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Armor: Aging Leopards Prowl The Andes
   Next Article → INFANTRY: Air Warrior Updated
January 16, 2009: Last year Chile received 136 second hand Leopard II tanks from Germany. Most (93) of them were used to form three tank battalions. Chile already has six battalions of older Leopard I tanks, and one battalion (30) of these are being sold to Ecuador. Price was not disclosed, but is believed to be about half a million dollars per tank.

Until the 1980s, the Leopard I was considered one of the best tanks available. First built in the late 1960s, it was the first post-World War II German tank design. Although a contemporary of the American M-60A3, the German tank was considered superior. For this reason, Germany was able to export Leopards to many nations, including Australia. Most of the 4,744 produced (plus 1,741 Leopard chassis adapted to other uses, like recovery and anti-aircraft) have been retired (in storage) or scrapped. Many owners of may have to melt it's Leopard Is down, for there's not much of a market left for 44 ton tanks, even those equipped with a lot of nifty upgrades. The original buyers of Leopard I have already flooded the market.

The export market is further clouded by legal restrictions, as Germany still retains the right to reject any buyer for the tanks. Thus prospective buyers must pass muster with German public opinion. No nations suffering from bad PR need apply.

The second hand Leopard I market is made worse by the availability of the Leopard II. This is basically a contemporary of the U.S. M-1, and often considered superior to the M-1. But the M-1 has an impressive combat record, and no Leopard II has ever seen action. Still, on paper, and in training exercises, the Leopard II has been impressive. Some 3,000 Leopard IIs are out there, and Germany is still marketing them. Many surplus M-1s are available, and a few Leopard IIs. Add to this the thousands of late model Russian tanks available, and it's no wonder why second hand tanks like the Leopard I go for such low prices.

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Cannoneer No. 4    No Leopard II has ever seen action   1/16/2009 9:30:56 AM
Wrong! 
 
Danish Tanks in Serious Fire-Fight in Afghanistan

With a great deal of machinegun fire and 20 rounds fired from the guns, the Danish Leopard tank crews engaged the Taliban both out  in open terrain and  when the enemy forces took cover in compounds. In this situation, the tanks? supporting  fire was a big help to the Danish infantry.  -- CASR


The few Leopard II's actually sent have now seen combat supporting Danish and British troops in Helmand province. On January 5th three tanks along with a unit from the Danish mechanized infantry group engaged Taliban forces from the east side of the Helmand river. --  JRC-1138
 
 
 
 
 
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Nasty German Idiot       1/16/2009 12:01:19 PM
Both Leopard 1 and 2 have been used by Denmark, Canada in Afghanistan and both have confirmed the performance that was already known from the training ground. (I havent heard a serious doubt even from M1 fans that the Leopard will do well on the battlefield)
 
About the Market situation:  Germany downsized the Tank corps from 2800 A4 - A5 to 850 Leopard 2 A5 and A6.
The Last 1500 Leopard 1A5 in German service were put into storage in 2003.  The remaining are used partly as presents for new Nato nations like Poland because that would still mean work for the German Arms industry (spare parts), the rest was sold at a cheap price to all kinds of nations (Greece, Canada, even Chile and Singapore !)  simply get rid of them.
 
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Librarian    Relative lack of combat   1/16/2009 8:49:08 PM
In all fairness to the article, the use of Leopard tanks (1 and 2) in combat in Afghanistan doesn't really compare to the much more demanding workouts that M-1's have seen in the wars with Iraq.  The Taliban never had a menace comparable to a T-72 to threaten the Leopards.  And I say this as a Canadian.
 
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Whispering_Death       1/17/2009 7:33:47 AM

Wrong! 

 

Danish Tanks in Serious Fire-Fight in Afghanistan



With a great deal of machinegun fire and 20 rounds fired from the guns, the Danish Leopard tank crews engaged the Taliban both out  in open terrain and  when the enemy forces took cover in compounds. In this situation, the tanks? supporting  fire was a big help to the Danish infantry.  -- CASR





The few Leopard II's actually sent have now seen combat supporting Danish and British troops in Helmand province. On January 5th three tanks along with a unit from the Danish mechanized infantry group engaged Taliban forces from the east side of the Helmand river. --  JRC-1138

 

 

 

 


It's a nice footnote that the Leopard has shot it's gun a few times and survived a few .30 rounds but it's a footnote.
The Leopard is an MBT not a IFV, the point of the paragraph is still valid - it has not, and probobly will never, be able to do the job for which it was designed.
 
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Cannoneer No. 4    Action    1/17/2009 8:53:12 AM
It's a nice footnote that the Leopard has shot it's gun a few times and survived a few .30 rounds but it's a footnote.

Action is action.  One can quibble about the intensity, the danger, the heroism, tactical significance, etc., but one cannot accurately report that no Leopard II has ever seen action.  That "footnote" seriously detracts from the quality of the entire entry.  What else did the author get wrong?
 
it has not, and probobly will never, be able to do the job for which it was designed.

Neither can any other Western weapon system designed before the fall of the Soviet Union, including the M1 series. 


 
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Nichevo       1/18/2009 6:17:35 AM
Who are we to stop you from fooling yourself?  Sure, action, whatever. 
 
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Claymore       1/18/2009 3:29:27 PM
I know some Danish Leapord Tank Driver was killed by and IED last year.
 
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