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Kampfpanzer 70 Tank



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Once production of the Leopard 1 was under way Porsche was awarded a contract to develop an improved tank. However, this design was overtaken by events when, during the 1960’s, West Germany and the USA agreed to work on a joint tank project, known in the USA as MBT-70 and in the FRG as Kampfpanzer 70. Originally twelve prototypes were planned to be built, six by each partner. Instead, due to differences in requirements the two countries went their own way in 1970. The design did not enter production but seven prototypes were built by West Germany. It had become apparent to the Germans before this that MBT-70 would not get past the prototype stage and in 1968 Krauss-Maffei had been awarded a contract to build two prototypes of a new MBT design which would eventually become the Leopard 2.
The Kampfpanzer 70 was a very squat design, resulting from having all the members of the crew in the turret. Only three crew members were required because of the use of an automatic loader. To keep the driver facing the same direction as the tank hull he sat in a contra-rotating turret of his own. Other complexities in the design included adjustable height hydro-pneumatic suspension and the use of the American 152mm combined gun and missile launcher. This was based on the ‘Shillelagh’ used in the M551 Sheridan light tank and the M60A1E1 MBT.
After the end of the Kampfpanzer 70 project the Germans conducted a development study for a new tank using Kampfpanzer 70 components under the name of Eber (Boar). The gun/missile system was, however, dropped in favour of a 120mm fully automatic gun of their own design. Another study was conducted based on the two earlier Krauss-Maffei prototypes and known as Keiler (Wild Boar). These studies laid the foundations for the later Leopard 2 development programme. The Americans, meanwhile, developed the MBT-70 into the XM803 series, of which a number of examples survive, but this development is beyond the scope of this book. There has been a report that one of the Fort Knox MBT-70s has moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground but it has not been confirmed which one was involved.

Model Id:
770
Manufacture:Krauss-Maffei GmbH, Munich, Germany (Deutsche Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft mbH consortium - DEG - also included MaK plus Rheinstahl-Henschel and Lutherwerke)


1) Panzermuseum, Munster, Germany

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 327

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Unique ID: 327
Serial Number: 7.
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification: Bundeswehr crosses painted on turret sides.

This is Prototype 7 of the KPz 70 project.

2) BWB Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung, Koblenz, Germany

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 328

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Unique ID: 328
Serial Number:
Registration:
Name:
Other Identification:

This prototype was acquired from the Bundeswehr. It carries the number “21” on its glacis.

MBT-70

Version produced for US.

Model Id:
772
Manufacture:Krauss-Maffei GmbH, Munich, Germany (Deutsche Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft mbH consortium - DEG - also included MaK plus Rheinstahl-Henschel and Lutherwerke)


3) U.S. Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, USA

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 330

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Unique ID: 330
Serial Number: “A-00003” marked in weld metal on glacis plate, indicating Pilot 3 (but “NO. 5” painted on aft hull sides).
Registration: 09A003 67 (but “09A 005 67” painted on aft hull sides).
Name:
Other Identification: “NON-BALLISTIC” marked in weld metal on glacis plate. “U.S. ARMY” painted on aft hull sides. White stars painted on forward turret sides.

This prototype, serial number 09A003, is on display beside Old Ironsides Avenue. It was acquired from TACOM at Detroit, Michigan. It is made of non-ballistic steel and has large weights welded onto its turret for testing purposes. The rubber parts of its tracks and roadwheels are largely perished.

4) Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, USA

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 331

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Unique ID: 331
Serial Number: Pilot 4 (source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).
Registration: 09A004 67 (source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).
Name:
Other Identification:

This is an MBT-70 hull converted to become an automotive test-rig and torsion-bar prototype of the XM803. It is fitted with an MBT-70 turret. It was used as a test-bed for the XM1 Abrams, then stripped of usable parts and shipped to Fort Knox for use as a target. It was diverted by the Armor and Engineer Board to become a monument, when M60 parts were added to give it the appearance of a complete tank. It is now on display beside their building (number 1109) and F Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. It was acquired by the museum in January 1980.

5) Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox, USA

Number of Photos:
1
Sample Photo from Album Number 329

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Unique ID: 329
Serial Number: Pilot 6.
Registration: 09A006 68.
Name:
Other Identification:

This prototype, serial number 09A006, was transferred from TACOM at Detroit, Michigan, in January 1976. It is made of non-ballistic steel and has many small weights welded onto its turret for testing purposes. It would be expected that this would be a US manufactured vehicle; however, it is interesting to note that the internal equipment has labelling and instructions written in German. It was stored for some time in a poor condition in Austin Hall (the LST Building).