Argentinian armor Argentina (1943)
Medium tank – 12 built

Argentine in World War Two

Until March 1944 Argentina was neutral, although with a marked sympathy for Germany. This was partly due to a large German immigrant community and a naval rivalry with Great Britain in the southern Atlantic area and for dominance of the east-west Atlantic commercial roads. This neutrality was maintained despite pressures from the American government, including a weapon embargo and the supply of military equipment to Argentina’s neighbours.. However, with the internal and external turn of events (the “revolution of 43”), Argentina severed its diplomatic relationships with Germany on January, 26, and formally declared war on March, 27. The gap was partly used to prepare for a possible mobilization, which never took place. However, before that, 4,000 Argentinians served with all three British armed services, at least since 1941.

A design inspired by the M4 Sherman

The Nahuel was designed in 1942 by LT. Colonel Alfredo Baisi as a way to provide a tank to the Army despite the American embargo. He took the standard vertical volute springs, roadwheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idlers, in the same arrangement, as well as the tracks with rubber shoes, from the American M3/M4 chassis. But it was not based on its chassis, contrary to popular belief, but a true local design, although influenced by the M4. The armored hull was made of welded plates, 80 mm (3.15 in) at the thickest on the front glacis, which was also well sloped. The sides were not flat, but also slightly sloped. The choice of the gun, the standard Argentinian Krupp model 1909 field gun, was housed in a compact, bell-shaped fully cast turret. The mantlet was semi-internal. However, this weapon lacked velocity in its antitank-role, probably being much less efficient than the standard early M4 gun, but more fit for infantry support. The secondary armament choice was also based on existing ordnance, including a coaxial Allan 7.62 mm (0.3 in) machine-gun, and three light Madsen machine-guns fit into the glacis plate. One was manned by the co-driver, apparently placed on an internal ball bearing and fired via a wire, while the two others were mounted in tandem at the center of the glacis, apparently fixed. Both the driver and co-driver had hatches opening to the front. The commander had a single two-piece hatch, but no cupola, and an rotatable searchlight. The powerplant was a locally-manufactured Lorraine-Dietrich water-cooled gasoline engine with a W12 configuration (two V12s mated on a single crankshaft).

Operational life

The production of the D.L.43 (named after the year of production) took place at the Arsenal Esteban de Luca in Buenos Aires, after a 1942 mock-up was approved. Only 12 were manufactured before the production was stopped. This decision based on the large availability of British-origin M4 Shermans stockpiled at the end of 1945, which could be obtained at very low prices. The tanks were part of a single operational unit. The Nahuel meant “tiger” in the aboriginal Mapudungun language.

Nahuel D.L.43 specifications

Dimensions6.22 x 2.33 (or 2.63, contested) x 2.95 m (20.7 x 7.8 x 9.8 ft)
Total weight, battle ready35 tons (77,160 lbs)
Crew5 (commander, driver, co-driver/machine-gunner, gunner, loader)
PropulsionFMA-Lorraine-Dietrich 12 Eb, W12, WC, 500 hp, 14.3 hp/tonne
Maximum speed40 km/h (25 mph)
SuspensionVertical Volute Springs (VVSS)
Range on road250 km (155 mi)
ArmamentMain: 2.95 in (75 mm) Krupp M1909
Secondary: 1 x 7.62 mm (0.3 in) Allan machine gun
3 x Madsen 7.62 mm (0.3 in) light machine-guns
ArmorMaximum glacis front 80 mm (3.3 in)
Total production12

Links about the Nahuel

The Nahuel on Wikipedia

Nahuel DL43
The Nahuel D.L.43 with its operational markings in 1944.
Nahuel DL 43 tank
Nahuel parading in Buenos Aires – Credits: “Archivo General de la Nacion”

Another view of an operational model, showing its fastened tools.Originally published on 29 November 2014

TAM 2C Main Battle Tank
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19 Responses to Nahuel D.L.43

  1. Brian says:

    Never understood the fixed forward-firing mg idea and to have them along with a ball-type mg just seems a bit redundant?

    Great showcase for an obscure vehicle!!

  2. Sam says:

    Do you have any information on the armour piercing capabilities of the Krupp M1909?

  3. The gun looks to thin to be a 3 in.

  4. Afjklol says:

    The tank is actually 2.63m wide not 2.33. It’s been calculated with photographs. Based on the known height, the tank is too wide for it to be 2.33m.

  5. Jhjj says:

    I can see very clear that World of Tanks players get some informations by here. But I have a question: the Krupp M1909 gun has a very poor quality for that time?

  6. Víctor Peña says:

    A little correction “Nahuel” Means “Puma” (cougar) in Mapudungun, not Tiger.

    • Leander Jobse says:

      In Spanish, the jaguar was called tigre which was then wrongly translated to tiger in English so that is indeed wrong, but isn’t the word for puma ‘pangui’? A quick google search suggests that ‘Nahuel’ means jaguar. (or at least according to a wikipedia user on )

      • Víctor Peña says:

        well in Argentina and Chile pumas are named “lions” too, but in Mapudungun still means “puma”, jaguar sound unlikely because mapuche people live in the south part of south america, far away from the jaguars live.

  7. TinkerTanker44432 says:

    I believe the running gear depicted in the illustration is incorrect. I can’t be 100% but in the historical photos, it appear the running gear also has three support rollers as well.

  8. In the illustration, the suspension unit is supposed to have an extra two return rollers, one between each bogie system.

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