Military Review

For the convenience of students. Target Tank Zielfahrzeug 68 (Switzerland)


Pz 68 serial tank - the basis for the target machine

To train infantry personnel, firing ranges with various targets imitating various enemy targets and objects are needed. So, for training operators of anti-tank missile systems, targets in the form of tanksincluding movable. In the past, the Swiss army decided not to save on training soldiers, and the result was the appearance of a real target tank called Zielfahrzeug 68.

Special requirements
Switzerland was one of the first countries to set up early anti-tank systems. Development of such weapons dragged on, but the desired results were nevertheless obtained, after which the process of training operators began. For effective training of fighters, appropriate shooting ranges and targets were required. At first, the army did away with simple plywood targets in stationary or mobile equipment. However, such products did not resemble real armored vehicles.

In the early seventies there was a proposal to create a specialized target armored vehicle, capable of imitating the real tank of a conditional enemy as accurately as possible. By this time, the Swiss army had mastered the MOWAG Panzerattrappe target armored vehicles, and against such a background the new proposal looked viable.

The development of an unusual armored vehicle was entrusted to the tank building company Eidgenoessische Konstruktionswerkstaette (K + W Thun). A new special machine should be created on the basis of existing units. Outwardly, it was supposed to be like modern tanks, and also have similar mobility. It also had special requirements in terms of protection. The armor was supposed to protect the crew from anti-tank missiles with an inert warhead.

Tank based
The Panzer 68 serial tank was taken as the basis for the special target machine. In this regard, the new model was named Zielfahrzeug 68 (“Target Tank Sample 68”). In mass production, it was planned to use decommissioned combat tanks.

One of the surviving tanks Zielfahrzeug 68

The Zielfahrzeug 68 project included the dismantling of the tank turret along with the fighting compartment and all its equipment. Armament, ammunition, fire control equipment, etc. no longer required. Also, for reasons of economy, they dismantled the standard chassis for installing other units.

The regular cast armored corps with protivosnaryadnym armor frontal projection remained. Aft remained the MTU MB 837 Ba-500 diesel engine with a power of 600 hp. and an auxiliary power unit in the form of a 38-horsepower Mercedes Benz OM 636 engine. The transmission was not altered.

The chassis retained an independent suspension on Belleville springs, but it was equipped with rollers and tracks from the obsolete Pz 61 tank. The army stocks had a significant supply of such parts, which saved on the production and operation of a new armored car.

Instead of a tower on the roof of the hull, a fixed welded superstructure was mounted with a mock gun in the form of a simple pipe. At the level of the roof of the hull there was a light aluminum tile, in the roof of the tower - a hatch. The latter was unified with the driver's hatch.

Measures were taken to improve the safety of the driver. An additional conical shield with vertical slots was placed above his hatch. A similar defense was present on the hatch of the tower. The guards covered the periscopes and protected them from being hit by a flying rocket or its fragments.

For the convenience of students. Target Tank Zielfahrzeug 68 (Switzerland)

Another museum sample

Native lateral projection protection was insufficient for the safe firing of training missiles. For this reason, the Zielfahrzeug 68 has been equipped with new side screens. Armor plates of various shapes were attached to the fenders with bolts. If damaged, they could be quickly replaced. The protruding parts of the MTO roof received similar protection. The protection of the forehead of the hull, with the exception of the shield on the hatch, remained the same.

The crew of the "Target Tank" consisted of two people. The driver was located in the building, the commander in the tower. The compartments were connected to each other, which allowed to leave the car when one of the hatches was damaged. The crew had an intercom; the commander used the SE-412 to communicate with the leaders of the training event. For any obvious reason, no weapons were available.

Product Zielfahrzeug 68 in its dimensions was similar to the base Pz 68. Weight was reduced to 36 tons. Running characteristics remained at the same level. Speed ​​on the highway reached 55 km / h, on the terrain - 35 km / h. Due to this, the behavior of a real tank was imitated as accurately as possible.

10 units

The development of the Zielfahrzeug 68 project took a minimum of time, and already in 1972 the K + W Thun plant received an order for the serial production of new equipment. Special vehicles were not required in large quantities, and the army ordered only 10 units. For their production, the required number of decommissioned Pz 68 tanks was sent to the factory.

The first Zielfahrzeug 68 sample came out of the assembly shop in the same 1972. The tenth was made in 1974. All built cars received numbers from M77870 to M77879. They were transferred to several training grounds where infantry training was carried out, including ATGM operators.

Operation of unusual equipment was quite simple. During various exercises or firing, the crews moved along the target field and imitated conditional enemy tanks. The ATGM calculations performed target detection and fired.

The crew of the target tank included up to two people, but often only the driver was in the car. The Zielfahrzeug 68 was entrusted to both military tankers and civilian personnel. The requirements for the driver were lower than in the case of tanks, which simplified the organization of firing without loss of quality.

Preparation of calculations using self-propelled guided targets was more effective. Unlike other targets, a specialized tank could move along any route, in different directions, etc. Shooting for this purpose was not simple, but the operators received the necessary experience and acquired skills.

In training firing, only missiles with an inert warhead were used. Thus, a missile hit threatened the target tank only with the deformation of certain parts. In the event of serious damage, the armor or chassis element could be replaced with an affordable and cheap new one. The operation also became cheaper due to the maximum unification with the tanks available in the army.

35 years in the ranks

10 target tanks Zielfahrzeug 68 entered service in 1972-74. and became an important element of the training system for ground forces. Often, tanks were used together with the MOWAG Panzerattrappe armored cars and helped ATGM operators improve their skills.

Such operation of special tanks continued until 2007. For 35 years of use, these vehicles have exhausted their life and also accumulated a lot of minor breakdowns. In addition, by this time, the Pz 68 tanks were removed from service, which led to the unification of the fleet of military and special equipment. As a result, it was decided to remove the target tanks Zielfahrzeug 68 from the supply. Direct replacement for them was not created. It was now proposed to prepare calculations using other means.

After decommissioning, the equipment was sent for storage or disposal. Tanks with numbers M77876 and M77878 were transferred to museums. For example, the M77876 is on display at the Schweizerisches Militärmuseum Full (com. Full-Royal) along with other interesting examples of Swiss armored vehicles.

A special target armored vehicle Zielfahrzeug 68 was created as a solution to a specific but important task. This decision was unusual and unexpected, but at the same time effective. Using a special machine based on Pz 68, it was possible to provide training for several generations of ATGM operators. Just ten plain armored vehicles on the finished chassis made a significant contribution to the defense of Switzerland.
Photos used:, Wikimedia Commons
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  1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka April 4 2020 05: 54 New
    We "run-in" carried out by serial machines! For the sake of interest in the third ten, I lay down in a trench under the T-55 at the training ground. Horror, but the experience is useful and necessary! Moreover, only tanks being built up.
    Inspired by the words of V.I. Lenin - study, study and study again!
    Regards, Kote!
    1. Zufei
      Zufei April 4 2020 07: 02 New
      The author tells about a "punching bag" for calculating ATGMs of the 1st and 2nd generation. Tank run-in is probably about something else. We ran the "previous" course with tanks. Trenches in sandy ground. The fighter was dented. We have already been "rolled" under the BMP.
      1. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins April 4 2020 07: 11 New
        And ALL of us rolled T72, but in a concrete trench. It is not possible to remember, but the tankers, after passing, increased speed, so that it would be harder to get the second grenade. But it was funny when one guy threw a grenade in the forehead, and she bounced back into the trench and flopped down next to him!))
  2. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U April 4 2020 06: 47 New
    Swiss Dwarves burned with all their might! They could create the ATGM, which is none, but they did not consider the remote control of the target necessary, severely! laughing
    1. Zufei
      Zufei April 4 2020 07: 15 New
      The idea is good. Our shooting at shields is below level. But I didn’t hear about our remote control. Enlighten please.
      1. Vladimir_2U
        Vladimir_2U April 4 2020 07: 18 New
        Quote: Zufei
        Our shooting at shields is below level. And I didn’t hear about our remote control
        I enlighten, remote control of shields was carried out using ropes! Enlightenment is over! lol
        1. Thrifty
          Thrifty April 4 2020 08: 01 New
          Vladimir 2U hi -when the late Minister of Defense Yazov was on our "show", the target tanks were pulled across the field with the help of long, but thin steel cables! The Su100 hulls were used as target tanks, with a grotesque turret welded on top for some reason! !! belay belay
          1. Vladimir_2U
            Vladimir_2U April 4 2020 08: 43 New
            Quote: Thrifty
            target tanks were pulled across the field using long but thin steel cables
            It is of course primitive, it would seem, but I want to ask what hit on the targets? The Swiss have a strictly inert warhead. Ours, I won’t be surprised, could have been full-length crowbars and full-fledged missiles, don’t you remember?
            1. Lopatov
              Lopatov April 4 2020 10: 26 New
              Quote: Vladimir_2U
              It is of course primitive

              "In the exercises of 1981 and 1983 from remotely controlled tanks, units of 15–20 vehicles (120 total) were manned, which imitated the enemy’s counterattack forces. For this we used self-propelled guns SU-100, made during the Great Patriotic War on the basis of T-34 tanks.

              According to a single command, from two control points of the SU-100, they started moving on the "battlefield", firing "simulated charges" installed in the cannon trunks. The attacking units fired from tanks, ATGMs, grenade launchers and anti-tank artillery.

              The exercises made it possible to evaluate both the degree of training of the personnel of the units and the effectiveness of the weapons. The use of remotely controlled VGM confirmed the feasibility of creating such machines for both peacetime and wartime. In this regard, it became necessary to have sets of remote control systems in the troops that could be installed quickly enough on production vehicles.

              Firing at moving real targets allows the troops to better work out the interaction of tanks and units, to fire more efficiently and purposefully. The lack of such skills leads to the fact that the same target is hit by many tanks at once, while others remain unscathed. For example, in the exercises of 1984. against 25 remotely controlled counterattack tanks operated a battalion of T-64A tanks with an attached ATGM battery on the BMP. Shooting was carried out from a place; target tanks moved at a speed of 6 ... 8 km / h. Due to insufficient experience in targeting and adjusting fire in a counterattack, only 48% of the targets were hit.

              Remote Controlled Tank Capabilities
              A.I.Lukyanov, Y.D. Lyubishkin
              1. Vladimir_2U
                Vladimir_2U April 4 2020 10: 57 New
                It is not disclosed what hit the targets.
                1. Lopatov
                  Lopatov April 4 2020 11: 00 New
                  High-explosive fragmentation must be thought.
                  For window dressing.
                  1. Vladimir_2U
                    Vladimir_2U April 4 2020 11: 01 New
                    Yes, one figs even "who do not mind" you can not put in a tank, only a remote control. Thanks for the reference.
            2. Thrifty
              Thrifty April 4 2020 12: 39 New
              Vladimir 2U-for the show was beaten with battle from tank guns, mostly ordinary, armor-piercing!
          2. Normal ok
            Normal ok April 4 2020 11: 42 New
            Rails were laid in OVAKOLA on which a cart with a target shield rode. It was set in motion by an electric winch, through a system of cables.
          3. PavelT
            PavelT April 4 2020 16: 30 New
            It would be necessary to repeat something similar on modern maneuvers! Or even worse, with remote control.
            Do we have all sorts of T-64s in the reserve warehouses? It is quite possible to finish them, remove the weapons and also as the Swiss use (or purely remotely, controlling them by radio).
        2. Zufei
          Zufei April 4 2020 09: 13 New
          And I, out of the simplicity of my soul, thought that the radio control for the T-55 had been "cut down". And that's how it is. And the Swiss are sloping and homespun targets with crews. Used until 2007. They did not know about the achievements of modern science. ;-)
      2. volodimer
        volodimer April 4 2020 11: 19 New
        The namesake fussed, but as early as the 30s in the USSR, television tanks based on the T-26 were created
        "A telemechanical group of tanks was developed in 1935 and released in 1936 and 1938 in two series (a total of 130 units). The group consisted of a TT-26 teletank, a light chemical (flamethrower) suppression tank and a TU-26 control tank. The armament of the teletank consisted of a DT machine gun and a flamethrower installation. Also, sometimes 200-700-kg time bombs were used in an armored box, which the tank dropped near the enemy fortifications, which made it possible to destroy bunkers up to four levels underground. Teletanks were also capable of using chemical weapons, although they were not used in hostilities. The armament of the control tank is a 45-mm tank gun of the 1932 model and a DT machine gun.

        The Red Army used remotely-controlled tanks in the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-1940 and at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The Red Army had two teletank battalions at the beginning of the Second World War - the 51st and 152nd.
        So it was with us, in full earnest. hi
    2. Lopatov
      Lopatov April 4 2020 09: 14 New
      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      and remote control

      And what is the meaning of it?
      This is an ATGM, only the chassis is under some threat.

      Therefore, it is actually a child prodigy in terms of training ATGM operators. No simulator or LISP can replace it. And even without launches, only maintenance
  3. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 April 4 2020 07: 47 New
    Yes, the "gloomy" Teutonic (excuse me - Swiss!) Genius. This product looks more like a tank drawn by a first grader. However, they had enough of such good with a highly specific purpose.
  4. bandabas
    bandabas April 4 2020 08: 33 New
    They have money. We do not have. Only for partners!
  5. Free wind
    Free wind April 4 2020 11: 53 New
    I am not good at mathematics, but there is a translation of this Zalfaitseg into Russian. Authors, well, at least you’re approximately, How to translate, and how to pronounce in Russian. As if in French, I’m not strong, and why I don’t understand Renault. I am not strong in Russian either.
  6. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh April 5 2020 15: 17 New
    There has never been such a problem in Israel: target tanks.
    About a thousand captured tanks. They are enough for another hundred years.