Panzer 68 🇨🇭
Main battle tank of Switzerland.
The Panzer 68 is a Swiss home grown main battle tank, developed off the back of the Panzer 61, incorporating it's successful features. Development started in 1951 and in 1968 the Swiss army ordered 170 vehicles (hence the 68 designation).
The Panzer 68 is similar to the Panzer 61. The armour is cast, well rounded and is 120mm thick on both hull and turret front. The main gun is the British Royal Ordinance L7 105mm gun housed in a thermal sleeve. This was coupled with a new gun stabilisation system.
The running gear was improved with the Panzer 68, new wider tracks for better mobility on soft terrain, and a new Mercedes Benz V-8 diesel engine producing 630hp.
By 1985 the Panzer 68 was considered by some to be obsolete, and by 1990 was obsolete compared to the Leopard 2 and T-72. This was down to a lack of composite armour and a bigger caliber gun, despite the larger turret introduced on later models.
In 1979 a report came out showcasing many problems with the vehicle, the NBC system was hopeless, forcing the crew to wear individual masks. The gearbox would not allow shifting in reverse, forcing the machine to stop. The biggest problem was the turret ring control, it operated on the same frequencies as the radios in the turret bustle, so when the radios were at fill power the turret would suffer erratic movements due to interference. The radios would have to be turned off for combat, a huge disadvantage. The last problem in the report was a fault in the electric grid, causing the main gun to fire if it was loaded and the heating system switched on.
In total 150 vehicles were built, and were retired in 2003 after a costly modernisation programme in favour of the Panzer 87, a license built Leopard 2.
Die deutsche Verbände ziehen sich zurück, Hitler befiehlt aber am nächsten Tag erneut anzugreifen. Um diesen erneuten Vorstoss zuvor zu kommen, greift das II. kanadische Korps im Rahmen der Operation "Totalize" mit starker Bomberunterstützung aus Caen in Richtung Falaise an. Hierbei wird die 89. deutsche Infanteriedivision überrannt, die 12. SS-Panzerdivision kann aber mit ihren verbliebenen 50 Panzern den Vorstoß aufhalten.
In Mortain selbst kommt es erneut zu blutigen Kämpfen. Auf dem "Hang 314" leistet ein eingeschlossenes amerikanisches Bataillon tagelang erbitterten Widerstand.
Nach schweren Verlusten und mittlerweile völlig in Verteidigungspositionen gedrängt, befiehlt Generalfeldmarschall Kluge, ohne Hitlers Genehmigung abzuwarten, eigenmächtig den Rückzug. Dies bedeutete die Rettung unzähliger Menschenleben auf allen Seiten.
Zurück blieben die Spuren der Kämpfe ... / The German associations withdraw, but Hitler orders to attack again the next day. In order to make this renewed advance, the II. Canadian Corps attacks in the direction of Falaise in the operation "Totalize" with strong bomber support from Caen. Here the 89th German Infantry Division is overrun, but the 12th SS Panzer Division can stop the advance with its remaining 50 tanks.
In Mortain itself, it comes again to bloody fighting. On "Hang 314" a trapped American battalion fights bitter resistance for days.
After heavy casualties and now completely defensive, General Field Marshal Kluge orders, without waiting for Hitler's approval, to retreat on his own initiative. This meant saving countless lives on all sides.
The traces of the fighting remained ... ⏩Source: Gerad Bourel