Author Topic: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR  (Read 21312 times)

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Offline Tango24B

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Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« on: March 25, 2011, 13:17:17 »
Hello Gentlemen,

After years of observing your posts I am seeking some answers from the gurus of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps on a couple of questions about some unique modifications on some of Canada's past tanks.  These might get you scratching your head or they might get the old drive sprockets turning again.

1. There is a Leopard 1A3 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa with modifications for the EMES 18 sight and muzzle reference system. The tank is without a doubt a German Leopard 1A3 and not a Leopard C1 or a C2. The tank was obtained by DND somewhere around 1993-1995. The tank is painted in the three colour NATO scheme and has the Maple Leaf stencil on both sides of the turret. The tank also has had the open stowage basket added to the rear of the turret. This mod was seen on later C1s when the MEXAS mounts were added in about 1996. The CFR is listed as 73-12422. The tank had as its first holding unit Valcartier in 1993 and then with DND in 1995. If any of you past or present Armoured School AAGs (I was once one too in the Regiment) can shed some light on the origin or use of this tank that would be much appreciated as I am trying to assist the CWM with the history aspect. They hope to have it up and running again for Canada Day 2011. I suspect it may have been a trial tank used to determine if upgrading the C1 with the EMES 18 was feasable at the time or to wait until the 1A5 turrets came available for the C2 development. The only German Leopard 1A3 that I know of that was modified with the EMES 18 sight was a German trial tank sent to Thailand for hot weather testing in the 1980s....could this be the same tank?

2. Next question....and this goes way back. In the early 1970s in Germany prior to the Centurions being retired there was at least one Canadian Centurion that was modified by removing the standard round searchlight and replacing it with a new mount and the same rectangular searchlight as mounted on the German Leopard 1s. The same type of mount and searchlight was fitted to Dutch Centurion Mk5s. Is there anyone out there that was in Germany at that time and remembers one or more Centurions modified with the searchlight? I am curious if it was just a one off trial of the searchlight or possibly a bigger part of looking at additional upgrades to the aging Centurions before the Leopard C1 was selected.

Thanks in advance to anyone that has info on either the Leopard or Centurion question....or images!

« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 13:42:19 by Tango24B »

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2011, 15:11:31 »
Hello Gentlemen,

After years of observing your posts I am seeking some answers from the gurus of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps on a couple of questions about some unique modifications on some of Canada's past tanks.  These might get you scratching your head or they might get the old drive sprockets turning again.

1. There is a Leopard 1A3 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa with modifications for the EMES 18 sight and muzzle reference system. The tank is without a doubt a German Leopard 1A3 and not a Leopard C1 or a C2. The tank was obtained by DND somewhere around 1993-1995. The tank is painted in the three colour NATO scheme and has the Maple Leaf stencil on both sides of the turret. The tank also has had the open stowage basket added to the rear of the turret. This mod was seen on later C1s when the MEXAS mounts were added in about 1996. The CFR is listed as 73-12422. The tank had as its first holding unit Valcartier in 1993 and then with DND in 1995. If any of you past or present Armoured School AAGs (I was once one too in the Regiment) can shed some light on the origin or use of this tank that would be much appreciated as I am trying to assist the CWM with the history aspect. They hope to have it up and running again for Canada Day 2011. I suspect it may have been a trial tank used to determine if upgrading the C1 with the EMES 18 was feasable at the time or to wait until the 1A5 turrets came available for the C2 development. The only German Leopard 1A3 that I know of that was modified with the EMES 18 sight was a German trial tank sent to Thailand for hot weather testing in the 1980s....could this be the same tank?

2. Next question....and this goes way back. In the early 1970s in Germany prior to the Centurions being retired there was at least one Canadian Centurion that was modified by removing the standard round searchlight and replacing it with a new mount and the same rectangular searchlight as mounted on the German Leopard 1s. The same type of mount and searchlight was fitted to Dutch Centurion Mk5s. Is there anyone out there that was in Germany at that time and remembers one or more Centurions modified with the searchlight? I am curious if it was just a one off trial of the searchlight or possibly a bigger part of looking at additional upgrades to the aging Centurions before the Leopard C1 was selected.

Thanks in advance to anyone that has info on either the Leopard or Centurion question....or images!

I can't speak to the Leopards, but drove Centurion almost up to the end. I left Germany in the late summer of 75. Up to that point, there was no such mod that I am aware of. Not to say it didn't happen after I left, but the rent-a-tanks were pretty well a done deal at that point and no extra funds were being put toward Centurion. Where did you see this? Got a picture you can post?
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2011, 16:25:57 »
1. There is a Leopard 1A3 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa with modifications for the EMES 18 sight and muzzle reference system. The tank is without a doubt a German Leopard 1A3 and not a Leopard C1 or a C2. The tank was obtained by DND somewhere around 1993-1995. The tank is painted in the three colour NATO scheme and has the Maple Leaf stencil on both sides of the turret. The tank also has had the open stowage basket added to the rear of the turret. This mod was seen on later C1s when the MEXAS mounts were added in about 1996. The CFR is listed as 73-12422. The tank had as its first holding unit Valcartier in 1993 and then with DND in 1995. If any of you past or present Armoured School AAGs (I was once one too in the Regiment) can shed some light on the origin or use of this tank that would be much appreciated as I am trying to assist the CWM with the history aspect. They hope to have it up and running again for Canada Day 2011. I suspect it may have been a trial tank used to determine if upgrading the C1 with the EMES 18 was feasable at the time or to wait until the 1A5 turrets came available for the C2 development. The only German Leopard 1A3 that I know of that was modified with the EMES 18 sight was a German trial tank sent to Thailand for hot weather testing in the 1980s....could this be the same tank?

Are you at the CWM?  Have you talked to Jim Whittam the Collection Manager?  I have discussed this with him years ago and the explanation I got was basically that the CWM did not get a Cdn tank and turret, so made do with a "close replica" that only Cdn Tankers would notice as not being the real deal.  I informed him at the time, that there were C1 turrets laying on the ground in Petawawa awaiting placement on the ranges as targets, but the paperwork and finances to acquire one were a problem for the CWM. 
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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2011, 16:45:18 »
Did they get it from the Germans when they left Shilo?
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2011, 16:46:56 »
Did they get it from the Germans when they left Shilo?

I don't think so.  The Germans had Leo 2 in Shilo.
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Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 17:39:39 »
I can't speak to the Leopards, but drove Centurion almost up to the end. I left Germany in the late summer of 75. Up to that point, there was no such mod that I am aware of. Not to say it didn't happen after I left, but the rent-a-tanks were pretty well a done deal at that point and no extra funds were being put toward Centurion. Where did you see this? Got a picture you can post?

I have seen one image but it is not mine to post. The image was taken on exercise during a road move in 1975....and as best as I can determine by triangulating a position by examining the traffic signs at a Y intersection in the image it was taken in Diesenbach.

Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 17:47:29 »
Are you at the CWM?  Have you talked to Jim Whittam the Collection Manager?  I have discussed this with him years ago and the explanation I got was basically that the CWM did not get a Cdn tank and turret, so made do with a "close replica" that only Cdn Tankers would notice as not being the real deal.  I informed him at the time, that there were C1 turrets laying on the ground in Petawawa awaiting placement on the ranges as targets, but the paperwork and finances to acquire one were a problem for the CWM.

Hi George,

I am in Calgary. I am dealing with the CWM Collections Manager at the current time. The tank does not appear to be a hybrid of a mixed hull and turret. Neither the hull or turret have any Canadian modifications, other than the stowage basket,  and all of the placards inside are German. Without a doubt it is a 1A3 with the EMES 18.....the Germans never used the 1A3 with the EMES 18 except for a trial tank.

The tank was moved to Gagetown in 1997 and then to 202 Wksp in 2001, and then disposed of out of 25 CFSD in 2003. 


Offline Lance Wiebe

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 20:49:57 »
I had 422 to play with for a couple of years while I was the IG Tm WO.  The story that I was given on the tank was that it was a test 1A3 that was never issued to the German Army, but was used as a test bed at Krauss Maffei.  At one point in its career, it was modified with the EMES 18 and a relaxed view PERI sight; similar to the Leo 2A5/6.  It was (supposedly) the predecessor to the Danish update when they took their Leo1A3 and installed the EMES 18.  It also was (again, supposedly) the first Leopard 1 with the turret electric drive that became the norm for the TED upgrade, as opposed to the more experimental types that trialled before it came along.

When you jump on top, you can still see where they mounted the relaxed viewer PERI.  I have no idea what type they mounted, but it was toward the rear of the turret, similar to the Leo 2A5/6.

I was told it was given to us at the time, because we gave KM a tank in trade that we bought during the Leopard C2 project.

I have seen Centurions with the smaller searchlight, but never a Canadian one.  I believe the Dutch and the Swedes both did this mod.
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Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2011, 23:29:25 »
Hi Lance,

Thanks very much for providing your reply and the details on the Leopard. I will see if I can get some images to show the turret top.

FYI...I think you were my Course WO back on my AAG course back in the early 1990s.

Take care and thanks again.

Offline Bzzliteyr

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 10:11:17 »
Lance has been around since the 1890s so that is entirely possible. 

I think I remember playing with that tank in Valcartier for a trial with DRC.  We would also send some guys to do maintenance on it every now and then.  Apart from a mild recollection I have nothing else to share, sorry.
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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 10:39:35 »

1. There is a Leopard 1A3 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa with modifications for the EMES 18 sight and muzzle reference system. The tank is without a doubt a German Leopard 1A3 and not a Leopard C1 or a C2. The tank was obtained by DND somewhere around 1993-1995. The tank is painted in the three colour NATO scheme and has the Maple Leaf stencil on both sides of the turret. The tank also has had the open stowage basket added to the rear of the turret. This mod was seen on later C1s when the MEXAS mounts were added in about 1996. The CFR is listed as 73-12422. The tank had as its first holding unit Valcartier in 1993 and then with DND in 1995. If any of you past or present Armoured School AAGs (I was once one too in the Regiment) can shed some light on the origin or use of this tank that would be much appreciated as I am trying to assist the CWM with the history aspect. They hope to have it up and running again for Canada Day 2011. I suspect it may have been a trial tank used to determine if upgrading the C1 with the EMES 18 was feasable at the time or to wait until the 1A5 turrets came available for the C2 development. The only German Leopard 1A3 that I know of that was modified with the EMES 18 sight was a German trial tank sent to Thailand for hot weather testing in the 1980s....could this be the same tank?

[/quote]
For my info is this the one in side or out side tucked in the back?
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Offline Lance Wiebe

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2011, 18:28:03 »
Lance has been around since the 1890s so that is entirely possible. 

Now, was that very nice?

I do recall 422 with fondness.  It took a lot of work, but I finally received permission to play with it on the ranges to determine a good boresight/zeroing range.  (It was a good excuse to play with the EMES!)  The problem was that the barrel had something like 4800 EFC's on it.  At any rate, after numerous inspections, it was cleared to fire.  I first tried zeroing at 1500, with TP.  I had about a 25cm grouping, which was tighter than any C1 that I had when I had the K19 gunnery leopards.  I was really impressed with the EMES!  Of course, the thermal and the stabilized sight was fantastic as well.....
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Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2011, 23:18:12 »
Lance has been around since the 1890s so that is entirely possible. 

I think I remember playing with that tank in Valcartier for a trial with DRC.  We would also send some guys to do maintenance on it every now and then.  Apart from a mild recollection I have nothing else to share, sorry.

Thanks for the confirmation on the Valcartier connection.

Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2011, 23:20:00 »
1. There is a Leopard 1A3 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa with modifications for the EMES 18 sight and muzzle reference system. The tank is without a doubt a German Leopard 1A3 and not a Leopard C1 or a C2. The tank was obtained by DND somewhere around 1993-1995. The tank is painted in the three colour NATO scheme and has the Maple Leaf stencil on both sides of the turret. The tank also has had the open stowage basket added to the rear of the turret. This mod was seen on later C1s when the MEXAS mounts were added in about 1996. The CFR is listed as 73-12422. The tank had as its first holding unit Valcartier in 1993 and then with DND in 1995. If any of you past or present Armoured School AAGs (I was once one too in the Regiment) can shed some light on the origin or use of this tank that would be much appreciated as I am trying to assist the CWM with the history aspect. They hope to have it up and running again for Canada Day 2011. I suspect it may have been a trial tank used to determine if upgrading the C1 with the EMES 18 was feasable at the time or to wait until the 1A5 turrets came available for the C2 development. The only German Leopard 1A3 that I know of that was modified with the EMES 18 sight was a German trial tank sent to Thailand for hot weather testing in the 1980s....could this be the same tank?


For my info is this the one in side or out side tucked in the back?

The tank was at one time inside and at this time I believe it is stowed outside awaiting some new batteries to get it fired up again.

Offline Tango24B

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2011, 23:20:59 »
Now, was that very nice?

I do recall 422 with fondness.  It took a lot of work, but I finally received permission to play with it on the ranges to determine a good boresight/zeroing range.  (It was a good excuse to play with the EMES!)  The problem was that the barrel had something like 4800 EFC's on it.  At any rate, after numerous inspections, it was cleared to fire.  I first tried zeroing at 1500, with TP.  I had about a 25cm grouping, which was tighter than any C1 that I had when I had the K19 gunnery leopards.  I was really impressed with the EMES!  Of course, the thermal and the stabilized sight was fantastic as well.....

Too bad they didn't combine 422 with the IWS trials.

Offline Bzzliteyr

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Re: Unique Canadian Leopard and Centurion MK.11LR
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2011, 08:39:36 »
Now, was that very nice?

I do recall 422 with fondness.  It took a lot of work, but I finally received permission to play with it on the ranges to determine a good boresight/zeroing range.  (It was a good excuse to play with the EMES!)  The problem was that the barrel had something like 4800 EFC's on it.  At any rate, after numerous inspections, it was cleared to fire.  I first tried zeroing at 1500, with TP.  I had about a 25cm grouping, which was tighter than any C1 that I had when I had the K19 gunnery leopards.  I was really impressed with the EMES!  Of course, the thermal and the stabilized sight was fantastic as well.....

Sorry Lance, it was just a poke.. you know, between armour guys...

Tango24B, like I said, I seem to recall seeing it in Valcartier though I did work at the school from 96-06 so it might have been there.  I can confirm however that we did send troops to the Research center to walk track on a tank that did not belong to 12RBC. I remember being the jealous young trooper that wanted to visit that "mystery place".
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