After the Second World War, Germany developed and produced a number of vehicles, some of which may appear in Armored Warfare. Here are a few examples of modern German armor development. They are generally vehicles of West German origin – the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) generally adopted the Soviet structure and used vehicles of Soviet origin (often license-produced in other Warsaw Pact countries).
The Europanzer development program to create a common European tank for NATO forces resulted most notably in two vehicles – the French AMX-30 and the German Leopard 1. Both of these main battle tanks were built around the idea that no amount of armor would be able to stop modern shells anyway so it makes more sense to have a tank protected only against autocannon fire but that is as fast and agile as possible. The Leopard 1 is a very successful design, featuring excellent firepower and mobility. It first entered service in the mid-60s, but throughout the decades that followed it was heavily modernized and serves to this day in some countries.
The Leopard 2 was developed in the 70s to replace the M48 Patton in the West German army (after the failure of the previous M48 replacement attempt, the Kampfpanzer 70). Its two major features at the time were the 120mm Rheinmetall smoothbore cannon (either the shorter L/44 or the longer L/55 version) and its advanced armor, offering (unlike the Leopard 1 armor) protection even against the firepower of Soviet main battle tanks. It became very popular amongst the European members of NATO and even now there are upgrade programs running in order to prepare the Leopard 2 for the challenges of 21st century combat.
The Marder ("marten") is the principal IFV of the Bundeswehr. Introduced in 1971, this vehicle is rugged and offers the infantry it carries a significant boost in firepower. The modern versions were upgraded to better withstand the rigors of asymmetric warfare, but the vehicle is nevertheless scheduled to be replaced by the next generation IFV, Puma. Unlike the Leopard, the Marders were not widely exported and, apart from Germany, were only used by Chile and Indonesia.
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) is certainly one of the best self-propelled guns in the world, perhaps the best. It was developed in the 90s as part of the modern artillery vehicle program for Germany by Krauss-Maffei Wegman and Rheinmentall. Its 155mm gun is semi-automatically loaded and is capable of astounding rates of fire – up to 13 rounds per minute (depending on conditions) – as well as of the MRSI fire mode (firing several shells so that they impact at the same time). The PzH 2000 also saw combat use in German service in Afghanistan and while the results were generally positive, it had issues coping with the local dusty environment. Several countries opted to buy the PzH 2000 to replace the aging American M109 SPGs.
And to close off the German week - a few pictures of German vehicles in Armored Warfare...