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Spain's Armor


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I have a few questions relating to Spanish armor after 1975. I have the magazine titled La Brunete: Primera Parte. but I won't be getting the second part any time soon (at some point I'll have to order it on the net; I bought the first part when I was visiting my family in Spain this past summer). Regardless, the questions are as follows:

 

1. Why was the AMX-30 chosen over the M60A1 or the Leopard 1?

2. Were all AMX-30s indigenously produced in Spain? If not, how many were imported? How many were introduced into the Spanish army in total?

3. After the TLE in 1992 from whom did Spain receive her M60s? Were they already upgraded to M60A3TTS status?

4. What happened to the M47s imported during the 50s and 60s, and to the M48s, when they were replaced?

 

These are all the questions I can remember, right now. Thanks in advance for your time,

 

Jon

 

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Another unrelated question. What happened to the 2,000+ M47s sold to Italy during the 50s when they were replaced by M60A1s and later the Leopard 1?

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1. Why was the AMX-30 chosen over the M60A1 or the Leopard 1?

(...)

 

I remember it was the only modern tank that didn't mount the L7A1 gun or one of its derivatives. The British Government had declared an arms embargo on Spain that also affected the purchase of frigates for the Armada

 

After a brief search, I found this pdf. Look for "Harold Wilson".

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1. Why was the AMX-30 chosen over the M60A1 or the Leopard 1?

 

Germany had severe export restrictions on the Leo. Greece, Spain, and Chile were still dictatorships at the time, and Germany nixed any idea of selling to them early on. This all happened well before 1975.

 

Not sure about the M60. We certainly had less of a problem selling to dictatorships. We loved Franco for being rabidly anti-communist.

 

I remember it was the only modern tank that didn't mount the L7A1 gun or one of its derivatives. The British Government had declared an arms embargo on Spain that also affected the purchase of frigates for the Armada.

 

That might explain the frigates and no British tanks, but the Spanish already had a ton of M48A5 and M47E with the L7/M68 gun.

 

In fact, by the late 60s nearly the entire Spanish tank force was equipped with the L7 and 105mm NATO ammunition. Spain was also one of the few countries to have

L7 equipped M47s.

 

- John

Edited by Kensuke
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The first AMX-30s arrived in 1976, after the death of Franco in 1975. IIRC, Spanish M48s and M48A1s were not upgraded to M48A5 status until after the death of Franco, as well. Thanks Sunday for the PDF.

 

- Jon

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The first AMX-30s arrived in 1976, after the death of Franco in 1975. IIRC, Spanish M48s and M48A1s were not upgraded to M48A5 status until after the death of Franco, as well. Thanks Sunday for the PDF.

 

- Jon

 

I thought Spain had the A5 as far back as the 60s?

 

- John

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You may be right. In my principle Spanish source (La Brunete: Primera Parte) it's not very clear (or easy to find) what types of M48s came into Spain up until 1970. However, it does say that in 1970 the treaties with the U.S. were extended for another 5 years, in which 66 M48A2s were received from the United States, as well as 17 M41A3s. At the same time, RIAC 61 in El Goloso completely substituted its M47s for M48A1s. Furthermore, concerning the AMX-30, I was wrong - the first 21 AMX-30s made it to Spain from France in 1970, and thse were given to the Legion. The same source claims that Spain began to update its M47s to M47E-1s between 1975 and 1976 through Chrysler España, and her M-48s into M-48Es from 1978 onwards; the first batch of 100 would be completed in 1979 and given to cavalry units in Ceuta and Melilla.

 

This brings up another question:

 

Were the 100 M-47s imported from Italy (in bad condition) ultimately used for the purpose of transforming them into armor recovery vehicles?

 

The New Vanguard book for the M-47 and M-48, but Steven Zaloga, (New Vanguard 31) says that Spain's M-47s and M-48s were converted to M-47Es and M-48Es in the 1980s.

 

-Jon

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AFAIK, Spain started getting L7 equipped tanks *before* 1975. I might have misspoke by saying most were equipped as such in the late 60s, but I'm almost positive they had them before Franco bit the dust in '75. Ergo, I don't think there was an embargo on the L7 into Spain per-say.

 

It's possible OTOH that Spain couldn't get M60/M60A1 because a lot of the production run was sent to Israel instead. This is around the time of the Yom Kippur War.

Plus, lets keep in mind that Spain didn't join NATO until '82. Nearly everybody else that got the M60 around this time-frame was NATO or a close US ally (Italy was a founding member and got theirs in the early 60s). US-Spanish relations were more ambivalent.

 

Leopard 1 was definitely embargo-related. Germany is more picky about who they sell arms to.

 

On the other end of the spectrum you have France, which will sell to just about anyone.

 

- John

Edited by Kensuke
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Some of the Italian M47s were given to Somalia when it changed sides from pro-Soviet to anti (because the USSR found a new, bigger friend - Ethiopia). The USA sometimes asked for kit like that to be given back when retired, but I don't know if that happened to any of the Italian M47s. A large number were kept in storage in Italy for years, with occasional proposals to do an M47E-style upgrade to some, but AFAIK they were scrapped eventually.

 

The numbers I remember seeing listed as stored were several hundred. Still a lot not accounted for. It's possible (NB: this is speculation) some reverted to US ownership, & were then sent to other countries, e.g. Greece & Turkey.

 

PS. Descriptions & photos of some AFVs in Somalia, including ex-Italian M47s -

 

http://membres.lycos.fr/France40/

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Sunday, sorry to be a pain-in-the-ass, but did you ever get your hands one that PDF on Programa Coraza?

 

I lost it. Sorry for no telling you.

 

But, in a stroke of luck and looking to redeem me, I found this nice web page, from which you can download that blessed pdf.

 

Tell me if you can't open the file. I just downloaded it.

 

Best regards, and my excuses.

 

Jose

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Jose,

 

Thanks! I was able to view the file fine, although I'll have to wait until I get home to save it.

 

Regards,

 

Jon

 

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How was the decision made to use the Leopard 2A6 as the basis for the Leopard 2E, as opposed to the Leopard 2A5? This PDF still says that Spain would use the Leopard 2A5 as the basis.

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Jose,

 

Thanks! I was able to view the file fine, although I'll have to wait until I get home to save it.

 

Regards,

 

Jon

 

----

 

How was the decision made to use the Leopard 2A6 as the basis for the Leopard 2E, as opposed to the Leopard 2A5? This PDF still says that Spain would use the Leopard 2A5 as the basis.

 

I think we have to wait for Gorka, but I my memory don't fails, the Leo 2A6 became available shortly before or after the completion of the study, but before the signing of the agreement with Krauss-Maffei, and, in the interim. the L55 gun was made available, so after some more talks, in 1998 it was decided to buy Leos 2A6

 

I found this page, about the history of the program. Looks good.

 

Also you can find more info here and here.

 

Regards.

 

Jose

 

P.D.: Once you get your Leo, May I ask for a ride? :)

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AFAIK, Spain started getting L7 equipped tanks *before* 1975. I might have misspoke by saying most were equipped as such in the late 60s, but I'm almost positive they had them before Franco bit the dust in '75. Ergo, I don't think there was an embargo on the L7 into Spain per-say.

 

It's possible OTOH that Spain couldn't get M60/M60A1 because a lot of the production run was sent to Israel instead. This is around the time of the Yom Kippur War.

Plus, lets keep in mind that Spain didn't join NATO until '82. Nearly everybody else that got the M60 around this time-frame was NATO or a close US ally (Italy was a founding member and got theirs in the early 60s). US-Spanish relations were more ambivalent.

 

Leopard 1 was definitely embargo-related. Germany is more picky about who they sell arms to.

 

On the other end of the spectrum you have France, which will sell to just about anyone.

 

- John

 

John,

 

Looking for info on the Leopardo 2E I stumbled upon this page (in Spanish).

 

According to that website,

 

1. The first American tanks to arrive in Spain were plain-jane M47, between 1954 and 1960, about 368 units total.

 

2. In 1967 the first 54 M48 were bought. In 1972 we bought 54 M48A1. Another 20 M48A1 came in 1978.

 

2. These tanks were upgraded by mounting a Diesel engine, replacement of optics, and removing the hull MG (in the M47s). Those first upgrades to M47E, M47E1, and M48A3E didn't include upgunning to 105mm.

 

4. The upgrade of the M48s, and M48A1s, to M48A5E began in 1979. The upgrade included the replacement of the gun by an American M68 or a German RH105/30 . The upgrade of the M47Es to M47E2, with the same guns, began in 1980.

 

5. In 1980 were bought 54 M48A2, and, from Italy, about 100 M47 earmarked for the scrapper in Italy, but we intended to made into special vehicles. Sadly, they were in such a state that the transformation was not possible.

 

There is more data in the link above.

 

Regards.

 

Jose

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Where the Hell is Gorka; too many nurses to chase in Málaga??

 

A few notes:

The Spanish Legion lost its last tanks when it left Sahara in the 1975 redeployment, so the

early AMX-30 deployment perhaps went to the cavary regts in Ceuta/Melilla?

 

There were few 105mm L7 guns before the M60A3 acquisition, because only 40+ of

the M47E2? with them were converted, all assigned the battalion at Cerro Muriano

[X Brigada], I was allowed to drive one in '92, the oldest tank I have operated. [edit to add:

The chassis was the oldest of the tanks I have been allowed to operate, but I thought

it a very fine modernization, limited of course by the armor; so, older but better, kinda like I hope to be....]

 

The M60A3 transfer was problematic and not all were TTS versions, as I recall, and many were far from

the Code A condition promised. The 50 M60A1 also part of the deal I think were rejected in the end.

 

The planning before the decision to go to Leo II was the following, as far as I could determine in 1994:

 

In 1989, Spain operated the following inventory of main battle tanks:

375 M47E1 and E2

164 M48A5E2

299 AMX30E,ER1 and EM2

16 M48A3 [naval infantry/marine corps]That year, the Army had begun to modernize 150 of the AMX30's of the Brunete Armored Division to the most modern, EM2, standard. Then came the 1990 TLE deliberations, limiting Spain to 794 tanks [also 1310 artillery pieces and 1588 APCs], but offering the prospect of acquiring excess U.S. Army M60 tanks from USAREUR stocks, at the modest cost of transportation, vehicle accessories and reconditioning, where necessary. Spain thus requested in 1991 the transfer of 160 M60A1 and 260 M60A3 [also 24 M-110A2 and 100 M113A2]. At the same time, the army marked for disposal the M47 series, the M48A3 of the marines and 89 of the oldest AMX30E tanks. In September, 1992, the army took delivery of the first 50 M60A1 and 46 M60A3TTS vehicles. The modernization plan then was recast to complete the AMX30 upgrade, rebuild all the M60A1 to A3 standards, and overhaul/modify all the M60A3 to M60A3E1. At the same time, national defense reductions allowed Spain to voluntarily limit herself to 684 tanks, and to decline the last 110 M60A1 of the TLE allocation.

 

The penultimate modernization plan, of 4 August 1993, earmarked 154 M60A3TTS for upgrading to M60A3E1 standards. Intended for service until 2012, these vehicles will receive reactive and ceramic armor kits and 850hp MTU engines. A further 94 M60A1TTS will receive periodic overhauls and operate through 2007. The plan canceled modernization of the 50 M60A1 and 60 AMX30ER, which will remain unmodified and serve through the end of the century. Tank recovery vehicles for the fleet consist of 22 converted M47 tanks, designated M47E1R, which began arriving from the GAMESA firm in 1994. The vehicles received modified M60A3 automotive components, hydraulic winches to pull 56 tonnes and lift 35 tonnes. In addition, 30 new tank transporters are ordered, built around the Mercedes-Benz 2644S tractor and the Spanish TRABOSA GM0734 trailer.

Thus at some expense for modernization and upkeep, the Spanish Army had resolved its immediate problems in battle tanks. Yet the desired standard for some time had been the Leopard II. In fact, the native tank project, the "Lince (Lynx)," reflected strongly on the Leo II. Funding had yet to be found for such undertakings, however.

Thus, the willingness of the government to purchase first-line tanks reveals the extent of its commitment to play a full part in the WEU defense arm, especially the EuroCorps. The alignment of the XXI Mechanized Infantry Brigade to the Eurocorps will be followed by the rest of the Brunete Division (redesignated a mechanized division by 1997) as a reinforcement echelon in WEU scheme. The Leopard II will contribute to nascent WEU standardization. Eventually the new "Pizarro" infantry fighting vehicle will operate in tandem with the Leopards. The XXI Brigade will also receive the first of these in 1995, replacing the M113s and wheeled BMRs of its three mechanized battalions.

Edited by Ken Estes
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The AMX30 was the only option in the 70s. This tank was bought without restrictions for use.

 

The Tank Company of the Spanish Legion was created in 1970, when the AMX30 were recieved. In december 75 a tank platoon was one of the last units to be redeployed from Sahara.

After the withdrawal the company was disbanded and the tanks were given to the Armored Infantry Battalion Wad-Ras.

 

The M60 transfered from US depots in Germany were not in very good conditions. The M60A3 were overhauled. The M60A1 were acepted but transformed in bridge launchers and combat engineer vehicles.

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AFAIK, Spain started getting L7 equipped tanks *before* 1975. I might have misspoke by saying most were equipped as such in the late 60s, but I'm almost positive they had them before Franco bit the dust in '75. Ergo, I don't think there was an embargo on the L7 into Spain per-say.

 

It's possible OTOH that Spain couldn't get M60/M60A1 because a lot of the production run was sent to Israel instead. This is around the time of the Yom Kippur War.

Plus, lets keep in mind that Spain didn't join NATO until '82. Nearly everybody else that got the M60 around this time-frame was NATO or a close US ally (Italy was a founding member and got theirs in the early 60s). US-Spanish relations were more ambivalent.

 

Leopard 1 was definitely embargo-related. Germany is more picky about who they sell arms to.

 

On the other end of the spectrum you have France, which will sell to just about anyone.

 

- John

 

The earliest trials of 105mm equipped tanks in Spain happened in 1964 with AMX-30, but when the decision to buy one was taken in 1966 the Leopard was chosen. However the Germans were reticent and the British were opposed to the acquisition or license production of the L-7, so in 1970 the AMX-30 was the winner, with 19 being bought for the Sahara as mentioned. There they were joined by M48A1s of the Alcazar de Toledo regiment in 1974 and when the Company was disbanded, the tanks were sent to the 55th Mechanised Infantry Regiment "Uad-Ras".

 

License production of the AMX-30E started in 1974, the first tank rolling out on the 30th October 1974, and from then until 25th June 1979 at a rate of 5 per month. The first contract covered 180 tanks. An additional 100 were covered by a new contract on 25th June 1979 to be produced between 1979 and 1983.

 

Those were the only 105mm armed tanks when Franco died. The M-48s were upgraded to M48A5E in 1979 and to M48A5E1 in 1983. The M47s were upgraded as M47E1 starting in 1945, the 45 M47E2 were produced in 1982 and the Infanteria de Marina M48s were upgraded to M48A3E in 1978.

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That's most interesting that Legion received the first AMX-30s, after all. But the companies already existed. The 3d and 4th Tercios deployed to Spanish Sahara in 1958 and for the second time the Legion established light tank units, one company for each Saharan Tercio, and added organic artillery for the first time in the form of two air-transportable batteries. I think the tanks were M24, supplemented by some armored cars, but I never looked into the details. Do you have the OBs, RETAC21?

 

[Edit to add]: our IM pal Arturo Esteban Ceballos has links on his Blimdanet to this YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEgb-BKggBk which also shows related links for Legion, Ejercito, etc.

 

[another edit to add]: 22/29Aug58 created I/II Grupos Ligeros Blindados and later the two btty (Nov58/Jun59) of air transportable arty[ea. 4x105mm/11, disband in early 1964) for Sahara ops. 1Jan66 renamed Grupo Ligero Sahariano I/II. The tanks were M24; this from the Sp Legion semiofficial history, Legión Española: Cincuenta Años de Historia, 2 vols., (Leganés, 1970, 1973). Vol I 1920-36 460p + App. Vol II desde 1936 hasta nuestras dias 508pp + Append; Published by the Sub-inspeccion de la Legión, Leganés; printed Madrid: Escelicer, S.A., [see pp. II:480-81]

Edited by Ken Estes
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The earliest trials of 105mm equipped tanks in Spain happened in 1964 with AMX-30, but when the decision to buy one was taken in 1966 the Leopard was chosen. However the Germans were reticent and the British were opposed to the acquisition or license production of the L-7, so in 1970 the AMX-30 was the winner, with 19 being bought for the Sahara as mentioned.

 

IIRC, the final contract was signed in 1967 or so, with the first lot of 19 vehicles being received in 1970. One was kept in the mainland for training with the rest being sent to the Legion armored forces in the Spanish Sahara to replace M24s used till tham as support tanks. These became pillboxes around the Villa Cisteros and El Aiun air bases.

 

There they were joined by M48A1s of the Alcazar de Toledo regiment in 1974 and when the Company was disbanded, the tanks were sent to the 55th Mechanised Infantry Regiment "Uad-Ras".
Yup, when things started to get hot in 1974 theArmy joined with a force of 26 M48A1 from the Alcazar de Toledo. These were quite worn out, although they behave almost flawlessy during their deployment save for a very high fuel (gasoline) consumption. The M48A1 was considered more reliable than the AMX-30 with its infamous Gravina centrifugal clutch, even after having in fact the mequis (Spanish slang word derived from "AMX") had professional crews.

 

 

Those were the only 105mm armed tanks when Franco died. The M-48s were upgraded to M48A5E in 1979 and to M48A5E1 in 1983. The M47s were upgraded as M47E1 starting in 1945, the 45 M47E2 were produced in 1982 and the Infanteria de Marina M48s were upgraded to M48A3E in 1978.

 

The M47 upgrade started in 1975 with a first lot of 100 M47E. Later anoter batch of some 250 vehicles was upgraded to the E1 standard, with a rearangement of the crew heater and ammo panniers in place of the hull gunner. The E were later upgraded to E1. In 1983 45 vehicles were further upgraded to E2 with Rh-105-30 105/51mm gun and a passive night sight for the tank commander via a ENOSA 2nd gen light intensifier being introduced on his M20 sight, the gunner keeping the standard day only M20. At this time the 90mm armed E1 started to receive the IMI M94 90mm APFSDS round while the 105mma rmed vehicles had the M111.

 

In 1983 some 84 unmodernized M47s were bought from an Italian scrap head with the idea of using them to creat a family of specialized support vehicles based on the M47/60 hull/mechanics combination. At that time some prototypes for AVBL, recovery and sapper vehicles were made. In the end most of the plans had to be scrapped due to funding shortages and changing requeriments, with most of the Italian vehicles being scrapped unused, although there are some survivors including the plain jane M47 being shown at El Goloso, easy to ID due to its characteristic rainwater deflectors welded into the turret sides. In the end 22 M47s became M47ER2 recovery vehicles although I don`t know if these were made using Spanish or Italian overhauled hulls. These were too small to support the Leopard 2 and are used with M60 and now M109 units after the retirement of the M578.

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1. Why was the AMX-30 chosen over the M60A1 or the Leopard 1?

 

As already said, mostly politics.

 

3. After the TLE in 1992 from whom did Spain receive her M60s? Were they already upgraded to M60A3TTS status?

 

Spain received 260 M60A3/A3TTS from US Army stocks. these were in quite bad shape and before being distributed to units were fully overhauled. At this time the opportunity to make al A3 into A3TTS was taken.

 

Spain was also to receive 310 M60A1s. A first lot of 50 was received, these were in bad shape and considered obsolete. The rest of A1s was rejected and this lot was kept stored until being used to create Alacran sapper vehicles and AVBLs using the Leguan sliding bridge. These work alongside the original batch of M60 AVBL bought in the 70s with scissor bridges.

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It's possible OTOH that Spain couldn't get M60/M60A1 because a lot of the production run was sent to Israel instead.

 

As far as I know, Spain never evaluated the M60 gun tank (unlike Argentina which bought a couple for evaluation purposes un the 70s).

 

The Leopard almost made a comeback in the 1990s when in 1993 chancellor Khol offered as many A5s as we would like to the Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez during a bilateral summit. The idea was rejected as the Leopard 1A5 wasn`t considered the worth of creating a new logistical chain, while the M60s could use most of the current logistical chain developed for the M47/48.

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I think we have to wait for Gorka, but I my memory don't fails, the Leo 2A6 became available shortly before or after the completion of the study, but before the signing of the agreement with Krauss-Maffei, and, in the interim. the L55 gun was made available, so after some more talks, in 1998 it was decided to buy Leos 2A6

 

Yup, the program budget was simply expanded to take the additional costs related to the L55 gun.

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