Military Review

The first tanks of Sweden. Part II

Swedish tank construction owes its appearance to the German light project tank Räder-Raupen Kampfwagen M28. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was unable to develop, build and operate tanks. For this reason, the secret project documentation was handed over to the Swedish company Landsverk. In accordance with a tacit agreement, the Swedish company was to build several prototypes of the M28 tank and test them. For conspiracy, a light tank with a wheel-tracked undercarriage was given the new name L-5. The project M28 / L-5 was unsuccessful, but only for Germany. Numerous difficulties identified during testing led to the abandonment of further work. However, German failure gave impetus to Sweden’s own tank building. Based on the L-5 project, several new tanks were created that served until the mid-forties.

Landsverk L-10

In the 1930 year, shortly after the completion of the construction of six prototype tanks of the L-5 model, Landsverk designers began work on two projects of advanced combat vehicles. Using the achievements and technical solutions transmitted by German colleagues, the Swedes intended to develop two light tanks: the L-10 and L-30. The first of them was planned to be equipped with a tracked undercarriage, and the second was to continue the ideology of the original L-5 and use the wheels besides the tracks. Both tanks were supposed to have a combat mass of no more than 12 tons, and also to arm themselves with an 37-mm rifled gun and machine guns.

Considering the armored hull of the L-10 tank, it is easy to see that the Swedish tank builders did not mindlessly copy the corresponding unit of the L-5 machine, but actually created a new design. The body was proposed to be assembled from rolled armor plates of different thickness. The upper frontal part had a thickness of 24 mm, the sides and the stern - up to 14 mm. The conical tower had about the same level of protection, since it was supposed to be made from an 14-mm sheet and equipped with an 20-mm cannon mask. Such armor reliably protected the crew and units of the tank from rifle bullets weapons and splinters.

Landsverk's designers did not begin to search for new ideas and assembled the internal aggregates of the L-10 tank in accordance with the classical scheme. In front of the housing stationed control compartment. In it, at the left side, was the workplace of the driver. On the front of the hull provided for the hatch of the driver. To monitor the environment on the roof of the building, above the driver’s seat and in front of the tower, a small turret was installed with viewing devices. The right side of the hull's forehead had a characteristic shape, since it provided a place for the installation of a Ksp m / 14-29 machine gun of 6,5 mm caliber X. The machine gun was to be controlled by the radio operator, whose workplace was to the right of the driver. Between the armored casing of the machine gun and the hatch of the driver on the front plate was mounted headlight in its own casing with a cover.

In the middle part of the corps there was a combat compartment with a double turret. The commander and loader had to get into the tower through two large hatches, located in the rear of the sides of the tower. The hatches also had viewing slots to monitor the environment.

The turret armament of the L-10 tank consisted of one 37-mm Bofors cannon and a 6,5-mm machine gun, similar to that installed in the hull. According to various sources, the weapons ammunition consisted of 100 mm 37 caliber shells and 2000-3000 ammunition for two machine guns.

In the stern of the hull there was an engine compartment. Light tank L-10 received a 12-cylinder gasoline engine Maybach DSO 8 with power 140 hp Exactly the same power plant was used on the L-30 wheeled / tracked tank, but the two new armored vehicles differed from each other in transmission. Due to the use of only a tracked propulsion unit, the L-10 tank was equipped with a mechanical transmission with a less complex structure. The Maybach DSO 8 engine was powerful enough for tanks of that time, but had relatively large dimensions. Because of this, the engine compartment turned out to be higher than the front and middle parts of the hull, and the roof had a “step” behind the tower.

The first tanks of Sweden. Part II

The German project M28 / L-5 implied the use of a complex multi-roll undercarriage. After seeing the results of testing the prototypes of this light tank, the Swedish designers decided to simplify the chassis and improve its performance. For this reason, the L-10 received a chassis with four road wheels, two support rollers, a guide wheel and a drive wheel (at the rear of the hull) on each side. The Landsverk engineers, working on the undercarriage of the new tank, followed the same path as their English counterparts. Four dual track rollers on each side were assembled on two trolleys with leaf springs. In addition, the carts were connected by an additional beam connected with a spring shock absorber. Such a design of the chassis, as expected, could provide a high smoothness without the use of sophisticated details from a technological point of view.

The L-10 and L-30 projects based on the German L-5 meant that the machine was noticeably heavier. The combat weight of L-10 exceeded the analogous parameter L-5 by more than one and a half times and amounted to 11,5 tons. The dimensions of the new light tank were typical for vehicles of this class of those years: the length is about 5,2 meter, the width is about 2 m and the height is no more than 2,2 m.

Construction of the first experimental L-10 tank began in 1930, and by the end of the year it was sent for testing. It should be noted that the L-10 was tested simultaneously with the L-30, and this determined the further fate of both armored vehicles. Due to the high power density (more than 12 hp per ton), the light tank L-10 could accelerate on the highway to speeds above 40 km / h, which was a good indicator for armored vehicles of the time. Fuel enough for 200 kilometers. When comparing two new tanks, it turned out that almost all of their characteristics hardly differ from each other, and the wheel-tracked L-30 has a great advantage only at the maximum speed on the highway (when driving on wheels, it accelerated to 75-77 km / h) .

Tracked tank L-10 could not keep up with the L-30 with a combined suspension, but it was much easier to manufacture and maintain. That is why it was adopted by the Swedish ground forces and was named Stridsvagn m / 31. Despite its high performance, the L-10 or m / 31 tank was not built in a large series. The military ordered only three armored vehicles of this model, the last of which was built in the 1935 year. A small number of m / 31 tanks had almost no effect on the intensity of their operation. The military actively used a few small equipment on the exercises and received experience in its operation, and also collected information about the shortcomings. Later it helped to create more advanced tanks.

Three Stridsvagn m / 31 combat vehicles were in service until the end of 1940. After that, two tanks were disposed of, and the third was sent to storage. Later, the third copy of the tank m / 31 became an exhibit of the tank museum of the city of Axvall, where it is still kept.

Despite only three built specimens, the Landsverk L-10 or Stridsvagn m / 31 light tank became the first Swedish tank of its own design, accepted for service and built as standard.

Landsverk L-60

Already in 1934, Landsverk began developing a new light tank that was supposed to be a deep upgrade of the L-10. It was assumed that the use of proven technologies and ideas in combination with new technical solutions will significantly increase the capabilities of this combat vehicle, while maintaining the relative simplicity of production.

The armored hull of the L-60 was a further development of the corresponding unit of the L-10 and was modified to allow the use of new components and assemblies. In addition, the layout of its internal volumes has changed. The L-60 body was assembled from rolled sheets with a thickness up to 15 mm (front of the body) and had a lower level of protection compared to the base L-10. In front of the hull placed a number of transmission units. To improve the driving characteristics, it was decided to place the engine and part of the transmission parts at the old place, in the stern, and the remaining components of the latter - in front of the hull, which led to the transfer of the drive wheels and the corresponding modifications of the chassis.

As a power plant, the L-60 tank used an 6 X-cylinder petrol carburetor engine Scania Vabis 1664 with HP 142 power. The mechanical transmission was divided into two blocks: one of them was located next to the engine, the second - in front of the case. The blocks were connected using a shaft.

In the undercarriage of the tank L-60 for the first time in the Swedish practice were used track rollers with independent suspension. On each side of the armored car were four road wheels with spring shock absorbers, two supporting rollers, rear guide and front drive wheel.

A change in the engine-transmission unit led to a re-configuration of the majority of the tank’s internal volumes, although some elements remained in place. For example, the control compartment remains in the front left part of the case. As before, the driver could monitor the environment through viewing instruments on a small turret. However, now his hatch was in the turret roof, and the place for the course machine gun to the right of the driver was occupied by transmission units.

In the middle part of the armored hull was a fighting compartment with a tower. The design of the latter was slightly different from that used on the L-10 tank. She also had armor thickness up to 14 mm in the same way and contained the workplaces of two crew members - a commander and a loader.

In the tower was located all the weapons of the new tank. The “main caliber” of the machine was the 37-mm Bofors cannon, and the Madsen 8-mm machine gun was used as an auxiliary weapon. As in the previous tanks of Sweden, the gun and machine gun were mounted on separate supports and built independently. In the tank ammunition there were 100 shells for the cannon and 2000 cartridges for the machine gun. Thus, the firepower of all Swedish tanks created in the first half of the thirties, was about the same.

Changes in the power plant and transmission had a positive impact on both the size and weight of the new tank. The combat weight of the L-60 did not exceed 8700 kg, which was more than two tons less than that of the L-10. The length of the armored vehicle was reduced to 4,7 meters, the width and height were equal to 2,06 and 2,09 m, respectively. The relief of the tank increased its power density: with the 142-strong engine, this parameter exceeded the 16 hp. per ton.

At the end of 1934, the construction of an experienced L-60 tank was completed and its tests soon started. Several new units, including the transmission, at first proved to be not at their best, which required their refinement. After correcting the major shortcomings, the L-60 tank was able to reach 45 km / h on the highway, and the cruising range reached 270 kilometers.

The tests and fine-tuning of the light tank L-60 stretched over several years. Because of this, the Swedish military lost interest in the new Landsverk project in the middle of the decade. However, already in 1935, Ireland ordered an armored vehicle. She was given two cars with the symbols L-601 and L-602. The tanks built for the Irish military had a more powerful German-made Bussing-NAG V160 8 engine and were also equipped with another turret with an 20-mm automatic cannon. Two tanks were used until the early fifties, when the modernization was carried out with the replacement of the chassis. After that, the armored vehicles served for about ten years.

A little later, Landsverk handed over one copy of the L-60 light tank to Austria, which was going to test and decide on the need for further purchases. This machine was slightly modified before transfer and received the designation L-60S. The Austrian military studied the tank presented, but did not sign a contract for the supply of a large batch of these combat vehicles.

In September, the Swedish army recalled the L-1937 tank 60, and ordered 16 machines. The contract stated that one of these machines was to have a body made of non-armored steel and was intended for educational use. Tank Landsverk L-60 was adopted under the designation Stridsvagn m / 38. The delivery of the ordered equipment was completed in the 1939 year, after which it was distributed in two regiments. In the future, these units have undergone several changes.

In 1939, the army ordered an additional batch of X / NUMX m / 20 tanks in a modified version of m / 38. The main difference between the m / 39 modification and the base L-39 was the use of additional armor plates mounted on the tank’s own armor. Additional protection increased the total thickness of the frontal armor to 60 mm, but at the same time weighted the car to 50 tons. In addition, m / 8,95 tanks received a second machine gun mounted in the turret. The last m / 39 was transferred to the customer in 39 year. The m / 1941 and m / 38 tanks served in the same units. In Sweden, the operation of combat vehicles based on the L-39 continued until the 60 year.

A year before the production of m / 39 tanks began, the L-60 vehicles became the subject of another international agreement. Hungary bought from Sweden a license to manufacture this model of equipment. After some minor improvements related primarily to production technology, the armored car received a new name: 38M Toldi. In accordance with the revised project, the Hungarian industry built more than two hundred tanks.

The latest modifications of the Landsverk L-60 tank were m / 40L and m / 40K. An additional letter in the name of the modification designated the manufacturer of the vehicle: Landsverk produced the cars with the letter L, and built tanks Karlstads Mekaniska Verkstad in Karlstad with tanks with the letter K. Both of these modifications received a new automatic transmission and upgraded additional booking. In terms of protection, these tanks were approximately equal to m / 39, but differed in weight. Thus, the combat mass of the m / 40L machine without additional armor reached 9,1 tons (with mounted armor - 9,36 tons), and the m / 40K tank in fully equipped weight weighed 10,9 tons. Tank m / 40K received a new engine Scania-Vabis L 603 603 horsepower, offset the increase in weight.

In 1940, the Swedish army ordered the 100 light tanks m / 40L, and two years later the 80 machines m / 40K. These orders were completed in 1942 and 1944 respectively. Like other tanks of the L-60 family, the armored vehicles of the m / 40L and m / 40K models were operated until the 1957 year, after which they were decommissioned.

Shortly before the decommissioning of L-60 tanks, in 1956, Sweden sold the 20 tanks m / 40L to the Dominican Republic. At the new duty station, these machines received the designation L / 60L. In 1965, the US invaded the Dominican Republic, and the army of the island nation had to use Swedish tanks in battle. For two and a half decades, Landsverk’s tanks became obsolete both morally and financially, which led to the expected result. At the end of April 1965, the American troops destroyed three tanks L / 60L, and later several units of such equipment got them as trophies. The Dominican military used Swedish-made light tanks until the beginning of the 21st century. Several L / 60L tanks are still preserved. They are on the move, but serve as museum exhibits.


Light tanks of the L-60 family were the first Swedish armored vehicles of this class to be built in a large series. In addition, they were the latest development of Landsverk, which traced some of the features of the German project M28 / L-5. In the future, the Swedish tank builders continued the development of existing ideas, but still went away from the technical solutions proposed by Otto Merker in the late twenties. The improvement of the German projects helped Sweden to create a distinctive design school, which later repeatedly demonstrated an original and unlikely approach to the design of armored vehicles.

On the materials of the sites:
Articles from this series:
The first tanks of Sweden. Part I
The first tanks of Sweden. Part II
Armored cars of Sweden. Part I
Armored cars of Sweden. Part II
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. P12P
    P12P 24 December 2013 09: 17
    informative article, really liked, the tanks seem to be a cross between German and English tanks
  2. sdv68
    sdv68 24 December 2013 11: 00
    When you look at such tanks, you immediately want to ask Resunoids - "And who was Sweden going to attack when it created tanks on a wheeled-tracked scheme?"
    1. makarov
      makarov 24 December 2013 13: 11
      "And who was Sweden going to attack when it created tanks on a wheeled-tracked scheme?"

      probably for trading was such a line.
      1. sdv68
        sdv68 24 December 2013 13: 41
        Quote: makarov
        probably for trading was such a line.
        And it was sold to Stalin, so that he would prepare an attack on defenseless Germany)))))
        1. Bigriver
          Bigriver 25 December 2013 07: 28
          Quote: sdv68
          ... And it was sold to Stalin, so that he would prepare an attack on defenseless Germany)))))

          Christie was sold by amers :)) And bought for a variety of reasons. One of the main things was infa that the Poles were going to produce it, along with Vickers, 6 tons. Again, moving Christie - "Liberty" was already produced under license in the USSR.
      2. Bigriver
        Bigriver 25 December 2013 07: 25
        Quote: makarov
        ... probably there was such a line for trading.

        For operational reasons only. The resource of tracks and fingers became more or less acceptable with the invention of manganese steel in the early to mid-30s. In the USSR, we were able to work out the technology even later, only by the end of the 30s.
  3. AX
    AX 28 December 2013 06: 51
    They look like the "Japanese" of this period ...