Pioneering the SPAAG conceptOne of the earliest "Flak Tank" or tailored anti-aircraft tank in service by 1941 was based on the earlier and very innovative Swedish Luftvärnskanonvagn L-62 Anti II tank. The latter was originally built by Landsverk for Finland as a tank hunter, based on the Stridsvagn L-60, and six were used as the ItPsv 41 during the war. The licence was purchased by Hungary, which built and extensive serie, quickly reclassified as AA tanks. These vehicles appeared just before the first tank-based AA vehicles in the German Army (and perhaps influenced them), similar in capabilities to the Flakpanzer IV/3.7cm FlaK "Ostwind"). SPAAGs became mandatory in later years and are familiar specialities of the cold war.
Design of the 40M NimródThe 40M Nimród was based on the chassis of the licence-built 38M Toldi tank, using parts originally made for of the Swedish Landsverk L-60B light tank. Engineers however stretched the original chassis to accommodate a large and sturdy platform for an open top turret large enough for the 40 mm Bofors and crew. The crew of comprised the commander, driver, but also two loaders and two gunners located inside the turret. The latter was fully traversible, and its large fixed walls were sloped in order to maximize protection against small arms fire but offered little protection against flying shrapnells. The 36M 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun also made in Hungary under license was to be used in theory for AA purpose as well as against tanks in 1941. It fired anti-aircraft ammunition and Hungarian AP anti-tank rounds with a rate of fire of 120 rounds/minute. With AP rounds it can penetrate 46 mm of armour at 100 m and 30 mm at 1000 m and carried 160 rounds in all.
ProductionManufacture took place at Manfred Weiss Works, which delivered a first batch of 46 vehicles propelled by a German Büssing-NAG L8V/36TR (40M serie I). It was was followed by another batch of 89 vehicles using a Ganz IP VGT 107 Type II engine, licenced from Büssing-NAG in 1942-43. By 1944, surviving vehicles were issued with the 42M "Kerngranate" round, a massive rocket grenade with a 15 cm hollow charge (Igr. 39 Hl/A artillery shell mounted on a fin-stabilized tube). It was fitted over the muzzle and used like a rifle grenade against tanks at close range, capable of penetrating up to 100 mm or armour.
The 40M in actionIn 1943 the 40M Nimród were reclassified for anti-aircraft use only as they were found unable to pierce the armpur of the T-34 and KV-1 tanks. Tactically, these vehicles were deployed in batteries attached to armoured and motorized battalions, which allocated six vehicles each, sub-divided into three platoons. These units were:
- 51st Heavy Armor Battalion, 1st Hungarian Armored Division
- 52nd Heavy Armor Battalion, 2nd Hungarian Armored Division
- 1st Hungarian Cavalry Division
40M Nimród specifications
|Dimensions (L-w-h)||4.68 x 2.99 x 2.33 m (18ft 8in x 9ft 1in x 7ft 8in)|
|Total weight, battle ready||21.6 tons|
|Crew||4 (driver, commander, gunner, loader)|
|Propulsion||Manfred Weiss V8 cylinder, 260 hp|
|Top speed||43 km/h (27 mph)|
|Range||220 km (140 mi)|
|Armament||105 mm (4.13 in) MÁVAG 40/43M L20.5 howitzer, 42 rounds|
|Armor||13 to 75 mm (0.5-2.95 in)|
40M Nimród in 1944.
VideoWalkaround of the 40M Nimrod SPAAG at the Kecskemét Air Show 2013.
Nimrod battery in column, on march, and deployed