From: Hessen, Germany - now living in France
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chairman
[B]Well the gamers in my wargamesclub do prefere the Leopard II. :) [/B][/QUOTE]
The Leopard 2 surely is a far superior tank in regards to protection and mobility and due to the larger calibre it has advantages in firepower, too. But (at least in my days) they were equals in regards to accuracy. The upgraded Leo 1 A5 possessed a more modern fire control computer than the Leo 2 of the same period (that probably has changed with the new Leo 2 version), so on the firing range both models had a comparable high accuracy, over 90% of the shots were dead on target. Also depends on the ability of the gunner, of course.
What is more important in a peace-time army like the Bundeswehr - i.e. 'we are there in case the Russians try something funny, but thank god we are not allowed to send troops out of area into real sh*t' (I served in the early 1990s) - is the habitability for the crew. I had the chance to hitch a ride in Leo 2 and envied those guys for the spacious interior - in the Leo 1 so many upgrades have been added over the years that the turret is just f***ing cramped. We once had a medevac exercise and it took the medics nearly 10 minutes to drag me out of the gunner's seat and through the commander's hatch (and I was a light-weight on those days). Those things are death traps. The only advantage I can think of is the lower weight of the Leo 1, enabling it to cross weaker bridges. Against an opponent with hight AT capabilities, you and your fellow gamers are better off with the Leo 2, no doubt.
I don't know whether the Leo 1 is still in use, when I served it was already relegated to the support role for infantry brigades, the Leo 2 was (and is) the mainstay of the Panzerbrigaden. Perhaps the Leo 1 are now in reserve (for what?), or more likely, they are used for target practice since there seem to be no more spare parts to keep them running.
One last anecdote: I served on a tank with no heating (for lack of spare parts) and of course we went on an exercise in a pretty cold January week. We had to use 'my' tank because of my company's 13 tanks 7 (!) were disabled with engine/tracks/electronics trouble (and waiting for spare parts). Imagine how cold it gets inside a steel hull after a few hours below zero degrees celsius. Soon my comrades & me were known as the 'Born to freeze'-crew :mad:. The gunner was lucky though - the gunner's seat is next to the hydraulics for the gun, so it was less cold (can't call it warmth) down there. Well, in the end it turned out to be a great exercise - after two days my platoon leader dedided to have the crews of my platoon change the tanks, so each crew had to spend some time on 'my' Leo without heating. Within each crew the turret guys (commander, gunner, loader) took turns on the gunner's position, so from time to time 'my' tank had a staff sergeant as gunner and a private as commander. Great way to improve flexibility, so we kept shuffling positions in later exercises. All gunners /loaders in my platoon eventually passed qualifications for both positions. More time and we might have learned to drive a tank as well :D.
Alas, passed another 10 minutes waiting for Uncommon Valor...