Have you ever heard of the Lansen tank? This was a project started by Sweden after World War II as a new medium tank. Overall, this unusual Swede had an unexpected journey. Let's dive into its history together.
In the second half of the 1940s, most nations were playing with new ideas regarding armoured vehicles and tank warfare in general. Sweden was no exception, and Landsverk, one of its most famous heavy industries, started to think of a new medium tank.
Named Lansen (Swedish for Spear), this new vehicle was designed as a compromise between two already existing tanks of the same company: the 25-ton Leo (Lion) and the lighter 17-ton Pilen (Arrow). It was presented to foreign customers in 1948, and it had a weight of 20 tons. It packed the firepower of the Leo and the armour of the Pilen.
At the time, it was equipped with a powerful engine, propelling it to a top speed of around 48-55 km/h, and a fuel tank with a volume of 380 litres. Armament-wise, a 75mm cannon with the ballistics of the Lvkan m/30's 7.5 cm anti-aircraft gun was proposed as the main armament.
The Spear breaks
Despite its qualities, the Swedish Army didn't really pay attention to the Lansen originally. For some reason, the vehicle was really interesting to the Pakistani military though. The deal started on the right foot with a pre-order of 36 vehicles and the making of a full-sized wooden layout of the tank. But in the end, the deal was cancelled for unknown reasons – the price might have been the issue.
The Swiss military came next, but they didn't like the weapons offered with the Lansen. To charm this potential new buyer, in 1950, Landsverk drafted a new version of the Lansen. It was equipped with an 84 mm Swiss cannon, which was really just a copy of the British 20-pounder gun. This started a whole trend, and a lot of variants of the Lansen were designed. They made the combat mass of the vehicle shoot up to 25 tons due to thicker armour, a new suspension, a different engine, and so on and so forth.
One year later though, in 1951, Switzerland lost their interest completely. As a result, a whole range of Lansen variants was designed/produced, at least on paper.
The Emil arrives
Before the project was discontinued, a final version of the Lansen was imagined: the Lansen C. This variant of the vehicle packed a powerful 105 mm gun, a much bigger weapon than Landsverk first anticipated.
In the end, the Lansen concept was never manufactured and ultimately abandoned in favour of the Emil. The goal of that project was to create a Swedish equivalent of the French AMX 50 series.