At the beginning of autumn 1941, the Swedish army initiated the development of new types of self-propelled artillery. The experience of the current war clearly demonstrated the need for this class of technology, which was not yet available in Sweden. It was decided that the army needed two types of self-propelled guns. One of them was to carry a large-caliber howitzer and work both on the leading edge and in closed positions. The task of the second was to combat armored vehicles or enemy fortifications by firing direct fire.
In order to accelerate the design work, it was proposed to build two types of equipment based on existing components. The ACS should have been based on a modified serial chassis and carry the gun of the existing model. Such an approach could yield obvious positive results, but it still led to a delay in development. For a long time, Swedish specialists had to study cash armored vehicles and determine their prospects in the context of self-propelled artillery.
Based on the results of sufficiently lengthy tests and checks, an approximate appearance of new self-propelled guns was formed. Howitzer was proposed to be mounted on the chassis of the lung tank Stridsvagn m / 41, anti-tank gun - on the medium tank Strv m / 42. The definition of the general provisions of the new project allowed us to proceed to the study of other details of the appearance.
Build an experienced self-propelled guns new types. The future Pkvk m / 43 is on the left. Photo Ftr.wot-news.com
In the first months of the next 1942, the company Landsverk AB, engaged in the serial production of tanks Strv m / 42, proposed a new project of a promising anti-tank SAU based on a similar chassis. This project meant the preservation of a number of main units of the existing tank with the processing or replacement of some others. To install a new gun, the existing chassis should be equipped with armored cabin. Such a change in the existing tank made it possible to obtain an artillery self-propelled gun that combines high mobility, good defense and a relatively powerful weapon.
Immediately it should be noted that the development of a promising project was completed only in the 1943 year, and a few months after that, the first prototype was submitted for testing. Taking into account the class of the new armored vehicle and the year it appeared, the project received the official designation Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 or Pkvk m / 43 - “Armored anti-tank artillery vehicle mod. 1943 g. ”This name has been preserved and not changed until the end of mass production and during operation. The subsequent modernization of the entire fleet of self-propelled guns also did not lead to the appearance of other symbols.
Demonstration of the capabilities of a gun mount. Photo Ftr.wot-news.com
To solve the problems posed, the designers of Landsverk suggested removing the turret box and turret box from the existing tank hull, in the place of which the armored cabin of the required shape should now be placed. The lower part of the body, according to their idea, should have retained the existing form, but the booking should be strengthened. The front parts of the hull and towers in the new project had a thickness of 60 mm. The onboard protection was equivalent to that used in the previous project - up to 40 mm. The lowest level of protection was provided by the feed and the bottom, which were proposed to be made from sheets with a thickness of at least 10 mm.
The lower part of the hull, based on the design of the Strv m / 42 tank, retained a characteristic frontal unit consisting of several inclined armor plates. Behind the upper frontal part of the body was mounted an inclined frontal heading, which was distinguished by a greater width. On its sides were narrow zygomatic sheets. The sides of an irregular quadrangular shape were installed with a slight inclination inward. Because of its large width, the logging formed developed fencing niches. The chopping of the cabin was formed by converging sheets and inclined trapezoidal detail. The roof of the cabin in the first version of the project was not used.
The aft compartment of the hull maintained a sloping roof and side units that formed small niches above the tracks. Behind the car was protected by several sheets connected at different angles. The entire length of the hull side vertically. The bottom was mounted horizontally.
Self-propelled gun and its crew. Photo Aviarmor.net
During the processing of the existing building, some features of the layout were retained, but in general it was modified to meet new requirements. The front part of the hull, as before, was given under the transmission, while in the stern were the engine and associated devices. The entire central compartment now represented a single habitable volume with all crew seats and weapons. The possible lack of space and the inconvenience of the crew’s work could to a certain extent be offset by the lack of a roof. Above the upper cutting section, several safety arcs of longitudinal placement were installed, which could also be used as a tent framework.
The Stridsvagn m / 42 serial tanks were equipped with engines of different models. ACS Pkvk m / 43, according to the available data, were completed only with Volvo A8B engines. These products worked on gasoline and developed the power of the 380 HP. As in the case of a base model tank of one of the modifications, such an engine was mated with a hydrodynamic transmission, which included both mechanical and hydraulic devices. Torque issued to the driving wheels of the front location.
The chassis for the new self-propelled gun unchanged borrowed from the existing tank. On each side were placed six small-diameter road wheels mounted on an individual torsion bar suspension. Two front and two rear pairs of rollers were equipped with additional shock absorbers. Above the rollers there were three pairs of support rollers. From the tank Strv m / 43 self-propelled guns of the new type also received large drive wheels of the front location and stern guide wheels. The finely divided caterpillar did not undergo any changes.
From the very beginning, the 43-mm anti-aircraft gun Lvkan m / 75 was considered the main armament of the promising ACS Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 30. This gun had a rifled barrel length 50 caliber, equipped with a muzzle brake. The barrel was connected with the developed recoil devices, differing in small size. Thanks to this, only the barrel protruded outside the fighting compartment, which allowed the use of a relatively simple hemispherical gun mask with a hole in the center. The gun set-up with hand drives was placed with a slight shift to the left side and provided guidance to the limits of the horizontal sector 30 ° wide. Vertical guidance varied from -15 ° to + 25 °.
The gun ammunition could include 75-mm unitary shots of several types. In connection with the intended role on the battlefield, the main ammunition should have been armor-piercing shells. The ammunition was located in several packs in the stern of the fighting compartment with a total capacity of 56 shells. Loading shots into the gun should be manually.
Fighting vehicle with equipment for overcoming snow blockages. Photo Aviarmor.net
In contrast to the parallel developed self-propelled guns Stormartillerivagn m / 43, the new Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 was supposed to receive auxiliary weapons. On the left front corner of the cabin there was an annular turret with a mount for an 8-mm Ksp m / 42 machine gun. Such a setup allowed fire in any direction with different elevation angles. Ammunition of several hundred rounds of ammunition was transported inside the fighting compartment.
The crew of the new SAU consisted of four people. To the left of the gun, at the level of the running gear, was placed the control post with the workplace of the driver. In front of the driver there was a small viewing hatch, covered by a flap with bulletproof glass. To the right of the gun, on the same level as the breech, was the gunner, at whose disposal there were a telescopic sight and manual guidance drives. The commander was behind the gunner, charging - for the driver. For greater convenience of movement in the fighting compartment loader seat was made folding.
The fighting compartment was not equipped with any large hatches: access to the car was provided by the lack of a roof. It is curious that the layout of the habitable compartment did not interfere with the use of the machine gun. Due to the inclination of the front sheet of the deckhouse, the ring turret turned out to be behind the driver, and the loader, using a machine gun, should not have disturbed him.
SAU Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 after modernization. Photo Aviarmor.net
The prospective self-propelled gun had a length of 4,9 m, a width of 2,2 m and a height of slightly more than 2 m. Enhanced booking and heavier gun installation led to an increase in combat weight to 24 t. For comparison, the average tank Strv m / 42 weighed only 22,5 t. 380-strong the engine gave specific power over 15,8 hp per ton, which allowed to get the maximum speed on the highway to 45 km / h. Cruising on a good road - 150 km. Like its predecessor armored vehicle, the ACS could overcome various obstacles, with the exception of deep water barriers.
Without waiting for the appearance of the first prototype, in 1942, the Swedish army ordered mass production of promising self-propelled guns Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43. The signed contract implied the construction and supply of 87 armored vehicles. However, due to certain engineering and technological problems, the start of production was delayed. The first prototype self-propelled guns managed to bring to the test only at the beginning of the 1943 year.
Verification of the prototype showed the advantages of some improvements and the disadvantages of others. In particular, it was determined that the existing gun Lvkan m / 30 has insufficient characteristics and therefore can not effectively deal with modern foreign armored vehicles. It was also shown the need to strengthen some parts of the chassis. After such improvements, the ACS could count on entering the army.
In the course of the subsequent refinement, the self-propelled gun received a more powerful X-NUMX-mm Pvkan m / 75 gun with a barrel of X-NUMX caliber. Installing a new gun allowed to increase the main combat characteristics, but at the same time to do without significant modifications of the existing units. In particular, it was possible to maintain the existing gun mount, guidance tools and ammunition racks. Also during the modernization of the ACS Pkvk m / 43, the question of the further development of the existing structure was worked through the installation of an 54-mm anti-tank gun. The underpowered chassis was strengthened by installing other suspension components and new shock absorbers. Finalization of rollers or wheels was not made.
The modernization and construction of the prototype continued until the beginning of the 1944 year. In the next few months, field tests were carried out, which showed the real results of the modifications carried out. According to some reports, in the same year, Sweden had the opportunity to test its new armored vehicle in the fight against modern armored vehicles. A captured German tank PzKpfw Tiger Ausf B, which was supposed to be used as a training target, was acquired from one of the foreign countries. It was reported that the 75-mm gun was able to penetrate the armor of a heavy armored vehicle, but the most interesting details of such tests, which could reveal their essence, were not specified.
During the 1944 testing of the year, certain problems were found with the transmission of the existing Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43. The improvement of the units and new tests took a few more months. Further, Landsverk AB had to establish a serial production of new equipment, which led to another delay in work. As a result, the first serial self-propelled guns were transferred to the customer only at the beginning of 1946. Until the end of the fifties already received an order for serial equipment was fully implemented.
Serial self-propelled guns Pkvk m / 43 were distributed between artillery units, where they were divided into batteries of three units. Mass production of new equipment in relatively large quantities allowed rearming a significant part of artillery formations and increasing the combat capability of the army as a whole.
Shortly after the completion of serial production, at the turn of the forties and fifties, the army ordered the modernization of existing armored vehicles, the purpose of which was to eliminate the newly identified shortcomings. During this revision, the machines received an improved version of the gun Lvkan m / 43, equipped with an ejector and a protective cover. The undercarriage was again strengthened: on the first two pairs of torsions, support rollers of a larger diameter with a developed rim of increased thickness were mounted.
Armored wheelhouse received a full roof of complex polygonal shape. On the site of the machine gun turret now housed the commander's hatch with viewing devices. The rear section of the roof was a large manhole cover, providing access to the inside of the crew compartment. The rest of the hull and felling remained the same.
In this form, self-propelled guns Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 served until the early sixties. After that, it was decided to conduct a second modernization. At this time, the front-line machines were deprived of a regular power plant, which had exhausted its life, and received new engines. This modernization of the ACS was carried out using units of serial armored vehicles of different models, including quite old ones.
Two upgrades allowed to extend the service life of existing combat vehicles. They remained in service until the mid-seventies. Almost three decades after adopting self-propelled guns, they finally developed a resource and could no longer be used by the army. In addition, by this time they had hopelessly morally obsolete. In the 1973 year, a fundamental decision was made to abandon the existing self-propelled guns, developed in the years of the Second World War. Soon all the Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 and Stormartillerivagn m / 43 machines were decommissioned.
Most of the ACS Pkvk m / 43 was stored, from where it was sent for recycling. Several machines, however, managed to survive. Soon they are museum exhibits in Sweden and some foreign countries.
For obvious reasons, self-propelled guns Pansarvarnskanonvagn m / 43 for all the time of their service have never been able to take part in real battles. Artillery units were repeatedly involved in various maneuvers and shooting practice, but the crews did not have to attack real tanks of a real enemy. However, there is reason to believe that this was not a big problem. By the standards of the post-war period, the 75-mm cannon of the Pkvk m / 43 machines could no longer be considered an effective means of fighting modern tanks.
Keeping neutral during the largest war, Sweden did not forget about the development of its armed forces. For several years, a number of interesting armored vehicles of this or that purpose have been created. Some samples of serial equipment remained in the army for a short time and were later replaced by other machines. Other combat vehicles, in turn, served longer, until the mid-seventies. Thus, ACS Pkvk m / 43, with all its ambiguous features and flaws, left a noticeable mark on stories Swedish army.
On the materials of the sites:
Photo review of the museum ACS Pkvk m / 43: