp/tonnes. it was still capable of reaching 45 km/h with some effort. the tank would not be very mobile but still acceptable to fight.

Protection

the NK-I was built on the chassis of the PzWg 39 which means the tank was probably having the same armor on the lower part. the superstructure is thinly armored and only capable of protecting against small arms and Shrapnel. this gives about 40mm on the front of the chassis and 25mm on the side, but only around 8mm on the front of the turret which was doubled up with the gun shield. this makes this tank rather vulnerable to the main gun but capable of taking LMG safely. the superstructure is also fully closed making it a lot less vulnerable to aircraft but as soon they have 12.7mm, it would penetrate you easily. The crew of 5 men allows good survivability but most of them are all together in the superstructure.

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+1 for an independent Swiss or Alpine tech tree.

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+1 for Swiss Marder

+1 for independent Swiss/Alpine

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