Military Review

Project Centurion M-0907 Bunker: Swiss tanks, cranes and bunkers

Alteration of obsolete equipment, still suitable for operation, but not meeting modern requirements, is a very interesting process. In the course of such projects, unusual solutions are often proposed that could hardly be used under other conditions. In addition, such projects sometimes become a kind of platform for experiments. So, a few decades ago, Swiss industry, wanting to keep outdated Tanks, developed the Centurion M-0907 Bunker project.

By the early eighties, British-made Centurion tanks had become obsolete, and their prospects as full-fledged combat vehicles became a subject of controversy. Nevertheless, a large number of such equipment was at the disposal of the Swiss army, which made the military and engineers look for ways to use it in auxiliary roles. The appearance of one of the proposals contributed to the plans of the military department for the construction and development of various fortifications in strategically important areas. To protect against a possible attack from third countries for several decades, various bunkers, long-term firing points, etc. were built. facilities that were supposed to protect strategically important areas. As part of such protection complexes, it was decided to use tank units.

Back in the years of the Second World War, stationary firing points were often carried out in the form of a tank tower installed on the corresponding structure. This approach was proposed to be used in the construction of new firing points. At the same time, however, several original innovations should be applied, relating both to the architecture of the objects and the alteration of the existing equipment. It was assumed that all this will allow protecting the important objects from the enemy with minimal expenses.

Converted tank with special equipment. Photo by Massimo Foti /

Tank towers were proposed to be mounted in caponier unified architecture. In the required area, it was necessary to build a full-fledged bunker with calculation rooms, ammunition, etc. In a separate caponier of such a bunker there should have been a tower of an obsolete tank. In this case, the firing point received an 105-mm rifled gun, which under certain circumstances could be a very serious threat to the enemy. In most cases, the caponier for the tower should have side walls and a roof. This limited the firing angles, but allowed to protect the tower from enemy fire.

Probably, during the design of such firing points, the question of delivery and installation of tank turrets arose, which led to the creation of an original modification of the tank. A large part of the bunkers should be located in places inaccessible to automotive technology. Thus, even at the construction stage, some special machines were needed that were able to deliver the tower to the right place and install it on the caponier's shoulder strap. In order to save money, time and effort, it was decided to make such a conveyor of weapons on the basis of existing tanks.

The stern of the tank carrier with outriggers and a crane. Photos

The construction project of firing points based on the towers of tanks "Centurion" implied the release of a large number of chassis of these machines. They were proposed to be used to transport the tower. The tanks should be equipped with a set of additional equipment, with the help of which they could solve the tasks and literally take off the tower, installing them in caponiers. It should be noted that this feature of the Centurion M-0907 Bunker project may be a cause for confusion. Due to the specific appearance, such an arms transporter is often mistakenly called a self-propelled crane or an evacuation vehicle that retains the weaponry. Nevertheless, it is a vehicle with its own crane equipment, designed for solving specific tasks for the construction of bunkers.

The project M-0907 "Bunker" meant the development of a complex of relatively simple equipment, with the help of which the serial tank Centurion could turn into a self-propelled crane with the ability to transport a full-fledged tank tower. As a result of the project, two units with special equipment appeared that allowed the tank to perform loading operations. The design of this equipment provided for the use of some unified units used in the composition of both units.

Project Centurion M-0907 Bunker: Swiss tanks, cranes and bunkers
Tank transporter posted and raises the tower. Photo

On the frontal part of the base tank, it was proposed to mount a special block with outrigger jacks. Directly to the frontal parts of the body was attached platform with V-shaped mounts for vertical hydraulic cylinders. It was proposed to install two more cylinders on the rear aggregate. Due to the large weight of the tank, the outriggers had to be equipped with powerful and large cylinders. They had a diameter of at least 0,5-0,6 m, and their upper ends were located even above the roof of the tower. At the same time, the high height of the cylinders allowed the tank to be hung out exclusively on outrigers, while the tracks fully rose above the supporting surface.

The aft additional unit was large and received a different composition of equipment. Its main detail was an oblong rectangular body, on the sides of which two hydraulic cylinders of the supports were fixed. Directly between them placed a slewing device of a crane. A crane with hydraulic actuators could turn around its axis, lift the boom to the desired angle and change its length. Due to the large mass of the alleged cargo, the boom and hook were equipped with a tackle.

During the installation of the new equipment, the base tank did not undergo any noticeable changes. Because of the need to dismantle the tower, some systems, etc., were disconnected, but the design of the hull, powerplant or chassis did not change. Installing a new relatively heavy equipment should have led to some deterioration in mobility, but such losses were not critical due to the “non-military” use of the machine.

The tower is installed in the caponier. Photo

The Centurion M-0907 Bunker weapons transporter was supposed to work as follows. A machine with special equipment was supposed to come under its own power to the construction site of the bunker. Further the conveyor should be hung out on support and to prepare the crane for work. With the help of the latter, it was proposed to remove the tower from the hull and install it on a caponier that had been prepared in advance. After that, the crane and the supports could be turned to the stowed position. All other work had to be done by the builders: they had to connect the tower to the bunker’s communications, check weapon etc. In the future, it was possible to put a new tower on the conveyor, take it to the installation site and install it in a caponier. Thus, the troops and builders did not need a large number of special equipment based on the existing tanks.

According to reports, at the time of the appearance of the project Centurion M-0907 Bunker planned to build a hundred bunkers with tank turrets. To carry out work on the transportation and installation of towers intended to convert several tanks, equipping them with additional modules with supports and cranes. Subsequently, funding cuts led to a reduction in the plan to 50 “tank” bunkers. Finally, by the time the construction began, plans were again reduced. In the late eighties and early nineties, only two dozen caponiers with towers were built. 17 constructions covered various objects, three more were educational. The reason for the last reduction of the plans was the unification of Germany, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the GDR and, as a result, the reduction of the risk of armed conflict.

Unfinished caponier with a tower. Until the end of construction, the barrel will be protected by a film. Photo

According to some sources, during the Centurion M-0907 Bunker project, only one Centurion tank was converted into an armament transporter, which was actively used in the construction of bunkers. The pace of construction made it possible to manage with one machine with special equipment and not to collect additional ones. After completing the construction of two dozen facilities, the weapons transporter tank was laid up. Later he was sent to one of the museums, where he still remains.

The construction of two dozen tank turret bunkers was completed in the mid-nineties. These objects were supposed to cover various important areas and were built in the event of a large-scale conflict in Europe, but the normalization of the situation in the region made them simply unnecessary. The Swiss Army continued to use bunkers with towers until 2003, after which they removed these objects from duty. According to some reports, now part of the bunkers is open to tourists.

The project Centurion M-0907 Bunker was developed to protect important areas from enemy troops, and was also designed to use obsolete armored vehicles. To solve these problems, extremely unusual solutions were proposed, including the conversion of tanks into self-propelled conveyor cranes. Such an original idea made it possible to find an application for the old technique, to improve the protection of important objects, and also to dispense with the construction or purchase of a new special technique. However, by the time the bunkers began to be built, the situation in the world had changed, because of which their need had become a subject of controversy. As a result, the operation of the refitted tank with a crane and bunkers built with it, lasted only a few years. Now all the surviving elements of the project "Bunker" are museum exhibits.

On the materials of the sites:

Photoreview of bunkers, incl. Photos from construction (in German):
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  1. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 2 February 2016 06: 49
    The solution is very interesting. Thank you for the article! I heard about it but didn’t know the details ...... the pedigree apparently from the carriages of Schumann-quickly delivered - quickly delivered - but here everything is more capital ......
    1. mirag2
      mirag2 2 February 2016 19: 05
      Heard, heard about this car.
    2. mirag2
      mirag2 2 February 2016 19: 05
      Heard, heard about this car.
  2. magician
    magician 2 February 2016 07: 42
    good way to recycle!
  3. inkass_98
    inkass_98 2 February 2016 07: 43
    The caponiers of Enver Hoxha in Swiss performance. Not cheap, but angry enough.
    1. GRAY
      GRAY 2 February 2016 11: 18
      The walls are thin - not impressive. No, I understand that there will still be an embankment, but still there is not much reinforced concrete.
  4. PKK
    PKK 2 February 2016 08: 03
    We’ll have to pour water from above, through ventilation, in order to smoke the crew, as in the old days
  5. qwert
    qwert 2 February 2016 08: 18
    Quote: PKK
    We’ll have to pour water from above, through ventilation, in order to smoke the crew, as in the old days

    But who needs these Swiss?)
    1. Zaurbek
      Zaurbek 2 February 2016 08: 24
      Even during the Soviet offensive on Western Europe, Switzerland would be bypassed and blocked. When the cheese is over, would give up.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 2 February 2016 12: 21
        So did Hitler. In the 40th year he requested intelligence,
        what forces are needed for Switzerland? The answer was: "it is necessary to form
        several separate mountain parachute brigades. without them, nothing. "
        And - Switzerland was canceled ... Although there were tidy safes packed
        jewels and cash, very necessary for Hitler to pay
        his military adventures.
        1. otto meer
          otto meer 2 February 2016 13: 30
          Quote: voyaka uh
          So did Hitler. In the 40th year he requested intelligence,
          What forces are needed for Switzerland?

          This request was purely optional, from the category - "what if we attack Venus?" Operation myth "Kletterer".
          In fact, we all perfectly understand why, with our, frankly, not the most powerful Armed Forces, Switzerland managed to maintain neutrality in all the wars of the previous century. And the reason is money!
          P.S. - minus is not mine.
          1. voyaka uh
            voyaka uh 2 February 2016 15: 05
            "And the reason for that is money!" ////

            Not at all. The reason is the strongest army and high mountains.
            Every Swiss citizen has a complete set at home
            uniforms, personal weapons and ammunition. Which he owes
            keep in order. The number of cartridges that shoots at targets
            one Swiss soldier at training camp, Russian company
            Don't shoot back in a year.

            The "Zurich gnomes" never shared the money
            and did not pay off. Greedy ... am
            1. otto meer
              otto meer 2 February 2016 16: 09
              Quote: voyaka uh
              Not at all.

              Yes at all! smile
              Quote: voyaka uh
              The reason is the strongest army and high mountains.
              I know Schweizer Armee's device well enough. A strong army of 4000 + 200000 mobresource people? And then the mountains. Why then capture them? There is no important infrastructure there. Well, God bless him, this is not about that now.
              It's about money. In order to comprehend this issue, it is necessary to study the history of Switzerland, its role in the modern banking system. Read who keeps their money there. And then such statements as
              Quote: voyaka uh
              The "Zurich gnomes" never shared the money
              and did not pay off. Greedy ...
              will fall away by themselves. It’s the same as the wolves paid off the sheep. laughing
              PS: by the way, ammunition storage at home is now prohibited if I am not mistaken since 2005.
        2. max702
          max702 2 February 2016 14: 58
          Hitler would have conquered Switzerland with two options .. The first, if he had captured England, and the second, if the USSR had won .. In all the rest, he needed it as a "laundry" ..
          1. otto meer
            otto meer 2 February 2016 16: 20
            Quote: max702
            Hitler would have captured Switzerland in two ways .. The first if he had captured England

            And the USA. The second option is true, because The USSR wanted to spit on the world banking system (with its planned economy!).
            Quote: max702
            In all the rest, he needed it as a "laundry" ..
            Absolutely right. Business is business, regardless of war. Think of a shikelgruber attacking the Swiss Confederation of the same Krupp, Rockefeller and other Wallap delaputes would unscrew bells under his root in three seconds.
  6. Kazakh
    Kazakh 2 February 2016 08: 32
    The reason for the latest reduction in plans was the unification of Germany, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the GDR and, as a result, a reduction in the risk of armed conflict.
    To reduce the risk of armed conflict, only one thing is to stop (tease) towards Russia.
  7. Salavatsky Ministry of Emergency Situations
    Very similar to Project Grasshopper, although there are some differences.

    Read more:
  8. Rostovchanin
    Rostovchanin 2 February 2016 10: 19
    Yes they are entertainers;)
  9. The comment was deleted.
  10. Vovanya
    Vovanya 2 February 2016 10: 57
    Quote: Volga Cossack
    quickly delivered - quickly delivered

    This is not done so quickly, as described in the article, and the crane is needed not only to install the tower - there is a lot of work there. In general, the solution is not the best. In our country, the construction of artillery platoons of tank towers (AVTB) was carried out somewhat easier, but this is a decision "for the poor", tk. made the personnel hostage to the situation with no room for maneuver. And the maintenance of materiel and ammunition in peacetime is too expensive.
    1. lysyj bob
      lysyj bob 2 February 2016 12: 18
      What they just won’t come up with is to not dig trenches for tanks.
      But what for Switzerland tanks in general? This is an offensive weapon. They will have enough bunkers to defend their territory. And if Switzerland, suddenly, needed to conduct offensive battles (I wonder against whom), then a tank with such a he-she is not a tank. The Germans, I remember, refused such an undertaking at one time. For each work - its own tool, do not cross the hammer with a screw.
      Quote: Vovanya
      this solution is "for the poor"

      The solution for the poor is a concrete caponier, where, in which case you can drive a full tank.
  11. 31rus
    31rus 2 February 2016 12: 16
    Dear, here is the continuation of the not long ago described tank-self-propelled gun "Locust", only there the chassis itself was used even steeper as a tow truck and as a conveyor for the supply of ammunition, everything is new, well forgotten old
  12. Olfred
    Olfred 2 February 2016 13: 25
    and you didn’t forget the tower at home ??? laughing
  13. corporal
    corporal 2 February 2016 14: 04
    Reminded of our NTOs (fixed tank firing points) smile Only the Swiss are too smart.
  14. hammer stalker
    hammer stalker 2 February 2016 14: 55
    Well, I would play in tanks like that. !!! Fun looked on the battlefield, against is-7.
  15. A.Lex
    A.Lex 2 February 2016 16: 26
    Kindergarten - pants on the straps! laughing
  16. Dimaant
    Dimaant 3 February 2016 10: 20
    And what protection from aviation and artillery?