Military Review

The short history of Sweden's wheeled tracked tanks


Experienced chassis Räder-Raupen Kampfwagen m / 28, port side view. Photo

At the turn of the twenties and thirties, Sweden actively cooperated with Germany in the field of tank building. The result of joint work, initiated by the German side, was several interesting projects of wheeled-tracked tanks. However, story these projects were short-lived. None of them could be brought to series and exploitation, although with their help it was possible to work out original ideas and understand their futility.

German roots

In the twenties, several countries at once worked out the concept of a chassis with a wheeled and tracked chassis for alternate use. It was assumed that the wheels will allow you to move quickly on the highway, and the tracks will provide off-road patency. German engineer Otto Merker worked on this problem together with other specialists. In the middle of the decade and later, he proposed, manufactured and demonstrated several variants of the combined chassis.

In the late twenties, Germany and Sweden established military-technical cooperation. It was assumed that German enterprises would develop new models of military equipment, and production and testing would be carried out at Swedish sites. In particular, the AB Landsverk plant in Landskrona was appointed the manufacturer of German-Swedish tanks. He was to implement projects of various companies, incl. plant Maschinenfabrik Esslingen AG (Esslingen), where O. Merker worked at that time.

The short history of Sweden's wheeled tracked tanks
Tank Landsverk L-5 on tracks. Photo

In 1928, Merker was sent to Sweden, where he was given the opportunity to build and test a chassis of his own design. Officially, it was considered as the basis for promising tractors, although military use was not excluded. At the same time, unlike other "tractors" of German design, the Merker chassis was not classified.

"Wheeled-tracked combat vehicle"

In Swedish sources, the chassis of the "joint" development is called Räder-Raupen Kampfwagen m / 28 ("Wheeled-tracked combat vehicle arr. 1928") or Landsverk L-5. The original German designation is unknown. At the same time, six experimental machines were hidden under one name at once, slightly different from each other. The first two were built in Landskrona in 1928-29, and four more in Esslingen.

Product L-5 was a machine with an open body-bath. 50 hp engine placed in front, there was also a gearbox with 8 forward and reverse speeds. The rest of the transmission units were placed in the stern. A pair of control posts was provided for driving in different directions. No additional equipment was available - and was not required due to the nature of the project. In its original form, the chassis weighed 5,3 tons.

Tank on wheels. Photo

The tracked chassis was placed directly on the sides of the hull. It had a stern drive wheel and many small road wheels, covered with a side sheet. The latter housed wheel travel units. Four wheels were installed on their own levers with an electric or hydraulic drive for transfer to the working or "stowed" position. Changing the undercarriage took only a few minutes; control was carried out from the driver's post. The leading wheels were the rear wheels, which were connected to the leading sprockets of the caterpillar using a chain drive. According to calculations, the maximum speed on wheels exceeded 45 km / h, on tracks - 23 km / h.

O. Merker's chassis tests began in the first months of 1929. Several prototypes were run in parallel in Sweden, Germany and at the Soviet Kama school. It was possible to confirm the fundamental performance of the original wheeled-tracked system, but its implementation in the form of the L-5 was unsuccessful. The landing gear proved to be narrow, which threatened to roll over in difficult terrain. When driving on wheels, the tracks did not rise enough above the road and could cling to small obstacles. There were other complaints about the design of the car, but not about the architecture of the chassis.

A revised version of the L-6 project. Graphics

In the same year, three of the six chassis received the original armored hulls. The hull had a complex shape with an inclined front plate and pronounced side boxes. We also developed a turret for the 37 mm Maxim Flak M14 cannon. A characteristic semicircular niche was provided for its drum magazine on the right side of the tower. Two machine guns were placed in the turret and in the rear of the hull.

A full-fledged L-5 tank weighed 8,5 tons and was inferior to the original chassis in running characteristics in all modes. Due to the introduction of weapons, the crew grew to four people: two drivers, a gunner and a commander-loader.

The installation of the hull and turret led to a heavier machine and a deterioration in driving performance, which made further development of the existing platform considered meaningless. In 1931, the towers were removed from three tanks. weaponsby making them educational. In this form, they were limitedly exploited over the next few years.

Experienced L-30 tracked vehicle. Photo

Cooperation continues

As a result of the Räder-Raupen Kampfwagen m / 28 project, the Reichswehr lost interest in wheeled-tracked armored vehicles, and this direction was closed in favor of other projects. However, O. Merker continued his work and proposed a new version of the tank, now known as the L-6. The Swedish Artillery Directorate (Kungliga Arméförvaltningens artilleridepartement or KAAD) became interested in this development.

The L-6 tank was supposed to have a rear-engined layout and a modified wheeled chassis with a different wheel movement mechanism. The mechanism was more compact, which made it possible to cover the chassis with an onboard screen. Due to the 150-horsepower engine, the maximum speed on wheels was planned to be increased to 150 km / h.

The tank is ready to run on the highway. Photo

Landsverk was commissioned to finalize the L-6 project, taking into account the accumulated experience and available technologies. This work was completed in mid-1931 and led to the L-30 project, also known as the Räder-Raupen Kampfwagen RR-160. Subsequently, the designation fm / 31 was introduced.

When creating the new L-30, most of the units of the original L-6 were completely redesigned. The design and appearance of the hull and turret were changed, a new tracked chassis and an improved wheel lifting mechanism were created. The armament corresponded to the previous project. At the same time, the L-30 tank was longer than the previous L-5, and its mass reached 9,7 tons.

The position of the two wheels on one side was determined by the lever and the rod. Both side rods were controlled by a common crank mechanism - the wheels were moved synchronously by one hydraulic drive. The new mechanism was simpler and more reliable than the previous one.

On tracks over rough terrain. Photo

The prototype was built in the fall of 1931, and the hull was made of non-armored steel. No other L-30 prototypes were built. As the tests were carried out and the design was improved, the tank was able to reach a speed of 35 km / h on tracks and 75 km / h on wheels. Cross-country capacity on wheeled and crawler tracks was in line with expectations. At the same time, claims and suggestions appeared, which were taken into account when further improving the project.


Together with the L-30, the Landsverk L-10 light tank on a similar tracked chassis entered trials. It compares favorably with the wheeled tracked vehicle with a greater thickness of armor, a simpler design and other features, incl. affecting overall combat capabilities. Based on the results of various tests, both tanks were refined. In a number of cases, a major design change was envisaged.

The armor and the turret were rebuilt, new weapon options were considered. All these measures led to the fact that the L-30 was heavier to 11,5 tons. There were plans to use more powerful engines. At the same time, despite all the improvements, the tank on the combined chassis was inferior to the purely tracked model.

The only L-30 in the museum. Photo Wikimedia Commons

In 1935, KAAD came to the obvious conclusion: the L-10 tracked tank was more successful, and the development of the L-30 did not make sense. German specialists watched the Swedish tests, and they did not change their opinion about the wheeled-tracked vehicles. As a result, the simpler L-10 was recommended for the series, and the only L-30 or fm / 31 was transferred to training.

The only tank with an unusual appearance worked in a new location for several years. In 1940, he developed a resource and was decommissioned. Unlike other unnecessary vehicles, this tank was kept. Later, it entered the exposition of the Arsenalen Museum and, along with a number of other products, demonstrates the early history of Swedish tank building.

The L-5 and L-30 projects took an important place in the history of the tank industry in Germany and Sweden. Thanks to these projects, the Swedish industry gained access to advanced foreign developments and technologies. In addition, the two countries were able to scrutinize the promising concept and draw conclusions. The history of German-Swedish projects of wheeled-tracked tanks was short-lived, but several years were enough to accumulate the necessary experience.

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  1. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 17 2021 06: 14
    Mdaaa ....! There was such a "wonderful" episode in the world of tank building in the 20-30s of the last century! American Christie tanks ... British wheeled-tracked tanks ... Swedish tanks with "German roots", Czechoslovak tanks with "German roots ... Soviet tanks of the BT series ... Romanticism! Once upon a time, we, young pianers. enjoyed the tank series in the excellent magazine "Tekhnika-Molodyozhi"! There I first got acquainted with the wheeled-tracked tanks! Probably the most successful wheeled-tracked tanks can be called the tanks of the Christie's scheme! In the USSR, these were tanks of the "BT family". .. developed and medium tanks T-29 on the basis of the T-28 ... Wheeled-tracked vehicles "adjoined" and the so-called "half-track" ... The latter were also produced in many countries and they had to fight! I read in one "military-technical" magazine that the idea of ​​wheeled-tracked and half-tracked vehicles (armored vehicles) did not die in the second half of the 20th century! Do not believe me? So here are the "arguments" for you!

    1. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins April 17 2021 06: 32
      Quite right. The Swedes, the Germans, the Czechs, and we all "got through" this dead-end branch of development. Someone earlier, some later.
      Perhaps only the Austrians brought their transport cart to the series, but it was no longer armored ...
      1. mat-vey
        mat-vey April 17 2021 14: 17
        Quote: Leader of the Redskins
        Quite right. The Swedes, the Germans, the Czechs, and we all "got through" this dead-end branch of development. Someone earlier, some later.

        The cure for this dead end was Hadfield steel ...
        1. The leader of the Redskins
          The leader of the Redskins April 17 2021 14: 27
          Yes, the British have put it to good use. Not only are helmets to be stamped out of it)))
          1. mat-vey
            mat-vey April 17 2021 14: 51
            Quote: Leader of the Redskins
            Yes, the British have put it to good use.

            They also make bars of it in prisons)
    2. Catfish
      Catfish April 17 2021 18: 06
      Volodya, hello. hi
      I found such an interesting photo, but the signatures with the type and marking of the car are mute, it is only clear that these are Fritzes. request
      1. Nikolaevich I
        Nikolaevich I April 18 2021 01: 57
        I wish you good health, Kostya! Yes I agree ... the "machine" is interesting! Austrian mule! And Austrian soldiers can also ride this "mule" ... there are a lot of pictures from the maneuvers of the Austrian army ... although, one shit-vegetable ... Germans (!) Here it is mentioned about the "short history" of wheeled-tracked vehicles! Long ... short ... but if you "headlong" to get into the Internet, you will find an "agro-huge heap" of all kinds of wheeled-tracked (half-tracked) vehicles (armored vehicles! !
        And as for the "mule", you can see how it drives in half-track and wheeled "versions"!

  2. Kot_Kuzya
    Kot_Kuzya April 17 2021 07: 43
    I wonder why the liberals don't scream that "the Nazi sword was forged in Sweden!" Logic and liberals are incompatible things. Well, what could Soviet specialists who had no education, experience, or technology teach German scientists and engineers? The assertion of the liberals that the Germans went to the USSR to learn how to build tanks and planes is the same nonsense as if in our time German engineers from BMW and Mercedes went to AvtoVAZ and UAZ to learn how to make cars wassat .
    Or what could painters like Tukhachevsky, Zhukov and Voroshilov teach German officers and generals who passed the crucible of the Western Front with the massive use of tanks, aviation, assault troops and other last words of military technology and tactics? But the liberals in all seriousness claim that Lieutenant Tukhachevsky, with six months of World War I experience, taught German generals the latest military tactics. DB!
  3. hohol95
    hohol95 April 17 2021 09: 24
    The curators of these works from the German side served in In 6 (Inspekteur für Heeresmotorisierung, Inspectorate of Motorized Forces).
    Namely, the father of the tank was Major Ludwig Ritter von Radlmeier, who was responsible for motorization issues in In 6.
    And it is he who is awarded the primacy in the struggle for the creation of independent tank forces.
    And they sent Merker to create his own tank at the Maschinenfabrik Eßlingen AG plant from Esslingen. At a quite large industrial enterprise that was part of the group GHH (Gutehoffnungshütte).
    GHH also included a company such as MAN. In addition, GHH also had a foreign asset - the Swedish plant AB Landverk.
    And no one in the world was embarrassed by the appearance of a Swedish manufacturer from Landskrona, which was engaged in the production of port cranes, agricultural equipment and wagons, at the very beginning of the 30s military equipment suddenly began to appear: tanks, armored cars and other military developments.
    With "native" Maybach and Büssing-NAG engines, ZF gearboxes, Zeiss optics, and native Swede Otto Merker as chief designer.
    Information from the article "Aryan tanks-aggressors" was used for the comment.
    Y. Pasholok.
  4. Thrifty
    Thrifty April 17 2021 09: 27
    Well, yes, with their autobahns, only if you drive on them, such a tank could be built. And that is desirable for police functions. Such a tank is not suitable for battle, the excessive complexity of the chassis, its low maintainability put an automatic cross on such tanks.
    1. bk0010
      bk0010 April 17 2021 11: 53
      Quote: Thrifty
      Such a tank is not suitable for battle, the excessive complexity of the chassis, its low maintainability put an automatic cross on such tanks.
      Such tanks arose because the tracks had a meager resource. The idea was to get to the battle on wheels, because if you go on tracks, they will fall apart before the tank gets where it needs to be. And then they learned how to temper the steel in the right way, and the tanks became purely tracked.
      1. mat-vey
        mat-vey April 17 2021 14: 06
        Quote: bk0010
        And then they learned how to temper steel in the right way, and the tanks became purely tracked.

        Then they learned how to cook Hadfield steel .. In the USSR it happened somewhere in 1936 ..
        1. Kot_Kuzya
          Kot_Kuzya April 18 2021 01: 39
          According to Pork, they learned not only to make Gutfield steel, but also to temper fingers and tracks with high-frequency currents, as a result of which the resource of fingers and tracks increased 10 times - from 500 km to 5000 km. And this is already quite acceptable even for modern tanks.
          1. Castro Ruiz
            Castro Ruiz April 19 2021 11: 52
            Esli verit Svirinu. Svinina na 4 nogakh begaet iv tankostroeniy sovsem nerozbiraetsa. :) Da, znayu, opechatka, no poluchilos prikolno. :)
  5. Free wind
    Free wind April 17 2021 13: 06
    Berlin - Paris distance 1000 km. Berlin-Moscow 1800 km. Was it worth bothering on this topic. A fighting vehicle is not for pokatushek. On gusyanki 1000 km and in the Second World War passed, and Ferdinants did the same. But these products? Well I do not know? Was it worth it? An acquaintance of mine, who has long been deceased, drove a T-100 from Irkutsk to Krasnoyarsk. under its own power, in the seventies, about 1100 km. May to September approximately. On the way, carrying out errands, land reclamation. Well, probably, and women sometimes welcomed. He said that Byronovka was afraid to go down. The village is like that.
  6. Undecim
    Undecim April 17 2021 13: 38
    Original German designation unknown

    Why is it unknown? GFK (Gutehoffnungshutte)
  7. pobedapanzer
    pobedapanzer April 17 2021 15: 53
    Good afternoon everyone. The first time I am writing my opinion. Nice cars. As said earlier "romanticism"
  8. also clean
    also clean April 17 2021 23: 10
    In 1982 Mr. Merker was sent to Sweden, where he was given the opportunity to build and test a chassis of his own design. Officially, it was considered as the basis for promising tractors, although military use was not excluded. At the same time, unlike other "tractors" of German design, Merker's chassis was not classified.

    What year did he go to Sweden ??