1/35 Trumpeter STRV 103

Robin you have kind of made my point for me with your German tanker story. In WWII they would often move the body of the tank to an approximate shot angle. Then fine tune the final azimut and elevation with the turret. For instance the Hetzer has only limited gun traverse so the vehicle has to be pointed in the general desired direction before aiming.

The S Tank has no such “fine tuning” option. The gun is fixed to the body.
Just look at the photo of the S crouching behind that earthen dam. If the gunner needs to change azimut to bring the gun to bear, as he rotates the vehicle one or the other track is going to be climbing that embankment which means you have how messed up you elevation as well.

Until we come across someone with direct real world experience on this vehicle I think it best if we leave the question of targeting accuracy up in the air.

IMHO the S Tank was probably fairly good in the AP role. Sort of like shooting a shotgun. But perhaps not so good in the AT role as an ambush sniper. Also I suspect the targeting system hydraulics probably worked best when the vehicle was sitting on level, flat ground.

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Consider the whole S-tank to be a turret. The azimut and elevation controls have the level of precision needed for fine tuning.
Some background reading
“The steering column which also doubles as gunnery controls is very sensitive and precise at low angles of deflection. The original specification for the 103A called for a minimum laying speed of as little as 1 mil/second and a laying precision of no more than 0.2 mils.”
Note that both the gunner and the commander can aim and fire, the commander does this when there isn’t time to instruct the gunner or when the gunner can’t see the target yet.

The point I made is that kicking the whole tank around is usually faster than cranking the turret around.
The Strv 103 shall be compared to tother tanks in the early 70’ies. The Centurion can’t fire with precision on the move. The Leopard 2, Abrams, Challenger et.c can but they did not exist in the early 70’ies.

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Uncle even in your, as submitted, “proof” of accuracy, the comments that follow that proof indicate that the subject of popular debate back then follows almost exactly the discussion you and I are having right now today, as they exhibit doubts as to the ultimate AT accuracy of the S.

I do however, compliment you on the depth of your reference library on this subject. Impressive!

Google search, it’s a matter of using the correct search terms.

As for the debate, it has been going on for decades. Tank officers
wanted to gallop across the battle field in the turrets of their steel horses,
pointing left and right and firing of grenades at the enemy.

Wittman figured out that rough aiming with the turret was faster
and Otto Carius commented on the Russian tankers delusions about
firing off Intuitive Socialist Grenades that would annihilate the Fascists
simply because the Soviets were the good guys and the Fascists the bad guys.
The truth is that precision fire was only possible with a stationary tank,
at least until stabilised turrets and guns became reality in the 80’ies (??).
Firing on the move is a waste of ammo except at very close range.
The S-tank was at least as capable as the Centurion but it has become
obsolete since then, disruptive technology (stabilised turrets) killed it.
The gun itself was more powerful than the Centurion gun.

After WW II officers tried to argue that tanks were a waste of money and that
a good old cavalry charge with polished sabres gleaming in the sunlight was
better. The machine gun was considered “unsporting” and cowardly.
Aircraft would never be a threat to battleships, majestic ships were admirals
could lead the battle from the bridge of the flagship surrounded by their loyal
minions was the one and only way. Taranto was the first indication of how wrong
they were (Battle of Taranto - Wikipedia). the Japanese watched
and learned but still tried the battleship route.
Archers showed that “simple”, non-aristocratic, farmers and other plebeians could be
a serious threat to knights in shining armour (I wonder what medieval knights would
have thought about the Ma Deuce …)

Back to ths S-tank: Some people are conservative and will resist change and new ideas
until circumstances force them (kicking and screaming) to accept new ideas.
Factual arguments gain very little traction against a stubborn and entrenched mind.

Never mind all that - I always thought that the S Tank looked superbly different; I wonder why I haven’t got one in my stash…?

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Major omission!
I am a bit suspicious about the size/scale of Trumpeters Strv-103,
since I already have the AA resin kit I will stick with that, at least
until something better turns up.

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The dimensions of the Trumper Strv103 (and thats its actual name, Stridsvagn 103 -meaning the 3rd model of swedish MBT with a 105mm barrel) for which S-Tank was only a nickname, are wrong. We do not talk of a millimeter here, but a lot more in length. My guess was that they mixed up length with and without the dismountable rear boxes. However, apart from a not-so-bad OOP resin kit of about 35 years ago of a US based company whose name I forgot, and the AA offering, it is the only game in town as an injection moulded kit. It builds very nice into a detailed kit-if you are willing to forget about the exact dimensions. I built 4 of them in different colour schemes and the blade down and I like the result very much.

We should not discuss here the pros and cons of this tank concept. This is done by a lot of people for decades until today. I spent a lot of time with the vehicle and people who had operated it in service, and I was shown its capabilities on the move and by aiming. I was lucky enough to drive it myself around in barracks. Be sure it is a sophicticated weapon of its time and it helds some fascinating solutions within. One would have to consider the swedish tactics of tank warefare of these days and note that other turreted MBTs of this time also had to stop for exact firing.

Regarding the scene of the vehicle leaning on a dam, I asked for this scene to show its maximum elevation capabilities behind a natural cover. No cdr might have selected it exactly like that, because this position needed suspension adjusted to its limits. There would be, as guessed, not much room to re-aim when needed.

Anyway, regaring the track question. The late B and all C versions tracks are not similar, but really close to Leopard 2 tracks. I would guess you can use these. Apart from the B version tracks which I found to be awful, I used the kit´s Diehl tracks and liked these. So its your decision. I must confess I am more on the lazy side and accept vinyl tracks mostly.


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Yep! I remember as a driver of the M60A1 in the early 1980s, one of the skills we had to master was to quickly and smoothly bring the tank to a stop for firing. Hitting the brakes too hard would cause the tank to rock back and forth for several seconds and making the gunner lose sight of his target. Those lost seconds could be the difference between life or death in combat, and passing or failing in gunnery.


Somewhere, I’ve come across a Swedish report that covers, in detail, an exercise in BAOR back in 1973, whereby half a dozen S Tanks were loaned to the Brits and took part in an exercise in Germany. I recall the Swedes were pretty scathing about both Chieftain, and the crews ie the Brits.

It must be somewhere on the www; I’ll have a look, when I’ve a moment.

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You would be surprised to see how fast Strv103 could manoeuvre and change direction at high speed for escaping or aiming. Search for “clutch and brake manoeuvring”

Bad picture quality due to old video technic, but quite impressive. This is why people say the tank turns faster than a turret of a tank can turn. Consider that ALL crew members can drive the vehicle from their positions, one of which is facing backwards. Two crew members (driver and cdr) have gun and aiming controls. After firing, the tank can really fast switch to another target that was observed in sight by the other crew member. Also, swedish tactics of that days rely on fighting from a prepared position, which could be dug out by the tank itself-every Strv103 had a dozer blade fitted. Digging such a firing position did only take a couple of minutes due to the fact that the tank is quite low. In addition, if only in standby in an emplacement, the tank could be lowered down by 12cm, however it lost its aiming capabilities then. It ws the only MBT that was able to swim with approx. 30min of preparation using onboard equipment.

Anyway, the concept had also its cons. For example, an engine change needed the gun barrel removed and took some hours. Fuel consumption was quite high due to a gas turbine.