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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.


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)

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

Number of Photos: 6
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).
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 MBT-70 was moved from Fort Knox to Aberdeen Proving Ground in the early 1990s in a trade for the APG King Tiger. It was initially displayed in front of the Ordnance Museum, then on the ‘Mile of Tanks’. It has been mistakenly labeled as Pilot No. 5, reg number 09A 005 67, probably by copying from the picture of that vehicle in Hunnicutt’s Abrams book. (Source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).

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

Number of Photos: 0
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).
Other Identification:

Originally an MBT-70 and shown in Hunnicutt’s Abrams book being loaded on a trailer. Modified by Colonel Jimmie Pigg with M60 and M88 parts to serve as an XM803 surrogate. (Source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).

3) Military Museum of Southern New England, Danbury, USA

Number of Photos: 14
Sample Photo from Album Number 2376

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Unique ID: 2376
Serial Number: Pilot 5: “PILOT 5-M” painted on turret sides.
Registration: 09A005 67 (source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).
Other Identification: “A-00006 NON-BALLISTIC” marked in weld metal on glacis and turret roof. “MCV 499” daubed on glacis. “CPR3052©”, “C74 3328 LT” cast into lower mantlet. “RD-A2” faintly visible painted on rear hull.

According to Crismon, this MBT-70 was tested at White Sands Missile Range. Later at APG. Seen in 1980 photo in Museum Ordnance magazine at the Ordnance Museum collection in very poor condition, lacking right-side track. Reported by same to be “behind the fence” as of 1991. Appears to have been relocated to the Military Museum of Southern New England. (Source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).
This MBT-70 is in poor condition and is missing its tracks, left idler, and other parts.


Model Id:774

4) National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning, USA

Number of Photos: 0
Sample Photo from Album Number 1172

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Unique ID: 1172
Serial Number: Pilot 7 of MBT-70.
Registration: 09A007 67 (source: N. Baumgardner/AFVNDB).
Other Identification:

This is an automotive prototype of the XM803. It was on display for many years beside Old Ironsides Avenue in front of Serio Hall (building number 2370), the Headquarters of the 194th Armored Brigade. It was acquired from the XM1 Tank System, DARCOM, at Warren, Michigan. It is made of non-ballistic steel. It was transferred to Richardson Motor Pool on 4 August 2010. On 19 October 2010 it was transported from RMP to the Fort Knox railhead. It was transported by train to Fort Benning on 23 October 2010.