Talk:Stridsvagn 103

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Third crew member[edit]

I think the text "though a third man was added for psychological reasons" (removed 07:16, 30 April 2009) should be put back. Not sure where I read it but it was probably in Grenander's book Arméns eldkraft. (talk) 12:49, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

I do not know much about the psychological reasons (and I´m sure no-one with inside knowledge about the tank would put it on print), but I think we could have managed quite well beeing only driver/gunner and commander during most of the "day time". The actual contribution during combat, transport etc from the radio-operator/rearward driver was minimal, both fysical and psysical. BUT!!! - during service and above all during camping and all the work setting up tents, keeping post, doing patrols etc we could have had good use for even a fourth crew member... Being six people in a tank platoon instead of nine is a big difference, and I can assure you that we would have loved beeing twelve instead of nine during patrolling instead of sleeping. (A Swedish tank platoon is/was three tanks with the crews, often one to three additonal crew members for substitution during illness, wounds, leave, officers training...)

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 28 September 2011 (UTC) 
The third crew member, sitting with his face to the rear, was both radio operator and rearward driver, with controls that allowed him to drive the tank at full speed in reverse. Though with less control than the forward driver (steering with a steering wheel that wasn't a full circle but only a circle segment, like a pizza piece; which meant that he couldn't control the elevation of the tank/gun, something that was done by rotating the handles on the steering bar either forward or to the rear). So he wasn't there just for psychological reasons. All three crew members could drive the tank BTW, because both the driver and the tank commander had full controls (with steering bar) and the radio operator/rearward driver (a job that was usually referred to as "bakåtförare", that is rearward driver) had limited controls. All three of them were also trained as drivers, in addition to their other jobs, i e being commander, gunner and radio operator. Thomas.W (talk) 19:03, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
I thought the rear driver did have some control over elevation, in that his taking control did level the tank and adjust the ride height, ready for driving. What he couldn't do was to lay the gun, but then he didn't have a sight anyway. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:19, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Armor thickness[edit]

The 90-100 mm figure is unsourced and as far as I can tell it's completely wrong. Armor layout drawing dated 1962. Source: Swedish national military archives (Krigsarkivet). (talk) 22:18, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The layout specifies the armour angles (for the frontal armour relative the gunline which in turn is +1° compared to the horizontal line), but I can't make out the thickness nor in which unit it's stated. (talk) 19:59, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

gun laying?[edit]

Turretless armoured fighting vehicles are usually classified as assault guns or tank destroyers, but the Strv 103 is considered a tank because of its gun laying ability and its designated combat role matches those of other tanks.

I suppose this means that the gun can swivel to the left or right, the implication being that the usual turretless AFVs cannot. The article does not clearly state this in the rest of the text, and in fact implies the opposite.

Since the Strv 103 orients the entire tank to depress and elevate the barrel, in a hull down position it has very little apparent height and subsequent visual profile to the enemy.

This tells me that it's no different from any turretless AFV such as assault guns or tank destroyers. I propose 1) removing the distinction, whether or not the article persists in referring to it as a tank; or 2) rewording the mention of assault guns and tank destroyers as a loss of distinction. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 21:12, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Please don't. That would be far from an improvement.
In the Strv 103, almost uniquely (and the exceptions are really obscure prototypes), the barrel orientation is fixed to the hull in both elevation and traverse. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:04, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
So please defend the claim that this is a tank, and not a tank destroyer. You're appealing to interest in improvement, which we have in common, yet the rest of your statement does nothing to corroborate the claim that it is considered a tank any more than any tank destroyer was in World War II. Further, while you are claiming that the barrel orientation is fixed to the hull in both elevation and traverse, the rest of the article claims (by using the term gun laying, even) that the gun in fact can be depressed or raised. Removal or correction of a false claim is indeed improvement. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The gun is laid onto the target by using the tracks and adjusting the vehicle suspension. Not having a turret no more makes it not a tank, than having a turret makes the M10 tank destroyer or the Charioteer tank destroyer tanks. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:27, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not here to "defend claims", that's what the sources are for. Please read them.
The barrel here is fixed. Laying and training are both done by moving the hull (and only by moving the hull). Unusually (and uniquely well for the Strv 103) the transmission and active suspension were equipped to do this easily. There are plenty of other assault guns with casemate mounts, but as these have neither the precision of the slewing transmission control nor any suspension control, their casemates have to have a small amount of movement (in both axes) for precision in laying.
A handful of '50s tank destroyer prototypes did something similar, mostly because they were fielding particularly large calibres and autoloaders were becoming of interest. See the FV4401 Contentious for another one with a fixed elevation mount and active suspension, but in this case with some traverse in the mount. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:48, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The main difference between an MBT and a tank destroyer is mostly doctrinal. It is not a well-defined concept and the Wikipedia entry explains it poorly, so I'll do my best here. A tank destroyer was almost a dedicated tank-killer which was dependent on other arms for its own protection. If tanks came with company (i.e. soft targets) they were screwed as the tank destroyer security elements were not equipped to deal with the scale of the threat. The MBT is an all-purpose platform who's primary goal is to destroy the combined-arms integrity of the enemy. [1] So whether this was an MBT or a tank destroyer cannot be determined from a surface-level inspection of the specs alone. Most experts call this an MBT and I can definitely see it being deployed that way. Mark Schierbecker (talk) 08:11, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
We go by what the reputable sources say. They say the S-tank is a tank, that's what we report. The Tank Museum website puts it under MBTs by the way. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:12, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. So can we reduce the claim to what the source indicates. Sadly the Tank Museum website you refer to--if it's at --does not seem to list this tank under Stridsvagn or 103 (I did a search for each), so I cannot possibly confirm your source without buying a book I'll probably never look at again. So I don't know what the claims are as the basis for placing it as a MBT, but I'm pretty sure the claim doesn't include gun laying as that means it would include all casemate AFVs. So it must be something else. Perhaps it's the function and doctrine. If so, let's limit the scope of the claims to that. I won't claim that this is a tank destroyer; I'll just say that a bird isn't a bird because it has wings. You wouldn't say that all things (say, helicopters for example) that have wings are birds. And you wouldn't say that all things that wiggle are snakes; some are worms or legless lizards. So again: sure it has unique gun laying ability, but can we dispense with the claim that it's a tank because of gun laying? D. F. Schmidt (talk) 18:59, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
No. We describe it as an MBT because that's what sources, from Jane's to Bovington describe is as. It's an MBT because it's unique gun laying ability gives it the capabilities of an MBT within contemporary Swedish doctrine. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:18, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
Other than the difference of using the suspension to lay the gun to distinguish it from the usual casemate mount on TDs, there is no reason to treat this style of laying the gun as advancing the argument that it is a tank. As I said: I don't object that it's called an MBT. I object that this is cited as a reason to call it one. And it doesn't help that the source is one that the world doesn't have access to. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 19:22, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if a source is not easily gotten hold of (WP:SOURCEACCESS). So long as it is possible for someone to verify it if required. With ref to Bovington, it's curious that it doesn't appear in the search (it seems the collection itself doesn't), but if you use Museum Online and then Vehicles then use the dropdown list it is there as "Stridsvagn 103 S" [2]. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:30, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
The Tank Museum has got a couple of things wrong, they say two machine guns as secondary armament but the S carried three FN GPMG (Ksp 58), two fixed and one moveable, and the top speed is listed as 50 kph, but I have clocked (by driving right behind them for 10-15 miles) a whole column of S tanks doing a steady 70 kph on a main highway in Southern Sweden. Thomas.W talk 21:05, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

At the beginning of this section I proposed a change to the wording. The basis is that the message is antithetic but the text doesn't acknowledge that it is. Earlier in the lede it reviews how the tank lays its gun. Following this, the wording seems to think that in the way it lays its gun it is more like a traditional MBT than a TD. On the other hand, traditional MBTs have a turret which makes it far more flexible than this tank does. Even a TD has more flexibility than this tank (except, of course, the fact that the entire tank moves more flexibly than a traditional TD).

That said, I removed the text that is antithetic so that the message is more congruent. Somewhat expectedly, Andy Dingley reverted my edit with the explanation Restoring this. This is the difference between the S and the casemate assault guns. See the reversion. I don't see how telling the truth in this case improves the message of the sentence while implying it is more like traditional tanks in that its gun is mounted less flexibly than a casemate TD. Excuse me; I'm rambling because I'm not sure what makes sense anymore. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 23:32, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Why is your opinion of this tank at variance to all other sources?
Yes, it is a casemate AFV. Other casemate AFVs are considered as assault guns or tank destroyers. However this is not the same, it has a unique ability for rapid, powered gun laying. This, within Swedish doctrine of the period, makes it usable for the MBT role. It doesn't mean it's the same as other MBTs or even as good as other MBTs (although it gains other advantages of low height, an autoloader and the resultant reduced crew workload), but it does mean that it can be an MBT. The independent sources agree on this and describe it as such. There is simply no question to answer here. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:17, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
I've made another change to the lede. What I'm noticing here is that everyone seems to think that you can't improve on truth. My opinion is that the truth--as stated at the top of this thread--is muddy. Point out to me where I said it can't be an MBT. If you can do that, I will reverse my opinion from that statement where I asserted that. On the other hand, due to the fact that the gun laying is similar to traditional TDs (under the conventional wisdom--bear in mind that this gun laying is unique in the world of AFVs), expansion is required to explain that despite this gun laying, not as a matter of natural course this is indeed a tank. My point has always been that we need a better explanation of how this AFV can be thought of as a tank, not to dismiss its role as a main battle tank. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 00:35, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Gun laying here is the polar opposite of the other casemate AFVs. Some of the best known of these are the WWII German StuG assault guns and the Soviet heavy calibre tank destroyers. Both of these are used in a tactical discipline that only operates with attack by advance, and so their limitations are diminished; by always driving towards the enemy, their need for traverse is relaxed. Compared to other turreted MBTs of similar calibre, they actually traversed quite a bit faster than the heavy turrets did, making them more capable of rapid fire from the short halt.
The S tank is the opposite. It is a defensive AFV, intended only for the defence of a homeland. Attacks were predicted and their directions constrained by mining. The S tanks would be dug in (and had a dozer blade to prepare their own positions) and would await the advance. During combat, they would use shoot-and-scoot tactics, retreating gradually across the large spaces available and fighting a war of attrition. Their nearest analogue would be the WWII British Archer.
What is an MBT? As interminably discussed, it's a three-way compromise between protection, mobility and firepower.[1] The S tank is relatively central within this, biased towards mobility. It's not even really possible to define the "MBT" and its features without also qualifying this by its decade. Generally it's an armoured, mobile direct-fire vehicle capable of attacking and defending itself against similar vehicles. It can engage both hard and soft targets. Perhaps the first modern MBT, the very effectively generalist Centurion, was used as hill-climbing artillery in the Korean War. The next generation, Chieftain, "started a trend towards tank destroyers in tank's clothing which the Americans and the Germans followed."[1] Note too that (being British) it did so with firepower and protection, not with mobility, rather in contrast to your view of tank destroyers given here. Yet who would challenge either of these as MBTs? All the S tank does is to choose a different place within the compromise triangle. Yes, it's more of a tank destroyer than it is an infantry support weapon, but so are so many other MBTs of the era. The Swedes recognised that. When developing supplementary AFVs they looked extensively at designs with lightly protected hulls and exposed main gun mounts: compromising survivability in a tank-on-tank battle but providing the infantry support artillery that the S tank was unable to provide.[1]
The S tank became obsolete, and rather faster than other MBTs, because the game changed. A low visibility profile is of no use if it has a gas turbine engine in a cold climate, once thermal sensors appear on the battlefield. Nor does a low hull profile protect against helicopter attack. It's not even much use against ATGWs. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:51, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
We persist in misunderstanding each other. But considering your research and the fact that it seems to explain what I've felt that this article lacked, it sounds a lot to me like you should find a way to incorporate this into the text of the article.
In the matter of your statement that "Gun laying here is the polar opposite of the other casemate AFVs", I think it's a little disingenuous. The S tank would be in a defensive posture as opposed to assault guns, but the process of aiming was rather similar. They couldn't, for example, aim at a target at their 9 o'clock, now could they.
Now my understanding has come around to realize that the S tank uses its suspension to elevate and depress its gun, and I've always understood that it has only its tracks to traverse, but both the S tank and TDs (at least in WW2) lack a 360-degree turret. If TDs and assault guns usually had a wide traverse, they are never portrayed as doing so; certainly no more than 90 degrees left and right. So in order to aim at their target, they too would have to traverse with their tracks. True, that on the charge they wouldn't generally have to, but if they were ambushed they would. No different from the S tank. That is what I've been describing as a common way (or at least an apparently common way) to lay gun. Both would have to face their target. The purpose of its presence and its target are another matter altogether. Just as non-turreted ships would have to yaw to traverse their guns, the S tank would have to traverse. That has always been why I've been associating the two, and why in my opinion the lede begged more explanation. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 02:08, 29 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c Richard Simpkin (1981). "No speed please, we're British". In Col. John Weeks. Jane's 1981–82 Military Annual. Jane's. pp. 41–51. ISBN 0-7106-0137-9.