In this interesting video from the German Bundeswehr Classix series, the “new” Leopard 2 Kampfpanzer is introduced. The video begins by showcasing the Leopard 2 Austere Version (AV) and in particular the combination PT 20 / T 21. It is very likely that this video was created when Leopard 2 series production had just commenced as only prototypes are shown. In 1979, T 21 was mounted on a pre-production Leopard 2 series chassis as part of troop trials in Munster and Aachen . PT 20 was furnished with a turret weight simulator. T 21 currently resides at the Henning-von-Treschkow barracks.
Some of the footage shown is from trials of the first generation Leopard 2 prototypes (starting at 1:23 in the video). The narrator says: “The 18 prototypes were evaluated under the most challenging circumstances. They drove some 95,000 km and fired 11,000 shots. They defied the Canadian winter and resisted the ferocious heat of the Arizona desert.” The prototypes were exposed to outside temperatures ranging from -40 °C to +45 °C. All Leopard 2 troop trials ended in September 1975.
There’s not much to tell about the prototypes shown in the video other than that the first vehicle has the 105 mm gun and the last two the 120 mm gun.
A second video shows mostly the same footage (albeit in worse quality), but adds a shot of chassis PT 14 performing a “Sprung vom Wagen” manoeuvre to dismount a flatbed rail car (starting at 2:40). The turret mounted is T 13. This combination is known to have been evaluated by the Bundeswehr at the Lüneburger heath near Munster . Note that there is a second Leopard prototype on the rail cars.
- W. Spielberger, Von der Zugmaschine zum Leopard 2. Geschichte der Wehrtechnik bei Krauss-Maffei, 2nd ed. München: Bernard & Graefe, 1980.