|The main battle
tank, with a weight of 50 tons. Equipped with a petrol
engine developed from the Merlin engine.
This was the
tank which should be active in Sweden for over 50 years
before it was out of service from Swedish defense. Yet it
started as this model was not an actual panzer.
The engine which was used was a Meteor and it was
developed from the famous Merlin air craft engine. On the
other hand it was Packard that got the end work for
development. It ended up with 2500 ps and double compressors
and injection system. For Centurion it was enough with 650
ps. This was too little for a 50 ton heavy tank. Anyway it was much
power at this time.
The German tank Tiger had as most 750 ps but weight over
60 ton. Compared with the Swedish 103S which got 2
engines, on 300 + 490 ps turbine. But the S tank was not an
attack tank. On the other hand it is god to have power for
After this side talk about ps, it is better to start from
the beginning. It didn't look liked as Sweden should get any
Centurions from the start.
The army ministry asked 1950 England if it was possible
to buy Centurion. The answer was that it was no possibility
to deliver until 1958. This was the end after several years
It started already directly after the war with a total
stop for import of military materiel. During the war we had
bought everything that were for sale.
But all investigations gave result and it was noticed
that everything about tanks on the market were scrap and most
irresponsible to give Swedish soldier to use.
One could not buy tanks like Sherman because they were
not much better than our tank 74.
1949 the ministry was understood with what was needed. It
became a new developed Centurion. But as said the answer was
negative. Instead one put money on the French AMX 15 ton
with a characteristic view. Negotiations started to buy 300
AMX. One tank was delivered 1952 and it was very secret.
Sweden had large trade with England and it became a
trouble to get trade balance with Sweden. The English
authority changed and offered us to by Centurion MKIII. In
the same time the Swedish negotiators sat in Paris for AMX. This
situation became a bit embarrassing for the
Swedish trade organization when they had to back of.
In the same time started another project to construct
heavy battle tanks in Sweden. It was called the krv project.
This was extremely secret. This advanced so far that the new
band unit was ready. Now this project had to be stopped
when the second Centurion business was ready 1954. It was
not lost money as the band unit was used for tank S and the
artillery cannon. The last one was ready made later and
became very expensive. Only few were produced and were place
at Boden fort.
|The negotiations in England
continued and it was ready in a fast manner. Sweden got 80
Centurions for 1 million Skr pro copy.
These tanks were
taken from the English army stores and delivered already
1953. May be there are stevedores which remember when they
were arrived and lifted out of the cargo ships in Landskrona.
It must have been a sound to remember when 80 tanks
started and were driven up on the railway wagons. The
transport went to Hässleholm. The id 81 meant the 7.6 cm
The purchase of Centurion had let some differences in
opinion around army lead. The army chief considered that the
tank was good but to heavy for roads in Sweden and above all
too expensive to be hold running. The commander in
chief, the last to decide, General Swedlund, wanted a tank
that could resist tactical atom weapons better than the
light AMX. Furthermore France had bad reputations to produce
About atom protection it was a believe that it was
possible to be protected. In school we were taught to take
cover under our school benches. Well, well!!
Swedlund won this discussion of course through a little
coup when he got the defense minister support, the
Nilsson. It was in a hurry so the government
jumped over some processes.
The goal was now to, in a fast way, educate enough with
crews in order to be active in the coming manaeuvre 1953. It
was believed that the tank did well and a determination to
buy another 160 tanks was made. These were delivered already
1955 and more were bought 1960. 1990 another 16 tanks were bought
from Switzerland. They were stored and unused. The meaning
was that they should be used for development and protection.
Now Sweden had 350 Centurions and time went on and the
year was 1970. Up to this year the tanks were continued
developed. In the beginning there were not even radio
mounted and the crew could not talk to each other. Only the
tank chief could one way speak to the driver through a pipe.
The canon got gyro stabilizing. The engine was changed to an
American Detroit diesel with 750 ps, canon changed to 10.5
cm and as a last upgrade mounting of reactive panzer 1994.
The development of the S tank had now continued for a
long time. During the whole time of 50th and 60th. 1971
delivered the last S-tank from 290 ordered. During 1990 the
S-tank was taken out from the war organization.
But the Centurion got lifetime prolongation for the last
time up to 1995. It got now reactive panzer and telephone helmets
for the crew and a changed id to 104.
Now the military lead found that politicians spent to long time
for decision about a new tank. Leopard 1, 2, so the army
lead started to prepare a new lifetime prolongation named
105 for Centurion. But 105 was never implemented and instead
were the Leopard tanks started to be delivered 1995.
Totally there were 4423 Centurion produced in all
versions and sold to several countries involved in wars.
Centurion took part in several war places including Vietnam, Korea
and Middle East.